Northbound Morning Amtrak Cascades Passing Through Marysville
Avgeek Joe/Flickr

Hard to believe we haven’t had normal light rail service since early January…

This is an open thread.

37 Replies to “News roundup: happy birthday”

  1. Some good topics this morning, Martin. Quick “read” on the google map shows a heartening thing about Interbay: there’s absolutely nor reason it has to get in the way of the Ballard-West Seattle line at all.

    It’ll be a two-minute view out the window along the elevated structure that’ll carry Link between its subway portal out of Lower Queen Anne and the drawbridge that’ll be both a prize-winning work of art in its own right and and a fitting tribute to Ballard’s industrial past.

    That stretch of Elliott/15th always had the transit reputation of straight and fast. When I joined up in the early 1980’s, older drivers told me their Brills and Pullmans would do 50 easy between Queen Anne and the Bridge. Wire, by the way, that can also be restored any time.

    Leaving all those conflicting interests, and their money, with the heritage bus routes that have served them so well all these years. Any time they want to get it together and get into the program, door looks wide open to me.

    But we owe the Black Lives Matter movement a debt of gratitude for showing Local 587 the bargaining posture the situation calls for. We’re not talkin’ rules and policy, but very literally life and death. Script should read, “Metro, KCM, and SPD, service you won’t protect, for our passengers’ sake as well as our own, we don’t operate, starting right now.”

    For the record, drivers should NEVER be either forced or allowed to attempt enforcement with their doors or their accelerators. My guess- best I can do- is that two weeks of serious and well-publicized uniformed attention along main routes and at key stops will at least favorably change the terms of the discussion.

    But I’m also perfectly serious about creating a medically-inclined force of health-oriented uniformed order- not kidding at all about the Army nurses, leastways until one of them tells me to forget it. I seriously doubt SPD will file any grievances over lost work. And I think that whether volunteers are allowed or not, many good ones will show up soon as it is.

    Mark Dublin

  2. And also, while it’d really give Pioneer Square south mezzanine a dynamite art-piece if we’d turn that wheel back on and attach FHS to the cable, might be a fitting tribute to wire the Route 27 all the way to 32nd, and Lake Dell Avenue and East Alder down to the lake at Leschi.

    Maybe start the line on existing First Avenue wire at the Colman Dock footbridge, and turn at Yesler for a truly memorable electric ride to the Lake. Will definitely rekindle the cable car spirit. And also, after thirty years, finally providing a direct bus from the ferry dock to the King County Courthouse.

    Mark Dublin

  3. Does anyone know about planning for a bike path between the Northgate Station and the 145th Station? Further north it is pretty easy to find the documents: https://www.shorelinewa.gov/government/projects-initiatives/trail-along-the-rail. As the map shows, parts of the bike path (or bike trail) go under the train, while in other places, it continues on the street.

    I can’t find anything like that in Seattle. Even the multimodal study (discussed here the other day) doesn’t list anything. The only thing close are reports of the pedestrian/bike bridge over the freeway at Northgate, and the plans for First Avenue: https://www.seattlebikeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/NGPB_Facts2_20190111-copy.pdf.

    For what its worth, I explored the area the other day. Here is my best guess as to how the bike path could work:

    Northgate Station to Northgate Way — Challenging, to say the least. The document had the bike path ending at the station (not going north) and riders expected to use the sidewalk. I could also see riders going through the mall, once it gets redone.

    Northgate Way to 117th — There is no room on either side of First Avenue, while First Avenue itself is narrow (no room for bike lanes) and goes over the freeway. I think the best bet is to use Third Avenue. You could have bike lanes to 112th. From there to 115th is a dead end, but there is a bike/pedestrian connection to 115th. So in that sense it is really two sections — from Northgate Way to 112th it is a very wide arterial that needs extra protection for bikes, with special attention paid to preventing turning cars from colliding with riders. North of there would be a greenway (and they wouldn’t have to do much — as the streets are quiet dead ends). Ideally this would connect to a bike path through the mall. Essentially bikes would get on Third close to the station, and ride it north all the way to 117th: https://goo.gl/maps/MF2YLtTTUvGV4N538.

