King County Metro

This is an open thread.

56 Replies to “News roundup: disconcerting”

    1. Wow, I thought that was the secondary option. It may that Edmonds is more important to north King County than Aurora is to Snohomish County.

      1. I had a more pessimistic interpretation. Reading the article, it sounded like riders said it was important to maintain existing transfers, which may mean it was not clearly explained that Option A could still have strong same-direction transfers to the E. Also this may be a classic case of transit operators prioritizing a smaller group of existing riders over a larger group of potential riders, which is a bummer.

        Maybe when they cut all the trees on Meridian to make way for the Swifts buses, the homeowner uproar will get the buses back on the arterials.

      2. Yeah, that’s my take too. My reading of the article is that it was more about “don’t change anything at Aurora Village” than “make the bus get to Link faster”. Which is not at all surprising considering that the people who know about the survey are existing riders, not future riders.

        I can only hope that the southbound bus will at least stop on 200th on the street, rather than make two additional left turns to go into and out of the Aurora Village bus bays, just because that’s what it’s always done (and had to do in order to turn the bus around). Unfortunately, I’m not super optimistic. The practice of a turnaround loop turning into a detour when a bus route is extended has happened again and again over the years, route 26 at Green Lake being a recent, egregious example of this.

      3. “Also this may be a classic case of transit operators prioritizing a smaller group of existing riders over a larger group of potential riders, which is a bummer.”

        A bird in hand is no longer worth two in the bush?

      4. To be clear, assuming the bus stops on 200th St., avoiding the left turns in and out of the bus bays *and* articulated buses are able to make the right turn onto Meridian Ave., it doesn’t really matter much. One way or another, the left turn off Aurora has to happen, anyway.

        My concern is that, every time there’s a transit center, the default behavior is that every bus has to leave the street and serve the bus bays, regardless of cost/benefit. I see this not just in Seattle, but cities everywhere. I grew up in a neighborhood with a particularly egregious example of this, where a choice to serve the bus bays vs. stop across the street forced the bus to make three left turns instead of one right turn.

        In the case of SWIFT, there isn’t really much benefit to deviating. 200th is easy to cross. There’s a shopping center on one side and apartments on the other, and no clear reason for the bus to “prefer” the shopping center over the apartments. There is the transfer to the E line, but 200th isn’t that wide and has crosswalks, so it doesn’t look like that big of a deal.

        Ironically, the transfer would have actually been smoother had the SWIFT bus stayed on Aurora and did another stop farther south. As it is, the transfer will require waiting for a total of 3 additional lights.

      5. asdf2,

        Isn’t the 303 typically run with an articulated bus? It currently operates on the same routing that Swift by turning right on Meridian would so I imagine it’s not an issue

      6. One way or another, the left turn off Aurora has to happen, anyway — it doesn’t really matter much..

        Yes it does. As I wrote below, there are several negative ramifications to this routing:

        1) There will be no stops between 200th and the 185th station, making travel across the border a pain.

        2) Same direction transfers on SR 99 will be considerably slower.

        3) Transfers overall would be worse, because the transfer from Richmond Beach (and the possible Point Wells development area mentioned here) has to occur at the 185th Link Station, thus requiring a couple miles of backtracking.

        4) Even if it doesn’t enter the transit center, it will be considerably slower to get to the Link Station, especially if there is heavy traffic on Meridian.

        5) Slower (less consistent) travel time means less frequent service.

        To be clear, dealing with items 1 and 3 would require an additional stop in King County, something Community Transit has no interest in doing. Fair enough. That is their prerogative.

        But if they added a stop at 200th, and the bus went on Aurora and 185th, the bus would be faster, more frequent, and transfers (especially the most common one) would be better. This is essentially treating Swift like the 101, and forcing it to make a detour to enable better access to … Costco, perhaps? That is the only benefit I see for riders.

      7. “To be clear, dealing with items 1 and 3 would require an additional stop in King County, something Community Transit has no interest in doing.”

        In the last (?) post on this subject matter I hinted that this was the direction that CT was likely to go, so I’m not terribly surprised by the outcome that’s being reported on here. To be clear, I’m not advocating for CT’s apparent position; there are clearly regional benefits to adding a stop on the King County side of 99 as several commenters have elaborated upon. I think my earlier point got lost in the whole ensuing “discussion” about whose ask it was or where the ask was coming from. (For the record, it WAS a King County Metro ask.) Oh well, Meridian it is.

