Sound Transit Express

This is an open thread.

57 Replies to “News roundup: finally”

  1. That Issaquah Link article is totally fantasy land. There’s no money to build that kind of build out to serve a potential population of 50k miles from anything else, and that was before the current economic situation. I’m a former Issaquah Highlands resident and I think light rail would be a great addition, but that’s just not going to happen. There is a bit of density up there but it is too far from everything else to make any sense. It is also up a big hill as the name implies.

    At this rate, we will be lucky if the Issaquah branch gets built at all.

    That said, the Seattle transfer situation ought to be explored. It is alluring to use the existing wilburton rail line to get to Bellevue, but it is probably worth exploring the cost difference to interline starting at South Bellevue instead of starting at East Main. The Wilburton trustle probably needs to be rebuilt anyway, but you have to weigh that against the cost of crossing the i90/i405 interchange to get to South Bellevue. An interline starting at South Bellevue would limit frequency of both Eastside lines, but it may work, and it would give a better Issaquah transfer to Seattle.

    1. For me, the weakest link of the Purple line is the ridiculous turn North to downtown Bellevue at Richards Road. The line should really continue along I-90 to Bellevue Way, so that Seattle/Issaquah traffic can connect there rather than detouring for 10-15 mins through Bellevue. Further, one would think that construction would be cheaper as this would negate the need to build parallel North/South tracks on both Bellevue Way and Richards Road less than a mile apart.

      1. Yeah I agree. Having been over by I-90/Bellevue Way, I understand ST’s reluctance to build more tracks in the air over that interchange, especially when you throw I-405 into the mix.

        I feel like it’s worth doing something like that. One thing that could be done to make it easier would be to make the crossing of I-405 a little bit north of I-90, to get away from the freeway interchange mess a bit, but then head back south so it can approach both S. Bellevue from the south and Mercer Island from the east.

      2. It’s all politics. The point is not to make a cost effective improvement in transit. The point is to build something that looks good, and “serves” the area. The station in South Kirkland supposedly serves Kirkland, even though it is nowhere near the heart of Kirkland. The Issaquah stations (next to the freeway) supposedly do the same.

      3. I think the reason against cross I-405 at I-90 was construction costs and wetland impacts around Mercer Slough. Obviously, they did it when they were building the freeway, the the environmental rules were more lax at the time. If today’s rules were in effect at the time I-90 was built, the bridge would have likely ended up in a different place.

        “and that was before the current economic situation”

        We’re talking about a line that’s not scheduled to open until 2041, so a short-term recession right now doesn’t matter much. During pretty any 20-year period, some recession is inevitable and should (theoretically) be budgeted in.

      4. @RossB,

        I agree somewhat, but I also think there is a good faith attempt at serving what they can. Though I do agree that they need to be making better attempts at serving places that they try to serve. They did a little better when in the second draft of ST3, the place where Issaquah link joined East Link was moved from Wilburton to East Main station.

        I don’t think they intended Link to serve “Kirkland” writ large with the S. Kirkland extension. From what I remember, the extension to S. Kirkland was done because the ERC left basically free grade separated right-of-way, crossing both freeways that goes directly to S. Kirkland P&R. And since tracks will go a little up that way already for OMF East, it seemed like a good idea to take it, even if it might be the last stop. And once built, I think this will open up a lot of transfer possibilities with connections to places all over Kirkland, the U-District, and likely SLU.

        I don’t think it’s going to get cancelled entirely. From what I know, the funding authority (and not the actual tax levied) for ST3 is not affected by 976 or recessions. And the taxes are set to expire once all the bonds are paid off, not when projects are complete. So if anything, Issaquah Link will be pushed back, but not cancelled. Honestly that seems fine, and it does give plenty of time to do TOD in Issaquah right, among other things.

      5. The switching tracks are going to be really messy and expensive to build near East Main Station. Then there is the problem that both East Main and Downtown Bellevue stations aren’t center platforms so that someone going to or from Seattle will have to go around or up and over the rains and tracks to get to or from Issaquah. South Bellevue has a center platform, which would make this transfer much easier — just walk across the platform!

