38 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Cities Skylines”

  1. In keeping with the spirit of videos that inspire, I share this one on “trackless trams”:

    https://theconversation.com/why-trackless-trams-are-ready-to-replace-light-rail-103690

    I’m fascinated by the video’s discussion on ride quality. They describe that the guidance combined with a double-axle wheel set and great suspension combine to create a “rail quality” type of ride. The roof batteries charge at stations and at the ends.

    Perhaps the most intriguing part is how we could provide wide coverage across Seattle — as opposed to ST3 which only gives us 13 new Link station locations inside the City limits — for a comparable amount of money.

    We may need to do some soul searching about transit investments in the next year with lower revenues coming. Maybe we should take this a bit more seriously than a SimCity simulation?

    1. The drawback to the trackless trams would be finding right-of-way space within our crowded arterials. Our light rail system is expensive to build because we have to build much of its ROW from scratch. The technology shown in the article seems to be designed to operate within existing ROWs by widening streets to allow for tram lines. That would save a considerable amount in construction costs, but it isn’t really feasible within most of our region due to our already crowded streets. Cities with existing BRT ROWs could apply the technology very inexpensively, however. Mexico City’s BRT system would be a great place to install the system.

    2. I generally agree that ROW and protected tracks would be the challenge. I could see a few places that may be more easily applicable like on RapidRide lines. These corridors come to mind:

      — Elliott/15th
      — Aurora
      — Lake City Way

      I’m not sure how it could work on 520 or 405 or even a higher speed arterial like Pacific Highway or 900 or 516.

      It may also be a great technology instead of a rail streetcar in an exclusive lane to reach places like Belltown, the CD, First Hill, Rainier Avenue, parts of West Seattle (feeding Link).

      I’ve never seen this first hand, so I can’t really provide any testimonial. The trackless idea has been theorized for a long time, but many had previously come away saying that it feels like a bus and not a tram. The ride quality of these vehicles seem to be improving quickly so studies begun even five years ago wouldn’t have taken this seriously. It wasn’t part of public technology discussions that led up to ST3 in the 2013-2015 studies or the Center City Connector, for example.

      I’m not convinced that this is always a good solution. However, its cost savings and quick implementation (compared to 10-15 years of light rail planning) seem to be moving it into an option that could be viable — as opposed to summarily ignored like our region has done in the recent past.

      1. These corridors come to mind:

        — Elliott/15th
        — Aurora
        — Lake City Way

        Yep. As AJ mentions down below, it is a way to address capacity issues. Basically it is like a streetcar, without all the disadvantages. It is hard to say if it is really needed, although it could save some money. In reading about capacity issues, three minutes seems to be the breaking point. It is mentioned both by Jarrett Walker and Alon Levy in this post https://humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html. It is worth noting that Levy is a fan of rail, while Walker doesn’t care. But both acknowledge that if you are running buses every three minutes, you need to start looking for alternatives.

        That is an oversimplification, of course. Corridors with lots of traffic lights will clog up at every three minutes, whereas a grade separated busway would be just fine. Level, all-door boarding (with off-board payment) can make a huge difference. But it is a very good rule of thumb. I don’t think anyone would argue that surface transit, mixing with traffic, benefits from better than three minute frequency. What you gain with frequency, you lose by bunching. Likewise, a bus every three minutes is better than a bus running every six or ten.

        In terms of corridors, Elliot/15th has converging buses (a trunk and branch system). The 15, 17, 18, 19, 24, 33 and the D all serve that road. Each one goes somewhere different, and I don’t think any particular bus runs so often that you are better off replacing them with a mega-bus.

        The E runs every 4 minutes. I think you could run it every 6 minutes and save some money. For the average rider, it might not be as good, but then again, given its (very long) length, it might result in less bunching. But the Aurora corridor does have an express (the 301) and pretty soon, some riders will take a two seat ride via Link. That could mean that the overall demand that results in the 4 minute frequency just goes away, as riders take alternatives.

        I believe the 522/312 (which is essentially the same bus) is the most frequent bus during peak. It runs every three minutes for about an hour and a half in the morning, and the same every evening. Based on the schedule, there is no schedule. The buses are just running as often as they can, serving a very slightly different set of riders, sometimes waiting for each other, sometimes leap frogging. Without a doubt this is a place where a higher capacity vehicle would add value. Oh, and you also have the 309, which follows the exact same corridor, but deviates ever so slightly at the end (a reverse split, if you will). Once Link gets to Roosevelt, I would send all buses there, and that means lots of buses running back to back to Roosevelt.