      8. There are really two different issues and they get conflated. Assume that CT only wants to have two stops in King County: One at the station, and one somewhere else. Fair enough.

        The bus should go down Aurora, then turn on 185th. It should stop just south of 200th (both directions) which is what the E Line does right now. That would have two very positive ramifications:

        1) Significantly faster trip to 185th Station.

        2) Much faster connection between Link and the RapidRide E Line.

        Those are, by far, the largest set of riders for Swift in King County. They are getting a bad routing. It has nothing to do with the two agencies cooperating: Swift riders are getting screwed. Oh, I’m sure some love the current setup — if you have a dental appointment with Dr. Yao it is quite convenient — but a vast majority of riders are going to be needlessly delayed if they go ahead with this proposal.

    2. Yeah, that is a terrible choice. It is especially bad that the survey mentioned “bus-to-bus connections” as being a major consideration, and yet this is clearly the worst option for that. I think this is the fault of those in charge, as they didn’t explain how the transfers would work under the other proposals. It is pretty easy to imagine, but since CT didn’t spell it out, people assumed the worst — they assumed that the only way to transfer is via the transit center (as it is today).

      As mentioned, best case scenario this stops outside the Transit Center, and not in it. Even then, there are some significant negative effects:

      1) There will be no stops in King County, other than next to the Aurora Transit Center and the Link Station. This has several negative ramifications:

      1A) Travel across the border will be dramatically hindered, as it is today. For example, it is quite likely that someone in the Echo Lake Apartments goes to school at Edmonds College or works at Swedish Edmonds. Instead of a short, fast and relatively frequent trip, they will be stuck with the same awkward transfer they have today (https://goo.gl/maps/SLv3srnJRTcTbgQ38). Or they will simply drive, since it is so much faster.

      1B) Same direction transfers on the largest, busiest corridor in the state will be slow. Heading south, for example, Swift will leave the bus-only confines of Aurora to make a left turn onto 200th. Riders will then get off at 200th, and cross the street, to catch the E Line. The E Line will then head back to Aurora, and begin its journey by waiting to take another left. That is a good five minutes of extra driving for no good reason. In contrast, if Swift kept going on Aurora and turned on 185th, the transfer could occur on Aurora, which would mean that the transfer would involve the exact same bus stop, and riders would never leave the bus lanes of Aurora. Swift is the premier bus route for Snohomish County, yet it is making a huge detour, to save some riders a tiny amount of walking. BRT my ass.

      1C) The transfer from Richmond Beach (and the possible Point Wells development area mentioned here) would occur at the 185th Link Station, thus requiring a couple miles of backtracking. There is no transfer that would be made better (because every bus that goes to the Aurora Village TC would cross Swift if it took the Aurora to 185th).

      2) Even if it doesn’t enter the transit center, it will be considerably slower to get to the Link Station. There will be two additional turns each direction, one of them being a time consuming left. When traffic is bad, the buses will spend almost a mile in congested Meridian, instead of in bus lanes on Aurora. Shoreline plans on adding bus lanes on 185th between Midvale (essentially Aurora) and the station, to support frequent bus service on the corridor. There are no plans (that I know of) to add bus-lanes on Meridian or 200th. Thus Swift could run in bus lanes the entire way, but is instead running in potentially congested streets for well over a mile. It is taking the slow way, for no good reason.

      What is especially baffling about this decision is that the 101 already serves the transit center. Those interested in a (somewhat) shorter walk to Costco have that option. The 101 is designed for exactly those types of trips. Swift was meant to avoid costly time consuming detours, yet that is exactly what they plan on adding.

  1. Where did Woodway come from? The last time I took the 130 to Edmonds there was a city between Aurora Village and Edmonds called Woodway that I’d never heard of. To me it looked like what I’d always thought was part of Edmonds. Was Woodway an old town that incorporated recently? Or was it there all along and I’d missed it?

    1. Apparently it’s been there since 1914: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodway,_Washington

      But Point Wells is on unincorporated land, so the County is managing the process. So Woodway has been complaining loudly about the development b/c their suffer the traffic without collecting any of the development fees and taxes.