      6. The line was intended to continue further north but Kirkland was giving such contradictory signals that ST deferred everything north of the P&R. The Kirkland City Council said “No trains on the ERC but BRT is OK.” Activists in south Kirkland said”No nothing on the ERC”.. BRT on the ERC or 108th would be feasible (although it would make the trail like the SODO busway), but Issaquah Link is a train not a bus. It’s not clear whether Link on 108th would be feasible

        In the end the P&R became the terminus, probably because it’s a P&R (so people can theoretically drive to it and take Link to Bellevue or Issaquah or transfer to Seattle, although that’s dubious because Bellevue is just a short drive further and it’s an indirect way to Seattle), it “serves” Kirkland (in the same way 145th Station serves Shoreline), and the rail right of way existed (unlike most of Link). My ridership projection is low, a fraction of the Issaquah-Bellevue segment. But Kirklandites will have a train station to look at. I hope it gets some good artwork.

      7. I agree somewhat, but I also think there is a good faith attempt at serving what they can.

        I don’t. Keep in mind, I’m not anti-government. I have a lot of respect for the average politician, because my mom served on the Seattle school board (and took a lot of sh** from people who didn’t know sh**). But the East Side improvements were a complete mess, and represented the same sort of short sited arrogance shown by our current president (although without the same dire consequences). People who know very little about transit came up with ideas that were based on “windshield thinking”, with a route that mimics a freeway. Not only did they fail to consult with experts, even when presented with third party expert recommendations, they ignored it.

        A little history. The Kirkland City Council hired a firm to come up with a recommendation for transit in the city. They recommended running buses on the CKC, with pedestrians, bikes and buses on three levels. (If you have ever walked or biked on the Burke Gilman, you know how great it is when the bikes and pedestrians are separate). The buses, of course, would be electric (battery or wire). This would be part of larger BRT system, providing fast and frequent connections between Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish and Kirkland (

        This was rejected by Sound Transit. They wanted rail on the CKC, or nothing. So they got nothing. Instead, they decided to go with a rail package from South Kirkland to Issaquah. Why rail? Just because. Seriously, there was no study of the alternatives, big (e. g. a flyover ramp connecting Eastgate to the 405 north HOV lanes, so that a bus could be in the HOV lanes from Issaquah to downtown Bellevue) or small (increases in service, which are sorely needed in the area). Nope, instead they just went with rail.

        This is not operating in good faith. This is focusing on what looks good (more rail!) instead of what works best. The problem is not unique to this section, it permeates the entire Sound Transit system. Some of the pieces are good — it is very difficult to screw up a line from the UW to downtown, for example — but much of it is very poor, and it is because the people in charge arrogantly assumed they understood how to build a transit network. They obviously don’t.

      8. “Why rail? Just because.”

        Because Issaquah specifically wanted rail, and it had to terminate somewhere.

      9. Ah yes, good points. I am super bummed with how poorly BRISK ended up.

        I think a rationale for some of their decisions may come down to “if we build big dedicated BRT guideways, we might as well build rail because we’re getting the ROW anyway. Might as well get the rider appeal and capacity of a train.” It seems to me that part of their cost-benefit assessment is BRT should be on ROW that’s largely being built already, and adding restrictions/upgrades when necessary for BRT. Lots of money will still go to stations and connections to the main ROW (See Tukwila, Kirkland), but the hardest and most risky parts of building lines can be avoided with still a pretty good line at the end of it. I broadly agree, but they should have made an exception for Kirkland, where they really dropped the ball.

        I do, however, think it’s less than rational for Kirkland to want BRT over rail. Lots of cities want light rail, so to be offered it and reject it (if indeed that’s what happened) seems insane. Maybe ST is trying to make Kirkland wrestler with that insanity, by playing chicken and hoping Kirkland blinks first. Seems to me though a better way of doing that would be to build a BRT line with the infrastructure in place to easily upgrade to rail later.

      10. Fundamentally, the reason Kirkland preferred BRT to rail was for two reasons.
        First, the BRT could have served more places in the city. The rail can’t even get within a half-mile of downtown. (theoretically, you could tack on a tunnel to downtown, but now you’re even deeper into stupid levels of spending for a smallish urban center).

        Second, the BRT ROW could serve many trip-pairs, whereas the rail option makes that much harder. Nearly every transit trip in Kirkland could have benefited from some portion of the BRT ROW. Kirkland-Seattle is a much more popular transit trip than Kirkland-Bellevue. So serve the demand that actually exists.

