Sound Transit Double Deckers

This is an open thread.

89 Replies to “News roundup: not be a mess”

  1. Quote from the Key Arena postgame traffic article regarding why so many people ride Uber and Lyft home from events:

    “But if people wanted to squeeze together with strangers going to the same place, they could just take a bus.”

    Maybe, it has less to with sharing a ride with strangers and more to do with the poor bus frequency during the times when these events typically end, along with the additional connection overhead of having to go downtown first.

    1. Why is there no discussion of getting late night bus routes that run only on event nights. Uber/Lift/Taxi would still serve a purpose. Bus gets people to a transit center in Kent or Shoreline or Bellevue. They are still going to need a way to get that last mile home.

      1. Event night shuttles are no longer a thing as of 2017. From KING 5 regarding the Seahawks Shuttle:

        “Metro and the Seahawks have eliminated the service, which provided non-stop service from area park and rides to CenturyLink Field.

        “There was a change in federal charter bus rules that basically said Metro could no longer operate that service unless as a subcontractor to another company,” said Metro Spokesperson Scott Guiterrez.”

        My guess is that late night busses running only on event nights would run afoul of this change in federal law.

      2. My guess is that late night busses running only on event nights would run afoul of this change in federal law.

        At least until a Democrat becomes president and changes it back; I think Obama reverted it within the first week of taking office. The federal rules regarding public transportation companies running charters goes back and forth depending on whether there’s a (D) or and (R) behind the president’s name.

        The Republicans seem to ban it because “something, something, free market”, but as a shock to no one, these John Galt shuttles fail to materialize and when they do, they are prohibitively expensive and not frequent.

      3. A feature not a bug. The John Galt types in the end just want everyone in big fossil fuel cars complaining there isn’t enough road infrastructure to handle the maximum amount of traffic for the largest number [of white, wealthy people].

    2. Good god, this line:

      “Usually I prefer not to, and the reason is: my own safety,” she said. “Especially if it’s late at night, and I’ve had a couple of drinks, I just prefer to be in the car by myself.”

    3. This is the kind of micromanagement I just don’t understand. The federal government needs to just get out of the way and not tell cities how to run their own transit system.

      1. Honestly, I see the Fed’s logic. If a private sports team/event is the cause of the traffic issue, that private event should pay for the transit solution, including busses and drivers. It isn’t fair to the public to divert public resources to support private enterprise. Especially private enterprise that does not benefit the public in any way, and sports teams have repeatedly been shown to not benefit the city they reside in.

      2. >It isn’t fair to the public to divert public resources to support private enterprise.

        How is this logic not then applicable to all public transportation? If I get on the bus to go to work at my private employer or eat at a restaurant, are those not private enterprises that are benefitting from public resources?

        Also, ST is still running special-event Sounder trains for sports events and the state fair, how does that not run afoul of the law?

      3. “How is this logic not then applicable to all public transportation?”

        Smaller individual crowds. Not even Boeing dumps tens of thousands of people onto the streets at once. In total, all businesses do cause a greater impact. But as individual businesses, they do not. Amazon and Microsoft have their own private fleets to help alleviate their commute impacts, although they are still problematic as they often use public bus stops.

        “Also, ST is still running special-event Sounder trains for sports events and the state fair, how does that not run afoul of the law?”

        Likely a legal loophole. My guess is that the law change specified charter busses.

      4. That is not the fed’s logic. If it were, they’d have a rule around funding the event service. They do not. Instead, they have a rule around who provides the event service (that it must be opened to bids.) The actual logic is that private charter bus companies make campaign contributions, and want a little something back.

      5. It’s not public money; the team owner was paying Metro to add the service. The federal argument is they don’t want public transit agencies operating it because that supports a unionized liberal monopoly; instead they want private companies to operate it so they can take a slice off the top and have nonunion workers out of principle.

      6. Steve is correct. You can read a summary of the regulations here, on the government website: To quote from the regulations:

        In essence, the charter regulations were implemented to ensure that transit agencies, subsidized with federal money, do not unfairly compete with privately owned bus companies.

        In other words, this is a giant giveaway to the charter bus companies. They don’t want competition.

        There appear to be several loopholes, and as the King 5 article states, somehow service to the UW (for Husky Football games) is OK.

