63 Replies to “Sunday open thread: I am Greta”

    1. And there is also this 1950 map of Seattle, that also lists bus routes. In the last 70 years, some parts of routes haven’t changed. I notice the routes 3 and 4 going Taylor Ave on Queen Anne, just like today. I also see that some lake ferries were still running. One going to Kirkland from Madison Park. And one going to Mercer Island (Which is labeled East Seattle!) and one going to Medina, both from Leschi.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/tigerzombie/11993302306/in/photostream/

      1. One fact that immediately jumps out to me (besides routes like the 3, 4, 7, and 11 being essentially identical to what they are today) is that crosstown bus service in 1950 was essentially non-existent. Even the most basic crosstown routes we take for granted for today (the 8, 44, 45, and 48) did not exist. To make sure trips, you’d have to go most of all the way into downtown, then back out again on a different bus. Similarly, a straight-line bus route on Aurora did not exist, just parallel routes that took smaller streets and meandered a bit.

        One thing the 1950 network did have, though, was a one-seat bus ride to downtown for pretty much every neighborhood in the city, no matter how tiny. Slowly but surely, the city’s transit system is growing up, evolving into an anywhere-to-anywhere grid, rather than an exclusive focus on travel to/from downtown to the detriment of everything else. There are still gaps remaining, the lack of a straight-line bus from between First Hill and South Lake Union one of the most striking, especially so close to the city center. The lack of decent thru service between Greenwood and Lake City, which RossB has alluded to so many times is another, as the lack of a 130th St. east/west bus route. But, given enough time, I’m sure we’ll get there.

      2. I think the absence of East-West routes started out topographical. I-5 is not our only canyon that runs North-South.

        But for me, it’s also the reason I’d support a subway loop serving the hospitals, with a station at Madison and Boren. Works in the Swiss Alps.

        Mark Dublin

      3. @asdf: One of the 3, 4, 7’s legs were identical. The 3’s south leg was attached to what would become the 36, the 4was attached to what eventually became the 43, and the 7 was still attached to the 7x services as opposed to the 49.

        Now, a form of the 44 did exist in the form of the 30, and the 41 bus actually covered most of the present 45, but yeah, no 48 yet.

      4. Speaking of limited cross town routes, I notice no east-west route in Loyal Heights on NW 85th in 1950. Today’s route 45. You had to go down into Ballard to get to Greenwood. And, the streets and avenues aren’t labeled NW, rather they are labeled west. For example, W 85th St.

    2. That’s mostly the Bellevue and North King County service I remember in the early 80s. The map doesn’t distinguish between all-day and peak-only routes, so you can’t see that most smaller neighborhoods had peak-only service to downtown Seattle and that’s it. The all-day routes in the early 80s were the 210, 226, 235, 240, and 252. Peak-only routes were 225, 229, and 250.

      Some routes are missing: the all-day 253 and 340, and peak-only 227 and 245. They must have been created between 1977 and 1980. The “F” suffixes didn’t exist; Metro must have converted them to distinct route numbers. Instead of the 210 and 210F there was the 210 local and 211-215 or so express. The 220 is in a completely different area: the map shows it in Medina but the one I remember was a peak express on 140th Ave SE. The 240 extension to Kirkland is unfamiliar; as is the 240E. The 240 seems to have two branches, one on 84th and the other on Juanita-Woodinville Way.

      South King County is less recognizable. There’s the 150, but it seems to go beyond southeast Auburn partway to Enumclaw, and to have branches to Timberlane and Angola. The 174 on Pacific Highway is missing. Instead there’s a 432. In the early 80s the 4xx routes were peak expresses to Snohomish County and none elsewhere.

      What’s this “Bellevue Airfield”? I never heard of an airport in Bellevue. It’s in the Robinsood neighborhood, and I went to Robinswood Park, so did the park replace the airfield? The southern end of the airfield must be where the Mormon temple was built. Although I thought both the park and the temple extend to 148th, but the map has a gap between 148th and the airfield.

      The P&Rs are also somewhat different. There’s the Eastgate P&R, but South Bellevue is missing, and Mercer Island is further south. The South Bellevue P&R seems old to me; I’m pretty sure the 226 stopped there in 1980 and it didn’t seem brand new then.

      1. The Bellevue Airport was closed and Boeing has several office buildings on the site but not sure if they are sill occupied by the company. One those building was or may still be a data center.

