Angle Lake Extension Construction: Gantry
Angle Lake Construction, 2014 (Atomic Taco/Flickr)

This is an open thread.

68 Replies to “News roundup: the best in US History”

  1. Constantine should lay out plans for changing Metro’s service levels and schedules to better serve the unemployed and underemployed. For too long transit here has fixated on maximizing service to office towers at rush hours. There won’t be those peak demands around here with WFH persisting, and folks who need buses should get more service. I’m in agreement with this story: https://about.bgov.com/news/covid-flight-from-transit-forces-shift-to-riders-without-choices/

    1. That’s what <a href="https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/reduced-schedule.aspx#weekday"Metro is doing now. Most of the suspended routes and runs are peak expresses or extra peak service. The all-day service is mostly intact, and weekends are fully intact. The 132 lost one off-peak run at 5am. The 131, 168, and 169 are full schedule. The only ones that lost off-peak runs are the C (one run), 1 (every other run), 12 (two in the 9am hour), 14 (one run every 1-2 hours), 36 (two in the 9am hour), 44 (seven every 2 hours), 74 (all midday service), 180 (one in the 2pm hour), 226 (three every 90 minutes), 230 (four), 231 (four), 239 (four every 2 hours), 241 (two), 245 (one), 250 (three every 2 hours), 271 (one).

      Metro is monitoring to see if trip patterns are changing longer-term, and will adjust resources accordingly. If ridership shifts toward off-peak hours and different origins/destinations, that could affect equity calculations, which would shift some hours to lower-income neighborhoods. It’s well known that South King County’s ridership is near normal while the Eastside has fallen the fastest. This is doubtless because South King County has a high percent of essential workers at off-peak shifts, while the Eastside has a lot of 9-5 commuters who are now teleworking.

      There are too many uncertainties now to make definitive long-term predictions. Ridership is temporarily depressed while King County is in phase 2. That will presumably be raised by the end of the year. Metro’s September service change will be announced in a couple weeks, and it will certainly have an overlay of temporary suspensions. Seattle’s TBD will reduce spending 50% starting in September to make the money last until March. The November TBD renewal may or may not pass. Northgate Link will cause a restructure September 2021. Employers don’t know when they’ll reopen their offices or how many people will be commuting per day. 9-5 commuting may not restabilize until 2022, and Metro will have to serve it at whatever level it is. Having less peak service than demand requires in order to serve low-income people more isn’t likely to happen. If commuters are turned away from overcrowded buses en masse, there will quickly be restored commuter service.

      The current problem is overcrowded buses at the temporary capacity limit, and this mostly occurs between 2-6pm; i.e., peak hours and the shoulder hours before it. That’s where Metro needs more service. I’ve been on a full 132 twice, and I’ve seen a southbound 124 and 150 in SODO with a “Bus Full” sign around 4pm.

  2. When a Metro driver tells a passenger he is concerned about the passenger not wearing a mask (passenger wants to board through the front door because he wants to walk up the ramp), the passenger tells the driver, who is wearing a mask, that if he concerned about his health, he should have stayed home.

    1. First off, the guy’s comment to the bus driver is extremely rude, and shows no appreciation for someone who is putting his health at risk to get people where they need to go.

      It’s also worth asking the question whether this person really needed to be on the bus. The entire route 27 is not that long. Could he have walked or biked instead? If the issue is hills, could he have made the trip on an e-bike?

      And, if he’s going to work, who else he’s putting at risk, once he gets there? Laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities aside, people who cannot wear a mask should not be working jobs during a pandemic that require sharing an indoor facility with other people. They should be either working from home, or work some kind of outdoor/socially distanced job, like a parking attendant.

      1. Ugh. I’ve picked this guy up before. It’s his thing. He instigates a confrontation by claiming he can’t wear a mask due to a health issue, but of course drivers can’t ask for ADA proof and can’t refuse him service. Then records it for publishing on YouTube. There was a similar situation a year or so ago on the East Side with another guy, but had something to do with race (the guy in this case was a POC).

  3. Yeah the Seattle/Bainbridge Ferry is off schedule by nearly an hour or more on the weekends. Heck even the early morning run at 7:55 was off by about 10 minutes the last two weekends I used it (helped my dad rebuild his deck). You know things are bad when the Seattle/Bainbridge run is performing that poorly.