      7. “It’s not public money; the team owner was paying Metro to add the service.”

        It is public busses, public tires, public maintenance and public drivers. Don’t think for a minute the team owner was paying for everything. They were mostly just paying for drivers.

      8. A Joy,

        Whoa Dude, you are REALLY twisting logic to fit your prejudices this time. Man up. Your reasoning is just an excuse for hating sports teams.

      9. I see nothing wrong with being highly critical of sports teams. Studies have shown they are a drain, not a boon, to a city’s economy. They need to pay/provide more to give their fair share.

      10. As for the Puyallup Fair, I was told by someone at Pierce Transit years ago that their extensive express service was permitted under the “events of regional significance” provision.

    4. I see the opening of Link to Redmond, Lynnwood and Federal Way by 2024/5 to dovetail nicely for sporting events. There will the thousands of open suburban parking spaces in every direction and thousands of available non-peak-direction seats opening up in the early evenings. The system challenge is getting riders home — and even then as our environment goes from suburbanites running home to their cars at 5 pm to apartment dwellers who don’t have cars and will be using transit more in the evenings, we will see an in increased demand for evening service in our increasingly Manhattan-style central core.

      Even so, getting to and from Link becomes critical. Since both metro and private employer buses start going out of service around 6-7 pm, a fleet to offer game shuttles is sitting idle. It just boils down to how to run larger buses later, and hire and pay drivers overtime from either Metro or private operators. (The monorail also becomes part of the strategy.) Then it’s a matter of having a route and street operations (including boarding curbs) that combined get riders to and from Link quickly until 2035 when Link to Seattle Center opens.

    5. If taking the bus was faster than a car, most people would take the bus. But in this town, taking the bus never is faster – only cheaper.

      1. It depends on where you are going and when you are going. No transit system anywhere is as fast a car to all places at all times. That is why people in New York, Paris and London take cabs. Similarly, the opposite is true — a bus ride in an HOV or transit lane is often faster than driving.

      2. But the majority of people in London use transit or walking. Many find the subway the fastest way for certain trips. This is what transit and walkable urbanism can do if you give it a chance. The problem is most of the US does not give it a chance; they invest far more in highways and and street infrastructure than transit, so that a trip that takes an hour by bus takes ten minutes by car. And they wonder why people don’t take transit and insist on plentiful parking. Seattle is at least ahead of the curve in a US context, but it still has a long way to go to get to the level of transit convenience and ridership as Canadian cities, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.

      3. London yes, New York no.

        My point is that Christopher Cramer’s statement is false. He wrote “taking the bus never is faster”. That is simply not true, because there are times when taking the bus is indeed faster.

        As for the overall statement, it is a lot more complicated than that, as the table shows. Having faster transit trips influences transit, but so do things like gas prices, density, streets oriented towards bikes and pedestrians, etc.

      4. I still remember taking the bus and the train between London and Cambridge, and London and Edinburgh. and seeing that the train was faster. I just wish that would happen on the intercity trains and buses in the US. but instead it’s the opposite.

    6. It sounds to me like cycling might be the best way to get to/from Key Arena. It’s too bad that the infrastructure around the arena is so hostile.

    7. This was definitely an issue with the Bernie Sanders rally in Tacoma (which I attended by carpooling with some semi-strangers). The lack of return Sounder service and bumped up bus frequency caused a lot of people to drive, which in turn caused long backups that delayed buses.

  2. Help. When will there be a bus along Alaskan Way going north? Currently buses run parallel to the waterfront along 3rd. But that’s 5 blocks uphill!
    Will the waterfront shuttle ever come back?

    1. The waterfront plan has a shuttle. There has been no commitment as to what it would be or who would pay for it. The concept is it would run from Intl Dist to Pier 70 as a battery bus or minibus, with an optional extension to Seattle Center. It probably won’t start until the waterfront renovation is complete a few years from now.

      1. It was borderline criminal for waterfront park planners to eliminate the Geo. Benson Streetcar line and replace it with little shuttle buses, which may or not materialize when the park is completed. Nobody with a public transit orientation served on any project team.