    3. Wow, neat find! Interesting that back in 1977, my old route (187) was one of really only two routes in Federal Way (450), and that it was fused with today’s 901 the long way around (in contrast to the way they have recently proposed fusing the 187 and 901 running along 312th St).

      A weird thing about the 1977 maps is that there seem to be single routes that are actually multiple routes? Like it looks like the 151 branches four ways to the south, and the 150 branches 3 ways to the south and one way east, for example? I should call the customer information number on the map and ask about it.

    4. Thanks, Sam, for posting this. It’s really interesting to see what routes are still there (same number or not), what areas have gotten more coverage, and the different transit agencies in operation at the time.

  1. This posting could not be more On Topic this morning, Brent. Climate activist Greta Thunberg is a 17 year old Swedish girl from Stockholm.

    She’s been diagnosed with an attention-complication called “Asperger’s Syndrome”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome

    Which is named after a Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Asperger#Nazi_involvement

    Who, had she been his patient, would have had her euthanized for the sake of, one, his career, two, his career, and three, whatever’s German for “The Good of the Race.” Said to be dead, though maybe just “Bleib zurück und bleib bereit!”

    Luckily for what’s left of Life on Earth, Greta’s condition is what makes her the perfect leader for the task at hand, which definitely includes a massive increase in the quality and quantity of emission-free public transit in our country.

    Good “stance” for facing an enemy whose every word and move is carefully designed to distract attention from the fact he’s doing worse damage to our country than anybody uniformed and foreign, including the Confederacy.

    Greta maintains her concentration by losing her temper. Exactly what ST should have done with the Breda fleet, and is long overdue for everything that requires passengers to vertically drag luggage because machinery doesn’t work.

    Soon as the free world starts letting Americans in once again, we should make Greta a pillar of the Streetcar Sister Cities program that should include Stockholm, Gothenburg, and the high speed electric train-ride between.

    I know that between her and the National Nordic Museum, Link’s Ballard Station will end up on the correct avenue. And by reversing Seattle’s present collapse, become a major draw for escaping teenage Mercer Islanders. ORCA card should mean blanket asylum.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Drove by the “Main St” Bellevue Link Station this morning. I was very skeptical about this location but seeing it as it’s being built I believe it will get decent ridership. It’s likely to be a favorite for the kiss and ride crowd and with the Hotel District across the street should be a favorite with business travelers. Renting a car is always going to be much cheaper anywhere but the airport. There’s also a fair amount of apartments/condos recently built that are within walking distance. “Old Bellevue” bears no resemblance to how it was when the routing decisions were being made. I predict higher ridership here than the almighty S. Bellevue P&R which was spun as so important to the ROW routing.

    1. I could see 405 HOVs pulling off southbound on NE 6th and turning left at 112th to drive south by this station to drop off their ride before continuing. However, I could also see these same HOVs dangerously just dropping off their rides near the corner of NE 6th and 112th for the Diwntown Bellevue station.

      There will be a pullout on southbound 112th at East Main Station. It appears to hold only 2-3 cars so while it is good for drop offs, pickups appear to be limited. I expect lots of dangerous stopping in the middle of 112th because of this.

      Wilburton Station appears to be the only Downtown Bellevue Station with the design having more than one or two incidental pickups.

      1. I’m guessing a lot of people will pull into the Red Lion to drop off/pick up people. Maybe ST should negotiate for a cell phone waiting area with one of the hotels or other offices near by. The station has really good access from 405 via NE 4th. Also anyone coming down Coal Creek Pkwy has good access without having to get on 405. People coming from the North will probably use the 130th P&R. Wilburton will have a dozen or so parking spots but you can only enter/exit to WB NE 8th. And that whole area is very congested; especially around Xmas when many people are traveling (or used to) by air.

        Are there any planned bus connections to this station? If not at present I’m sure there will be when Wilburton gets built up.

      2. East Main & Downtown Bellevue are in the middle of a CBD … drop-offs should be managed the same as in downtown Seattle. I expect people will need to use a nearby parking lot or a side street with parking, or just tolerate angry honking for a 15 second load/unload.

        I see zero people using the 6th Ave ramps unless they are heading to Bellevue anyways. It will be a huge time penalty to get back on to 405, and if the driver is just doing a drop off why would you drive into downtown Bellevue? It would be like if you lived in Queen Ann and had someone drop you off at Westlake to catch Link … a reasonable request on an evening or weekend, but ridiculous during rush hour.

