Sound Transit - Central Link Light Rail

This is an open thread.

56 Replies to “News roundup: not very important”

  1. With regard to the USS acronym, I see no good reason they couldn’t keep that acronym on the backend and just have everything public-facing refer to it as Symphony Station. They do it with airports, after all. Chicago O’Hare international Airport has the FAA code “ORD”, which stands for Orchard Field. It hasn’t been called that since 1949.

    1. Yes, this was pointed out many times already including the O’Hare example. Sound Transit has proven numerous times over the years that they are incapable of even the most basic of logical thinking. I don’t know if the various departments even talk to each other.

    2. This. (And there are a ton of airports whose FAA/IATA codes have nothing to do with the name of the city or area they serve, including GEG, PAE, and EAT in this state alone.) Who cares what ST calls it internally?

      I would posit that putting a street name on a station that doesn’t even touch that street IS a big deal. Wayfinding is a critical part of transit use. ST has shown recently that they understand this at some level by numbering exits, and the signage on the new trainsets appear to be much clearer as well. Yes, most users will not care much as they know what station they always use, but that doesn’t mean it’s good practice or even that it was necessary.

      Design all facets of your transit system so that a visitor can relatively easily understand and use it. Make your design – including wayfinding, transfers both in system and intermodal, etc. – work for those people and you will automatically find that ALL users of the system find it easy and logical.

      1. It’s not optimal, but I’m not sure it’s such a big deal as long as there are “To Union St.” signs directing people to the relevant exits and the exits have numbers that people can reference (If there are not, shame on ST!). The walkway tunnel exit on 2nd Ave. dumps you out pretty close to Union St. and pointed in the right direction. I believe there is an elevator exit right at Union St.? If you’ve never been to Seattle and somebody told you “Take the train to Union St. Station, use exit 2, turn left at Union St. and the hotel is a block ahead” would it be too confusing?

      2. The numbered exits are definitely an aid in each station, and I’d expect them to become more commonly used both in verbal communication and in advertising. They are an excellent example of what to do in wayfinding (although I would have chosen a brighter yellow color to call attention to them, as is done in many other systems).

        That said, it is fundamentally inaccurate to call the station “Union Street” just as much as calling the station “Rainier Square” – you’re a block away from either when you exit, and when you exit at any of the three closest points to Union Street you aren’t even facing the correct direction (even at Second/University you are directly facing west towards the Second/University intersection).

        Hell, they could have just (internally) called it “Under Seneca Street” or “Under Seattle Symphony” if they had to keep those letters because reasons.

        Does it make the station or system unusable? Of course not, any more than it’s not physically impossible to transfer from Link to a bus at Mount Baker. In both cases, however, ST added an additional layer of complexity that didn’t need to be there.

    3. I’ll give ST people enough benefit of the doubt to know about how airport codes work. Suspect it might be something about the way it was coded up, as this kind of thing should really only involve changing one line of code. Not a $4M job!

    4. It’s a judgment call and reasonable people can weigh the factors differently. Sound Transit is the one we’ve vested to make the decision.

      A light rail station is not an airport. Cities usually have one airport so it doesn’t matter if the airline code is ORD or YYZ, to locals workers it’s “the airport”. Emergency responders are local workers, not airplanes flying in. Some cities have two or three airports, but then there’s only two or three you have to distinguish, not a hundred metro stations.

      ST’s budget is very tight because we packed a lot of things into ST2 and 3, and it may become tighter if ST has to change the car-valuation rate or defease the bonds. So saving $4 million dollars is a significant deal. It may not pay for 130th Station or a Ballard tunnel, but it’s something that will make everything else easier. And a station name like “Union Street/Symphony” doesn’t affect passengers as much as how soon extensions open or how frequent and reliable the trains are or how long it takes to walk to the platform or between platforms. Maybe the name will prove to be so ridiculous that they’ll change it again to Seneca Station within a decade.

      1. So most cities have one airport – that’s hardly the point (and both the cities mentioned have two, by the way). The airport codes aren’t meant to distinguish between anything in a single city – the air transportation network is all airports everywhere no less than ST’s station codes are for distinguishing stations everywhere on their rail network.

