Transit Service

Election Politics

Climate Conflagration

Transportation Innovation

  • Slow self-driving shuttles are making in-roads on private property.
  • Boeing wants to grade-separate car traffic. No fuel source has been mentioned.
  • Transportation expert offers his free advice ($) on Seattle-area transit systems.
  • King County Metro and the City of Renton are developing an unfunded wish list for ways to improve access to transit.
  • Las Vegas’ monorail ($) is still alive, and has funding for a new station.
  • Eugene approaches final decision on new transit lines.
  • Harris County (Houston metropolitan area) voters to decide fate of $3.5 billion bond package for transit expansion.
  • Mobility justice group calls for expansion of dockless scooter-share in Chicago.
  • Proximity to transit raises property values, improves quality of life, and reduces transportation costs, per APTA study.
  • New WheelOptions website encourages Pugetopolis commuters to be Commute Superheroes. You’ll love the incentives!

75 Replies to “News Roundup: Ellen”

  1. I am pretty shocked The Stranger allowed that Orion ad to happen. I’m not shocked Orion would resort to such a dishonest tactic.

    And is there any polling on 976? Sorry to say I’m pretty sure it’s going to pass. What is the plan for impact?

    1. The coalition the Eyman needs is Trump voters statewide, plus the subset of Clinton voters who voted “no” on ST3. I don’t know what the chances are of it happening. But, we definitely need all the no votes we can get.

      1. 46% voted “NO” for ST3, I guess that number can only grow after tab sticker shock. So I’d say it will be “yes” for 976

      2. My family in Skagit County recently complained to me about their tabs paying for Sound Transit trains they’ll never ride and they aren’t even idiots. That’s when I knew 976 was almost guaranteed to pass. Add in the (extremely stupid) electric car fee and you’ve got a perfect storm of misinformation and legitimate frustration.

      3. Assuming that 100% of the yes ST3 voters were Clinton voters, about half of the no ST voters would have be Trump voters, in order for the math to line up. You have to be careful not to double count them.

        There are also, of course, anti transit Clinton voters outside the Puget sound area who would vote Yes. But their numbers are limited by the total number of Clinton voters outside the ST district, which is not that much.

        @barman – is your family up in Skagit county Democrat or Republican? If the latter, they have already been counted, so it’s not fair to double count.

      4. For whatever it’s worth, the Twisp, WA town council has voted unanimously to recommend a NO vote on Eyman’s initiative.

        Twisp is about as red as they come.

    2. It is not clear that Orion did anything dishonest. He put together an ad. He paid for it, and The Stranger approved it. He wanted the ad for this week, since that is when ballots are being sent out. He had no idea what would be on the cover when he paid for the ads. They could have put a face of Sawant for all he knew, or something completely different. I’ve seen the paper, and it doesn’t look deceptive to me, in the least. It is obviously an ad, like any other.

      What is clear is that The Stranger screwed up. Somehow someone approved all of this, and now someone else doesn’t like it. Grow up. The time to stop the ad was before it was place in YOUR newspaper. This isn’t like a posting on Craig’s list, or a comment on a blog. This is a paid advertisement — it goes through an approval process. It is crazy that The Stranger disapproves of it now, but literally approved it before it was published (by them).

      1. What evidence do you have that Orion “had no idea” this was going to be the endorsement issue? Obviously yes The Stranger deserves most of the blame but I find it extremely unlikely the Orion campaign didn’t know exactly what they were doing.

      2. The only reason Orion ran the ad now is because it is when the ballots are mailed. Do you expect him to wait until December to run the ad?

        I’m guessing that this is the issue with the endorsements because it is when the ballots are mailed. Are you saying he had an inside source? Someone at The Stranger tipped him off, and told him he could be really sneaky, and run an ad that would confuse a really stoned reader.

        The whole this is ridiculous. He ran an ad when it made sense to run it. There is nothing the least bit misleading about the ad. The ad was approved by The Stranger. The only reason some of the folks on The Stranger are whining about it is because The Stranger put together a cover that The Stranger thinks is misleading.