      2. The waterfront is the one place where a streetcar makes sense. You don’t have to lay new lines, since it is already there. Depending on which lines they use, the problem with the bus having to wait for a train goes away (transit is the train line). It wouldn’t go everywhere, but it would at least go along the waterfront.

        That being said, it wouldn’t be able to go up and down the hill, so there is that.

      3. The Benson streetcar was single-tracked and limited to 20-minute frequency. I rarely rode it because of the long wait or not knowing the schedule, and it was slower than a bus. The reason the waterfront committee was against it was that two tracks would have taken a significant portion of the space available for a promenade and linear park/natural area. Those are scarce in Seattle too.

    2. So are the walkable neighborhoods this comment section always talks about wanting just a theory, and when faced with the fact of actually having to walk five blocks, you insist on a shuttle or micro transit?

      (I’d like to humbly submit this comment to the STB Board of Directors for Comment of the Week consideration).

      1. Sam, I’m 75 years old and that’s a long walk uphill. Plus the waterfront is a major attraction for families, think strollers.
        Plus the Victoria Clipper is there plus the aquarium plus the cruise terminal. Some public transit would be nice. Doesn’t seem like too big an ask.

      2. The uphill climbs from the waterfront are no joke, especially when you’re near Pike Place Market. Lots of tourists struggling up the labyrinth of poorly-marked stairs.

        Terrain is a factor in walkability that needs special consideration in Seattle. We haven’t built enough public elevators, but there are some nice POPS in downtown that serve as hillclimbs with elevator access.

      3. Google Maps biking directions says it’s a 92 ft climb from Colman Dock to the 3rd Ave & Columbia bus stop. That’s roughly equivalent to an 8+ story building, which is required to have elevators by the Seattle Building Code (1009.2.1) to provide accessible ingress and egress.

        So yes, faced with the fact of actually having to CLIMB EIGHT STORIES I insist on a motorized vertical lift option of some sort.

      4. My comment wasn’t directed at you. I’m critiquing people in general who claim to want walkable neighborhoods, then complain about having to walk. They always justify needing to be driven a few blocks. There’s a hill, traffic scares them, it rains a lot, etc. I’m telling those people they should stop saying they want walkable neighborhoods if they want to be driven. They should say they want drivable neighborhoods.

      5. Having a sidewalk doesn’t make it “walkable” if the slope is steep. It’s just like how omitting escalators in a station destroys station walkability.

        I really wish that Downtown Seattle Interests would push the City for an integrated “vertical circulation plan” rather than pursue individual transportation projects without a comprehensive vertical circulation strategy. Vertical circulation Downtown is a “big elephant” problem that no one wants to comprehensively analyze or improve.

        Personally, I’d love to see the $100M+ cost of the CCC go into improving Downtown vertical circulation instead. Building more capacity along a hillside rather than up a hillside seems silly when there are already plenty of transit vehicles running along the hillside and many more are coming soon.

      6. I can walk 10 blocks with no hills comfortably. I can walk about 1 or 2 on steep hills. If my knees are not hurting.

      7. Two more escalators and an elevator are coming if I recall. It’s part of the waterfront renovation.

  3. I must have missed the announcement, but buried in the North Eastside changes in the news that in-county ST bus fares are being raised from $2.75 to $3.25. So we will have the lovely situation where MT 268 is 50c cheaper than ST 545 while running along the same route; buses like MT 214 series is cheaper than ST 554. And ST 550 Bellevue-Seattle is more expensive than MT 271 across the lake. And even crazy that ST 550 which is like 6 miles is more expensive than routes like MT 150 and similar.

    Meanwhile the subsidy to ride ST 590 series from Tacoma to Seattle instead of Sounder has increased with the ST buses dropping to $3. 25. Ditto for Everett service where ST and CT fare disparity also increases.

    The seams between our transit agencies and the disparate fare policies are stupid and create unproductive disparities and incentives. The principal really should be that the fare between two places should be consistent, and should not depend on what paintjob the bus carries or what technology the wheels use.

    This completely makes me want to merge ST and MT. Stop having two boards, two fare policies, two websites, two timetable formats.