        The point is that ST’s internal coding requires a three-letter code, which for University Street is USS. Nobody outside of ST or this blog knew this or cared. It affects literally nobody outside of ST’s operations. So let them keep the code whatever they want! Internally name it whatever they want! Keep it the same and don’t spend a dime if they want. Change University to Union INTERNALLY if you want. Just don’t put an inaccurate name on a damn subway station. You can put up signs that make sense to the traveling public without altering whatever you’re doing “behind the curtain.”

        Spending money for no reason is, indeed, not a good idea. Spending it to make the public’s life easier – if even a bit – is no more wasteful than spending “extra” money specifying escalators that actually work for the loads they receive. I wonder how much money they spent on a poll that they then immediately threw out….

    1. I think it shows how difficult it is to summarize a transit system, or even the “premier” parts of the system. Our most frequent bus is the 3/4 (not shown on the map). There is nothing that implies that part of Third Avenue is essentially a transit mall, and other parts aren’t. It isn’t what a frequent transit map would look like, or even a “fast and frequent” map would look like.

      To be clear, the problem doesn’t lie with the blog (transport politic is a great blog). The problem is with the largely arbitrary designation of “RapidRide”.

      As far as gaps, the obvious one is Lake City. But that is not really the case; there are plenty of fairly frequent buses going through there (as well there should). Likewise, the 120 is about as frequent as the C (and more frequent than the F) and connects Burien with West Seattle. With all due respect to Yonah Freemark, Oran’s map is much better for understanding our system (although the other map is cool for looking at future Link as well as RapidRide projects).

      1. In-city, Lake City for sure. Regionally, the west seattle-south gap is almost odd.

        Extending the 574 would fix it up nicely. After link reaches federal way i would guess.

      2. I thought the Transit Explorer is trying to visualize transit investments, not the existing systems per se. I’d imagine Yohan would agree Oran’s map is a better illustration of how to navigate Seattle’s transit network as-is.

        I agree the Rapid Ride brand is getting dilluted, but RR is signalling capital investments in a route, not just speed and frequency. This is in contrast to SWIFT and Stride, which try to be ” Arterial Rapid Transit” and not just nicer bus routes.

        We could re-brand some of our best non RR routes, but to do so without new stations, etc. would dilute the brand even more. Preferably we would just get around to upgrading our best routes more quickly.

      3. Oran’s map is just in-city.

        Perhaps Transit Explorer isn’t capturing things as best as it could (though you can tweak it to highlight different things), but it is capturing the entire region, not just Seattle.

        They mapping two different things.

    2. ST has a plan for that. It’s considering extending the 574 to West Seattle. You don’t need a one-seat ride from downtown to the airport to West Seattle. You just need something from West Seattle to the airport. And maybe when all is said and done they can extend to to the Junction and make it 15-minute frequent so that people won’t have to go to Westwood Village and transfer to a half-hourly bus.

  2. I was looking at the proposed bus restructure for the Northgate Link again. There are several buses that loop around on 43rd/12th/45th. For example, the 372:

    Fair enough. I can see the advantage of that. But I have a few concerns:

    1) There are four buses that do that, the 48, 49, 70 and 372. That is a lot of buses laying over in the same spot. I suppose there is enough room on 12th, but it seems like it could get pretty messy.

    2) Two of the buses — the 49 and 70 — are trolleys. For that matter, so is the 44. Is the plan to run wire for a couple blocks? That would be the only way the 44 could run without going off wire and back on again. The other buses can run off wire to layover, but it means they are connecting their wires on the same path as the 44. You are already going to have lots of merging buses (4 buses laying over, the 44 and 67 doing a zig-zag to 12th). It seems like having two frequent buses connect in while a third frequent bus is just trying to get through seems especially problematic. Maybe they plan on having a spur section of wire for the layover trolleys.