        Bellevue is a real city, not a vast swath of suburban housewives plotting how they are going to drop their husbands off at the train each morning!

      3. Is the Red Lion the one-story hotel? There was an East Link open house in it I attended. At the time there was talk that the hotel was amenable to being replaced, and that three corners of 112th & Main would become TOD.

        I think of Old Bellevue as west of Bellevue Way, and there’s a hill between Bellevue Way and the station, so it’s not an easy walk, and I think a bus on Main Street is indicated. There’s been multistory development both west and east of Bellevue Way. and the eastern parts would be an easy walk to the station (although still down a hill). The development may not have started before East Link was planned (although I think there was already some at 106th on the south side), but it was definitely zoned for or expected to be zoned for. As I said, in the open house they explicitly discussed TOD potential at 112th & Main and there was the assumption that the blocks west of it would also be 4-8 stories or higher.

      4. It wasn’t a lot. IIRC there was only one two story multi-family property of maybe 20 units and a few single family homes.

      5. The Red Lion is the 1 story building that’s 180 rooms. It’s actually the Hilton I was thinking of. It’s got 350 rooms and looks to be 8 stories. The Red Lion will likely be dozed and sprout a new fancy tower. Likewise there are a bunch of 80’s era 2-3 story buildings along 110th. On the north side of Main is a Sheraton (Marriot) the same size as the Red Lion. I wonder if hotel corporations are going to be forced to sell properties due to economic pressure from the pandemic?

        Also, the Lk Hills Connector feeds into this station which is the primary access for much of East Bellevue.

      6. I hope there’s a plan to put in a mid-block crosswalk between Red Lion and the station entrance. If not (and I haven’t seen any signs of one), you’ve got to detour to Main St., which increases the walking distance by an unnecessary 1000-2000 feet, while also encouraging jaywalking.

        Also, from what I can tell, the permanent fencing around the station looks to cut the station off from the neighborhood, with no pedestrian access to the south or west, only from the north. They could easily set it up so that people can walk to the park, cut through the park, and walk out the other end into the station. Instead, everybody has to walk all the way around and breath the exhaust fumes walking along the major arterials.

        Yes, in spite of all this, the station will get fairly decent ridership. There will be reverse commuters getting off there to walk to office buildings in downtown Bellevue, plus transfers from buses to the east. Still, by omitting basic pedestrian infrastructure around the station, Sound Transit is making it artificially harder to use.

      7. hope there’s a plan to put in a mid-block crosswalk between Red Lion and the station entrance
        Absolutely needs to have something. I’m surprised Bellevue didn’t pressure ST to put in ped bridge. Although, if the light is synchronized with Main there may be minimal impact on traffic and outside of peak that’s not even an issue.

      8. The Sheraton and Red Lion already have redevelopment plans filed. For the Hilton, I wouldn’t be surprised if the building itself remains but they squeeze in another large structure where there is parking.

        The station area plan shows a midblock crossing a pinch south of the southern station entrance; roughly at the lot line between Red Lion and Hilton, from what I can see.

      9. A residential project is planned for the northwest corner of 112th and Main called Broadstone Bellevue Gateway. One 22-story building, and two 7-story buildings. Something called BelleVista Place is going in where I think the Sheraton is. That will be pretty massive, and take up between 112th and 114th, and from NE 2nd to Main St. I think it will be a mix of office and residential. Not sure if the economy has delayed or altered these projects. The Broadstone one was supposed to be completed in Nov 2023.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the strip mall just north of Whole Foods gets redeveloped next. Or, the entire Whole Foods parcel gets redeveloped. I think the area around Wilburton Station is ready to be transformed. (I don’t think the Porsche and Mercedes dealerships are going anywhere, however).

      10. The Whole Food lot is owned by a legal entity with “whole foods” in the name, which presumably means it’s ultimately owned by Amazon; wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up an Amazon office towers with a Whole Foods market in the base.

        With Amazon raising its announced headcount in Bellevue by another 15K, I’d be shocked if any of these projects get deferred. Construction in Bellevue is accelerating, nor decelerating.

    2. How many apartments and/or condos were demolished in the condemnation actions along the west side of 112th just north of Surrey Downs Park? I just don’t remember atm how many relocations those property acquisitions entailed. (Thanks in advance for a reply.)

