King County Metro

This is an open thread.

78 Replies to “News roundup: resuming”

  1. Does anyone know of any studies that look at transit trips (or for that matter, any other mode) by purpose? It is very common for people to assume that most trips are commute related. I’ve read statements claiming otherwise, but I’ve never seen a study. When I’ve searched for it, I find other data (like modal share for commuters).

    1. Ross, Metro’s Rider and Non-Rider Survey regularly asks a version of this question, though it’s a more general “what is the primary purpose of the [transit] trip you take most often?” rather than canvasing buses and asking people what kind of trip they’re taking at that moment. It looks like work is the most popular trip type by far in the survey, and all of the other options add up to a bit less than work. See page 55 in the 2019 edition of the survey:

      https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/accountability/reports/2019/2019-rider-non-rider-survey-final.pdf

      1. That’s a fundamentally different question though. Metro is asking people which type of trip they take most often, and a bit more than half answered “work.”

        Someone who uses the bus five times a week for work and never uses it otherwise would answer “work” for that question. So too would someone who uses the bus five times a week for work, four times a week to get to school, three times a week for social events, twice for shopping, and once for a medical appointment.

        Between those two people you get 20 trips a week, half of them for work. 100% of these folks are saying that “work” is what they use the bus for most often, even though for one of them “work” accounts for only a third of their trips.

    2. I wonder if it’s possible to conduct a poll among STB users what their transit trips are before (with separate questions for pre COVID and post COVID). Not super scientific, but better than nothing.

      Anecdotally, nearly all of my transit use the past two years was something other than home->work. Even when I was riding transit to work, a good 20-30% of my transit trips was for non-work purposes.

    3. I think Jarrett Walker said 3/4 of trips are non-work related. That’s all modes, so it may not show up in transit trips or transit surveys. He argues to keep up off-peak frequency even when covid or recessions threaten it, in order to serve trips that often go unnoticed, and to tap into the huge amount of latent demand.

      1. in Seattle, a higher portion of work trips are oriented to places with paid or scarce parking; a higher portion of non-work trips are oriented to places with free and abundant parking. Seattle has had a higher transit mode share than Portland for decades; I suspect it is due to parking costs. folks also use trip chaining; on transit, they may shop on the way home from work.

      2. Job concentration also helps. Cities like LA, Dallas, or Silicon Valley are weakly centered, which makes them very difficult to serve well with transit. Parsing out weak centers vs parking supply (abundance & price) is probably hard to do, because they correlate in American cities.

    4. In most metro areas, trip purpose on transit trips is commonly surveyed — as is mode of access (walk, transfer, drop off, etc). These are generally published every several years.

      Here is a link to the comprehensive station profile studies by BART in 2015:

      https://www.bart.gov/about/reports/profile

      Sound Transit is notable in how this is rarely presented by this agency. The tragedy is that the data helps greatly in making effective station area decisions. Of course, when the data doesn’t exist, the agency can more easily do what it wants (like play political power games with non-transit-riding “stakeholders”).

  2. Some of the suburbs do seem to be doing better on zoning around Link stations – I would say that Bellevue, Redmond, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood are all doing better than Seattle in that respect. But looking to the south, it’s a different story. The areas surrounding International Boulevard and Angle Lake are quite terrible.

    1. The main reason suburban areas have seen rezones is because the stations are so close to the freeway. This is a common approach by cities — it is modern economic redlining: Put the apartments (i. e. poor people) next to the freeway, or throughway.

      Outside of freeway areas, I’m not sure if there is much difference. If anything, Seattle has a slight edge:

      Downtown Seattle is zoned higher than downtown Bellevue or any of the other downtowns. I think some of the residential neighborhoods in Seattle (Roosevelt as well as most of the others) are zoned as high as downtown Redmond, and downtown Redmond is huge compared to most suburban downtowns. For that matter, the U-District will essentially be another downtown, with high rise buildings mixed with lower rise (but still very dense) housing. The Spring District made noise because it will try and replicate a typical Seattle neighborhood (e. g. Othello) except with more offices. Is South Bellevue getting rezoned? What about the area around East Main?

      I would caution everyone to remember one key element in all of this: density is not the same as height. There are plenty of areas in the world with very high density that lack really tall buildings, and plenty of cases of the opposite. Unfortunately, those cases of the opposite typically have a lot of land taken by roads (which will be the case with Link). Oh, and don’t forget the parking garages. When the dust settles, the density around an average Seattle station will likely greatly exceed that of an average suburban station. Zoning is important — but without good station placement it goes to waste.

      1. If the intent is to channel growth towards neighborhoods that have the infrastructure (transportation or otherwise), calling it redlining is grossly unfair.

        East Main has had upzones in 3 directions. A further upzone of Wilburton – the southern bit is within the East main walkshed – is in process. I suppose you could call the failure to upzone Surrey Downs ‘redlining,’ but sounds like you are just redefining the word so you can say something mean to NIMBYs.