    117th to 127th — This is where the bike path could hug the freeway and go under Link. There could be crosswalks (hopefully with lights and beg buttons) all along 5th. The distances between intersections are very wide and people go too fast. Adding crosswalks and signals would be welcome. 127th is as far north as you can go along the west side — otherwise you run into the off-ramp (https://goo.gl/maps/XABfn42yvBhwEwUQ6).

    127th to 130th — Another challenging piece. The good news is that Fifth is way overbuilt, giving us space to add bike infrastructure. I could see going a couple different ways. One is just continue along that western edge (next to the freeway). Cars have to stop exiting the freeway, and the bike path could cut right in front. I don’t really like that, given the angle. It is not a 90 degree intersection — a driver would have to turn almost all the way around to the right to look for a bike coming from the south. I think it makes more sense to send bikes to the street. I would have a signalized crosswalk (with beg button) at 127th. Southbound, Fifth Avenue becomes one lane, with the inside lane being a bike lane (with bollards and lots of green paint to prevent car access). Northbound, you do something similar. There are already plans to get rid of the curved lane that allows drivers to take a free right from northbound Fifth to southbound Roosevelt Way. That means the intersection would be more “squared off”. Drivers trying to take a right have to drive right to the edge of Fifth, and take a normal right. For that whole section, there would be a bike lane, or a widened sidewalk, allowing bikes to go straight. The nice thing about this section is that there will be no bus stops between 130th and 127th, so when a bus goes south of there on Fifth, it doesn’t have to deal with crossing over the bike lane.

    130th to freeway exit south of 145th — This should be easy. When the work is done, Fifth Avenue will become one way north. That allows for enough space to add a bike lane each direction (on each side of the street). You could also go underneath the train.

    South of 145th — Challenging, like most of the area around 145th. My guess is the best bet is to have a two way cycle track on the east side of Fifth, leading to the crossing.

    I think this could work out really well. Even though the area will be swarming with buses, the bike lanes wouldn’t conflict with them. 117th becomes a greenway, with good access across Pinehurst and 15th (already in the works — https://tinyurl.com/y5pwhmlm). The bike crossing over the freeway is accessible via 117th as well (https://goo.gl/maps/zZAo6J8P18XyDqQG6) which means it would tie together quite nicely. Eventually you would need to widen the crossing at 130th and that is one of the projects being discussed (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8XVBKPZ). All of this may be already in the works, I just haven’t found it.

    1. Shoreline has been eager about having a 5th Avenue multimodal trail under the track. Seattle has not been so committed to extending it to Northgate. It may get around to it someday.

      I think this reflects the role of the trail in each city. In Shoreline a high percent of the population live near the trail, and it’s one of only two major pedestrian amenities in the city (the other being the Interurban Trail). It may also be mitigation to the eastern Shoreline homeowners for upzoning the interior of the city against the incorporation promises to keep it unchanged.

      In Seattle the area north of Northgate is a minor edge of the city with no large institution or urban village, so it’s not something politicians or voting blocs care much about or even notice it’s there.

      1. I think the bigger issue is just the scale of the city. Seattle is huge, with major projects and failing bridges. SDOT doesn’t have much time to spend on things like bike paths, other than to continue to fight over the Missing Link. Districts were supposed to help such things, but even in that case, there are bigger fish to fry. Juarez is focused on the station at 130th — first to get it included in ST3, and now to get it build sooner. In contrast, Shoreline had all its stations included with ST2. The BRT project (along 145th) seems to have as much focus from both cities (which is not much) since it is mainly designed to help cities to the north. Plus Juarez (like all city council members) is dealing with police issues that Shoreline can’t imagine. Bike projects — any bike project — gets lost in all that.

      2. Oh, and I don’t think that many people live close to the proposed bike path in Shoreline. If anything, there would be way more people to the south, around Northgate, while north of 115th it is all very similar — most of the riders come in from the side. Think of the bike path like so: https://goo.gl/maps/KF9SnvFrDurxh5gA7, but moved even more to the west (close to the freeway) as you get north of 115th. Other than the Northgate area there is nothing along there. I realize much of that may change around the station, but that is true for 130th as well. In contrast, there are lots of apartments along 15th either side of the border. I think it is essential that there are good connecting routes to the path, if they expect large numbers of people to use it. This makes it different than the Interurban or the Burke Gilman through Seattle where it is close to apartments and retail most of the way.