        But of course, a few years later, the buses from north of Lake City all go to 145th. From 125th (the most popular stop on the 522/312), riders will have a faster connection via the 130th station. That pretty much splits the demand in half. I’m not sure if you need the extra capacity at that point (for either section).

        I think it is worth noting that while the buses are (I imagine) relatively cheap, the bus stops would have to be much, much bigger. This may be difficult or expensive to pull off in some cases.

        It is a worthwhile technology. It is definitely something worth considering. I’m just not sure if we will ever need it.

      2. Good analysis.

        I would point out that going form 4 minute to 6 minute head-ways is 15 to 10 vehicles/hour, or 33% O&M savings all else equal. So even if the E doesn’t “need” it for capacity reasons, is still may make sense if the E is getting enough all day demand that KCM finds it needs to run 4 minute headways over a longer and longer time window. But if we have driverless buses, they yeah, 60′ bus every 4 minutes is better than a 100′ train every 6 minutes, all else equal.

        For 15th Ave, I could see a trackless train up 15/Holman/105th between Northgate and Ballard (with elevated guideway between Aurora and Northgate over I5), in lieu of an ST4 Link extension. An “eBart”-esque solution where you take a ‘logical’ rail extension and swap out the technology. But you are likely correct – this corridor is best served with multiple buses that overlap on the higher ridership segments.

        Now pulling out my crayon, you could build a bus tunnel between Ballard and UW with a trackless train, such that you can run at grade on city streets west of 15th and east of UW as the ‘tails’ of a Ballard-UW high capacity route. If tying directly into the existing Link system become problematic, then there is no advantage to using the same technology.

      3. I think you People are missing a key point — ride quality! There are legitimate debates about performance, but the vehicle provides a level of comfort akin to a smooth train and that’s very attractive to many riders that a standard Metro bus doesn’t have.

      4. Oh I think redesigning all 60-foot buses for better suspension and guidance would be great! I’m a big supporter of better rider experience. I really love how I can have a reliably comfortable ride when I’m on a train. Sometimes, riding a bus makes me a little queasy and that doesn’t happen when I’m on rail.

        I’m just not sure if the public wants to foot the bill of switching the fleet or buying more expensive replacement vehicles. There is also an ongoing maintenance component that seems more involved than what we have today.

      5. There will be some trade-offs for heavier suspension systems. The extra weight will negatively impact engine performance and cause more pavement damage, which in the long run, will cause a rougher ride. Vehicle load limits are based on the thickness of the street surface. If the streets have to be reinforced with heavier concrete pads, the cost of building the bus line will increase.

        The trucks and suspension systems for passenger rail cars are quite heavy, but they do offer a smoother ride. Streetcars and LRVs have the advantage of running on smooth rails.

    3. Al S., this discussion’s zero percent ideology and hundred percent MAINTAINABLE ride quality. Around Seattle right now, is there any shortage of evidence as to how much value the service area attaches to maintaining pavement and the structures that carry it?

      This link’s a good kick-off point for a discussion of comparative cost of a seated passenger being able to read a book without getting their glasses shaken off, real-time and project life-span. Also max-pertinent which surface, grooved rail or pavement, is cheaper and easier to fix.

      Floor’s open.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Al. S: That’s actually what I’m doing in Downtown Seattle. There’s a good RoW there that won’t require deep tunnels, and offer superior acess to First Hill. However, I’m not giving up on Overhead Electrification, or considering any Single tracking in my plan, but vehicles capable of 79 mph+ are in.

        AJ: I’m not really sacrificing that much in the way of frequency in my plan. Though my plan isn’t really commiting to one set of frequncies.

    4. I’ve been doing such soul searching. Though I’m taking a different tack when it comes to rejiggering ST3 plans. One element I’m going with is building the entireity of the spine, but deferring most of the stations on it. It’s a cost saving concept that I got Charles Marohn over on Strong Towns.

      1. Stations are roughly $100M a pop, so the savings are modest relative to building miles of track. Which stations would you defer?

      2. For Federal Way-Tacoma, all of them, For Lynwood-Everett, all but one, and deferring the Paine Field alignment in favor of I-5. My strategy here is to the make Spine useful, one that runs counter to a lot of the thinking here right now. And the best way to go about that IMO is move Cascades to the Spine.