        I suppose Spring District will look like Othello in 10 years, if you added a few 10 story office towers to Othello in addition to the comparable apartment blocks. Even on the edge of the walkshed, where there is redevelopment it’s comparable density to Seattle’s SF neighborhoods that are the vast majority of Othello’s 15 minute walkshed:
        https://www.quadranthomes.com/washington/lario/

      2. I suppose Spring District will look like Othello in 10 years, if you added a few 10 story office towers to Othello in addition to the comparable apartment blocks.

        Right. Like I wrote, a typical Seattle (Link) neighborhood, but with more offices.

        If the intent is to channel growth towards neighborhoods that have the infrastructure (transportation or otherwise), calling it redlining is grossly unfair.

        It is not about infrastructure. It is about desirability. It is very common to see areas next to a busy street zoned for apartments, while a couple blocks away they are not. Sometimes the strip is just half a block. If this was about transit access, it would spread out from the bus stop in every direction. If this was about automobile access, it would do the same. It won’t, because access has nothing to do with it. It is trying to preserve the nicest parts of the city for the existing home owners.

        but sounds like you are just redefining the word so you can say something mean to NIMBYs.

        First of all, I’m calling it economic redlining to differentiate it from traditional redlining. Second, traditional redlining was clearly a form of NIMBY, except instead of opposing a sewage plant in their back yard, it was about not having people of color (or Jews) around. While traditional redlining was more explicit (“I don’t want Blacks in my back yard”) the result of exclusive zoning of this type works out the same (“I don’t want poor people in my backyard”), whether they mean it that way or not. Of course once in a while, the intent is obvious, like when Renton essentially kicked out homeless people from a hotel. They were OK with wealthy hotel guests, but not people who are down and out.

      3. “Height is not density” is definitely worth repeating. If it’s like, one or two buildings with large parking structures, surrounded by strip malls and single family homes, it’s not the best for walkability and transit use. Especially if those buildings are walkshed-limited by freeways and other dangerous traffic situations. If the rents/prices are high because amenities, people who want to ride transit and can afford it would just as soon get a place closer in with less amenities, and you can also price those who want to ride transit but can’t afford to be close enough to a station in Town.

        Around here, the rezoning/redevelopment does seem to be more 405 floor buildings than 300 footers. MLT seems to be going more for a swath of 4-5 floor residential/mixed use buildings east of the station (so, roughly half of the walkshed). Lynnwood is looking at highrise office/retail (presumably with a large garage) across from the station and some residential infill not necessarily concentrated near the station (seems to be 4-5 floor apartments), but not upzoning of single family within the walkshed as far as I know. In fact, Lynnwood just added a single family house “community” within the walkshed of the station (albeit, at the outer periphery of the walkshed). Fortunately, none of the new apartments that I have seen in MLT/Lynnwood are of the “sprawl-partment” type where you feel like you have to drive just to get out of the complex. (You know it’s bad when they have dedicated parking spots for picking up the mail!).

      4. I’m rather disappointed with Othello. If that’s all we can get around Spring…

      5. RossB is correct. Note parking included in multifamily housing in downtown Bellevue and Mercer Island. Seattle does not require it. Paris is a favorite example for his last paragraph.

      6. Ross, nowhere in East King except at South Bellevue and Overlake is Link “next to the freeway”. There will be no “towers” anywhere near South Bellevue because of the wetland to the east and million dollar SFH to the west.

        What you note is true north of Northgate and south Angle Lake, but there are no stations open in those areas yet. Between Northgate and Angle Lake every station is fairly distant from the freeway.

        So far as high density without height, nobody is going to recreate Paris or Brooklyn in Seattle. What is happening much more frequently than DADU’s is tear-it-down-and-rebuild-twice as big for the same number of people. There is nothing wrong with Skytrain development, because it ISN’T as you assert. “The parking garages” you posit largely aren’t.

      7. nowhere in East King except at South Bellevue and Overlake is Link “next to the freeway”

        From what I can tell, Mercer Island, Overlake and Redmond Technology stations will be next to the freeway. East Main will be close to it, although not really adjacent. If anything, South Bellevue will be quite a ways away from the freeway

        I’m not suggesting towers at South Bellevue, but it would be quite reasonable to have low or mid rise apartments to the west (replacing the existing housing). There will be hardly anyone that will walk to that station, given the existing area has really low density, and they won’t upzone. There will be nothing that bad in Seattle.

        What you note is true north of Northgate and south Angle Lake, but there are no stations open in those areas yet. Between Northgate and Angle Lake every station is fairly distant from the freeway.

        Yes, but those are also the stations being lauded for their upzoning. Kirkland might allow some tall buildings next to the freeway. Shoreline has allowed higher buildings close to their stations (next to the freeway). Northgate will also allow much bigger buildings.

        Other than the Spring District, there is no big change in zoning for a suburban area far from the freeway (even though, in the case of South Bellevue, there is the opportunity). The U-District will dwarf the Spring District when all is said and done, while many of the areas in Seattle (Roosevelt, for example) were upzoned a while ago (and grew as a result).

