West Seattle Water Taxi Pulling Away From Seattle in the 2019-09-27 Sunset

This is an open thread.

79 Replies to “News roundup: important information”

  1. SF’s light rail is shutting down until 2021? That won’t be much of an inconvenience to the people or businesses of SF. Broadband there is in homes, and businesses and governments require remote working much of each month. It’s just like here. It would be like if Link light rail shut down for months (or forever) — nobody would care.

    Well, not exactly “nobody” — the commercial property owners near the current and existing stations would care because their assessed values would drop. But that’s about it in terms of who would care.

    1. Next time I need my teeth cleaned, I’m doing it remotely — I’ve got broadband.

      Seriously though, it is baffling how people assume that the only reason you have transit is so that office workers can get to work.

      1. Buses are great, and Metro covers the county. I’m referring to Link light rail only as superfluous (and far too costly in terms of regressive taxing). People don’t take Link to a dentist, or if they do it’s too small a number to count.

        Remote working means the Sound Transit train daily ridership demand forecasts through 2050 are wildly overblown, primarily because employers will not require five day a week commutes to and from worksites proximate to the existing and proposed Link stations.

    2. They’re still running replacement buses on each light rail line at 5-10 minute frequency, so it’s not like public transit ceased to exist; it’s just slower than usual.

      1. Buses could serve the demand Link will have going forward over the next five decades. WFH eviscerated Sound Transit’s long term daily train demand forecasts.

    3. The only reason nobody would care if Link shut down for months is because Sound Transit already decreased it to unusable frequency.

      If it actually ran, then people would care about it continuing to run.

      1. Link is hardly unusable. I’ve been back and forth to the airport several times the past few weeks without checking a schedule, I had no problems. Yes the wait was a little longer but definitely not unusable. Maybe I just got lucky.

    4. At a normal 176K riders a day, shutting down Muni Metro is not a mere “inconvenience”. It’s a municipal crisis! The system provides transportation for hundreds of thousands of households without cars, and that includes many essential workers.

      It is a lesson about maintenance. The Boeing and Breda vehicles had obvious performance issues, but the electrical system itself is the problem here. It has to be reliable. It’s a situation as to why agencies need more than planners or FTA bureaucrats running them. With a few warning signs as mentioned in the article, SF MTA senior staff could have acted earlier.

      Any agency (including ST) is destined for these same kinds of problems unless it is aggressive about listening to its own staff when they see a problem, and sets a work culture that encourages preventive operations. It’s one reason why all of the ST expansion committees and reviewers should empower those that maintain the system to have a greater voice. We lived through the escalator crisis already — and we don’t know what the next mechanical disaster will be.

      1. MUNI hasn’t replaced the Bredas yet. But yeah, I agree with on this factor otherwise. As someone who lived through dozens of meltdowns on the MSS, I really don’t want ST making those same mistakes.

      2. Looking for lemonade in the lemons, is SFMTA able to do additional electrical SOGR work in the metro during a full shutdown while ridership is depreseed?

      3. AJ, MUNI’s saying they’re doing that, but they also were supposed to be doing that with the closures a few years ago. MUNI is criminally incompetent.

      4. Muni did a lot of maintenance between March-August when the light rail was closed for COVID. The issue here is that a large number of their wire splices, including, it seems, up to those that were installed during the shutdown earlier this year, weren’t manufactured up to spec (from what I’ve read, it’s an issue with the metal itself). It sounds like they’ve known that the splices could be an issue for a while and were working on a plan to replace them, but they just had a ton of failures recently, possibly due to running very few trains for the past several months. It doesn’t seem like an issue wit underfunded maintenance to me.

        Link to Muni presentation: https://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/reports-and-documents/2020/08/9-1-20_item_12_rail_operational_challenges_-_slide_presentation.pdf

      1. Hey Tom — post a link to the Sound Transit train demand forecasts you think are most accurate. None have been produced on new data, including the new TIP forecasts (those are re-hashed 2019 forecasts!).