    1. ST and Metro have been leapfrogging each other’s fares for a decade and a half. I have a Metro pass (formerly a 1-zone pass), and some years I’ve paid nothing extra for the 550 and other years I’ve paid a 25-50 cent surcharge. This would be one more iteration. I hadn’t heard of it, and 50 cents is a surprisingly large jump. Going above $3 for a 12-mile trip within the county is steep, especially with Metro’s fares being among the highest in the country.

      It sounds like a strategic move to position ST Express only for long-distance trips. That makes more sense after Redmond/Lynnwood/Federal Way Link open, but right now there’s not enough other service to fill the gap. The 271 is 30 minutes weekends and after 7pm. Whenever I consider taking it westbound on the weekends, it leaves at the same time as the 550 or a couple minutes after, so it’s really not an alternative.

      1. I guess Bellevue is getting the short end of the stick. $3.25 might make sense for Federal Way, which is a pretty long distance, and maybe Woodinville and Issaquah which are at the far edges of ST’s service area. It makes less sense for Bellevue, which is only 12 miles and in the middle of the service area. Lake City is in the same position.

      2. This isn’t simplifying fares – it’s actually increasing complexity and disparity for riders inside King County and for Snohomish-Seattle commuters, and it is increasing subsidy for long-distance riders at the expense of short distance riders. If ST only wants to run long distance routes then give the 550 back to Metro (226) as well as the 545 (replaced route 263)

        In fact, ST shouldn’t run in-county service in this scenario

      3. In 2025 when most of the long-distance routes are cut in half, maybe the fare could come down again. On the one hand they’re counting on the revenue to double frequency, but maybe there would be enough left over for a fare reduction. I’m not holding my breath though.

  4. The fact that the Key Arena renovation is even a thing still boils my blood, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive the Port of Seattle or the then-councilmembers for tanking the SoDo arena plan.

    1. Even the SODO site wasn’t very convenient to Link. While it’s a ways off, this Arena will eventually be close to Link.

      Because each four-car Link train can easily carry 600-800 riders, it’s role in moving riders to and from special events should be prominent. That’s like having 10-15 buses! At least arenas seat much fewer people than football or baseball stadiums do so the surges as smaller.

      It’s too bad that other arena sites adjacent to stations open by 2025 weren’t seriously advocated. I would have been happier with a new arena near an ST2 Link station — even out of the core like at Northgate or Downtown Bellevue.

      1. this Arena will eventually be close to Link

        And for now, there is the monorail (which has a stop very close to the arena). If you are making a transfer anyway, the monorail will probably be quicker than the new Link line.

      2. I did some fact checking online. The monorail is supposed to carry up to 450-600 riders per train, and a train every 5 minutes is considered ok for special events. That’s almost as good as a Link train!

        Of course, a Link train goes in two directions except at the ends, and the monorail only goes in one. However, Link will have other riders on board at a middle station and the monorail will be most empty and available for arena-goers.

        The trip on the monorail is much faster than a bus. I’m not sure how fast fare payment and boarding will be after an event, though.

        RapidRide D and E are also pretty much within walking distance of the arena as are several other Metro routes. Outside of reaching the ferry, it would be pretty easy to get to and from the arena to most anywhere in the region with one transfer using transit.

        Finally, being near a bar and restaurant district really helps to ease the surge loads. Riders don’t all arrive or leave at about the same time if there are nearby things to do to avoid a surge.

        The big problem is the stupidity of building a traffic river through the middle of the city called Mercer Street. I think had we have thought ahead better, we would have encouraged the City to have built a upper-level system of sidewalks with bridges and building front doors on the second level like what parts of Downtown Chicago are like. Mercer Street looks pretty but operates horribly.

      3. Isn’t it brilliant that in ST3 the new line won’t have a stop near T-Mobile Park – I think they way they plan to operate that means the Federal Way-Tukwila-MLK-Mt Baker-SLU-Ballard line will not have a Stadium stop – that makes it inconvenient for both T-Mobile Park and for Greyhound. They expect riders to transfer at either Sodo or ID – brilliant for after big events when you would like to fill each train. Short sighted planning.

      4. It wouldn’t be that hard to remove the pinch point in the monorail that was added in the 1980s. That would allow both trains to load and unload at the same time.

    2. I don’t understand this logic. Having arenas and stadia in neighborhoods is a thing that functional cities do. Sequestering them off to industrial areas is not. I was ecstatic when the SoDo arena idea was killed off. Thanks, Port!