      3. Not building subway stations would be a huge cost savings (I estimate around 400-800 million per station)! However, not building surface stations wouldn’t save very much — although not building the costly adjacent parking garages would probably save more money than the surface stations themselves.

        Assuming the likely serious funding shortfall scenario (and assuming that getting more funds from elsewhere is too difficult), the choice about completing the spine should be whether to build is short of its intended end points, or to build it with its end points intact but with less frequent service provided by different vehicles that don’t require overhead wires. I realize that neither result is what ardent transit advocates want, but financial circumstances will likely require that this basic question be asked at some point. Otherwise, there will be even larger political outcries from Snohomish and Pierce subareas that they aren’t being treated fairly when the financial axe does drop.

        I’ve long advocated for considering an alternative to build the spine tentacles as self-propelled rail vehicles — with substantial portions of the line as single track and a cross platform transfer where the change occurs. These trains actually go faster than a Link train (80 mph rather than 55 mph top speed). The only drawback is that the dream of six-minute frequency would have to be delayed — but as I’ve pointed out several times recently — six minutes is terribly unproductive for the most outer segments. As more money comes, the lines could be gradually converted to double tracks, and six minutes would be possible if enough transfer platforms are built at the transfer station.

        This scenario has played out with BART in the State Route 4 corridor (10-mile Antioch extension on entirely new tracks), and is still playing out in the longer I-580 corridor (Livermore/Tracy extension). BART cleverly “branded” their new self-propelled vehicle service (same frequency as BART but with a vehicle transfer across a platform) as an extension of their main BART route. Of course, BART only has 15 or 20 minute service on that part of the line, so it’s not quite as politically and technically complicated to implement as it would here.

      4. If you defer a subway station, you’d still want to build the station box.

        As Martin likes to say: 6 minute frequencies through the entire spine is a feature, not a bug, of the spine. Pierce and Snohomish want a high level of service to move around within their counties, not commuter rail level of service service.

      5. Light rail is not intrinsically limited to 55 mph, it’s just ST’s track/turn/incline specs and train specs that are limited to 55 mph. ST has started making noises about trying to raise them in the unbuilt segments, but that will be difficult when the middle is already built or constructed.

    5. The rubber/rail hybrid concept has been around in many forms for a century or more. The first thing that came to mind is the Paris Metro. Other than being really quiet I don’t see it being a win over conventional rail. If, like in Seattle, you’re trying to run an underground roller coaster then maybe the traction advantage would help but as soon as you go above ground you lose that advantage in snow/ice conditions.

      From this Wikipedia piece on Rubber-tyred trams this “trackless tram” sounds like an electronic high tech version of slot car technology. The number of systems that have been or plan to be replaced with conventional rails makes me think it’s not a good value long term.

      Of course the iconic Seattle guided rubber tired rail is the Monorail. It’s main advantage is that it’s elevated and can therefore double up on street ROW and still have exclusive grade separation. I still believe the West Seattle to Ballard monorail was a good idea (compared to Link) but horribly executed from a funding and planning perspective.

      1. Bernie, all “Monorail” really means is “One Rail.” Favorite example of I’ve mine, though I’ve never been to see it is in Wuppertal Germany. Diving elephant is true, but best if we let the little guy jump closer to the Locks than Fremont.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaDDd4Rixi4

        Chief thing about it is that it was designed precisely for the location that was fortunately available to it: an urban canal to build the structure over for the trains to hang from.

        Might actually be time to run this video past businesses, homeowners, Fishermens’ Terminal, Port of Seattle, Fremont, and UW to see if there’s some interest. Masts could be trouble.

        Been awhile since I rode it, but I don’t remember that those giant tires gave the Seattle Center line an especially smooth ride. For the rail, even though there’s only one stout one- what I said before about Seattle’s willingness to bring concrete up to speed-running. Let alone keep it there.

        Whatever the caliber of the trains, flanged steel wheels can run on a variety of structures. Reason I’ve been stressing the latest new possibilities of a variety of construction modes.

        If “Underground Roller Coaster” means the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, there’s nothing perjorative about a piece of railroad engineering taking tubes equally fit for electric transit’s most fitting modes and freely-steered buses- handling the pre-existing curves and grades with precision.

        Not sure if Essen Germany still runs rubber tired trolleybuses through its downtown tunnel, with the tires running on linear pads between the rails, and a foldable roller on the steering axle of the bus. Also done in Australia, I think. We proved the expense needless.

