40 Replies to “Sunday open thread: the East Link tunnel is done”

  1. I can’t wait until the tunnel opens and riders are left wondering “why are there no stops in the tunnel?” and “why do I have to walk so far to my bus?”

    When they ask me for answers, I’ll direct them to the STB arrives.

    1. The tunnel is so short they’ll be out of it before they have time to wonder about the first question. But when the see the distance from the station and the bus bays and realize from the surface an underground station on 110th would have been closer, they’ll lament the missed opportunity.

      1. You’d think they could design the intersection to be more pedestrian friendly than that. How about a 4 way stop sign?

    2. With Mt Baker tunnel and the Mercer Island lid in addition to this tunnel (shorter than those), I doubt anyone will find it unusual.

    3. Transit Jeopardy

      They demand walkable neighborhoods, but will complain about having to walk even a block.

      Who is the STB comment section?

    4. I think the #1 question will be, if one end of the tunnel is on 112th ave, and the other end of the tunnel is on 112th, and there are no stations between the two ends, why did they make a tunnel?

      1. Because Link was supposed to go to the transit center and the city council didn’t want surface trains in front of city hall, and they were concerned about surface trains impacting car circulation.

      2. It was a compromise. Some people wanted an expensive solution with an underground station at the transit center. Another faction wanted a cheaper alternative with the station a couple blocks from the transit center. So the city council compromised on an expensive solution with the station a couple of blocks from the transit center. I wonder how wise Salomon would have been remembered for had the women both agreed to cut the baby in half?

  2. Done with the tunneling; everything else, tracks, electrical, etc still needs to be completed before the 2023 opening.

  3. Serious Congratulations, ST. But:


    Could use a little more tunneling info than video-bragging, but can anybody link us to a video that shows how those fantastic mounted Dremel-tools really work?

    I’m getting strong suspicion that its authors believe that excavating machinery is only of interest to people too old to remember if they’re Boomers or Millenials. Or more to the point…..

    Wait A Minute! Given the barrage of NPR commercials for firms whose forte is weeding out anybody in the way of “High Impact Hiring”- meaning anybody who’s ever driven a bus-

    I’d better not find out that very DO NOT HIRE (inc.)firm now has my name, address, phone and pictures of my apartment because like I was too excited to note the “Vimeo”.

    Mark Dublin

    1. ($) doesn’t spend itself, Mike, or put itself into action protecting drivers or anyone else. Same for rules, agencies, and systems.

      As opposed to ATU Local 587, who with a short, pointed communication could shut down bus service starting tomorrow unless every single driver’s compartment has a plastic shield. What (overtime’$ )for.

      And have the Sheriff start deputizing those ambassadors to start pairing with officers to start “roaming” the service, including stops and coaches, relieving drivers of contract-violating duty of “Enforcing”, or just “living with” what shortens their lives.

      And lightning-fast-Non-Negotiable: at least Downtown Seattle and all major transit hubs, all fares ORCA-only. That’s what they’re for. Toronto has had turnstiled pre-pay bus stops for years, hasn’t it? Whatever the system has to $spend, the live$ it’ll $save will pay the difference.

      And if the books show these mitigations co$t too much? All political sides, spearheaded by SPD rank and file, might agree that the duty described above constitutes a re-a$$ignment of revenue to that does not defund anything.

      And to Local 587: As Nordic Heritage Swedish-radical division can confirm that Joe Hill said before Salt Lake ‘s Alt- Right got him: “You really have got nothing to lo$e but your chair$.”

      Mark Dublin

  4. The portal is a remarkably dull design. The only “art” is the ST logo — and that seems like it could change one day. Unfortunately, it’s too late to make it more significant.

    And I’d probably call it a “rail tunnel” as I don’t see any buses inside that tunnel for the foreseeable future.

    1. There will never be any buses inside the Bellevue Transit Tunnel.

      Nor should there ever be.

    2. Thanks for catching this, Al S. Can’t believe Bellevue’s ST Board delegation let this get past them! If Columbia City can have that wonderful giant shovel, at least that awful concrete entrance can be “faced” with ceramic, bronze, glass, and some lamps.

      Do anti-Link forces really think that if you leave it ugly enough, East Link will eventually go away? If you have to, let the Kemper Freeman statue have a sword as well as a horse.
      But seriously, both the people of Bellevue and all Link’s other passengers deserve something pretty.

      Mark Dublin

      1. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t add a thematic entry metal awning to resemble the one at BTC. That BTC awning has been touted as a signature feature.