    1. I took the ferry from Bainbridge last weekend and they were running so late they cancelled trips to get back to schedule. I got there on time for the (late) 9:30 PM and couldn’t get out until midnight. It’s sad to see what our once great ferry system has become.

      1. The ferry system is being hit hard because their staff, in general, has a lot of high-risk individuals, so they can’t work during the COVID-19 crisis. WSF was short on staff before all this started, so they just don’t have enough bodies to go around and meet Coast Guard-required crewing minimums. So we’re stuck with less service than even the winter schedule, and no way to fix the crewing issues quickly; it takes months to train crew.

      2. Mostly staffing, but (lack of) staffing at their maintenance facility is also affecting vessel availability; they’ve got something like 1/4 of the fleet out for required maintenance right now.

      3. The ferries run late every summer, both weekdays and weekends. Cancelling trips to get back on schedule is a normal procedure.

        Why the ferry schedulers don’t put extra time between runs on the summer schedule is mismanagement. The only reasonable explanation is that commuters get confused when timetables are changed.

        As a pre-pandemic commuter, I can attest changes are confusing, but nowhere near as troublesome as not knowing when the ferry will actually leave.

  4. Ah yes, scooter share, a terrible solution, ever in search of a problem!

    Unless there’s a massive campaign to petition the Council, looks we’re going to get scooter forced upon us. SDOT has already made the decision that our multi-use trails and sidewalks are too safe these days; can’t let pedestrians feel too complacent!

    Luckily, I don’t see Lime scooters lasting in Seattle more than a year. Whether they go bankrupt ($400 million loss for 2019), COVID resurgence this fall suppresses riders or they collect enough data to please their VC overlords and pull out when the initial batch of scooters start needing replacement, I don’t see them being around next summer.

    At least they’re easier to chuck off the sidewalks than bike share!

    1. I cannot wait to see how many scooters pile up on the sidewalks and sunk at the bottom of the canal. It was such a joy with the bikes but these will be much easier to kick and throw all over the place. Thanks Lime for all the debris!

  5. I was made aware that SANDAG has a new plan from a daily email that mentions transit news clippings. I looked into thIs new SANDAG plan called “Moving Forward”. It has five “Big Moves” including several that relate to transit.

    https://sdforward.com/

    The presentation artwork and videos are great and inspiring. It’s an interesting alternative structure to a typical mode-by-mode plan.

    San Diego is in a position to have the MPO, county and local transportation sales tax agency as the same geography. That enables plans like this to be less concerned with subarea politics.

    I’m curious what others may think. Is it too utopian or strategic? Can ideas here be applied to our region? Are we behind or ahead of San Diego?

    1. I think we are a bit ahead, but mostly because our downtown (pre-COVID) drives strong transit ridership and our geography creates natural choke-points that favor transit. San Diego has a more coherent bureaucracy, but that only helps so much if they don’t have the same jobs density in transit nodes, though their current mayor is very pro-growth so they can certainly close the gap in ways SF and LA seem unable to. Their downtown has made the transition to 24-7 work-play-live, which is something they can really build upon.

      I think the next big levy they are looking at would be comparable to our ST3 in scope & ambition. San Diego already has their “spine” built out, and they are now doing interesting things to expand access to existing Light Rail, but they lack a downtown tunnel that is critical for high capacity transit. Their light rail situation is more like Portland, particularly once the extension to UCSD opens (comparable to our ST2 expansions under construction, so I guess they are ahead of Seattle there), where the major destinations are covered but downtown is at-grade.

      Their next levy goes big on investment in frequency, which is good, but is also big on managed lanes and BRT (i.e. Stride), which may or may not work.

      If they can get their land use to catch up with existing transit infrastructure, and invest in strong frequency across all modes – bus, light, and commute rail – they can certainly challenge Seattle when it comes to transit ridership.

      1. I would generally agree that San Diego is less transit friendly. I’m amazed that popular close-in destinations like Hillcrest and Balboa Park/ Zoo aren’t in the mix.

        I do find the emphasis on “mobility hubs” and “flexible fleets” a curious intentional strategy. It resembles our PSRC “regional growth centers” combined with Seattle’s “urban villages” land use concepts, but with more intentional recognition of better short-distance and long-distance access as opposed to mere land use. Our region seems to focus on picking projects and then extolling their benefit to transit rather than look at it the other way around.

      2. I think the comparison to PSRC growth areas is very apt. SANDAG is figuring out where they want growth and investing in mobility projects (transit and otherwise) around those hubs. ST2 and ST3 are similarly designed around connecting PSRC growth areas.