      1. Ok, since ST has removed many of its older documents from current online access, I pulled out my old laptop to look this up (since I knew I had previously downloaded the relevant files). Here’s the refresher.

        ST Board Resolution 2013-11, adopted in May 2013, gave authority to condemn these specific 41 condos situated on the west side of 112th:

        “Certain property interests have been identified as necessary for construction of the East Link
        Extension. The proposed action would authorize the acquisition of 41 condominium units, common
        elements, and the interests of the condominium owners’ associations by condemnation, if necessary, as needed for the construction, operation and maintenance of the East Link Extension and the payment of relocation benefits to eligible affected owners and tenants. Sound Transit’s authorizing legislation grants the agency the power of eminent domain to accomplish such
        acquisitions when efforts to reach agreement with property owners are unsuccessful.

        “The parcels identified in Exhibit A are adjacent to 112th Avenue SE, and along the light rail alignment identified in the preferred alternative for East Link Extension.

        “The condominium sites are identified as the Carriage Hills condominium, comprised of 17 units,
        and Carriage Place condominium, comprised of 24 units. Sound Transit will acquire the condominium units along with the owners’ fractional shares of the common elements and the real property interests, if any, of the condominium owners’ associations. The condominiums along the
        west side of 112th Avenue SE are required for the East Link project to be built as selected by the Board on April 25, 2013. Property owners in the condominium complexes have requested purchase as soon as possible so they can proceed to relocate and move to replacement properties. The properties are needed for the construction, operation and maintenance of the
        station and guideway.

        “In response to interest from property owners and the Bellevue City Council in accelerating these
        acquisitions, the Sound Transit CEO committed to bring a resolution to the Board within 60 days of
        the Bellevue City Council and Sound Transit approval of the light rail alignment requesting authority for early residential property acquisition. On April 22, 2013 the Bellevue City Council
        passed Resolution No. 8576 approving the East Link Project and on April 25, 2013 the Sound Transit Board approved the project. In June, staff will return to the Board to request authority for the remaining full residential property acquisitions in Bellevue along 112th Avenue SE.”

        ST went thru the show of studying the other 5 route options, but once the 112th alignment was selected over Bellevue Way the die was cast, as the saying goes. These residential properties were toast and the hotels and athletic club could just sit back and carry on as usual.

        While searching for this info I found this article in the PI that I had saved (the link is still intact). I guess I saved it for posterity since I thought it summarized pretty well a lot of the politics that was going on at the time.
        https://www.seattlepi.com/local/sound/article/Light-Rail-Bellevue-City-Council-not-budging-on-888875.php

      2. Thanks Tlsgwm for that link. Back in the day I was actively testifying at council meetings in favor of B7. The final alignment ended up costing as much as Bellevue Way and having no better ridership than the lower cost B7. In the end the BTC aircraft carrier station isn’t much if any better than 116th and the tunnel is an expensive joke.

        The part that’s not mentioned is B7 was the obvious choice if Link was ever to have an extension east to Issaquah. Chelminiak “proved” using CoB resources that light rail could “no way, no how” go under 405. Simply not true. Freeway interchanges are rebuilt on a regular basis. Moving rail lines is a big deal. Unfortunately Redmond’s insistence on building a slip ramp at 148th made Link do the Sky Train thing over 148th. More roller coaster for our rail lines to avoid roads that can easily be changed (and are on a short term basis).

      3. Thanks.

        Yeah remains to be seen how S Bellevue is used. If it becomes a major bus/rail transfer point (in addition to or in lieu of MI), I think that is very powerful. If it’s not used as bus infrastructure, it’s of limited use and then I’m indifferent between that & B7.

        Would B7 have cause issues with Eastrail, or is there sufficient ROW for Link, trail, and 405?

        And for the bajilloth time – the ST3 projects not in Seattle are not about connecting suburbs to Seattle. They are about mobility within the subareas. It’s true for TDLE and eventually S Tacoma, it’s true for the Paine Field alignment, and it’s true for Kirkland-Issaquah. Issaquah is easily connected to Seattle with a bus lane on I90 and a transfer at MI. Issaquah Link is about connecting Eastgate & Issaquah to Eastside job centers; the I90 buses will remain, just like Redmond will keep its SR520 routes. Even with a B7 alignment, I’d still want my Issaquah train pointing to Bellevue, not Seattle.