        The point I’m making is that the suburbs are not doing a better job in terms of upzoning — if anything, they are lagging — it is just that they have more stations close to the freeway (or rather, will have more).

        So far as high density without height, nobody is going to recreate Paris or Brooklyn in Seattle.

        No, of course not. It will never have the same charm, or history. But in terms of building the same type of structures (which would result in the same type of density) the only thing stopping us is the zoning regulations.

        What is happening much more frequently than DADU’s is tear-it-down-and-rebuild-twice as big for the same number of people.

        Exactly! Because that is all that can be built. Check out this map: https://www.seattleinprogress.com/. The circles are new or remodeled houses (anything that requires a permit). The teardrops are apartments. There are way more circles than teardrops. Many of those *are* DADUs. But many of those are perverse teardowns. Someone gets rid of the old house, and then builds a new house with a DADU. This is nuts, and nothing more than the result of an extremely hot housing market along with a very restrictive zoning code. Instead of building lots of small apartments, or row houses, they are building brand new houses with DADUs — essentially a loophole to build a duplex (on an extremely big plot of land).

        The demand is there to build lots of new apartments. The land is available. The only thing lacking is the political will to do what Portland already has, and allow low rise development across the entire city (and not just in these teeny-tiny pockets).

        There is nothing wrong with Skytrain development, because it ISN’T as you assert. “The parking garages” you posit largely aren’t.

      8. I guess my phrase did not work. I was trying to say that most high rise residential buildings in Vancouver — and even in Central New Westminster — have way fewer than one parking space per unit.

        I suppose that means that when residents in Vancouver who don’t own a car want to drive to Whistler, they rent a car.

        It would be fantastic for transit usage if all of Seattle north of the Ship Canal ended up with multi-family housing throughout, but people simply won’t allow it, because the streets are already almost impassable from parked vehicles. As a society we haven’t gotten to the “I can rent a car when I need it” mindset, except in New York and San Francisco.

        Notice how “car-sharing” imploded when Uber and Lyft made cheap taxis possible by breaking the medallion monopolies. But they don’t solve they don’t solve the “drive in the country” problem. That requires a rental car system that has a much higher interaction with potential users (a small army of delivery drivers) or cars scattered throughout cities.

      9. And “Yes, I forgot about Mercer Island”. My apologies.

        So far as South Bellevue, it is functionally “right next to the freeway” because it has a full flying junction interchange between its roadway and the freeway, so vehicles are still moving as they do on freeway — albeit a bit more slowly — right up to the stoplight at its entrance intersection. And, the street grid to the west is connected to South Bellevue Way at only two roundabout places. Only people on two long north-south streets with no connections to the west could actually walk to the TC.

        Get on Google maps and find 110th SE and SE 30th, then pan around. On the northwest corner an original Beaux Arts-style rambler remains (yes, I know this isn’t actually in Beaux Arts Village). All around it are brand-new two-story 3500 SF $1.3 million rebuilds. The people who own them are not going to allow Bellevue’s City Council to upzone the neighborhood. It just won’t happen in our lifetimes. Too many people would lose an ambience they paid a lot of money to obtain.

        This is true throughout northwest neighborhoods that are zoned for stand-alone single-family housing. The people living in them don’t have any objection to people of color moving into one the neighboring houses, but they DO object to one of those houses becoming a multi-family building for all sorts of reasons, in Seattle especially parking. Some of those “reasons” are fantasies, but they still have effects in the real world.

      10. The street grid to the west [of South Bellevue Station] is connected to South Bellevue Way at only two roundabout places. Only people on two long north-south streets with no connections to the west could actually walk to the TC.

        OK, good point, although it doesn’t quite as bad as you suggest. There is a pedestrian path on 28th place, which gives access to some of the houses to the west (https://goo.gl/maps/b5aD68zLMvA2FHCx8). The problem with this station have nothing to do with the freeway, or even the fact that people drive too fast on that road. It is the fact that it abuts a green belt, and the grid is all messed up. The green belt removes half the potential walk-up riders. The street grid removes another quarter (those who live northwest of the station).

        This is in contrast to freeway stations, where much of the potential walk-up ridership is taken away by the freeway itself. It is an essentially empty block (or north-south set of blocks) that will never be developed.

        The people who own the [nice houses] are not going to allow Bellevue’s City Council to upzone the neighborhood.

        Maybe not in Bellevue, but they could, and should in Seattle. A majority of people in Seattle now rent. There are a lot of wealthy people that live in really nice houses in Portland, and yet Portland changed their zoning for the entire city. So instead of new McMansions, they will build small apartments and row houses.

        Oh, and of course Seattle actually *did* allow some very nice single family neighborhoods to change. It is just that they have been doing so in tiny bits, and allowing six story buildings, not just low rise.