        Don’t believe the old forecasts — there simply isn’t the need for Link and the tax cost is far too high. As a full on transit fan, you’re willfully ignorant of the tax costs . . . that’s a prerequisite, right?

      2. I’d go along with a plan to stop all highway widening projects myself, sinc congestion is no longer a problem.

        Especially any that were funded by any gas tax increases not put on the ballot.

        All gas tax should be directed to maintenance only.

      1. Yes and yes, thank you guys.

        Rough day today between the national news and some local transit news that I have to deal with.

      2. “Rough day today between the national news…”

        You aren’t kidding there, Joe. I have to admit that I had a few Howard Beale moments throughout the day on Wed myself. I was actually going to post a sort of nostalgic comment on today’s open thread (NYC transit-related), but that plan got changed after the bombshell revelations we received on Wed following the release of Woodward’s “Rage”. Yeah, I was mad as hell and thus not in the right frame of mind to draft a nice little STB comment that I thought others might like to read. (Perhaps I will post what I was going to write on next Sunday’s open thread instead.)

        I can’t help but wonder what Howard would be telling his listeners today. Woodward’s book title is pretty ironic from that perspective, though Woodward is clearly directing the term toward the book’s subject rather than his audience.

      3. I think the fact we’ve learned now that the US and now Canada knew in January if rapid, swift and acute action wasn’t taken we’d all be making up and damn lucky we get vaccination going this winter & spring… yeah, we’re all mad.

        I’m mad for the operators who got Covid19 – and the CEOs who would do just about anything to protect their people. I’ve said before in various public setting that I consider transit operators are my limbs.

        I’ll conclude with this thought – I’ve learned the hard way to be acute when angry.

      4. Er, what’s all this? I saw the Woodward stories that Trump knew how bad the virus was when he was calling it a hoax, but I’ve always thought that so it doesn’t draw particular ire now. One pundit said there will be more bombshells when the book comes out next week. What did Canada do? I thought it was handling the virus pretty well. I had to look up Howard Beale; he seems to be a fictional newscaster who gets animated about his frustrations.

        I didn’t understand parts of Joe’s comment at all. “the US and now Canada knew in January if rapid, swift and acute action wasn’t taken we’d all be making up [what?] and damn lucky we get vaccination going this winter & spring” [what does that have to do with the first part? Is it trying to say the US and Canada should have ramped up vaccine research right away?] And, “the CEOs who would do just about anything to protect their people”. What, shouldn’t CEOs protect their people? Is this referring to too many closings or too few closings or something? In Washington or just in other states?

      5. @Mike Orr
        Yeah, I can’t help you with Joe’s reply as I too wasn’t exactly sure what he was trying to convey with his comments. As far as the Howard Beale reference I made goes, sorry about reaching back so many years; I guess I really dated myself with that one. Lol. Yes, he’s a fictional character in an excellent movie from 1976 called “Network”, portrayed brilliantly by the late Peter Finch who was bestowed with an Academy Award (actor in a leading role) for his performance (posthumously as he died from a heart attack just weeks before the event). It was written by the remarkable screenwriter Paddy Chayesfsky, who also garnered an Academy Award himself for his sardonically sharp writing. Sadly, he too was gone less than a half dozen or so years later, from cancer if my memory is serving me correctly. Anyway, “Network” is a great film and its underlying message is as relevant today as it was back in the 70s. Check it out sometime. :)

        Yes, anyone who is an honest dealer recognizes that DJT is nothing more than a narcissistic liar and conman and unfit for the job, but also that Woodward’s confirmation of the Resident’s complete hypocrisy about the seriousness of the virus/pandemic isn’t as damaging as the Nixon tapes (that was game over). Nevertheless, it still is infuriating to hear the sections of the taped interviews in which Woodward gets the Resident to essentially admit that he’s been lying to the American public about the virus from the start. All of this being exposed as the nation approaches 200,000 Covid-19 related deaths does indeed make me “as mad as hell”.

      6. As to Canada & Covid19:

        “We knew very early about COVID-19, the risk that it posed to human health, and of course were watching it very carefully in late December, early January. When everybody returned from holidays I was fully briefed. So we knew about the pandemic,” [Health Minister Patty] Hajdu said.

