Where transit boardings have fallen the most (blue) vs the routes with the least ridership loss (yellow) (image: King County Metro)

There were many interesting themes in the recent struggle over a legislative “striker” trying to keep North Seattle service hours from moving south. But one of the interesting threads is a shift of emphasis in transit activism from quantitative ridership metrics towards economic and racial equity.

In public comment to the King County Council, Disability Rights Washington’s Anna Zivarts proposed a fairly extreme version of this trend, which deserves to be quoted in full:

The striker would direct Metro to prioritize service hours to an area that historically gets better service. It also directs Metro to prioritize routes that [provide] ‘the highest ridership and route productivity’ to improve ‘productivity and cost effectiveness’ of the service.

We fundamentally believe public transit is about increasing access, and we should be prioritizing providing service to people who are transit reliant. In our very expensive region, this often means prioritizing service to areas that have been historically underserved by transit and underserved by pedestrian investment.

As we have seen in the pandemic, as many ‘choice riders’ have opted out of riding transit, there are many of us for whom transit is the only option. Rather than chasing ‘high productivity’, our elected leaders must center the needs of communities that rely on transit the most. The striker only reinforces the status quo of what communities receive public investment, a status quo that has and is failing us.

Anna Zivarts, Disability Rights Washington

This argument may be as compelling as it has ever been. People with alternatives are indeed not riding transit, and patterns of injustice have risen to the top of public debate. And yet, STB has spent 13 years foregrounding ridership and productivity in route allocation.

The old enemy was a hyper-localized view that prioritized squeaky wheels over the system’s overall interest, as we understood it. The new consensus is still system-oriented and still values route productivity, but makes room for new priorities. Indeed, most of the other public comments emphasized the value of the new framework. There is nothing wrong with a framework that is values things besides productivity [1], as long as it is explicit about its purposes so that we can measure its success.

No magic single metric captures all of the reasons we support transit. To the extent that ridership and rides per dollar disregard those reasons, they are not perfect. By one measure, suburban routes are “unproductive” because they carry a single boarding a longer distance, although in many ways this is a larger social service.

On the other hand, there is no meaningful division between choice riders and the transit dependent. For any given trip, there is a threshold where the cost and inconvenience of driving overtakes that of transit, and people with cars start taking the bus. There is another threshold where the general cost and inconvenience of owning a car exceeds the pain of relying on alternatives for your daily needs [2]. Is an affluent person living downtown who chooses not to buy a car, or the nuclear family with one car because the transit is good, “transit-dependent” or not? A poor family that forgoes necessities to keep the car running might be “choice riders”, but would benefit greatly from a decent alternative.

The benefits of getting people to switch a trip to transit are large and widely distributed. Those for getting them to dispose of a car entirely are higher. All else being equal, it would be easier to convince a poorer person, who is more price-sensitive. Unfortunately, all else is not equal: South King County is far less walkable than North Seattle. The impracticality of serving suburban street grids and land use with transit is one of the great obstacles to creating service that is both equitable and productive. Improving pedestrian routes there is the great, unloved idea that would transform the possibilities.

***

This discussion is not about Northgate. A region investing billions in light rail there is not “abandoning” that neighborhood, or choice riders. But if we were to give up choice riders, that would have terrible consequences for the air, our economic engine in Downtown Seattle, and the long-term political popularity of transit. Let’s stick to the well-balanced guidelines and stay out of a death spiral.

[1] Jarrett Walker has made this point many times.

[2] STB is, historically, extremely interested in this threshold.

105 Replies to “Choice riders, and not”

  1. I get the importance of transit as serving transit dependent people. However, it’s a complicated topic.

    Consider whether or not it makes sense to enable transit-dependent people to move to areas with terrible service. Is it a choice? Are we expecting transit service to improve there and why should everyone else suffer with worse service if it does? Are we rewarding bad housing location choices by offering better service to remote areas?

    Then there is the time of day issue. Is the need to get people to jobs or to daily services? Some transit dependent people work; others do not.

    All this suggests to me the need for better rider surveys. Without these, boardings is the only use metric that we have. If an advocate wants to introduce better service, they need to quit pointing to census maps and demand better rider surveys. Why are people using transit? How would they make the trip if transit wasn’t available? Do they live alone? Do they have a car? Do they have mobility restrictions? How do they get to a bus stop? These are fundamental questions many systems ask regularly — and without such surveys it has little impact beyond political grandstanding.

  2. This whole thing feels very rushed and driven by the short term political impacts of the killing of George Floyd. The county council is effectively prioritizing being seen as “pro racial equity” above deploying service where it is most effective in terms of carrying actual riders, and Seattle transit riders have become pawns in the process.

    I’m starting to think that some form of sub-area equity within King County Metro might be needed moving forward. Seattle’s transit tax dollars should be funding service within Seattle, not shipped down to Kent.

    1. Read carefully, asdf2. In nobody’s account did George Floyd commit suicide. Worst thing about a bad cop? A bereaved survivor of one of a victim is going to “miss” and shoot a good one. Or maybe the fare inspector in the aisle next to his, or her, intended target.

      So any idea that life-and-death justice and transit efficiency are at opposites, that’s what those waste-cans on Link platforms are for. Though there’s a good chance we agree how lousy abstractions are for writing public policy.

      Who’s trip serves “Equity” better? A loan officer on their way to deliver a foreclosure? On a 2008 loan that would’ve had him waving loan papers and yelling “Woo-Hoo!” Or the borrower whose train ride is their last chance to stay non-Homeless? Six-minute headway, definite vote there!

      What I want from STB is recognition that the same transit ride, whose equipment can include a different number of overhead wires to reach the same destination, can serve a dozen purposes for many as many different people at the same time.

      See “North/South” as a packed corridor and not “Two Separate Cities” and a lot falls into place. Northgate Station is a perfect boarding for a Monday trip to a teaching job at Highline. And a Thursday class at LWIT. And if luck holds, a brand new full-time manufacturing job in either Renton, or Bellevue via Mercer Island.

      And likewise, someone whose parents used to ride my own Route 7 through Columbia City back when their folks could pay the rent….whatever their south-end address now, might finally have a job at 85th and Meridian. As well as CC classes at Shoreline.

      What it’s time for is a barrage of what used to be called “Public Hearings”, which thanks to Technology, COVIDIA at her worst cannot prevent. “ZOOM” in, sit down at our computers, testify and listen. As our people de-abstractify ourselves and speak.

      Anything STB can do to further these goals….Please.

      Mark Dublin

    2. “This whole thing feels very rushed and driven by the short term political impacts of the killing of George Floyd. The county council is effectively prioritizing being seen as “pro racial equity””

      Yes, although it’s both racial equity and income equity, and recognizing the very real differences in covid-era ridership between South King County/South Seattle vs the rest of the county. And recognizing the decades of neglect the county imposed on South King County transit even while its population and diversity increased and it became a major industrial jobs center.

      The problem is that King County is at risk of throwing away over a decade of strides in transit-network improvements, and going back to, not exactly a 1980s mentality, but one that focuses on social abstracts rather than where transit can be the most effective. The most successful transit cities have high ridership and serve low-income riders the best because they put transit where it’s needed and where people are most likely to ride it. That’s what King County is in danger of throwing away, its achievements in that. The high ridership retention in South King County is only part of the story.

      Until now, Metro kept restructure hours in the subarea, so that splitting a one-seat ride was compensated for by more frequency on the two segments, and consolidated corridors (a full-time frequent corridor between urban villages, which didn’t use to exist.) New hours and cuts disproportionally affected certain areas, but revenue-neutral restructures around new trunk lines (Link, RapidRide, the 71/72/73X) were kept in the subarea. That way every subarea got gradually improved transit as the various trunk lines and restructures were implemented.

      Now King County is doing something new: it’s taking hours from a Link restructure in one area and shifting it to another area twenty miles away. If it can happen in Lake City (41, 75, proposed 61), then it can happen in Crossroads (B, 245, 226) and all over the county. Even though Lake City and Crossroads have concentrations of low-income/minority/essential-worker riders too. Are we headed toward a future where north/central Seattle and the Eastside will never have more frequency because all new hours and restructure-recovered hours will be allocated to South King County and South Seattle. That flies in the face of Metro Connects, which promised more frequent corridors throughout the county. Is the Metro Connects vision now dead, or at least dead in north/central Seattle and the Eastside? The county must clarify this. And if it is dead, the county must articulate a new long-term vision, what level of service to expect in all subareas. Only then can we debate whether it’s good and make our own residence/job plans around it. If it’s all going to happen incrementally without a plan, and high-population/high-density areas will be reverted to 30-minute service, that will be bad.

      The push for equity is admirable, but the county mustn’t lose sight of other important factors and the transit network as a whole. And it must focus on getting more revenue and improving land use and subsidized housing, not just shifting hours from one neighborhood to another. That’s a zero-sum game and everybody loses. It’s not clear yet how far the county will take this equity thing and whether it will implement it in an ineffective way, but the danger exists that it might. And that might lead to more and worse things than just downgrading the 41 and 75 corridors.

    3. “the mobility framework and the equity cabinet started in 2019.”

      But it wasn’t until late 2020 that it started talking about yanking hours from high-population/high-ridership areas. Before that it was undestood as improving everywhere, with equity-emphasis areas improving the fastest. Now they’re talking about taking away from non-equity-emphasis areas.

  3. If transit is about access, then you need the whole network. Meet the demand in high ridership areas and maintain a baseline level of service in the lower ridership areas.

    Transit-dependent riders are everywhere, not just in south King County. Transit needs to be an option to get anywhere in King County.