      11. Whistler may not have transit but Grouse Mountan does. When I went there in the late 90s or early 00s, there was a local bus from Lonsdale Quay to northern suburbs and terminated at the ski area parking lot. It was summer but you could still take the ski lift up to the park. Then you could hang around and picnic, or and watch an IMAX movie about the First Peoples, or buy overpriced concessions. The return bus ran until mid-evening after the park closed. It didn’t go to Lonsdale Quay so I asked the driver how to get back to Vancouver. He had me transfer in a residential area to another route that went into the city.

        South Bellevue Station exists for the P&R. It wouldn’t have been added otherwise. The P&R is there to keep it out of downtown Bellevue. If you want to have a P&R it should be outside the city center, even if it requires an additional dedicated station. That’s better than having a garage downtown as Renton and Burien do. Downtown garages cut the walkshed and displace destinations that could have been there instead. Since it is a throwaway P&R station, I’m not concerned whether it has TOD or not. There never was going to be TOD adjacent to Mercer Slough and lake-view Enatai. ST may have designed the station so part of the parking could be converted to housing later (as I think it did with TIB), but that would require the Bellevue City Council to make a decision I don’t think it’s politically ready for.

      12. “Notice how “car-sharing” imploded when Uber and Lyft made cheap taxis possible by breaking the medallion monopolies.”

        Let’s see if car sharing comes back, now that the city has driven up the cost of Uber and Lyft to be no cheaper than the taxis they replaced. The higher the per mile rate of Uber and Lyft, the less far you have to go before a rental car becomes cheaper. It’s just simple math.

      13. Ross, OK. I did not see that. That definitely opens up quite a bit more of the neighborhood to the west to walk-up.

        Mike, I didn’t mention the Wetland because I just figured everyone knew about it after the big frou-frou about the City Council’s “alternative” that crossed it and ran next to the freeway.

        asdf2, yes we will see.

      14. I wasn’t sure what Tom meant by car sharing, the terminology between car sharing and ride sharing is confusing and sounds like the same thing. But if it means car rentals like Zipcar, they fulfill a different purpose than single-trip taxis:

        1. If you take it on a round trip, it’s guaranteed to be there when you’re ready to return.
        2. You can carry bulky items in it. We used it for trips to Costco or to take things to Goodwill, the dump, and Re-PC.
        3. You can take an elderly relative and a couple others on an excursion to e.g. Snoqualmie Falls where riding in a non-taxi is part of the experience.
        4. You can go outside the service area or to places that don’t have a sufficient number of Uber drivers. We took if for a two-day trip to Aberdeen and Ocean Shores, and drove around Aberdeen a few times while we were there. I’ve thought about taking it to the MMA tournaments in the outskirts of Arlington.

      15. Yeah, the terminology is confusing. Carshare can be two things, so far as I know. One is point to point rental (similar to bikeshare). You pick up a car somewhere, drive it somewhere else, and leave it there. This is similar to calling a cab.

        In my opinion, that type of car share is bound to struggle, as it has to fit a niche market. Like bike share, you need lots of vehicles everywhere to be successful. Unlike bike share, it doesn’t work well with transit, nor does it scale. It isn’t that hard to find parking spaces for bikes, even in the busiest of cities. It is difficult to find free parking spaces for cars. It only works in that in between world — not too urban, but just urban enough.

        The other type is a short term car rental (less than a full day). Traditional rental car companies started getting into this business. Often they will pick you up (whether you rent for a day or less). This is a solid business, and just an extension of something that has been around for a long time.

        I don’t see cost being a big factor when it comes to picking a mode. If you want to go from point to point, a cab is a solid option. You don’t have to deal with parking, and you know that you can be served from both places.

        If you are going out of town, renting a car makes a lot more sense (assuming you have a driver’s license and are over 25). It can be pricey, but calling a cab both ways tends to more expensive. It is also more convenient when you want to go home.

        I don’t see increasing Uber/Lyft costs changing the market very much, other than maybe more people will move towards traditional (regulated) cab companies a bit, especially as third party taxi-cab apps (e. g. https://gocurb.com/) gain in popularity.

    2. I agree the suburbs are doing pretty well, but Ross is correct that they are usually starting from a lower base. For example, I really like what Mountlake Terrace is doing, as they are facilitating the redevelopment of a half dozen full blocks of SF homes. But at the end, the MT walkshed will just have the density of an average, non-downtown Seattle neighborhood. Spring District census block I believe had literally zero population – it was all industrial uses – which makes for a much easier up zone.

      Also, Seattle’s planned growth in the downtown core and in U-District are pretty massive, both in % and absolute terms. Only Bellevue’s downtown is remotely comparable, and Bellevue continues to add jobs faster than population.

      For south King, I think the disparity is driven more by economics than zoning. SeaTac, Tukwilla, and Kent have solid plans, but the rents don’t yet justify redevelopment. A useful anecdote is Issaquah commissioned a study in ~2018 that showed that even where 5+1 construction was allowed in central Issaquah, market rents didn’t yet justify the higher cost of vertical mixed use, so Issquah was only seeing single use residential. The city actually had a development moratorium to block the residential only development because they want to sort out how to improve the rules to create the desired, but more expensive to build, mixed used. This was in contrast to Kirkland or Redmond, where (according to the study) identical zoning codes would result in vertical mixed use because market rents were high enough. The rents in south King as much lower than Issaquah.