        Kirkland figured erroneously that a superior transit option at half the cost would be a winner with the Board. But Sound Transit was taken by the “if it’s not steel wheels, it’s crap” school of transit advocacy fundamentalism.

        Staff even managed to produce ridership estimates where a train that skipped downtown would have twice the ridership of a bus that didn’t. (hey, it’s fast because it hardly stops anywhere). Some on the Board were taken in by this nonsense from staff. Others didn’t care. Even on the Eastside, a lot of pols only cared about their home city. The other subareas wanted whatever would get the Eastside to shut up.

      11. Seattle is a much more popular transit trip than Kirkland-Bellevue.

        I’m sure that’s true because driving to DT Seattle is way harder and more expensive than driving to DT Bellevue. But I expect there are more trips between Kirkland and Bellevue that Kirkland – Seattle. And since a transfer to Link is in your future rather than the previous direct trip to DT Seattle it probably makes more sense to figure Kirkland – Bellevue as the mass transit workhorse. Going to UW makes sense if you’re going U Dist or points north but given the Montlake Muddle and the onerous deep dive transfer taking Link across the Lake makes a lot of sense once East Link opens.

      12. No reason Kirkland Link could not still be built compatible with buses on the ERC. Kirkland should continue to push for BRT infrastructure along the alignment.

        The late Fred Butler was definitely “rail or bust” during ST3 planning, so that skewed things. I do think I90 could have done well with a Stride investment comparable to 405, with new freeway stations at Factoria and Central Issaquah. This never go legs, but if 405 Stride is successful, it may come back, particularly if ST is looking to find capital dollars in an ST4 package. But ultimately, I’m not too concerned – I think by 2040 the rail investment will be worth it to provide HCT connection within Bellevue, and the extension onwards to Issaquah is very low cost given it is all at-grade.

        One important nuance to note is that the Kirkland-Issaquah Link segment under the ST3 authorization is operationally distinct from the other Link segments. Talking to staff, this was done intentionally so that ST could move to a different technology, particularly with an eye on driverless trains. While the representative project shows low headways, it is possible that we may end up with a line that operationally is much closer to Skytrain, with smaller trains but excellent frequency. This will be hard if there is interlining between East Main and Willburton, but if interlining is too disruptive, or if crossing 405 is prohibitively expensive, we could revert to the original proposal where the line stays east of 405 and have an entirely different product.

      13. A group threatened to sue ST if East Link went through the Slough not underground. That makes crossing there unlikely, and may be why ST moved away from the more transfer-friendly and economical South Bellevue alignment (which I didn’t know it had).

        An Issaquah-Seattle line is very unlikely. It would require ST to dedicate part of the second tunnel’s capacity to Issaquah, and Issaquah is small and isolated and there’s nothing beyond it. Issaquah never asked for a Seattle line, it asked for a Link line, and that’s what it’s getting. The largest cities without Link after ST3 will be Renton and Kirkland. (The South Kirkland P&R doesn’t serve Kirkland in any meaningful sense.) Issaquah will have a hard time arguing for a second line when they have zero.

        Putting Issaquah in the first downtown tunnel would reach capacity ceilings that may be needed for the existing higher-volume lines, and putting it in the second tunnel would split Eastside service between the two tunnels, meaning riders to Mercer Island, East Main, and South Bellevue would find half the service on one platform and half on another, when Seattle-Bellevue is the most likely corridor to need double frequency. Putting both Eastside lines in the second tunnel would require a Ballard exit in the first tunnel, and that isn’t being designed.

      14. Bummer that the threat of litigation was enough to scare off ST from building light rail along I-90 all the way, when there manages to be a massive interstate running through there. I understand their hesitance, especially considering the litigation they are dealing with just with Mercer Island.

        I do wish they would consider a little bit of creativity around the routing here though. There are a lot of gaps in I-90 where light rail tracks could most of the way, likely enough to get to the light rail ramp already under construction into I-90. I could see litigation for having light rail within or almost within the I-90 covered part of the slough having a hard time going anywhere. You would just run it to Seattle and not Kirkland in this case, a lot like the Forward Thrust line to Eastgate. As for what Issaquah wants, it seems like saying “well they didn’t want light rail to *Seattle*, they just wanted light rail” isn’t very sound reasoning. They want to take light rail somewhere right? Some want to go to Bellevue, but most want to go to Seattle.