  4. It’s just politics, the optics have changed some, but not much. Political decisions I. The past have included the failed 2 restructure, whatever route the ACLS demanded on MLK for years, the private bus for the senior home where a relative of Larry Gossett lives, the 74 existing because of Dombrowki.

    I guess I can’t get mad when some of the less connected people want some non-metric based changes too.

    1. Those are just a few individual coverage routes, so they’re not many service hours, and neither alternative gains/loses a frequent transit corridor because they’re all half-hourly at most. The restored 42 had a shorter distance and span than the original and was expected to be temporary. I don’t know what the Gossett route is. Dembrowski intervened in the 71, not the 74. The 74 local (sometimes numbered 30) was reduced to peak-only in the first round of cuts and later I think eliminated. More recently a daytime shuttle was re-added to 42nd & 8th, and the Northgate restructure and Metro Connects add to this.

      In contrast, with the 41 and 75, you have two corridors, a frequent corridor and a weekday-frequent corridor, reduced to one daytime-frequent corridor and nothing, as the only route between two large urban centers. This would be like moving the 106 to Rainier to replace the 7, and nothing on MLK. Except that nothing in Rainier Valley is as large as Lake City; you’d have to use Renton as the Lake City counterpart.

      1. It’s the Center Park bus, listed at the bottom of the list under non numbered routes.. The link to the info has been removed. It’s an on demand bus for one retirement community.

        It’s not an important route (it’s actually not public) but just used it of an example of politically motivated routes. People need to get re elected, and that requires goodies to constituents.

  5. The equity issue is more obvious with the billions in ST3 much more so than Metro. Link to Issaquah before Renton? South Federal Way before Burien? West Seattle Junction before White Center or Burien? Ballard before Aurora? Ignoring Harborview? Plus, many of these options were fixed as variations to a single corridor — so that the millions spent in studies never looked at option to either increase productivity or improve access. Then, ST even today has the gall to suggest equity impacts are mainly construction impacts — and they give themselves a gold star for not building in the most dependent areas!

    Metro is important but the public investment elephant is ST3.

    1. Burien and Renton will get HCT service well before any of the other locations you mentioned, as they will both be served by Stride in 2025.

      ST does indeed have a bigger stick to swing than Metro, but pointing out who gets a specific technology mode of transit is not a useful framework.

      1. Remains to be seen. Historically bus projects are the first on the chopping block to be delayed/watered down. In part, because the *definition* of BRT is vague, but I digress…. Just look at what happened to Rapid Ride. How much of the dreaded “BRT creep” will it suffer, and will it be to the extent that using the terms “high capacity transit” and especially “rapid transit” is dubious? I sure hope not, but we’ve all seen this type of movie before. I guess we’ll know more after ST sorts through the realignment process next year.

      2. “Historically bus projects are the first on the chopping block to be delayed/watered down. In part, because the *definition* of BRT is vague.”

        Light rail projects get watered down, even though the term is pretty clear cut. That’s because light rail can involve terrible stations, or something that is actually useful.

        So far, ST3 projects that involve buses have gotten better than originally planned (I-405) while light rail plans have gotten worse (Ballard, West Seattle). But yeah, time will tell.

      3. AJ: the F Line RR is low grade BRT well in advance of ST Stride. ST3 will be reset due to the fiscal crisis, so 2025 will probably slip.

      4. RossB is correct, Link was diluted several times: Sound Move deleted stations at NE 45th Street, First Hill, and South Graham Street and was fiscally constrained at Mt. Baker. Today, ST has adopted anemic service levels for fall 2021.

      5. Current indications are that aside from the 85th street station, Stride will open on time unless there are execution issues with the bus base or specific stations. If Stride slips beyond 2025, it won’t be for financial reasons.

      6. Saying that freeway BRT is justification for skipping out on rail has a basic logic problem. If that was the case, we wouldn’t need any of ST3 Link corridors. Every single one is generally served by RapidRide or ST Express or Metro freeway buses except for Downtown Redmond and South Kirkland (both pretty short distances).

      7. ST’s mandate is to create High Capacity Transit. Link, Stride, and Sounder all fit under that category. Rapid Ride and STX do not.

      8. AJ: I am not sure I understand the difference between Stride and ST Express. Seems the same to me.

      9. Stride has street improvements. in-line stations like RapidRide, off-board payment, and a greater commitment to off-peak frequency. I don’t know whether the buses will be different beyond their livery. Stride borrows features from both RapidRide and Swift. It’s “high capacity” because of the greater commitment to frequency, and the street improvements which will enable it to go faster and get through traffic better.

      10. Biggest difference for the riders will be off-board payment and frequency. Otherwise it’s mostly branding; Stride 522 is arterial rapid transit and Stride 405 is freeway rapid transit, which are different flavors of BRT and will look & operate rather differently. Stride 522 probably won’t feel much different than Rapid Ride segments with dedicated lanes, but I think minimum frequency is slightly higher?

        The idea is for Stride to ‘feel’ like riding rail, both in quality of the station and in that you don’t need to check the schedule – you should be able to expect a bus within 10 minutes no matter when you arrive at the station (aside from overnight). The vehicles I believe will be 60′ and electric; probably won’t feel much different than an STX bus on the inside.

      11. I am still not seeing a difference. You could achieve the same outcome by beefing up ST Express frequency, installing off-board payment and making the same street improvements without having to create a separate “brand” of service. Especially if it turns out to be not like SWIFT that has separate stops from other service.

      12. Stride is like Swift in having limited stops every 1-2 miles. If the 512 were full-time frequent it would function similarly. On a freeway the exits are spaced every 1-2 miles or so so those are natural station points, and a non-exit station wouldn’t make sense because feeder buses couldn’t reach it and there are no significant destinations there. On an arterial there’s more freedom to put stations anywhere, but the same principle applies: not too many stations, and preferring crossroads where feeder buses and urban villages centers are.

        ST Express is an interim stopgap service, both functionally and legally. These are ST’s first Stride lines — or any non-light rail service like Swift or RapidRide — and ST declined to adopt the Swift brand, so naturally there’s a new brand. The next logical long-term step is to convert most remaining ST Express routes into Stride. WITHOUT watering them down lower than Stride 1. 2. and 3. That would require capital projects in a theoretical ST4.

        ST’s mission is “high-capacity transit”. High capacity is defined as the capacity of rail or BRT. Link is being deployed in areas that ST thinks reach a level of ridership, or that are added anyway for political considerations (Issaquah). Stride is being deployed in area that don’t reach this level yet, yet they still need some kind of capacious, frequent, and reliable transit. In the run-up to ST3, the board deliberations specifically mentioned Renton-Bellevue as a corridor that doesn’t have Link’s ridership yet but might reach it in a few decades. So Stride is being deployed as a low-cost alternative until/if it’s ready for Link and ST can afford it. Stride is also expected to prebuild ridership that will help it to reach Link levels. Or if ridership doesn’t meet expectations, it would show that Renton-Bellevue will never be appropriate for Link.

      13. Enhancing ST Express to “Stride” level (whatever that means) is what I was suggesting. Over time, as Link is expanded, the remnants of ST Express can be upgraded.

        As for ST Express being a stopgap for upcoming light rail service: just change the law. Sound Transit could lobby the State legislature to remove that requirement. Besides, I find it difficult to believe that rail will someday operate from Federal Way to Puyallup via Auburn and Sumner anytime in the near or medium-term future. This might suggest that ST Express Route 578 would be something more than a stopgap service.

      14. The law helps ensure that core corridors will someday be full-time frequent and faster. The branding issue is minor. ST Express includes several kidnd of routes:

        – major routes like the 550 that will certainly be upgraded to Link soon.
        – medium routes like the 522, 535, 554, and 560 that may be upgraded to Link in several decades (and the 554 is planned).
        – fill-in routes like the 542 and 545 that have some characteristics of both. (The 545 will probably be replaced by the 542, but that’s not as certain as the 550 is.)
        – minor routes that will probably never have rail. This includes those in the 167 corridor, southeast Pierce, and peak-only routes.

        (However, commuter rail to Orting is still a long-term possibility in the long-range plan, I think.)

        For those minor corridors, ST Express will be permanent. Unless it’s replaced by Stride in some of those corridors. One can imagine Stride on 167.

      15. I disagree with Mike’s last paragraph; ST Express is the mode for corridors that don’t yet have HCT, not Link specifically. The 592 is a preview of Sounder to Dupont, the 522 is a preview of S3, the 560 is a preview of S1, and the 53X is a preview of S2.

        I read the deployment of Stride as the final HCT investment for that corridor; an upgrade to rail will only come if there is a need to create more peak capacity. Therefore, the Stride brand indicates that this is the final iteration of Sound Transit service, coequal with Link and Sounder. This fits good planning methodology by first identifying the corridor and second identifying the best technology solution (bus, light rail, commuter rail, or streetcar). IMO, Stride means Renton to Bellevue rail is dead (Renton to Seattle is alive).

        The ST Express legal language is from the levy, so not sure WaLeg can change it. Regardless, the “STX is interim” legal argument is far more ambiguous under ST3 than it was under Sound Move & ST2, as ST3 clearly funds STX in perpetuity. It’s likely that ST Express evolves into 3 things:
        1. Express bus service: 54X across SR520, the 595, and perhaps some South King to East King service (566?).
        2. Sounder feeder service: 580, 596, and likely service from Orting
        3. Sounder shadow service, which runs when Sounder does not. Federal Way to Puyallup via Auburn and Sumner is a great option, alongside Dupont/Lakewood to Tacoma and maybe something for Kent station.