        What Parsons and Kaiser gave us, I could run that tunnel at at least thirty pedal down, and wouldn’t have refused an order to make it five or ten faster, without even feeling cramped. Only reason for precision slow order was the passing-wire switches in the station. UNDER the BN track just north of Jackson, OVER it at Century Square, about that I’d complain with my hat respectfully off.

        Losing maybe three days of work when a flooding control cab gave us the location of the underground river from which Spring Street got its name. Engineers created dewatering that dried the dirt out so fast we had to get it wet again.

        And gave us Killer argument all around for both the bus-type and the trains we chose. Prize female poodle that Neoplan actually gave us the low bid, which we couldn’t accept because in clear violation of the specs, they would not give us a performance bond, leaving us with a supplier the Swedish Air Force and the Norwegian Navy should’ve dealt with for the junk THEY got.

        The Neoplan had its quirks, but instead of the miserably weak little diesel that Breda’s rolling scrap-yard had to use on the highway, the Germans gave us for highway use the diesel electric package common to cross-country rail. In addition to trolleypoles. Fellow advisory committee member and I got threatened with discipline for dropping the poles with the coach in motion, but no complaints from either the wire or the bus.

        If facts on the ground justify another try anywhere else, Bernie, very likely I’ll go with you. Because in addition to proving out the bus type, whatever kind of rail Link is classed as-it’s a damned good fit wherever ST’s now got it. Ability to run street rail like in Portland- let’s measure and find out if we need it and, as we’ve done so far, lean toward not.

        FDW, really hope Icelandair gets its test and vaccine, so we can send a delegation to ride from Gothenburg to Ystad on one of those purple electric consists they call the “Little Boy Trains.” Pagatag = “Pogue-a-Togue”. With Link installed just where it’s planned, for its intended purpose. Unless either Siemens or Kinki Sharyo say they were just kidding about no bathrooms.

        Has Sam Zimbabwe still got streetcar dealings with Finland?

        Mark Dublin

      2. The roller coaster is from DT to Capitol Hill then diving back down below sea level under the Montlake Cut. It will continue with the tight curve and rise to the U District. West Seattle’s going to be a similar max grade endeavour and depend on what they do in Ballard to cross the Ship Canal. East Link has it’s at grade crossing of NE 24th to the elevated 148th crossing. Then the long downhill slide into Redmond. And the Bellevue tunnel is reminiscent of the Seattle Center Mad Mouse with its minimum radius turns.

        The ride quality of the Seattle Monorail is what you’d expect for a 50 year old exhibit that had no planned future after the fair. I’m sure a modern design would be acceptable ride quality. FWIW, the design other than the guidance is the same as “trackless tram” in the Al S. video. Most estimates I’ve seen straddle beam monorail is considerably cheaper than conventional light rail to build. There’s more frequent vehicle maintenance but steel wheels and rail are far from maintenance free. Steel rails are super efficient at carrying heavy loads. I’m not sure West Seattle will ever need that much capacity opting instead for small trains and higher frequency.

    6. I think they make good sense in a vacuum, when a system doesn’t have an existing mode. Instead, I’d focus on looking at our best bus routes that don’t have planned Link upgrades. For example, this technology could work well on the Aurora corridor to solve E-line capacity issues.

      A great example would be LA’s orange line, which is a BRT line that is due for an upgrade to light rail for capacity reasons. Upgrading to a rubber tired system would presumably be significantly cheaper because most of the existing dedicated busway does not need to be improved, and I hope LA Metro considers this option.

      I could see the Kirkland and/or Issaquah lines use this technology, which would be closer to the initial ST3 alignment* than the final ST3 alignment**. In Kirkland, it would allow for the ROW to be a busway, supporting multiple routes.
      *follow 405 between Factoria and Willburton
      **interline between East Main and Willburton

      But for the spine, it makes more sense to continue to expand the existing technology and have an technology required transfer. eBART made good sense in its context, but I’m not seeing where it would work well in ST3 for the spine … OMF N & S locations will require LRT to go to at least Paine Field and SFW, respectively, and at that point you might as well continue LRT to Everett and Tacoma to avoid the transfers.

      1. “… will require LRT to go to at least Paine Field and SFW, respectively, and at that point you might as well continue LRT to Everett and Tacoma to avoid the transfers.“

        SFW to Tacoma Dome is 9 miles with only three stations past SFW.

