The @KenmoreAir Streetcar at the Light
Avgeek Joe/Flickr

This is an open thread.

66 Replies to “News roundup: coming for the produce markets”

  1. In terms of what SoundTransit can do to cut down on Link collisions, I’m not sure there’s a lot. They’re a construction agency and they build and run what we as voters approved.

    We cheaped out on the Rainier Valley segment and that’s on us. That segment of street running is going to be the entire network’s nexus for injuries and accidents as long as it exists, so until we get them the funds to fix it, it’s not getting fixed.

    1. Simple light re-timing should go a long way to improving this safety along MLK. Right now the lights are timed to treat MLK like an I-5 alternate in many locations – and drivers treat it like that.
      Crossing MLK on foot or in a car is difficult due to skipped cycles and short signals that sometimes change just as you’re pulling into the intersection. And when you do get a chance to cross MLK, drivers are so accustomed to having a green that they often run the red (and block the box at pedestrian only crossings).

    2. Railroad crossing gates throughout the Rainier Valley. Arguably an overkill, but it would probably reduce crashes.

    3. I appreciated the urbanist piece for putting the data together regarding the number of collisions along the initial segment since its opening. The article did a nice job of quantifying the safety issues that have plagued the line since it began operating back in 2009. This is the part of the piece that really got my attention:

      “To do so would not require a massive level of investment from the North King Subarea, likely in the range of $15 million to $30 million.
      However, Sound Transit there are no planned investments on the horizon to do so, beyond the aforementioned minor safety projects. “It would represent a major undertaking to contemplate the feasibility of such an extensive capital project from standpoints including public safety, financing, traffic operations, and support from the community and City of Seattle,” Gallagher said.”

      Gee, and when the UofW wanted $10 million in mitigation for some lost parking spaces (most of which were temporary in nature) at Husky Stadium Sound Transit opened up the checkbook with no problem.

      1. Because solutions are either trivial or expensive, I really wish that ST get serious about solving things in a reasonable way. I get tired of all the reporting and disruptions on the problem but without solutions.

        Of course, once Federal Way Link opens in 2024, South King will be more significantly impacted. Even with Northgate in 2021, system impacts to disruptions will be felt. Perhaps this new pressure will force ST and SDOT to get more concerned about MLK light rail safety.

        Of course, the lane reductions on Rainier will throw more traffic onto MLK (the lane reduction data after the Columbia City narrowing showed this) so it’s going to get worse rather than get better unless something is done.

      2. The UW mitigation was related to a current station project. ST can increase the budget for EIS-required mitigation; it’s a normal cost overrun. Fixing MLK would be a retrofit to an ST1 project that was finished in 2009. You can’t stretch “Infill Graham Station ST3 Project” to fit all of that, although you may be able to include the Graham intersection itself. ST didn’t say it couldn’t afford one intersection; it said it couldn’t afford all of MLK.

        All this was a consequence of not grade-separating MLK from the beginning. The Link spec should have set a minimum standard of 100% grade separation from the beginning.

    4. The Urbanist article gets it wrong on the MAX Orange Line: The photo they use is *not* of light-rail crossing gates “similar to regular freight and passenger rail lines” – those gates are at a crossing where the light rail tracks run parallel to a very active Union Pacific mainline. Gates were already present at that intersection – Trimet just relocated them to also protect the light rail tracks. And this specific location is not center running, either. A bit further southeast, where the Orange Line *does* run in the center of SE 17th Avenue for a bit less than a mile, there are five cross streets that still cross the light rail tracks – none of those has gates. The only gates along SE 17th are at the ends, where the tracks enter/exit the center reservation, at acute angles.

      Likewise, and contrary to what TomT says, the Blue Line does not have gates through downtown Hillsboro. There are gates at the west end where the tracks curve out of the center reservation, and one cross intersection at the east end, but none at the other 10 intersections in between. The center-running Yellow Line has no gates along Interstate Avenue, nor does the original east-side line (to Gresham) have any gates along the five-mile center-running length of East Burnside.

      I can’t say whether MAX has lower rates of crashes on center running sections than Link does in the Rainier Valley, but if it does, it’s not due to crossing gates.

