Incoming Colourful SWIFT BRT Blue Line

This is an open thread.

34 Replies to “News roundup: getting going”

  1. AvgeekJoe, thanks for the wonderful picture. Destination of “Southbound To:” is inspirationally limitless. My vote is for “Tierra del Fuego”. Though “McMurdo Station” is also still in the running.

    Elephant sculpture? Passing Public Art experience leads me to this solution: leave the whole project to a committee of elephants.

    Which in addition to being wise, game wardens in Africa have told me they’ll stay around to make sure you’re dead if you cross them. Making them excellent “hires” for Value Engineering.

    And Hyperloop? Prove Elon didn’t really invent it for a tax break that will also stock the Tesla dealership on Pluto.

    Mark Dublin

  2. And thanks for the Update, AJ. Could be a few years early, but aisle-view makes me think that walk-through trains are in the cards for Link. Bathrooms? Better fit for whatever Commuter Rail morphs into.

    Mark Dublin

  3. “CT 800-series buses will terminate at Northgate.”

    Community Transit will then take those savings to increase frequency to Gold Bar, while simultaneously reducing the number of trips to Northgate.

    Ha, just kidding. To quote the article, they will:

    * Add more than 30 bus trips to ensure frequent connections and quick transfers;
    * Consolidate Route 855 into Route 821 with more trips from north county;
    * Redirect Route 810 to bypass the Lynnwood Transit Center due to other connections between Lynnwood and Northgate provided by Sound Transit;
    * Achieve 15-minute frequency northbound during the peak evening commute hours on all 800-series routes, to ensure a fast light-rail-to-bus connection, and increase the overall span of operating hours.

    So they are improving the frequency of service to Link, not reducing it, like Metro is planning. What a crazy idea.

    1. My heart leapt when you mentioned Gold Bar. Lived there in the seventies and eighties in a “Mother Earth hippie phase.” Too bad you were kidding.

      1. Ha, sorry to get your hopes up. I like Gold Bar, by the way. It’s my favorite of the various towns along Highway 2.

    2. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s time for CT to just pull the plug on service to Gold Bar altogether (with the possible exception of a couple of weekday peak runs to Boeing). It’s expensive to serve, ridership out there is very low, and the quality of service bout there is terrible. The total travel time to reach almost anywhere in Seattle or Bellevue on a bus from Gold Bar is akin to driving all the way across the pass to at least Leavenworth, if not Wenatchee.

      Another reason to abandon Gold Bar is that the very presence of Gold Bar service causes the bus to get stuck in traffic on highway 2 near Sultan, creating long delays for the rest of the route in Monroe, Snohomish, and Everett.

      Assuming the 271 is truncated in Monroe, one way to reinvest the service could be to create a Monroe->UW Bothell route that would connect to both Sound Transit STRIDE routes. Even if this bus only ran hourly, it would still mark a huge improvement over the status quo where the only transit option in or out of Monroe is via a 45-minute bus ride to Everett.

      1. Since, starting in Everett there’s already a railroad across Stevens Pass, through Spokane, and headed for the East Coast, trains probably will work better than buses for the Highway 2 corridor.

        Existing railway the length of the West Coast can’t help but help out either. Like the roads of old Rome, and I don’t mean New York, these finally do become linear bedrock.

        That reserves corridors for transit no matter how bad certain sectors want to Cancel it all the way to the end of Twitter.

        Classified, maybe, but the International Space Station can probably see switches from Outer Space.

        Mark Dublin

    1. Since anything in California has to class as a sequel to the “WEST Side Story” that happened in NYC, word from beyond the grave to The Sharks is that Maria’s brother Bernardo says “Quit actin’ like a Jet or I’ll tell Officer Krupke to get the ‘cuffs!”

      Has there ever been a period in the history of the World when anybody prominent had a less credible threat to do anything?

      Worst that can happen, San Jose, is that you don’t get a Defense briefing ’til all the votes are either counted or thrown out to Stop The Theft, depending.

      San Jose to Flatbush, pretty sure “SHEESH!” means the same in both languages.

      Mark Dublin

    2. A lot of people don’t know about it, but San Jose actually has an excellent network of arterial bike lanes (that don’t have parked cars and door zones) and Burke-Gilman-quality trails. It is also warm, very flat, and almost never rains, making the bike option another viable way to get to a sharks game.

      Granted, San Francisco is too far to do on a bike, but Sunnyvale and Santa Clara are definitely within reasonable bike commuting range, and there are trails that go there.

    3. Someone who works in the pro sports development industry once explained to me that the high-cost seats purchased by corporations and wealthy CEOs are why teams are where they are. I see this item as bargaining PR more than a threat given how centrally located the arena is to the regional highway system as well as the transit system.

      The arena is also in the flight path of San Jose’s Mineta International Airport. There won’t be any tall buildings there unless that airport closes — and that’s quite improbable. That will limit the ability of the site to be marketed for any tall buildings.

      I expect that a parking garage plan that makes everybody happy will be the end result.

    4. Hockey is SO out of place in sunny California. I guess it’s a place to get cool like theaters before widespread air conditioning.

      The City Council is doing the right thing. Turn those parking lots into TOD for Caltrain users. The puck drops here.