        The Seattle side is an interesting case. I always thought that there was room in the tunnel for one more line (2 tunnels, 3 lines, 2 per tunnel), but it is an interesting question of where it should terminate. I guess both the Redmond and Issaquah lines could go to Everett, and the West Seattle line could join the new tunnel and go to Ballard.

        Speaking of creativity, it seems to me like there could be some creative thinking in terms of bringing light rail to downtown Kirkland. It doesn’t seem they are considering anything outside of I-405 and the ERC for light rail, and pretending that an elevated line that turns over streets isn’t a possibility (as is seen in West Seattle). It seems like you should be able to fit a line over 3rd street at KTC, put a station there, and maybe you’ll need to bulldoze a Subway restaurant or buy some business parking to fit the curve. But it’s not even treated like it’s even possible. Pay no attention to the monorail tracks over 5th Ave in downtown Seattle. Or the light rail tracks that they will somehow manage to build in downtown Federal Way, over streets.

      15. The reason East Link didn’t follow I-90 was because the most important think to the Bellevue council was S. Bellevue P&R and getting ST to pay for a one way HOV lane along Bellevue Way. It was claimed that there was absolutely no way that light rail could ever go under I-405 so the obvious extension was painted as being irrelevant.

      16. The freeway was built on top of an earlier highway that was built in the early 1900s. (US Highway 10, which followed an Indian trail across Snoqualmie Pass.) The environmental laws went into effect in the 1970s or 80s and everything before then was grandfathered. The laws only consider negative impacts to the status quo, so the possible disruption and noise of the light rail line to the plants and animals in the Slough and the residents in nearby houses. The fact that it might reduce cars and pollution doesn’t matter. I’m not a biologist so I can;t comment on whether building in the middle of the freeway instead of north of it would affect the plants and animals so little that it wouldn’t be an environmental impact.

      17. build a BRT line with the infrastructure in place to easily upgrade to rail later”

        The problem with that is then you have a roadway instead of a railway. Sure, trains are running on rails embedded in the roadway, but it’s still an ugly roadway with acres of impervious surface. The best thing about at-grade rail lines is that they absorb and deliver water to the ground instead of having it run off.

        Look at Westside MAX where it runs through the countryside between Nike and Intel. It’s much less visually intrusive than it would be as a busway. Why pour the concrete if you really intend to have a train?

      18. Mike, great point on capacity splitting. Peak demand on East Link is going to be between Seattle and Bellevue, which makes splitting East Link a Willburton perhaps possible, but splitting at Mercer Island may be a non-starter operationally. East Link and Purple could have equivalent headways but the Purple would run much smaller trains.

        Tom – if it’s a busway, not a roadway, no reason it couldn’t have simillar footprint as a railway?

    2. The idea light rail would every get to Issaquah died with the B7 alignment. As far as the Wilburton Trestle; it’s a historic structure, The County is spending millions on getting ready for the regional EasTrail and it’s single track. Building a new parallel light rail bridge would be stupid expensive.

      As for subarea funding, a lot cheaper and more useful would be extending from Redmond to Bothell on the rail banked spur that runs up the west side of the valley. There it would serve UW Bothell and act as a transfer for all 405 & 522 bus service.

      1. You could also connect to Totem Lake this way, as the ERC drops down roughly parallel to 124th. This was suggested during ST3 planning, but if I recall it came from politicians who tended to be anti-transit so wasn’t taken seriously. Extending East Link is likely, given extending existing lines is easy for the public and politicians to grasp, so I be this happens eventually, particularly if Totem Lake emerges as a robust activity center. I hope it does happen, as a long “S” through King county makes for a good grid when interfacing with bus routes.

      2. You could also connect to Totem Lake this way, as the ERC drops down roughly parallel to 124th.

        No it doesn’t. From Totem Lake the RR grade goes north (perpendicular to NE 124th St) all the way to Woodinville to lose elevation. Connecting with East Link this way would be literally a switchback for next to no ridership. But anywhere in the Bothell/Woodinville area has great potential as a transfer point. The main thing is it’s dead flat on existing RR ROW all the way to SR-522.