      A point Ruston esque development always seemed like a nice outcome, but the developer got zero traction on an Sounder infill statement. Seems like the developer failed to navigate the local politics, which is a key skill for large developments. Pivoting to non-residential is a bummer for North Sounder, but it’s clearly a tricky site and without political support it’s probably too difficult to pull off anything more than a minor development.

      1. Yeah that would work too. Where did the plant end up going?

        I googled the Sundquist-Echelbarger development and looks like the city ended up winning.

      2. Brightwater. All our poo is pumped uphill to be processed miles from the sea, then it goes down a pipe to be discharged just off Point Wells. It makes no sense.

      3. Yeah, the two main treatment plants are in Discovery Park and Whitewater. Discovery Park is the one that irritates me. It is the nicest park in Seattle, and a very special place. West Point is well named — it the westernmost point on the main part westernmost point on the east side of Puget Sound (i. e. it sticks out further into the sound than anything on that side). You can see all of the Olympics, as well as Mount Baker from that point. It is a large park with significant native wildlife, yet the sewage plant takes up a good chunk of the area. They didn’t have to put the plant there. They could have put it in industrial land in West Seattle. It would have cost more, but not that much more.

        The other plant probably should have been in Point Wells, since it is all industrial land as well. (Although if they do rebuild the area, then having it elsewhere is fine). Still, not many places actually want a sewage plant in their neighborhood — it is crazy that they didn’t give it to them.

      4. the two main treatment plants are in Discovery Park and Whitewater Brightwater.

        The two main treatment plants are West Point (in Discovery Park, 90M gal/day) and the South Treatment Plant on the Duwamish River in Renton. The South Plant (90M gal/day) is lead for Brightwater (36M gal/day). It’s also the lead for the Vashon & Carnation treatment plants. There’s also four Wet Weather treatment plants to help keep up with storm overflow, Carkeek, Alki, Elliott West and Henderson. Currently under construction is another Wet Weather plant in Georgetown.

      5. The South Plant doesn’t get much love. I quoted KCM in saying it is in Renton which is true. It empties into the Duwamish because it is located on the site of the now non-existent Black River. Before Lk WA was lower by the Montlake Cut Lk WA drained from the south via the Black River. That “river” no longer exists on the surface but has been replaced by the South Plant.

        Brightwater was built because of the need in East King and South Snohomish. It was not a substitute for Pt. Wells. Completely different drainage. The advantage of Brightwater is, being uphill from the sea treated water can be used for irrigation. Paul Allen (rest his sole) provided the money to put in place a working system that proves the value of this approach.

      6. For folks like myself who reside in the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District (AWWD), our wastewater is treated at one of three plants. Folks frequently forget about the AWWD plant at Picnic Point. I’m just glad to finally be a customer since up to about ten years ago my property was supported by a private sewer (septic system) that was about at the end of its useful life.

        The following web page explains why the district sends wastewater to the Brightwater Plant.

        http://www.awwd.com/HowToTips/KC_CleanWater.ashx?p=1421

      7. Vashon has a sewer system? Our house in the northwest part had a well and septic system. How much of the island is connected to the sewer?

      8. Another thing about gravity, treatment plants wedged between a steep hill and the sea have nowhere for the discharge to go but into the water. Brightwater (and South Plant) have reclaimed water projects. The treated water has high levels of nitrogen which means a golf course, sports complex or park can eliminate the need for fossil fuel derived fertilizer. It’s even used for organic crops.

      9. @Bernie
        “Brightwater only treats sewerage from Northeast King County and Southeast Snohomish County.”

        I think that’s a typo and should read “Southwest” Snohomish County. For example, the district I live in in SW SnoCo, Alderwood WWD, sends the majority of its wastewater to the Brightwater Plant.

        “Brightwater was built because of the need in East King and South Snohomish. It was not a substitute for Pt. Wells.”

        That’s my understanding of this as well. We actually have had a couple of moratoriums on new sewer connections here in the AWWD over the last ten or so years due to capacity issues at the Brightwater Plant. The more recent issues have centered around “overflows from the North Creek Interceptor since 2012. These overflow events largely resulted from high levels of infiltration and inflow (I/I) in the North Creek Trunk and in
        Alderwood Water and Wastewater District pipes that direct wastewater to the North Creek Interceptor.”*

        *If you really want to get into the weeds on this, a good place to start is Snohomish County’s 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan, specifically the section on Public Wastewater Systems Assessment.

