48 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: An effective campaign ad”

  1. The MTA in NYC placed a commentary in the NY Times warning that congress’s inaction over the economic recovery do to Coronavirus will not only injure the city/ region, but transit across the country as well. Perhaps the message is slightly hyperbolic, but the important point being made is true.

    We need a strong transit network in this country & the federal government needs to do it’s part as well as us pandemic not withstanding.

  2. Has there been any news on whether/how the pandemic and the upcoming transit service cuts will effect Metro’s Northgate Link restructure?

    1. Good question. Hard to say what will happen. The restructure was based on the assumption that Link would run frequently (as were the changes following UW Link). It also assumed a revenue neutral system, which meant substantial savings from truncation that could flow into better service for other routes.

      On the one hand, I can’t imagine running the 41 to downtown after Link gets to Northgate. On the other hand, it would be weird to make the vast majority of riders transfer to a train that runs less frequently than the bus route it is replacing (most of the day). I could see a couple different approaches:

      1) Make the changes, but live with the bad frequency (on Link and some of the buses). This is similar to what is happening for Kirkland.

      2) Truncate the 41 (and similar express buses) but hold off on a bigger restructure until later. The savings basically go into minimizing the painful cuts that will soon occur (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/01/two-axes-to-swing-for-metro-in-september/).

      The first option allows you to scale up easily. There would be no change in routes once Metro is in better financial shape, just a change in frequency. The second option means people more or less live with the current system, although some of the express buses to downtown go away. Personally I would go with the first option, but with some modifications I would like to see regardless of service levels.

  3. I wish it did not take a global pandemic to do this, but I so appreciate Community Transit helping me get their Board meetings on video. The playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMN7G4e16HTZ8PBMyXyuiTx3Tpr3oJgIi . It’s nice to be able to keep up with what’s going on in public transit via video and I’m hopeful this continues post vaccination.

    It is really, really important also that we as transit advocates so committed to commenting on a transit blog now reach out to a transit and comment on their Transit Development Plan & Service Improvement Plan. Transit agencies should hear directly from us.

  4. Mysterious subway station ambient ASMR. A kind of multimedia painting. Watch the video for a few minutes, then turn off the screen, close your eyes, and just listen to it.

    You know you’re a transit nerd when…

    The impossible things in the video bother you. Silent trains. Trains that never stop for loading/unloading. Passengers that are heard but not seen.

    1. Mike, I’d like you and the rest of my readers to join with me and ask Senator Markey this: “What can America do to see to it that never again are any will we ever put a nerd in any position of danger?”

      Leaving out ideology, law, and politics all three, concentrate carefully on these two men themselves, one who’s just been killed by the police at 48 and one looking at an open-and-shut murder trial at 17.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO5gAhzFjJc

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZlRCYYnHas

      What they both have in common is that, with the most heartfelt of motives, the one thing neither of them never internalized about a firearm is that at the time it’s most desperately tempting to use, it always goes off in a world full of living targets.

      Born in The Age of Reason, I’d also bet the Second Amendment’s drafters’ “Original Intent” conditioned “Universally Bearing” ,for three years in the Army, anything that’d ever be yours to Keep.

      Present pair of subjects, not sure, but would bet a lot on one thing. Neither one of them ever “Kept” or “Bore” a gun for which a sergeant ever yelled at them for not getting those rifling-grooves “CLEAN, dammit!” And “‘Til ordered otherwise, you keep that safety switch “ON, you hear me?”

      Now, what’s this got to do with transit? Reason Boeing Vertol had such a hard time with those San Francisco cars was that highly conductive copper and carbon “talcum powder” could never blow out aircraft engines like it did light rail motors.

      And since few PhD’s come out of trade school, neither “Poli-Sci” nor Civics in our school systems turns out either politicians or administrators who can rightly connect deferred maintenance with negligent homicide.

      Or, as our starting Dual Power fleet bore Biblically damning Witness, whatever the Legal Department will tolerate by way of “Responsiveness” or its opposite, the damn thing needs to be able to do sixty down-hill with a tail-wind, on a lane its own tires don’t disintegrate under its weight.