        Mariner Way to Everett is 10 miles with only 3-4 stations past Mariner Way.

        E-BART is 10 miles of entirely new track with two further stations. That kind of throws the non-comparable argument away.

      2. Hmm, eBart was a bit longer than I thought. My understanding was BART didn’t have the rolling stock to support the extension, which freed them to buy different, much cheaper vehicles for the extension.

        I suppose you could run Link to Paine Field, and then run a trackless train from Paine Field to Everett. One advantage I could see is it would then be much easier to run the trackless train on the street-grid through Everett to the community college, as that’s the logical extension beyond Everett station.

        For Tacoma, I still don’t see the appeal. At that point, you might as well just have a bus lane on I5 and build two freeway stations at East Tacoma and Fife (i.e. the ‘dammeier’ plan). Otherwise, what’s the advantage of building trackless guide-way instead of rail guide-way?

      3. The trackless trams mentioned in Al S’s post have a top speed of 70 kph or just over 40 mph. That’s sufficient for in-city commute routes, but longer distance trips will need better technology before the trackless tram is viable.

      4. it would be an interesting idea to implement in Kirkland. I’m not sure how to lay out the “tracks” between Downtown a Kirkland and Link (it’s too slow for a freeway) but it would seem to be better than the lone South Kirkland station in 2041, (At 1100 weekday boardings, that station has the lowest volume of any of the ST3 stations in 2041 forecasts).

      5. I think you’d go back to the Kirkland BRT route concepts, where you follow the ERC and either have to have a divergence to hit downtown or skip it.

  2. Oran, this is brilliant. Is this software you’ve worked on? But for planners and audiences alike, a few suggestions.

    I’m not kidding to the twentieth power that Lake Washington Technical Institute needs to be immediately gifted with this software, with candidates acceptance-ready with a nod from Jay. Link and buses locate it very well in the design-service area.

    Could be Windows has ceased supporting my own brain’s software with the rest of Windows 7. But my viewing comprehension doesn’t flash around like this. In the part of my consciousness that I think counts most deeply, the “feel” of a plan counts for more than the look of it at a fast-moving series of glances. Any way to slow it down?

    Yeah…..tempo does look a little too familiar this morning, doesn’t it? COVID-symptom or just effect of massive uncertainty on all our consciousness, everything in our perception feels both boring, frantic and infuriating at the same time.

    For the Class of 2020, Nature’s immunology might yet work in your favor. Western State’s full so that’s not a metric, but if you can learn to handle input like this, not only can you save your own lives and anybody else you think deserves it.

    At 18 you can both vote and take office on every elective body that deals with transit. Think Oregon may be looking at 16- know they got that from Scotland, and that “Wraps” can assure that every subarea’s fleet can wear its own plaid.

    The Book says no broadswords (Over history, the steel “Claymores” killed more enemies than the mines have yet matched) but strap-on cutlery called a “dirk” fits inside a work-sock without violating Uniform. Bagpipe disk on the PA will definitely indicate clearly when the bus is Essentially full.

    And also, are any presentations like this available for underground section views? Would definitely make a lot easier not only the details of a Ballard-UW plan, but possibly the decision whether or not to ever build it.

    But BTW: San Francisco might be good “study” for work apportionment. BART: Regional heavy-rail. MUNI METRO:light-railcars running both streets-with-stop-signs, subway, and some track fully-reserved. And especially TROLLEYBUSES whose ability to drag huge loads up steep hills keeps CABLE CARS where they’re needed.

    Mark Dublin

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiSogKnPsC8

    I couldn’t find the “clip” showing a speeding military armored car speed past and a trolley going maybe fifty, “cut it off” to show off, and get flattened.

    But I’m looking at a PLAN map from the Sverdrup Corporation, dated to the DSTT construction period that Project Chief Engineer Vladimir Khazak detailed our union advisory group to come look at.

    Idea was to run the Route 7 through the Tunnel, then continue wire eastbound over existing ramps to I-90, “trailing in” to the Rainier Avenue wire at Dearborn.

    Implications for rail? My own guess is that the buses would’ve gone back to the surface when tunnel went single-wire for trains of voltage incompatible with buses. Which would run MLK.

    Calculation being that meantime, passenger loads carried by the 7 would justify their temporary DSTT presence.