      3. Again, I did say the bulk of the blame goes to The Stranger for approving the ad, but I do think it was obviously designed to look like a cover endorsement. No need to get your panties in a bunch about it, we’re allowed to disagree.

      4. [Ad hominem] Nowhere in the ad does it say “Endorsed by The Stranger”. There is no quote from The Stranger (which is common for ads like that). The only reason someone would think that The Stranger endorsed Orion is because the ad appears in The Stranger. Hard to fault Orion for choosing to run an ad in a newspaper that endorsed his opponent.

      5. It pretty much never does explicitly say “Endorsed by The Stranger”, so I’m not sure where you got the idea that it’s common, for example:

        I don’t think you have to be an idiot to think “Orion for City Council” displayed prominently on the cover underneath a giant “Endorsements” header looks like an official endorsement, especially if you’re seeing it from a distance.

      6. Whether or not the Orion campaign was trying to be deceptive is fairly immaterial. The end result was a deceptive ad. The Stranger’s marketing department should not have let it run, and the editor’s passive-aggressive note in defense of the paper’s dumb decision is not making it better for them.

        “If you were fooled, it’s because you’re dumb” is generally not the message you want to send to your readers.

      7. I’ve only seen the photo of the cover, but the effect does look a bit misleading. Yes, partial-page advertising wraps are common, but usually they’re the full height of the spine and obviously obscure the cover. This one just happens to look like a bottom headline, which the Stranger always has. The combination of the top headline, the empty space for the artistic peach, and then the green box with text; it can look like a bottom headline, especially if you’re seeing it from afar and can’t tell it’s a wrap. Most cover pictures wouldn’t have this problem because the wrap edge would clash with the lines of the picture and half-cover the middle text, making it obvious it’s a wrap. But a peach with no middle text; how natural to draw only the top and middle of it. I don’t blame Orion; I doubt he had advance knowledge of this cover concept or how it would accentuate a bottom ad. I blame the editors for not previewing the cover and ad together to see how it might look.

      1. No, Sam. It said “Paid advertisement” along the fold of the ad. The ad was four pages, and designed to mimic the cover, which was under it. So people glancing at the ad had no reason not to realize it wasn’t the real cover.

        Here’s another hypothesis: Orion’s campaign didn’t get to see the final version of the four-page ad mimicking the cover, but just approved the layout for the part that was obviously an ad once you read closely (the bottom of the front page of the ad / fake cover, and the portion on the second page, where, if you open it that far, you then realize the cover is under it).

        Maybe The Stranger‘s ad staff designed the front cover to make it look like Orion’s campaign was trying to dupe readers into thinking he was endorsed. Maybe Orion’s campaign gave carte blanche to The Stranger for whatever they were going to put on a majority of the space he was paying for. That would certainly be poor judgement on his campaign’s part.

        Maybe Orion’s campaign only paid for the space that looks like an ad, had no idea The Stranger would essentially print two covers, one over the other, and The Stranger owes the Orion campaign half his money back because they only printed the ad on half the printed covers.

      2. The ad was four pages, and designed to mimic the cover, which was under it.

        Yeah, just like *every other* outer cover ad. These ads are common for newspapers. You take them off to get to the real paper. They are designed to match most of the main cover *by the newspaper itself*. Whether the ad is for a grocery store or a candidate, the style is the same. It is obviously an ad.

        Here is a picture of the front page: Here is a picture highlighting the ad: They have nothing in common. The fonts are completely different. The colors are different (and clashing, in an ugly way). The ad covers up the peach in a crude way, unlike the real cover, which has a star which beckons readers to a different story inside. No designer in the world would put together the mix involving the ad. Even a high school newspaper wouldn’t look that bad. In contrast, the real cover is sharp. Everything about it is professional.
        [ad hom] As Sam said, there it is, clear as day “Paid Advertisement”. Even if it didn’t say that, it would be pretty obvious. Why the hell would a newspaper list one — and only one — endorsement on the cover, then go on to list the reasons why they endorse him in language that is neither the voice of The Stranger (not a single swear word) or even an endorsement. It says things like “Your Accessible and Accountable Voice”. What editorial writer would write that?