      Back when this country manufactured strong, tough, simple consists instead of going for the low bid among delicate complicated ones designed and built elsewhere, it wasn’t uncommon for workers to wear eyeglasses under their safety goggles. Neither gender of colleagues would ever tease them about it.

      But nobody was ever cruel enough to put a nerd to work on any “line” where they could need body parts sewed back on.

      Mark Dublin

  5. Didn’t Caroline Kennedy lose a primary a few years ago? Or were the polls so bad she didn’t run? At the time they said the Kennedy magic seemed not to be working.

    1. No, she wanted to be appointed to the Senate seat that Hillary Clinton vacated to become secretary of state, and was roundly panned for basically not being qualified, and then governor Paterson nominated Gillibrand for the seat. I don’t think she was ever seriously in contention, and there wasn’t a primary or a vote

  6. I just came across this item on the Sep 10th agenda for Sound Transit’s System Expansion Committee. Holy cow.

    “Motion No. M2020-54: Authorizing the chief executive officer to increase the contract contingency for the Federal Way Link Extension design-build contract with Kiewit Infrastructure West Company in order to incorporate Alternate Technical Concepts and Notices to Designers through cost-effective measures that reduce construction risk, enhance
    operational safety, and/or improve passenger experience in the amount of $100,000,000 for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $1,513,720,000.”

    Unfortunately, ST has yet to publicly publish the motion itself, so the background information and fiscal narrative remain to be seen. (Based on ST’s “recent” trend of withholding negative information from the public, the document probably won’t be released until the day of the meeting.)

    As a reminder, when the Federal Way Link extension project was baselined back in Sep 2018, the agency revealed that it was looking at a huge project cost estimate miss.

    “The combined ST2/ST3 cost estimate for Federal Way Link Extension is $2.1 billion. By
    comparison, the proposed baseline budget is $2.5 billion or $460.3 million higher than the ST2/ST3 estimate.” (Source: Motion 2018-30)

    Then, when the agency reported that it was in the final steps of securing the long anticipated FFGA with the FTA for this project later that year, we learned that the true total cost for the project was going to be much higher. This very blog reported on this at the time, writing, “Federal Way Link is expected to cost a total of $3.2 billion, having been adjusted by rising property costs and a competitive construction market.”.*

    This could be a very interesting committee meeting with a lively discussion of the motion and the broader scope of the fiscal conditions surrounding this particular project. Then again, the members may just rubber stamp it. (Sigh.)

    * https://seattletransitblog.com/2019/12/18/federal-funds-on-their-way-for-federal-way-link/

    1. For the record, this was the coverage in the local paper when the contract was awarded back in May 2019:

      “The contract with Kiewit includes $1.28 billion with a 10 percent contingency of $128 million for a total amount not to exceed $1.41 billion.”

      So chuck on another $100 million to that deal. I suspect that somewhere down the road we will see the goalpost moved again, i.e., a baseline reset request.

    2. I think “rising property costs” is a gigantic Red Herring. Yes, the line has the zigs over to 30th and back which crosses some existing private property. And it does the same thing at 272nd, though there the zig and zag are mostly in WSDOT right of way. Finally, it will require some land acquisition at the Federal Way station.

      But mostly this is Railway Robbery by Pieter Kiewit. They know that there is a duopoly in railway construction in the United States. It’s Kiewit or Tutor-Perini for full-on “design-build” contracts. APTA ought to invest in a worker-owned company to compete with (and drive the profits down for) the duopoly.

      1. I agree completely. Interesting enough, Alon Levy, over at Pedestrian Observations often writes about high construction costs in the Anglosphere, and especially the United States (https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/11/08/what-is-the-anglosphere-anyway/). Levy put the finger on private designing (without naming specifics) but specific design-build contractors would definitely explain the problem (as well as explain why our costs are so much higher than England, which is much higher than most of the developed world).

        I think the best solution is to hand it over to a public agency, like the Army Core of Engineers. They wouldn’t build the whole thing, but could design it, with construction done by one of dozens of companies.

      2. @TomTerrific
        Agreed. I’d love to hear about the actual details of this new deal. Hopefully we can learn more at the upcoming committee meeting, but that’s going to require some board members to actually get involved. I’m sure the ST CEO really just wants this to fly under the radar so that he can hurry up and put his signature on the contract modification.