        SOURCE: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/hajdu-sidelining-of-pandemic-alert-system-an-administrative-decision-1.5100207

        Sure wish this intel was acted on a lot sooner to stop this… current nightmare.

  2. So with the new bus shields, there’s maybe 2 foot gap at the top, a 2 foot gap at the bottom, and a 2 foot gap at its end, when it’s put in either the boarding or driving position. Question. What does it do?

    1. It whacks passengers who approach the operator while the bus is moving, replacing the old tactic of slamming on the brakes.

  3. The USPS has long been under threat from privatization ideologues and their allies in the government. But you know who is laughing all the way to the bank? Amazon. This clip should provide ample proof why we need robust independent media.

    1. The USPS has been under attack at least since we all got drunk on privatization during the Reagan era, culminating in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The typical defund, demoralize, privatize scams that gut other government functions have stopped short of privatize with the USPS because of the pesky caveat that the USPS is constitutionally authorized and that last mile delivery of small parcels is not profitable.

    2. Every single local tv news station in the country could all be owned independently and individually, and that still wouldn’t stop multiple stations from running the same pr release disguised at a news story they’ve been sent.

    3. And also some Anti-Trust we can trust, and a Labor Union movement as politically powerful as all of Organized Management. For Democracy to mean anything, Nobody gets that kind of unchallenged power. Nobody.

      Mark Dublin

  4. Rainier and Rose? Remind me, somebody, does any electric route still use that turnback loop? Thankfully, the City’s own “Update” pretty well takes care of the problem:

    After all these crash-ridden decades, the intersection is finally getting a full-bore 4-way traffic signal. Downside of the Route 7’s longtime schedule advantage: Rainier Avenue’s speed’s always been on the high side. Rose Street sight-angles, always bad. New light, problem solved.

    Car-right-turns from bus lanes….one condition: Signal stays green ’til any approaching bus has cleared. In addition to wear on deboarding passengers’ tempers, money saved on brake linings can be repurposed to make Link good enough for “Anon” (tempted, but for the time-being leaving off the “Q”) to at least start missing it.

    Wish COVID would just GO-VID away. Major family in SF and BART-land, and years of transit recollections. For MUNI Metro, earliest West Portal memory kind of sums up both the whole equipment problem and its solution. Or at least two problems: Boeing Vertol and Breda.

    When a “President” worthy of the name finally heads the reborn “Conference Committee,” AKA The United States of America, first agenda item will be a motorized grooved-rail flatcar that’ll roll robotically out of the former aircraft plant on Marginal and couple itself onto the reborn Coast Shooting-Starlight on its way south past Boeing Access “At Speed.” When, finally, forever, SEA=PCC!

    Meantime….Mayor Durkan, pay Joe for that picture and all’s forgiven.

    Mark Dublin

    1. The Rose St. turnback was still functional a few years ago. I saw buses using it during a service interruption. There were bollards in the roadway that had to be removed by supervisors before the buses could use it. I don’t know if the modifications will preserve or eliminate the turnback.

      Graham to Henderson seems to have become the most dangerous section of Rainier over the last few years. It’s not just the turns at Rose that have been problematic. I’ve seen several serious collisions near the Othello intersection.

    2. SDOT is very close to triggering a traffic diversion onto Othello St and Lake Washington Boulevard when going between Hillman City and south of Rainier Beach. It’s actually a very slightly shorter path by distance.

      1. Do you mean Seward Park Ave S? That would be one of the dumbest moves in the history of SDOT. There is so much bike traffic on SPAS that shouldn’t be mixed with traffic diverted off of Rainier. If anything, auto traffic should be diverted off of SPAS and onto Rainier for the safety of cyclists.

        What would the plan be for Rainier? Cute street side cafes and hiking paths?