      1. Steve, which area has better mass transit and close freeway access, SODO or Lower Queen Anne? And make a list of the mass transit and freeway access each neighborhood has.

        Sam. Stadium Placement Expert.

      2. Seattle Center is not just a “neighborhood”; it’s where large events have happened for decades. We had an NBA basketball team there so we can just as easily have a NFL hockey team there. Transportation circulation there — especially non-car access — is not the best but that can be addressed. I think the NFL plan predated the ST3 routing to the area.

        The SODO site has different advantages. I’d say it’s better overall because it puts three stadiums together so the same transportation plan can cover all of them. SODO has wide gridded streets for trucks, an I-90 entrance, and the area is less constrained than Lower Queen Anne/SLU. Those are the advantages. The disadvantages are it’s an industrial area so there’s not much within walking distance. E.g., you can’t go to a Mexican restaurant or Pagliacci’s or a supermarket or a friend’s apartment before the game and walk to it; you either have to drive somewhere or go to one of the special-purpose price-gouging sports bars, so it’s not a “neighborhood” in that sense.

      3. which area has better mass transit, [the proposed arena at SODO] or Lower Queen Anne?

        Lower Queen Anne. It isn’t intuitive, I realize, but the proposed arena was a very long walk from the nearest Link Station. The Seattle Times did a report on it a while back (I can’t find it) but they found that from Link, it was faster to get to the Seattle Center Arena than the proposed SoDo arena.

        The key is the monorail. It is a straight shot from Westlake (where all the Link trains go) and very close to the arena. That means that if you are coming from the north end, you save time by getting off at Westlake and then getting on the monorail. Those coming from Ballard can ride the D. From Aurora, Westlake or Eastlake, it is a two seat ride, but the 8 is frequent, and whatever bus goes across Harrison will also be frequent. From the Central Area, the 8 is a one seat ride. If you can’t access the 8, and transfer downtown, then like the folks on Link, you are better connecting to the monorail or a local (very frequent) bus. Most West Seattle buses skip SoDo. You are better off staying on the bus as it goes north, then taking the monorail or another bus. If you are on the southern end of Link it might be a bit faster. It will definitely be faster if you can access Renton buses like the 101 or 105. But overall, that is a much smaller set of potential riders.

        Then you have the much bigger walk-up potential from Lower Queen Anne.

        The Seattle Center was the better choice from the standpoint of minimizing the amount of driving. Ideally you would swap places, and put the convention center down by SoDo (convention centers are big on freeway access) and put the arena right downtown, but that wasn’t going to happen.

      4. Sam: freeway access is a bit irrelevant when there is such a bottleneck getting tens of thousands of cars from *where they were parked* to the freeway ramps, all at once. It takes FOREVER for traffic to subside after a game or major concert at the current stadiums in SoDo. Another disadvantage of the SoDo sites: people who walk to those light rail stations have to cross a major thoroughfare using old school *at grade* crosswalks with crossing guards! Figure out how to do the existing SoDo stadiums more efficiently before adding more stadiums there. At least with the Key Arena location, many event goers will be able to just walk back to many of the most dense neighborhoods and the most dense concentration of hotels (and bars/hangouts).

        It’s a bloody shame bicycling is not being taken more seriously! Well in to the 21st Century, during a climate crisis, the new Key Arena still won’t be adequately connected to the new downtown protected bike lane network, Elliot Bay trail, nor the Westlake bike path which links up to the Burke Gilman. I mean, come on. Not only would this help for events, but for day to day regional mobility as well. SDOT keeps missing opportunities to take advantage of the safe bike network effect.

      5. And the list of SODO mass transit … Sounder, Link, Amtrak, Greyhound, Metro, ST Express buses, etc. And a few hundred yards from I-5 and I-90. You didn’t a nice job of putting lipstick on a pig, though. LQA is a horrible location for a stadium. It’s so horrible, in fact, this comment section gave a standing ovation a few years back to moving public transit further away from the Seattle Center, when buses were moved off of 5th Ave N and pushed further away to Aurora because traffic around the Center is so horrible.

        PS, the Monorail is a toy. And amusement park ride. That’s why you people voted it down as a transit system in 2005. You can’t come back now and say it is a legitimate public transit after you voted that it isn’t.