        I kind of like the Army Corps of Engineers idea. Of course, it will go nowhere in our current national political environment and the Cons desire to privatize governmental services at every opportunity.

        P.S. I forgot to include the following link in my comment above concerning the local coverage of the contract award. My apologies.
        https://www.federalwaymirror.com/news/kiewit-chosen-to-design-build-light-rail-extension-in-kent-federal-way/

      3. Cons desire to privatize governmental services at every opportunity.

        Privatization of government services has been a huge rip-off. It runs counter to traditional conservative values (i. e. biggest bang for the buck). A great example is the ObamaCare website (HealthCare.gov). Not only was it full of errors, but the cost overruns are staggering. From Wikipedia:

        Analysis by the Reuters news agency in mid-October stated that the total contract-based cost of building HealthCare.gov swelled threefold from its initial estimate of $93.7 million to about $292 million.[9] In August 2014, the Office of Inspector General released a report finding that the cost of the HealthCare.gov website had reached $1.7 billion.

        For a freakin’ website! All this American money ($1.7 billion) went to a Canadian company. This is nothing new for the company either, nor unique to the United States — (same source, same paragraph)

        [14] As pointed out later by commentators such as Mark Steyn, the CGI company has already been embroiled in a mid-2000s controversy before over contract payments. While devising the Canadian Firearms Registry, estimated costs of $2 million ballooned to about $2 billion.[25]

        Now imagine if you had a bunch of government employees, tasked with the same job, but using open source methods, which would allow anyone to offer their services (like Linux). It would be better, more secure and a helluva lot cheaper.

      4. “Privatization of government services has been a huge rip-off.”

        The example that immediately sprang to mind while reading your reply was the privatization of prisons that Cons have pushed for over the last few decades. The Sentencing Project did a pretty comprehensive paper on the current state of affairs with our nation’s incarceration system(s) a couple of years ago. (I’ve provided the link below should you or others care to have a quick read.) One of their key findings was stated as follows:

        “Cost savings claims associated with prison privatization are unfounded according to decades of research.”

        https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/capitalizing-on-mass-incarceration-u-s-growth-in-private-prisons/

        Of course, there are many other examples, in multiple areas of governmental services, of this Con fallacy that privatization provides savings to taxpayers.

  7. It looks like Metro’s actually running trolleybuses this weekend: I’ve seen them on the 2/13 and 43/44. Another unusual sighting was with one “Stealth Rapidride” buses, I saw in service on the C the other day.

    1. Why put it in the past tense, Sam? There’s a enough square yardage of flat concrete for a prize-winning jewel-box of ceramics, copper, glass, and other material, including all kinds of lights and maybe a clock, to put that portal on a lot of people’s smart-phone screens worldwide.

      Turn the project over to the school system, secondary and community college, and several hundred students could start their working lives with the “feel” of instead of considering their ORCA passes “Free”, think of them as the training wages they really are.

      Can’t think of a better “test run” for a whole plethora of future public works, in the hands of the people whose education should start with an actual public works project literally in their hands as both a graduation present to both themselves and their whole region.

      Mark Dublin

  8. This is just a guess, but I would say about 95% of riders at the Bellevue TC who want to go to Bellevue Square, walk the about 1/3 to 1/2 of a mile from the TC to the mall. The other 5% take another bus to get them closer. So, when East Link opens, and some more office buildings have gone up in the area in between the mall and the new Bellevue Link stations, is it reasonable to expect those office workers to walk to from their offices to either Bellevue Station or East Main Station? Is what’s good enough for mall-goers (walking) good enough for office workers? Or, when East Link opens, will this be deemed unacceptable, and some new connecting service or circulator will need to be created to and from downtown Bellevue, and Bellevue Station and East Main Station?

    1. The Grand Connection is supposed to include a circulation technology of some form, but I think that has little to do with office vs retail workers.