    3. A swift or RapidRide line to Issaquah, with lots of dedicated transitway, could be a fine alternative to Light Rail Purple Line

      1. I meant Stride not Swift. Also need good frequency, or share right of way with other bus lines

    4. I’ve ridden the bus from Kirkland to Issaquah to go hiking and I’d do it more if it didn’t take so long. Earlier this month, I rode all 16 miles on my 20 mph e-bike, and it took about the same total travel time as the bus. I also did another hiking trip with a rental car; ignoring the overhead of picking up and returning the car, the drive all the way out to Lake 22 came out slightly shorter than the bus ride to Issaquah.

      I’m not necessarily asking for rail. Not am I asking for a special express bus just for me. More frequent service on existing routes all over the Eastside would help, as would straighter routes. In theory, a combination of STRIDE->Link->554 (truncated to South Bellevue P&R) could actually become available in 2024, and if all three legs run frequently (a big if) could get the total travel time down to around 45 minutes vs. 1 hour 15 minutes today.

  2. That Link fare-paid area design looks great. I’ve criticized ST on this before, but credit is due here.

    The middle card reader facing the entry is kind of odd, though. Why not have 2 readers in the middle facing sideways? People still need to tap off.

    1. They really don’t, though. If you forget to tap off, you get charged a little more. There are other places to tap, the point of this is to remind people to tap when they *need* to tap, which is when getting on.

      I agree, this should help quite a bit.

      1. If you forget to tap-off and then tap-on again within the transfer period, doesn’t that actually become your tap-off? I think it does. So yes, you need to tap-off. This time and every time or you might forget and ride again within the crucial two hours.

      2. Yes, that’s the problem many people have had. They don’t tap out, then an hour later they tap in but it registers as a tapout, and then an inspector cites them for riding without paying.

    2. I think that without a pole extending into the air or wide wall like turn styles have, the middle card reader will be routinely involved with personal injuries of people who simply will not see it. I think that it is a huge pedestrian hazard as it’s designed in the proposal.

  3. Give me a break, Ross. Where does it say, “Before you leave, be sure you not only “tap”, but be sure you listen carefully to the number of “beeps”, and read what the microscopic smudged gray screen says.”

    Learning to live with being “un-woked” and “canceled for life”, but has our National currency gotten so dog-eaten that a $124 fine adds up to “charged a little more?” Or is it like Chicago mob-speak for “Nice little bank account you got here, be a shame if somethin’ happened to it!”

    EASY-out: Fare Inspector reads your latest trip-history, charges you max amount for your ride. Or, which he also reads, is that by the clock, The Rules say you’ve still got forty minutes left. RCW .WhatevertheHell. It’s On The Ceiling!

    Red-pencil CORRECT me where I’m wrong.

    Mark Dublin

    1. My point is, it isn’t the end of the world if you forget to tap out. You get charged at most an extra dollar. Most people (who ride in the middle of the line) get charged less. I’ve done it, it is not a big deal. It could add up, but the more experience you get, the more you figure out (and remember) to tap off.

      On the other hand, if you forget to tap on, you run the risk of paying a huge fine. Even if you have an unlimited monthly pass, you pay the same huge fine. Avoiding that huge fine (and the conflicts that arise out of it) is the highest priority, not saving ignorant users a quarter or two.

      1. Unless the rules have changed, so that monthly passholders are immune to fines, not tapping off is still a potential problem.

        If you forget to tap off with a monthly pass, and then return to ride again soon enough, your “tap on” is actually a “tap off” and you’d be subject to the same fine.

      2. Ross, that’s not what the Fare Inspector told me when he ruined a beautiful after-dinner ride from Columbia City to Angle Lake couple years back. Also promised me that if I wasn’t impressed by the “Separate Corporation” known in Chicago as “Damanwantshismoney!” I most definitely would be cited next time.

        I appreciate your contributing the one piece of information that for years I’ve been told I had to go “Freedom Of Information” on: The actual amount being charged for a wrong tap. Did you have to go to Shoreline, or get it settled elsewhere?

        Truly sorry that in regional transit’s founding election I voted for something else. And now prefer to proceed like this. My ORCA card’s a keepsake of more than a decade, so budget-wise as the Emergency demands, the Medical Examiner will find it in my jacket pocket.

        And on the first of every month, I’ll continue to load it with a monthly pass. Wherever Sound Transit wants to put my payment, I’m also paying them to look after it and direct it as needed. Any six-figure transit CEO worth his last bonus should either have background in internal accounting or budget for somebody who does.