        Sam. Monorail Historian.

      6. The monorail is not high capacity for modern needs. It can handle a trickle of people coming throughout the day but not 15,000 people leaving an event all at once. The monorail can be part of the solution for stadium-level crowds, but not most of it.

        “That’s why you people voted it down as a transit system in 2005.”

        That was not the Alweg monorail. That was a new system that also happened to have one elevated track rather than two per train.

      7. As I noted above, a monorail train can hold 450-600 riders per train and can run at five-minute intervals after events. That’s almost as good as a light rail train!

      8. And the list of SODO mass transit … Sounder, Link, Amtrak, Greyhound, Metro, ST Express buses, etc.

        Using your logic, those all serve Lower Queen Anne as well.

        You just don’t seem to get it. The SoDo Arena would be a ten minute walk from the nearest Link station. There are very few buses that would serve it. There would be very few people that would walk to it.

        PS, the Monorail is a toy. And amusement park ride (sic).

        No, Sam, it is public transit. During major events (Folk Life, Bumbershoot) it probably exceeds the ridership of several RapidRide routes.

        The monorail is not high capacity for modern needs. It can handle a trickle of people.

        Under the current configuration, it can handle 3,000 an hour (one way). If they removed the pinch point (AKA, the “gauntlet”) it could handle 6,000 one way. Link will have four car trains, each of which holds 150 people. At ten trains per hour — the maximum that you can run past Rainier Valley — that works out to … the same thing. Al is right.

        … but not 15,000 people leaving an event all at once …

        They are not all headed that direction. Basically if you came from anywhere to the north of Seattle Center but west of I-5 (Ballard, Magnolia, the rest of Queen Anne, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Greenwood, Eastlake, etc.) then you won’t be heading south after the game. You will take a bus (or two). Lots of other people will simply walk to the game. If they do run event shuttles, then access from the 520 corridor will be via a bus. It is also more likely that they run those shuttles, since it is a place where buses are likely to go all the time (which is probably how Metro gets away with serving the UW during Husky game day). I’m not saying it won’t be crowded — every transit system after a game is crowded. Heck, even just getting out of your seat and leaving the arena can take a very long time if you don’t have seats close to the aisle. But the monorail will help immensely.

        The whole point is that because of the monorail, good bus service AND the horrible placement of the arena in greater SoDo (ten minutes from the closest train station), the Seattle Center location is much better.

      9. Aside from the Monorail you can get off Link at University Street/Seneca/Symphony/USS (lol) or Pioneer Square and take any one of the very frequent 1, 2, 13 and D buses (or the 3 or 4 if you don’t mind walking across the Center) just outside the station exits on Third.

    3. Chris Hansen told prospective hockey investors that they would have to wait until he acquired an NBA team (who knows when an expansion or a relocation would be available?) before he would deal with them as a prospective tenant in a SODO building. He might have gotten some much needed political muscle to push the occidental ave vote in his favor had he opted to go NHL first in his arena plan.

    1. Thanks for reporting on that one person. What about the rest of the board and senior staff?

      P.S. The article also says she “is a regular of the Bx12 and Bx31 bus lines, as well as the 6 train.”

      I don’t know why city executives get a chauffer-driven commute, but it sounds like one of those strange New York things like taxi medallions and apartment concierges.

      1. “…strange New York things like taxi medallions and apartment concierges.”

        Huh? What’s so strange about those things? It’s not you don’t find them in other cities.

      2. I believe they use taxi medallions in San Francisco as well.

        Tbh, I’m surprised that someone who has apparently spent some time traveling around other parts of the country and the world would throw out such a parochial comment.

  5. Am I the only one who is not that worried about Seattle Center arena traffic?

    Not many people are going to drive to the arena on weeknights. The crowd is going to be mostly Seattleites and others who work in the city during the day and stick around for the game. Hockey is going to attract an affluent, tech crowd, people who already are in that area. They will slowly filter in before the game after work. When the game is over it will be late at night and it will be easy to move people out of there, especially since they are doing their homework now to figure out a plan. And this is not a 70,000 seat football stadium we are talking about here. This is more like the average weeknight Mariners game which is barely a blip in SODO. .

