70 Replies to “Sunday open thread: Edmonton restructure”

  1. With respect to ST3, Sound Transit’s response appears deliberately obtuse: “We’ll now rush to 30% design on each light rail extension concept referenced in the ballot measure.” It’s a Hail Mary – at 30% design the feds will consider New Starts grants and TIFIA loans.

    Sound Transit ought to do what the Navy does following major bad events: stand the fleet down for a time so policies can be assessed and adjusted.

    The outlook for light rail changed dramatically in 2020. Light rail weekday boardings are off 85% here, just as they are around the country, because commute patterns changed. Light rail is a special kind of mass transit that may well not be appropriate in the future as employers stop demanding all employees commute daily to worksites near the train stops in CBDs. The workforce in Northern Virginia is comparable to the one here, and a study by that transit services provider indicates the commute paradigm shifted:


    Sound Transit’s approach is obstinate, bordering on reckless. It’s rushing to design megaprojects of a type of transit that nobody who is financially disinterested in their buildout thinks are justified. Sound Transit should be well into a cost benefit analysis of ST3 – one that is transparent to the public.

    1. One thing that hasn’t been changed by Covid is global warming. Commute patterns may be changing, but we are still endangering our planet and our livelihoods by continuing to burn carbon for transportation and electricity. Mass transit is one of the better means to reduce carbon in transportation. Let’s not pretend that more roads and more cars, particularly at the expense of robust and resilient transit systems, is the solution to our planet’s most important future problem.

      To prepare for the future that will be funding-constrained, it makes sense to get all projects to the 30% design stage so that everything can be evaluated from an equal perspective. Some projects are going to have to be abandoned due to budget constraints, but others will move forward. ST need to make those decisions based on what they see at the 30% design point.

      1. Guy, for whatever comfort it can be, I really think the persuasion that will finally shift our transportation needs away from cars will come from the sheer number of cars themselves.

        These last couple of decades, they’ve made the world’s roomiest major country the most needlessly crowded one.

        And have steadily made an ever compacting parking-lot out of a highway network designed to save San Francisco from the fate of Pearl Harbor. National Defense-time now, with strengthening cooperation.
        Car-dependency will go because it makes things slow.

        I’m dead serious about seeing how much modern-transit use we can get out of all the freeway structure. Which itself, though, may worn and broken beyond all repair.

        Google up “Electric Trucks in Sweden.” Semi-trucks and articulated electric buses crossing Snoqualmie Pass at 70 might at least be a morale-boost for a world that needs most of all to cool off and breathe.

        Mark Dublin

    2. I’ve never taken link during peak commute hours, but every time I’ve taken it, it’s been crowded. Even at 11 at night on a weeekday.

      Maybe people have places to go other than jobs?

      1. Maybe wherever they’re going and whatever they’re doing is a hundred percent what a city has always been about.

        Any information or understanding we can decently expect out of these people depends on how fast we can to put “The Polling Industry” out of its misery.

        Precisely how we should handle the office-holding atrocity whose goals The Polls have been single-handedly delivering since a certain 2016 announcement. The cure’s straightforward and side-effects-free. Nobody pay any more attention to either of them.

        Belonging to the demographic “Train Rider” on as long a leash as COVIDIA can cut me, worthwhile conversations really do “Just Happen.” Best assist is to live a life somebody else might not be bored, scared, or appalled to hear about.

        True, Portland’s no New York City. What else in the world IS? Though my fear is not their joblessness, but the jobs they’ve had to take to live and feed their families. Demographically, History’s fiercest Rebels have always been DEBTORS!

        When the time comes, and no reason it won’t be soon, their ranks will never lack for personnel. Will we?

        Mark Dublin

    3. I agree, though partially. The light rail extensions to the far suburbs never made much sense even before covid. Aka the Everett, Kirkland, and Tacoma extensions.

      The Ballard and West Seattle (ish) extensions are urban ones and they still make sense. Well if they can keep costs down by being elevated and not tunneled.

      1. WL, try to find reference to the lithographed Kroll 1891 map showing trolleycars tracks and overhead on Rainier Avenue on their way to Renton. Smart money had it right that no cow could ever afford a house.

        Since the time I drove the Seven, Columbia City has developed an economy I wish my high-school passengers could come back to and live.

        Recent visits of my own tell me that four miles of two-wire overhead between Rainier Beach and Renton P&R could result in miles of shared activity and prosperity for all involved.

        And same for everyplace else presently titled as “Far.” Once laid, track takes awhile to rust away and die. In lands and times like ours, what distance does is fill up. Best we see the space gets filled by people and not with ever-slowing cars.

        I’m holding in my hand a gift from my late beloved wife: an 1892 Kroll map clearly showing Downtown Seattle as the shore of a wetland we might really want to restore. And clear as day, highly visible streetcar tracks and catenary headed south out Rainier Avenue.

        Upcoming order of business I would like to see, though will maybe have to be the one to do, is to finally gift ST headquarters at Union Station with a home for this map in the project library this whole effort has so long deserved.

        The wonderful little multi-technical library in the Exchange Building fifth floor, always staffed…I can handle Tim Eyman getting away with an office chair or two, but not cold-blooded civic murder. To fulfill ST’s sworn function, its beautiful old headquarters demands an active library that’s alive and really so.

        Financially and politically, this effort could be the Heaven-sent means for the kind of Republican who fought slavery with Union cannons to help to restore the good name of Transit Founding Father James R. Ellis and HIS party.