      2. Yes, I made a mistake. It is Seward Park Ave S.

        SDOT continues to say that reducing lanes has made Rainier Ave S safer. However, the traffic volumes have dropped more than the number of accidents. The accident rate is actually higher on a per thousand vehicle measure. It’s a deceptive conclusion to say that Rainier Ave is safer as SDOT keeps saying.

        SDOT is forcing traffic to other streets. Because SDOT refuses to discuss the accident rate on parallel streets, they cannot legitimately say they are reducing accidents in SE Seattle.

        Now there are valid reasons to encourage drivers to take another path. Still, to continue to portray Rainier Ave S changes in a vacuum is just unprofessional and wrong.

      3. Al S., I don’t have any hard data but my observation is that the north-south arterials that parallel Rainier are becoming more congested while Rainier is serving fewer vehicles. During rush hours there are huge back-ups at the stop signs on Seward Pk Ave S (not really a bad thing) and MLK is becoming a drag strip as cars race off to try and make it through the next light (definitely a bad thing). Beacon Ave S also has long back-ups at Spokane, Columbian and Graham.

        I, too, would be very interested in seeing the accident data for all of Rainier Valley and not just Rainier Avenue.

  5. The other day, someone from Mynorthwest.com (and probably others), got a tour of the Bellevue Link tunnel. This gave me idea. I want someone from this blog to contact ST to set up a tour of OMF East, then write a post, with photos, of your tour.

    1. Have you had any luck yet on your assignments? On a related note, how many donations to the blog have you given?

      1. So, the great visionaries of the world … Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Comment Section Sam, not only have to come up with great ideas, we have to assemble the phones and build the cars, as well?

        STB once said if we ever had an idea for a post, to let them know. I drove past OMF East and was amazed at how far along things are. I’m sure if someone in the media asked, they’d get a tour.

      2. Is this blog accepting donations? I looked for a donation link a couple months ago, but couldn’t find one.

  6. Al S., I was only citing MUNI-Metro’s experience with streetcar vendors as additional examples of things that should’ve worked but didn’t. In addition to getting fixed, and instead left to fall apart.

    Though I do seem to recall that electric features were among what-all the Breda trains demolished. J-Judah, I-5, or whatever else in Oslo and the rest of the helpless world, that company was transit-incompetence weaponized.

    But Jarrett Walker, while you’re right as usual, your average reader might have some difficulty differentiating availability from usage. Better approach might be to ask why transit needs to collect fares on boarding, while streets, roads and other “FREEways” don’t?

    By the rightly-honored Scrooge-Cratchit accounting system commonly called “The Balance Sheet”, Olympia’s Intercity Transit determined that when factoring in costs like cash-handling and theft-security, plain stinginess dictated that revenue be collected by levy.

    ORCA, or whatever its successor will be called, really has already got the system mechanically solved. So whatever our eventual regional transit system will be called, for thousands of newly-King County evicted-I-mean-just-arrived Thurston County transit users who want to start visiting Nordic Heritage again have only politics in our way.

    History’s on our side too. Pierce Transit is presently named after a Chief of State who honored States’ Rights with a law making it a crime for Free-State residents not to help Slave States catch their escaped property.

    Making our only problem to find a loyal soldier, of whom, when it counted, a majority of the Union Army were black, with the same name.

    Just a few blocks from Capitol Hill Link Station, Cornish College should easily complete a Confederate monument in Dixie with a bronze figure of Corporal Franklin Pierce just about to touch the torch to the Union cannon that actually blew it to wherever all good treason deserves to go. Don’t want to bury History, do we?

    Mark Dublin

  7. MUNI-Metro calls them N-Judah and J-Church now. But memory doesn’t serve whether the PCC I rode along those tracks had a letter-designation yet. I’m sorry.

    Mark Dublin

    1. They’ve been the J and N since they were built. MUNI’s also kept a large chunk of the route numbers from MSRy, and MSRy inherited their numbers from URR.

  8. I never understood the transpo case for the J-Line. After NG-Link opens nobody in their right minds would take the J-Line from Roosevelt or the U-Dist to go downtown, and ridership along EastLake or SLU just doesn’t justify the investment. And the 70 is already there.