        For #1, the express bus service, here I think is the best argument that the brand difference between ST Express and Stride is muddled. The differing service standards are an important distinction, but then I would agree that if we invest in ST X enough that service across the 520 bridge meets the service standards of Stride, it would be best to then re-brand those routes as Stride (e.g. S4 UW-Kirkland and S5 UW-Redmond). I’d wager ST could do that re-branding without another levy, but saving the brand upgrade for an ST4 would be good politics.

        Additionally, I think there would be an argument that #2 and #3 could be re-branded as “Sounder” buses, but likely not worth an extra set of livery … but if Stride is run out of the Bothell bus base while the ‘Sounder’ routes are provided by Pierce Transit, it could be a useful re-branding of the remaining ST Express routes after TDLE opens.

      16. “commuter rail to Orting is still a long-term possibility”

        By this I mean a shuttle from Orting to Puyallup or whichever Sounder station the legacy track goes to. Not a one-seat ride to downtown Seattle. The Pierce delegation has only kept the concept alive, not committed to any particular technology. It could logically be served by low-cost DMUs, which were recently allowed under federal regulations and would be new to the northwest. But ST has never mentioned DMUs specifically. It might also be realized as upgraded ST Express, whatever that means. (I don’t know enough about that area to speculate.) The Pierce delegation’s position is mainly to keep a theoretical rail concept alive as long as possible, while realizing it may ultimately be implemented by bus.

        Other potential commuter rail corridors in Western Washington that have been studied include Auburn-Black Diamond-Maple Valley, and Everett, Bellingham. They haven’t gone forward because the relevant cities don’t want to pay for them. But DMUs could theoretically lower the cost of these and other potential lines, thus making cost less of an issue. The state and cities haven’t really explored this yet.

      17. Mike’s last paragraph from an earlier comment. His most recent comment appeared after I posted, so we repeat each other a bit :)

      18. Lol, Mike and I need separate threads.

        Orting to Seattle direct on a DMU is possible, if there was a desire to split Sounder at Puyallup and send some to Tacoma and some to Orting. But that makes little sense to the most likely outcome is ST Express service.

      19. “I disagree with Mike’s last paragraph; ST Express is the mode for corridors that don’t yet have HCT, not Link specifically. The 592 is a preview of Sounder to Dupont, the 522 is a preview of S3, the 560 is a preview of S1, and the 53X is a preview of S2.”

        That’s what I was trying to say. ST Express will remain in corridors until/if it’s replaced by Link, Stride, or some future kind of HCT. The point being that the HCT will be more frequent, capacious, and reliable than the ST Express lines it replaces.

        “I read the deployment of Stride as the final HCT investment for that corridor; an upgrade to rail will only come if there is a need to create more peak capacity. Therefore, the Stride brand indicates that this is the final iteration of Sound Transit service, coequal with Link and Sounder.”

        No, there are still long-term plans for a possible Bothell-Lake City-(Northgate?) Link line and a Kirkland-Seattle Link line (possibly across Lake Washington, or possibly Kirkland-Bothell-Seattle overlapping with the 522 line). The board did talk about a possible Renton-Bellevue Link line someday even though Stride is being built now.

        You’re right in a way that it will be driven by peak capacity needs, but it’s not as simple open-and-shut case of just that.

      20. So Link is an explicit replacement for the 550 and 512 because it makes approximately the same stops in the same locations. Beyond that it’s a judgment call how close a route needs to be to Link to be redundant. The 545, 522, and 554 are in that middle stage; they could have gone either way. The 522 overlaps only between 65th and downtown; the 545 between UW and downtown; the 554 between Mercer Island and downtown. Are those segments long enough to make them redundant? That was unclear and could have gone either way, but ST has been leaning toward truncating them since 2016.

        The south end has a different issue, as Link’s travel time to Federal Way and Tacoma Dome will be 15+ minutes slower than the 577 or 594. Is that small enough to declare them redundant? That could have gone either way too, but ST has also been leaning toward truncating them.

        Conversely, ST has suggested keeping the 542 as an Overlake-UW bypass, saying that it’s not redundant. And it has suggested not only keeping the 574 to SeaTac, but extending it to Westwood Village to replace the part of the 360 that Stride won’t serve. That’s a pretty long overlap with Link, but ST might justify it by saying it doesn’t include downtown, it’s in the middle of the route (if it’s extended), SeaTac is a major destination. And with its recent equity emphasis, that giving low-paid airport workers a one-seat ride to SeaTac is equitable.

      21. 360 560

        I get confused because there used to be a Metro route 360 in that corridor that I rode, from Burien up 405 to Bothell and west to Shoreline P&R. And there was a local route 240 from Bellevue to Burien. Later the 240 was split and the Renton-Burien segment was renumbered to 140, and then that was replaced by the F. So I’m prone to calling the 560 the 360 or 540, and I have to stop and think what the current number is. I start thinking it’s 540, and then remember the 540 is the Kirkland-UW route, and then I can narrow it down to 560.

      22. My comment landed in the wrong spot, so repeating it here in the intended thread.

        Yeah the routes aren’t apples to apples, as the 522 and S3 make clear, and it’s certainly a judgement call. Is SR520 STX to downtown Seattle overlap with U-Link, or do the additional stops in SLU make it a different service? Etc.

        It’s possible that Pierce may push to keep some of the STX routes that overlap with Link, and with good rationale, but to me that would go against both the spirit and the letter of ST1/2/3. I had not seen the idea to extend the 574 to cover some of the 560; that’s interesting , but given the Airport expressway congestion probably best to keep as separate routes? I think I’d rather keep the 560 and truncate it at 44th, or figure out a different way to connect downtown Renton with Renton’s two Stride stations (can the F do it well?).

        Anywhoo, since there is a plan for a West Seattle to Renton via SeaTac HCT route, it would be consistent to provide ST Express between Westwood Village and SeaTac

        I forgot that the Northern Lake Washington included SR522 within the study area. I concede that S3 could be supplanted by another mode, but I’d wager if the study recommends going around the Lake rather than through it, we would leverage rather than replace the S3. With the budget to upgrade S3 to Link, you might as well run Link across the 520 bridge, unless Kenmore and Bothell outgrow Kirkland and Redmond between now and the next levy. To me, 522 is included in the study to include a Ballard Link to Lake City (via Northgate) within the study scope, to analyze both in addition to or in lieu of Ballard-UW Link.

        And I definitely have to check ST’s service map to keep my route numbers straight.

      23. 360 560 340

        Even in the explanation I can’t keep the numbers straight. The 340 was the 405 all-day express, paired with the 240 Bellevue-Burien local. The 360 was the Aurora peak-only express, paired with the 6 and 359.

        I’ll be glad when Stride gives it a one-digit number. But even there I don’t remember which one is 1, 2, 3, so I just say “Stride South”. Once they’re running it will be easier because I’ll see the number in use like RapidRide. Although I do get confused with RapidRide letters sometimes. But the route I’ve always had the biggest confusion with is the 560. (As I review it again: picturing the 540 in Kirkland, so the Renton one is 560.)

      24. Thank you all for your thoughts on Stride.

        I think it comes down to my pessimism that Stride will not be Swift-like. For example, I am not confident that there will be 100% off-board fare payment. Another feature of Swift is that it is the only service that serves that particular stop/station. Having 100% off-board fare payment along with other routes or services serving the same zones will make the service confusing for the passengers along with the bus drivers who operate on those corridors. For this reason, I believe Stride stops should be adjacent to the stops for the other services, similar to bus bays at a transit center. Thus any Stride station basically becomes a mini-transit center, a la Link Stations.

    2. Federal Way is not wealthier than Burien or Renton. The reason Link is going to Federal Way is the old-thinking paradigm that a city on I-5 is more essential to serve than a city not on I-5, because that’s where the existing transit centers/P&Rs/feeders are and where everybody wants to go. It’s the same reason Link is going to Northgate TC and 145th freeway station and Mountlake Terrace freeway station.

      In fact, people who were displaced from Seattle used to move to Burien and Renton, but now that they have become more expensive people are moving further south to Kent, Federal Way, Auburn, and Pierce County. So Federal Way is becoming more equitable than it used to be. it not only serves Federal Way directly, but a feeder from Auburn.

      1. Federal Way is being served because it’s on the most direct path to Tacoma. It would be served with or without I5.

        Were the arguments about I5 because it was more ‘essential’? I don’t recall ever having seen that. I5 we preferred because it as assumed to be easier/cheaper/faster than the alternatives, not because the destinations were more favorable. The placement of the TC was certainly influenced by the TCs, but if the freeway went away and the TCs remained (purely hypothetical), the argument for the I5 Link alignment would have actually improved, since it would be easier for feeders buses to access all those TCs without competing with freeway bound traffic.

      2. No, the spine to Tacoma concept predated the social-equity concept. When the spine idea was formed and ST was created, housing in Seattle was still pretty affordable. The displacement occurred after that, starting in the late 1990s. The spine has always been about connecting the historically-largest cities (Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, and newcomers Bellevue/Redmond). Lynnwood and Federal Way were second-level goals because they’re substantially large cities in between. And Federal Way has gotten disproportionate favor ever since a flurry of Metro peak expresses concentrated there in the 1970s. That was mostly because of its status as an I-5 city; therefore it was seen as the transit hub. Never mind that the population is centered around the Sounder corridor to the east.

      3. The equity emphasis started a couple months ago, after ST2 and ST3 Link corridors were substantially fixed. Federal Way was set in stone for construction a couple years ago. Tacoma is close to it but the only alternatives are along I-5 or 99 so it will definitely be some combination of those. (Probably I-5 with a detour to future-downtown Fife.)

      4. Renton is in the East King subarea as you know. Would you say that Downtown Redmond, South Kirkland or Issaquah Link station areas are more transit dependent?