        What the song says is true. “To everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.” But for many, many things under Heaven that are dangling much too close to Hell, it’s really ‘Way PAST Time!

        Mark Dublin

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_Light_Rail_Transit

    A little perspective. Like just about everyplace else on Earth except Oporto Portugal, Edmonton is both flat and well-provided by history with actual railroads suitable for conversion. Light-rail, express-bus, or both.

    Any transit-wise disparagement of Seattle must take that into account to be valid. The Emerald City’s inheritance is on the same level of justice as the relatives of a certain money-washing entertainer whose address is in Florida. Near light rail, he’s Florida’s light-rail’s problem. Sigh OF relief, DC!

    Updating colored stripes from paper flip-chart to video still cheats its viewers of a third dimension. Animations showing concrete lane dividers and bus-prioritized signal lights could greatly help designers, installation technicians, and passengers alike.

    But, same caution as the Second Amendment’s drafters would have left the National Rifle Association. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_Light_Rail_Transit

    Whether branding’s for a bus or a blunderbuss, the fire hits the powder in the real world. What Sense could be more Common?

    Mark Dublin

    1. That ravine through the middle of Edmonton is pretty deep and steep! It’s not all flat and it almost exactly bifurcates the city. Downtown and the Provincial hub are north of it, while UA, many original neighborhoods and the airport are south of it.

      Plus, there aren’t really lots of historical rail lines to convert.

      The weather is a huge influence on transit popularity. Many of their transit centers are fully enclosed and heated! If there is a warm place to wait and you don’t have to shovel your driveway and brush off your car, using transit is quite enticing!

      1. I was speaking comparatively to Seattle, Al S. For heritage right-of-way, only worse-off inheritor is someone awful’s lady cousin.

        Any chance Edmonton’s trains are already running on the track that they inherited and we didn’t? View out the train window on the way into Vancouver BC shows a generous mixture of elevated tracks and trains.

        Not topical but deals with missing comfort. On my visit, being in the trade, I was allowed to swing a brand new blue and white trolleybus into its lane at headquarters.
        And also a long-handled 12 lb. sledge to spike a railroad tie at their historic fort. Wiki says their last ETB ran in 2009.

        Budget. Which, since its balancing takes two columns, could as easily translate as “Fund it someplace else”, and not just “Kill It.”

        Waiting places that are not warm, clean, safe and comfortable should be against the law. Penalty should be to be personally required to build their share of the warmth, health, and comfort that nobody will stop them from using.

        Cold as Edmonton gets, no reason you shouldn’t be seeing mass cooperation.

        Mark Dublin

  3. Where’s my Sharpie? Since my secretary’s working from her home, not mine, have to learn to make it work on my laptop’s screen.

    Mark Dublin

  4. The NYTimes has a great article on the draconian service cuts facing many transit agencies


    It’s a sobering read. Without additional, substantial aid, from the feds – many of the large transit agencies are facing historic cuts. Cutting all weekend service, ending train and bus service at 9pm, reducing headways. SF Bart may have to close stations – and run trains every 30 minutes during peak. If these cuts become reality, it will delay economic recovery in urban cores – even after a vaccine has been rolled out. Employees will either drive to work, and many will decide to continue to WFH, even after offices reopen if transit availability is limited. Who can or wants to wait 45 minutes for a bus or train during the morning commute? This is the reality that many transit agencies will be facing – in what are once in a century service cuts.

    1. Anon, obviously and Alex, History has got its constants.

      “Draconian is an adjective meaning “of great severity”, that derives from Draco, an Athenian law scribe under whom small offenses had heavy punishments (Draconian laws). Draconian may also refer to: Draconian (band), a death/doom metal band from Sweden.” -Wikipedia

      For anybody actually having to either mind these matters for Sound Transit tomorrow morning or get fired, you’ve been warned. Try and flee to Sweden and you’ll find out that every streetcar in both Stockholm and Gothenburg has this band stuck on their sound system. “Cruel and Usual” is worst punishment possible.

      Worse than Angle Lake being next Link station north after both Capitol Hill and Sea-Tac. But that’s nothing compared to the daily cacophony of criticism. In the face of the dangerously unclear likelihood of any action at all on ST’s part pending Vaccine Needle-stick One.

      Know where this column-space needs to be going right now? Into research and plans to bring a lot wider region than ST under administration and management its passengers and voters can respect.

      BLM’s trajectory might suggest one thing to those itching toward activity: Call it a Movement and Leaders could be optional. Problem plainly demonstrated: Leadership is not. But pairing Zoom and other video with Seattle Transit Blog, could surely be a real good start.

      Mark Dublin

    2. That is depressing, and not surprising. Eventually there should be a large federal bailout.

      Personally, I would prefer something geared towards service. Right now the system is backwards. Agencies apply for grants for projects — BRT or rail. This encourages them to build things that are bad values. At the same time, there is no money for increasing frequency. Of course you need both, but the feds should help more with frequency, and less with projects that half the time aren’t needed (e. g. streetcars). What is needed more than anything — in most of America — is better frequency.

      1. Ross B., this is exactly why I’m being so pestiferously repetitious about transit-groundwork BIG TIME! Preparing projects that can serve as both a beacon and a foundation for exactly the Recovery program you’re helping me advocate.

        No question in my mind that something like this will happen. But can also see it up-for-grabs like a giant leaky beach-ball. Which is really awful when it’s stuck in committee.