    Given the CV-19 situation Metro just doesn’t have a lot of excess resources to waste. I’d at least study cancelling the J-Line.

    1. I never understood the transpo case for the J-Line.

      OK, I’ll try and explain it. Between Roosevelt and Westlake, there will be three Link stations: 45th and Brooklyn, Husky Stadium, and Capitol Hill.

      Now consider the Roosevelt/Eastlake corridor. It is densely populated the entire way. So much so that you could make a reasonable case for building another light rail line there (a much stronger case than you can make for most of ST3 — Ballard Link being the sole exception).

      It is worth noting that the Link stations are very widely spaced. 65th and 45th are very far apart, leaving 55th without a station, even though ridership there would dwarf that of say, East Main, let alone Fife. But in terms of ridership potential, Campus Parkway dwarfs that of 55th. It isn’t quite served by 45th, and definitely isn’t served by Husky Stadium Station. Neither is anything along Eastlake.

      Then you get to an area known as South Lake Union (perhaps you’ve heard of it). This is an up-and-coming neighborhood which is essentially just part of downtown Seattle (as much as Westlake, or the International District). The bus would connect to all of that, as well as the Link stations.

      Which means that is should be easy to imagine trips that don’t involve Link (e. g. Eastlake to South Lake Union, 55th to Campus Parkway) or those that do (Bellevue to South Lake Union with a transfer at Westlake or Northgate to Eastlake with a transfer at Roosevelt). These are extremely common, all-day, trips. These are the types of trips that lead to high ridership.

      But to make all that happen, you need high frequency on both lines. Link should (and hopefully eventually will) be very frequent all day long. The same is true with the bus. But a bus that is frequent often bunches, especially if it lacks off-board payment, level boarding, and/or is stuck in traffic. Thus the city wants to spend extra money so that won’t happen, and this important corridor has good transit service.

      I hope that helped. Feel free to ask any other questions — transit can get complicated, and there are plenty of people here who can explain these things as well, or better than I can.

    2. Isn’t roughly half of the capital budget for electrification? Electrifying the route isn’t an improvement to “mobility” per se, but electrification is very much a part of our long term transportation investments.

      Everything Ross said is correct, but I believe is half(ish) the J-line story from a dollar standpoint.

      1. @AJ,

        You exactly illustrate the issue with the J-Line.

        If roughly half the cost is for non-transportation reasons (electrification), and there is already fully electric service on the line via the 43, 49, 70, SLU SC, and the future NG-Link, then what is the point of spending half the budget on electrification? There already are completely electric options from the U-Dist to DT on a variety of routes, and with the opening of NG-Link there will be a completely electric (and much faster and more reliable) option from Roosevelt too. So why?

        And Rossb fundamentally misses the point. Yes Link stations are further apart than typical bus stops (thank gawd), and yes frequent bus service has problems with bus bunching, but none of that justifies the investment in the J-Line. Running a rapid or BRT bus line parallel to your rapid rail line is wasteful.

        At most Metro should run a shadow line (or lines) along the route. These mainly exist already, but there is nothing in a shadow line that needs to be frequent or rapid. The point is just to shuttle the passengers who need mobility help to the next rail stop. And that does not justify the J-Line.

      2. This is a shadow line, but not a Link shuttle. As Ross points out, the corridor is dense enough to support good ridership for trips that would never use Link, or trips short enough that transferring to Link for 1 stop would actually be slower than a direct bus. Further, it’s not “in parallel” with Link. Notably, SLU and Eastlake have zero Link service, and J doesn’t serve Cap Hill or the Stadium/UW Medical center. A bus that goes from Westlake to Roosevelt is not about a trip between Westlake and Roosevelt. Just like Link, it’s not intended for someone to ride it endpoint to endpoint.

        The closest thing we will have to a RapidRide “shadow” is the A after FW Link opens, and I don’t see anyone arguing, “great, we can get rid of the A now.” The J is much more like the B vis-a-vis East Link, where at the 10,000 level it looks like the ‘same’ corridor but in reality it’s serving completely different trips while providing multiple transfers with Link.