    3) The 271 isn’t even mentioned. Is the plan to just run it to the same place (up 15th and around to Memorial Parkway)? That seems like a good layover, but it seems inconsistent, since the 48 (which follows a very similar route through the U-District) is laying over by the station.

    4) With so many buses laying over by turning west, does it make sense to consolidate on The Ave, instead of 15th? You would want to add a stop sign on The Ave to turn left onto 43rd, but that seems easy (unlike turning left from the Ave to 45th). This would slow down cars in the area, which is a good thing. There would be a shift towards 15th for cars. The Ave is the cultural center of the area and seems like a much better place to wait for a bus. The only issue are the trolleys, but if you are going to lay wire, then you might as well lay a bit more. Even if you didn’t lay additional wire (on The Ave) it seems like just having the 48, 372 and 67 heading down the Ave (along with the 45) seems like a big improvement for folks just trying to head north or south a ways.

    1. I would presume that if you’re transferring from an Eastside bus to Link, you’re going to do it at UW station. There’s no reason to sit through a slog across the U district on a bus if you don’t have to.

      So, the path of the 271 is really about Metro’s operational convenience. Which is very much influenced the fact that every bus route can’t use the same layover space, or there won’t be room.

  3. From theurbanist article,

    “The whole reason Sound Transit engaged in the process to rename University Street Station was to avoid confusion with two other “university” stations, one of which is open (University of Washington) and another that will debut with the Northgate light rail extension (U District). But University Street Station does not sit below or have direct access to Union Street. A “Union Station” already exists in Seattle–which could find reactivation for transit in the years to come–as well as a Tacoma Link stop named “Union Station”. Renaming University Street Station with “Union Street” itself adds confusion to the system. Why bother engaging in a process to reduce confusion only to add more confusion?”

    The more I think about this the more I think someone should be fired. If we are just going to pick another name that is confusing and ambiguous we’d be better off just leaving the station name as is. Now we’ll just have one more layer of confusion as those who are less plugged in continue to refer to it as University Street Station.

    “Oh you mean Union Street Station?”
    “No, University Street. I’m pretty sure Union Station is that pretty, old building that no one uses anymore down by the ID.”
    “No, not that Union Street Station. The Union Street Station on University Street.”
    “Why is a station named Union located on Univ-”
    “I wish I was dead.”

    1. The station renaming combined with the line color cancellation are two internal choices gone wrong within a few months of each other. It’s indicative of how the agency is making some awful decisions.

      Changes are needed:

      1. Create a Technical Advisory Committee of career professionals from other cities, counties operators and the state to review action items. It’s stupid expecting only elected officials to provide guidance.

      2. Clear any branding with a citizen committee at each stage. ST has citizen advisory groups set up but doesn’t run enough decisions through them.

      This is a structural problem with ST. Until the staff is forced to care about a review process that involves time-squeezing elected officials to their will.

      Finally, it’s getting worse. ST is suppressing routine monthly ridership reporting now that it isn’t growing. ST is having stakeholder meetings on expansion with poor to no general public notice.

      In sum, changes are needed and getting an agency to make these kinds of changes is very difficult and requires one or two advocates on the Board. The senior staff will fight tooth and nail because they don’t like new oversight.

  4. Indeed, the best thing you can say for the USS farce is that it isn’t important — when it’s all said and done Westlake will still be the worst name in the system.

      1. Westlake Station: named for, perhaps, Westlake Mall and Westlake Park. These were probably named for Westlake Avenue because they sit on land that used to be part of it. Westlake Avenue was named for being west of Lake Union. So was the Westlake neighborhood. Westlake Station is neither on Westlake Avenue (farther from it than USS is from Union Street), nor in the Westlake neighborhood.

        The station name, along with the mall and park, have created the sense that the area around it is the “Westlake Area”. The city and transit agencies have run with this, referring to the two blocks around the station where lots of transfers to buses and streetcars take place as the “Westlake Hub” (especially in the context of streetcar planning).

        So now we effectively have two whole neighborhoods called Westlake: one west of Lake Union where it belongs, and one near Westlake Station. That seems weird. But that’s not all.

