25 Replies to “Podcast #93: Essential trips only”

  1. Would it be to hard on the eyes to post a vlog of this podcast with your webcams side by side talking to each other?

      1. You’ve got a great podcast. I enjoy listening to these very much. Thank you for creating this content. I was being a bit facetious and thank you for indulging me! However, I still stand by my suggestion.

        I wouldn’t mind sipping my beverage of choice while sitting on my couch staring at two talking heads discussing transit.

    1. Great idea. And perhaps do the vlog on location. For example, if one of the topics of discussion that week is the future Bellevue Station, do the vlog from that location. They can give is a tour of the area while they’re discussing it.

  2. Remedy for the Veto problem, neighborhood, city, county, or Seattle’sdying.com: Where’s Transit’s grass-roots Politics? Is Transportation Choices Coalition still in existence? Even if ordered at gunpoint, will not quit advocating enlisting passengers pre-school on up for a potent Grass-Roots.

    Having personally beentheredonethat from 1950 in Chicago, wouldn’t cost much in kindness and courtesy to guarantee ourselves a loyal and lifelong constituency. Kids. Love. Trains. Just look in any parent’s back-carrier, stroller, or lap and watch. Articulated buses work too.

    Convincing observation that every time the hinge flexes, the bus goes back in time. Would explain if not excuse a lot of delays. Interesting about kids and uniformed authority too. Treated with respect, children trend “pro.” And at eighteen, can become both voters and legislators.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Your post jogs this thought: One benefit from youth transit passes is the lifetime training about riding buses that it provides. Inducing more riders for 50-80 years is an investment not often recognized or quantified.

      I have encountered several adults who recently moved to our city but never rode transit before — and have told me that they haven’t used transit because they never learned how, and heard wildly-bad horror stories about the experience from non-riding people.

  3. Also regarding the youth-oriented measures I’m advocating, when time comes to rebuild transit along with the rest of our region’s economy, might be good to have a proposal on our elected officials’ desk to either hire or enlist, or both, large numbers of young people to do passenger-assistance.

    No rush about it. These days, every Time-Frame’s got to be manufactured in material able to take a lot of stretching, bending, and being smashed against the Ruth Fisher Room wall when Jay gives the Okay.

    But planning on this level works just fine online, especially under the control of people like Martin and Frank. Possible to add bracket warning like “What you just said: [T]hink [A]bout [I]t?”

    Mark Dublin

  4. We can offset some of the ridership losses by reducing our transit fleet and laying off drivers. Perhaps a fleet of 500 buses will be suitable for the next five years. We can sell the buses via auction and use the funds to offset state and local budgets. Simplify the schedule, offering 30 minute service on all routes during the week and hourly on weekends. Incentive employers to telecommute, drive, or bike to work. Provide free parking in the city. All these things can help slow the spread of covid and address growing budget deficits.

    1. Any claim that transit spreads COVID more than driving or walking? Prove it. Same with well-planned transit costing more tax money than driving. Seems to be plenty of budget for airlines, doesn’t there? Also for same order of tax-supported bailouts that put our banking system back in the hands of the exact people who wrecked it in 2008.

      Face it. We the People- proof being that my US flag is a full 36X48 inches instead of a collar pin the size of its owners’ real patriotism, and carries the same pattern as the one flown by the anti-slavery side of the Civil War- are not going to sit by and watch our public transit system deliberately destroyed by greed.

      Or the heart-felt need let loose in the land by the segment of the electorate that lost the 2016 Election by three millions votes, for somebody weaker than themselves to blame for their own self inflicted troubles. Give it your best and your worst side by side. They both look the same from here.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Transit doesn’t spread the Coronavirus. Proximity to someone carrying the virus does. So sitting too close to someone on a bus could increase the danger of transmission compared to driving a car, and that can impact a decision between driving and riding the bus. How do you distance on a bus carrying a lot of people? I’ve noticed in the past few days that several of the buses I’ve been on have had more than the maximum number of riders that Metro said drivers should allow. Not everyone is wearing a mask. Once wearing a mask becomes mandatory, how can Metro drivers be expected to enforce this? What happens when economic activity increases and even more people are riding? People will still be urged to distance. I’m sure Metro is working on the problem, and I’ll look forward to seeing what they come up with.

  5. Pierce is the one with the larger population. Pierce County is 860K vs Snohomish 787K. Pierce has the most exurban land in the ST district: Du Pont, Spanaway, Orting. I’m not sure if JBLM is in or out. Snohomish County has the least: Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish (town), Monroe, and Maltby are out. King County is in between: Issquah and Smammish are in but Covingon is out.

    This sets the stage for Pierce’s grievances: it has a larger population but only two Link stations in the very corner. More tax-hating exurbanites are in the district.

    1. Well, there is also a Tacoma Link extension, a Dupont Station and some more Sounder trains (and other small things), but the 8 miles of Link in Pierce with three stations — Fife, East Tacoma and Tacoma Dome — are all pretty weak local landmarks unless you like slot machines or big parking lots. Even more Sounder trains becomes less attractive once Link reaches Tacoma Dome. ST3 isn’t as transformational for Pierce residents like it is in Snohomish and King.

      Snohomish gets 16 miles of Link and 6 stations instead. On the other hand, their stations run through more dense areas and their pot isn’t split for lots of other projects except 405 BRT. Decades of anticipating Link stations at Ash Way, Mariner Way and Everett Amtrak/ Sounder resulted in clearer ST3 visions when time came to make the ST3 sausage.