        Thankfully there are a lot more people than me who’ve been hands-on through some really singular years of transit-building. Leaving us both knowing and known by by other pillars of the trade.

        I think we can make the Desirable a whole lot Practical as we help dig foundations for the project. Concrete as the opposite of Theoretical, as well as to set track in. Wide agreement that if it’s Transit then it’s Doomed could serve our purpose.

        Reason every Viking had a raven is because a dead abstraction distracts a lot of olfactory attention away from a live and healthy survivor. “Let The Dead Bury Their Dead” originally meant things designed by ideologues and planners versus those by engineers and operators.

        One thing I doubt anybody will argue with. Nobody will EVER see this coming! Snitch if you want. At this stage, bad and good publicity sort themselves out just fine. Floor’s yours, Ross.

        Mark Dublin

  5. There is a part of the I-5 Northgate pedestrian overpass that goes directly in to the mezzanine level of the Northgate Link station. At least I think. If this is the case, then I have a question. If the station is closed, is that part of the bridge closed or is it a pass through from the mezzanine level to the street? Just curious.

    1. I’m curious about a lot of the station and pedestrian bridge as well. In the past I couldn’t find out the details.

      Anyway, my guess is it gets closed. That means that people who want to use the bridge will use the ramps. You can think of the whole thing as a giant bridge that goes around the station, with a tiny connecting piece. In reality, there will be plenty of people who walk through the station and over to the other side (when it is open). But the rest of the time, they will go around it. (At least that is my guess).

  6. There is the short term and the long term.

    Transit existed before the pandemic because there was a need, and that need will exist after the pandemic. For peak hour travel there just isn’t the road capacity, and even now with many businesses shut (retail) or working from home the congestion is returning. Plus people of all income levels need mobility.

    During the short term both service cuts and federal aid are necessary, except there isn’t enough aid for all transit.

    I think however it hurts transit’s case for more funding when transit advocates turn transit into a war on cars or insist on zoning changes to make transit function or manufacture Ridership. I never thought it helped transit’s cause to jump into bed with The Urbanists.

    Cars and single family zoning are things many, many Americans love, whereas very few love transit. Transit is a tool. No one is going to willingly move into a dense TOD to solve transit’s first/last mile access. Why transit advocates wade into these issues or wars they can’t win I have no idea.

    Long term things are trickier, and my concern is the draconian — to use Mark’s term — cuts we are seeing are based on transit agencies looking into the future.

    Transit — especially ST — got a little bit over its skis, and WFH and other forms of shared transit are going to reduce commuters and short in city trips. Driverless technology is a real unknown in 2040.

    But let’s face it ST was never going to keep all its promises in ST 3, although it hoped for another decade before breaking that bad news. The bad news was always going to be unpopular, but ST was hoping for ST 4 in 2030, because there is zero chance for ST 4 in 2020.

    The future is fun to predict although we almost never get it right. Plus we tend to favor the more dramatic scenarios when in real life we tend to avoid the dramatic.

    If I had to guess this region will see a 10% to 20% permanent decline in total transit funding, both fares and general fund subsidies. What reductions in services that results in depends on the agencies. Like I said unfortunately got a little ahead of itself predicting the future, and future funding. So a 10% to 20% permanent decline in funding appears draconian based on ST’s old vision of the future.

    The Urbanists and some transit advocates are sad because they thought transit would change the world, like the car did. But people will always love cars and single family houses with yards, and in the end neither will go away, and the pandemic is strengthening the desire for single family homes, which should have never been a concern for transit to begin.

    But transit isn’t going away either. Just getting a little smaller.

    Transit needs to get serious about efficiency, so that a -10% or 20.% reduction in funding doesn’t equal a 10% or 20% reduction in service.

    We know funding reductions are coming, but we don’t know what the reductions in service will be, which will be the hard work.

    1. Cars and single family zoning are things many, many Americans love, whereas very few love transit. Transit is a tool.

      To most people, cars are just a tool. They don’t love their car anymore than they love their washing machine. At best they are happy with their choice — quite often they think it is a piece of crap, and hope for the day when they can afford a better one or don’t need it as much.

      No one is going to willingly move into a dense TOD to solve transit’s first/last mile access.

      It doesn’t matter whether it is TOD or was there already. Either way you are wrong. For that matter, it doesn’t matter if it is TOD, or just D. Apartments get filled. Otherwise they wouldn’t build them.

      But hey, prove me wrong. Change the zoning rules, and see if no one will move into a townhouse, condo or apartment. If these things are so terrible, and no one wants to live in them, then people won’t build them. Your logic in this regard is not only faulty, but also based on privilege. Why would someone move to an apartment, when they can buy a perfectly good house for only 750 grand? For that matter, why does anyone eat at McDonalds, when they can get a very good steak for only $50 (and a perfectly good bottle of wine for about the same)? Yeah, OK. Sure.

      The reason that transit folks want to liberalize the zoning code is not just to increase affordable housing. It is also to improve transit. Ridership and density go together. Ridership and improved frequency go together. The more density increases, the more likely you are going to have a better transit system (https://humantransit.org/basics/the-transit-ridership-recipe#density). The relationship is not linear, either; it is exponential. So there is a clear and obvious reason why transit advocates want increased density — especially density easily served by transit.

      1. Daniel, here’s a battle-front report from The War On Cars. Dateline, couple weeks before last. The only hostile “incoming” my car and I came under fire from were the sharp-edged shell-holes in Seattle’s every arterial.