      5. Metro’s subareas are different from Sound Transit’s subareas. Renton is in Sound Transit’s East King subarea. I don’t know how many subareas Metro has in east and south King County, just that there are several in Seattle.

      6. Yes, the Northgate and 145th station locations are based on old thinking that still predominated in the 1990s when the Spine was outlined.

        In the 1970s, P&Rs started appearing at freeway exits, and more express routes were created to serve them. The South Bellevue and probably 145th P&Rs date to that era. Northgate P&R was further north, I think where the Northgate park is now. The major bus-transfer points for Northgate and Southcenter were not at the P&Rs but inside the mall parking lot near The Bon Marche/Macy’s door.

        Later in Northgate both the P&R and the bus-transfer point were moved to the current transit center location, and the mall got a secondary stop on 5th. In Southcenter the bus-transfer point moved to the street (Andover Park West & Baker Blvd, in front of its previous location).

        The DSTT opened in 1990, and calls for a three-county regional transit authority started around then. Sound Transit was created, the Spine outlined, and ST1 passed between 1990-1996. At that time, it was still felt that existing freeway P&Rs were the right place for Link stations, except in the most urban areas like University Way, Broadway, and downtown Bellevue. Northgate TC is not directly on a freeway exit but it’s so close that I consider it essentially the same thing.

        So that’s why Northgate, 145th, and Mountlake Terrace stations were initially assumed to be. That got written into the representative alignment (the default alignment in the ballot measure map) for Northgate Link and Lynnwood Link. As the voter-approved default, ST has to justify any deviations from it. That’s a simple matter of writing a statement explaining the reason for deviating, but it makes ST somewhat reluctant to deviate.

        But note that the representative alignment is not as restrictive as it appears to be. ST wanted to avoid the monorail’s mistake of putting specific street and station locations into law where they couldn’t be changed even if subsequent research showed they were unfeasible or better alternatives emerged later. So what ST is specifically bound to is serving the Northgate and Lynnwood urban growth centers. The line and stations in between is a suggested route, not a binding requirement. In the Lynnwood Link alternatives analysis, ST considered alternatives as wide as Aurora, I-5, 15th Ave NE, and Lake City Way. It ultimately came back to I-5 because of assumed lower cost and higher Lynnwood ridership. (The report said Aurora would have a 4-minute longer travel time, and that would lose more Lynnwood riders than it would gain Aurora riders.)

        The Aurora alignment also had an extra station at 130th that ST threw in. The issue of stations has multiple aspects. ST2/3’s budgets are scaled to the stations in the representative alignment, so it doesn’t have a lot of room to add stations or move them underground if it would significantly increase the cost. Second, the stations in the representative alignment give some expectation of serving those neighborhoods. That’s not binding as I said, but ST would have to justify not serving those neighborhoods, and serving other neighborhoods instead.

        The lower cost of I-5 turned out to be wrong, because the freeway is so old that ST has to be careful not to touch its foundations, or it would be on the hook to make expensive retrofits to make sure the freeway still functions. That ate up the cost difference between I-5 and Aurora. And of course, the I-5 alignment doesn’t serve any urban villages while giving a golf course two stations (including 130th), whereas Aurora would serve four urban villages (130th, 155th, and potentially something around 185th and Edmonds CC). And Aurora/130th would allow a feeder from Lake City.

        When ST definitively chose the I-5 alignment, transit fans pushed to have the 130th/Aurora station applied to 130th/I-5, for feeders to Lake City and Bitter Lake. Other variations included two stations at 130th and 155th instead of 145th. 130th was the second-most requested thing in Lynnwood Link’s feedback, with a couple hundred requests. It was second only to a 500-ish person petition to move the Lynnwood station slightly south away from Scriber Lake Park. That wasn’t enough to get it included in ST2. But in ST3 there was another large wave of advocacy to get 130th added. One boardmember said a Seattle councilmember was calling them every day to see if there was any progress on 130th. ST finally agreed to include it in ST3, as part of the Christmas tree granted to all cities and counties, to help make ST3’s passage more likely.

        So that’s how we got the station locations.

      7. @Mike Orr
        “Northgate P&R was further north, I think where the Northgate park is now. ”

        That’s correct. It was where the Hubbard Homestead Park is today, if I’m not mistaken. Here’s a link to a pretty cool site that allows one to view historical aerial photos for selected years over several decades. If you put the intersecting street coordinates into the search bar, e.g., Northgate Way and 5th Ave NE, Seattle, you can see the old P&R at this location.

        https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer

        Btw, I enjoyed reading your summary of the history here. I found it to be an accurate accounting of the events that got us to where we are today with ST’s HCT plans, so I think newer transplants to our region who follow this blog will appreciate the narrative you’ve provided.

      8. I can second the appreciation for the history – I certainly did not know all the details. Thank you, Mike, for providing it.

    3. Yeah the routes aren’t apples to apples, as the 522 and S3 make clear, and it’s certainly a judgement call. Is SR520 STX to downtown Seattle overlap with U-Link, or do the additional stops in SLU make it a different service? Etc.

      It’s possible that Pierce may push to keep some of the STX routes that overlap with Link, and with good rationale, but to me that would go against both the spirit and the letter of ST1/2/3. I had not seen the idea to extend the 574 to cover some of the 560; that’s interesting , but given the Airport expressway congestion probably best to keep as separate routes? I think I’d rather keep the 560 and truncate it at 44th, or figure out a different way to connect downtown Renton with Renton’s two Stride stations (can the F do it well?).

      Anywhoo, since there is a plan for a West Seattle to Renton via SeaTac HCT route, it would be consistent to provide ST Express between Westwood Village and SeaTac

      I forgot that the Northern Lake Washington included SR522 within the study area. I concede that S3 could be supplanted by another mode, but I’d wager if the study recommends going around the Lake rather than through it, we would leverage rather than replace the S3. With the budget to upgrade S3 to Link, you might as well run Link across the 520 bridge, unless Kenmore and Bothell outgrow Kirkland and Redmond between now and the next levy. To me, 522 is included in the study to include a Ballard Link to Lake City (via Northgate) within the study scope, to analyze both in addition to or in lieu of Ballard-UW Link.

      And I definitely have to check ST’s service map to keep my route numbers straight.

  6. Transit trips have two ends. While many trips stay in one subarea, others cross the lines. Others rely on ST to cross those lines. For example, having easy Harborview connections benefits transit dependent people across the entire county — which is a compelling reason to add direct service to Mt Baker and soon Judkins Park stations.

    Rather than focus mainly on residential metrics, what are the important attractions across the county that serve transit dependent people? Destinations are just as important to serve — and maybe more important — than the residential ends are.

    1. Trying to enumerate destinations that the transit-dependent population is a fool’s errand. There’s just too many destinations and trying to enumerate them simply results in favoritism for a handful of destinations that get disproportionate attention or sympathy. The result is a transit network that looks an awful like like the old Solid Ground shuttle downtown – great for getting from the homeless shelter to the food bank, terrible for just about anything else.

      A far better solution is to have a corridor based approach to service. If there are a lot of cars that travel down a road, then there is demand for travel along the corridor. And, if the corridor has travel demand there should be a bus route to satisfy it for transit users. The specific points of each origin and destination is largely irrelevant. Build good service and people will find a way to make use out of it.

      1. A “corridor based approach” is more about replacing cars with transit, which can be a worthy goal, but allocates transit to those who already have cars.

        Equity based transit is about providing transportation to those who don’t have cars. There will always be fewer cars travelling corridors in poor neighborhoods because those residents own fewer cars, and there are fewer destinations in poor neighborhoods like stores and restaurants people from outside the neighborhood will drive too. A corridor based approach based on car volumes would favor wealthy neighborhoods.

        Ross has suggested using an approach that looks at car ownership in the area which I think makes sense, because transit ridership might be low because lack of transit or frequency despite low car ownership.

        Ross has made another good point in past posts that not everyone in north Seattle is rich (hence they probably would not be riding transit during non-peak times), but right now “equity” transit has a lot to do with the color of communities, and many would argue color is a pretty good marker of wealth and transit need as well.

      2. Of course, when analyzing demand for a corridor, you count everyone traveling by all modes – not just driving, but also walking and transit. But, when a “low” car ownership rate means 85% vs. 90%, simply using cars as a proxy for demand across all modes is probably good enough.

        At the end of the day, the assumptions that lower income people have fundamentally different travel needs than higher income people needs to die. In both cases, the destinations are too numerous to try and enumerate them all, and the only way to serve them all effectively is corridor based transportation.

        Special shuttle service between a couple of low income communities and somewhere that rich public officials imagine low income people needing to go is feel-good transportation that does little to nothing for actual mobility. Corridor-based transportation, on the other hand, is about trips from anywhere to anywhere. Yes, upper income people can use it. But, lower income people can use it too. And, when a lower income person needs to reach somewhere other than where some distant official imagines lower income people need to go, the corridor based solution will get them there far better.

      3. “A “corridor based approach” is more about replacing cars with transit…
        Equity based transit is about providing transportation to those who don’t have cars.”

        Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The long-term goal is both. Serving transit-dependent people and a corridor-based approach merge into the same thing, because that’s the most effective and efficient way to deliver transit to everybody, both those who can’t afford cars and those who can. The reason New York and London have < 50% car ownership and use rate is they have frequent transit corridors that go everywhere both transit-dependent and choice riders go.