        If you don’t think those corridors merit HCT (like Ross), fine. But at least understand what is trying to be accomplished, rather than wonder why everyone isn’t trying to optimize their Seattle commutes. Issaquah, Everett, Tacoma, etc. aren’t bedroom communities for Seattle; they aspire to be great cities in their own right within the greater Seattle region.

    3. I’m still skeptical. I have opinions on “kiss and ride” users, but I’ll start a new thread for that. It just looks like a very bad location. Much of the walking potential is eaten up by the freeway (you can’t walk five minutes east of the station). To the west you have low density housing, much of which doesn’t allow easy access. For example if there was a regular street grid, this would be a five minute walk to the station: https://goo.gl/maps/Fz3wWK77ne51CNqi7. There is potential for growth in some of the areas, but for now you have very auto-oriented development. Even if it does grow, there are only tiny slivers where density could increase.

      There is also potential for connecting bus service. The 240 serves that area, and other buses could do the same sort of thing. I’m not sure if they will, though. If a bus can go on 116th and cross on NE6th (in bus lanes) that seems like a much better way to go (more people and faster). We will need more service on Bellevue Way (with the 550 leaving). That means that 112th becomes the third most important corridor between downtown Bellevue and I-90, which likely means infrequent service.

      Its a shame because a few blocks to the east (on Bellevue Way) you could get plenty of riders.

      1. Even if there was better access to the east side of 405 there’s nothing there; a car dealership and a smallish office building. 116th turns into the Lk Hills Connector and east of that you go up a steep hill to the Eastrail ROW and then Bellevue Botanical. Other than drop offs the ridership will depend a lot on the Hotel District adding rooms.

        I know it’s small but it seems like some sort of transit should be looked at to connect Wilburton P&R and shuttle service to the Hotel. Although the hotels will likely provide some sort of cooperative transportation to the station and Meydenbaur Center, Microsoft DT and Amazon. The train will wisk vistors to the Microsoft campus. Not saying it’s a great station location but looking at it in person I feel better about it than I originally did and expect it to do better than S. Bellevue P&R.

      2. I know it’s small but it seems like some sort of transit should be looked at to connect Wilburton P&R and shuttle service to the Hotel.

        It is hard to see how the Wilburton P&R fits into anything in the future. SE 8th is a very weak corridor. It is largely a green belt, except for the park and ride. The park and ride doesn’t serve a neighborhood — it is difficult to access (being close to the freeway). These hotels have plenty of parking — one of their selling points. The 240 cuts across, but frankly, I don’t see why, other than coverage. Coverage buses don’t run often. Oh, that, and to serve the park and ride lot.

        I think the best chance for that station is if a bus turns on Main. That I could see. That’s really the start of density in that part of Bellevue (in contrast, density starts much further south on Bellevue Way). I could easily see a frequent bus turning off of 116th and cutting over on Main (then maybe going up 110th). That would put those riders fairly close to that station.

        The problem is, just as that part of 112th is built up, so too is that part of 116th. It looks pretty similar, which means that it probably comes down to speed. My guess is that staying on 116th is faster, especially if the bus can turn on 6th and go to the station via a bus lane.

        But I could be wrong. The new version of the east part of 271 could easily cross at Main, while the 240 goes up 116th to 6th. That means that the corridors are reversed, and all of those Lake Hill folks will get off at East Main if they are taking Link to Seattle.

        Even then though, is that really a lot of people? The Lake Hills Connector is desolate (raccoons don’t ride transit). There are people on 145th Place, but I would imagine the bulk of the riders on that part of the 271 are going to Bellevue College. Those riders will take an I-90 bus from Mercer Island if they are headed to downtown Seattle, will take the 245 if they are headed to Redmond, and won’t care how the bus gets to downtown Bellevue if they are headed there. So you really only have people who live in apartments on 145th place who are headed to Seattle (and that assumes that Metro doesn’t do anything different to accommodate them — given how close they are to I-90).

        But time will tell. Like a lot of things with our system, it will be interesting, and much depends on what Metro decides to do. I will say this about that, though. Unlike a lot of our stations (e. g. Northgate) I see no reason why a bus would deviate to serve East Main. It is so close to downtown Bellevue, and downtown Bellevue is a major destination. I don’t see the station being a destination (unlike half a mile to the east).