  2. The MVET lawsuit, Taylor Black et al v. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority and State Of Washington, is on the fall docket for the WA Supreme Court. Oral arguments are scheduled for the afternoon of September 10, 2019.
    The docket number is 97195-1 (from Pierce County Superior Court case #18-2-08733-9).

    Good. The legislature has had ample opportunities to get the 2015 legislation fixed and has failed to do so thus far. On a related matter, Eyman’s initiative, should it pass in November, will of course be challenged and this same court will ultimately be asked to rule on its constitutionality as well. (Hint: the initiative won’t survive review as it clearly violates the one subject rule for such measures.)

    1. Tlsgwm, what do you mean by the words “get the legislation fixed”? Do you want to penalize owners of cars older than nine years? And if so, why? Do you work for a new car dealership?

      1. Tlsgwm is making a disingenuous argument based on the flawed assumption that there is something that needs to be fixed about the way ST calculated MVET.

      2. The following is taken from the staff report on one of the measures the legislature considered in 2018 (SB 5955) to correct the issue that was created with the 2015 act. (And, yes, ColumbiaChris, your nonsense assertions to the contrary, the legislation in question that allowed for new taxation based on a repealed schedule, i.e., the 1996 DOL MVET valuation tables, was a significant legislative misstep, one that ultimately blew up on the agency once this little-noticed ploy was reported on and exposed after the fact.):

        “Current RTA MVET. In 2015, the Legislature passed an omnibus transportation revenue bill that included authority for an RTA to increase their MVET collection by 0.8 percent with
        voter approval. The MVET authority provided in the revenue bill specified that the vehicle valuation method for collection of the 0.8 percent MVET would be the MVET schedule as it was listed in statute in January 1996, until bonds issued against the original 0.3 percent MVET have been paid off. Bonds issued against the original 0.3 percent MVET are currently anticipated to be paid off in 2028, at which point the 0.3 percent MVET will cease being collected. MVET that is collected after December 31 in the year the 0.3 percent MVET bond debt is retired must use the valuation schedule enacted in 2006.”


        “The 2005 Transportation Budget directed the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) to study the feasibility of developing a uniform MVET depreciation schedule that would more accurately reflect vehicle value and not hinder existing debt obligations. As a result of the study, the Legislature passed SSB 6247 (2006) which enacted a new valuation schedule. This vehicle valuation schedule is currently provided in statute.”

        @TomTerrific No, I do not want to “penalize” vehicles owners who drive older vehicles. Where did that come from? I simply want the state to mandate that any jurisdiction that has been granted the relevant tax authority use the more accurate, current MVET schedule. This is what should have been the case with the 2015 act.

        Fwiw….I personally drive a vehicle that is more than 10 years old. And, no, I do not work for a car dealership of any kind. Lol.

    1. Umm…but the articles are totally different stories. Maybe read Natalie’s piece instead of parroting Erica who either didn’t read the article or took the opportunity to hoodwink readers into thinking The Stranger stole her article. Maybe just stick to the good journalism, Erica!

      1. ECB’s article pointed out that the Mayor wanted the scooter companies to indemnify the city.

        We haven’t heard of a company willing to do that in Seattle. Lo and behold, we still have no scooter share in Seattle– and there won’t be until someone is willing to do that (which is probably not financially wise).

  3. •First Sound Transit came for the burger stands, and I said nothing. Now they’re coming for the produce markets — or at least some of the market’s parking.

    Ironic that folks are against building bigger roads for cars, but are more than happy to build bigger roads and extra lanes for busses, adding concrete that is less efficient in number of people transported than the general purpose lanes.

    And again, the could-care-less attitude is strong. I bet folks on here would be happy to level grandma’s house that she’s lived in for 80 years in the name of “progress.”

    1. adding concrete that is less efficient in number of people transported than the general purpose lanes.

      What? I think you have that backwards. Buses can carry way more people per lane than a general purpose lane.

