Kitsap Transit 2019 Gillig Low Floor 3502

This is an open thread.

45 Replies to “News roundup: Merry Christmas”

  1. Love how Rogoff just keeps getting raises for meh-to-abominable performance. Really needs to be a change of leadership there.

    1. Was the terrible design of the Point Defiance Bypass decided before or after Rogoff was appointed CEO?

      1. Long before. It was a State of Washington project long before the Sounder extension to Dupont was proposed. Once it did, it made sense fot ST to be the owner of the trackway.

      2. According to Wikipedia, the Bypass was “identified as a passenger rail corridor” by WSDOT in 1992 and analysis of its needs for rehabilitation on the west end to preserve access to Fort Lewis commenced.

        Sound Transit was made owner of the right of way between Tacoma and Lakewood in 2004, but the article does not say when the portion between Lakewood and Nisqually Junction was transferred to ST. It does say that Tacoma Rail assumed responsibility for freight service there in 2004.

        The project south of Lakewood was funded by the ARRA (the “Stimulus Package” of 2009, but it dud not include the $260 million for a replacement bridge over I-5 at Mounts Road. The State declined to undertake the bridge itself which has proven to be penny-wise but pound foolish.

        Construction began in 2012. Sound Transit must have been the owner south of Lakewood by that time.

        I think Mr.Rogoff was head by that time, so he is definitely responsible for the training failure, but not the slignment decision.

    2. I agree. The CEO should’ve been replaced after the two damning reports about the Dupont derailment disaster. That was strike three for me on my scorecard.

  2. Some of those Bellevue quotes are smart, some are profoundly dumb. Chelminiak saying “We’re not afraid to have road capacity in areas that need road capacity” is like saying “I’m not afraid to punch myself in the face when it’s needed.”

    1. The syllogism is not really true, but the reality is that Bellevue is as deficient in arterial roads as anywhere else in the Puget Sound region, for exactly the same reasons as the rest of it: the desire of those who live in it to keep it beautiful arrived early in its growth, so resistence to new roadways began before the population ballooned.

      That’s a good thing in most ways, but it does mean that there is little alternative road capacity in times of congestion.

      And if course, the hills and lakes makes alternative routings even harder.

  3. I used Metro’s new trip planner today to plan a trip to Alki. I rarely use trip planners unless I don’t know what routes are available (e.g., Lake City to Lynnwood); I look up the individual schedules instead. This time I used it try to find the C runs with the shortest transfer to the 50.

    I entered “Pine & Bellevue” and “Alki” (and chose the Alki Avenue suggestion). All the results led to the 128 and the top of California Ave. That’s not Alki, and it’s a long hill down to it! I looked on the map and chose “Alki Beach Park”. That gave results for 10+Link+50. I’m not waiting in a concrete jungle wasteland? I changed the start point to “3rd & Pike”. Now it offered the C+50 results I wanted. I used the right arrow in the time column to compare later trips, since I wasn’t planning to leave for a couple hours anyway. The results included walking along Alki, which I didn’t consider part of the trip (it was the goal), so I changed the end point to “Alki Ave SW & 61st Ave SW” to match the last bus stop. Finally the right itinerary.

    I used the right arrow in the time column to compare successive trips, since I wasn’t planning to leave for a couple hours anyway. The details showed most of the expected stuff: start-end time, travel time, routes, fare, and walking instructions. But it didn’t have the one thing I most wanted: the wait time for the 50. You have to calculate it from the departure/arrival time, or take the total time and subtract the bus travel times. And I wished it would show all successive trips on one page so I could choose the shortest one or the one with the best start time.

    1. One feature I would love to see in trip planning software that would give riders greater confidence in making trips that involve connections is the ability to purchase what I refer to as “connection insurance”. The way it works, if you have insurance and arrive at a connection point with an expected wait time in excess of 15 minutes, the insurance pays for a Lyft or Uber driver to pick you and take you the rest of the way. (Whether the insurance covers a shared ride or private ride would be a menu, with the private ride option charging a higher premium).

      The cost of the insurance would very depending on the estimated cost of the ride and the probability that the ride would be necessary, based on historical OneBusAway data. For example, if a connection between the C-line and 50 has 75% reliability and the car ride costs $8 if needed, the insurance might cost $2.25 ($2 expected cost + $0.25 profit).

      If you really need to be somewhere at a certain time, an extra $2.25 in fare beats potentially having to wait 30 minutes, or leaving 15 minutes earlier just in case, while still being a considerable bargain over skipping the bus completely and riding Uber/Lyft all the way.