        It is absurd. It is obviously an ad but now folks are upset because someone got really confused about how a newspaper endorses one candidate, yet runs ads by the other. Maybe a bunch of babies somehow got the idea that you are only supposed to read things that you agree with. OMG! It is like someone hacked my Facebook account — now I’m reading things that I obviously oppose. WTF! (followed by appropriate emojis). Grow up people. Read any quality newspaper or magazine and you will see ads for all kinds of crap. You will read editorials that are completely at odds with your way of thinking. That is the point. Even if you agree with an editorial staff 99% of the time, you are allowed to disagree with them sometimes — it doesn’t make you a traitor. Orion didn’t get the endorsement of The Stranger, but he ran an expensive ad in the paper anyway, hoping to sway those who aren’t keen on Sawant. Big deal.

      3. Nope — I can’t even vote in the race. Nor am I really that concerned. Other local races are more important, and even those are overshadowed by national or international races. What happens in Cameroon, for example, is far, far more important. What I find amusing are the folks that get their panties in a bunch because someone made a perfectly legitimate ad with a newspaper that has clearly seen better days. Most of all, I feel sorry for Mr. Savage. He is brilliant and heroic — a first class civil rights leader in our midst, yet he has to deal with bullshit issues like this one.

        But hey, feel free to make snide, underhanded attacks on me — ’tis the era, I suppose. My writing — every last word — is meant as a civics lesson for those that obviously skipped that class. If you’ve ever worked on a campaign, ever known a politician, ever bothered to hand out flyers, you can’t help but think that the folks freaking out about this perfectly legitimate campaign ad are naive little babies — more accustomed to whining than actually accomplishing anything.

      1. How much it matters I don’t know. I read the Stranger’s endoresments because they’re the best of the general-purpose newspapers, but I’m looking for the reasonings behind them, not the name on the cover. I’ve had enough disagreements with the Stranger to not just go with the name.

    3. Eyman has been citing a Dem poll that showed a tie in Seattle and 70:30 win statewide.

      Perhaps not the most reliable narrator, but I haven’t seen this contradicted.

      1. With some quick googling, I couldn’t find the actual poll, just a right wing site that toutes it. Which suggests it could be just right wing disinformation.

        The possibility of half the people *in Seattle* going for this is inconceivable. It would require a large chunk of people who voted yes on Move Seattle and ST3 to suddenly change their mind.

      2. Or people not seeing the connection between car tabs and transit service. Light rail and more buses? Yes, of course. Low car taxes? Yes, of course.

        There’s also the phenomenon of different people voting for different issues. One group of people makes sure to turn up vote yes for higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes. Another group of people makes sure to turn up and vote less to tax cuts and caps that eliminate the funding of those education improvements.

      3. If the poll were accurate, it would also imply at least 25% support from those who voted in favor of last year’s carbon tax. That does not make sense.

        I’m not saying I976 will fail. That, we don’t know. But, opposition to it should at least outperform support for the carbon tax. It would be completely ideologically inconsistent for someone to vote for a carbon tax one year to fund various green initiatives, then vote to gut transit by reducing car tabs the very next year.

  2. No doubt to fight it in court on the (well founded hopes) that the judges will override the will of the people on constitutional grounds.

    1. This has been my biggest question about I-976: can a statewide referendum constitutionally override previous funding votes on the local level? I would think that it coul only legally reduce statewide tab fees to $30 and be unable to override local, voter approved fees. Less clear on local, non-voter approved fees.

      Beyond that, this initiative reads like Eyman’s typical “more than one issue in an initiative” and will get a stay in court on November 6 for non passing the constitutional initiative sniff test.

      IF it passes, it will get tossed out in courts, but it will serve to reinflate Eyman’s tarnished ego and give him more fuel to emerge from the smoldering ashes of his ruined campaign reputation with a fresh “the government doesn’t respect the will of the people!!!11!” battle cry.

    2. The state legislature can invalidate local taxes because the state granted the tax authority in the first place, but whether an initiative can overturn a vote in a lower jurisdiction is less clear. I don’t trust the “the courts will throw it out” assertion. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll take so long to rule that bad things will happen anyway. If the initiative passes it gives the proponents a psychological advantage and that can have real power. Even if it’s struck down, that advantage can linger, and lead to more destructive votes and legislative actions later.