      1. I’d like to see the data for your conclusion, and maybe my math is off. If a bus holds ~81 (Sound Transit double decker bus) – 96 (Metro 60-foot busses), and the bus is on an every 15 minute schedule. Well, for this example, lets say 10 minutes. That’s 486-576 people every hour, given the busses are at capacity (we’ll use the high number, 576 for this example). According to the WSDOT in 2018, the annual average daily traffic for State Route 522 near the vegetable stand is 41,000. Let’s make it simple and just divide 41,000 by 24 hours in a day, you get 1708 cars per hour. Again, making this example simple, we’ll say that each vehicle is carrying only one person, which is the minimum. That would be 1,708 people travelling in cars per hour for that stretch of road. Now since there are two lanes, we divide that 1,708 by 2 and get 854 cars / people, per lane, per hour.

        So unless my math is wrong, 854 car travelers (estimated low) per lane is greater than 576 riding the bus (estimated high).

        To make these two equal, a bus at capacity would need to pass every 6.8 minutes (or 8.8 busses with 96 passengers per hour).

        So my conclusion would be that the general purpose lanes carry people for a given amount of time than a bus lane at that spot. Thanks for your help in my understanding.

      2. Correction: I did make a mistake in my math. There are four lanes since the it’s regarding both directions.

        Bus is 576 per hour per bus lane. Estimated at capacity at 10 minute intervals. (1152/ 2 bus lanes)
        Cars are 427 per hour per lane. (1708 / 4 general purpose lanes).

        So assuming that cars are all single occupancy (estimating low), and assuming all hours of the day are equal traffic counts, and busses are at maximum capacity on Metro’s largest busses going through Bothell (estimating high), busses would be more efficient. This would be assuming busses are performing at peak hours and cars on average traffic counts.

      3. During peak, the 372, 522 and 312 combine to provide service about every 2 minutes. During peak, the biggest issue is congestion — too many vehicles cause backups. The only reason there are that many lanes is to avoid congestion (otherwise it would be a simple two lane road, with a center turn lane). Enough cars to carry that many people is more than enough to cause congestion.

        The math gets complicated (just how many cars does it take to cause congestion, anyway?) but it isn’t too hard to make an estimate. The national average is 1.06 per car. Now assume a safe distance of two seconds between each car. That means past a given point, you would have 32 cars per minute. That works out to 64 people per bus (when there are buses every two minutes). Any more than that — and these buses routinely carry more than that — and the cars can’t use the lane safely. This also doesn’t account for the space of the car — just the space between the cars.

        Of course congestion is not that simple. On a flat, straight freeway, you can routinely see more cars passing through a particular point. (They may be driving unsafely, but whatever). However, with that many cars following closely together, any slowdown ripples through the system. The first car slows down, the next car slows down more, and next thing you know, you have stop and go conditions. Any number of things can cause the slowdown: an accident, a distraction (like an accident going the other direction), a curve, or just someone who swerves and messes it up for everyone. On 522, there are numerous places like that. A stop light prevents cars from going quickly. During rush hour, it is common to be stopped not because you are at a stoplight, but hundreds of feet before it. By the time you actually reach the stoplight, the light has turned red again.

        In contrast, buses on that street don’t deal with that. They are nowhere near that level (it isn’t Third Avenue). In short, they manage to carry more people than a “full” lane of car traffic, yet they aren’t even close to being congested.

        That brings up another point. Buses scale. One of the big factors for bus ridership is how fast it is relative to other traffic. We’ve already seen that some commuters from West Seattle have given up on Metro, and have started driving to work. The same thing happens on SR 522. If a bus runs in the same lane as a car, it will never be as fast as it. Buses stop where a lot of riders don’t want to stop. They go where a lot of riders don’t want to go. The only way they can compete with a car in terms of speed is with their own lane. Being able to avoid traffic allows them to compensate for the other shortcomings of buses. This, in turn, increases ridership. This means that more buses can be added — again, at no cost to the riders. You could double the number of buses, and still not have any bus congestion. Not only would doubling the number of buses not cause a speed problem, but it would actually be better for riders. More buses means less waiting. This sets up a virtuous cycle. Lots of buses carrying lots of people — way more than cars could carry.

      4. @RossB

        Very nice response. Yes, busses can be scaled far more rapidly. I haven’t ridden the busses through Bothell, so can’t debate the numbers, but are there typically more than 64 passengers, on average, per bus at that point? Prior to Kenmore and points beyond? I would assume they would be at, or close to, capacity by the time they reach downtown or further down the line.