      10. @Mike Orr
        “Vashon has a sewer system?”

        I’m assuming you meant a PUBLIC sewer system in your question (since private on-site sewers [OSS], i.e., septic systems, also qualify). With that said, my understanding is that the CBD has a district sewer system but that most of the parcels on the island still rely upon septic systems. Those parcels with OSS along the coastline and other marine sensitive areas are now being closely monitored by the health district and WADOE.

        Here’s some info on the Vashon Sewer District, as well as the services for which it contracts with King County.

        https://www.vashonsewerdistrict.org

        https://www.vashonsewerdistrict.org/coverage

        https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/wtd/system/vashon.aspx

        https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/wtd/system/vashon/beulah-cove.aspx

        Fwiw. Snohomish County has roughly 78,000 parcels within its health district that rely upon OSS even now.

      11. @Tlsgwm
        The map you linked to from AWWD and the one I posted from KC Metro pretty much show the same boundary. Obviously if you split King and SnoCo down the geographic center it’s all on the West side. The true eastern half of both counties is largely rural. My guess is they made the distinction on street addresses being NE in King and for the most part SE in SnoCo. But yes the Brightwater drainage area extents at it’s northern tip to the west of I-5 and even west of Hwy 99 near Paine Field.

      12. “My guess is they made the distinction on street addresses being NE in King and for the most part SE in SnoCo.”

        That may be. (I think the county uses Meridian as the dividing line in their SE/SW street-naming scheme.) But that “distinction” is pretty irrelevant to the larger point; the area in question is SW SnoCo. This whole area is part of the SW County UGA and the county consistently refers to it as SW Snohomish County. The Metro page is just wrong on this point.

        “But yes the Brightwater drainage area extents ….even west of Hwy 99 near Paine Field.”

        Yup, that’s actually where I’m located (AWWD’s turf).

      13. I tried to trace Snohomish’s NW/NE/SW/SE/W/E divisions once and it’s confusing. In King County it’s all based on the boundaries of downtown Seattle’s angled street grid, extended east to the Eastside. The block spacings are somehow subtly altered to come to a mile-wide swath in central Seattle but a single street in Bellevue. And then S and SE are just arbitrarily divided at 100th Ave SE.

        In Snohomish it’s confusing because the streets don’t go through so there are large stretches around the boundaries with no street as reference. But Snohomish’s origin seems to be slightly differerent from Everett’s origin, even though they coincide at Everett’s southern boundary. Everett’s origin seems to be Marine View Drive. Snohomish’s origin seems to be in the water off the west coast of Everett. I don’t know why they’d start from an uninhabitable place.

  2. Jon Talton with a surprisingly rosy assessment of Downtown Seattle’s future ($)

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/downtown-seattle-is-wounded-but-not-down-for-long/

    My main criticism is that he doesn’t consider that social distancing is still required even in Phase 4. That has severe implications for two systems critical to downtown’s function: transit and elevators.

    Transit limited to a small fraction of normal capacity cannot accommodate a downtown recovery. Elevators limited to 1 or 2 people severely hinders the usefulness of office buildings and also high rise apartments.

    Exiting Phase 4 is presumably due to an effective vaccine that has been widely administered. There’s little chance that happens before Summer 2021. I don’t see how many small businesses downtown can survive until then.

    1. [Another] Alex, John Talton has been around for a very long time, and so has his general reliability.

      The pandemic’s trademark, and most damaging aspect, is that nobody can say how long the emergency will last. Or how long recovery will take. Lot different from “Never.”

      Compounding the uncertainty is the fact that a large percentage of this country’s problems across the board have been in the offing for decades. Think “Condition and Maintenance of the West Seattle Bridge”.

      But Seattle is a rich and enlightened place with an educated population, a clean government, experience with advanced manufacturing, and port facilities serving a very large ocean. Meaning that whatever’s wrong, no reason it’s permanent.

      Like many another emergency measure- thankfully we’re not talking earthquake- Seattle’s not going to die of Social Distance. Too bad, though, if somebody diverted our whole national treasury, and military, into a permanent dictatorship and called it a War of National Defense.

      For that, as voters and citizens, lucky we can still get to work on restoring the health of our politics without breaking quarantine. If we don’t, not the little COVID’s fault.