      3. Yes, there is a huge difference. SANDAG administers allowed local transportation (including transit capital and operations) sales tax collections in addition to being an MPO like PSRC. Unlike here where ST sets and collects sales taxes for its own use and distribution, California legally separates transit operators and sales tax revenue approvals and distribution. (Some counties do have the same agency do both like LA MTA, but they are legally separated.) To be similar, PSRC would have to have developed and administered Sound Moves, ST2 and ST3 — and the region’s counties would have to be merged together so that all of the PSRC region would be one single county.

      4. Interesting. There’s probably a good argument for PSRC to have more funding control and/or more dedicated revenues, but trying to fold all of PSRC into one county seems like a bad idea. The beauty of Sound Transit is it raises significant revenue while excluding rural and exburbs highly unlikely to support higher taxes.

        I suppose as the region grows, it will be nice to align the ST and PSRC territory together, but we’ve got a lot of growth before that makes sense. Simply raising tax levels in Everett to align with Community Transit is a tough pill to swallow for Everett politics – I can’t imagine extending Seattle transit tax levels to Kitsap to be successful any time soon, and holding back Seattle’s funding levels isn’t a good outcome.

        There’s a role for PSRC to be stronger in channeling growth across the region, holding the line on the UGA boundary, etc., but I’d argue in the same breath that the region would benefit if there was more separation between Seattle and King county, whether that’s a more devolution like with libraries or parks, or all the way to spinning off Seattle as a combined city-county entity.

      5. A more comparable suitable structure is with the Los Angeles and Bay Area, where the MPOs are multi-county (MTC and SCAG) but sales taxes are collected and distributed at the county level.

        For example, BART just opened into Santa Clara County. The project was sponsored by Santa Clara VTA and funded through Santa Clara sales taxes collected by Santa Clara VTA. Operations are subsidized by Santa Clara VTA. BART operates the service only. (A different arm of VTA operates buses and light rail in Santa Clara County.)

        One thing about California sales taxes are that they are countywide so they are generally multimodal in nature. Each operator, city and state DOT can have projects funded in the votes but each county-level multi-jurisdictional must have a plan to guide them. That way, rural areas get some benefit and the need for district boundaries is much less relevant.

      6. I was in San Diego a few years and rode the transit there. It wasn’t great, but wasn’t terrible. My biggest criticisms were not-so-great frequency and lack of a direct route between the airport and the Hillcrest neighborhood. Like here, there did seem to be quite a bit of freeway express service, which I rode several times. San Diego Transit is also one of the few non-Seattle cities supported by OneBusAway.

        Did not have a chance to ride their rail system, though, as it just didn’t go where I needed to go.

  6. I just got off the phone with Metro customer information. First operator I spoke with had to apologize because her computer screen just went blank, and she had to turn it back on.

    Second operator, told me this. The exception for health conditions is State Law. And in her words: “A driver isn’t a police officer.”

    Since this passenger’s visible mobility problems clearly justified the full ramp, the driver- whose bus was not yet equipped with a plastic shield- could have asked, “Sir is there some reason you’re not wearing a mask?”

    In the tone of a concerned question. Which would have prevented any further mention of the driver’s fitness for duty. Also leaving the driver finally informed of information that Metro should never have let him depart the base without.

    Reason I keep pointing out that money spent on training and instruction repays itself many times over. This encounter could have escalated into some serious revenue lost in operating delays. For starters.

    Under some intensive and possibly improper interrogation, she finally admitted she not only drove the Route 7, but, as I suspected from experience, loved it. Strict traditional code, though, is that you never let other drivers hear you say it.

    “Worth the risk?” A judgment always in the driver’s mind, and under present conditions, by the minute. But the loss of two colleagues, an instructor who used to be a drill sergeant and a driver who learned his Route 7 skills on the Forest line in Detroit, leave me with this.

    If you don’t prepare by finding something else to love, retirement can also be medically ill-advised. But also, if you’re going to demand that passengers who can barely move keep walking uphill ’til they collapse, or ride a bike til they fall over, please don’t use the 27 as an example.

    Those trail-in switches that are supposed to get Colman dock passengers to the King County Courthouse and also Lake Washington to commemorate the cable cars, have been hanging in the wire for thirty years. On that citywide set of hilIs, I need every inch of ridership I can get. The whole route!