        As for congestion, you’re right, it does get complicated quickly, especially just when trying to just do some simple math. Taking the total car counts and peanut butter spread them across 24 hours highly underestimates peak time counts and grossly overestimates night times.

        I wonder if bus riders falls at the same percentage as cars between peak and non-peak hours.

        I do argue though that adding more bus does cost more to the rider, and in larger scale, the taxpayers. Every public entity is paid for by taxpayers, those who use the output or do not. While it may not cost the individual rider an increase in fare, it is raising the cost to someone.

      5. … are there typically more than 64 passengers, on average, per bus at that point?

        Hard to say. That is towards the end of the line, so maybe not. However, just about every rider is effected by a slowdown there. If a bus is very slow going through there, then someone in Kenmore deals with a bus that is very late.

        I wonder if bus riders falls at the same percentage as cars between peak and non-peak hours.

        For a suburban run, generally yes. There are lots more people during peak, lots fewer people in the middle of the day.

        I do argue though that adding more bus does cost more to the rider, and in larger scale, the taxpayers. Every public entity is paid for by taxpayers, those who use the output or do not. While it may not cost the individual rider an increase in fare, it is raising the cost to someone.

        When I said “cost”, I meant in time. Each new car that is added on a road like 522 costs every other rider time. Each new bus, on the other hand, isn’t likely to delay any rider at all. It is nowhere near capacity (it isn’t like Third Avenue). As I mentioned, existing riders would benefit from the added frequency. From a time perspective, more cars delays everyone — but more buses actually reduces delay. If there were a transit strike, we would probably see 522 come to a standstill, even if they allowed cars to drive in the bus lane. If everyone took transit you would move a lot more people through the same corridor.

        As far as financial cost goes, it gets really complicate. But fare recovery goes up when the buses are full. So if you are adding more buses because of more riders, you are costing the taxpayer less (because the fare paying customer is paying a higher percentage). The other thing that is costly is a bus stuck in traffic. Faster buses save the agency money. So a project like the one in question will likely save quite a bit in terms of service (and taxpayer) money, whereas a general purpose lane would not.

    2. I occasionally shop at the Yakima Fruit Market, and I think the owners are potentially missing an opportunity here.

      The bus lane and accompanying sidewalk take out the front parking, but they do not appear to risk the building itself (depending upon setback rules from the sidewalk). Essentially they would put the front entrance to the business directly on a sidewalk, which if it’s like the sidewalk just to the south would have a narrow planting strip buffering it from the bus lane.

      It’s likely that aside from a bus every 5-15 minutes (depending upon the time of day and number of routes through there; I’d have to look up the exact frequency), the traffic noise would be quieter than it is now. And the market would be accessible in both directions via the sidewalks. There are enough residences within a mile or two to make that a significant potential upside. It also means that people could park in other lots and have a workable walk to their cars without parking directly in front of the market.

      I don’t think they really need that much parking except in peak periods like the Christmas tree season, and with good sidewalks (and potentially an extra traffic light and crosswalk near the north end of the property), they could make deals with nearby businesses (like the hair salon across the street that has several spots) to share parking. If they worked with the city and Sound Transit instead of threatening legal action, they might be able to work out some amenities that in the end would improve their business while allowing the bus lane and sidewalk to go in as planned.

      Another option would be to swap that property with another one that’s not on a major highway. One thing that is clear if you’ve been to the business but easy to miss otherwise is that the current parking situation feels dangerous. People pull in directly from the highway, and you have to be very careful pulling out to make sure you don’t swing out into traffic that is going 40-50 miles per hour. That’s another argument for putting in another signal to the north, timed with the existing light to the south so it doesn’t create additional stops for buses and general traffic, to lower speeds in the area and make it possible for customers of businesses in the area to cross safely and share parking.

      1. I used to love to go to that market. I don’t have a car now and don’t go because the walk from its closest stop has no sidewalk of any kind and the shoulder is far too narrow. For me, if something can be worked out, the market would be a draw to use the new BRT.