    2. Current trends will continue. Short circulators tend to fail because they’re insufficiently better than walking or driving. Many people go to the SLU streetcar, see the next one is seven or twelve minutes later, and start walking, and when they reach their destination a half-while away, either the streetcar hasn’t passed yet or it passed just a minute ago. Bellevue had a downtown circulator called the Bel-Hop and it failed. It may have had another one after that.

      The 550 and 271 both stop at Bellevue Square, and a large percent of riders are on those routes anyway so they just use that stop. If you’re coming on the B you’d have to walk or transfer. That actually argues for extending the B west or southwest so that it could do an additional overlapping job, like the D and 62 do when they terminate not at Pine Street but in Pioneer Square, and the C does when it terminates in SLU. They serve both one-seat rides and short downtown circulation. And through routes like the 131 and 132 serve several overlapping transit markets on both sides of downtown.

      Then there’s the University of Washington, where one class is sometimes a quarter-mile or half-mile away from another class, and UW Station is way in the corner. Traditionally students always walked, and there was a disability shuttle. Now there are all-day shuttles and they extend to 55th. Still, the vast majority of students walk. Downtown Bellevue is smaller than the UW campus or greater U-District, so an even greater percentage of people will walk and wouldn’t take a shuttle if it where there. This applies to Bellevue Square, Lincon Square, and all the closer highrises. As you get further south or east, East Main or Wilburton Stations become as close or closer, so that creates an even bigger aggregate walkshed.

      Now if you’re in Old Bellevue, the distance and hill to East Main Station starts to get annoying, and then you might take a shuttle or a route that goes to a station. But if you’re at Bellevue Square or the adjacent park, not as much. Especially if there’s a pedestrian corridor at 6th, which will hopefully get even better.

      1. In general, I think our limited transit dollars should be focused on taking cars off the road, rather than feet off the sidewalk.

      2. I understated some of the UW distances. While some classes are a quarter-mile or half-mile apart, others are a mile or more; e.g., from the north campus dorms to the south campus classrooms west of the medical center.

      3. I think the biggest problem is that the station placement sucks. East Main is especially bad (see the last paragraph here — https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/06/sunday-open-thread-an-effective-campaign-ad/#comment-856452). If there was a station (or two) on Bellevue Way, it would make all the difference in the world. Not only for access to the mall (which is small potatoes) but for access to the skyscrapers and densely populated areas to the east (https://goo.gl/maps/to6ufh2PvCzrvrCr5).

        The other problem is that Bellevue is very spiky. This makes it difficult to serve via buses. Belltown is definitely part of downtown Seattle, and has very high population and employment density. But it is also “on the way” to lots of other places. Lower Queen Anne (farther away) is in the same boat. Thus there is no need for a circulator, as buses serve the more distant neighborhoods, but converge in the really dense areas in a “spine*” pattern.

        That isn’t the case in Bellevue. Density spreads east, to around 100th. It also spreads a bit on Bellevue Way. But most of the surrounding areas to the east are really low density. Consider the 271. You have skyscrapers, and then within a quarter mile density drops off the cliff (to levels below western Magnolia). It then continues that way until it gets on the freeway. The only reason the 271 follows that course is inertia. Eastern Bellevue and Clyde Hill really aren’t on the way to the UW — they just don’t want to update the bus route. Running that way would be justified if it had the density of upper Queen Anne, let alone the Central District, but it doesn’t. Fortunately, there is an obvious solution: just run the bus up Bellevue Way. That would run through a more densely populated area, while providing the bulk of the riders (those headed from downtown Bellevue to the UW) with a faster ride.

        Other buses (like the 249) can only provide so much frequency because the density in the neighborhoods is so appallingly low. Thus a solution like that found in Seattle just doesn’t make sense. Or rather, it just won’t work that well. The north end would at best have the 271 running up Bellevue Way along with a couple half-hour coverage routes to the east. Timed right and you might get 7.5 minute frequency. But that is nothing like the frequency found in Lower Queen Anne.