        That SUV’s attempt to violate Conventions by transferring the contents of a linear lake also called an SR512 lane across the border to the windshield of my car….my baby swiftly made her wipers clear her goggles.

        But those ghostly suicide squadrons of bulb-savers, in the darkening gray rain, those skull-black holes in their fenders will haunt me all my days. About War, I’m at one with General Sherman, but will note that those cannoneers who shelled Fort Sumter did not wear blue uniforms.

        Nor was my side’s Fakerepublicans who threatened to veto a defense bill if it didn’t include naming my country’s forts after traitors. Admiral Yamamoto Naval Air Station’s will always be Pearl Harbor!

        RossB, my last two drives north included some purposeful social-distance “tailing” of the Route 27 from Yesler and Second to The Lake. And not just to match his “Re-gen” braking on my sweetheart’s own dashboard. Could light Chinatown, but that’s [OT].

        After getting out (mask on) to thank the driver for taking the lead, I preliminarily extended his route along the lake to Seward Park. Reaching Orcas Street, I swung up the hill to Seward Park Drive.

        With my career- ingrained horizontal Atlantic Base dual vision adding wire and special-work all the way to Rainier Beach, and following the real-life wire to 62nd and Prentice. About seven miles of wire, with a couple already in the air down there. With an easy two-way Northgate transfer at Pioneer Square. Escalelevators, I’d be working out-of-grade.

        Point being the range of South Side passengers that Shoreline Community College could end up serving. Also, progressively advancing light-rail headed for Everett streetcar-building jobs at those abandoned Boeing plants. And since it’s a long ride, at Ash Way P&R between buses, Kaffehouse di Chatillon’s still got Julius Meinl blend.

        In addition to the two-way beauty out the windows of that south-end hill-and-Lakeside ride. And for For the Northgate-Lake City service “N” stands for Non-Negotiable too.

        I’m sure an ST War-of ’96 veteran or two can tell us who and what’s available to punish dereliction with.
        Because there’s just flat no way that bus will stay unfunded. Word from Ruth Fisher’s most fearsome Room-haunting spirit: “Like so much in Mark’s apartment, it’s underneath something!”

        And just go back to sleep in your car-port, Victoria W.
        Don’t need groceries. So if Olympia Traffic needs a re-Jam right now, just have to treat it like Marlon Brando’s Stanley Kowalski did the “RE_BOP!” The “Desire Street” carline? In New Orleans, tell me what stays dead.

        Mark Dublin

      2. I think “privilege” is a weak argument — especially to support transit which is so heavily subsidized by those who use it least — because it implies the primary argument is weak.

        The problem with “privilege” — which is generally defined in a political setting as someone having more wealth than someone else — is just about everyone has more wealth than some other person(s).


        The point of my post was the privilege argument won’t get you far. Transit funding will decline 10% to 20% over the next decade IMO (Metro is assuming 25%) and the keys going forward are: 1. How to increase efficiency so a 10% to 20% cut in funding does not equal a 10% to 20% cut in levels of service which I think is doable, and 2. where to allocate cuts, which will likely be based on “privilege”, and will force some of us to honestly ask ourselves are we truly the unprivileged.

        I honestly think I am privileged although I don’t think that is a bad thing and have no problem subsidizing transit I don’t use, but I do support allocating more transit to disadvantaged communities because they are the least privileged.

        Privilege as a political tool doesn’t always advantage you as you hoped when you realize how privileged you really are. If anyone needs to look for efficiencies to stave off cuts it is the “privileged” who ride transit since they will get the cuts, because they are the privileged among transit riders. Unless they move to more disadvantaged communities where they will be the privileged.

        Will the less privileged ever get the privileged to give up something they really want, like single family zoning and cars. If history is any lesson, no. But are those necessary fights to maintain transit levels of service during a time of cuts? No, they are a distraction. A 25% cut in transit service suggests transit advocates might have taken their eye off the ball.

    2. “No one is going to willingly move into a dense TOD to solve transit’s first/last mile access.” Er, no, gotta call you out on this bit. TODs happen to be some of the most expensive and desirable real estate in town. There are very few cases of TODs that had to sell/rent at bargain basement prices or even have trouble filling up. It just doesn’t happen. Heck, you build them in the ‘hood, they fill up! Of course, there are *many* examples of car oriented strip malls that can’t seem to keep tenants, so….

      Also….if people are so enamored of having large unbroken swaths of single family homes *in the heart of the city*, then there should be no harm in removing the government mandate to keep it that way, right? Developers simply wouldn’t build anything else, because people would only buy single family homes!

      1. The recent discussion about TOD costs made me do some searches for actual academic studies (rather than blog polemic – no offense intended to anyone in these threads, of course).

        It seems rather hard to find a lot of useful papers, but I did stumble across this one, which is free to read and rather interesting:


        The abstract and the analysis at the end are the most interesting (to me) sections, but the whole thing is rather useful for those who are into data.

        One question I did not see addressed is how housing costs change in result to building new TOD, which is the issue that some here tend to bring up a lot. So I think there is still room for further analyses to be found. If anyone has other interesting links (I assume that following some of the cited work from this paper could be rather cool…) please post them as a reply.

        Thanks to all in advance.

  7. Question: Have they powered up the OCS for NG Link yet? I was up at Northgate yesterday and it looks like all the droppers are finally attached.

    Can’t be long if they haven’t powered up already.