      2. Sadly, even the arc with the name doesn’t match the arc of the tunnel entry tops. It looks like no one coordinated the look.

    3. I like it. Reminded me of the BNSF tunnel portal, which just has a date. Functional and clean design.

      1. AJ, any chance that concrete’s main function will be to assure that nobody in a ten mile radius will ever need anything else to graffiti?

        Also, if memory serves, the BN tunnel is not located in the middle of a major regional business center. And used by thousands of people every day, to walk through and wait at.

        So one main function of station art and architecture is to create a place where people will want to be. I don’t see a whole lot welcoming about it. Especially in summer temperatures like this afternoon’s.

        What I’m seeing is very disappointing. During DSTT construction, I served on an advisory committee on art, as well as the one on operations. But to be fair, can anybody give me “link” me to a rendering of what the station will look like when it’s finished?

        Mark Dublin

    4. Al S. , a flat concrete wall is very easy to lay ceramic tile on, and also attach objects in metal and glass, as well as lights.
      Letters and symbol could be reflectorized, and equipped with solar batteries.

      And what’s really significant is how much graffiti such attention will deter. But ’til we can see things like shelters and shrubbery, it’s hard to make aesthetic judgments. Anybody know sources or links to renderings?

      Mark Dublin

  5. There’s an important agenda item scheduled for Sound Transit’s full board meeting this coming Thursday, Resolution 2020-15.
    This resolution proposes a couple of significant changes centered around the board’s budgetary oversight responsibility and weakens the annual TIP reporting requirements.

    The upshot is that under the new policy, should it be adopted, the CEO will no longer need board approval to move monies around project phases within the same project. In other words, should the need arise the agency can move $100 million budgeted YOE$ from ROW to construction, for example, without any input from the System Expansion Committee or the full board. Likewise, the CEO would be allowed to make similar changes in regard to the annual budget for any given project.

    Additionally, the proposed resolution eliminates a couple of the required reporting elements to be included in the annual TIPs. These two components will be deleted from said reporting, should the new policy be adopted through this resolution:

    “3.2.3.b Six-year forecast for transit mode expenses;
    3.2.3.c Planned contributions to reserves;”

    I guess this is all being proposed in the name of expediency. The following explanation was all that was given in the narrative accompanying the proposed resolution:

    “The objective of this proposed action is to update Sound Transit’s budget policy to address the need to transfer budget between project cost phases of the same project. Under the current policy, Board approval is required. The need for the CEO to manage such budget transfers has become increasingly
    important due to the burden of such administrative actions on the Board’s time.”

    Give me a break.

    Here’s a link to the board documents where can you can read the proposed resolution in full:
    https://www.soundtransit.org/get-to-know-us/documents-reports/board-directors/search?keywords=&order=published_date&page=1&facet_1135%5B%5D=1310&facet_1807%5Bstart_date%5D=Jul 1%2C 2018&facet_1184%5B%5D=1548

    1. Most boards have a consent agenda item instead of a total abdication of responsibility. That way, anything unusual can be pulled off for discussion.

      Why isn’t this the recommendation?

      1. It’s also about avoiding the staff work to get a resolution simply to the consent agenda. Having had to assist in the daisy chain of approvals (finance, legal, EHS, etc.) when I was at ST, I can confirm it’s a complete hassle for what should be an internal administrative action within a budget spreadsheet. This is an improvement for the Board, the public, and the staff.

        Internal controls around total budgets, contract approvals, etc. still remain. This is cleaning up legacy processes from when ST was a construction agency, not an operating transit agency.

      2. “This is an improvement for the Board, the public, and the staff.”

        I couldn’t disagree more. It’s well within the board’s oversight responsibility and a check on the senior management’s budgetary protocols to have a board review of such changes. The board is simply abdicating its responsiblity here. I guess they can’t be bothered with such “trivial matters”. Of course, down the road when there is some sort of sudden surprise that stems from a new budget allocation request, i.e., baseline reset, these same board members will be asking, “Wait, where did this come from?”. And, “Why weren’t we notified about this issue earlier?”.

        And, please, spare me the “micromanagement” by the board assertions.

        In regard to your question
        Al S. …..

        The original board operating rules (Resolution 1-1, as amended), said this about items on the consent agenda:

        “The term “Consent Agenda” shall refer to a portion of the printed Agenda listing action items that are believed to be routine and noncontroversial actions of government not subject to question, such as approval of minutes, commendations and declarations, standard agreements and procurements and grant contracts.”