    Mark Dublin

    1. The ADA trumps state law, and the ADA doesn’t allow someone to endanger others. In other words, someone can’t claim that their ADA status gives them a right to enter a place that requires masks. And being a driver not being a police office has nothing to do with it. Airline personnel aren’t police offices, but deny boardings. Restaurant employees aren’t police offices, and they deny entry, etc., etc.

      1. Airline boardings occur at an airport where security guards and police are standing by. Restaurants are a completely different situation from a bus, both in their necessity and layout and in how many people come in the door every minute, and in how much any delay affects other passengers.

      2. What I gave you, Sam, was not a statement of company policy, but the viewpoint of an individual customer-service person who’d personally specialized in driving a route with a reputation for trouble. And so doubtless considered a riskless life a disability that, by the stats, kills many retirees before their time. Two of them, friends and heroes of mine.

        The video showed the viewpoint of someone who could barely walk, and, if he’d called Customer Services about being permitted aboard, would’ve been assured that State Law made his ride legal.

        Which Metro, in turn, owed it to the driver to be sure he knew. At which time, if he found the rule unacceptable, he could tell his base chief that he would flatly refuse to let a mask-less person board.

        And let his Local 587 shop-steward and his base chief jointly decide the next step. I guarantee the driver would’ve come away relieved of the problem on at least that shift. The Local would then be within its rights to broaden the refusal into a work action.

        Can I tell ADA it’s your fault their offices are being stormed and set on fire by legitimately disabled people who suddenly can’t get to work or doctors’ appointments? Doubt Trump’s non-uniformed “specials” will risk their necks to save you this time. They’ll probably join the mob because somebody in their family just got left in the zone in 98 degree heat.

        So like Marlon Brando would’ve had Stanley Kowalski say in that shamelessly pro-streetcar movie about New Orleans, let’s “Cut The Rebop” about making “Enforcement” be America’s new Iron Lung. Because every single day now, here’s the Country I’m looking at.

        Whether it’s a rule, a program, a system, or an app, bottom line is it doesn’t work. But here’s what does happen. As Comcast went down Wonderland’s own rabbit-hole, a burly Cuban American took my living room wall apart so that a young woman in Kingston Jamaica could keyboard in and make Houston let Olympia get my wi-fi back on.

        COVIDIA really is evil, but she’s finally put the governing, if not the Government of the United States of America firmly in the hands of its people, one task at a time, over thousands of tasks. Want to help that driver RIGHT NOW? Write your King County Councilmember and get his coach that shield.

        Mark Dublin

  7. California had several brown-outs during the heat wave last week due to excessive demands for energy. One of the reasons cited in several media reports for the excessive energy demand was the increasing number of people working from home. Office buildings have modern HVAC systems that can efficiently keep hundreds of people cool; people working from homes aren’t as efficient with their energy use.

    1. The real problem is the electric utilities just not doing any upgrades or maintenance for 20-30 years to try and handle the loads that happen every year. Fattening up the stock dividend is far more important, you see.

      1. It has always seemed very strange to me that utility companies are allowed (by law) to be private, for profit entities here in the US. Seattle is fortunate in that Seattle City Light is a municipal entity, and Snohomish County PUD is also a public utility, but other surrounding areas (e.g. those served by PSE) are not so fortunate – PSE is a private but not non-profit entity. Not sure if PSE provides any dividend-equivalents to their private investors, though.

        Having said that, lack of infrastructure investment is a problem that plagues for-profit and non-profit (including municipal and county level public) entities, too. I couldn’t find the average age of water mains in Seattle, but this article talks about this issue in the context of a few other cities in the US: https://www.circleofblue.org/2016/world/infographic-the-age-of-u-s-drinking-water-pipes-from-civil-war-era-to-today/ – and I believe that the mains are owned by the city, even if the billing is administered by a for-profit entity, even in Seattle proper.

      2. This isn’t a normal increase. Electricity use has been up since March. People working from home or laid off use more electricity than their offices used. This is partly because individual housing units don’t have the economy of scale office buildings do, because work-from-home hadn’t been at this level in over fifty years (when family farms and stay-at-home wives were common), and office buildings still have minimum lighting on. Maybe the utilities should have done more upgrades but this particular problem was unforeseeable.

      3. @AM
        “It has always seemed very strange to me that utility companies are allowed (by law) to be private, for profit entities here in the US.”