      1. “…can a statewide referendum constitutionally override previous funding votes on the local level?”

        Setting aside the whole article II, section 19 constitutionality issue of the construction of I-976 itself, the simple answer is yes. Consider the decision in Pierce County v. State of Washington (2003). This case considered multiple legal issues, some of which were constitutional in nature, raised by the respondents and respondent-interveners (e.g. Sound Transit) in the appeal to our state’s highest court. In the final decision, the majority wrote this key part:

        “Additional Constitutional Issues Raised by Pierce County and Sound Transit.
        “The superior court left some of the plaintiffs’ constitutional challenges undecided. Pierce County and Sound Transit renew those issues on direct appeal as alternative grounds for affirming the superior court’s decision. Ertman v. City of Olympia, 95 Wash. 2d 105, 108, 621 P.2d 724 (1980).

        “First, Pierce County contends that I-776 violates precepts of local home rule set forth in our state constitution under article XI, section 4 (granting local voters the right to create their own governments) and section 12 (denying the state legislature any power to impose taxes on local governments for local purposes). The thrust of this argument *651 is that, by repealing the statutory authority under which some counties had imposed the $15 local option vehicle fee and under which Sound Transit had levied the MVET, I-776 imposed a tax on those local governments by requiring them to find other funding sources for local transportation projects. The argument lacks merit. Article XI, section 12 permits the state to legislate what taxes and fees local governments are authorized to impose: “The legislature … may, by general laws, vest in the corporate authorities [of counties, cities, towns or other municipal corporations], the power to assess and collect taxes.” Each local government, in its discretion, then decides whether to impose the taxes and fees authorized by the State’s general laws. The legislature or the people legislating by initiative may rescind by general laws the authority previously granted. When that happens, as here, no violation of article XI, section 12 occurs.

        “Sound Transit argues that, in repealing the MVET, I-776 exceeded the scope of the initiative power prescribed in article I, section 1 of the state constitution. Sound Transit relies on Ruano v. Spellman, 81 Wash. 2d 820, 505 P.2d 447 (1973), which concerned the efforts of citizens to stop the Kingdome’s construction by filing an initiative under the King County charter. The Ruano court determined that only administrative acts remained and that the charter’s initiative power did not extend to administrative acts. Id. at 823-25, 505 P.2d 447. However, whereas the Ruano initiative was a local effort to stop administrative acts of a local government, I-776 is a statewide initiative that repeals a general act of the legislature and has no legal effect on any legislative or administrative act of Sound Transit. As a general law repealing an existing general law (RCW 81.104.160), I-776 does not exceed the scope of the people’s constitutionally granted initiative power.”

        Then Sound Transit threw in a Hail Mary….

        “Finally, Sound Transit suggests that I-776’s repeal of the MVET violated the transit agency’s due process rights, guaranteed in article I, section 3 of the state constitution and in the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. The claimed deprivation of “life, liberty, or property” caused by I-776 presupposes that, when a local government decides to embark on a public project, the people of that jurisdiction acquire a vested property right in the completion of the project, regardless of subsequent state law. No authority exists for that proposition. Sound Transit argues vaguely about the voters’ due process rights because case law establishes that article I, section 3 does not insulate cities from state action. See, e.g., Moses Lake Sch. Dist. No. 161 v. Big Bend Cmty. Coll., 81 Wash. 2d 551, 503 P.2d 86 (1972) (upholding state authority to transfer community college ownership from school district to state without compensation), appeal dismissed, 412 U.S. 934, 93 S. Ct. 2776, 37 L. Ed. 2d 393 (1973). Local governments find protection for completion of their public works in article I, section 23, which prohibits passage of any law “impairing the obligations of contracts.” Sound Transit has no basis for asserting that I-776 caused a deprivation of a vested property right.

        “In sum, Pierce County and Sound Transit are unable to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that I-776 violated constitutional precepts of local home rule, exceeded the scope of the initiative power, or deprived the voters of a vested property right.”