        Tell me “The corporation really has it” and I’ll tell Superior Court with my hand on The King James that I’m sorry about my $124 -or whatever- fine, but my credit union has it. Need to go to archives: Where in the ballot language was that corporation mentioned once? RCW’s probably under a ceiling tile above the Sea-Tac fare machines.

        If it’s true that the Fare Inspector’s instrument has information ten trips back, they’re fully able to simply charge me full fare for any possible trip. Which in my case, was exactly what I owed and had already paid on June 1. And, as was also the case The Rules said I still had an hour on my ride.

        “In The Course of Human Events” as some Framers liked to put things, there comes a time when a negative declaration must needs have the residential address of The Evil One in front of it. So for a rule threatening a high school girl with a fine and a criminal record for a mistake, for a pass she was told was “Free”? It’s authorizing agency needs to be stuffed in the mailbox and stamped “Undeliverable!”

        What became Sound Transit has been my life’s work since at least 1983. ‘Til I can get a virus test, time remaining is not mine to know. Tough. The damage here doesn’t leave a scratch on me. But the officials and fellow workers I’d trust my life with, who’ve had their eyes, minds, hearts and hands on those trains over the years and some on duty this minute, risking well-documented consequences so others can work and eat….

        If I read this afternoon’s politics, economics, and virology right, the one good thing the coming wind, however ill, will accomplish will be the eventual replacement of something mortally vile with something really fine. Ross or anybody else, the floor’s yours.

        Mark Dublin

      3. The fine is $124 because that’s the lowest the courts will enforce.

        When you tap in it charges the maximum distance. When you tap out it refunds the difference between that and your trip. So ST gets more money if you don’t tap out, thus it’s low priority for them.

        The main problem with not tapping out is your next tapin may be registered as a tapout, and that would put you in the position of trespassing if you don’t notice it. Many people don’t understand the beeps or messages, or don’t recognize an error beep, or don’t realize there are messages worth looking at. I see that all the time. They’re the ones most likely to not realize a tapin was registered as a tapout. Since the payment system and fares are complicated, this will be a continuing problem as new riders and occasional riders appear.

        The reader could be sideways, like it is at the surface stations. It doesn’t have to have its face toward the entrance, it just needs to be clearly visible as a reader in the line of sight. A decoration on the sides can help with that. I’ve argued for a vertical pole or something to the ceiling for other reasons, to make it look more like a narrow doorway. The yellow stripe could go around in a rectangle and also down the reader poles.

      4. “The fine is $124 because that’s the lowest the courts will enforce”.

        I’ve heard that, but it’s not what Sound Transit states in its fare enforcement policy analysis. Seems to have been set to match typical traffic infractions.

        From the report:
        “Board policy set in Resolution No. R2009-02 sets the citation fine of not more than $124. At the time it was stated to be consistent with most other minor traffic infractions in King County. The cost of a parking ticket in Seattle is $44 – $47. Transit peers of similar size or region complexity charge a penalty between $50 (WMATA, SFMTA) and $100 (NY-MTA). LA Metro and TriMet charge $75 and BART charges $55 for youth and $75 for adults. This proposal would set a fine of $50 while we continue to explore if early-pay incentives for $25 within 30 days is allowed by the District Court”.

  4. And Jarrett, and Katie, it’s time for a little perspective-check. Where all of us and our agencies are is in a Kurdish hospital-bunker twenty feet under the bomb-release mechanism on the belly of a Syrian jet. At the head of its formation.

    Also, since Roundup (not upwind from My strawberries!) makes the [T] double-wide, some FactCheck(tm): despite trade-marked sobbing complaints from the usual source about the magnificent economy that was just destroyed by those Chinese germs solely to embarrass him, fact is we’ve got a Federal Government to re-assemble as fast as we can disinfect its empty drawers and ripped-up files.

    And an economy where we might just have to make-do with nose-clips to do mouth-to-mouth on. Didn’t Senator Cantwell just say day before yesterday we’ll have to hold our noses over the airline bailout? Just informed her not to worry: since Congress in 2008 turned over what was left of our banks to the people who ruined them, I haven’t been able to smell anything.

    Keep calm, keep alert, keep observing, keep thinking, and since this is really ESSENTIAL, the rules say that with protective measures like common decency, Really Social Closeness will save more lives than it loses.