        As the association of Westlake with the mall/park/subway station/transfer hub gains strength, and as SLU-style development spreads northward (notably the Facebook office, but there are many others), the old notion that the whole area west of the lake and east of Queen Anne hill is “Westlake” is fading. Noting the corny “True North SLU” signage on a new-ish building there, North SLU, literally North South Lake Union (facepalm), is starting to apply in the southern part of Westlake. So heading north out of downtown, you start in Westlake, head north into South Lake Union (double facepalm), then into North South Lake Union as you pass west of Lake Union, then … back to Westlake again when the houseboats start to outnumber the office blocks.

        But your point that Westlake is short and memorable is a good one. It indeed may not be the worst ST station name — in fact, it might be a truly great name, one that always yearned to escape its sleepy boundaries for a more bustling part of town and did so through the subway! Westlake is merely the most useless geographical place name in Seattle.

      2. Maybe because I grew up with Westlake Mall and Westlake Station always existing but it’s never bothered me in the slightest. When I’d tell my friends to meet at Westlake we all knew what it meant (somewhere around 4th and Pine). I didn’t even realize there was a Westlake neighborhood until much later and I still rarely hear people call that area by the old name.

      3. Westlake is south of Lake Union, not west of it. Westlake is south of South Lake Union, in matter of fact.

      4. Westlake Station was named after Westlake Avenue. At the time the avenue went to Pike Street and the monorail station was where Westlake Park is now. Westlake Park and Westlake Mall were both constructed at the same time in the 1980s, as part of an urban renewal project where Nordstrom moved across the street to the Fredrick & Nelson building. The monorail was shortened a block to have a station integrated with the mall and planned DSTT, which opened a few years later.

        The station name is understandable in the historical context but it’s bad for the Link station because it’s misleading to visitors. The main downtown station should have a main-sounding name, not something that sounds like it’s west of something, especially since it’s not west of anything. “West Lake” simply means the Westlake Avenue extension, and the lake it’s west of is further north along the main part of the avenue. So the name fails in multiple dimensions. Seattlites don’t notice it because we’re used to “Westlake” meaning the center of town and the plaza where the demonstrations occur, but it really is a bad name, ST’s silly “Downtown Seattle/Westlake” signs are really a mitigation for it.

  5. We should all voice our opinions to Sound Transit about this station name and the ridiculous process of wasting everyone’s time and taxpayer money to roll out a survey that they didn’t really need to do… emails, tweet them, call them. It’s an embarrassment and agree with the comment above from (Another Tom) it’s still confusing !!

  6. The first mistake wasn’t naming University Street Station for the actual street that it’s on. The first mistake was when they extended Link and decided on University of Washington Station instead of Montlake Station. If they’d done that there wouldn’t be any confusion with University Street or the fact that there are going to be two stations serving the UW.

    1. Montlake Triangle maybe but not simply ‘Montlake’; that neighborhood is across the cut. Husky Stadium/UWMC would’ve made the most sense IMO but heaven forbid we have two stations that contain the word ‘stadium’.

      1. Honestly it would have worked out better if there had been a station in the Montlake neighborhood so that express buses could terminate right off the 520 bridge instead of sitting in U District traffic.

    2. The first mistake was King County naming the station University Street in 1990. It should have realized people would confuse it with the University of Washington. That’s not a new problem; it has been happening for thirty years. The difference now is that in the 90s and 00s people asked repeatedly for a rename and King County flatly refused. Then with the ST2 plans and ST taking ownership of the tunnel, King County said “Maybe” and punted the issue to ST. ST decided the station must be renamed, as King County should have decided thirty years ago. In the 1990s there was no Link to UW but there were buses 71/72/73X in the tunnel going to UW, and people were transferring from the airport to those buses. Or getting off at University Street thinking they were at the university.


        No sympathy whatever for anything about the way the station under the symphony hall is being handled. Am using present tense because I think I’ll live to see common practice, not to mention decency get it right.