    3. In this produce stand story, Sound Transit is China, and the new bus lane is the Three Gorges Dam project.

    4. The Times article on this got my goat, and this KIRO article is even worse. Not one paragraph about the benefits of Stride and how the Northshore communities need comprehensive transit. Just that “The voters approved it” (so they made a mistake?) and “half the parking will be taken for a bus lane” (alas, the imposition of a bus lane). Frequent, fast transit that doesn’t get stuck in traffic is a basic necessity of a well-functioning metropolitan area. It should have been done decades ago when the suburbs started growning.

      I think I’ve been to that produce stand; I used to bike from the U-District to Redmond to go go a little software store, and there was a large produce shop near the trail which must be the same one. I agree that shop is a unique amenity that should remain around, but we should look at not only the hundreds of shop patrons but the tens of thousands of bus riders — and the customers who come by bus. If the buses are more frequent and faster, then people will be more willing to come by bus from UW Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, etc, to shop there. And yes, ST could contribute to remodeling the shop if it fits within the mitigation budget, but remember that enlarging the budget would be paid for by all East King taxpayers, so you have to ask whether they should be paying to remodel this shop. I wish the articles went into these other issues, and not just treated bus lanes like a new prison next door.

    5. GK, you also have to consider that each additional car lane does NOT add an equivalent amount of capacity as the existing lanes. The marginal increase in capacity is greatly reduced by the need for lane changes and the practice of avoiding the left lane except to pass or to turn left. You’re not so much adding capacity as giving the cars more breathing space. (Not to mention greater likelihood of disruption from crashes). Most traffic will remain in the rightmost lane except during peak hour, when traffic is moving *slow* anyway so there are a lot of cars on the road but *cars per minute passing a given location* is not as high as you think it would be.

    6. I think most commenters on this blog, given absolute authority, would take a late from the cars and make it bus. However, for better or for worse, we live in a political reality where you can only add, not subtract. So we can add a bus lane, or not add a car lane, but subtracting a car lane to add a bus lane is nearly impossible.

      Anyways this is Sound Transit taking the fruit parking. To my knowledge they have never come out against adding car capacity.

      1. If the bus made a special stop for the fruit stand, would that be sufficient parking mitigation? There are plenty of transit parking lots up the highway. It would be a very short bus ride.

        That said, adding stops to a so-called BRT route to placate individual businesses sets a very bad precedent. If it happens everywhere, it would slow the bus ride to a crawl.

  4. Seattle’s e-scooter pilot mysteriously slow to arrive.

    There’s been an unofficial e-scooter pilot going on in earnest since summer 2018 in the form of people who turn their nose at the existing e-scooter ban and ride their e-whatevers on the various trails, paths and sidewalks around they City.

    While there are a few people that ride safely, the majority are at a minimum annoying nuisances, with behavior tending towards dangerous, anti-social, selfish behavior. It’s not pretty, and between observed, poor behavior and the fact that e-scooter share companies are all but insolvent, e-scooter share is a solution, in desperate search of a problem, where the status quo would still be the better solution.

    Maybe, similar to how e-bike share started with manual bike share, we could mandate a minimum 1 year of manual scooter share to gauge it’s usefulness before turning our pedestrian and bike facilities over to morons!

    1. Durkan, according to the ECB article, wanted the e-scooter share companies to indemnify the city from any lawsuits. As a result, we have no scooter share companies.

      The scooters who crash their own scooters into folks, might get to defend a lawsuit on their hands.

      1. I think the City should absolutely be indemnified from any lawsuits regarding e-scooters, unless it’s something caused by City negligence.

        These for-profit “sharing” companies don’t seem to want to practice any form of corporate responsibility, so why should the City share in risk with these corporations when it doesn’t directly benefit from them.

  5. Sawant is in zero danger of losing her seat to Orion, no matter how much spin Erica Barnett wants to add to the results. Orion is Sawant’s hand picked opponent, bolstered by many people in Durkan’s office. I have friends on some of the volunteer committees that spent hours of Seattle city business time over a year ago creating Egan Orion, the candidate. If he couldn’t get more votes than Sawant in a crowded race, he’s got zero hope in the general.

    1. I see that the general-election edition of Egan Orion has discovered climate change, but hasn’t invented the bicycle, or the accompanying PBL.

      In all fairness, Sawant’s re-election site doesn’t appear to have invented the bicycle either.