    I voted “Next Shake-up, GIMME!” but somebody else needed the $12 million dollars. Most likely ongoing maintenance to keep the Breda fleet on the road instead of sitting hub-cap deep in concrete shattered by vehicle weight.

    Now I’ll have to wait ’til IT joins Sound Transit to pick Ellensburg when they wire Snoqualmie Summit. But I think this link really says the blanket truth about transit mode choice in general: “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way.”

    Mark Dublin

  4. I haven’t been on Sound Transit’s sight for over a week, but I looked around today and found construction web cameras for Lynwood Link. I like those. I started watching them years ago when U-link was getting started. I don’t really look at Northgate Link stations anymore, but still look at the 405 crossing videos of East Link.

    1. I’d be surprised if Sound Transit opens Northgate Link in 2021. They will likely wait until 2022 to open the extension. There will be construction delays, operation budget issues, social distancing concerns with passengers, and questions on future ridership as downtown Seattle begins a slow death.

      1. I see construction workers on East Link at the I-90 bridge. It’s also just been eight weeks thus far. I think most of the remaining time allocated on Northgate will be for systems testing so I remain hopeful that 2021 is still doable.

        I was worried that Link could not handle to loads for Northgate until Link 2 (East Link) opens in 2023. I don’t think it will be a problem now — but I’m not sure how social distancing will affect train loads either (how many riders will be allowed in each car).

      2. If you think a year’s delay in the face of a worldwide disease outbreak is something anybody would get surprised about one way or the other, name me one project bigger than a driveway immune to construction delays and operational budget issues. Told you to keep your damn dog off my wet concrete!

        Body count for the 737 Max, which used to be a fine airliner, is, what, 360 passengers in two consecutive preventables? For speed of events, what are this morning’s betting odds that Boeing won’t be into private prisons before 2022? Profit-prioritizing executives responsible, unfortunately, my bet is they won’t fill Cell One.

        Anybody who’s worked Emergency, does an hour go by when you don’t have to break it to a patient they’re not really dying? Starting with Ballard, what’s ailing Seattle is a temporary shortage of Mark Dublins.

        Chief marker for the disease is that the whole civic body gets so packed with money and fear of the helpless that no sign of motion is detectable. Bus, BRT, Link, Streetcar, ST Express- any of them.

        Luckily, at least one source in a position to know is reporting that most promising cure looks to be an expansion of transit-related living space to an area whose limits east of the Sound are Bellingham and Olympia. Stay tuned.

        https://markforged.com/mark-two/

        And where’s my MASK?!

        Mark Dublin

  5. I realize, this is probably not at the top of people’s minds when they think about transit, but is Trailhead Direct ever coming back? I realize it probably needs to be out this year for social distancing, but what about future seasons after a vaccine has been made available?

    My default assumption here is that, when the time comes, whoever has been paying for it will have found something else to spend their money on. Or, they’re still recovering from the COVID recession long past the time when everybody is vaccinated, and the money simply isn’t there. Oh well, the fun was nice while it lasted.

    1. It was motivated by full parking lots at the trailheads and the desire not to build larger ones, and to reduce driving and make the outdoors accessible to the carless, particularly those in urban centers the county has been promoting. None of those factors will go away. If the aftermath of coronavirus causes people to drive more and go to the trails more, then it will exacerbate these factors, especially demand for parking spaces. That could lead to renewed interest in Trailhead Direct. The funding was a partnership between the parks department and Metro from what I understand. It’s hard to see the parks department finding something else to spend its money on, not when the problem of full parking lots will be ongoing.

      1. How about the State charges a rate for parking such that there are always a few spaces available. Then takes the money and contracts with Metro for bus service. This would be in addition to the Discover Pass although there would be a discount for having one.

      2. These are county trailheads. The shuttles don’t go out as far as most state forests.

      3. It’s hard to find a good market clearing parking rate when demand varies so much from day to day depending on the weather. Charge the right amount when it’s sunny, the place will be empty when it’s raining.

        And, even if it were possible to charge different amounts on different days, charging enough to manage demand would be political suicide. No official is going to get re-elected if parking at Mt. Si on a sunny day costs more than parking in downtown Seattle.

      4. I think some Chambers of Commerce also contributed, though I don’t recall how much. I hope they saw it as good value (I know my partner and I and some friends patronized an Indian restaurant in Issaquah after a few hikes we wouldn’t have w/o Trailhead Direct) but until business recovers it might be hard to justify.

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