        The problems in Pugetopolis and most of the US come back to land use. After WWII cities abandoned transit corridors and built housing and job clusters willy-nilly assuming everybody would drive to them. Most of South King County south of Renton transitioned from rural in the 1970s, right when car-oriented suburbs for middle-class white people were being built. So that's what Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way became. Renton also has a pretty car-dependent layout, and its downtown looks like a bomb hit it and spread superblocks with big-box stores. Then in the late 1990s, housing prices in Seattle started increasing enough that lower-income people were displaced to these car-oriented suburbs that were built for a different kind of more affluent lifestyle. That's the tragedy of modern US urban design. It comes form a combination of laissez-faire econonomic policies, suburban control of zoning empowering nimbys, and a leaky social safety net.

        The short-term solution may be adding service hours to low-income cities, as King County is now proposing to do, and taking hours from other districts that aren't as visibly low-income and minority (but still have a substantial number of those). But this needs to be coupled with a long-term plan that improves and consolidates frequent transit corridors everywhere, both in equity-emphasis and in non-equity-emphasis districts. And we need to keep improving zoning and subsidized housing policies to put more housing and more affordable housing on current and planned frequent-transit corridors. That's the only way to get to a situation like other successful transit cities, where the transit network is so useful to both poor and middle-class people alike that they use it for a large plurality of their trips and less than 50% of them own cars.

        P.S. Don't let Mercer Island's situation distort your view. Small islands are not the right places for lots of density and transit corridors, because all access to the island is funneled to one highway or rail line going to one neighborhood in the island. The rest of the island will intrinsically be less dense (like Mercer Island) or more rural (like Vashon Island) than the rest of the county, where you can have a grid of rail lines and bus routes in all directions to surrounding cities or like Seattle's seven Ship Canal bridges. Small islands thus need a distinct form of transit access for all the areas not at the center.

      4. “ Trying to enumerate destinations that the transit-dependent population is a fool’s errand.”

        We do it all the time. Why are most Link lines and RapidRide lines chosen to begin, end and serve specific destinations?

        I read this as “Low-income people are well-served if they have a route no matter where it goes.”

        And looking at destinations as well as where people live is in fact corridor planning. My post was highlighting that studying simply where people live is not good enough.

        In other words, you agree with the point in the original post. The only difference is that I’m suggesting being aware of where in a corridor there are important destinations that are more important for transit-dependent people than for other categories of people.

      5. “Why are most Link lines and RapidRide lines chosen to begin, end and serve specific destinations?”

        They’re based on where the largest job centers and urban villages are. The Renton-Kent-Auburn RapidRide is not just anywhere, it connects the three largest cities not on Link.

        The issue with Lake City is that county doesn’t recognize it as the urban growth center it is. So it’s not must-serve by Link the way others like Northgate and Lynnwood and Federal Way are.

      6. “ Trying to enumerate destinations that the transit-dependent population is a fool’s errand.”

        We do it all the time. Why are most Link lines and RapidRide lines chosen to begin, end and serve specific destinations?

        Yeah, which is why I have no problem with making this a major consideration. It has been in the past, both because “non-choice” riders increase ridership, and for this stated reason. What bothers me is the lack of concern with measurement.

        For example, the 245 makes a detour to serve the Four Freedoms House. This is an awkward detour — the bus goes up the street and turns around, delaying through riders. Given the fact that the route has a strong terminus (Shoreline College) this is questionable. Metro even has specific standards for whether the detour is justified. If you look at the number of riders who use that stop, it clearly is. Not only do lots of low income riders use that stop, lots of riders period. By every metric it passes.

        Making similar minor modification is reasonable, and nothing new. There are routes or parts of routes that exist mainly so that people can get to a clinic, or food bank. But if no one uses the stops, then they are altered.

        The problem I have with this rhetoric is that it implies that we ignore ridership, which in turn means that we would ignore whether these routes meant to help the transit dependent are actually doing so.

      7. Even if the Four Freedoms stop is well used, the fact still remains that an on the way stop is just 0.2 miles/5 minutes walk away. So, everybody else has to sit through the detour so that people who live in one apartment building don’t have to walk 5 minutes.

        Sorry, but that’s not the way you run service. By all means, add better sidewalks, street lighting, whatever is needed to make the walk safer and more comfortable, but don’t slow down everybody else on the bus so that Four Freedoms gets red carpet (but still slow and infrequent) transit service.

        Another way to put it: there are many apartment buildings the size of Four Freedoms elsewhere in the city, and trying to deviate every bus route to serve the front door of every one of them would make for an abysmally slow transit system.

        The 345’s detour to Northwest Hospital is even worse. The idea that people should have to sit through the parking lot crawl twice a day, every day, just to get to Link, just to placate a few nurses who are too lazy to walk from a bus stop on the street, has no respect for people’s time and makes people insist on large park and rides. Even with the detour, any patient who was truly crippled wouldn’t be riding the bus anyway – they’d be in a car or a taxi.

        The 345 is a great poster child of destination-oriented transit screwing things up. Compare to corridor focused transportation which simply says there’s people northwest of Northgate Station that need to get to the regional transit system, which they can access at Northgate. If you stop trying to enumerate specific origin and destination points, you end up with straighter routes that are far more useful for more trips.

      8. Complaining about bus service looping into the Four Freedoms assisted living senior housing complex? You people still aren’t getting what equity means, are you?

        Sam. Transit Equity Expert.

      9. Sam, I am sure that asdf2 is just suggesting that the seniors living in the assisted living complex should just jog to the bus stop that’s 1000 feet away, just as he himself (or any other 26-year old able-bodied male) would do in a similar situation. It is literally the definition of equity, wouldn’t you agree? ;)

      10. That would be the literal definition of equality, not equity. I can’t define equity … it seems to be like “woke,” where the definition fits whatever progressives are advocating for at the time.

      11. Equality is equal outcomes. Equity is equal opportunity, or additional mitigation to compensate for past injustices that skewed the outcomes. I think before the 1970s they were all called equality and the distinction wasn’t made. But later academics/politicians wanted to clarify that they could only level the playing field, not guarantee that people would turn out like identical clones, so they called their programs equity.

        Woke seems to be a new 2020 word for whatever the far left is agitated about at the moment. But I saw one TV interview this week that equated it with the “awakening” Americans are having about police brutality against black people.

      12. Opportunity of an outcome is itself an outcome, which is why the distinction is hard to make and different people disagree on where the line is drawn.

        In any case, I am not particularly concerned with whether what I meant is equity or equality – I am happy with either term, and let others define where that line should be drawn. The point was to highlight the silliness of the argument made above that we should not treat some classes of riders (like the elderly, who are living in an assisted living complex) with special consideration, and I am glad to see that so far no one has spoken in favor of that silly idea yet again.

        Thank you both for the comments.

  7. This is one of the weirdest developments in transit politics.

    Just as we collectively decided climate mitigation is very important, we have also decided to decisively step away from carrying the greatest numbers of riders who might otherwise drive.

    1. It appears we have collectively decided to state climate mitigation is very important, but I have yet to see anyone act accordingly, in transit policy or otherwise.

    2. It almost seems like a return to 40-40-20, except it’s 60-20-20 to South King, and it’s facilitated by Seattle Twitter-liberals. Very strange.

      1. Dan, AJ, and Bruce, ’til the pandemic is over, can you call any retrogression, or anything else, anything at all like “Permanent?”

        Starting with the occupant of every single elective seat with any authority at all over Transit?

        Mark Dublin

  8. “As we have seen in the pandemic, as many ‘choice riders’ have opted out of riding transit”

    Speaking for one “opted out choice rider” – I’m literally not allowed to go to work. I would be fired for breaching my employer’s covid protocols. I have no choice but to cut down my transit use. Moreover, I’m avoiding transit for other trips to ensure that others who need to use it have the space to do so safely. My demand for transit will return when my office reopens (assuming I still work there etc.). However if it is backpack-to-face crush loads again because of cutbacks, I might reconsider.

    “But if we were to give up choice riders, that would have terrible consequences for the air, our economic engine in Downtown Seattle, and the long-term political popularity of transit.”

    That being said, the Seattle TBD cash cow can be milked for a while with (IMO) minimal harm to Seattle’s transit voter support. Some voters may even see it as a form of social equity to fund transit in other cities that can’t as well afford it. Most voters won’t realize nor understand what is happening if Seattle TBD funds are backstopping Metro cuts in the city.

    1. What do you think, [Another] Alex? This coming legislative session, should I write to my new State Rep Marilyn Strickland and demand it be made illegal for an employer to fire a good employee for using public transit?

      With all those idiots invisibly driving around in pouring twilight rain exercising their Constitutional RIGHT to keep their headlights off, prove to me that crashes aren’t both deadlier than COVID and also more contagious.

      Being a lot more selfish than altruistic, I join my car in pleading for transit to return, so people whose only choice is driving will have only me in their way, aboard a bus that further clears the road, with many more, without our cars as well.

      Much stricter car-handling requirements as condition of a license could also give the trees and air some breathing room. They seem to work for Europe.

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

      If I rename her “Victoria” (zowiee what a character!) can my car finally have HER right to vote?

      Vicky’s sweetheart Mark Dublin

    2. “Seattle TBD cash cow can be milked for a while with (IMO) minimal harm to Seattle’s transit voter support”

      This isn’t about peak expresses to downtown. Everyone recognizes that downtown offices have taken the biggest share of ridership loss, and Metro has suspended those routes the most to emphasize its all-day network, and it doesn’t expect to restore those until ridership returns, and only to the extent that daily commuting does return (since telework will displace some of it).