      One obvious broker for such an insurance policy would be Uber and Lyft, themselves, and there are so many reasons why. With access to their proprietary pricing algorithms, they could price the insurance more accurately than a third party. It would get transit riders to use their app to plan transit trips, and help drive some amount of Uber/Lyft usage from transit riders who might be too cheap to pay for a ride otherwise. It would help bolster the company’s image with the city, since such a feature would truly promote the service for last-mile trips, making transit easier to use, while not taking ridership away from regular buses when the wait time is short. The companies already have your credit card number, so buying the insurance would just be a one-click thing. And then, of course, it would make their shared-ride services more efficient in that multiple people missing the same bus connection could share a single car ride, rather than having to dispatch a separate car for each person.

      1. This has so many opprtunities for gaming, you’ll never find an underwriter to issue a policy.

  4. Re Pedersen, how much is the new council generally on urbanism and transit? Has the window of opportunity for expanding the urban villages and upgrading transit/bike corridors in the last council closed? Or is it just a tiny pullback or no net effect?

    1. Given Pedersen’s lonely vote against the N 45th St bus ROW improvements, I’m not overly worried. NIMBYs deserve to have representation too. I’m a big fan of proportional representation (the version where voters get to rank all the candidates, at-large). Toby Thaler could conceivably get elected to the council under such a system, but he would likely be outvoted once on the council. I have no problem with that. I believe in the golden rule of representation.

      I noticed that Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Gael Tarleton was one of the co-sponsors of a bill to allow more options for election systems at the local level. I consider this a good sign that wasn’t there with the previous Democratic finalist for that position, who opposed all electoral reform during her time on the city council (and I did not vote for either candidate in the SoS general election last time). Having a Secretary of State put the stamp of “requested by …” on legislation that would push local election bureaucrats to have all election equipment designed to handle the counting of ranked ballots, and to allow for the various forms of more open, voter-empowering methods of voting, would be a huge improvement in the office of S.o.S.

  5. I’m torn about how to feel with regards to the delay in restoring Amtrak service to the inland route. That it’s taken so long and has been bungled so badly it’s incredibly frustrating, especially when you consider how much further time and money go in must of the rest of the developed world. Secondly, while I’m glad safety is (allegedly) such a priority, a part of me is annoyed at how over zealous we are about the safety of a mode of transport that already has a stellar record and are simultaneously blasé about autos on the highways and roads which have a comparatively abysmal record. It’s such a blind spot. We hold trains to standards that, if applied to cars, would incite riots.

    On a third hand, I guess it probably doesn’t really matter that much. I take Bolt anyway. It’s half the price and generally faster. I’m not made of money, and living on the Coast is expensive as hell. I wish there was something that could be done on that front.

    1. Well, let’s talk about how to live well in Pugetopolis on a low budget. That’s also an antidote to the commercialism of the season. Anybody have any interesting ideas? The only things off the top of my head are generic ones: PugetPass and interagency transfers are a great value. The produce stands at 65th & 15th NE and 15th NW and in Rainier and Chinatown etc. Walking for recreation and exercise is free. I read a book about somebody who does walking tours in England: he flies to one town, walks in 30-mile daily segments between towns, maybe spends a day in London, and flies home. Unfortunately the western US doesn’t have such extensive trails and roaming rights and towns every 30 miles. Learning a new recipe is also useful; my latest are tom yum soup and chili.

      1. The Freshbucks program puts high quality produce in the hands of the lowest income brackets and puts money in the hands of local produce growers.

    2. I’d prefer the train over BoltBus for the comfort factor and for what I think are lower emissions (albeit it not as low as forgoing the trip), if only it wasn’t sold out all nearly every time I want to take it. (The exception being I’m not yet ready to ride a train over the bypass bridge. That service is going to need weeks of non-revenue practice runs by the actual crew that will run it in revenue service before I feel safe getting on that train.)

      My Christmas wish for this coming year is to get to sit on the floor of the Amtrak train if the seats are all sold out, like real passenger trains services allow outside the US&A. I’ll gladly pay twice as much to sit on the floor of an Amtrak train to Portland or Vancouver as to get a seat by myself on BoltBus.

  6. A few thoughts between assembling parents’ new gifts…

    1) Alex Pedersen’s a caucus of one. If Heidi Wills also got elected, he’d definitely still be a caucus of one while there would be one collection of offices playing songs from “The West Wing” (Hint: NOT Alex’s) and I’d still be playing very much in Seattle politics eagerly gifting roses. Frankly, Alex Pedersen ought to be Chairman of the Seattle Republican Party and wear that label with pride. I know it’s Christmas but Alex Pedersen is anti-density and anti-ST3 for starters.