        I thought you might be interested in checking out the following 2017 report that shows while there are far more public electric utility entities in the U.S., the private players have the vast majority of customers. Here’s the takeaway:
        “Investor-owned utilities serve three out of every four utility customers nationwide.”

        https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=40913

      4. @TIsgwm – thank you for the report link, it is indeed interesting. I am not surprised to see the summary, just disappointed, I guess. And I do still consider it strange. :) Though in the “this is a bad setup”, not the “this is a rare setup”, sense (I guess I should have clarified in my initial comment).

      5. PSE is a private but not non-profit entity. Not sure if PSE provides any dividend-equivalents to their private investors, though.

        PSE is very much a for profit corporation. Ironically, it is currently owned by a handful of public pension fund management companies from other countries (yup: public employees in other countries are going to have nice retirements because of our love of privatizing everything). Before that, it was an Australian private equity firm.

    2. My 2 cents is these current brown-outs are a CAISO problem, so have little to do with private vs public utilities and mostly to do with poor planning by the public regulator. This is a very different problem than the high winds, which (in theory) could have been avoided by a more prudent PG&E, where (in theory) public ownership would have been more prudent than private.

      It was notable that in the Politico article, an interviewee literally said, Blame PG&E, it’s not their fault but no one cares … which is a good summary for most of our national political debates these days.

      https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2020/08/18/california-has-first-rolling-blackouts-in-19-years-and-everyone-faces-blame-1309757

    3. California has a long history of needing to import power from very far away. They have sun and wind power, but much less hydro available (unlike our region). AC is also a huge power hog and that creates wide demand variations that make long-term cost recovery more difficult. It’s akin to malls building enough parking for Black Friday but seeing them unused much of the year.

      1. Well, California has a pretty good amount of hydro. Problem is it’s all associated with their water delivery system (Central Valley Project, State Water Project, and MWD’s Colorado River Aqueduct) and they burn huge amounts of power to pump water uphill over a couple mountain ranges to get it to southern California. IIRC the installed capacity for those systems is something approaching 4,000 MW (City Lights’s Boundary Dam, for comparison, is 1,000 MW).

      2. Al S. and everybody, I’d like to have an architect who’s also an indigenous California Native American confirm or deny my theory:

        That every summer, post-conquest California tries to artificially air-condition millions of houses built for an Ohio suburb. With possible solution being a building code mandating that everything now built on top of the flammable sage-brush, be dug into the rock underneath it instead. Know that somewhere there’s a Ten Commandments that’s really a 5,000 BC State Building Code.

        Politiconomicoregulatory mess, however, could have same solution as labor fairness for Uber and Lyfft. If you don’t like Big Government, but also want to make it possible for employees to control their own work-hours, put everything from Ride Share to residential AC in the hands of Worker Owned Cooperatives.

        Also, hearsay and old reading again, but seems to me that before the suburbs came, while the lands burned every summer, what the fire was for was to basically mow the lawn. Deer grazed right by the edge of some very small flames. But when we made poor Smoky the Bear not let anything burn, every year the fuel grows itself into dry green gasoline.

        Though we really have to ask ourselves if Nature isn’t giving us some state-wide residential land-use advice when she makes poison oak a natural ground cover.

        Mark Dublin

  8. I was wondering why more cities don’t build networks of elevated bike paths, and then I realized, dedicated bike paths and their users wouldn’t generate revenue. No tickets, no license fees, no fuel taxes, no parking revenue, etc.

    1. It’s because of the “elevated” part. Many people think elevated roads are an eyesore, and a bike path is a narrow road. The people who won’t spend millions of dollars to build it are called voters. If revenue were the primary issue, there wouldn’t be expanding surface bike lanes.

    2. Easy fix Sam. Build linear magnets into the concrete. And at every entrance ramp, make very bike also hook up to a trailer, itself full of magnets. So that every bike will generate enough sale-able energy to at least pay its own way.

      But really go-for-the-gold and declare “Bike-logenerating” an Olympic team sport. And declare that given the awesome benefits in both clean energy and physical fitness, only drug testing will be to be sure nothing is slowing you down.

      However, most wonderful thing of all will be to watch kids build their own Bike-lo tracks in yards and vacant lots. And hey, come to think of it….don’t BOTH floating bridges have built in….BIKE LANES?