        Thus the majority reached the following conclusion:

        “We hold that I-776 embraced a single subject and expressed that subject in its title, that I-776 did not “substantially impair” King County’s contractual obligations to its bondholders, and that the additional constitutional claims that the superior court did not reach were unavailing. We therefore reverse the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and remand the matter for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion. Salish’s request for attorney fees at trial and on appeal is denied.”

        So from this court’s perspective at least, an initiative, as long as it’s constructed properly and doesn’t violate our state constitution tenets, can certainly repeal the local taxing authority statutes that allow for local jurisdictions to raise transportation funding from the permitted taxes and fees, even with said local voter approval. The initiative to the people that rescinds such authority is viewed on equal footing as any similar measure passed directly by the legislature.

  3. Some of the issues brought up by the Mercer Island folks are ridiculous. No one robs a shop,then waits for a bus. Besides, wouldn’t they just get on the train, and go back to dangerous Seattle?

    Likewise, the idea that connecting buses “have no value” for Mercer Island residents is another way of saying “we only want transit to downtown Seattle”. Buses that connect to Issaquah, Eastgate, BCC and Factoria would run both ways. There are jobs, and other reasons why someone in Mercer Island would want to take advantage of bus service to those areas.

    Finally, opposing the bus connections because the trains would be too crowded is nonsensical. If the buses don’t go there, they will go to South Bellevue. That means that riders would have a tougher time getting a seat in the morning (if they are headed to downtown Seattle). A lot of there complaints just don’t make any sense.

    There are a couple reasonable concerns. No one wants a diesel bus idling nearby. It might be a little more difficult to cross the street, if there is a lot of traffic. But those are easy problems to mitigate (ban the former, add crosswalks for the latter).

    The big problem is that they are taking a stupid approach. They should be pushing for connecting bus service. For example, a bus from BCC could continue past the station, then loop around the island. Shop keepers from farther south should be pushing for more service to that end of the island, instead of assuming that everyone from the mainland is a criminal.

    1. The idling buses issue may be moot as well, given KCM’s apparent commitment to having a 100% electric fleet in the near future.

    2. There have long been bus intercepts at Lynnwood, Tacoma Dome, TIB, Northgate, and downtown Bellevue. None of them are so dangerous that children get run over all the time and people are afraid to cross the street. None of them are particular crime flashpoints. If you’re worried about gangbanger vandals from Seattle, they can come just as easily on the existing bus routes as on Link. But they’d probably drive, so they can get away faster. If you’re worried about commuter buses increasing crime, are you saying that Eastside middle-class commuters are criminals? In any case, don’t you want better access to Issaquah and Factoria and Bellevue College?

      1. The actual usefulness of a bus intercept to Mercer Island residents depends on how the schedules work out.

        For all-day, bi-directional service, it problem makes the most sense overall for the Eastgate/Issaquah route to connect to Link at South Bellevue P&R, rather than Mercer Island. A Mercer Island intercept means a more direct route to Seattle. But a South Bellevue intercept means a more direct route to Bellevue and Redmond. While more people would be going to Seattle than Bellevue/Redmond, the time savings from a South Bellevue intercept for Bellevue/Redmond is much more than the time savings for a Mercer Island intercept for Seattle. A South Bellevue intercept also means fewer service hours, which means less cost and/or better frequency.

        During peak hours, however, the calculations are different. During rush hour, there is sufficient demand (at least in the peak direction) to run buses to both stations, while maintaining an acceptable level of frequency on each branch. Daily work commutes are when people are especially time-sensitive because it’s a trip they make over and over again every day, rather than once a week or so. Rush hour is also a period of bad traffic, which means cutting over to the right lane to reach the Bellevue Way exit is likely to add a lot of time compared to just staying in the HOV lane and using the left-hand exit on Mercer Island. (Off-peak, traffic is light enough that cutting over to the right for the Bellevue Way exit is no big deal).

        Putting the two together, what Metro and Sound Transit are probably aiming for is a 554 to South Bellevue (running all day), supplemented by several routes (212/214/216/217/218/219) running peak-only to Mercer Island.

        The end result is lots of buses going to Mercer Island, but few, if any of them, running a schedule that is remotely useful to Mercer island residents. (I guess the truncated 212 would also run peak hours in the reverse direction, since the untruncated 212 does that today).