    I doubt there will be enough people coming from the ‘burbs to bother with special transit routes for them. If I lived in one of those areas I would hop on the first bus heading in the right direction out of there and then catch an Uber/Lyft somewhere away from the surge zone. There are plenty of other bus options + the monorail to get people on all the major buses that run in the evenings. I live on the C-line so I’ll take the bus to/from the hockey games without any issues.

    1. Metro used to have a more extensive network of express buses from suburban P&Rs to the SODO stadiums and Husky Stadium. That diminished due to these yo-yo legal issues, budget cuts, etc. When Link reaches Redmond/Lynnwood/Federal Way, it will be an alternative to these special expresses in many areas. But for now, there’s no equivalent from Northgate, Aurora Village, Kirkland, Renton, Kent, etc. The all-day bus alternatives take much longer, and the peak express run only peak hours and are already full. Some suburbanites are willing to take a 40-minute express bus, but they’re not willing to take a 90-minute 2-seat ride and wait a long time on regular buses.

    2. Snohomish County has a bit of a cult for the Junior Hockey Everett team, plus there is rec hockey out there as well as in Shoreline. You will get some car drivers from Snoho during the week, and many more, I’ll bet, during weekend games.

      I don’t think it will be just a tech crowd walking from SLU. You’ve got quite a few Hockey fans in North Seattle and the Eastside; many of them like to use their cars as a matter of practice. It will be a traffic swamp, bet on it.

      1. Yeah, I agree. There will be plenty of traffic. Keep in mind, it doesn’t take that much to screw things up. There are already a lot of people in the area, and many are driving around. Even if 3/4 of the people take public transit or walk to the arena, that is a lot of cars, all emptying out at once. That is why bus lanes are so important. Not only does that make transit more attractive, but it may be the only way for the bus to get anywhere after a game.

  6. Email: contact [at] transitriders [dot] org

    Can someone from the Transit Riders Union find me an online address that will work? Have tried copying above address given by the website, even inserting @ and adding a “.” and no use. What’s my typo?

    I want to thank TRU for sponsoring the event at I attended at El Centro last night. More than a little sad, though, having rented a room because Olympia buses didn’t run late enough, that proceedings were simply more discussion to be passed on to the next stage. Of discussion.

    In the face of a fare policy demanding that the holder of a pre-paid monthly ORCA pass be prosecuted for evasion over a mistake in tapping the card on a fare reader. Including not only ST’s own operating employees, but K-12 students who’d been told their pass was “free.” As (like they say) We Speak.

    While ST staff treated me with commendable respect in view of the content and tone of my delivery, I really had been hoping there’d be some actual uniformed fare inspectors present. Because around noon, had a brief talk with a security officer who told me (his words) “The policy is not going to change.”

    Maybe third time this year I’ve been given that advisement verbatim by someone official, both in uniform and in office clothes. For me, answer is that ebola and corona virus aren’t going to stop killing people either-failing the help of a real sharp needle full of vaccine.

    So really disappointed too that Nikkita Oliver was missing. Because now that Sound Transit has made it clear through word, deed, and law that bad consequences are its preferred tool to persuade cooperation, it’s disrespectful not to respond in kind. For instance:

    For instance, I think it’s time for parents to put The System on notice that so long as the pre-paid fare for their trip to school subjects the family to that kind of liability, the kids are staying home ’til somebody changes the abusive policy that is not going to chance itself.

    Other observations? First Link ride, driver’s PA inaudible the whole ride. Couple of other trips, after counterintuitive train change at Pioneer Square, rest of the trip announced next stations at Sea-Tac Airport whole rest of trip north.

    And watching young man and woman get their bicycles ordered off an empty train at Pioneer Square so they could pedal to University Street or whatever it’s called…….all kinds of rules have sensible hours of enforcement.

    All on-site personnel of all assignments- really trying hard to do their best. But for the officials responsible for felonizing prepaid fare evasion…. Veolia isn’t only option for change of governance. In a lot of the world, including public transit, member-owned cooperatives count as solidly moderate-conservative. It’s time.

    Mark Dublin

  7. Suggestion on the low-income passes. Kind of thing that needs to be stressed: a transit pass might actually let somebody get a job that will finally let them pay taxes.