      Mark Dublin

  9. Look at those exterior stairs in that Portland sixplex. They aren’t even along the outside walls but in the middle where a courtyard would be. Exterior hallways and stairs were common in apartments from the 1960s and 70s, then they went out of fashion and interior hotel-style hallways became universal. But exterior hallways save construction costs and heating/cooling costs, and in a cononavirus-sensitive world they give better air circulation.

    1. Many of the apartment buildings built in South Snohomish County (e.g. Lynnwood, Mill Creek, South Everett, Bothell, etc.) in the late 80s through early 2000s have a similar design. I lived in three such apartment complexes in the early 2000s, and the newest one was built I believe right in 2000. Starting around 2004-2005 (whenever the apartments next to Ash Way were built) there seemed to be a concerted change in design style, though it is possible that some apartment complex builders/owners still used the open design after that, too. For example, I think the Avalon next to Fred Meyer along 164th St. SW in Lynnwood is still open-stairwell style, and that was built around 2010 or so?

      Having said that, they’ve always seemed like West Coast suburbia to me. I do not recall seeing nearly as many such designs on the East Coast, even for smaller buildings; and even in Seattle, buildings built (I assume) in the 60s and 70s don’t all have these; look for example at the older apartments left near the Blakeley/25th Ave NE area, a number of them have internal hallways for access (though I can also think of a few that do not). Same for apartments farther North in Bryant, Wedgwood and Maple Leaf, too. There’s a good mix.

      For whatever it’s worth, I do not remember seeing elevators in any of the open hallway buildings; with the push to make more units ADA-compliant, the internal hallway design may be favored.

      1. A couple of corrections:
        1. Avalon Alderwood’s grand opening was in 2014.
        2. The complex does not utilize outside stairwells/hallways.

        It’s a pretty nice apartment complex with several amenities for residents and their guests. The last I knew was that it had a waiting list though its rents are certainly near the top of the price range for this area. (This is an area I’m pretty familiar with as the FM on 164th is my customary grocery and drugstore of choice.)

        https://lynnwoodtoday.com/avalon-alderwood-grand-opening/

        https://youtu.be/AVD_3CzHHiY

        There were a lot of outside stairwell and hallway apartments built in central Seattle in the late 50s and early 60s in the run-up to the World’s Fair. Some of these were originally motels that were later converted to apartment buildings.

      2. Thank you for the correction – in my defense, I hedged a fair bit there by framing it as a (rhetorical) question, and by adding “or so” :) I freely admit to be wrong though, and am glad that you corrected my mistakes.

        The older Avalon complex is open stairwell (except for maybe the new buildings that were added in the 2010s), and as you probably know, the townhouse complex across from Swamp Creek P&R was also Avalon at the beginning but then got sold off. I think that one has primarily separate exterior entrances since it’s (almost?) entirely townhouses.

        Avalon is an interesting company to rent from, from what I know from friends who have spent time at their various complexes. I will say no more though since it is mostly all hearsay.

      3. “The older Avalon complex is open stairwell…”

        I think you’re referring to the old Avalon Brandemoor complex which does indeed utilize outside stairwells in its design. Avalon Bay Communities sold this property to Greystar Equity Partners in 2016 for $132 million. The latter did some refurbishment (IIRC) and rebranded the property as Avana One Six Four. I think Avalon had this apartment complex built in 2009/2010, but I may be wrong on that. Nevertheless, the buildings weren’t that old when the property was sold.

        Despite this transaction, Avalon has been expanding its portfolio in the Seattle area over the last decade. (It’s organized as a publicly-traded REIT, “AVB” on the NYSE.) It is currently adding another local property to its portfolio, that being a mixed use apartment complex at Alderwood Mall where the Sears store used to stand. (I think Brookfield is retaining the underlying property though.) In case you’re interested, here’s a link to a recent article that discusses the changes occurring there.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-30/a-case-for-turning-empty-malls-into-housing

      4. Linked from the Bloomberg article.

        Were malls the original new urbanism? Profile of Victor Bruen, born in Vienna, who described the concept of a mall in 1952 and opened the first one in 1956. He wasn’t trying to create a low-density, car-dependent utopia. He was trying to densify suburbs and stop the spread of strip-mall sprawl. “He wanted these places to be civic centers as much as commercial ones, with day cares, libraries, post offices, community halls and public art. He wanted the shopping mall to be for suburbia what the public square was to old European cities. In fact, that mall in Edina, called Southdale, was supposed to be the centerpiece of a 500-acre master plan to include houses, apartments, office buildings, a medical center and schools…. But the property value around Southdale quickly went up. And instead of developing the full 500-acre site, Dayton’s sold off chunks of it for what would become the kind of “anonymous mass housing” Gruen detested, and precisely more of the commercial sprawl he wanted to eradicate.”