      South King as a few nice redevelopments, it will just take longer to emerge. I thought Alaska’s new HQ building was a nice step forward for Angle Lake, and the Airmark Apartments is a sign of potential around Tukwilla’s Sounder station. The COVID recession might stir some of the long-term surface parking lots to explore redevelopment.

      1. Why is a car share better than a ride share like Uber/Lyft? Two of the main benefits of a ride share is it picks you up where you are, and you don’t have to worry about parking.

      2. Daniel, car share is not for commuting, it’s for trips to the country or a beach that has hourly transit, to Home Depot or Ikea or when a normally solo person has several friends. And in almost 100% of those trips, “you don’t have to worry about parking.”

        It would be stupid to commute with ride share. The hourly charge would kill you.

      3. Sorry, “car share” in the last paragraph. Ride share commuting would be smart for some people in some cases.

      4. What does a car share cost? I have never used one. Is it cheaper or more expensive than a rental car through a company like Alamo? What about liability and comprehensive insurance?

    3. Again the suburbs scoop Seattle. Shoreline and South King County have full BAT lanes in their parts of the A and E. Seattle has no new or enlarged urban village as big as the Spring District outside downtown/SLU, unless the U-District enlargement is comparable.

      Vancouver has highrise clusters around New Westminster stations. Why doesn’t Seattle have the same at Northgate, Capitol Hill, Roosevelt, and Mt Baker?

      1. The immediate walkshed of the U-District is probably denser now and will add more density in the 2020s than the immediate walkshed of the Spring District, but the Bellevue-Redmond urban corridor, served by 6 East Link stations, will absorb by far the most growth of anything in the region outside of Seattle’s urban core.

      2. See my comments up above. If you listed the stations by potential density, you would start with four Seattle stations (downtown) followed by one station in (downtown) Bellevue, then a station in Seattle (UW). The difference between stations like the Spring District, Roosevelt, Capitol Hill is pretty small, except that the Spring District also has offices (not just residences). Then you have other Seattle stations in the middle. Towards the bottom you have freeway stations (in Seattle and elsewhere).

        In terms of changes in zoning, the worst, by far, is South Bellevue. Not only did it not upzone, but it is extremely low density — lower density than a typical Seattle neighborhood, let alone one that has a Link station. You want towers in South Bellevue — I would settle for a few low slung apartments.

        Oh, and my guess is Seattle has more BAT lanes per capita than any other city in Washington.

      3. The E line flow was helped by several governments: Shoreline, Seattle, WSDOT, and Metro. On the A Line, most of the outside lanes are HOV; they may be shifted to BAT. Seattle has installed BAT for part of the D line, provided transit priority on 3rd Avenue, bus lanes on Wall-Battery, Spring, Midvale, Columbia; they will do more. Seattle has growth on Rainier, MLK, First Hill, SLU, Uptown, Ballard, Roosevelt, Northgate, and the U District. The market is responding to Totem Lake after a long delay. Shoreline, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Redmond, and Burien all have growth.

      4. Even just applying RSL zoning to the neighborhood west the S Bellevue station would be helpful. Bellevue also lags most of its east side neighbors in (D)ADU regulations.

      5. Re lack of BAT lanes, I was mostly thinking of 15th Ave W, Elliott Ave W, and Aurora, All of them bog down peak hours. Aurora has some transit priority for a few blocks here and there, but no continuous lane like in Shoreline and South King County.

      6. Re lack of BAT lanes, I was mostly thinking of 15th Ave W, Elliott Ave W, and Aurora, All of them bog down peak hours. Aurora has some transit priority for a few blocks here and there, but no continuous lane like in Shoreline and South King County.

        Yeah, I get it, but my point is that you are cherry picking. Shoreline is a small city, and its only major road is Aurora. It just so happens that in Shoreline, the road is extremely wide, and there is (or at least was) very little there. They redid the roads, and part of that included adding BAT lanes, while retaining two lanes of traffic both ways, and huge turn lanes, often with two lanes (https://goo.gl/maps/CNNmGPb97ZwPJbFy6).

        Seattle could do the same, but it isn’t worth the investment. They would rather put their money into downtown, or other areas (especially the pinch points, like Denny for the 8, or around any of the draw bridges). Hell, there aren’t even sidewalks on huge swaths of Aurora. This isn’t a matter of attitude (Shoreline doesn’t value transit any more than Seattle) it is a matter of priority. Aurora is the most important street for Shoreline — it is simply one of many big streets in Seattle. Shoreline made a huge investment in Aurora (and I think it worked out great) while Seattle has a lot more areas that are higher priority.

        It is easy to assume that all you have to do is “add paint”, but it usually takes more work than that (Shoreline spent a bunch of money redoing Aurora). The reason Seattle has BAT lanes “here and there” is because those are the cheap investments. Adding more would cost more, and there are more important areas for Seattle.