      3. “SDOT doesn’t have much time to spend on things like bike paths,…”

        Agreed, though I would amend your comment to explicitly include funding as well. Seattle is failing to maintain it’s existing infrastructure assets as things now stand.

        I was going to jump in our your discussion with Al S and Mike Orr (primarily) about greenways to make this point but then got busy with work-related matters. (My point revolved around how the adopted FLUM and comp plan updates ultimately drive much of the decision-making on such issues, though individual corridor and multimodal access studies are more critical to the process in the final analysis imho. They’re interconnected of course, which I think was the general point that Al S. was getting at.)

        Anyway, that whole discussion got me thinking about the general state of affairs with regard to SDOT’s current needs and funding levels and it’s not looking good at all. Setting aside the major capital expenditures like the Ballard bridge, the Magnolia bridge, the stupid CCC project and now the West Seattle bridge situation, I still see Seattle falling further and further behind on the basic stuff like maintaining its arterials and local streets* without a new funding source. Perhaps it’s time for the city to assess a dedicated road tax akin to what unincorporated county property owners are billed. Sorry for the pun, but such a measure might be a bridge too far, even in a city that has had a good track record on passing new taxes supporting mobility measures. A congestion charge might be another possible funding source, but it too will require a big political lift.

        Here’s some background material illustrating the worsening problem with Seattle’s roadway maintenance:

        From just last month –
        https://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/slideshow/seattle-roads-highways-worst-in-nation-study-206055.php

        From 2014 –
        https://crosscut.com/2014/09/seattle-street-maintenance-potholes-pavement

        *”As of 2010, Seattle has an inventory of 3,952 lane-miles (12-ft) of street pavements. The busiest streets, arterials,
        account for approximately 1,540 lane-miles of the system. Arterials are the city’s most critical connectors and are the principal means by which people and goods move about the city. The remaining 2,412 lane-miles are non-
        arterials, which carry lower volumes, but nonetheless serve a variety of users. Most non-arterials are residential, but some also support commerce and industry in areas such as the Greater Duwamish, Ballard, the International District, and First Hill.” (2010 SDOT Pavement Management Report)

        Another good source of information can be found in 2015’s “SDOT ASSET MANAGEMENT:
        Status and Condition Report”.

      4. @Tlsgwm, I would add another angle to this: Bike and pedestrian access should really be considered a “basic” component of a major transit expansion, the same way surface streets and arterials are “basic” to an expressway network. The problem is, at SDOT it is not. Indeed, the bike/ped stuff is actually the relatively cheap part of “basic” infrastructure! (As long as you’re not doing an entire street rebuild and reporting the entire project as the cost of the bike lanes).

      5. Bike and pedestrian access should really be considered a “basic” component of a major transit expansion… The problem is, at SDOT it is not.

        I think it is. They did that with various stations, and are doing that with 130th and 145th (as mentioned earlier in the week — https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/08/04/seattle-presents-potential-improvements-around-light-rail-stations-at-130th-and-145th/). What I find odd is that there is no mention of a trail under the train. That would, of course, involve cooperation with Sound Transit. Although it is related to the work around each station, it is different, and Shoreline treats it separately. What I find odd is that I can’t find any mention of it. (That’s why I posed my question in the first place. But then I started detailing what I figured was the best route, and now we are discussing a more general problem).

      6. @Tlsgwm — Yeah, no question, funding is the biggest problem. All those projects mentioned the other day have no funding at all. You are right, usually I would write “SDOT doesn’t have much time or money to spend on things like bike paths”.

        As far as sources of revenue, it is all in flux. There are enormous financial problems within Seattle and transportation is only part of it. I think there are ways out of it, though:

        1) Ask for state help. There is no way the West Seattle bridge gets fixed without it. I think there will eventually be tolls, but that is reasonable, especially if the state picks up most of the cost.

        2) Hope that a Biden administration will fund some projects. There are a lot of things that can be part of a “Green New Deal”, as well as just long overdue basic maintenance. We aren’t alone in needing a lot of work.

        3) Pass a car tab tax, once 976 gets worked out. I’m not sure how the state supreme court will rule, or whether the legislature will do anything. My guess is a compromise can be worked out that requires using “Blue Book” numbers, as well as requiring a public vote for any car tab tax. Passing a car tab tax for roads and transit is certainly appropriate.