      The controversial peak expresses in the Northgate restructure don’t contradict this. They’re based on pre-covid assumptions that several busfuls of commuters will still be going to downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, and that some routes should be redirected there rather than to 3rd Avenue where Link is. That comes down to a judgment call: how many of these commuters are there, and at what point does a Link transfer become unreasonable? Metro is also hedging its bets to some extent, waiting to see how people vote with their feet after Link opens. It did this with the 10 and 43, where there was a controversy about whether to keep frequent service on John Street or consolidate it to Pine Street. Metro initially chose Pine, then changed its mind with public pressure and moved the 10 to John. Actual ridership after Link opened showed Metro was right the first time: many 10 riders switched to the 11 to remain on Pine Street. Similarly, actual ridership on the Northgate feeders and peak expresses will show how popular the expresses still are, and how many people take them to First Hill and SLU. If it’s lower than expected, then a future restructure or recession may reduce or delete them and shift the hours to all-day routes. This may be less efficient than just deleting them now, but it’s a reasonable judgment on an uncertain issue. It’s not like Metro is keeping all the peak expresses (e.g., 74, 76), just a few of the ones where the alternative travel time is close to an hour or longer.

      The county’s equity framework hasn’t made it clear how much of the new South King County hours will go into local service vs peak expresses to downtown. I assume it will be mostly local service, because the demand is for transit to essential jobs in the Kent industrial area, Valley Medical Center, retail jobs everywhere, jobs in the Eastside, etc. Peak expresses to downtown don’t address those. People are assuming all the hours will go into peak expresses to downtown like the 162, but I think that’s a premature fear. The restructure two months ago emphasized the Renton-Auburn RapidRide and more all-day service in east Kent. The 162 really just consolidated the former peak expresses, not adding to them. So the next equity boost will probably follow the same pattern. And South King to East King is being positioned for Stride, so I don’t think there will be a lot of new peak expresses to there in the meantime.

  9. “As we have seen in the pandemic, as many ‘choice riders’ have opted out of riding transit, there are many of us for whom transit is the only option”

    This statement implies that only the well-to-do are avoiding transit. This is simply not true. Service work tends to pay poorly, and that has been hit extremely hard. Motels, restaurants and bars have laid off thousands in the area. Of course these people aren’t riding buses — they are staying within their neighborhood.

    Then there is the fact that some riders are simply not worried about riding transit. Some of these folks might be well-off, some not. It is not as if there has been a huge change to driving in the area — that obviously isn’t the case. If anything, there has been a *decrease* in driving.

    It is presumptuous to assume that only those without cars are riding transit, or that folks who no longer take the bus have cars.

  10. Seems like it makes sense to shift scarce service hours to those regions that have more resilient transit ridership, with or without the equity narrative, and then in the future as ridership returns elsewhere in the region, we will have greater resources and therefore able to add service hours to those route without taking away hours from elsewhere.

    Downtown commuters are the backbone of many routes, and as long as downtown is closed, significantly curtaining investment in those routes is a good policy decision for a very unique and time limited paradigm. It seems to me Zivarts’ argument still rests on quantitative ridership metrics, as access and productivity can be quantified. Perhaps I read too much Walker, but this doesn’t seem like a major change in the consensus.

    1. Right, but this is not an argument about what to do during the pandemic. This is an argument about what to do after it.

      I still go back to my main point. If your goal is to serve those who are reliant on transit, then you still need to spend that money wisely. In short, prove it. This means you have to do work — there are no short cuts. You have to get out there, and figure out the car ownership rates of various communities. Then you have to determine the efficacy of route changes. My guess is, after the dust settles, folks will realize that there is very little difference between routes that have good productivity in general, and routes that are productive for those that are reliant on transit.

      For example, buses like the A, E and 7 have very high ridership per hour (all day long) while a bus like the 153 performs poorly. The A, E and 7 obviously serve a lot of transit dependent people — my guess is way more than the 153.

  11. I am shocked: politics in transit?

    I can’t blame disadvantaged communities in South Seattle from seeking more transit service while the political iron is hot. Equity has always been an issue in transit allocation. When the eastside is required to add a seat to a trip, or 30 minutes, or whole eastside communities effectively have no Metro service, the mantra is tough luck. Transit service has always been inversely allocated compared to the community’s tax revenue for Metro per resident. The poor need transit. ST subarea equity is an anomaly, and don’t think for a second disadvantaged communities in Seattle don’t see the massive rail projects for wealthy neighborhoods.

    I doubt Black communities in South Seattle will fall for the old canard, let’s keep more transit service for areas north while we figure out a way to move Blacks from S. Seattle to our communities, or wait for upzoning to make housing in the north affordable even for them, especially since many are in S. Seattle because upzoning and gentrification forced them out of their historical Seattle communities to South Seattle.

    I also have to believe they get a good laugh out of the climate argument for why they should get less transit service.

    The reality is upzoning will not create affordable housing, especially rental housing, and will first gentrify the more affordable housing out of existence in expensive neighborhoods, and that process will focus first on the more expensive northern neighborhoods. So the reality is many poorer and moderate income renters in North Seattle will be moving to South Seattle soon, not the other way around.

    Since Seattle is now over 50% renters these renters/transit riders have great mobility. So it makes sense to me to begin to move services and transit to S. Seattle now, on the anticipation many renters in northern neighborhoods will be priced out by upzoning and gentrification, and will need to move to South Seattle, like the Black renters before them. So better to begin to move transit services south now, and tell riders in the north to accept another seat or longer ride for the greater good (equity), which someday soon will benefit them too.

    As many on this blog often tell me, density and housing follow transit frequency. So move frequency to S. Seattle.

    The only thing I would add is enterprise zones in South Seattle, that allow greater upzoning (which will require less upzoning in expensive northern neighborhoods if developers are going to build in poorer S. Seattle areas) and certain tax breaks for retail businesses.

    1. https://www.amazon.com/Peoples-Railway-History-Municipal-Francisco/dp/0916374424

      For this one, Jeff B., I’ll leave your treatment of your employees to a the Union-rejuvenation that’ll also take down your fellow virus to deal with. For spreading this prime truth:

      Following precisely in the tire-tracks that went from hard-rubber to balloon to white-wall, in the lanes that went from mud to dirt to gravel to concrete to asphalt to carry cars, transit’s as political as Downtown Mercer Island’s most delicious Apple Pie. Testimonials welcome.

      What this blog is for is to be sure it stays that way. But also, because it’s nature is indeed so vehicular, from preschool through PhD. our educational system needs to branch it out with universal Driver Training. Which cars have also had forever.

      To graduate in State of Washington, everybody needs to prove that, ‘way more critical than calculus , every body voting age knows how to build and GOVERN transit. Hands-on.

      Tempting to tell my “reps” to put a State Police instructor in your shot-gun seat to either hand you your diploma or get you another appointment. But better: On the Job Training when, at same age-18 as for voting, you take the seat your District’s voters give you.

      No plans at all, Daniel? Promise I won’t rat on you ’til after you file. Though you might really want to check your employer’s stipulations. Termination for Unauthorized Candidacy is exactly the reason why at least one Founder had to have signed the Second Amendment!

      Mark Dublin

    2. From 2010 to 2021, SE Seattle has uniquely enjoyed having multiple light rail stations available. With ST2 getting completed, other areas will have light rail by 2025 — with most new stations actually outside of the Seattle city limits.

      I don’t see the eviction pressure in SE Seattle to be as marked going forward as it has in the past 10 years. Sure, it will still exist as a consequence of regional housing market conditions — but the effect won’t be as concentrated in SE Seattle.

      1. I don’t think evictions are a major part of the displacement problem. It’s simply that the rent is too damn high, so people can’t renew their leases, and they move further south until they qualify. Evictions occur when somebody loses their job or has an unexpected medical expense. That happens sporadically to a few people. Rent increases affect everybody, and it doesn’t increase in the middle of a lease, only on renewal or in a month-to-month arrangement. So when people leave because the rent has increased and they can’t pay the new rate, it’s not an eviction, and that’s most cases.

      2. Admittedly, “eviction” is a bad word choice. I should have used “displacement” to describe the issue.

        Still, I think the point is valid. SE Seattle MLK corridor has had the advantage of using Link light rail for 10 years and that has affected property values and development interest. With other segments and lines opening in the next 5 years, it will no longer be unique to the region.

        Consider the thousands of multi-family units coming online just south of Judkins Park Station. That appears to be more multi-family units than all of the remaining projects in SE Seattle. The market is already anticipating the shift.

  12. Rather than chasing ‘high productivity’, our elected leaders must center the needs of communities that rely on transit the most.

    How do you “center” your system around those who rely on transit, without considering productivity? That doesn’t make any sense.

    It doesn’t matter what your goal is — you should still focus on productivity. Spending millions on a handful of “no-choice” riders while thousands of other “no-choice” riders are stuck without service is not a good use of money. Yet this is precisely what will happen if we follow this approach.

    I feel bad for those who live in areas with poor transit options. I feel worse for those who are in the same financial position, but are paying more in rent because they moved to a place with decent transit. If you live in Lake City, you put up with a lot of crap (literally, in some cases). You have to deal with the huge homeless encampments while the city hems and haws about what to do. But the one thing you have going for you is good transit. That is why lots of people without cars moved there.

    But if things go as planned, their transit options will actually *get worse* once Link gets to Northgate, while in some other part of Puget Sound, things get better. Instead of two frequent buses to Northgate, there will be one (and it will be the less frequent version). Yes, these are “productive buses” that are being cut. They move a lot of poor people, and some rich people. If we make largely symbolic changes in the name of equity, it is quite likely that things will be worse for rich and poor alike.

    That is the problem with statements like this. You can make changes, pat yourself on the back, and not provide any evidence that you made things better. Without data, it is meaningless. With data, you end up focusing on … you guessed it … productivity.

    1. Ross, your dedication and your contributions to this blog have always been inspirational. But I really think that, over the Holidays at least, you owe yourself a break.