      3. Wilburton made good sense when buses going 405 south would pass by normally, but with the HOT lanes those routes will no longer serve the P&R. I might make sense to simply surplus the lot, either into affordable housing or sell it and reinvest the funds, rather than contort a route to serve it.

      4. I might make sense to simply surplus the [Wilburton] lot, … and reinvest the funds, rather than contort a route to serve it.

        That’s what I would do. Maybe Metro can sell the parking to Sound Transit. For only 150 grand a spot (a lot less than what ST usually pays) Metro could get over $25 million.

        Seriously though, I would sell off the land. It might work well as a used car lot.

      5. Ha! Good zinger. There’s a 7 story (including parking) hotel directly across the street, so I”m sure if can do better than used car lot.

        It might also end up WSDOT land if WSDOT rebuilds the interchange.

    4. Bernie, I doubt Downtown Bellevue will be the only station on the system to experience a powerful and lasting increase in ridership. When the regional transit system to which it belongs takes its rightful place in the massive economic rebuild that’ll bring the current downturn to its welcome end.

      Like Greta Thunberg herself, transit itself is uniquely positioned to serve the reconstruction by not only providing work travel, facilities construction, and “operations” employment, but also a large and lasting substitute for the airliners which Boeing no longer wants to pay union wages to manufacture.

      Everett should have plenty of factory space, and East Marginal already as tracks running right past the plant. Add some catenary and our trains can literally ring their bell and roll off the line headed for Boeing Access, IDS, West Seattle, Bellevue and points beyond.

      Since its Vertol cars were so much better than the Breda’s that succeeded them in SF, maybe we can let Boeing ceremonially “gift” us with the name.

      But since I’m also pretty sure that the world’s supply of the original 1950’s era PCC streetcars has finally reached the end of its work-life, from here on we can let the acronym stand for food stores in West Seattle. While we let traditional host countries pick the name for their own fleets’ up to date replacements.

      Mark Dublin

  3. Has ridership changed since Metro fares restarted October 1st? Have you seen fewer riders or fewer misbehaving riders? I haven’t been on Metro since Sept 20.

    1. I haven’t been on a bus in about a month too. But walking around downtown, they seem mostly empty. On Friday, I saw a 512 leaving downtown that was empty at 5pm. On a separate note, Microsoft is moving to a permanent hybrid remote model and amazon, from what I hear is going to announce a delay to their scheduled return to the office date. In other words, ridership in and around downtown will continue to be depressed.

    2. Bernie, the seminars I have been to that included Bellevue’s planners anticipate a fleet of driverless, electric shuttles throughout Bellevue (ACES). These would drive on a fixed course, and are a reason Bellevue was ok with having East Link run along 112th. They (Kemper Freeman) didn’t want it down Bellevue Way, and think shoppers, diners and workers will be happy to catch a continuously moving electric shuttle from 112th into downtown Bellevue and back (and plan on rebuilding 116th).

      This technology is actually here (think Disneyland), as opposed to driverless technology running on roads and highways with non-dedicated lanes and cars with drivers, which is probably a decade away, except Amazon is rolling out electric trucks and plans to have them go driverless, although I am not sure who delivers the package.

      This would probably only be during peak hours, because otherwise most eastsiders coming to Bellevue will drive, especially with free parking, although Bellevue is pretty progressive when it comes to transit, although not as ideological as some in the transit game.

      1. One of of the (underappreciated) things I detest the most about driving is the whole experience around large, busy parking lots. Waiting in a long line of cars to get in, another long line of cars to get out, driving through level after level of parking garage looking for a space. Then finally parking and trying not to get hit by a car backing out when walking across the parking lot. The random car that decides to scream in your ear as you walk by because some inconsiderate driver decides they want a 100 decibel notification that their car is being locked. Then, forgetting where you parked and having to walk in circles for several minutes to find your car. etc.

        One of the things I like the most about taking transit to places like Lincoln Square/Bellevue Square is simply not having to deal with the whole parking experience, even if it’s free.

      2. Daniel, Vancouver BC’s SkyTrain proves that vehicles work just fine without a human being physically at the controls under one condition.

        That vertical or horizontal or both, the trackway has the intrusion-exclusivity of an elevator shaft. I think the SkyTrain cars have controls locked behind panels. And passenger-assist personnel qualified to drive them when necessary.

        Give us that, Jeff, and like they say back east, nobody gets hurt.