    These pages, good example is frequent commentary reminders that in the Russian pilot’s goggles, we’re all Homeless.

    Mark Dublin

    1. I echo Tlsgwm’s comments later in this topic. I’m biased because I work at Microsoft, but also biased because I support transit. But I think Microsoft has a responsibility to get a fair value for the land ST is taking. If this was a family property, would you have the same attitude? Or is it just because it’s a large corporation (that, btw, donates a lot of money to good causes and is paying to improve access to light rail) that you think they should just give up 2/3 of what the property is worth? Compared to other companies, Microsoft appears to be helping support LR construction, even during the period when they’re negotiating the compensation for the land.

      1. It’s entirely because it’s a giant corporation which has oodles of money that they don’t pay shit for taxes on, yes. And they don’t remotely make enough donations to charities to make up for what they’ve pulled over the years. Not to mention Gates’s own crusade to destroy public schools in Washington.

        Corporations absolutely should be treated under a different set of rules. They provide no true benefit to society.

      2. Corporations absolutely should be treated under a different set of rules. They provide no true benefit to society.

        Corporations absolutely should be treated differently than individuals. #1, Don’t tax corporations…. they don’t exist; at least in a corporal form. A Corporation is a business entity owned by real people. In the end, you can only tax real people. To extent that, corporations should not be allowed to make political donations which should be up to the individual owners. Likewise, Unions shouldn’t be allowed to make political contributions; it should be up to the individual members.

        Microsoft has pretty much footed the bill and taken oversight of the pedestrian bridge across 520 at RTC because ST dropped the ball. I have zero sympathy for ST and their record of screwing over individuals and businesses alike. Their policy of “partial takes” where they pay per square foot of residential lots they render worthless because of their construction is unacceptable.

        Not to mention Gates’s own crusade to destroy public schools in Washington.

        WTF? All I can imagine is possibly you oppose something he’s support regarding individual thinking as opposed to “group think” which we should all blindly accept because?

      3. The only way that would work is if corporations were prohibited from holding any property, cash, or assets for more than a month. AKA it’s completely irresponsible.

        As for Gates, He’s funded the efforts to bleed public schools, which have not been funding adequately within the last 30 years, and funnel the money to private schools who can pick and choose what students they take, thereby allowing them to only take the students who have great support networks and high grades already, and leave lower-performing and disabled students in the newly-strained public system. And that’s not even getting into how racist and classist private schools are.

      4. “It’s entirely because it’s a giant corporation…”

        That’s totally irrelevant. The status of the private property owner in a condemnation action has no bearing on the application of our state’s eminent domain statutes (primarily Title 8).

        Your comments read like nothing more than a screed against Bill Gates who has little to do with MS these days and absolutely nothing to do with this issue.

  5. Why is Link running every 14 minutes instead of every 15 minutes which would be way easier to remember?

    Preferably every 10 or 12 minutes, but if they won’t do that, then every 15 minutes is better than every 14.

    1. Here I just said that COVID-19 means we have to be nice to each other (not kidding) so I really am begging somebody to tell me why it’s so much better to use 14. A sinister pseudo-Rosicrucian scenario based on fake numerology is last thing regional transit needs right now.

      But one former-union-brother-to-a-still-working-one, if anybody “writes” you for being either early or late according to either of these arrival or departure times, see your steward, get a lawyer, and contact the Department of Labor soon as we can get it in every sense disinfected.

      Black cat with its teeth in your controller….it’s already qualified and knows what it’s doing.

      Mark Dublin

    2. This is pure speculation, but I think the 14 minute headways come from terminal capacity and the need to schedule driver breaks. The trains have a 10 minute layover at UW Station which about enough time for the driver to inspect the train and get ready for the southbound trip, but not enough time for a driver break.. When the train arrives at Angle Lake, it stays for about 20 minutes which is enough time for a driver break.

      But there can only be 2 trains at one time in the station, so one train must leave the station before a 3rd train can arrive. Every other train that departs must also switch tracks and every other train that arrives must switch tracks, too. My speculation is that, at 12 minute headways, there may not be enough time to inspect the trains and give the driver a break. At 15 minute headways, there may be congestion in the terminal or at the switch points. Either way, ST has decided that 14 minute headways are the standard.