        The Benaroya family, who gave Seattle the hall for a present, has a lineage that deserves some recognition. “Ben” is Hebrew for “From the family of…” “Arroyo”…a dry riverbed. “Sephardic” is old word for “Spanish”. Major part of the Jewish people, whom the Inquisition drove out of Spain in the 1400’s.

        And whom the contemporary Turkish Sultan gave permanent blanket welcome from Turkey to Morocco to Israel. And for many decades became a very large part of the commercial class of Seattle.

        Whatever the faults of my previous homes in Chicago and Detroit over a tendency to butter up the rich, considering the fragrance of this lame piece of selection on Seattle’s books, in a lot of cities for a lot of years, would have been just fine with Benaroya Hall.

        From what I’m seeing of young people getting their first violin lessons, as well as starting their careers in civics and public transit, I’ve got no doubt whatever that when the necessary re-naming finally happens at their insistence, passenger experience will be even better than the food and music.

        Coming from a town in Galicia in Austria-Hungary like Bernie Sanders, my own branch of “Ashkenazi” Jews likely said “Dublin” with a long “u”, and an “er” on the end. Really irrelevant coincidence is that one of the IRA’s chief Jewish operatives broke a lot of gun laws in Dublin, Ireland.


    3. “Husky Stadium” would have worked fine. It is by far the closest landmark. Lots of people call it that, just because it is short, and obvious if you are the least bit confused (“UW Station — where exactly is that — at the HUB? Or is it the other station, at the other side of campus — next to the giant tower, labeled ‘UW’? “). It also doesn’t need abbreviation, or a ton of letters to spell out.

      What is sad is not the general level of incompetence, but the money spent on it. It is like the terrible escalators. We could have saved a bundle just by building stairs. We would have had a fancy system, with an extra escalator (ready to put into action one way or another if something failed). But instead, they managed to spend plenty of money, and still have a messed up escalator.

      1. The university station needs to have university in its name, unless it’s known by some other name like Loyola or De Paul. With “U-District” station next to it people might think that’s the university station, but that’s OK because it’s not far and is actually closer to half the campus. And ST is keep the “niversity” part out of all the signs so that people won’t necessarily recognize “U-District” as “University District”.

      2. The term “university” is vague, and confusing. I guess this is why Sound Transit has twice blown the opportunity to add a station on First Hill — they didn’t want to deal with the name “Seattle University”. I’ve never heard anyone say “I’m going to the university”, like there is only one. I’ve heard them say “UW”, “U-Dub”, “University of Washington” or even “University of Washington Main Campus” (because there is more than one).

        It is all about the “W”. The “W” is in logos everywhere, including right outside the station: The “University Street” station was not that confusing, because there was no “W” in the name. Someone probably figures it is a different university, or maybe (since it has the word “street” right in the title) it might just be a street named after a university, or universities in general.

        “UW Husky Stadium” station would have cleared up any confusion. Although even then, people might confuse it with the other stadium. But that’s the thing. Imagine it is five years from now, you just flew in from Nebraska, and you are told to meet someone for the big game, at Husky Stadium. You look at the map, see only one “Stadium” station, so that’s where you get off (figuring you’ll see the stadium once you get there). You do, but it seems awfully lonely for a half hour before kickoff.

        Confusion is inevitable. There is nothing inherently confusing about University Street. If it was called “University of Washington” street, then that would be different. The best you can hope for is something fairly meaningful, short, and distinct. My guess is for years there will be people saying “Which UW station? You mean the one in the U-District or the one by Husky Stadium”, and if you reply “UW Station”, expect the same question, only louder.

      3. UW is the largest university in the state and nationally and internationally famous. Washington is one of the states whose main university is “University of “, In Los Angeles “university” would not be as recognizable as “UCLA” because that’s the name it’s usually known by and there are several UCs across the state. The other universities in Pugetopolis don’t have names like “Berkeley” or “Loyola” or “De Paul” that lend themselves to station names; “Seattle” and “Seattle Pacific”, are too generic to be station names, and “Seattle University” would be confused with UW. (if people are thinking UW is the university in Seattle) Although “SPU” and “PLU” could work”, if there were stations there and they’re large enough to be the station name. (Seattle University is large, but it doesn’t overwhelm Capitol Hill or Broadway the way UW overwhelms the U-District. Most people on Capitol Hill/First Hill forget Seattle University is there.)