        4) Hope the legislature gives Seattle (and other cities) the right to other types of taxing. As it is, a flat income tax or capital gains tax may be legal. Either of those would be very popular (in the city) and raise a lot of money. A small amount (say, 1%) would still be a bunch of money and few (if any) would leave town because of it. I could also see an increase in the local gas tax going to infrastructure projects (I think the city is limited to one cent right now).

  4. Jump bikes doubling to 2,000, but Lime says they won’t be profitable without scooters.

    To channel the late Mitch Hedberg:

    Lime says Jump Bikes won’t be profitable without scooters. They won’t be profitable with scooters, but they also won’t be profitable without scooters either.

    1. A lot of the profitability of scooters over bikes comes from people who already own bikes seeing scooters as a novelty and wanting to try then out. Once they figure out that they can buy their own scooters for much less than the cost of regularly commuting on the shared scooters, it won’t last. Especially once people start buying the folding kind that can be carried on public transit.

      Also, of course, scooters don’t go as fast as bikes, so a trip from A to B takes more minutes and, therefore, provides the company with more revenue.

  5. This blog should interview that guy on the bus PSA, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health Seattle and King County. “Well, what would we ask him, Sam?” Jesus, do I have to do everything? Think up some questions!

  6. Prediction. After Amazon shifts much of its workforce to Bellevue, Kshama Sawant will move to Bellevue and run for the city council or mayor.

      1. True, but she is so obsessed with the tech giant and its leader, that if they did shift a lot of their workforce to the Eastside, I wouldn’t be surprised if she set her sights on another political position whose power reached across the lake.

    1. Lol… Given the closeness of Sawant’s recent victory (under 52 percent of the vote), she may even have a hard time keeping her seat after 2020 redistricting. Her district seems to have grown faster than Seattle as a whole and precincts that voted highest for her may end up in another district (or the opposite may happen, making it easier for her).

      1. Sawant faced an opponent designed to defeat her in Orion. He had the backing of groups like the GSBA and many people in Durkan’s office volunteered for him. Absent such an aggressive campaign against her, Sawant should easily win another term.

      2. Sawant’s support is mostly concentrated in the corner of her district near downtown, where all the upcoming has been. More likely, I see the single family homes in Madrona moving to another district, allowing Sawant to win by a larger margin.

        Also, worth noting – those that don’t like the new Capitol Hill and move out won’t be around to vote against her.

  7. A few days ago, a circulation idea was proposed in far north Seattle near the new Link stations as a special study. Now, there is this Interbay multimodal circulation idea as a special study. There was a similar approach in the One Center City planning a few years ago, although that one was limited by a short time frame.

    These special studies appear to supplant what I think we are missing in Seattle — subarea multimodal circulation plans for larger sections of Seattle — say 2 to 10 square miles. These should also include a similar subarea plan that looks at land use, parks and other related things like utilities, schools and land use.

    I think it’s good that the City is starting to preparing these — as opposed to a mode-centric citywide plan. It just seems to beg for a more level of clarity about the objective and study limits though.

  8. Sam and asdf2, might her winning or losing depend on who’s running against her? But really want some more attention to how we treat the contagion situation as the human emergency it is.

    One thing I’ve been noticing since the pandemic was declared: treat something as a policy or a system, and it immediately ceases to work. Reparable, in every case I’ve faced, by calm and knowledgeable people exercising common sense. About which, in every situation, there seldom seems to be a lot of argument.

    Since without your permission I’ve been using you as the prime example of the order of authority whose presence I think this emergency demands, is even one of my readers a nurse who can tell me whether there are enough of you left to even think stationing you as mask persuaders? Left to systems, and lists of rules, things can only get worse.

    Mark Dublin

  9. The 15th Ave bridge replacement is going to be a huge endeavor, as is Link crossing the Ship Canal. The Interbay plan presents Link on 14th Ave and traffic on 15th Ave.

    Others have mentioned having a combined bridge, but there are many timing, cost and ped/bike vs drawbridge opening factors that suggest that it’s not in the cards. The recent West Seattle bridge closure has particularly exposed the risks of having one bridge that does everything anyway.