      7. Argg — I forgot to close the bold tag. I meant to bold only the phrase “while retaining two lanes of traffic both ways”. I probably should have only put the bold tag around “retaining”, since my point was that Shoreline didn’t take a lane.

    4. It’s less controversial to redevelop an area that doesn’t have a lot of existing single-family homes regardless of jurisdiction. Zoning is an incremental policy choice in most cases.

      It’s why it’s impressive what Shoreline is doing. Although other cities are adding density, most of their stations are already planned to be adjacent to to fully within non-residential areas.

      Certainly areas that have been commercial or industrial will be less controversial to redevelop at a higher density. Then, that development becomes a matter of real estate economics.

      1. I’m not impressed with what any Puget Sound city has done. They are all taking the same, failed approach. They rezone tiny slivers of their city. In the case of Shoreline, their rezone is close to a station, but that also means it is close to the freeway. They are spending a bundle on BRT that will run on 145th, but I don’t see any type of rezone there. At most, Shoreline will have three stops (one by the station, one on 15th and one on 25th). 15th is already zoned commercial. So that means they really only have one station that could be upzoned, and so far as I know, nothing will happen. The stop at 25th is going to undergo further study, which means it could easily be dropped. That means that Shoreline will have lost the chance to give hundreds of their citizens a very fast ride to Link, as well as Kenmore (and other SR 522 destinations). These are all single family houses, and almost all on huge lots (over 8,000 square feet). This is an extremely low density area. I would not expect Shoreline to have huge buildings there, but they could at least have row houses, if not low slung apartments.

        I don’t want to pick on Shoreline. They are doing the same thing every Puget Sound city — including Seattle — is doing. What they should do is what Portland has done. Simply changing all the property to low rise would do more to lower housing costs, increase density, and increase transit use than all of these teeny-tiny (but tall) upzones.

      2. I think it’s both/and. The midrise up zones around most Link and Stride stations are great, and the occasional high-rise up zone is also good. Both of these up zones should generally be placed adjacent to good transit.

        In addition to all that, we should have broad up-zones to allow denser lowrise (1~3.5 story) development pretty much everywhere. This is happening gradually – several suburbs have made solid changes to ADU rules recently – but the strong steps that Portland & Minneapolis are making would be very helpful.

      3. Shoreline also zoned urban villages around all its E line stops.

        It is not much different than Seattle. They allow a lot of apartments on Aurora. Seattle allows apartments on Greenwood, while Shoreline has them on Westminster Way. There may be a better zoning map for Shoreline, but this one works: https://shoreline.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=0d3bff120e054f8b81e0ca8681351d08, you just need to click on “Zoning Designation” under the layers symbol. Here is something similar for Seattle: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=f822b2c6498c4163b0cf908e2241e9c2.

      4. I think it’s both/and.

        I agree completely AJ. I have no problems with the new (tall) construction around the Link Stations, or anywhere else for that matter. But if we *also* adopted zoning reform like Portland, it would make a huge difference in terms of overall population density, affordability and transit ridership (which would in turn improve transit quality). I would argue a bigger difference, but that’s a moot point. We aren’t going to do away with the “urban villages” and downzone those areas if we adopt a more widespread change. Those areas will have big buildings. The only question is whether the rest of the city — the vast majority of land in the city — will allow low rise development.

  3. https://www.aawa.us/news/posts/restoring-cascades-service-levels/

    If my late wife had lived to see the piece of negligent homicide AKA the end of Cascades Train 501, the two of us might very well been killed. For a long time, she’d been a member of “All Aboard Washington.” And she often spoke of how beautiful the sight of that waterfront stretch south of Tacoma was.

    Health-wise, probably not a good idea for me to be at either Dupont Grocery near the Clark Road crossing, or at the rail/bus center in the middle of town. With a sign demanding that the track-length between Lakewood Station and Dupont Station be thirty miles an hour max.

    I’m pretty sure this morning’s readership includes at least one BN locomotive driver, to give me a “confirm or deny” as to this: Whether that section gets run at seventy or thirty, how late of a train would I be talking about- like maybe NONE?

    And another modest suggestion. You don’t haul Passenger #1 south of that bridge until every single curve gets modified to take the curse of Death off that steel. Starting with getting those alerts and alarms on board those locomotives in their driver’s cabs, to prevent future occurrences. “Cab Signals”. I know they USED to work.

    But main thing that needs changing. Salah Al-Tamimi, the agency’s chief safety officer, was removed from his position. Can somebody convince me why Sound Transit should keep the official at the head of this subordinate’s chain of command gets to stay at HIS desk?

    For a demand, I want these “unconditionals.” Before BN 101 next clears the yard southbound, I want every curve on the whole line modernized. With Salah Al-Tamimi in the driver’s seat, hand on the throttle.

    Like with deep-ocean commercial sailing and also flying, railroading is attended by vindictive spirits with a razor-thin assemblage of wrongs and rights.