      Northgate Link is not going anywhere except “In-Service”, and the farther the rest of Link reaches northward, the northward latitudinal chances and choices for employment and education people in “Rainier-Valley-South” will have.

      And same regarding south-end work for residents now unjustly jailed in I-5 traffic from Everett all the way down to Tacoma Dome. Possible host to a nearby ride on Pierce Transit’s new Route 1.

      Regarding persuasive data, if bus service starts getting slighted, voters will start showing up at ST and KCM meetings waving it at the top of their lungs.

      Thanks to all that Aversion Therapy courtesy of Breda, if people still need buses, if even if we can’t build them ourselves the way I’d like, they’re still not that hard to add. Without being forced to forego one rail-tie’s worth of rail.

      What I was saying a minute ago about how politically The Driver’s Seat can soon have a long roster of Licensees.

      Mark Dublin

    2. “Northgate Link is not going anywhere except “In-Service”,”

      That’s great for Northgate but not for Lake City. Lake City to Northgate is a 2.4 mile walk with a significant hill when frequent transit is unavailable (125th/5th) or no transit at all (east Northgate Way). Google Maps says it’s 51 minutes walking time. And Lake City is an urban center with several large low-income apartment buildings. it even has a Grocery Outlet (discount supermarket). That’s why it needs full-time frequent transit to Northgate Station, and that’s what Metro is proposing to eliminate to shift hours to South King County.

      Northgate will get much better transit service, and eventually Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood too. But urban villages that are too far to walk to these stations are in danger of getting worse transit service, down to half-hourly evenings and Sundays.

      1. Sounds like eastside residents who live south of I-90 when East Link opens. Was that the intent all along? Build light rail but eliminate first/last mile access? Is this some kind of TOD or Lime Bike/scooter ploy?

        The difference of course is that Issaquah is not Lake City, although their populations are similar, except Lake City did not get a $4.5 billion light rail line.

        At the same time Lake City is more expensive than 96% of all other WA cities and 97% of all U.S. cities, and has an average home price of $1.1 million. https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/lake-city

      2. If my memory serves at all anymore for anything besides history nobody else ever heard of either, my last parting road-relief was staged at Northgate, from Breda service inbound from Lake City or Sand Point.

        It’s hard to believe we can’t either economize enough in some places or source ourselves in others to keep this time-honored connection flowing. I do remember quite a few stop lights that I’d rather have had be green for my arrival.

        And if Lake City isn’t a City-wikipedia’s a bit vague on that- it’s doing a good enough urban imitation to get credit for a good impersonation. Influence-less, it’s not.

        But about this whole concept of inbred competition. World-wide and ages-long, there’s one thing everybody Conquered seems to have in common:

        What happened first was how hard they fought to get Separated.

        Mark Dublin

      3. Metro’s East Link restructure hasn’t even had its first proposal yet so we don’t know what it will look like. It will probably come out a year or two ahead of opening. The ST Express restructure is completely different, by a different agency, with different factors in its decisions.

      4. “Lake City is more expensive than 96% of all other WA cities and 97% of all U.S. cities, and has an average home price of $1.1 million.”

        Working-class people don’t live in $1.1 million houses so what single-family houses cost there is irrelevant. What matters is what apartments cost. Lake City apartments are below-average for Seattle, and it has several large buildings with known low-income residents.

      5. “Sounds like eastside residents who live south of I-90 when East Link opens.”

        You keep focusing on south of I-90 when there are no cities there. The closest to a concentration is Factoria. Issaquah and Sammamish are so far east that I wouldn’t call them “south of I-90”. If you mean the area east of Lake Sammamish, say so. Link is doing exactly what it proposed to in the 2008 vote, with a minor alternative shift in south Bellevue. The 550 was explicitly going to be deleted for Link. Other routes like the 554 and 111 were less certain but there was at least a 75% chance they’d be truncated. Everybody who was paying attention in 2008 knew this: Link was to replace redundant I-90 routes with more capacious and more efficient light rail. The issue is just where the threshold for “redundant” is, and that was left to a later decision a year before opening.

      6. At the same time Lake City is more expensive than 96% of all other WA cities and 97% of all U.S. cities, and has an average home price of $1.1 million. https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/lake-city

        Dude, that isn’t even Lake City! That’s east of Sand Point Way — no one would call that Lake City. Holy cow, man, if you are going to play around with statistics to make a misleading point, at least get it right. The closest that map comes to encapsulating Lake City is this one: https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/briercrest.

        As Mike pointed out, home prices are meaningless. The vast majority of people who live in Lake City live in apartments. Come on, man.

        Have you ever even been to Lake City?

      7. “At the same time Lake City is more expensive than 96% of all other WA cities and 97% of all U.S. cities, and has an average home price of $1.1 million. https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/lake-city

        Bless your heart, Daniel.

        Many years ago I worked at the Schucks in Lake City. It was a fun and fascinating place to work. The Lake City neighborhood does encompass the residents beyond the top of the lakefront hill, you realize.

  13. Long time reader, first time commenter 😉

    As a transit layperson, (which is to say, I’m no expert but I have relied on transit even with benefit of a private car) why isn’t transit considered a utility like electricity or water and sewage? It seems that this is a huge miss conceptually, preventing a truly robust approach to providing a service that really ought to be politically neutral. I’m not being naive; merely asking why. If transit were conceived as a utility then all the tedious and unproductive debates about equity and wealth and commuting versus running errands, would evaporate. You flip the switch, your lights turn on. If you need help with the bill, there are means-tested policies in place to support those individuals. Why is transit so different, and why can’t it be moved into such a direction?

    Thanks for all you do, this is an endlessly fascinating blog!

    1. Water and sewage usually don’t serve very low-density areas of the county, precisely because they’d be prohibitively expensive to provide.

    2. Welcome and “Good Question”, Walk_by_Choice. Which if a Ninth Amendment signer was that lightning-lover Benjamin Franklin, definitely mandates emission-free transit. Doesn’t say anywhere that batteries don’t count.

      But still and all…..along with public health and education, I’d as soon see it in the Defense Budget. Worked for the world of Goodyear, didn’t it? Notice, though, that in fact it’s title was never the “I Can’t Let Barry Goldwater Say I’m Soft On Communism” Budget.

      Or least of all, the “Checking Everybody For Box-cutters Really Eats Up Profits in 2001” Budget. Our Government’s your driver’s compartment, “Walk.” Don’t ever leave it vacant with the engine running.

      Mark Dublin

    3. Just because you consider something a utility doesn’t mean the issues go away. You still have to pay for it, and that immediately opens up issues. For example, Seattle City Light has an interest in reducing electricity consumption (it is cheaper than building new plants). So they pay people to conserve energy. (https://energysolutions.seattle.gov/). It all sounds good, but it is quite possible that a lot of that money is going to wealthy home owners. Meanwhile, the utility has a discount program for low income residents (https://www.seattle.gov/light/assistance/).

      I would argue that transit *is* a utility. That doesn’t change anything. You still have to decide where to run the buses, and how often. The choices aren’t obvious, and usually involve a trade-off between coverage and ridership (https://humantransit.org/2018/02/basics-the-ridership-coverage-tradeoff.html). Even if your goal is to favor those who are transit dependent, the same trade-off exists. Do you spend a bunch of money on Access Vans serving remote areas or do you run buses like the 7 more often? The former is coverage based, but the latter will help a lot more people (including those that are transit dependent). These are the trade-offs that every utility makes.

    4. Walk_By_Choice, welcome!

      Imagine if in the early 1900’s, people were strongly encouraged to purchase individual gas-powered generators. A generator for every house – no more blackouts! All you have to do is keep it fueled up, and you provide yourself as much electricity as you want whenever you want. Imagine the federal government pays trillions of dollars to build interstate pipelines for generator fuel. Maybe some cities keep parts of their municipal electricity grid, but only in dense areas. New suburbs don’t even plan electricity grids since “who wouldn’t want to use a generator?” Maybe some cities keep a lot of their grid, but struggle to maintain it as most of their privileged residents use their own generators.

      Now, imagine efforts to deliver municipal electricity to the entire city through a public utility – the difficulty would likely be similar to what we’re seeing with transit today.

    5. That question is more complex than it might seem. What do you mean by making transit like a utility? Are you focusing on where it goes, when it goes, what the fare is, or whether it has a fare? Transportation is intrinsically different from non-moving consumption nodes (i.e., houses). It involves people traveling across other people’s property in some kind of vehicle, so there’s an ongoing expense for the vehicle and driver, as opposed to just sending water through a pre-existing pipe.

      There are some who think transit should not charge fares but instead be fully funded by taxpayers like libraries, parks, fire, and 911 service. Some cities have done this; e.g., Tallinn, Estonia, buys bulk passes for all reasidents while still charging fares to non-residents. Some college towns and rural areas have fare-free transit because the overhead of collecting fares is as much as the fare revenue. Some other European cities are trying fare-free service as a climate strategy, but those just started this year so it’s too early to say how effective they’ll be. But the current issue not not about fares but bout where bus routes are, which neighborhoods have them and which of these are frequent. Do you see a utility issue there?

  14. “Choice Riders”…
    Sounds like a description of a cut of meat.

    Joe Z said it succinctly:
    “If transit is about access, then you need the whole network. Meet the demand in high ridership areas and maintain a baseline level of service in the lower ridership areas.”
    (Sounds like the Amtrak LD vs. NEC argument)

    Tale of two friends –
    Friend #1:
    A programmer friend, a NY Metro area transplant who ‘Changed Trains in Jamaica’ (vs. my stomping grounds in the woods where diet doctors are done in) and I would have discussions about the [then] upcoming vote on the first Sound Transit ballot measure.