        Mark Dublin

    3. I think ridership is still drifting slowly upwards. I haven’t been passed by any buses so far but at least the routes I’ve ridden on in North Seattle seem to be filling up. We mostly ride off-peak but even Sundays seem to be getting busier (44 we were on today had just shy of 18 people on it briefly in Wallingford).

      What I can say is the proportion of maskless/improperly masked has gone dramatically. Even saw a bus driver ask (successfully!) a rider to cover his nose with his mask.

  4. Bernie mentioned kiss and ride users. That got me thinking.

    In southwest Bellevue, I could see using the South Bellevue Park and Ride. Likewise, I could see someone going up 405, then cutting over to there. You would definitely experience congestion, but that is true for just about any option. In various suburban neighborhoods, people will try and solve the “last mile” problem that way. (I would expect these trips to be relatively short).

    I assume that the long term plan for the HOV ramps to the Mercer Island Station will remain HOV-2. That being the case, I would think that many longer distance kiss and ride drivers will go there. If you want to give your honey the best possible experience, there you go. It is an express into downtown Seattle at that point, with only one stop before downtown. Meanwhile, it is a pretty easy drive (all HOV) to the drop-off point, and if you started at say, Sammamish, then driving back home (in the morning) isn’t that bad (after you get past 405, it is pretty smooth sailing).

    For Lynnwood Link, I could see the same thing at Lynnwood. Lots of people could use the HOV-2 lanes. I wonder if lots of people will do that, though. If so, I could see it being a problem. The ramps might be clogged up with HOV-2 users, slowing down the buses. I kind of doubt that kiss and ride users account for anything more than a rounding error when it comes to mass transit use, even though it always seems to be a concern when it comes to building stations. I also think they are more likely to be infrequent, midday users (when connecting bus service isn’t as good).

    1. The biggest problem for people coming up 405 from south of 90 is getting back on 405 SB. That ramp is always a hot mess. When I was driving for BSD you could be stuck on that ramp for 20 minutes. The inherent problem is the access to 405 is a weave with the Coal Creek exit which creates gridlock. Same issue with Mercer Island but I expect most people coming in on 90 will go the extra distance to Mercer Island for the reasons you mention.

      1. Depends on what’s on the way/out of the way for the driver.

        As example, imagine a couple who lives somewhere in Newcastle where the local transit stinks. One person works in downtown Seattle, the other in the Kirkland/Redmond area. It’s not crazy to imagine the second person dropping the first person off at South Bellevue Station, then heading back north on 405 to drive the rest of the way to work. Even if every person has their own car, cars do break down from time to time, plus the parking at South Bellevue might be full. If the Bellevue Way ramp is too congested, maybe they use East Main St. Station for this purpose, but Mercer Island, for the driver, feels way out of the way.

      2. Depends on traffic. Bellevue way has been messed up for years now with Link construction and the associated rebuild of SE 8th. I think they are still working on the Bellevue Way HOV lane. Once that gets finished it will obviously improve. But for a 2 person HOV total time for the person continuing to Kirkland/Redmond staying in the 405 HOV lanes as long as possible makes the most sense. If the final destination is Kirkland then maybe use the NE 6th direct access. Going to Redmond/Overlake would make sense to use the bypass exit from 405 to 124th and drop off at the Spring District. From there several surface street options are available that may be faster than 520 depending on final destination. Of course if they work at the main campus then that would be the logical Link connection. The driver can then just stay in the office until their partner calls and says I’m 5 minutes from the station. S. Bellevue P&R would be about the worst place to have to hang out and wait for a ride.

      3. @asdf2 — I’m suggesting that someone drops off a rider at South Bellevue (not that they park there).

      4. Eastside bias for sure but having been a contender for a job in SODO I’d pass on that now given the anarchist bent of Seattle politics. To consider that job I would have counted on public transit. I no longer feel that is a safe or reliable (funding) alternative. And by safe I don’t just mean Covid. Seattle is devolving into a lawless zone and with respect to SODO I just would feel vulnerable being there.

      5. Looking at the police data for the last week or so, SoDo has been pretty quiet. A couple burglaries and a DUI. Of course you could say that about just about anywhere (Wallingford, Fremont, Queen Anne). Given that crime in general has been going down, I don’t see any reason to be concerned.