  7. The bike blog article misses the point that the bike lanes displaced transit-priority lanes on Eastlake. RapidRide J was a transit project, as shown in its planning name “Roosevelt BRT”. Move Seattle was primarily a transit levy. Bicycle considerations were added on the side for the purpose of multimodalism, but then bicycle interests hijacked the project and its budget, so we’ll get bike lanes first but no transit-priority lanes. And that defeats the purpose of RapidRide J in the first place, to make the buses faster than existing buses. People ask why are we building so many light rail tunnels and elevated segments? It’s because it’s easier to get those approved than to get existing lanes converted to bus-priority lanes. And here’s another example, where we were all set to do it and then bicycle interests swooped in and took the lanes.

    I’m also skeptical of this “Eastlake is one of the most dangerous bicycle streets in the city”. I biked extensively on Eastlake between 1989 and 2003 and I found it one of the easiest arterials; the only annoyance was the small hills. That was fifteen years ago so maybe things have changed, but what has changed? Just that there are more cars? To me the most dangerous street to bike on was 4th Avenue downtown; that was several times worse than Eastlake. And one of the bridges with narrow sidewalks so you worried about falling off; I forget if it was the Ballard Bridge or the Aurora Bridge. Not Eastlake.

    1. If you don’t add the bike lanes many cyclists will still choose Eastlake because it is the most obvious, flattest route and will ride in the transit lane and slow the buses down anyway.

      It is an important corridor sandwiched between the lake and the hill. If we don’t put the bike route here where would you propose? Nowhere is not an option.

      I don’t ride on Eastlake very often but I haven’t found it to be a particularly dangerous corridor either but I’m an ‘experienced cyclist’ more willing than most to brave mixed traffic. We design for all ages and abilities though and apparently it is a pretty dangerous stretch. The article cites 40 collisions over a 5 year period which is closing in on once a month. It would be a dereliction of duty to remake this street without addressing this real safety concern. As to what changed? I’d say a combination of more cars, bigger cars (SUVs), and more distracted drivers.

      As the article said, the Bicycle Safety Ordinance requires bike lanes,

      “Whenever the Seattle Department of Transportation constructs a major paving project along a segment of the protected bicycle lane network, a protected bicycle lane with adequate directionality shall be installed along that segment.”

      This is a great law and the plan with bike lanes is consistent with the ordinance.

      One more time for emphasis (not snark.) If you don’t add the bike lanes many cyclists will still choose Eastlake and will ride in the transit lane and slow the buses down anyway.

      1. Then we need a Transit Robustness Ordinance. Or better yet a Comprehensive Transportation Ordinance that sets priorities between transit, biking, walking, and cars and specifies minimum standards of each. Otherwise the modes that have an ordinance will get theirs and the ones that don’t will be always lose out, even if we voted to spend money to implement them.

        Bicyclists breaking the law is not a reason to prioritize transit, any more than cars breaking the law is a reason not to prioritize transit. Yes, we need safe biking infrastructure in general, but we also need RapidRide lines that don’t take 25 minutes to go three miles.

      2. I’m pretty sure that riding a bike in a bus lane is technically not breaking law. But, in any case, if you’re on a bike, the rightmost lane – bus lane or not – is the safest place to be. If the law required cyclists to bike in the car lane, you can be absolutely sure that drivers would break the law and use the bus lane to pass such cyclists on the right, making for a very dangerous situation.

        It is also not reasonable to just tell cyclists to go find another way. Without a significant detour in distance and/or elevation, there really is no other way.

        In addition, we already have a dedicated transit corridor between the U-district and downtown, which will never be infringed upon by bikes, cars, or anybody else. It’s called Link. The Eastlake bus corridor is just a secondary option.