  8. One of the big concerns about Seattle paying for its own service (in addition to the county) was that Metro would just shift money away from Seattle. Transit in Seattle would be about the same, but transit in the rest of the county would be better, thanks to the generosity of Seattle voters. We were told that couldn’t happen — there were safeguards in place to prevent that. Are those safeguards eroding?

    Consider a few recent events:

    1) In the name of social equity, the money from the truncation of buses like the 41 will not go to those neighborhoods. Fair enough. But it won’t go to Rainier Valley or other low income Seattle neighborhoods either. The 27 is the only bus connecting Yesler Terrace with downtown Seattle. The bus continues on Yesler, serving many public agencies geared towards low income minority people. It is pretty easy to make a general case for running the bus more often (it only runs every half hour), let alone a social equity case. But instead, the money will be sent *outside the city*. There is no data to support this move — it is not based on how many low income riders would benefit, or any such thing. This is done essentially based on a whim.

    2) As part of the Northgate restructure, service within Seattle will be made worse. This has nothing to do with one-seat versus two-seat. I mean it will just be getting worse. For example, most of the day, there will be no service on Northgate Way, between Lake City and 15th. Instead of 9 buses an hour between Northgate and Lake City, there will be 4. Likewise, the most productive part of the 26 is just going away. Riders won’t be able to get to downtown quickly, like they did before — they will go over the (often backed up) Fremont Bridge, and then on Dexter. Keep in mind, this is in comparison to service *after* the pandemic cutbacks.

    The only improvements are for rush-hour service (which pretty much destroys the argument that the shift in service is due to social-equity concerns). While some Seattle residents benefit from those improvements, they are geared more towards the north Lake Washington suburbs. The 361 and 322 both serve Kenmore — and only peak direction (when service tends to be more popular in the suburbs).

    3) RapidRide capital spending seems to be moving away from the city. RapidRide J (70) is being funded completely by Seattle now. Rather than focusing effort and money on routes that are likely to get the most ridership increase, Metro is focusing on spreading around the routes. This leaves the city to pay for things like improving the 40, while money goes to routes that make the F Line seem like a great value. For perspective, despite the extra capital spent on the F, it performs worse than the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 (you get the idea). A system based on spreading out the spending means that more cost effective improvements in the city are neglected. Seattle is forced to pay for that themselves (while also paying for a portion of the service outside the city).

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this — correct me if you think I missed something. But this just looks like the county purposefully neglecting Seattle, knowing that Seattle will pay for its own improvements (and that Seattle will support a county-wide levy proposal, no matter how much it gets short-changed by Metro).

    1. I have been taking the 75 for at around 20 years. Moved from one part of the Northgate area to another. One of the reasons I stayed was the convenience of living between 2 shopping districts. And I could get to both quickly without a car. One near and east of the mall and one near 125th and Lake City Way. I live near the Mosque. Plus I was aware of the potential build of mass transit, possibly going to the mall. For some reason, I thought it would be sooner, but here we are. I have supported transit my whole life. But I feel a bit ripped off to find out that after all this time, the fastest and most convenient way to get to the newest light rail station is gone for me. I even complained on this blog earlier this year about losing service between the mall and Fred Meyer via 5th Ave and 125th. I assumed they would lose the service and thought it was unfair. But now, I am going to lose it instead. Even after I voted on an extra tax to keep it. At least that is how I see it.

      1. If you live near the mosque, aren’t you just a couple minute walk from at least four different bus routes? I’m a five minute walk from just one bus route. You have it worse than some, but better than others.

      2. @Sam — From the mosque you have the 73, which is very infrequent. You can walk over to 15th and catch the 67 to the U-District or the 347/348 to Pinehurst. All three of those buses go to Northgate. None of them go to Lake City (where the Fred Meyer is).

        It also isn’t a couple minutes — more like five (inbound) and six to seven (outbound). For example, if you catch the 67 and want to get to the mosque: https://goo.gl/maps/RjGmcqCrPpXVDiFS9.

        No matter how you cut it, this is a clear degradation in service. I find it bizarre that they are making the transit connections to Northgate *worse* after they add the new station there. It is one thing to spread the savings from the truncation to more areas. It is another thing to use this as an excuse to make transit worse in an area that will get a new station. Yet that is the plan.

      3. With 10 years of living car free, I have very rarely ridden transit to go shopping. Instead, my strategy has been to find a place to live so that the routine shopping needs (e.g. groceries) can be accomplished on foot. For trips that can’t be accomplished on foot, I’ll typically shop online and have the stuff delivered. I’ll also occasionally ride by bike.

        When I do shop by transit, it’s usually because I’m riding transit for some other purpose and happen to be near the store, anyway.

        I prefer to use transit for things like social activities since they 1) don’t involve carrying stuff, 2) Cannot be replaced with online services.

    1. Sam, next time you get the chance, COVIDIA-willing, you might speak with your choice of First Nations representatives across the border. Because I’m pretty sure they’ve noticed the same thing.

      Mark Dublin

    2. It’s Canada. Equity issues are handled at the national, as opposed to local level. As a result, they are also handled a lot better (like most countries).

  9. There was a presumably stalled light rail train on the bridge over the BNSF main near airport way last night. I saw what I assumed was a rescue train slow down on the viaduct leading up to the area also.