        “In one of the strangest legacies of his career, just as he was building these suburban shopping malls, Gruen was trying to revitalize urban downtowns with pedestrian-friendly master plans for cities like Fort Worth, Texas, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. He wanted to bring people back into the city even as he was trying to bring city-like amenities to the suburbs that lured so many people away. ‘They’re totally at odds,’ Hardwick says. ‘He never is able to explain that, or justify it. It’s a fundamental contradiction of his career.’ And then there was the problem in the suburbs of all that mall parking. How do you make a mall the civic heart of a community when it is, by definition, isolated in a sea of asphalt?

      5. @TIsgwm – yes, Avalon Brandemoor (I had not realized it was sold off as well) though it was built in 2000, the original phase anyway. I think you are right though that the second phase was built around 2010. Avalon Wildwood was kind of across the street from it, and it was all townhouses. They were possibly a little older? I really do not remember. When I used to catch the bus into downtown at Swamp Creek I remember it already being there and well established, but I do not remember for sure if that was before or after Brandemoor was completed. Then at some point in the mid 2000s Wildwood was sold off and maybe turned into condos at that point too? It was not clear to me since by then I was not really spending much time in the area anymore.

  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXf3GgVYVw8

    Have to thank you for the “lead-in” to this one, Sam, and to whoever shot the video, because it’s starting to show the “lead-UP” to some real trouble. Am also sending this link to both Dow Constantine and ATU Local 587.

    To me, this needs to be a doctor’s call, though personally, I think a nurse out of either Public Health or the Army would get to the point quicker and make her verdict stick harder.
    Look how close the contact is. Where, incidentally, is that coach’s plastic shield?

    If a completely un-masked passenger really does present a credible threat to the life of a transit driver, Metro and every pertinent official entity have no choice but to offer individual rides in other suitable vehicles, on demand, to the passengers in question.

    If the service does not presently exist, create it if it costs another whole ST-. Starting with making every single driver in the fleet aware of the State-sanctioned mask exception, with emergency instructions agreed upon with all due haste between union and company.

    If this video goes Viral, a cure for the a Agency’s reputation could take a long time to find.

    Mark Dublin

  11. If you’re ever curious about who makes what in public service, from mail carriers, to bus drivers, to politicians. Anyone who works in any kind of government job. And I don’t mean what the job title salary is, but what the actual person makes in a given year. Seems kinda intrusive, to me.

    https://openpayrolls.com

  12. Virtually every day Sound Transit sends out an alert that says: Link light rail service is temporarily unable to serve the southbound platform Rainier Beach and Othello Stations due to track maintenance.

    What track maintenance is being done for months on end?

  13. This weekend’s planned route 255 reroute is posted below (520 is closed at Montlake due to construction.) Two comments on this reroute.

    First, the Eastbound reroute is wrong because WS-DOT says that onramp to WB 520 will be closed. See https://sr520construction.com/activity/view/56266. Unless Metro can use the closed ramp, there will be additional travel delay to get from the Pacific St stop to I-5.

    Second, are we truly so uncreative and willing to waste service hours that we send the bus all the way around the loop via Mercer Island, downtown Seattle, to UW instead of just sending it to the Stadium station where riders can transfer to Link (and if they are heading to the airport or Rainier Valley or ID they don’t have to first go all the way to UW/Husky and then double back.)

    EASTBOUND – TO TOTEM LAKE TRANSIT CENTER
    Regular route to SB Montlake Blvd NE & NE Pacific St
    C on SB Montlake Blvd NE
    R on WB SR 520
    L on SB I-5
    L on EB I-90
    L on NB I-405
    R on WB SR 520
    R on NB 108 Av NE
    C regular route
    MISSED STOPS
    EB SR 520/FS EVERGREEN PT STN
    EB SR 520/AT YARROW PT STN
    USE STOPS
    SB MONTLAKE BLVD NE/FS NE PACIFIC PL – BAY 3
    NB NE 37 CT/FS 108 AV NE – S KIRKLAND P&R
    WESTBOUND – TO DOWNTOWN SEATTLE
    Regular route to SB 108 Av NE & Northup Way
    C on SB 108 Av NE
    L on EB SR 520
    R on SB I-405
    C on WB I-90
    C on NB I-5
    R on EB SR 520
    L on NB Montlake Blvd E
    C on regular route
    MISSED STOPS
    WB SR 520/AT YARROW PT STN
    WB SR 520/AT EVERGREEN PT STN
    USE STOPS
    NB NE 37 CT/FS 108 AV NE – S KIRKLAND P&R
    SB 108 AV NE/NS NORTHUP WY
    NB MONTLAKE BLVD E/NS E SHELBY ST
    NB MONTLAKE BLVD NE/NS NE PACIFIC PL NE – BAY 4