        In any case, the J-line will still be a big transit improvement. Roosevelt->Eastlake now gets a direct bus, without a detour to 15th and a transfer. It will also run faster and more frequently than the old 66 did.

      3. Many of Seattle’s green striped bike lanes force cyclists out of the rightmost lane. It is dangerous, but that doesn’t stop the city from forcing the issue.

      4. I’m pretty sure that riding a bike in a bus lane is technically not breaking law

        As a cyclist on the road you are considered by Washington law to be a vehicle and subject to all the same rules that apply to motor vehicles. I can’t see how violating a transit only ordinance wouldn’t be breaking the law.

      5. Bicyclists are legally allowed to ride in transit lanes in Seattle. This has been repeatedly affirmed.

        “Then we need a Transit Robustness Ordinance. Or better yet a Comprehensive Transportation Ordinance that sets priorities between transit, biking, walking, and cars and specifies minimum standards of each.”

        I whole-heartedly agree. Hopefully a Transit Robustness Ordinance would be just as helpful for future conflicts as it has been here for cyclists. Cagers raising a stink about losing parking? Too bad, the transit robustness ordinance says we need that lane for bus priority. That’s what the Bicycle Safety Ordinance intended to do and this is an example of it working as intended. It shouldn’t take such a drastic measure to ensure we prioritize safety over street parking but apparently it does.

        I also agree that in a vacuum, transit should be prioritized over bikes because it moves more people. However this is a corridor with no feasible alternatives (per the exhaustive study) for cyclists so they must and should be accommodated.

        “Otherwise the modes that have an ordinance will get theirs and the ones that don’t will be always lose out, even if we voted to spend money to implement them.”

        One can only hope cyclists will finally start to “get theirs” too. In 2018 for a quick example, King County spent 0.2% of it’s transportation budget on bicycle infrastructure. Seattle doesn’t do much better, I doubt it exceed the 3% ride share or whatever the figure is. The only thing worse than under-investing is wasted investment which is what happens when you spend a bunch of money on disparate all ages and abilities projects that don’t connect to each other and provide a fraction of the value they could offer.

    2. It was designed with both bikes and buses in mind, from the very beginning. I also think the planning (and part of the funding) preceded Move Seattle.

      The problem is that the road isn’t wide enough to have cars, bikes and buses (even without parking). You could have turned the street into a transit mall, but my guess is that would have been very difficult practically, let alone politically. So it came down to bikes and buses, and bikes won. I think in this case, it was the right decision. This is a major bike corridor, and there are no alternatives, unless you want to spend a fortune buying up waterfront land and building some sort of waterfront dock bikeway (which would be cool, but we never pay anything near that for bikes).

      It does show how silly it is that the “RapidRide+” projects are often paired with bike improvements. It really doesn’t make sense, but probably a vestige of the days when folks who weren’t focused on cars were hippies. By all means, every project (bike, car, truck, transit) should consider the other modes, but spending a lot of time and effort fixing up the bike path just because they are finally improving the bus corridor is silly.

      While Eastlake is important for both, there are plenty of examples that aren’t. The route of the 44, for example, is not that important for bikers. It would be nuts to add a bunch of bike lanes, restricting the ability to add bus lanes. Rainier Avenue is somewhat similar to Eastlake — important for both. But in my opinion, it is more important for buses. I also think that a bike path should be moved to MLK. That could slow down the buses there, but those buses are not that important (and will become less important as more infill stations are added on Link).

      Anyway, the Roosevelt RapidRide (formally Roosevelt BRT) is disappointing, but there will be some improvements. Plenty of new downtown bus lanes, as well as off board payment. I’m actually most worried about the lack of bus lanes on the Roosevelt couplet. Metro says that area shouldn’t be a problem, but I think it will. I would just take a lane. In most cases that would mean a bike, a bus lane, a general purpose driving lane and a parking lane (which would be another general purpose lane during rush hour). But the good thing about those sorts of improvements is that they can be added later.

  8. Ah, I see the old route 66 is being resurrected as a RapidRide line. Side question: why isn’t Greenwood Ave a candidate for a RR upgrade?