  10. AM asked a few days ago about the history of the 7/49 reroute. I started riding Metro in 1980 and what I remember of the network in the 80s and 90s is:

    1: Kinnear to North Beacon Hill (Dawson Street) (1/36). A midday diesel 1 continued further south.
    6: Aurora Village (E). Seattle Center East (?), Stone Way, southwest Greenlake.
    7; Prentice Street to U-District (7/49).
    8, 9, 31/32: Did not exist.
    13: SPU to Interlaken Park (13/12). Later the 10/12 were through-routed with both numbers.
    14: Mt Baker to Summit (14/47).
    15: Blue Ridge to Alki (D, 56). Seattle Center West.
    18: Loyal Heights to WSJ and Fauntleroy (40/D/C). Seattle Center West.
    19: West Magnolia. (The 24 terminated at Magnolia Village.)
    25: Lakeview Blvd, Furhrman Ave, Montlake Bridge, Laurelhurst.
    42: Rainier View (106/107). Dearborn St, Empire Way (MLK), far south Beacon Ave. A daytime 142 alternated to Renton.
    43: John Street, 23rd, 45th, and Ballard (43/44).
    46: Midday Shilshole to UW limited-stop (no current equivalent).
    48: Loyal Heights to Columbia City (45/48). Later extended to Rainier Beach to replace the 42, then truncated at Mt Baker.
    60: Broadway to Beacon Hill I think.

    70, 71, 72, 73, 74: These were a mess. The 71/72/73 local served Eastlake. The 74 local served Fairview/Eastlake. Various 71/72/73 “E” and “X” suffixes ran express in the express lanes or Eastlake. The 70 midday used the regular 45th freeway entrance. When the DSTT opened in 1990, the 71/72/73 and 71/72/73 took on their pre-Link pattern. I don’t remember when the 74 trolleybus was created, but it took over Fairview/Eastlake. The 74 local was truncated in the U-District. Later it was extended on 40th to Fremont, which didn’t have service previously, and became heavily popular immediately. This made the 74 local and express radically different, so the local was renumbered to 30. Later the 31 and 32 replaced service on 40th. In the early 80s, an earlier route 30 went from Laurelhurst to 45th, Fremont Ave and Magnolia (?). So 45th had the 43 and 30, and 40th had nothing.

    75: U-District, Sand Point Way, Lake City, Northgate, 24th Ave NW (75/40). Earlier a 41 may have served the part west of Lake City.
    81, 82, 83, 84, 85: Night owls. north to 75th and south to the city border. The suburban night owl 280 did a loop on 520, Bellevue Way, Renton, and East Marginal Way (?).
    150: Downtown to southeast Auburn (150/160/184).
    174: Downtown to Federal Way (124/A).
    194: SeaTac and Federal Way express (Link/574/577). Includes 574 P&Rs.
    305: Eastlake, Richmond Beach (70/67/348). Limited stop on Eastlake.
    307: Northgate, Lake City, Woodinville (41/522).
    377: Northgate to Horizon View (an obscure area south of Brier). Later it was rerouted to Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, and Horizon View became peak-only. The 477 was a peak express to Lynnwood.
    4xx: Peak expresses to Snohomish County. These were Metro routes before they were CT routes. I’ve heard that when CT was created, it funded these routes before it started its own bus network, then took these over.

    Eastside routes follow in another comment.

    1. Thanks, Mike! I also find the history transit routes very interesting. I wonder if MOHAI would consider a pictorial exhibit of Puget Sound transit network over time, similar to their existing one for highway development.

      1. Like for our entire street, road and highway system and especially the Interstates, transit’s permanent addition to MOHAI should be Grade One Non-Negotiable.

        Some more historic perspective:


        The car would still be stuck in the Rocky Mountains if the whole racing-route had not had a railroad running alongside it.

        The only thing that did NOT fall off the car and have to be replaced by rail was the bicycle chain it had for a drive-shaft. Which broke just as the triumphant victor cleared the door of his East-Coast home’s garage.

        So for those who call cars “King”……As well it should, “Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown!” Necks and Chains, goes without saying.

        Mark Dublin

      1. For Sure. But ironclad requirement. To make this work work, make ST give it all to linesmen and women, and none to planners. What are steepest grades and heaviest loads either Uber or Lyfft can handle?

        Caution, though: anybody into Automation is going to need those highway pantographs from Sweden to maintain contact. Otherwise, routine rewiring will require a drone, whose half dozen propellers might be hard on wire themselves. But look….

        FlutterflutterflutterZAPF! is something Mad Magazine’s late, great Don Martin would never do. Probably not even in the online Glossary. Because unlike with steamrollers, some things are even less funny than trying constantly get passengers off the road alive.

        Mark Dublin

    2. There was also a Night Owl bus that ran the 174’s route. But most of the rest seems pretty accurate.

    3. Sweet, thank you very much (as always) for the historical information. I vaguely remembered some of them, but there were a lot of routes I was not really familiar with until much later.

      1. As possible repayment for all the historical knowledge :) I have a few old books containing all the routes offered by CT in the early 2000s (both local and commuter to downtown/UW). If there is any interest, let me know and I can try to dig them out from whatever shelf they are hiding on.

        I guess the offer stands for everyone, not just Mike, of course :) But he gets first dibs on whatever specific tidbit he may be interested in that I can try to dig up from my old stuff.

      2. Thanks, but I’m a minimalist so I don’t have room for something like that. Maybe somebody else could make better use of it.

        I’m most interested in the earlier history of CT. How/when did it start, and how did the network evolve before the 2000s? In the early 80s I rode it once, the Aurora route to Everett to see what was there. In the early 90s I rode it more often to attended a church in north Lynnwood and sometimes stay with a family in Mountlake Terrace. It was really zigzaggy then. The Aurora route was straight but the others weren’t. The woman I stayed with in Mountlake Terrace remarked that she could walk her dog to Edmonds CC faster than the bus could.