    So what about moving the traffic to a 14th Ave crossing, then putting a new Link crossing on 15th Ave? It would seem to make project phasing and closure disruptions much easier. It would seem to provide a better way to configure the awkward Nickerson connection. It would allow for the Ballard Link station to be walkable to Ballard without crossing the busy boulevard. One or both crossings could be examined at a variety of bridge heights and maybe even as tunnels.

    It would be a challenge determining the traffic alignment to connect on 15th Ave on either side of the crossing. Property would be needed — but property is going to be needed no matter what.

    I can’t help but wonder if this should be examined as an alternative concept. I’m not saying that I would prefer it; I’m only asking if it should be studied as an approach to these impending expensive and difficult projects over the ship canal.

    1. The logical way to do it, that would minimize traffic disruptions, would be to build a new car bridge at 14th, then tear down the current 15th bridge and put in the new light rail bridge at 15th. So of course they’ll do the exact opposite.

      The way things are going though they’ll start building the lightrail bridge at 14th. Then realize that it blocks any easy replacement of the car bridge and the only way to replace the 15th is to close it completely (cutting Ballard off from downtown) in a complete repeat of the South Park bridge.

      1. That’s exactly the sequence that seems the most logical to me and I’m glad that you understand. I wish that it would at least get studied. I think the ST financial crisis will push the construction start year so there seems to be more time to look at it — but without advocacy, it won’t happen.

        I rue that our single-agency long-range planning always assumes that all other agencies have fixed assumptions when they often don’t. No one is allowed to think outside the agency-created bureaucratic box.

      2. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It would dramatically change traffic patterns, but I don’t see it being any worse. The roadway was designed as a throughway, so that you could travel from the viaduct onto Western, then Elliot, 15th, Holman Road and as far north as you want. But unless it is late at night, traffic currently makes doing that very slow. I live in the north end (north of Northgate) and occasionally drive to Discovery Park. I never drive that way. I’ll make a turn on 8th, and then stay west (on 3rd) up to 130th, or I’ll drive up 8th to 80th, then get on the freeway. So there is very little to lose. It would mean those headed to Crown Hill will have to do a dogleg, but reduced traffic would make that a small matter. Meanwhile, those driving to Fremont from 15th would still go down 15th and over on Leary — now avoiding all bridge traffic. This spreads out the traffic, which is a good thing.

        The city would have to do a lot of work — it would be disruptive, but not nearly as disruptive as closing the bridge down while they build a new one. From a pedestrian and development standpoint, it would be much better. 14th is industrial. It is more of less where Ballard ends. Almost all the apartments, retail and high density employment is to the west. Other than a handful of brewpubs, there would be little damage to retail establishments (or anyone else) by moving the traffic east.

        Lower 15th (between the waterfront and Market) would be much narrower. I figure there would be one lane each direction and a center turn lane. For perspective, right now it is six lanes.

        Retail establishments on 15th would gain immensely. The retail and population density that is found to the west would continue to grow east, and naturally fizzle out in the industrial land on the other side of 15th (before it hits the pedestrian wall that is moved to the east). The brewpubs would relocate (or at the very least, simply open up a tap room) on lower 15th (or in between 14th and 15th) since 15th would be much quieter and easier to cross. The Link station at 15th would still be “off to the side” of Ballard, but less so than today (and not nearly as bad as 14th). The development that does occur would be much better. A property like the Les Schwab Tire Center (https://goo.gl/maps/j5DUFjzip6mUNEAy6) would be replaced by an apartment building with ground floor retail. Not only would tenants have a much quieter apartment (imagine that — a quiet apartment, in Seattle) but they would have a much easier walk to the historic and commercial center of Ballard (https://goo.gl/maps/8YWCVbjKDnibGsJXA). More than anything it would be stretching Ballard to the east — something that is difficult to impossible without changing the nature of 15th.

        It gives you a lot more flexibility with the station as well as the Link line in general. With only three lanes of car traffic, you could run the train straight down 15th. The pillars are no wider than a lane (https://goo.gl/maps/sVVYHQeQTpzSw8Eq7) and as I wrote a couple paragraphs ago, you have three to work with. You could have car lanes, bike lanes, a wider sidewalk *and* run the train in the middle of the street. I think it is even possible that the station could be just short of Market, in the middle of the street. At that point, you have only two car lanes going each direction, which means you have four lanes to work with. That would be a tremendous savings.