    1. No, the 66 went to Northgate. The J will terminate at Roosevelt Station, so it’s like the 70 slightly extended. SDOT considered extending it to Northgate but the budget wouldn’t stretch that far. In my mind the 67 is the successor to the 66 and I wish Metro would number it that. Also, I believe the J will detour east to Brooklyn rather than going straight on Roosevelt/11th. I can’t see it missing the station that’s its primary on/off point. When the 66 bypassed University Way the 71/72/73 were running.

  9. Federal regulators were not aggressive enough in reacting to the California bullet train’s problems since 2009

    Federal regulators were not aggressive enough in reacting to the California bullet train’s problems since 2009
    By “Federal regulators” they mean the Obama Administration. It should surprise nobody that a Democratic president would shovel money to a Blue State with 55 Electoral Votes and considerable clout in Congress. Likewise, a Republican administration will want to end it. Nice while the free money is rolling in but in the end the taxpayers of California are left holding the bag.

    1. It would surprise nobody that a Demoncratic administration puts higher priority on non-car mode share and climate sustainability. California may have 55 electoral votes but it also has two metropolitan areas with 12 million and 7 million people respectively 340 miles apart, so it’s the second-most appropriate place for high-speed rail after the northeast corridor. The Obama administration also supported other transit grant programs for different levels of service in different-sized communities.

    2. The cities in between aren’t slouches either. Fresno’s metropolitan population is 1.1 million; Bakersfield’s metropolitan population is 839K. So even the “small” in-between cities are more populous than the Eastside.

  10. New computer takes some practice. Meant to include text questioning if anybody believes that the Sound Transit official who lost his job over a miserable piece of railroading was ever in a position to personally exercise the authority to set right an agency that couldn’t have deteriorated into that condition overnight.

    Also fault the requisite unions, and those of their members who were physically in a position to turn off the locomotive and call the media. Real personal, this one. My late wife belonged to the rail passengers’ organization that sponsored the fatal trip. Had she still been alive, very good chance we’d both have been on that train.

    Hope the remaining workforce is by now individually and collectively taking the long overdue measures to assure their own survival and their passengers’. S-word doesn’t happen. Somebody’s got to get their timing right when they Squat and Squeeze.

    Mark Dublin

  11. I remain extremely curious about how a station rename could possibly cost $5 million in software development.

    They’ll be adding on several new stations over the next few years. Does each new one entail $5 million of software development cost for Sound Transit? How? Why? Can I bid on this contract? I’ll do it for $4 million per station.

  12. Whooo-weee! Martin, any way your can make [OT] stand for “Obnoxious Twit?” Not much excuse to say I’m talking not about people, but about authority that puts budget and convenience ahead of crew and passengers’ lives.

    Also that I’m harboring surmise that subordinates are being threatened with termination if they refuse to comply. Underneath it all, everybody involved is a human being, with loved ones of their own.

    Have I got any readers tonight who’ve witnessed anybody take on this murderous lack of morale at any level, starting with the Portland trains, and achieve any success at defeating it? Know union business is confidential, but is anybody’s membership offering any plan of action?

    Because ‘way over and above the wave of individual tragedies, our country is dying of this. This isn’t a matter of punishment or accusation. After 75 years’ observation, I know our people can find our way to start to handle this, though sheer level of morale can take down anybody.

    For starters in this election year, might be good for the active to call the situation to the attention of political parties, and their candidates. With caution that, if they don’t already know, they’re dealing with desperately-hurting people. The worst of us…deserve better.

    Mark Dublin

  13. Something that’s always bugged me about Metro buses: any idea why the displays don’t tell the time or route while the bus is stopped in traffic or at a bus stop? On some routes (like the 5/21 and 26x/131/132) I will want to know if this specific bus will turn into another route or terminate downtown, so I will want to know the route while on the bus so I know whether to transfer at my preferred stop. Or I just want to know the time but it only says it while the bus is moving. It’s a small detail and I can usually wait until the bus is moving, but I don’t know why it can’t cycle through next stop/”stop requested”/time/route all the time.

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