    2. Agreed – I see S Bellevue and MI are well situated fo kiss & ride by 405 and 90 drivers, respectively.

      If you are all the way out at Sammamish, you are more likely to drop someone off at a bus stop to take an express bus, unless the driver is going to pass by Link anyways or wants the ride-along to use the HOV lanes longer.

      1. Yeah, it would be more of a courtesy. For example, let’s say you worked at T-Mobile (in Factoria) and live in Sammamish. Your sweetie works in Seattle, so you drop them off at Mercer Island, then reverse course, and park by T-Mobile. It is some backtracking, but not too bad.

        I’m not saying a lot of people are going to do that, but I don’t think a lot of people do the kiss and ride thing. Not for a metro.

      2. Are there plans for a passenger drop-off location at MI? Last time I was there it lacked this, with drivers illegally using the bus stop itself.

      3. If you have a policy in Seattle that won’t prosecute misdemeanors the police are not going to investigate them, and the citizens are not going to report them. Sodo is a cesspool. The syringes and poop are everywhere. Heroin addicts don’t stop being addicts because of a pandemic, or because people are working from home. After decades Sodo’s only market (other than Costco) closed due to crime and vagrancy (it logged over 700 911 calls in one year prior to closing). https://komonews.com/news/local/crime-prompts-sodos-only-grocery-store-to-close

        Why would anyone take a job in Sodo? Unless of course you play pro sports.

    3. Not to drum the MI point again, but by wanting less frequent buses Mercer Island is going to get an increase in private vehicle and drop off activity as RossB describes. They’re trading 5-10 more buses making round trips per hour instead of 100-200 more private cars making round trips per hour.

      Stations aren’t final destinations but are mere mode change facilities. Taking away buses just nudges more people to cars.

    4. The major HOV drop-off pattern I’m expecting is from 405 North. Getting to avoid the 405 express lane toll by having your spouse+neighbor to drop off at Link is a powerful financial incentive. That seems much more likely than drop-offs from I-90 because I-90 has no express toll lanes.

      It’s possible that 405 South HOV drop-offs could also be enticing, but most of that market would likely use Sounder — and some could even use Federal Way link. Still, if one spouse living in Auburn and commuting to Bellevue can use the toll lane for free, I could see the other spouse+neighbor riding to get dropped off at Link to save money.

      I even wonder how long it will be before some drivers try to get Stride riders waiting in Downtown Bellevue to hop in their car so that they can skip the 405 express lane tolls.

  5. Does anyone know if Metro is still working to install Plexiglass shields for drivers? I thought that work was all done, but was on a 44 today (one of the older 60’s, 2700-2800 series) that didn’t have it installed and still boarded through the front. Everyone on the bus while we were riding was masked but still felt kind of bad for the guy…

    1. From what I’ve read, the 2600s were supposed to be retired by the September service change/end of September and wouldn’t be getting the shields.

  6. Since this afternoon [OT] can also stand for Open Thread, our speculation about future ridership might let me finish my answer from day before yesterday to Daniel’s feeling that ST’s subarea spending must be considered competitive.

    Which is this: The whole reason for my decades-long willingness to share the blame and seek a cure for Sound Transit’s every mistake and shortcoming is the result I intend for it to deliver.

    Which is that, following directly the longtime success of the automobile, taking public transit Regional will do the same for the average rider’s ability to share a wide variety of residence, employment, schooling, and simple adventure and enjoyment. Gas tax for relaxation and scenery is the same as for a work trip.

    When either Ballard deteriorates so bad I can once again afford to live there or well-heeled fellow exiles vote Thurston County into ST, I’ll have no problem making sure that Mercer Island at least gets an espresso venue under same ownership as the runaway-teenage-exile refuge across the park from Ballard Link.

    I also think that the forces who bring this change into being will be the exact same ones that convinced Ballard to become part of Seattle. The Island’s business community. And thinking of Mercer Islanders I’ve known over the years, a half-hour ride to the Nordic National Museum will be a wonderful school field-trip.

    And again taking a leaf from transit’s “problem” little brother affectionately called the car, even if it’s on my smart-phone instead of a (kind of battered) card in my pocket, you can call my ORCA fee a “Car Tab”. Which if it doesn’t make everybody happy it’ll at fund the system.

    Mark Dublin

  7. And whether bought from Japan, Germany, Finland or the domestic facilities I mentioned, every Tab-financed light-rail seat WILL be bolted into a Car.

    Mark

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