      3. There already are completely electric options from the U-Dist to DT on a variety of routes, and with the opening of NG-Link there will be a completely electric (and much faster and more reliable) option from Roosevelt too. So why?

        Come on, Lazarus, I’ve already explained that. Just read the comment. Let me see if I can make it even simpler: Link does not serve ALL of the corridor. It serves SOME of the corridor.

        Here is an example: https://goo.gl/maps/iNYLoegufLV6qSgL8. If there is no traffic, it will (currently) take about 15 minutes. With traffic, it will be somewhere around 25. With off-board payment and bus lanes, it should take around 10. That is the point of the improvement. Walking to the Link stations takes 28. Got it? Just walking to Link will take longer than the entire trip, by a huge margin (10 minutes instead of 28). No one will ever ride Link for a trip like that, even though you seem to think everyone will.

        Yet this is just one of many trips that won’t involve Link. It is not that hard, Laz. Just do the math. Make a list of all of the bus stops on one side, and all of the bus stops on the other. Now consider how trips will be taken from one side to another. It breaks down to three possibilities:

        1) People take Link.
        2) People ride the bus.
        3) People take some combination.

        People taking Link is a subset. MOST of the trips will be taken via the bus, or the combination.

        These statements suggest an ignorant, superficial understanding of transit. This is understandable, but when you repeat the same ignorant statement — after a clear, precise explanation to the contrary — it suggests trolling. The idea is absurd. Link runs down Rainier Valley, so why bother improving the 7? There are four stations in Rainier Valley, why do they need a fifth? Why bother with a station at First Hill, when Capitol Hill obviously serves it? Why are they building the Second Avenue Subway — doesn’t Manhattan already have a subway?

        All those ideas are absurd, and ignore the fact that if you are too far away from a Link station, it is much faster (and easier) to catch a bus. Improving that bus system is why there is focus on this bus line.

      4. This is a shadow line, but not a Link shuttle.

        It really isn’t much of a shadow. It does start and end at a station, but you could say the same thing for the 40. Its really only the piece between Roosevelt and the UW that is a shadow, and that is tiny, and certainly not the heart of the route.

        Like the 40, this serves a different corridor, while connecting to Link. Its not like the corridor is second rate — it includes South Lake Union and Eastlake. These are areas that are not, in any way, served by Link. Like the 40, no one will ride it from Northgate to downtown (no one rides the 40 like that now — they take the 41) but that doesn’t hamper ridership. There are plenty of trips taken *between* those places, along a corridor *uniquely* served by this bus. Like the 40, ridership is likely to *increase* when Link gets there, as folks will use the train and bus *together*.

      5. SLU isn’t a single point. The further south you get, the better Link works. The further north you get, the worse Link works out, but the J-line bus will still work. The U-district isn’t a single point either. There are pockets, such as 55th/Roosevelt, where the J-line will be a substantially shorter walk, and others where Link is a shorter walk, and others where the walk to either is about equal.

        Sure, the J-line won’t carry as many daily riders as Link. But, there are still plenty of trips where the J-line will be useful to justify its existence. And that’s not even getting into the Eastlake neighborhood, which has no service under Link at all, and will depend on the J-line for any trip in or out.

    3. A better approach would be to brand Route 70 as RR or use a shorter Jay line. This alignment would have much better access with the Brooklyn Link station, the UW campus, and the heart of the U District. It would take much less capital and fewer service hours. Riders will want to reach Link.

      1. This will reach Link, at both Roosevelt and Westlake Station. Roosevelt Station will become a hub, just as the U-District Station will. If I’m trying to get from Lake City to Eastlake, this will provide a fast, two-seat ride. Otherwise, you are looking at a three-seat ride, or having the bus detour over to Brooklyn (a turn that isn’t that easy to make, so I’ve heard). Besides, it isn’t that far of a walk over to the station. It isn’t like the walk that folks in Ballard take to get to the D, yet no one is suggesting the D makes a big detour to serve central Ballard.