        Of course it would probably cost more to build the new automobile/bike bridge. I’m not sure how it work on the other side. I think you would keep the Emerson interchange as well as the initial part of the southern bridge approach. You would probably just have a big curve to the right, then a curve left to cross the canal. It might not be more expensive. Overall, I think it would be cheaper, and far less disruptive.

        More importantly, the end result would be better. Not only much better than a station at 14th, but better than the current plans for a station at 15th. A station at 15th is not ideal, but if the southern part of 15th is made quieter — and well connected to the rest of Ballard — then it would be much better.

      3. The best move by Seattle is to ensure the 2nd tunnel gets built asap, but allow for the Interbay+Ballard elevated section to be delayed until the city gets it’s ducks in a row on a new Ballard bridge and can therefore coordinate with ST on sequencing. No reason ST can get through the Link EIS process as-is and then revisit the bridge alignment once SDOT has funding lined up on its end.

        Politically, deferring the ship canal crossing would give Seattle something to “give up” when negotiating with the other subareas while actaully ending up with a better final outcome.

        Goods points on the road diet of 15th, both wrt facilitating the Link alignment and making for a more pleasant urban environment. I wonder if Seattle ends up then running bikes lanes on 15th and building a low bike/ped bridge alongside/underneath the Link bridge, rather than with the car bridge.

    2. Moving the automobile bridge to 14th and having Link on 15th would address the problem of 14th being so far from the densest part of Ballard. For pedestrians from the train every additional block is a deterrent, and 15th is already seven blocks from 22nd, and 14th would be ten blocks because there’s a 3-block distance between 15th and 14th. In constrast, cars can easily drive three more blocks without even noticing it.

      But it sounds like a non-starter because the six-lane expressway is on 15th on both sides of the bridge. It would be expensive to replicate that on 14th and have the road weave to 14th and back to 15th. Budget hawks would say “But we already have it on 15th and it would cost nothing to leave it there.” And the north side would run into the same problem that a Link extension from 14th to 85th would have: 14th dead-ends at Ballard High School and would require two sharp turns to get back to 15th. You can’t build an expressway or an elevated train through the high school, so it would require two sharp turns. That would cause backups onto narrow 65th if you forced rush-hour cars crossing the bridge to make those turns. And the number one priority of SDOT and elected officials is not to create SOV backups.

      1. I don’t think the weave south of the canal is an issue because that whole interchange will be redesigned and rebuilt regardless of a 15th or 14th alignment.

        North of the ship canal, I think you just do a road diet down to 4 lanes plus turning, problem solved. No expressway, just a neighborhood arterial. You can even keep the buses on 15th and move traffic to 14th all the way to 65. At 65th, you can just time the lights so N/S can make clear both intersections. You might need to do some things like ban left from 65 to 15 to ensure enough lanes to move traffic through, but a dog leg like that shouldn’t be an issue for vehicle traffic – I’ve driven through many an intersection like that, particularly in the Midwest when township or county road grids don’t quite line up.

        Shoot, if 14 isn’t wide enough, you can make it the northbound arterial and leave southbound on 15, separating the dog legs between 45 and 65. Slightly less ideal for the station area but not unreasonable.

  10. I really would like to start seeing some drawings, pictorial and technical, of the choices available to us in Ballard. How long has it been since anybody gave us even a rendering of what’s possible? Also, having engineers start talking to us about things like what the soils will hold. Structurally some things are now possible that formerly just weren’t.

    But J.S. , you sound like you think anybody responsible for the quality of planning, management, and construction you’ve noticed will not have at least retired when it comes time to start building. Let alone traveled somewhat farther, as we all eventually do.

    One man’s observations, maybe, but, fresh from their first career project of designing their own education, give the next generation credit. They’re not their grandfathers’ grandfathers. Especially the girls.

    Mark Dublin

  11. And above all else, thanks for the piece on the cable car. Think about it. A passenger rail car hand-gripped to a cable that a single motor pulled up and down steep terrain, all the way across the city. Perfect example of the mindset and spirit that should provide our region with the exact kind of non-make-work Employment that’s already our mortally desperate need.