      ST could create 15 minute headways by allowing the trains to dwell longer at the airport, but schedules are difficult to create during normal times. With a global pandemic raging, it’s even harder to create schedules that work.

      1. The schedule had fifteen minute headways after 10 pm prior to the single tracking so it is technically possible.

        I understood it when they were trying for maximum service during the construction constriction. But it makes no sense now and is smacks of an arrogant indifference to rider convenience and comprehension

    3. 14 minutes is slightly more frequent, so average wait times are shorter. Most people don’t follow or memorize a schedule for Link, they just remember the maximum wait time and they’re glad when it’s shorter. It’s also better for transfers. It’s impossible to time bus-train connections when buses are arbitrarily delayed and there’s a 5-minute walk between them that can easily be mistimed, but with both of them running more frequently it doesn’t matter as much.

    4. Maybe there’s a requirement somewhere in the funding documents that requires headways to be better than 15 minutes. ST may be just following the requirements of some federal grant from 1997.

      1. Anything like that would be suspended during a public health emergency. Link is normally 15 minutes after 10pm, and many if not most American light rails are 15 minutes all day. MAX is 15 minutes on each line, as is BART. Link’s base frequency is 14 minutes probably because that’s the closest to 10 minutes ST could do given the ridership loss. Or it may be for operational efficiency as GuyOnBeaconHill suggests; 14 minutes lines up better for driver shifts and and breaks and timing the trains.


    Like way too much about our transportation across the board, worst thing is how much we put up with because “No Budget.” In a democratic government where The People can spend what they want…what don’t you understand about “Just No!” Same order of shrug as number of people regularly hit by the Sounder.

    Though as it just came clear on the way to West Seattle, hunch that because “deferrrrrred” maintenance sounds like petting a pussycat, nobody really minds it. But given Climate Change, maybe the big Russian boats really are more Future-Friendly than all that tiresome noisy old landslide-clearance stuff, over and over and over again.

    Somebody picture-savvy, do us a Russian hydrofoil with the ST livery on it? Just to keep it in mind.

    Mark Dublin

  7. Construction worker for sound transit University link tested positive for covid 19. Sound transit is considering halting some light rail construction, per Seattle times. If the pandemic continues, it’s possible to see some delayed openings for light rail

  8. Microsoft should get paid what the sought after ROW, including the temporary and permanent easements, are worth, just like any other party facing a condemnation action. ST lowballed their offer and got caught by an astute appraisal team utilized by MS.

    Some sort of settlement will probably be reached ultimately as very few condemnation actions actually go all the way to trial. With that being said, the condemnee in this case obviously has the resources to proceed to trial should a settlement not be reached. Additionally, if the court ultimately found in Microsoft’s favor and the resulting judgement met the 10% or greater threshold, then MS would be entitled to recover attorney fees as well. ST’s offer being so far under MS’s (apparently) well-documented assessment would seem to indicate meeting that threshold wouldn’t be an issue.

    Check. Your move Sound Transit.

    1. This post was meant to nest under the comment by Ness up above. I’m not sure what went wrong.

  9. Mike, I respect you but you’re not hearing me. This system isn’t imposed at fascist or POPULIST authoritarian gunpoint. Grad-school educated people trained in public administration created it. On the instructions of elected officials who whatever their other lack of career ambition including serving in Seattle, never took a bribe.

    But let me put it this way- because I’ve seen and had shoe-soles melted by transit machinery, and measured and reported door clearances that were going to cost somebody a finger. More or less signature Breda. For the bonus-deficient income of passengers who use our service like to not be nailed for truancy, that $124 – or anything else their parents will get their accounts docked by the courts for if they don’t pay- that’s an INJURY that if it doesn’t put you in jail for negligence, it should get you jumped in an allley.

    ‘Nother caution: In Washington State, at 18 you can both graduate high school and take your oath of office for the Legislature. Wrong calendar-date for the citation could indeed cost Sound Transit a hand.

    The elected Board that runs sound transit specked out machinery that injures passengers? No, it doesn’t just need to post another sign. Their signage is already their major cause of fare infractions. It means either call back or preferably replace the vendor, and get a new machine.

    You tell me it’s all right because they’ve made adjustments that reduce the damage from the injury? If
    Breda’s still in business, they might have a place for you either in the shop or on the legal team.

    Mark Dublin

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