      Mark Dublin

  3. Too bad CDC isn’t under the authority of Acting (meaning installed without any hearings, this Administration’s common practice) Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

    Who, when ordered to declare National Marshal Law, told the author of the order to, with all due respect, take it and stuff it. Don’t think the Democrats would object to thank Mark for a Profile in Courage. Did CDC by any chance announce their anti-transit policy on twitter?

    Best thing for transit and every public official responsible for it is to try for an internet non-veracity warning, and go very public setting the ridership straight on the truth. Could probably crowd-source an ad campaign aboard transit to tell the truth. “Right Wing Crap” merely Truth in Advertising.

    For Transit in Troubled Times, safety is best addressed with an agreement whereby demonstration-organizers and police departments (and their unions) form a united front to jointly keep order. “Dominance” is for ostentatious wearers of black leather thongs, lace-up girdles of same material and color, hip boots and little whips.

    In the Viet Nam War days, more or less standard for demonstration-sponsors to appoint parade marshals from among their own numbers to see to it that nobody sabotaged their cause – and voided their Constitutional protection- with theft, vandalism or assault. Especially on law-abiding officers of the peace.

    Because in addition to giving a green light to society’s worst, whatever politics are claimed, or not, making transit back down in the face of force plays right into the hands of the current masters of the Center for Disease Control.

    Mark Dublin

  4. Health Canada is taking a really different approach to COVID-19 because they haven’t told Canadian to stop taking public transit but to wear masks on it.

    1. Any chance that’s because Health Canada doesn’t answer to an Administration whose approach to Public Transit is precisely the same as its handling of Public Education?

      Mark Dublin

      1. I think gets directions from Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. Also federal government also has left up to Provincial Health Officer which are giving approvals and recommendations on transit systems are to operate safely.

        I know BC Transit and TransLink are working together along with Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, on how they will operate in reopening to phrase, which has limited capacity on transit.

        TransLink safe operation plan https://new.translink.ca/rider-guide/coronavirus-precautions.

        BC Transit plan: https://www.bctransit.com/covid19

    2. Because in the U.S. the national policymakers all have the windshield perspective, and everyone having a car is treated as a universal assumption, like 2+2=4. So, their thinking goes, if people can just switch to getting around like normal people do, we don’t have to bother thinking about how to make transit safe.

      I recently read a depressing poll showing people more afraid of COVID from transit than from almost any indoor activity, including eating at a restaurant or watching a movie. Rationally, it does not make sense. And, of course, all transit is not equal. The Eastside buses are nearly empty. The argument that hopping on the back of a bus with just me and the driver is somehow more dangerous than riding in a taxi or eating at a restaurant is simply crazy.

      1. I’d be surprised if Canadian officials don’t have windshield perspective too. The difference is probably — and I’m just guessing here based on moderate experience with Canada — that Canadians think more practically than ideologically. Transit works, so they support it, yet it’s still a sparsely-populated country and the space per capita is part of their identity as it is in the US, and cars are a natural part of that. But it wasn’t like, “We are Americans so we drive; transit is communist and economically backward.” The Trans-Canada Highway was part of that identity: essential to unify the country against US encroachment and Quebec separatism. (Although it could have been done by upgrading the existing Transcontinental Railroad and local streetcars, of course.) I have never heard of transit as un-Canadian or a bunch of unionized inefficiency. Even Texas-like Alberta has more transit in Calgary and Edmonton than similarly-sized American cities.

        As for Americans thinking transit is more of a health risk than other indoor activities, that comes from a baseline tendency to view transit as unsafe (a place with scary black people and poor people who will rob you and assault you, and you can’t get off outside a station, and they might follow you off it).

        I predict the biggest factor in future ridership is the actual infection rates: will transit have the same rate of outbreaks as other places, or higher or lower? To be sure, people can decrease their number of contact situations by driving. But as congestion and pollution concerns and high gas prices and collisions return, people will remember the downsides to driving, and some people don’t really want to drive or can’t drive. In the end, rider demographics will return to the city’s long-term tendency at least partly. Pugetopolis has a lot of choice riders and commuters, and not all of them will stay away. In other cities were only the poor and elderly rode transit previously, that will continue, and expansion plans may proceed more slowly.