    Mark Dublin

  4. After ST3 I saw some discussion of why Renton hadn’t pushed harder (or really at all) to be included in the region’s rail system. It’s by far the biggest city in the region without current or future planned rail service, has a fair amount of employment, and is trying to densify quite a bit. Looking at the map I noticed the rail right-of-way that branches off from the Sounder corridor and goes straight into Downtown Renton. Would it be feasible to run passenger service (say, DMUs) on that corridor between Downtown Renton and King Street Station? I’m sure a lot of work would have to be done and perhaps there are major freight conflicts but it must be a significantly smaller lift than building an entirely new rail line.

    1. Renton was included in one of the Forward Thrust measures. The Renton line near downtown once connected with the Woodinville subdivision. the BNSFRR may have wanted to retain it. All-day two-way South Sounder?

    2. Technically feasible – those are active train lines that bring in fuselages to the Boeing plant a few times a week – but unlikely. BNSF owns the trackage so Sound Transit would need to acquire the time slots. Time slots on the spur might be cheap, but not slots on the main line to get to King Streets.

      1. It’s hard to negotiate with BNSF without getting fleeced when you need their tracks far more than they need your money.

      2. The thing that makes Sounder expensive is the use of crews for one way, once a day trips. Being able to use them all day would result in a much better price per trip.

        There’s a fair amount of capacity King Street to the junction too.

        Really, it shouldn’t be that bad.

      3. There’s that to. If every Sounder train requires somebody to drive a van down I-5, just to pick up the crew members and take them back to Tacoma, that’s a lot of vehicle miles and a lot of labor.

        Also, I don’t know what the Sounder crew size is, but if its greater than one, that makes the service hard to scale down efficiently when demand is lower.

        But, it still ultimately comes down to BNSF demanding huge sums of money per trip. Without BNSF, we could run one car trains crewed by just one driver both directions all day long, supplemented by longer trains during rush hour. With BNSF, the marginal cost of running any train is prohibitive unless you can get hundreds of people on it. So, the service becomes rush hour only, in spite of its inefficiencies.

      4. Yeah Sounder isn’t a good mode for the ridership on this corridor. Even South Sounder won’t match Link’s farebox recovery until it’s running 10-car trains with nearly 1K riders per run.

        The ‘short DMU shuttle’ is an interesting option if the ROW is already publicly owned, but it isn’t here. Once place where that operating pattern might emerge is Dupont to Tacoma; I could see after TDLE opens ST run an all day shuttle between Dupont and Tacoma Dome serving the Lakewood & S Tacoma stations, since the stations and trackage will already exist and be fully owned by ST. Renton, unfortunately, isn’t comparable.

    3. The lack of transit vision in Renton is astounding, but not particularly surprising. The city leadership seems content with the buses they have, but only as long as they can get them as far away from people as possible. i.e. at the new South Renton transit center they are going to build. Unless that whole stretch of single family homes to the north get upzoned it will be a waste.

      I still maintain is in the wrong place! It should have been at the Sam’s club, adjacent to the freeway, where they might have been able to build some sort of inline station for 405 BRT, and convenient for buses going up Benson. Oh well, at least it will be close to Walmart.. oh.. wait…

      1. I don’t have a strong opinion on the mega-garage site for Renton. I think that the mistake was not first designing an ultimate bus-direct-access Stride “station” — and then determining the correct site. I even wonder whether a scandal about a real estate deal could emerge.

        And I predict that in a few decades, the garage will morph into something else and ST will roll out a better project for Renton.

      2. Given ST’s has decided Stride should prioritized speed & reliability over coverage, I think the best outcome for Renton is ultimately to have an inline freeway station (or two) and service to Renton itself mostly provided by bus connections. That would make Stride in Renton looks most like Stride elsewhere on 405.

        WSDOT is planning a direct access ramp at exit 5. If that was to include a Stride station, like at exit 7 (44th), the F could be extended to terminate/turn back at that interchange.

        Additionally, a station at a non-interchange, like at Brickyard or TIBS, would be great. A station over Benson would be good. I could also see a station a Lind (not sure if Renton has TOD plans along Grady) or perhaps a station near 4th & Main (the elevation is tricky, but then you have downtown within the walkshed, rather than a perpendicular bus transfer)

        An advantage of Stride over Link is that infill stations can be added with minimal disruption to operations. If I was Renton, I’d be angling for at least 3 Stride infill station – exit 5, something serving downtown directly, and something near-ish the new TC – and partner with Tukwilla, who should be pitching an infill station around Andover to serve Southcenter … ideally including a bus-only crossing for the F to cross over 405.

        My vision would be for the RR-F to have 5 good transfers with Stride: Burien TC, TIBS, Southcenter, Lind, and exit 5. So even though the F is circuitous and slow, most of the route would be only a few stops away from a Stride station, so the F simply needs good frequency to give that whole area strong connections to Stride & onward to the rest of the region.