    It’s very important my Seattle friends, acquaintances and pen pals Alex serve on as few federated boards as humanly possible and definitely not the Sound Transit Board under any circumstances – please demand this. Got that? Thank you. All the Sound Transit 12s from Skagitonia to Olympia ought to be demanding this with one unified voice and since I don’t have a single IOU or debt of honour left in Seattle City Hall to cash in; looking at you guys to save Seattle’s fair share of ST3 – especially the Ballard line because I most certainly DO have a debt of honour to a certain superhero Ballard resident who would rather at home plate bunt than get to first base if that would stop Tim Eyman like the mensch saint role model she truly is. Remember, even I backed Shaun Scott in the end.

    2) “Republicans want to gut the general fund to subsidize highways deferred by I-976.” At this point, the Republican Party of Washington ought to have a policy plank on public transit that goes something like this… we don’t support funding public transit beyond free at point of use $75~ paratransit rides for senior & disabled rural citizens. I am so sick of these people and after what I’ve seen most but not all elected Republicans behave; this is my expectation of at least Washington State Republicans these days. Feel free to ask me for details.

    3) It is my understanding from last July that University Place Mayor Kent Keel is not just the new ST Board Chair but willing to definite what is hate speech and a personal attack. I having just wrote a book about the fight to temper the provocateur troll – ; preserved the entire 2 minutes & change debate at . Please stay tuned… I may be asking for some help in the new year to restore order & decorum in the Rufh Fisher Boardroom that former ST Board Chair Dow Constantine let go to heckfire.

    4) “Sound Transit open to cutting car tabs ($), but they want to make up the revenue hole.” GOOD.

    I think that’s enough morsels of Joe thoughts, eh?

  7. Occasionally I’ll come across an intersection where the traffic lights are out so everyone is treating it as a four-way stop. As a pedestrian it’s so much nicer to walk through and around- traffic is slower and waiting for my turn to cross is a matter of seconds instead of minutes. It might not be the right choice for every intersection, but the city should look at replacing some traffic signals with stop signs.

    1. Yeah, and sometimes it is a lot better for traffic. In Magnolia, for example, there are very few traffic signals. Until a few years there were none. For a very brief period, they added them on Dravus, around 15th, but it turns out the results were terrible. Traffic got much worse, and they went back to four-way stops.

      My understanding is that 5th Ave NE and Banner Way is the same way. Even though there are way more than enough cars to justify a set of traffic lights, they are better off with a four way stop there. It makes me wonder how many streets would actually be better off with four way stops.

      1. When traffic approaching is not already “bunched” by upstream traffic signals and arrives from all four directions in roughly the same volumes, four-way stops are great.

        They also serve as traffic calming implements.

      2. Oh, it is crucial thst both roads be single lane so there is no ambiguity about who goes next.

  8. Voters in the Sound Transit taxing district voted for ST3, twice now. Voters statewide have only gotten to vote once on the climate-catastrophe-worsening highway spending spree, and they just voted No. I’d like the will of the voters to be respected in both cases.

    1. “Voters in the Sound Transit taxing district voted for ST3, twice now.”

      Gee, I must’ve missed that second vote.

      Give me a break.

      Here’s the actual scorecard. ST3 passed in 2016, despite failing in 3 of the 5 subareas. I-976 passed statewide but was rejected in the ST3 district, though 3 of the 5 subareas supported it.

      The size and support level of the North King subarea’s electorate is being felt in the overall ST district results, but it is clear that there is a divergence among the subareas. For example, I suspect that if indeed there was an actual second vote for ST3 today the measure would fail in Snohomish County.

      1. So your standard is that ST packages have to pass both the whole district and each subarea?

        There is no greater foe of progress then inventing new veto points.

      2. I’d rather each subarea voted on their own projects from now on, since ST3 was the completion of “Spine Destiny”. No aggregate vote so we don’t have this… turmoil.

      3. “So your standard is that ST packages have to pass both the whole district and each subarea?

        “There is no greater foe of progress then (sic) inventing new veto points.”

        Huh? That’s a rather silly inference to make from my comments; there was never any suggestion of using a less democratic process on my part. With that being said, I believe the ST board does need to acknowledge the reality of the current situation, i.e., that the agency does not have the support of every subarea comprising the district, and thus any steamrolling, actual or perceived, will only increase the friction among these divergent factions.

      4. Here’s the real head-scratcher: A higher percentage of voters in the ST district opposed I-976 than supported ST3. Somehow, the ST Board has concluded that that must mean MVETs are an unpopular funding source, relative to sales and property tax.