    2. I think you are right. DeWolf would have been a tougher candidate. He had the endorsement of several labor unions. I doubt these will now go to Orion. I see this race as being labeled as a “Seattle Times” type candidate versus a “The Stranger” type incumbent. In this city — and definitely in that district — Sawant should win that race easily.

      If you look at the detailed vote count, it bodes well for Sawant ( She did well in the more urban areas (Capitol Hill, the Central Area, First Hill). Orion did well in the wealthier, single family neighborhoods (north Capitol Hill, Montlake, Mount Baker). The urban areas tend to have higher voting in the general election, which means that Sawant should do well.

      The only question is whether all of those other votes (to Murakami, DeWolf, Nguyen and Bowers) were mainly votes for the candidate, or against Sawant. It is a mix, of course, but my guess is that it will break towards her, or at least close to 50/50 (which would put her comfortably in the lead). Unless those candidates endorse Orion (and I doubt they will) she will likely win easily.

    3. Sawant can’t hand-pick an opponent; this is not an authoritarian state. The one with the Seattle Times and Chamber of Commerce endorsements was likely to get the other slot in any case. What Sawant should be concerned about is her rate lower than than the other progressive incumbants. I was one of those who voted “Not Sawant” because she’s OK but I’d like somebody more moderate. I knew she’d probably get the majority anyway or may be the least bad choice in the final but that’s the way the district is.

      I was also amazed at the unprecendented activity of her supporters: there were many of them everywhere, and they even had petitions saying “We want rent control” and something else, which ostensibly are simply policy petitions but the solicitors all had a “Vote Sawant” poster so there was clearly an ulterior motive. I have never seen a campaign so active and visible, so that’s clearly going to be a big advantage for her.

      1. Mike, Sawant didn’t hand pick Orion. Durkan did. People in Durkan’s office have been planning his campaign since before he announced he was running. That’s why Sawant is so mobilized and has people everywhere. The political elites are trying to shove her out office. Egan Orion clearly doesn’t have enough traction to beat Sawant though. The primary made that clear.

      2. I understand where Mike was coming from – you wrote that “Orion is Sawant’s hand picked opponent”, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Thanks for clarifying.

      3. I don’t see the left trying to suppress votes in presumed opposition districts, running a brainwashing propaganda machine like Fox News, or saying some Americans are worthless. Those are the kinds of things we need to worry about, and they’re coming from the right.

  6. Bellevue cyclist dies. People should not be allowed to use sunshine as an excuse in accidents. They can use sunglasses, they can use a car’s sun visor, they can use a hand to shield the sun, they can use common sense … if one is blinded by the sun, or think they are about to be blinded, they should pull over and stop driving. I think too often the sun gets the blame when the real cause is inattentive driving.

      1. In a sane society, this would be admission of criminal negligence when operating a multi-ton vehicle. In America, it’s just an “oopsie”.

  7. Some of my best memories about life in Chicago in the early 1950’s: the small neighborhood business world created everyplace the “El” (for “Elevated)” crossed a street. Is there still such a beverage as a “malted milk?” Dare anybody to invent an espresso drink derived and named that.

    Haven’t seen stats lately, but remember that the resulting commercial scene definitely helped maintain law and order. If it’s done right, Ballard, West Seattle, and other neighborhoods will be very glad for this approach.

    Mark Dublin

  8. Does anyone know the story behind the SDOT ads at the Rainier Beach Station? They say: “Rainier Ave. S averages more crashes per day than anywhere else in Seattle”.
    Is SDOT really advertising to South Seattle how little they’ve done to protect South Seattle lives?

  9. @MD,

    “It’s not necessarily great that Sound Transit had to commission groundbreaking engineering work”

    Your backhanded criticism of ST is misplaced. ST has to perform innovative engineering design simply because of the environment we live in. Mixed soils, variable topology, underground streamflows, earthquakes?

    Ya, this all makes the design task hard. But it is where we live. Things would be much easier for the designers if we lived in St Louis or Kansas City, but then we would live there and not here.

    And this whole narrative about how impossible and amazing it is to put LR on a floating bridge is just an echo of the anti-LR sentiment that came out of Bellevue and the KF funded parties anyhow. They used the “LR on a floating bridge is dangerous” narrative to try to kill East Link. We shouldn’t play into their hands.