    Term “free” is as politically loaded toward “undeserved as it is inaccurate. Done right, we’re doing making like an investment. So instead of saying “free”, call them something like “sponsored.”

    But while you’re helping the Mayor of Boston, Sam, good idea to do a little more research. Could be there was a transit-rider’s petition to get this official off the trains. There’s an outside chance she’s been regaling fellow passengers with end-to-end renditions of that wonderful Kingston Trio song called “The Man Who Never Returned”.

    Seems that a sudden fare increase left a passenger named Charlie short a nickel….and the conductor (which we really should turn fare inspectors into) has ever since refused to let him off the train. Not funny.

    Because it’s only slightly less bad than telling a high school girl she’s a fare evader because she forgot to “tap off”, or more likely either got pushed past the reader by the crowd or, as happened to me three times yesterday, angle she held her pass was a quarter inch off.

    So keep up the surveillance, Sam. Coast to coast and border to border, lot about our industry isn’t funny.


    1. How is this different from relocating the Winters House near South Bellevue station? The track goes through the land, so as mitigation they relocate an amenity.

      1. I believe the Winters property is on the US National Registry of Historic Places. So there’s that. I thought the mitigation solution in that case was lowering the track and providing a some sort of sound/vibration barrier. It’s depressing that ST and Redmond couldn’t figure out a way to design the station there without having to tear this art installation apart and relocating it. I wouldn’t be surprised when it’s all said and done the total cost in the Redmond situation is closer to $1 million. I truly hope the funds from the agency’s SMART program can be utilized here to cover this expense.

        A couple of points are in order here. Firstly, private property owners don’t get such consideration in a condemnation action involving a full or partial taking. They are simply compensated for the fair market value of the property acquired and their relocation costs if applicable. Washington State law actually doesn’t even allow business owners who are forced to relocate due to a condemnation action to be compensated for their loss of business as a result of the relocation. But a city of the first class, such as Redmond, being on equal footing legally with a regional transit authority when it comes to condemnation actions, has the ability to ask for mitigation ($) to make them whole.

        Secondly, there was a lot of griping on this blog a couple of years ago when it was disclosed that the Lynnwood Link project had busted their estimate about all the “goodies” that the cities were asking for and how that was impacting the project’s budget. There seemed to be many posters on this blog trying to find an easy scapegoat for ST’s growing project cost problems (instead of looking directly at the agency’s own established poor record of project cost estimating) and the cities along this particular Link extension line seemed to fit that bill. And yet I don’t recall hearing boo about this situation in Redmond (on a Link extension line that was also significantly over its project estimate as I stated previously).

      2. The argument in both cases is that it’s a public benefit (historic house, artwork) that should be preserved. As for private owners, aren’t both things owned by their city? I personally wouldn’t save the Winters House but I can see how it might be desirable to preserve that part of Bellevue’s history. I’m dubious about Redmond’s item. Is it the most important art piece in Redmond or part of a theme? I don’t know whether ST should pay for relocating art pieces; I can see arguments both ways. The reason it wasn’t covered was probably nobody noticed it; it’s not famous, or at least not outside Redmond.

        I am curious now what Redmond’s total public-art program is. It used to be bicycles. I’ve seen some sculptures in the downtown park I think, but I don’t know that the city’s goal is beyond that. Kirkland has a theme of animal statues and people statues.

    2. Ooops. Sound Transit’s art program is called STart (not SMART as I originally stated). Sorry for the late correction.

  8. You know how you prevent traffic from being a mess after the game is over? You just … don’t build a big parking garage.

    This isn’t the stupid Seahawks with their stupid weekday-night games starting in the middle of rush-hour. This is well after rush-hour is over in a stadium with way less capacity. There are parking garages all over downtown and SLU with extra capacity during game times and a variety of different ingress and egress routes that may be preferable for people coming from different directions. There is plenty of mass transit running between these garages and the arena well into the evening.

    Just be cheap and lazy. All your problems can be solved.

    1. I agree – for those that do insist on driving, there is plenty of parking capacity without the new garage. Yes, it requires people to walk a bit – or ride the monorail. But, having the cars dispersed across multiple locations helps make the post-game traffic more manageable.

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