    1. This is what bikes are for. According to WSDOT, the 520 bridge bike path will remain open. With the reroute, my e-bike will probably be faster than the 255, anyway.

    2. Yes, Metro is mostly uncreative. I’d send the suggestion to them because they probably hadn’t thought of it. If it doesn’t make it this time maybe it will for a future closure. At Intl Dist you can also get buses every five minutes to Westlake, which is more than you can say about Link. And buses to many other places that might be people’s ultimate destination.

    3. Metro has now posted the corrected reroute with the Eastbound Rt 255, acknowledging that WB SR-520 is also closed. So if you were traveling from ID to Kirkland they are expecting you to ride Link to UW, transfer there, travel on surface streets through the U-District up to NE 45th & I-5, then travel down I-5, across Mercer Island, etc. This seems so non-sensical. Either terminate the 255 at the Stadium or ID station with transfer to Link, or even at the Bellevue Transit Center with transfers to the 271 and 550. Why run empty buses on a route that no one needs or will take?

      EASTBOUND – TO TOTEM LAKE TRANSIT CENTER
      Regular route to SB Montlake Blvd NE & NE Pacific St
      R on WB NE Pacific St
      R on NB 15 Av NE
      L on WB NE 45 St
      L on SB I-5
      L on EB I-90
      L on NB I-405
      R on WB SR 520
      R on NB 108 Av NE
      C regular route
      MISSED STOPS
      EB SR 520/FS EVERGREEN PT STN
      EB SR 520/AT YARROW PT STN
      USE STOPS
      EB NE PACIFIC ST/FS 15 AV NE
      SB MONTLAKE BLVD NE/FS NE PACIFIC PL – BAY 3
      NB NE 37 CT/FS 108 AV NE – S KIRKLAND P&R

    1. I like the bottom video clip with the cameraman walking out of Bellevue Station. I think they’ll even have a view of Mt. Rainier from that station, if I’m not mistaken.

    2. What kind of bureaucratic process led do the sign “Downtown Bellevue Tunnel”. It’s obvious that it’s a tunnel, that it’s in Bellevue, and that it’s downtown. A person would just have to look at the dark cavern, the skyscrapers, and the “South Bellevue” station to know that. It’s like when Link signs scroll to say “Angle Lake Station”. Of course it’s a station, by definition trains stop at stations and don’t stop at non-stations. I’d rather have some chistled artwork than a redundant chistled sign.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. But, some people may argue it’s not technically downtown. I think I remember some commenters saying Bellevue Station isn’t in downtown Bellevue. But, “Downtown Bellevue Tunnel” just doesn’t look right. I don’t like the word choice, font style and size. Perhaps some artwork would have been better.

      2. My guess is that is the official name. It is like the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge, which almost everyone calls the 520 bridge (and some call the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge). So I have no problem with the wording. I think the font is boring (no pun intended) and a bit large. I would have gone with something a little more subtle, about half the size (but still bigger than the date). But then again, maybe they wanted to fill up the upper section with a nice curve. I think the logo is nice, though.

        How visible is this, anyway? Other than the conductor, no one on the train will see it — can you see it from the surrounding neighborhood? It may be one of those things that are rarely seen, so it doesn’t matter much.

      3. When I was growing up we called it the Evergreen Bridge. The other one was the Mercer island Bridge. “Evergreen Point Floating Bridge” was just the formal name on maps. The names “520 Bridge” and “I-90 Bridge” came in the 1990s or 2000s, probably because the traffic reports use the highway number and so many newcomers weren’t familiar with the names. It also became problematic when a second Mercer Island bridge was built, and then the first one sank and was rebuilt, so it became ambigious which one “the new Mercer Island bridge” and “the old Mercer Island bridge” referred to.

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