        The situation to the south is similar. On Bellevue Way, the 550 picks up about as many riders (in those three stops) as it does at the Bellevue Transit Center. But as you go south, past Bellevue High School, ridership drops off a cliff, along with density. Sending the 241 on Bellevue Way (like the 550) is an obvious improvement after East Link. But I’m not sure how much frequency you can justify on that bus. That means that at best you are looking at two half-hour buses combining for 15 minute frequency. Oh, and that leaves 108th with no service. While that is a low density area, it is also an area with few cross streets, which would leave those folks with long walks to the (not especially frequent) bus https://goo.gl/maps/DN8dbBq3dxYnYNcK7). I think it makes more sense to just have the 249 be a pure coverage route, taking over the low density part of the 241 and the rest of its route (with the southern part looking like this**: https://goo.gl/maps/A32L8uRWBsWwRr9A6). That means that the 241 would be the only bus running through the south part of downtown Bellevue (https://goo.gl/maps/GxLRzsporDPmE5qU7). I suppose you could maybe justify high frequency during rush hour (to connect Factoria businesses to South Bellevue) but midday, I think at best you are looking at 15 minute service, even though that one section deserves better.

        So while I think circulators are generally a bad idea, I wouldn’t blame Bellevue for funding one. Hopefully they could time it with the Metro routes, to provide better combined frequency. The other (probably better) option is to find layover space on South Bellevue Way (maybe by the high school). Then you could send a bus like the B out that way (after serving Downtown Bellevue Station).

        * https://humantransit.org/2018/09/dublin-what-is-a-spine.html
        ** I would modify the 249 like so: https://goo.gl/maps/Cg9i3xSQf7aZ2NWA7. That is significantly faster (fewer twists and turns) and the coverage is similar, if not better.

      4. “In general, I think our limited transit dollars should be focused on taking cars off the road, rather than feet off the sidewalk.”

        I think the idea is the shuttle is an alternative for those unable or unwilling to walk.

        Ross is right – the “island” nature of Bellevue makes it very hard to serve.
        There’s a need to have a bus going in each direction from the TC*, but there’s not enough “there” along any of those corridors to merit greater than 15 minutes outside of rush hour. All of those routes are totally fine at 15 minutes if you are trying to go between neighborhoods, but for travel *within” downtown Bellevue, the lack of high frequency through routes means the city is going to need to lean on micro mobility, mostly good old fashioned walk & biking, but probably room for some creative solutions that simply aren’t necessary in downtown Seattle.

        *Roughly, east on 8th with RR-B, both NW and SW towards Bellevue Way, SE towards Lake Hill/Richards onto Factoria/Eastgate, and NE to Kirkland on 112th. I wonder how much funneling all of the longer distance express bus service on 405 directly into the TC via 6th, whereas in Seattle it mostly goes onto 3rd Ave, contributes to poor circulation within Bellevue? Great within the 15 minute walk-shed of the TC, but worse elsewhere.

    3. The walk is fairly short, pleasant and not that different than being in the mall. There are three malls in the area, come to think of it (Bellevue Connection, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Square). If I was shopping, I would get off the train (or bus), visit the other two malls and enter Bellevue Square via the mall’s flagship entrance, on 6th (https://goo.gl/maps/jWtJ5cwSbpayRYUW6). I’m no fan of malls, but I gotta admit, that walk (from the transit center to Bellevue Square) is pretty nice, and probably as good as a mall experience can get. Give credit to the Bellevue leaders who created a really nice pedestrian experience.

      My guess is the vast majority of people who use transit to get to the mall will walk. There will be buses that get you closer, but not much closer, and walking would be faster most of the time.

      It is possible that the walk and/or transfer causes some potential transit users to just drive to the mall. A circulator to the mall probably wouldn’t do much to increase transit ridership. There is good free parking for the malls (https://bellevuecollection.com/visit-here/parking/), I expect people to continue to use it.

      1. What is Bellevue Connection? I’ve heard of the Bellevue Collection, which seems to be an umbrella term for Kemper-owned properties. but the only mall/arcade-like things I know are Bellevue Square, Lincon Square, and maybe the Bravern.

      2. Did he mean Bellevue Collection?
        https://bellevuecollection.com/interactive-map/

        Looks like there are 3 malls in the Kemper complex – Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place. All have strong pedestrian connections on both 1st and 2nd floors, so as long as the mall is open, Ross is correct, the pedestrian connection is quite good and will get better as future redevelopments by Amazon, Vulcan, and others expand and improve the 6th street pedestrian mall, as per the city of Bellevue requirements.