        That said, nearly every one of the Mercer Island concerns represent ignorance at best, racism at worst. Adding more eyes on the ground does not create crime, it deters crime. Buses serving the station will not meaningfully impact resident’s quality of life. The streets around the P&R are already safe to cross. And, the comment about non-island residents taking up seats on the train is downright laughable. Even if the bus intercept were moved to South Bellevue P&R, they people would *still* be taking up seats on the train. The only complaint I had at least a little bit of sympathy with is the exhaust and noise of idling buses. But, that’s a solvable problem. In the short run, we can tell bus drivers to simply refrain from idling their engines during layover. In the long run, King County Metro plans to electrify its fleet, rendering the issue moot.

    3. amen to RossB comments on Mercer Island. riders now cross North Way between the park-and-ride and eastbound buses and between MI and westbound buses. pedestrians cross arterials all over the world. yes, MI riders would benefit from routes directly connecting south MI and Eastgate. why are transit riders from Eastgate and Issaquah considered dangerous? transit riders on the Eastside are very well-mannered; kindergarten instruction is strong on the Eastside. note that buses are growing progressively more quiet; they may become electric soon. the background roar of I-90 traffic is the ocean; the buses are a relatively small addition. the best options were taken off the table; the would have had passengers board and alight on 77th and 80th avenues SE at the Link station entrances to minimize the transfer walks. from a MI perspective, the better the service and its connection with East Link at MI station, the less parking pressure will be on MI as parking at Eastgate, Issaquah, the Highlands, and Sammamish will be better.

    4. Let’s call this Mercer Island concern equating crime to transit use as bluntly offensive and pretty racist. I’m not familiar with burglary stats but I can pretty much guarantee most thefts on Mercer Island arrive and leave in private vehicles! They aren’t on record supporting tolling I-90 to discourage theft that way! Crime is just not a logical correlation to this!

      It’s too bad that they don’t see the benefit to local convenience and food merchants nearby, and thus their tax base! It brings more opportunity for foot traffic. It adds business without taking up their precious parking spaces to customers or employees. It helps to keep a decent variety of convenience and food businesses open on MI. Opposing the transfer is anti-economic development and pro-tax-increases!

      Meanwhile, as others note, the users will mostly be well-off and choice riders. Most of transit riders are also female. This fear-mongering is shameful and the leaders should be called out as the uninformed hard-headed bigots that they are!

      1. I don’t know if I’d call it racist. There are plenty of trashy white criminals. The majority in fact.

      2. if not racist then call it classist. it’s really both, and it’s coming from the same place that kept a light rail station as far away as possible from Bellevue Square.

    5. I’m embarrassed. What I find utterly hilarious and totally sad at the same time is that the vast majority of Mercer Island residents won’t be impacted one way or another by the transit interchange (“bus intercept”) plans. I’m one of the few that will, because I live within a hundred feet of where the roundabout would go (literally). I’m in regular communication with Sound Transit and the City of Mercer Island on this, and the issues these people are bringing up are nuts. Ross’s two concerns (idling buses and street crossings) are two of mine, but there are fairly easy ways to address those. I have others of course. But needless fear-mongering and hysteria isn’t going to help me or anyone else get a better outcome.

      1. Exactly. You aren’t alone. I know a few people from Mercer Island, and they are smarter than this. Much of this just comes down to fear of change. That part I understand. If you live in Mercer Island, you aren’t too eager to change things. I mean that in all sincerity. It is the land of professional athletes, and otherwise successful people that want to live in the ‘burbs, but still stay close to the city. For the vast majority of them, it doesn’t matter what happens close to the station. For a few — like you — it matters a lot.

        This needless fear-mongering just makes it worse for you (and everyone else). It means that Metro and ST have to focus on BS, instead of focusing on issues that really are important. Buses can be noisy and stinky. Buses can overwhelm a place. There are ways to mitigate the issues, and both ST and Metro are very adept in that area. But if those folks have to spend time answering questions about potential crime, it costs us all.