        The current network is much better. The routes mostly have a strong transit center at both ends and are more staightened out. It takes a while to get a CT bus, but when it comes it’s fast.

    4. From WW2 until 1963, Route 7 was a whole network of trolley routes that stretched from Prentice Street in the south end (with turnbacks at Graham Street and Rose Street) through downtown and the University District to the northern city limits at either 65th Street (7 View Ridge) or 85th Street (7 – 15th Ave NE). I believe the 8 Ravenna was part of the 7 family for at least part of the time, but it may have been separate.

      With dieselization in 1963, the 7 network was extended to the new northern city limit at 145th Street. The 7 Lake City was also added and the 8 was definitely separated and made a free-standing route.

      In the late 1960s or early 1970s, Blue Streak service was inaugurated and the View Ridge, Lake City, 15th Ave NE branches were separated from the 7 network during daytime hours. During Blue Streak service hours, the 7 Rainier continued on to the U District via Eastlake as the 7 – 15th Ave NE/50th Street.

      After the trolley network was rebuilt, the 7 Rainier still continued to the University District, but its routing was via Broadway, replacing the 9 Broadway.

      1. The 7 View Ridge signage was 7 15th Ave NE on the left side of the bus and 65th Street on the right side if you are looking straight at the bus.

        The bus that went to NE 85th was signed 7 15th Ave NE and 85th Street.

        The 8 Ravenna was part of the 7 network and that signage was 8 Ravenna on the left side and blank on the right side.

        In the afternoon rush hour there were buses that only went to 15th Ave NE and 65th Street and they would turn right on NE 63rd to 16th Ave NE and then left on NE 65th before returning south. Those buses signage was 7 15th Ave NE on the left side and Cowan Park on the right side.

    5. I did not see the 22 Roosevelt, which ran operated along Stewart, Howell, Eastlake and Roosevelt-11th/12th NE, 85th and 5th to Northgate. It sometimes operated in conjunction with the 305 that operated the same routing, but continued on to Richmond Beach.

      1. The 22 Roosevelt was a long time route that had two branches before it was extended.

        One branch turned east of Roosevelt Way on NE 80th and terminated at around 22nd Ave NE. The other branch terminated at NE 92nd and Roosevelt after making a loop from NE 84th to 5th Ave NE and east on NE 92nd to its terminal.

    6. One of the things I remember about 24th Ave Nw when I was a kid was the 62. That ended up being the west portion of the 75. But as I remember it stopped right in front of Macy’s (Bon Marche). There was no transit center yet. The transit center was a Group Health. The 62 was a one seat ride to the mall to see some friends for me. This was around mid 80’s.
      Other route I liked was the 46. It went to Golden Gardens. Then if you wanted, you could walk up the trail behind Gordo’s hamburger stand to around NW 64th. It is part of the Burke Gilman Trail now with nice stairs and lighting.

      Thank you for your transit route history. Brings back memories.

  11. If memory and Google Maps serve, 130th Sation to Roosevelt Way to 125th to Sandpoint Way to 45th to Montlake Blvd would take a single line-crew shift and some simple special-work to finish up at Mt. Baker Transit Center.

    It’s a purple one! Right, Edmonton? But Atlantic Base Instruction, I’m counting on you. To route-qualify, a candidate should have to prove they can hold those lines and all those number-dots at a purplish shade of green!

    Mark Dublin

  12. Eastside bus routes in the early 1980s, where I lived.

    20x: Mercer Island.

    210: Downtown to North Bend. MI, Factoria, Allen Road, Somerset, Issaquah, Fall City, Snoqualmie North Bend. This was like the 208 extended west to downtown. Snoqualmie Parkway and Ridge didn’t exist so the bus went around through Fall City. The 211-215 were peak-express variations.

    226: Downtown to Bellevue, Crossroads, Northup Way, Overlake (Village). Later extended to Redmond. This was my route. It was slow because it served Enatai (108th Ave SE), three stops on Mercer Island, Rainier Avenue and Dearborn Street.

    235: Downtown to Bellevue, Kirkland, Totem Lake. This was even slower because it served Beaux Arts (104th Ave SE) and the three Mercer Island stops.

    240: Bellevue to Burien.
    245: Peak express to Renton Boeing on south Bellevue Way.
    249: Bel-Red Road daytime (Bellevue to Overlake).

    252: Eastgate to U-District. Bottom of Somerset Hill, Bellevue CC, Lake Hills, 164th, 8th (Crossroads), downtown Bellevue, Medina, U-District.

    253: Downtown to Redmond. 520, Medina, Bellevue, 8th, 156th (Crossroads and Overlake), Redmond. So there were three routes from downtown Bellevue to downtown Seattle, two on I-90, one on 520.

    255: Downtown to Kirkland and Kingsgate (132nd). The Brickyard (160th) extension was later. It was through-routed with the 226 so it went in on I-90 and out on 520.

    340: 405 all-day express. Shoreline P&R, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, 160th (Brickyard), 132nd (Kingsgate), 70th (Houghton), downtown Bellevue, 112th Ave SE (where Link is), Coak Creek Pkwy exit (for Factoria), Kennydale exit, Renton area, SeaTac airport, Burien. The closest stops to downtown Kirkland were 70th and 132nd. It served local streets in south Bellevue and downtown Renton.