        Also consider 44 riders headed to Eastlake from Ballard and Wallingford. This will shave around five minutes off of the existing trip. It also provides a one-seat ride for much the Roosevelt corridor between 45th and 65th (a densely populated area) to Eastlake and South Lake Union.

        There are trade-offs, certainly. But this is a solid route that should have plenty of riders, while providing a significantly faster ride for many (and the same Link connection as it would if it followed the 70 route.

    4. Seattle’s transit master plan in 2012 defined Eastlake as a high-capacity transit corridor, along with Westlake, Madison, and 1st Avenue to QA/Mercer. That was years after Link to the U-District was planned in the 1990s and ST2 was passed in 2008, so they didn’t think it duplicated Link. I lived on 56th and both experienced and saw the many overlapping trips in that corridor, and that was before the densification of SLU and Roosevelt. When the U-District upzone is built out, Roosevelt will be at the center of it.

      I tallied the overlapping trips earlier: Whole Foods, the stereo shops, the Friendly Foam shop, the Monkey Pub, Scarecrow Video, the library, the big Catholic church, Trader Joe’s, transfer to the 44, two different physical therapy offices, my dad’s office, my dad’s apartment, bars and nightclubs. And for Eastlake residents, access to supermarkets and the library, of which there are none there. None of these trips are served by Link.

  9. It’s been a couple months now, and it’s gotten to the point where I have to say it: To Downtown Seattle needs to disappear from the destination signs of all buses in Pudget sound as of 5 AM tomorrow.

    1. It’s at least more precise than the buses that are simply signed “Seattle”. The Pierce Transit-run ST buses along with some south-end Metro buses say this, and the humorous side of me wonders if ST hopes to save a few hours of work if they ever get truncated short of downtown Seattle. Of course, there’s then the overly-specific Community Transit-run ST512 which says “Seattle 5th Avenue” – I wonder if the hope is people find the destination a classy reference to NYC?

      1. Community Transit (and ST routes run by CT) traverse downtown on I believe one of three paths, roughly speaking: 2nd ave SB (morning)/4th ave NB (afternoon), 5th Ave SB (morning)/6th (I believe?) NB (afternoon), and the reverse of the first combo (i.e. 4th ave NB (morning)/2nd ave SB (afternoon)). It gets a bit more complicated depending on the specific offramps they use but that’s the general idea. Sometimes, certain park and rides (e.g. Swamp Creek, Ash Way) have buses that use multiple of these options, and it is useful to indicate to riders which path through downtown they take, as to save the riders the 15 minutes of traversing downtown from the wrong end. At least that’s been my understanding of why it is done.

      2. And yet it’s really not precise enough. It’s bad enough on long haul suburban routes, but its patently ridiculous on the routes that barely leave the core at all. There’s no reason whatsoever a Southbound 1 shouldn’t be saying its ultimate terminal is Mt. Baker Transit Center, and there’s ever reason for a Northbound 14 to indicate that it’s going to Kinnear. Ditto for other routes that change their number partway through. Routes like the 10/11/47/49 should be saying Westlake or Pike Place. Meanwhile, there’s no reason for the D/E/40/70 to not say Pioneer Square as their final terminal. As for major suburban routes, the 101/150 should say Convention Place, the 57×/59x routes should say South Lake Union, and the 512/522/545 should say International District.

  10. It looks to me like the speed limit for automobiles on Rainier Avenue is much too high, period. Just Fix it. Nobody has to drive that avenue that fast.

    Tempting to give streetcars a central reservation emphatic enough to let them run at a higher speed than auto traffic- But over so many years, Rainier has worked so well for trolleybuses, might be best just to give them the speed their priority will earn them.

    And maybe to have them manufactured with one or two additional accordion-hinged sections. Works in Europe. Continuing the overhead along the lake into Renton would also be more than just a Tribute to Train Travel Past.

    Thing about an electric coach: The training which Local 587 should insist that every trackless-trolley driver gets should finally level the playing field for leveling the playing-field with trains with the demographic most critical for permanently-expanding ridership.