      5. If it can be done, replacing MVET revenue with some other source is a very prudent thing to do, since it reduces risk of unfavorable court rulings delaying future projects.

        As long as the total revenue is the same, and it doesn’t put projects in jeopardy, there’s no reason not to do it.

      6. There are plenty of reasons not to switch to a higher sales tax to make up the difference. There are legal reasons why the property tax can only be raised so much. Now, a carbon tax to replace the MVET, with the revenue going to building Sound Transit — that would feed many birds with one seed.

      7. Tlsgwm is correct, though the vote in Snohomish within the District on 976 was quite close. Maybe it’s time to total accumulated contributions to date and determine exactly how far north of Lynnwood Link can go and truncate the District at that point with a width of a mile or so down ti the KC Line.

        Residents if the rump Snohomish Sub-Area could pyrchase ORCA Cards which entitled them to a reduced fare, sort of like the RRFC.

        The same sort if thing could happen for South King and especially Pierce. Shrink the District to the Cities of Renton, Kent, Auburn, Sea-Tac, Burien, Des Mounes, and Federal Way in KC and Sumner, Puyallup, Tacoma and Lakewood in Pierce, making the same ORCA card available to their residents, and to those if North and East King.

        Then raise fares on Sound Transit services to 100% farebox recovery for “Ordinary ORCA” and cash payers.

        Republicabs keep complaining that transit charges toi little for the end users. Here’s a wib-wib for those whi dob-use the “Toy Train”, right?

  9. I just had a chance to ride in a BYD electric. Wow, if anything is going to save the planet it will be running those in 3rd world cities. I feel like my lungs just gained a year in longevity.

    As Trump waste time figuring out how wind turbines work the Chinese are going to make a killing off those things.

  10. Does anyone know what is going to happen to the Lime-E bikes? Hopefully they are donated to nonprofits, but that seems unlikely based on what has happened in other cities. Or, I suspect there are plenty of people that would pay $100 for a used Lime bike (or more), given the high cost of new e-bikes. It just seems such a waste to scrap them, and the scrap metal can’t be worth anywhere close to what selling them would make.

  11. Re: How ride-hail companies could be helpful to cities. The last thing we should do is create more loading zones. That only makes the problem worse, as it effectively privatizes public space for corporate profitmongering. We’d be better off ticketing Uber and Lyft into submission. That would put more in the public coffers too.

    1. In practice, the space was already privatized if people were parking their cars there. Turning a space being used to store a car into a space more people can use for getting a ride (so they don’t have to own a car) is a net plus. If the space is taken away from a sidewalk, bike lane, bus lane or bus loading zone, or blocking emergency vehicles, than it would be a net minus.

      As someone who is transit dependent, I find plenty of times where the transit options just don’t cut it, and I need to hire a driver to taxi large purchases back to my apartment.

      1. Bus stops have been targetted for Uber/Lyft drop off zones. I forget precisely where, but there is a pilot program that makes at least one bus stop in Seattle a variable zone, permitting nontransit use at off times.

        There are also many places, such as bike lanes, where ride hailing drivers stop. If cars are illegally parked there, the space is not privatized.

      2. One location where I feel a passenger loading zone is sorely needed is Westlake and Denny. I have several times walked or rode transit to the Whole Foods and tried to take Lyft or Uber home (with the grocery bags) and they’ve ended up stopping in awkward places like along Denny, blocking a traffic lane, along with the #8 bus stop.

        Unfortunately, there’s no great place to put it. Maybe along 9th, just south of the Whole Foods?

    2. If ride hailing companies are on the roads, they are *already* using public space for “corporate profitmongering”. Yet another reason we should have a congestion charge.

      1. I have nothing against congestion charges. I would like to see them charge commercial traffic higher than personal vehicles and carpools, though.

  12. Maybe I’m naive, but why will the Northgate pedestrian bridge take 20 months to construct, not including any of the permitting?

    1. Could be related to the fact that any work which requires closing the freeway has to be done very late at night.

      1. I hope ST and SDoT are coordinating the timing of N I-5 freeway closures. The ped/bike bridge should be child’s play compared to running superstructure across the freeway at a very-non-perpendicular angle.

  13. I’m having a hard time believing that they aren’t providing stairs at the First Avenue end of this bridge. People not headed to the Link Station will have to walk north one block, then double-back that same block to get to ground level. That’s great for bikes; they need the easy grade. But for someone walking to a destination along 100th, it will be a huge detour.

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