    Most Seattle routes were half-hourly; most suburban routes hourly. Routes with extra half-hourly service included the 150 and 174, and where the 226/235 overlapped between Seattle and Bellevue. The 210 was every 90-120 minutes.

    Somerset Hill had the 210 in the middle of the hill, and the 252 at the bottom.

    1. Oh, and the 340 was half-hourly weekday daytime, hourly otherwise. So you could take a half-hourly bus to the 70th freeway exit and walk to downtown Kirkland, or take the hourly 235 to it.

    2. If I recall, the 235 was interlined with the 251 (Seattle-Kirkland-Redmond), so it too was an I-90/520 route. The 251 used 80th between Kirkland and Redmond.

      The 254 (Seattle-Kirkland-Redmond but used NE 70th between Kirkland and Redmond) was interlined with the 227 at one point.

    3. First off, I really enjoy reading these historical context type of comments. Thanks for your contributions in this regard.

      I didn’t see the 271 listed. Do you know when that route came into existence? When I lived in the CD in the late 80s and early 90s and worked in Bellevue I used the 48 and 271 in my daily commute pattern.

      In regard to the Seattle routes, perhaps you can help refresh my memory on the history of the 6 and 16. Which came first and what was the difference in routing? Also, I didn’t see any mention of the 358/359/360 series (E predecessor).

      Thanks again.

      1. The 271 replaced the 252 sometime after I moved to Seattle. It may have been part of the 550 and 554 restructures in the 1990s.

        I don’t know anything before 1978. The 6 and 16 were running then. They 6 went on Bridge Way, Stone Way, Greenlake Way, Linden Ave. The 16 went on Bridge Way, 40th, Wallingford Ave, 45th, Meridian Ave, and the Tangletown mess to Greenlake, then on the current 26 routing to Northgate. The 26 was further southeast. It came from Westlake and the Fremont Bridge, and if I remember it turned right on 34th or 35th, left on Wallingford or Meridian, and then maybe right on 40th to Latona.

        I didn’t mention the 358, 359, or 360 because I’d outlined them in another comment.

      2. @Tlsgwm: The 6/16 actually goes even farther back. Before they were a Trolleybus route, they were a Streetcar route known as the 20. The 20 took a different route Downtown because there was no Aurora Bridge yet.

  13. Bellevue peak expresses included the 220, 225, 227, and 229. The 220 was on 140th. The others were on 148th, 156th, and 164th, but I don’t remember which was which. These were all on I-90.

  14. And if memory keeps on serving, doesn’t a certain Federal research complex share a peninsula with a popular park or two at Sand Point? Might be Equitable for the inevitable Recovery to share some Government employment with South End residents, mightn’t it?

    Since in order for the line to work, the whole wire must be considered bi-directional. Color-scheme’s an easy one. For an easy purple/green, just make sure your Sharpie is metallic!

    Mark Dublin

  15. If 5 years ago you invested $10, 000 in Kinkisharyo stock, today you’d have $6700.

    If 5 years ago you invested $10,000 in Ford stock, today you’d have $6500.

    If 5 years ago you invested $10,000 in Tesla stock, today you’d have $150,000.

    1. Where will Kinkisharyo, Ford, and Tesla be in 5 years? This moment is just a blip in time.

    2. Lol. And if one had invested $10,000 in Ford common stock at its closing price on Nov 19, 2008 and sold it five years later on Nov 18, 2013, that stock would have been worth $134,762!

      Market timing is an amazing skill to possess, eh?

  16. Edmonton is a great example for Seattle in terms of frequeny/operations and state of good repair. Edmonton LRT has higher ridership than Link (110,000+ per day pre-covid) while being a much smaller city. They run 4 car trains with excellent frequency. The system is clean and well maintained. The proximity between downtown and the unversity is very similar to Seattle as are the physical constaints (ship canal in Seattle, ravine in Edmonton).

      1. In addition to natural resources, also the railway (huge CN facility) and government (provincial capital).

  17. Quick online inquiry just gave me the answer about Edmonton’s economy. Oil and gas. Though across History, well-meaning people in these industries could always claim they saved the world from coal.

    Speaking of which: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRh0QiXyZSk

    Huge lot of subject here. When this song was written I-75 gave my part of Michigan a fair population of working people who’d come to work in the car industries to get away from a life ruled by “Big Coal.” “Black Lung” wasn’t the name of a rock group.

    Most especially, post WWII first-time availability of cars saw to it that nobody would ever again be forced to live in quarters owned and ruled by their employer. If you could find an a non-company store within a hundred miles, you got fired and rendered Homeless if you shopped there.

    Right now, instead of a raise, certain big-box employers are offering there workers bargains. Redeemable only at….Guess Where? Is it really a coincidence that “Privilege” and “Power” start with the same letter?

    But this morning? State of Texas itself has for awhile been moving over to wind and solar. Reason is definition of “Conservative”. Like Coal, oil Costs too much. Same reason the folk music world has forgotten all the whaling songs.


    Dirty, deadly work that did the world a lot of damage. But what its employees had in common? They were proud of it.

    Mark Dublin

  18. The Edmonton planners may not have felt the need to call out equity because there’s a lot more equity built into the Canadian system. There’s universal health care and widespread social housing, to name two aspects of it.

    1. The goal is to provide excellent transit service to literally everywhere you can go. It’s not like in Seattle where many suburban areas and even some parts of the city of Seattle are a long distance from the nearest bus route.

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