      3. Google calls it Bellevue Connection (https://goo.gl/maps/apGT4iZTmfLyBq5b7). It includes (at the very least) a Men’s Warehouse, an L. A. Fitness, and a Gene Jaurez (https://goo.gl/maps/jc8K6iuTVKZrQHtb6). This was the mall I was referring to, clearly visible with the previous map I referenced. If you’ve walked that route (from the transit center west, towards the park) you’ve obviously noticed it even if don’t know its current name. I’ve been in there several times (although its been years), and couldn’t tell you what its called — I just figured Google had it right.

        My point is that its a mall, which makes walking from the transit center to Bellevue Square not much different than walking through University Village, Crossroads or Redmond Town Center. Even though you might be outside for a bit, you are still surrounded by retail, on a protected pedestrian pathway (often with awnings) which is completely separated from cars. You know, a mall.

  9. RossB, I’d like to see this calculation finally quantified for frequent use:

    How much operating revenue is lost when a single passenger is standing still, like for finding or arguing about fares, when they should be moving? Ink in the pertinent balance sheet column should be “FFB”: Feedlot-Floor Brown.

    Would also apply to passengers either left waiting, or aboard buses stuck in traffic when they could be running serious reserved and signal prioritized right of way aboard Link. I admit to “Tribal” Dave Ross partiality, but according to 97.3 FM every morning, slow economy isn’t causing fewer traffic jams.

    And somebody help me out with this one. Are the 40, the 70, and the Rapid-Rides taking care of South Lake Union, or might one or two prioritized signals (S)outh (L)ake (U)nion (T)rolley justify every train getting its own Dolly Parton net stocking and garter. (Dolly’s mom really just said “Tramp!”)

    Also for passenger service, Truth-in-Pandemicology, and perjury-prevention, how about we get with Attorney General Ferguson about some legislation forbidding any employer from terminating Employee One for riding transit to work? Also Troll Prevention worthy of Ballard’s Norse heritage.

    And revenue? If fares are all we’ve got, any way we can raise them for passengers, and their employers, who can afford an increase, and make case by case allowances for passengers who can’t? Given both the “gig” world and the real quality of the young people I meet every day as they operate it, could ESSENTIAL self-employment count for a break?

    Re: ST’s allergy to transfers (Lord only knows the germs they spread), ORCA cards have been able to do handle that work since their arrival. Make possession Proof of Payment, leave the complexities to the accountants, not Superior Court, and Problem Truly and Finally Solved.

    If ST 574 can adjust for its own Distance, so can Link.

    And FDW….What’s Stealth Rapidride look like? Thanks. Hope it’s not, in any sense, a “Bomber.”

    Mark Dublin

  10. What does the REI Seattle Flagship store and the original mid-century modern houses in Surrey Downs in Bellevue have in common? Both were designed by the architectual firm of Mithun.

    Here’s a little bit of the history of Mithun’s work in Surry Downs. Development on the former cherry and hazelnut orchard was started around 1954, and houses sold from $13,750 to $20,000.

    http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/building/13728/

    1. Speaking of Surrey Downs, I drove by the construction site of East Main St. Station the other day. The station is really starting to take shape. Unfortunately, the pedestrian access story looks like it’s going to be terrible. Only one way in, one way out (to the north), with a several-hundred foot gap between the north end of the station at Main St. Residents of Surrey Downs will be blocked in by fences and have to walk all the way north to Main St. and back south again. Even though there’s a park, they won’t be able to cut through it to get to the station, because of the fences; they’ll have to instead follow the sidewalk and breath car exhaust fumes for the entire walk.

      Similarly, if I’m reading the 60% design correctly, guests of the hotel across 112th St. won’t have a crosswalk to get between the hotel and the Link station – they’ll have to either detour north to Main St. and back south again or jaywalk across a 4-lane roadway (and, possibly climb over another fence on the other side).

      Needless to say, this is terrible design and completely unnecessary. It should be basic design that when you build a light rail station, you need pedestrian access in all four cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west. Arbitrary fences that cut off access should be a nonstarter.