        I have to say, the fear of crime is just ridiculous. What they are basically saying is that some criminal mastermind, in the dark, deep recesses of Factoria are planning their next heist. They want to rob a bagel store, because it is so much easier to make their getaway now that the truncated 554 runs every ten minutes. It is hilarious — reminds me of an Almost Live skit.

    6. What I find particularly offensive are the statements about the intercept having “no clear benefits for Mercer Island residents.“ and “ Hay and Lippens both said they are fully supportive of light rail and excited to have a light rail station on the island, but they do not want a bus intercept or transfer station.”

      The intercept isn’t primarily designed for Mercer Island residents. It is to provide access to a station on a regional rail system paid for with regional tax dollars. It isn’t a private Mercer Island station and their position suggesting that thousands of riders should each spend an extra 10-15 minutes round trip every day commuting to essentially make it private is preposterous.

      I understand some of the aspects of the settlement agreement, but I hated the limits on buses per day for the same reason.

  4. High Speed Rail between Vegas and LA Victorville by end of 2023?

    There FIFY. So many folks in Victorville want to go to Las Vegas because……it’s there!

    1. I could totally see how stopping in Victorville is cost-effective for a private company. So many people drive to Vegas from Southern California and park their cars to never be used during the visit. The population of the I-15 corridor counties (San Bernardino to San Diego) is about the same as LA County. The drive between Victorville and LA is also really tedious.

      Of course, going further into the LA metro area is ideal — but land costs appear pretty steep. To connect things, I imagine that fleets of connecting buses will spread out to many locations in that region.

      1. They’ll have to have the Mother of All Park-N-Rides to make this work. People who would take the bus to Victorville would probably just take one to Las Vegas. They do run.

  5. TriMet service changes for 2020 and 2021 are being planned. About the only changes that are likely to be of interest to visitors from the Puget Sound region:

    + Route 16 will start operating on Sundays after the December 2019 schedule change. Weekend hikes in Forest Park that go from one end of the park to the other and a bus trip one direction can now happen on Sunday.

    +Route 47 changes and a new bus route might make it easier for some trying to get to some of the tech industry campuses in Washington county.

    + Not on the TriMet list but of note: on October 27th the Wildwood Trail will have a pedestrian bridge connecting Washington Park with Forest over Burnside Street. Crossing this road on foot is exceptionally dangerous – something like crossing Aurora at Seattle’s Washington Park at an unsignalled cross walk would be. This will be a considerable improvement for locals and visitors alike who want to hike the city’s best known hiking trail without getting killed by auto traffic.

    1. I’ve done that walk before and, yes, that crossing is indeed dangerous. Glad to see that they are building a bridge.

  6. This could be fun to watch….The Everett Herald is hosting an I-976 forum to be broadcast on TVW tonight at 7pm. It’s being held at the WSU annex in Everett so it’s a bit far for me to attend in person (as I reside in Edmonds), so I’ll just catch it on tv later this evening if I can or watch a replay online.


    Fwiw….I do get the impression that there is a good deal of support for the measure among my neighbors, despite the barrage of scare ads currently being broadcast by the Keep Washington Rolling campaign. I really have no idea how the vote tally will pan out statewide as I haven’t seen any real polling on the November ballot measure.


    1. I too was confused by the “Ellen” title. I thought it an unusual contraction of “Election”.

    2. It was probably Ellen DeGeneres sitting with George W Bush at a Cowboys game. Then CNN did an article on it. Then stupid gossip and even a question at a demecratic debate was brought up. Not sure all my facts are correct but it was so stupid, I stopped reading.

      1. The main thing was she was defending being friends with a war criminal as ‘having different viewpoints’.

      2. Since almost nobody wanted to talk about Ellen at the debate, Vox sent six questions on climate action to the candidates, and most responded.

      3. Thanks. I didn’t watch the debate. From the description, I don’t see what’s wrong with talking with W or being friends with him even if he is a war criminal. Part of the liberal base has gotten too trigger-happy with trying to run people out of jobs or friendships because of an unrelated matter.

    3. I think they simply mis-spelled “ELE” (Extinction Level Event). Sad that we’ll take so many other beautiful species with us.