  5. The old DOL on Bel-Red Rd and 132nd in Bellevue has been demolished, and in its place, 8 3-story residential buildings (31 homes) will be built. It will be just a couple minute walk from the future Bel-Red/130th Station.

  6. Thanks for the photo of the streetcar. I used to live down there on Alaskan Way below the Market. That area is now a total transit desert.
    Also, Victoria is closing many streets to cars and allowing the cafes and restaurants to use the sidewalks for serving customers.

  7. I’m going to start taking transit this weekend. I’m done. We have been essentially locked down for over three months now. I’ll wear a mask, but I’m tired of being indoors – and I plan on taking a shit ton of non essential trips!

    1. Alex, I just this minute ran your plan by a very nice lady at KCM information. What she told me is that your very presence serves a variety of highly essential purposes, possibly including testing the toxicity of the only jar of cleaner left on the shelf at Costco.

      Should you announce your claim of nonessentiality to anyone in operations or fare-enforcement, you’ll be thanked for refuting the right-wing claim that since there’s no such word, Jay Inslee is inventing fake violations to make Donald Trump lose the election. And also thanked for your service.

      Persist, however, and someone who’s a well-known alias in these pages will note that on their way to infect people, one more obviously homeless person is violating a poor trapped National Guardsman’s right to just ride the bus and be left alone. Bad enough that since it’s booked two days in advance, IT won’t even give him a connection back to Olympia.

      Also, more bad news from CDC. Secretary of Education Betsy de Vos has just announced that since the word Essential has too many letters, with or without the “In” in front, anybody even thinking it will get their student load interest doubled.

      Have a good trip.

      Mark Dublin

  8. Need some emergency info. Friend of mine who drives Link seriously worried as to whether the Urbanist’s “Beg Button” victory will mean a 100% off-zone stop on MLK for every single train. Says that this order of delay is more or less the permanent “Order of the Day”. Truth?

    My own position, long in public domain. The Angel of Victory will be at the controls of the leading front-end loader as it gets its blade into the first undercut taking, say, Othello under the tracks and station.

    Good definition-clarifier too. Railcar routinely stopped in traffic is a streetcar. Kinki-Sharyo held in the Tunnel under Broadway by a pedestrian crossing MLK at Graham, that’s an example of regional light rail being deprived of a clear track.

    Mark Dublin

    1. If the walk light is green whenever the go light is green as it should be, how can that make it worse for transit? The bus will still have to stop because cars are moving. I heard that one of the reasons for pressing the beg button was it lengthens the green time to give pedestrians more time to cross, but that was missing from the articles so Seattle’s signals may not work that way or they may not have known about it.

      1. In theory, a beg button allows very short light cycles when the button isn’t pressed, including skipping the turns of minor streets altogether when there’s no pedestrian or vehicle present. So, beg buttons could possibly shave a few seconds off some bus routes at 3 AM. At rush hour, there’s tons of traffic and tons of pedestrians, so they provide zero benefit.

        I’m not against beg buttons in all situations. I think it’s ok in places like where the Tolt Pipeline trail crosses SR-202. Most of time, there’s nobody there, so no reason for cars to wait, and when you do press the button, the light changes very quick. But, in the middle of the city, where there are nearly always pedestrians, beg buttons have no place. They have no impact on cars, but delay law-abiding pedestrians by several minutes, while encouraging jaywalking.

      2. The SDOT announcement is carefully worded, and The Urbanist didn’t bother to explore it. “75% of downtown and Hub urban village traffic signals automatically show a walk signal every time so people don’t need to press a crosswalk button.”

        Let me just back up here and point out that beg buttons are used two different ways:

        1) On streets with very little traffic, they make it clear that someone wants to cross the street. In this regard it is no different than detectors on the street (for cars).

        2) When the light is about to turn green, the walk signal also comes on. For some intersections, the walk signal results in longer green light than would otherwise happen. In other cases, it doesn’t.

        Now going back to the statement, they said “75% of downtown and Hub urban village traffic signals” are treated differently. These are urban streets, and not all of them. It is quite possible that these streets weren’t using detectors now anyway — they were operating on a consistent, timed basis. Thus the only change could be that some short cycles got just a little bit longer. My guess is the tricky part was getting the new cycles synced up so that traffic flows OK. At worse that means that traffic is a smidge slower.