      Yes, I know Surrey downs doesn’t have enough density for good design vs. bad design to make much of a dent in terms of overall ridership statistics. But, that’s still not an excuse for choose a bad design for essentially the same cost.

      It also would have been nice had Sound Transit took the opportunity to narrow 112th St. and have the Link guideway replace part of the roadway, rather than large trees. It would have made the whole area much more pedestrian friendly. Instead, they kowtow to King Car and make almost no effort thinking about how people will get to the station, other than being dropped off there.

      1. https://seattletransitblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/overhead.png

        There will be an entrance on the north and south side of the platform, which is pretty standard. No mid-platform access and requiring pedestrian to use the nearest cross street crosswalk is identical to the Rainier Valley surface stations, correct? I see little difference in pedestrian access with Columbia City, Othello, or Rainier Beach. East Main is effectively one half of a RV station, from an access & circulation standpoint.

        112th is no wider than any of downtown Seattle’s major avenues; 5 lanes is pretty unremarkable. There will be a new mid-block pedestrian crossing adjacent to the south entrance. Given the majority of riders will be coming from the north, not the east, I don’t see a 2nd mid-block crossing at the north entrance particularly compelling, and placing the station in the middle of 112th actually creates an additional street crossing for most riders.

        And if your surrey downs criticism comes down to “people from a single family neighborhood have to walk on a sidewalk to get to their station,” I’m sorry if I’m completely unmoved. Creating direct access to 111th through the portal park is a major accommodation for a neighborhood that will be providing zero TOD.

      2. Creating direct access to 111th through the portal park is a major accommodation for a neighborhood that will be providing zero TOD.

        Future TOD is purely speculative. The point is, having bad station access makes it more difficult to push for zoning changes that can create it. It also makes it more difficult to actually build it, if they do change the zoning.

        In general, the station looks terrible. There is nothing there. The only hope is TOD. But if the station is difficult to access from the west, then the only possible development is a tiny sliver to the east, limited in size by the freeway.

        All that being said, it sounds like the fences around the park (which was the main complaint of asdf2) are only temporary. Eventually people to the west will be able to walk through the park to get to the station platform. They won’t have to walk all the way up to Main (as feared). It is not much worse than if they had an “ideal” crossing. Blame the street grid for that. The only way to access 112th is via the dead end ‘T’ shown in that image and on other maps (https://goo.gl/maps/v861nbw1NDZf7zMM9) or way down by 4th. So even if you had a mid-station crossing, it would lack access to the west. The details for the station are about as good as you can get. I am with you on that, AJ.

        The big problem is going on 112th in the first place. Going up Bellevue Way would have been much better (a station at Bellevue Way and Main would have been much better than 112th and Main). You could probably squeeze in an extra station (everything north of SE 6th looks decent, and better than 112th). So a couple stations on Bellevue Way (e. g. SE 3rd, NE 4th) and then the main downtown station. Each additional station would get a lot more riders than the East Main Station. Whether it would be worth the cost or not is a different issue.

      3. “The big problem is going on 112th in the first place. Going up Bellevue Way would have been much better…”

        100%. It’s going to be interesting to see what the actual station boarding numbers look like for this particular station once the line opens. My gut tells me that they will be pretty underwhelming.

        An aside on Surrey Downs Park…
        I finally got a chance to check out the finished park last summer and it wasn’t anything like I had imagined based on the plan drawings I had seen previously. It seems like a bunch of corners were cut with regard to the landscaping and other planned plantings. Did the city of Bellevue have budget problems with this project or did the contractor just under deliver? Idk, but overall I was rather disappointed with the outcome.

    2. Does anyone know why they built it on the west side of 112th, and not the east side? Wouldn’t the east side have been better? The place that is going to fall to TOD long before Surrey Downs ever will?

      1. Tunnel portal. It makes sense given the grade of the land. ST is elevated 112th to go over the tracks further south.

        Given the 112th approach, I think the tunnel is the best way to navigate downtown, which in turn places the East Main station on the west side of 112th.