    When we’d discuss getting to a certain venue for a given presentation, she’d whip out her stack of Metro schedules, and within seemingly seconds, have her routes and transfers mapped out –
    Simple ! (for a computer nerd)

    I, being the old gearhead that I am, would simply drive, and pick her up on the way, if convenient.

    Since I didn’t grow up in the City, I’d access downtown via the commuter rail system, and then make use of the NYC subways, and walking wasn’t a big issue since most downtown stations were within a comfortable walking distance.

    For her, navigating complex routing and transfers was second nature, but I would remind her that most suburbanites with a destination in the ‘big city’ (whichever one that might be), wanted one thing:

    Simplicity.

    Hence the rail bias. You knew where the trains went even when the next service changes were implemented.

    Friend #2: Lives in Lynnwood (PNW Native)

    Bad snow last year (by Seattle standards).
    Didn’t want to inconvenience her husband to get to the airport for a flight.
    Being the foamer that I am, she called me.

    I said “Simple!”
    “Just take the Sounder from Edmonds to KSS, get up to the pedestrian bridge, walk across 4th Ave, turn left at the Starbucks, by a Link ticket on the mezzanine, and go down to the platform with the sign that says ‘To the Airport'”

    Ooooh, that sounds too complicated!!?!?!

    Default mode: Husband says “I’ll drive you”

    We pour billion$ into our road network, making incremental upgrades (widening, intersection improvement), basically nickel and diming our way to a glorious road system that means no one has to think. Hell, with new vehicles, they don’t even have to think in the car itself (which is all too obvious).

    Scaling back service an appropriate amount for ‘choice riders’, and keeping a robust service for riders for which it a necessity is the way to proceed. Keeping in mind that at some point, those ‘choice riders’ will come back, and then it behooves any of our non-automotive transportation systems to be ready with service upgrades that can be ‘shovel ready’ (in an operational sense, not just physical).

  15. If I gave the same instructions Jim Cusick gave to the woman living in Lynnwood how to take transit to SeaTac airport during a snow storm to my wife my wife would be asking for directions for a new husband.

    The best move her husband made was to say I will drive you, and my guess is he realized that when he got home to an empty house and opened his first beer, although I am sure his wife will ask him later why he hesitated to drive her in the first place.

      1. Jim and Daniel, having dealt with Sea-Tac Airport runs from drivers’ seats including St’s, KCM’s and mine, and passenger seats too, adding up the words “Snow,” “Storm” and Metro-Seattle would have equaled “Re+Book.”

        Sounder’s own needed COVID-CURE? To Sounder add these, bathrooms and all….

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vISDb1jR3e4&t=48s

        And subtract all other kinds of trains. And also trackside pedestrians. Purple paint optional. Though close look outside driver’s compartment might mention the name of somebody’s sweetheart who by the rules was not a train. Contest or “drawing”, not sure.

        Pronounced “Pogue-a-Togue” for “Little Boy Train.” Maybe because Little Girl Trains would, from Day One, make their male relatives and other passengers obey too many rules.

        By all indications, History’s far from Over. The private car industry didn’t face a lot of resistance when it got itself beaucoup PUBLIC highways, the big ones even called NATIONAL DEFENSE.

        Since our armed forces no longer use the guns of the First World War that armed “Ike’s” famous chain-driven truck convoy, no reason those “cuts”, bridges, and lanes can’t shift to mag-levs and steel-wheeled TRAINS to defend ourselves with now.

        Tell JBLM they won’t get a station? Now that would be what I call GUTS!

        Mark Dublin

  16. The amended striker asks Transit for objective analysis before hours are shifted south from the Northgate Link project area. So, it was mischaracterized in the first paragraph. The Executive budget took hours from the project area without yet doing the analysis.

    Politics is integral to the public sector. It is how public decisions are made. Before 2011 and the new service guidelines, Metro had three subareas and four financial rules: 40-40-20, 50-50 about two subarea two-way routes, and reductions proportional to each subarea’s hours, and redeployed hours would stay in the subarea of origin. They began with the old Metro Council before the merger when HCT legislation was being considered. The most famous rule was 40-40-20. If there had been significant new service subsidy, it might have over time, provided more service in the suburban subareas. But significant new service subsidy was not provided. Each revenue boost was followed by recession. The current debate is about the fourth rule. I suspect Seattle officials were too focused on the first and not enough aware of the fourth.

    RossB is correct again. This discussion is about the post-Covid world and service allocation. It is not about the current period when public health suggests that folks avoid unnecessary travel.

    The transit industry and Zivarts use dangerous terms such as transit dependent and choice riders. They should be avoided as they lead transit to consider some markets dependent and without choice. See Walker. In fact, on the margin, all riders are choice riders. Even poor households decide how many trips to take on transit and balance that against trips foregone, trips on foot, bike, or carpool. Transit agencies should strive to provide attractive service and not depend on a market segment being dependent.

    RossB is also correct that there are lower income households throughout the county. Some poor live in close proximity to high income households. Consider North Bend, Snoqualmie, Bothell, Shoreline, Renton, and Seattle. SHA and KCHA have low income housing along the Northgate project routes. Lower income households have transit riders living and working on those routes.

    RossB and other posters have written in support to improved two-way all-day service connecting with Link and lobbied against one-way peak-only routes that would duplicate Link. This is about efficiency and not allocation.

    The new regime may be quantitative. Let’s wait and see. The pre-2011 regime used a very broad stroke: subareas. Metro could implement good or bad networks with or without subareas.

    Parts of the Northgate service area do not have sidewalks on either local streets or transit arterials. Parts of SE Seattle lacks sidewalks on local streets. Even in South King County, the old CBDs of Renton, Kent, Auburn, Burien, and Enumclaw have street grids.

    Poster Brad meant to cite Route 42 and ACRS. The SE Seattle restructure in fall 2016 was overtly political and about daytime transfers, not allocation.

    Martin served on the initial Link restructure sounding board. That project had the odd shift of hours from SE Seattle to SLU for Nickels streetcar. So, it was the opposite of race and social justice.

    The allocation method may help get additional service subsidy. We hope that all continue to want more transit.

    1. The amended striker asks Transit for objective analysis before hours are shifted south from the Northgate Link project area. So, it was mischaracterized in the first paragraph. The Executive budget took hours from the project area without yet doing the analysis.

      That is my biggest problem with this. It is very common to look at how a project effects low-income riders. If you look at a typical Sound Transit project, it is right there in the summary, under “Socioeconomic Benefits” (https://st32.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/InteractiveMap/Templates/July1/Summary/ST3_SKirkland_Issquah_LRT.pdf). This is nothing new.

      It is quite reasonable to put more emphasis on this than other considerations. Again, this is nothing new.

      What is new is to ignore the data. This is a very bad thing, for everyone.

  17. for efficient use, transit needs to go where density is or will be.

    if mobility is a right, transit needs to go everywhere.

    splitting that difference effectively is a major policy problem.

    Americans don’t fund welfare meaningfully. in places where transit is not focused on density (cough, pierce transit), its bad routes, low-frequency – the anti-welfare bias at play. the poor and elderly can always wait, they don’t have jobs, eh?

    if transit is considered to be a competitor to driving, then the incentive is fast trips, high frequency, well planned.

    IMO, this is why sound transit buses and the light rail are pleasant, and King County buses struggle. Doing what Zivarts wants is going to shatter the interest in keeping the bus system nice for most people.

    I don’t envy the decision makers. Accede to classism/ableism and keep the buses decent? Accede to decency and justice and watch it crumble? How to split the difference there, not a task I would want to do.

  18. eddiew and pn, there’s a pretty straightforward way to serve the goal of “Choice”. See to it that everybody of working age, without illness or disability, can earn enough money to CHOOSE where and how they LIVE.

    From the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, and a lot farther back in time in some other places, like every creature enjoying any “Freedom” at all…

    “Kosher” in Hebrew and “Halal” in Arabic mean the same thing, for the same reason. Worldwide, “The Market” stayed in the hands of Authority able and willing to see that nobody got robbed, otherwise victimized. Especially “poisoned.”

    Liberal Democrats might really want to ponder exactly when it was that if borrowing got painless enough, bi-partisan agreement set in that it’s really same as wages except better. I make it “Year Ought-8”, but maybe that’s just a bunch of “Woo-Hoo!”

    The Bible says you de-fang everybody’s debt every fifty years. Translated from Hebrew, “Jubilee” refers to the ram’s horn trumpet that cleared the airwaves for the Word. More Conservative than that, no earthly Justice gets!

    Whoever appointed them, especially if it certainly wasn’t God.

    Mark Dublin

  19. Can someone please send me the latest Northgate Link bus restructure that includes ST and Metro frequencies for 2021? With a map. Thank you. Thought I had it.

    1. Here is the main page: https://publicinput.com/B1882. The second tab at the top has a map. The map doesn’t list the specific frequencies, but has a vague definition (frequent, local, peak). However, the description of the routes themselves list how frequent a bus will run. These are accessible via the third tab.

      David Lawson wrote up a nice report on frequency after the latest cuts: https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/01/two-axes-to-swing-for-metro-in-september/. This makes it fairly easy (although tedious) to compare current and proposed frequency.

      For example, to get from Lake City to Northgate, riders currently have two buses to choose from — the 75 and 41. In the middle of the day, they run 15 and 12 minutes, respectively. If the proposal is implemented, they will only have one (the 75, re-routed to take over that segment of the 41). Except it won’t run every 12 minutes, it will run every 15.

      So basically the plan is make service much worse to Northgate right when they add a station there. The service will presumably go south, with no indication as to whether it actually benefits those it is supposed to benefit.

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