    Not only transit equipment, though certainly include it. When the reworked 737’s start being called “The New DC-3”, never will relief have sighed so loud. But the new era’s defining characteristics? Simple and tough. And since the invention of the Airstream trailer, no reason any ground vehicle can’t be both those things and hardly weigh anything.

    Tempting to say that across the board, how many of our country’s increasingly deadly chronic mechanical problems began when we decided that in our hearts, we liked weak and over-complicated better. Well, mechanically, nothing’s irreversible.

    When we make COVIDIA herself get tired of getting vaccinated, somebody’s goal needs to be that the world’s first updated PCC regional light-railcar will take five minutes to leave the factory on its own steel wheels, not off a truck. Wherever in the region the factory is. And relax. That’s STREETCAR COMPANY Presidents!

    With the unprecedented quality control of having the Northwest’s entire rail building industry under constant scrutiny of the SeattleTransit Blog, from Lake Washington Tech drafting computer to where it goes ninety.

    Ever since the creator of the New York Highline spearheaded the project that laid the Waterfront Streetcar Low, I’ve been waiting for somebody to start demanding that the old Waterfront’s replacement start paying for itself. Worldwide, waterfronts have always been attractively industrial. Some tourists love that more than scenery, which ours definitely also has.

    Project Chief Marshall Foster much as told me he finished his work by installing electric stuff that’d let every LRV manufactured there roll into service in sight of a ferry boat. Maybe even onto a really big catamaran headed for its new home with Tacoma Link.

    Added advantage of constant and intensive STB oversight and participation is that if anything gets screwed up, there’ll be no tiresome back and forth about whose fault it was. But I really do think that, just for the same of the morale that’s really in short supply, we owe it to that original cable-car, wherever it is, to wire Yesler from First and Marion to Leschi.

    Because when you think about it, as San Francisco definitely proves, the natural successor to the cable-car has always been the trolleybus. Only meeting this project will need is when the line trucks assemble to roll out.

    Mark Dublin

  12. This is an action item on next Thursday’s agenda for the ST System Expansion Committee meeting:

    “C. Motion No. M2020-47: Authorizing the chief executive officer to execute a funding agreement with the City of Seattle for the City to pay
    Sound Transit for removal of landfill material from WSDOT right of way at the Midway Landfill site as part of the Federal Way Link Extension in the amount of $13,348,027.”

    Unfortunately, ST has not published the motion as of this writing. Nevertheless, I think folks should pay attention to this reimbursement item as I strongly suspect that the agreement will ultimately be modified as “unanticipated” cost increases inevitably arise. It will be interesting to see the actual details of the agreement.

    1. Does Seattle have responsibility for material in a South King County landfill and is just paying what it should, or is Seattle making a contribution to ST to accelerate Federal Way Link?

      1. Thanks for the feedback. The short answer to your question is that the devil is in the details (of said agreement between ST and the city).

        The contribution from Seattle is intended for the purpose of covering the costs associated with removing the landfill material that is currently under the cap in the WSDOT ROW that will be disturbed during the construction of the Federal Way Link Extension project. This element of the project is being overseen by the WADOE and they did a nice write-up about it earlier this year during the public comment period. Sound Transit will ultimately take ownership of a portion of the WSDOT ROW and thus there are several agreements that have to be put into place, including the reimbursement one I discussed above.

        Here’s a key excerpt from the WADOE webpage discussing the project:

        “Some of the site’s land ownership will change. Sound Transit will acquire part of a strip — for the light rail tracks — that now belongs to WSDOT and will assume responsibility for maintaining that portion of the landfill cap. Seattle will continue to operate surface water controls, the gas extraction system, and the ongoing monitoring program.”

        For the full story, check out the following link:

        https://ecology.wa.gov/Blog/Posts/January-2020/Cleaning-up-How-a-light-rail-project-keeps-a-landf

      2. That’s correct. The end result is that the city of Seattle will actually end up with a larger footprint here, as a portion of the existing WSDOT ROW will be transferred.

        Here’s a better link to a page on the WSDOE site that explains things in further detail. It also includes links to a bunch of the relevant documents, including the existing consent decree between Seattle (SPU) and the DOE.

        https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=4729

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