      I recently got scolded when I said that Pierce didn’t have a thorough countywide transit master vision. I remain unconvinced that the ST3 sausage factory process was a good vision. If it was, there would not be this level of dissension.

      I believe that the only way to get Pierce invested in ST is to revisit the fundamental vision of transit countywide in a frank and participatory data-driven process. Without that lofty but politically difficult strategic direction, I think that Pierce will continue to push to exit ST until it happens. Now, the virus has put a shadow on transit generally and it may even be too late to do that.

      1. The non-existent long range plan:

        Having a good plan doesn’t prevent dissension. “If only we had a better master plan then everyone would vote for higher taxes” is the a Seattle Process sentiment. Mike is right – Pierce structurally as a larger population that is a hard-to-serve and/or not interested in being served by transit.

      2. Thanks for the link! It’s a transit plan! It’s a better supported transit plan than ST3 Pierce was. Still it appears to be only for Pierce Transit and doesn’t seem to include any actions for ST — or lofty recommendations of what an ST4 should fund.

        Perhaps more revealing, I see that the opening of TD Link doesn’t include profound network changes to lots of Pierce Transit routes; the summary changes listed here are mainly a rerouting of bus routes that that already operate in the corridor. Lots of that is likely because ST Express is already running. Still, if a regional transit investment of billions doesn’t enable the local transit operator advantages, it really gives me pause about the utility of those regional ST investments in the first place.

      3. It is a Pierce Transit Plan. PT can’t tell ST what to do; we voted on what to do. What’s missing is a comprehensive Pierce County transit plan covering both local and regional transit. That would have been useful when Sound Transit was created, and it would be necessary if Pierce withdraws from ST. That would have to be led by the county, which is responsible for both PT and non-PT, ST and non-ST areas. It could use PT’s planners and start from PT’s plan. Since it was the county and cities themselves that shaped ST’s Pierce plan, that gives a good indication of what they would do. But they’ve never presented a comprehensive transit plan for the county, or said what the post-ST2 feeders should be, or what the experience would be like traveling from western Tacoma to Seattle. They just assumed that if ST did something and PT did something, it would all work out.

      4. We talked about this plan before, and as I recall it was significantly better than the status quo. PT already has several crosstown routes so it has more of a grid than Metro, and thus maybe fewer changes are needed. The main problem with Pierce Transit is frequency, not route alignments.

  6. Clarification on Sounder – my understanding is that adding trips during peak to go from 20 minute to 15 minute headway, rather than expand the span of service – is driven by the consultant’s report that BNSF is giving a hard no on expanded span of service because of impact on freight. The report also notes ridership is much lower off peak, but seems to be setting up BNSF as the cover for no expanded span of service.

    From a transit perspective, I don’t see this as a major issue. It makes senses to double down on peak for commuter rail since that is when it is most valuable vs. express bus, with the grade separated ROW and high fixed costs per trip. While all-day Sounder is a laudable goal, going from 20 minute to 15 minute headways is a much better incremental improvement, as it provides a better quality of service when most commuters want it and significantly boosting peak capacity.

    1. At least Sounder would be frequent for some period. Tacoma Dome wouldn’t need express buses every five minutes if there were more Sounder capacity.

  7. I like the musing on the long distance, occasional transit rider telecommuter. The commentariat frequently complains that we build Link too far out into the suburbs, Link is too slow for anyone to ride from the endpoints into downtown, and we are over-investing in P&Rs. Seems like we are already optimized for the long distance, occasional transit rider telecommuter in the exburbs!

    1. Lots of people from Everett and Lynnwood will go to north Seattle. The south end just needs to put better destinations around its inner stations. Federal Way is planning a downtown. KDM has some smaller potential. SeaTac said it would have a mixed-use city center, although that’s been hindered by the owner of the adjacent hotel lot. If the KDM-Kent RapidRide is good, that could attract more people to downtown Kent. Tukwila is slowly doing something about the lots around TIB station.

      1. I do like how Metro Connects include a RapidRide from KDM Link to Kent to Green River Collage and another one from Green River Collage to Auburn and Federal Way Link. It’s shown by 2025 but I don’t see that happening.

      2. The plan was written in 2015 and was aspirational. I think “2025” really meant simultaneous with Federal Way Link in 2024. That would require a significant amount of advance funding and planning, which hasn’t happened yet. It’s hard to see how it could fit into five years, given a 1-2 year construction period, 1-5 years to acquire the buses, 1-2 years of planning, no space at the bus bases, and three other RapidRide projects which I assume take a lot of resources. (Madison, Renton-Auburn, Delridge, Kirkland. I assume Eastlake is after those.) This network was what the countywide Metro measure in August was going to fund, but the county withdrew it due to Covid19 and a Harborview measure in November. So there’s almost zero chance these will be RapidRides by 2025. Metro’s restructure now is to offer some kind of interim service, as it will on the 164.

  8. Three corrections:
    1) Pierce County Executive Bruce Damnliar is not Republicanish, he is a Republican. It’s a partisan office, he was elected as a Republican, and he has governed as a Republican.
    2) Pierce County has three, not two, link stations in ST3. You left off Fife.
    3) More of Pierce County is in the RTA district than of Snohomish County. That’s part of why we voted against ST3 while SnoCo voted for it; we have way more rural areas in the district.

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