  4. Wow! The elephant-on-a-tree appears dead! I guess no one really liked it.

    Since ST won’t change artists, let’s hope that the current one spends some time in Federal Way before he submits an alternative.

    I remain flummoxed why the art set-aside funds don’t give priority to local artists.

    1. I thought that artwork was great. I would be very surprised if they come up with anything better. I expect the artwork to be bland and boring. Maybe that is what Federal Way is hoping for.

      1. In Kirkland, at David Brink Park, there is/was a sculpture of three women in native dress collecting water at a river. It’s called The Water Bearers, by Glenna Goodacre. Recently, a suspected drunk driver crashed into the sculpture, demolishing it. Glenna Goodacre also designed the Sacagawea dollar coin.

    2. It died because influential stakeholders didn’t like it. And maybe woke activists complaining it reminds them of circus-elephant cruelty and tree murder, which sounds like the other pseudo-controversy, the Red Line in Rainier Valley reminding them of redlining. I liked the sculpture because it was unique, lithe, and reminded me of Elephant & Castle station in London. Once you knew Federal Way was the elephant station, you’d immediately recognize the station when you saw it, and you’d know you’re 3/4 of the way to Tacoma, and it would be a bright cheery thing to mitigate the depressing concrete and asphalt around it.

      I doubt Federal Way has anything in the air or water that would make a local artist less likely to choose an elephant than a non-local artists. Or that a non-local artist, walking around Federal Way, would somehow perceive that an elephant is inappropriate for Federal Way. What they’d see is chain-store signs and logos, so should the artwork look like a chain-store sign?

      1. ST’s got, what, forty years’ experience with public art? And from what I can make out, and excellent reputation in that field.

        Could be an Old-Country thing, but I tend to look at “Stakeholders” the way Count Dracula looked at Dr. Van Helsing.

        Would just as soon the voters have their say. But have the artists and the engineers say what gets BUILT.

        With a lot of emphasis on making sure the pillar the elephant is on top of doesn’t share any base-space with a vengeful anti-transit drunk drunk in a pickup-truck.

        Mark Dublin

    3. I’m not surprised by the response at all. Personally I hated the piece (art is subjective after all), but I had no skin in this game as I doubt I’ll ever board or alight Link at this station. We’ll have to see what sort of “whimsical” piece this artist comes up with when he goes back to the drawing board.

      I do like the artist’s “Spot” sculpture on E 34th over by NYU Med. It seems very fitting in front of the new Langone building. Plus the balanced Prius cab was donated!

    1. It looks like Metro sent out a lot of information recently.

      I just received the official announcement that planning for RapidRide R(ainier Avenue) has been put on hold. Metro says that the 7 has retained 60-70% of its pre-Covid ridership. I’ve seen plenty of 7 coaches displaying the “BUS FULL” sign, particularly during PM peak hours.

    2. Thanks, Daniel, but word to Sound Transit. When I do you the courtesy of taking a multiple-choice survey, which as a tool I think are worse than worthless, I’m the one who decides what not to “mark.” Not you.


  5. I think the idea of gondolas as a form of transportation is officially dead. Covid killed it. Let’s all cram in to a small plastic bubble together? Can’t we have gondolas after the vaccine, you ask? If we could fix a virus with a vaccine, no one would get the flu.

    Sam. Award-winning transit art critic.

    1. Any link to “Portland Tramway” shows the truth, Sam. Paint those gondola-cars blue and white, and “Harborview 3-4” is ST-Good-to-Go.

      Though remembering horse-drawn passenger service in Pioneer Square, there is another option. Know the archives have contemporary pics of incline service that loaded a streetcar aboard the same platform as its four-footed propulsion-source.

      Though pretty sure some of the more recent ones were fitted with trolley-wire above the car that would engage the system’s wiring plan at either end.

      Letting 3-4 passengers keep their service no matter how slippery James Street gets between Third and Ninth. Best approach to the past is often “No Time Like The Present.”

      Mark Dublin

      1. Al S., the ones in Portland seem to be a lot more bus than van, and there’s no reason they can’t be bigger. And they’re not the only ones in the world.

        But with experience this longstanding and this durable, shouldn’t take much imagination, let alone complication, to be able to envision a couple of possibilities between Harborview and Pioneer Square Station.

        Or Capitol Hill Station and Seattle Center via Denny Way. With equipment that either is a railcar, or a protruding platform designed to carry one. In turn powered by either electricity or a horse or two, depending which shows up first.

        Appeal to me is that when it “goes down”, it’ll never be due to a problem with a “program” experienced by a Private Corporation(tm) somewhere in Australia. And correctable with one well-aimed whack of a hammer with no moving parts except the repair person’s right arm.

        Mark Dublin

  6. *plays the how many sites does she need to enable javascript on to view the website game for the Federal Way Mirror*

    8 of 14!

  7. There used to be some better pics than this.

    But for a cable-free mechanical reference….point being we’ll be dealing with something with a long, rugged history. Which whatever the casualty-count of the present pandemic, would not be prey to whatever’s blowing out our every SYSTEM now.

    Mark Dublin

    1. It wasn’t yesterday. It’s very interesting. The pandemic has transit agencies re-evaluating who their essential riders are, and if buses serve this better than trains. The Eastside Link, for example, might be empty, with professional people working from home, while the South End has a high volume of essential workers demanding more buses.

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