        The most recent changes to the board’s operating rules were adopted in Resolution 2018-45 in Nov 2018 to be effective Jan 1, 2019. This is how the rules now read in regard to the use of the consent agenda:

        “3.19 Consent agenda. The Board chair may include actions of a routine nature that are forwarded to the Board from a committee with a do-pass recommendation on a consent agenda. Any
        Board member may remove any item from the consent agenda for further discussion before a
        vote is taken. Items removed from the consent agenda are transferred to the regular agenda to consider and vote on separately.”

        I believe it is still the intention of the ST board to generally NOT include resolutions in the consent agenda.

      3. “This is cleaning up legacy processes from when ST was a construction agency, not an operating transit agency.”

        That’s rich. Please do let me know when this budget policy change will be utilized with regard to an operational budget shift. What would the phases even be in that context? That’s just nonsensical.

  6. “The need for the CEO to manage such budget transfers has become increasingly important due to the burden of such administrative actions on the Board’s time.”

    Wait a minute. Has the current temporary resident of 1600 Pennsylvania just appointed the CEO in question to be both temporary Postmaster General in charge of Elections, and also chief of the Center for Disease Control?

    While I’m told I should be thankful I escaped from Sound Transit’s electorate, this attitude is a variety of COVID don’t want loose in my State ’til we find a vaccine, and have testimony that could help prevent it. IT Route 612’s been deactivated, but Tacoma Dome’s got good safe parking for an ST 574 + Link ride to the Ruth Fisher Room.

    Problem’s one of ethics. Since duelling’s illegal- both Burr and “Hamilton” were law-breakers- common decency at least demands that certain assessments of character and competence have got to be delivered while looking the subject in the face. Mask acceptable, can’t have flowers or funny teeth. Confrontation on video? Too bad Kamala Harris is busy.

    So somebody tell me….If I get ruled out of order, can I still have a uniformed sheriff’s deputy escort me out of the boardroom? And more important, can I still yield my time to Alex Tsimerman?

    Still have to set him straight that since it was Mussolini that got the trains running on time and not Hitler, his proper address to the Chair is “Il Du-che!”

    Mark Dublin

  7. It says much about downtown Bellevue that the most beautiful route (according to the mayor) through Bellevue is a concrete hole.

    1. Kenn, we’re not only dealing with a worldwide epidemic of a recently-emerged disease, but also the accumulated results of both decades of mistakes, and suddenly-changed circumstances.

      So maybe the time spent on attempted prediction might be better spent seeing how much, individually and together, we can figure out how to change to our advantage and get fixed.

      Since the virus hit, I’ve had more than one experience where annoying system failures were corrected by recently-employed young people who just figured out what to do next. Main reason, I often think, why our country’s still here, let alone still livable at all.

      Mark Dublin

  8. AJ, since you’ve got experience with administrative manners that I haven’t, I’m inclined to trust you.

    But also, over the years, I’ve seen examples of dreadful administrative mistakes that somebody should’ve stopped with really bad results , and politicians using a total irrelevance for a power-grab.

    And within both groups, people of widely-varying abilities and qualities. So maybe you can tell me. As a voter…what’s my best approach to the information I need so I can tell my elected politicians what I think they should do?

    Mark Dublin

  9. I got those Starks masks from Oregon that somebody suggested. Here’s an evaluation of all my masks in the order acquired.

    #1 was an eye mask I already had. Not very breatheable, so I abandoned it long ago.

    #2 is the one I’ve used the most. It’s a pretty good cloth mask, though it fogs my glasses and gets a bit hard to breath through when I walk uphill. Its metal nose ridge is starting to poke out sometimes so it may be on its last legs. It’s black outside, white inside. I found it in a rolling cart somebody lent me, although nobody knows where it came from.

    #3 is from a Hanes 10-pack my roommate got at a Navy commissary. It’s less elaborate than #2 and doesn’t have a nose ridge. It’s all white, and a good budget choice. The more expensive ones are nicer though.

    #4-6 are the Starks masks. They’re $12.95 each with a “buy four, get one free”. I got five and gave two to my mom. These the only ones that don’t fog my glasses or impede breathing at all, at least they haven’t in the first two days. They have a stitched nose ridge, like a fitted shirt. They have adjustable ear band, and come in 13 colors. The only negatives I’ve seen is the largest earband setting (the default) is smaller than my other masks and a little tighter than I’d like, it feels a bit bulkier than my other masks, and it took 14 days to deliver them due to a high volume of orders. Their manufacturing plants are in Vancouver WA and Bend OR.

    1. Thank you very much for the update, it’s great to hear that they are actually good (and potentially useful).

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