    The ST track bridge is good, solid engineering. But ST has done a lot of that. Leave it be and move on to the next challenge.

    1. It’s not criticism If they have to do it, so be it. But when I depend on an engineering project, “this is going to require groundbreaking engineering” is not what I want to hear.

      1. @MD,

        If you don’t want to hear the term “groundbreaking”, then maybe Seattle just isn’t for you. There is a lot of groundbreaking work that goes on around here.

        Those of us who grew up in the area are used to it, those who are new to the area are maybe a bit more apprehensive.

        But if you don’t trust it, then don’t use it. Period. I’ll take your seat. I’ve ridden trains across similar track bridge like devices before, and they work just fine. This one is better, with faster speeds and higher reliability, but the difference isn’t going to change the world.

        Trust the engineers. Don’t listen to KF and his ilk.

      2. What else is groundbreaking? Most of what ST has built seems rather common. The bus tunnel was unusual, but not unique. Sharing it with trains was less common, but I think there are other cities that do that. Now the tunnel — and everything that ST operates — seems run of the mill.

        The point is, when you do something that no one else has done, you run the risk of bigger problems. It still may be the best choice (as Martin wrote) but it isn’t great news.

      3. Groundbreaking can be a good or a bad thing. That said, I am a bit nostalgic for times before 2009 when things were based more on analysis and less on political advocacy.

        That’s bigger than just the KF and Eyman stunts. It applies to expensive ST design alternatives in the ID, the obsession with tunnels in Ballard and West Seattle, the utter lack of overcrowding discussions in ST3 that happened in ST2 planning, the abandonment of Convention Place just before we start digging new subway stations Downtown, the reality of a very slow FHSC after visions of a fast connection, and even the wholesale disregard of creating lots of new traffic congestion and slower bus routes to favor PBLs over regular bicycle lanes.

        I don’t think that the past had less advocacy — but I do feel like the past had more attention to analysis to temper that advocacy.

  10. Apparently it is hempfest this weekend, will police (or the bus lane vigilantes) move cars that park in the bus lane on 15th Ave Friday evening?

  11. Light rail vehicle operators in Pittsburgh follow a procedure to help reduce collisions between pedestrians or cars with a hidden second train in crossings: When two trains are approaching a crossing at about the same time, the first train to enter the crossing slows down enough to allow the other train to reach the crossing before the first train leaves the crossing. That way, when the first train clears the crossing, the other train is already there and exiting the crossing, not just about to enter it. It never seemed to cause much of a delay. Just a few seconds. Seems a good safety practice. (I haven’t lived there for 15 years, so I’m only assuming they still do this)

  12. Tunneling in West Seattle is almost purely an aesthetic choice. In Ballard, however, it is a very practical one designed to avoid the potentially horrible choice of building a train drawbridge. We skimped before on MLK and will continue to live with the consequences for decades, let’s not do it again.

    It’s a shame the Ballard tunnel is getting almost no attention while West Seattle is regularly in the media.

    1. Since when are train drawbridges horrible? Do you have a particular bridge in mind — one that is similar to what is proposed? Keep in mind that the bridge will be very high, won’t open during rush hour, and will rarely open at all. It is quite likely that months will go by without a single person being delayed — but please inform everyone of a similar drawbridge that was horrible.

      What is horrible is moving the station further east — to 14th. Whether they do that with a tall bridge, a short bridge or an underground tunnel makes little difference. That would be a terrible mistake. There are numerous examples of similar mistakes, including ones made by this very agency (Mount Baker and Husky Stadium come to mind).

      The only reason to go underground is if you made the station better. If they moved the station west, towards the heart of Ballard, it would be worth the money. Otherwise, they should just stick with the plan approved by voters — an elevated bridge to 15th. Then they can use the money for something that is a lot better value.

      1. You can explain until you’re blue in the face, and some people will never understand that the plan is for a high drawbridge that almost never opens, rather than something the height of the Ballard or Freemont bridges.

  13. Hey Seattle Transit Blog;
    Just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for using my photos with proper attribution. Very busy – somewhat on transit issues – but wanted to make the time to just say… thank you!

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