        If the station was on the right side, then either:
        1. The station would need to go under 112th right at the intersection, which would have required elevated Main Street also or creating an elevated interchanged; either option would degrade the pedestrian experience
        or
        2. Link would need to be elevated between East Main and Downtown Bellevue. The fact that East Main has zero vertical conveyance is a win from a station access & reliability standpoint. In theory, an elevated Link alignment could have placed the station directly above the current TC, but 1. I don’t think that would have necessarily been a better transfer, 2. ST would have needed to close the TC for several years, and 3. that would have been a very high, expensive bridge of 405 towards Willburton.

      2. Hmmmm. Having any sense of deja vu there, Sam?
        https://seattletransitblog.com/2014/03/11/east-main-station-60-design/

        To answer your question though, as succinctly as possible…..path of least resistance. Two hotels and a long-established athletic club on the eastern side versus a couple of condominium/apartment complexes on the western side of the street were standing in the way once the 112th alignment was selected. Anyone surprised by the outcome hasn’t been paying attention to this agency for very long.

      3. Tlsgwm, I had forgotten I had mentioned the same house back then. And I’m now I’m really feeling stupid for saying it was “overpriced,” given what it’s worth now.

  11. Real Estate video ad from (I think), 2012, for a Mithun Surrey Downs home. Price, $499,000. It would be a shame to destroy these beautiful works of art.

    1. I don’t know. It is clean and open, but also pretty soulless. It lacks any form of character, and I wouldn’t shed a tear if it was torn down.

      1. Soulless and lacks character … I would normally say that about most any unfurnished apt or house. That’s what furinature is for. But I think the design of this house has more character than most. I also like that, by today’s standards, it’s smaller in size.

    2. I like those mid-century modern houses, too, Sam. That beauty was built in 1954. The restoration was done relatively recently, so it will probably last a while. But my guess is when the current owner sells, they will tear it down, and put up a McMansion, like the house next door (https://goo.gl/maps/GJQ1UehizdpfyJEo6). They will also get rid of that laurel hedge in front (I think it is really weird that they have such an open design, and fence it in like that). The guy on the other side has the right idea (https://goo.gl/maps/fK279NZsWdAvpeVR9). Anyway, even if they fixed up the landscaping, and took full advantage of that house, it is not long for this world. A 1,200 square foot house (with one bathroom) just isn’t going to last in that neighborhood. They will tear it down and build something much bigger (although hopefully better looking than the neighbor’s house).

  12. Thanks for the topic, Sam. Two obscenities I wish the media would stop accepting without comment as “Normal”: The price of a house and the price of getting elected. Should be State and Federal campaigns for a bankruptcy-inducing tax on both.

    Question for the Candidate: In addition to simply making the medical care enjoyed by Congress available their employers meaning “the rest of us”…. Joe Biden, where’s your Platform-dominating promise to campaign for a Constitutional amendment to repeal “Citizens United?”

    And while the definition’s debatable, an inalienable “Home” needs to be in the Bill of Rights. Though the Ninth Amendment’s declaration that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people….”

    Already covers the right not to literally catch our death from a flag-waving mask-hating COVID-spreader. And to not get our collar-bone fractured when an “automatic” (which are prone to fire on impact) in a crowded theater falls out of the pocket of somebody the Army wouldn’t take on a bet. Like a certain veteran-disparaging Chief of State, for instance.

    So let’s maybe have a Moment of Silence so it can sink into somebody’ “Base” how many of their $499,000 HOMES would be a tent across Deschutes Parkway from our snail-infested Capitol Lake if their grandfather hadn’t belonged to a labor union.

    Mark Dublin

  13. Transit troubles in the Big Apple.

    The subways are facing a five-alarm fire ($). “New York City cannot recover without a robust transit system, and the country cannot rebound without New York.” Without federal assistance, the MTA is considering a 40% cut in subways and buses and 50% in commuter rail. “Even the Great Depression had a less severe impact on the revenue of New York City’s transit system than what we are seeing now.”

    New Yorkers discover cars. ($)

    Housing is growing fastest in transit deserts ($), places more than a 15-minute walk from a subway or commuter rail station.

    When Sam talked about people leaving dense cities for distancing and home-office concerns, I didn’t realize that included moving to Queens.

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