  7. I think someone … City of Bellevue, Sound Transit, Amazon, Kemper Freeman … should build an enclosed, elevated movable walkway, with the BTC/Bellevue Station at one end, and the other end somewhere along Bellevue Way. Or better yet, two walkways, one ending around Bellevue Way and NE 8th, and the other ending around Bellevue Way and NE 2nd.

    1. It sounds like the Vision Line conveyer belt Kevin Wallace proposed for his 114th Avenue Link alignment.

  8. Has anybody done any calculation on the implications of how many 2013 Seattle voters are now my neighbors in Olympia?

    Could explain why at Public Comment at Sound Transit Board meetings, average member gives me so much less attention than they give Alex Tsimerman.

    Definitely explains why I-5 traffic just about mandates that my attendance at next Thursday’s Board meeting will mean a sneaky, guilt-ridden drive to Tacoma to get my Airport 574 to Link at Sea-Tac. Used to be a reliable hour bus trip every time.

    So I am not kidding in the slightest when I ask Brent, and Ross, and Frank, and Martin: How do I convince my present neighbors and fellow-voters at least not to destroy their own chance to ever even vote on ST membership?

    My audience could be an Evergreen freshman, their faculty advisor, a soldier from Joint Base Lewis McChord, my mechanic, or a half dozen Intercity Transit drivers- who all know my share of either the credit or the blame for Sound Transit to date.

    What do I tell them? Especially, should I stress the positive benefits of running the ST 574 Express to a Sea-Tac Airport Link transfer (with warning to buy a paper pass so they don’t get nailed for a wrong “tap”?)

    Living a block away, I always hand-drop my ballot into the box in the Thurston Courthouse parking lot, usually at 7:59pm on Election night. So this one’s real personal.

    Also, for whatever any memory’s worth, might note in closing that the effort that became Sound Transit died at twice at the polls before its resurrection as a railroad whose rolling stock was buses for twenty years.

    Better use of brain-time than average plan for losing an election in advance.

    Mark Dublin

  9. Pertaining to the control of any vehicle including boats and aircraft, I also think “Self-Driving” is a dangerous misnomer that needs to be taken out of common usage.

    Every move any machine makes in any direction traces directly to the worst command the least-able human gave it last. Would limit use of the technology to elevators and railroads, rubber-tired or steel-tracked guideway irrelevant, on completely-reserved and protected right of way.

    Winged or wheeled, anything wandering unattended onto my property can be retrieved at closest Farrell’s Wrecking Yard to last point it called you from, beeping pathetically for help.


    1. Anyone who believes in Artificial Intelligence (self-driving cars/planes/etc.) has never worked in the tech industry.

  10. Thanks, Glenn. Now do I hear a second for Mike Lindblom getting a few days’ instruction on 60′ trolleybuses- in addition?

    But first things first. I think Sound Transit’s every driver should be given enough time in the seat to be comfortable with both electric and diesel mode.

    Eleven AM straight through Downtown Gothenburg Sweden at the controls a 90′ Italian streetcar wasn’t my idea, but guess Västtrafik’s chief instructor sent ahead for my records and decided that in the Norselands’ warlike history, the town had faced worse threats to its parapets.

    Thrust of my request for universal training is my sense that like much else about Sound Transit, every time somebody even thinks “separate agency”, or separate anything, something in the system starts to work a little worse.

    Have also seen years of debility self-inflicted on ATU Local 587 by members convinced that difference between work modes was important enough to sacrifice the solidarity that is a union’s life-blood to award advantages to one mode over another.

    Truth? That whole hair-whitening half hour driving Vastraffik car 407, I thanked all the relevant Norse deities (Thor? For trolleybuses more likely Loki!) for my years at the wheel of a really big bus. Like so much of transit-machine-handling, there’s a “feel” it’s good to “feed.”

    Which is why I think it’s so important that every driver take the controls of every vehicle with an inbuilt sense of handling passengers too.

    Have read that ST is now hiring train drivers “off the street.” Is this in addition to drivers already trained for bus? Is there any chance to change from controller lever to steering wheel, and or back, at all?

    If there isn’t….might want to think about negotiating its return.

    Mark Dublin

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