    Namely between thirteen months and seven years. When he could no longer contain his enthusiasm for the oncoming overhead as the 7 cleared Dearborn southbound, my essentially-student driver told me:

    “This trolleybus must be just like driving a Space Ship!” I told him truthfully that it was fun like a space ship. Releasing some razor-sharp insight: “And I bet you get all kinds of wars with SPACE ALIENS!”

    Didn’t have the heart to tell him about the whole length of Aurora Avenue. And it’s never even been wired.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Aurora Avenue was wired as the 5 Phinney, 6 Stoneway and the 16 Meridian were trolley routes years ago.

      The 5 from Denny Way and the 6 and 16 from Aloha Street to the 38th Ave Exit. Then the 6 and 16 from Winona Way to 82nd.

      1. Thanks, Jeff! First time I saw Seattle was Fall 1974. Staying with a friend in Madrona, pretty sure my first trolleybus ride since they de-wired Detroit was a Brill on the Route 2.

        Also recall that over succeeding years, a lot of trolleywire came down and got dieselized, and only some of it got put back up. Starting to get dizzy thinking about it.

        But on the positive side, history tends to prove that for good and for ill, nothing needs to be considered permanent.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Jeff is correct. Between 1940 and 1963, north Seattle electric trolley bus routes were the 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, and 18; West Seattle was served by routes 15 and 18. Before I-5, routes 7 and 8 connected the U District and downtown Seattle via Eastlake with very frequent service. Note that I-5 destroyed significant housing and left odd infrastructure; consider Harvard Avenue East.

  11. A few thoughts:

    1) Many thanks for using my photo. I have it up on FineArtAmerica.com if you want a print or canvas or phone case: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/west-seattle-water-taxi-pulling-away-from-seattle-in-the-sunset-joe-kunzler.html

    2) Really encourage everybody to comment on these Transit Development Plans/TDPs. I would start with Community Transit’s please: https://www.communitytransit.org/tdp . I know Intercity Transit and a few other transits still have TDPs in comment periods and suspect Everett Transit will drop theirs soon to comment.

    3) Quick question who is more the transit hero – a transit CEO paid well or a candidate who says in a debate to vote against an Eyman initiative and then loses while enduring anti-social media vitriol? Just asking.

  12. What was interesting about 6 and 16 was they were connected and they had their north end terminal on 1st Ave NE just south of NE 80th

    From downtown the 6 would travel on the west side of Greenlake and the 16 on the east side of the lake. At the terminal the outbound 6 would be come the 16 and travel that route inbound to downtown while the 16 became the 6 and would go that route southbound to downtown.

    Both routes for some time where interlined with the 12 E Cherry and 12 26th Ave routes.

    1. So some of the pre-2005 Metro routes had the same numbers as Seattle Transit routes. Before the 358 the 6 went around southwest Greenlake to Linden and Aurora, and the 16 was on Stone Way and Tangletown to east Greenlake and Northgate. Was the 5 a Phinney route?

      But some of them changed numbers completely. The 8 Ravenna became the 74, probably to give the U-District a 7x theme. But how did the 4 Montlake (Madison/23rd) became a 4 on Jefferson/23rd S? How did Queen Anne get the first four numbers (1, 2, 3, 4), and why did it then jump up to 13?

      In the 80s the 1 and 2 were connected at the north end on weekends, the way you’re describing for the 6 and 16, so the 2 went out and came back as the 1, and vice-versa.

      1. Queen Anne getting the low numbers came out of the replacement of the streetcar system with Trolleybuses, and during the Streetcar era, it was the West/South Seattle lines that had the lowest numbers. I think the 43 can be explained by a combination of the 4 and 30. And the 13 can be explained by a shift in numbering. Before 1979, the 3/4 S were co-labeled the 12, and the 12 was labeled as the 13. When the SPU extension was built, I think it was initially operated as a west leg to the 13. Then a later service revision introduced the 10-12 underlining that existed until recently.

        And lastly, yeah the 5 has been the doing mostly the same thing since its streetcar tracks were installed.

Comments are closed.