        Meanwhile, beg buttons still serve their old purpose — notifying the system that people are present, and want to cross.

      3. I just noticed the 75%. In the middle of the city, it should be 100%. The missing 25% could easily include streets like Mercer.

        Another thing that should have no place in a city center is intersections that have a crosswalk on only one side. There are still some of those, including one on Denny, just a couple blocks from the space needle.

      4. “Let me just back up here and point out that beg buttons are used two different ways:”

        I would add a third way to your list. I’m thinking of moderate traffic streets where there is a mid-block crosswalk with a traffic control signal that is controlled by a pedestrian beg button. Sometimes the issue is that the block is very long and/or the nearest intersection is only controlled by a stop sign.

        One other related example that comes to mind immediately is one I’ve encountered a lot on my frequent trips to San Diego, specifically in the La Jolla area. There’s a series of roundabouts on La Jolla Blvd up near the Bird Rock area that control several intersections. Pedestrians have access to crosswalks just after the roundabouts by pressing beg buttons, though no intersection signal cycles are impacted in this scheme since the intersections are controlled by the aforementioned roundabouts. Google Maps will certainly help you visualize what I’m talking about here.

        There are probably one or two other beg button schemes that we have both overlooked. Oh well. Lol.

    2. This sounds like a story from The Onion. There can’t really be anti-crosswalk button activists.

  9. I find it odd that Sound Transit shot a video of one half of the 520 Redmond/Overlake Village Pedestrian Bridge being assembled, but didn’t do a second video of it being completed. Yes, the entire pedestrian bridge is now up and spans 520.

  10. Prediction. ST and Metro will discontinue the practice of having Fare Enforcement Officers summon the police or sheriff whenever a rider who didn’t pay the fare refuses to, or can’t provide ID to the FEO’s. Or, have they already discontinued this practice?

    1. Based on personal observation, Sam: This evening, from New Westminster to Tijuana, find me anybody with either the guts or the heartlessness to look an on-duty police officer in the face and demand they leave off the law enforcement they’re already paying for their every sin by having to do.

      Volunteers?

      Mark Dublin

  11. Oh, the 99 is something that will be sorely missed. As a kid, I remember taking the line up and down Alaskan Wy. It’s one of those things that really hit me when I finally moved here the other day.

  12. FDW, I wonder if I could persuade you to join me in finding away to inflict any soreness or other discomfort over the loss of Waterfront Streetcar Line Number 99 on the very few, very arrogant, and very probably rich people who sneaked it out of existence.

    My memory’s giving me some trouble lately, but I don’t recall its removal ever being put to a vote or anything resembling. Pretty far along, the rhetoric seemed to suggest saving it. Just, at every presentation, a little less definitely.

    In all the material of the coming Waterfront project, renderings of streetcars were there. Just every time, a little fainter and a little fewer. To me, leaving the game, or more deservedly the hellaceous fight, to, in an improved form, put it back.

    If we were in Thailand, there’d be nothing the matter with public transit consisting of motorcycles and scooters with passenger seats. And vans with the image of Buddha on the dashboard. But what is the Seattle Waterfront’s main passenger need if it isn’t Line Haul!?

    And through the kind of real fast jet-boat that’s now coming back into discussion, that streetcar line helped Link connect Victoria British Columbia with Sea-Tac Airport and its attached World.

    For what it’s worth, Waterfront Project Chief Marshall Foster told me that utility work was done to make light-rail once again possible along that stretch of road. We’re also not talking high speed interurban, but streetcar track, which both we and the world know how to lay. Could still be hardware in the ground.

    We had the line for years. We removed it by a process that’d blow every circuit breaker on the smell test. We need it back. End of story? More like its mandatory beginning!

    Mark Dublin

  13. Also, not either/or with the Connector on First Avenue. No reason the lines can’t share both communications and maintenance.

    Mark Dublin

  14. Or to honor the joint “Realm of Reason” and “Insanity Aversion” clauses, battery packs on the new 60′ trolleybuses could take care of the railroad crossing at Myrtle Edwards park.

    Permitting a climb from the Waterfront bus lanes to rejoin the bus wire at First Avenue and let the line continue to Seattle Center. Should still be able to share a substation.

    Where there’s a will……especially if somebody really generous with a guilty conscience left Waterfront Transit in theirs.

    Mark Dublin

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