      3. Given ST’s has decided Stride should prioritized speed & reliability over coverage, I think the best outcome for Renton is ultimately to have an inline freeway station (or two) and service to Renton itself mostly provided by bus connections. That would make Stride in Renton looks most like Stride elsewhere on 405.

        Yeah, but what does Renton actually lose by having the bus actually serve part of Renton (instead of the freeway)? So far as I can tell, the only disadvantage for Renton is that the bus might be less frequent. This seems to be minor, really, given the huge distance the bus covers. Meanwhile, some people gain a one seat ride to Bellevue. It seems like the only people who are hurt with the Renton detour are folks who don’t live or visit Renton. If you are coming from Burien or TIBS, you will likely hate the little trip through Renton on the way to Bellevue. I’m not saying it is the best setup, I’m saying if anything, it favors Renton over just having a I-405 bus.

        The best approach would be to run more buses, and not worry about a freeway station in Renton. Just run buses from various parts of Renton to Bellevue. The 405 bus would skip Renton. Both buses would stop at NE 44th, to serve the handful of people who are going from Burien or Tukwila to Renton. (Right now only 67 riders a day ride the 560 to Renton from the west, and most of that is probably SeaTac riders).

        The best part of freeway stations is that they allow for transfers on overlapping routes. Otherwise they suck. We are better off with several overlapping routes that go from the neighborhoods to the freeway, along with a handful of freeway stations for transfers. It costs more in service, but a lot of these stations aren’t cheap to build.

      4. For sure, Renton doesn’t loose by having part of route get off the freeway – it’s the riders trying to pass through Renton that lose. Right now, that’s very low, but the Stride stations at TIBS and Burien are very different that the current 560 routing, so I’m keep to see how they preform. If Stride takes a 20 minute detour through Renton city streets and no one rides from Burien all the way to Bellevue, I don’t think we’ve learned anything.

        So yeah, Stride could just skip south Renton. That’s why the Exit 5 direct access ramps are so compelling to me, because it’s a very short extension of the F, whereas going all the way to 44th is a much longer extension for the F (or another route).

        Could go the other way and have Stride simply exit a S Renton and follow the 560 route through Renton and get back on the freeway at exit 5, or even all the way to 44th. I don’t know if that’s better or worse, it’s just different. If ‘urban’ Renton was booming, or if Renton was like Lynnwood pining to be the next Bellevue, that might be really compelling, but then I’d want investment in BAT lanes all the way through Renton, akin to Kenmore and Bothell. But sure – if Renton agitated for Stride to through-route through Renton, that would be a coherent plan.

        But my preference is to keep Stride on 405 fast and linear; that’s the approach for 405-North. Right now, Renton (aside from 44th) doesn’t have a good way to plug into that sort of Stride network, so would require further investment. The stations that don’t require an interchange rebuild are reasonably cheap.

        Either way – will the S Renton station be useful for buses coming from the south?

      5. That’s why the Exit 5 direct access ramps are so compelling to me, because it’s a very short extension of the F, whereas going all the way to 44th is a much longer extension for the F (or another route).

        You wouldn’t extend any route to 44th. There is nothing at 44th — its just a freeway station.

        What you do is run a second bus from Renton all the way to downtown Bellevue (stopping at 44th). Those riders get a one seat ride to Bellevue. Then the 405 Stride skips Renton, but stops at 44th. So people in Renton are better off (one seat ride from their neighborhood to downtown Bellevue) and people on 405 are better off (no delay to Renton). The only people that lose are those trying to get from Renton to Burien or TIBS. There are very few people trying to make that trip, and they still have a two seat ride, via 44th. That’s really the big value in freeway stations — they allow for transfers, both reverse direction and same direction (although in this case, with all buses going to downtown Bellevue, there would be no same direction transfers).

        Yes, this means more service, but the cost of a freeway station will pay for a lot of service. It just doesn’t make sense to invest huge sums of money on infrastructure when you can’t justify running additional buses. It is crazy that we are thinking of building things like Issaquah to South Kirkland rail, when places like Issaquah and Renton just need better bus service.

      6. If you have Stride skip the new south renton transit center, what is the best way for someone to get from there to Link?

        Is this not a concern?

        It seems to me that someone getting on the bus at South Renton has a straight shot via 405 to the TIBS station which, for some people, could be convenient.

      7. Either way – will the S Renton station be useful for buses coming from the south?

        That brings up another point. The 566 detours to serve Renton. The 567 skips it, and goes directly to Bellevue. Again, very few people are going from Auburn and Kent to Renton (about 75 a day). Almost everyone is headed to Bellevue. Rightly or wrongly, a huge amount of money was spent making that trip from Auburn or Kent to Bellevue faster (for buses and carpools). Getting to Renton is a challenge. There should just be an all-day express bus from Renton to downtown Bellevue (similar to the 101). The bus from Kent and Auburn should skip Renton, every time. Both buses would stop at NE 44th. The riders going from Kent and Auburn to Renton can take the 160 or transfer at NE 44th.

      8. Oh that’s interesting. So just drop S Renton from the Stride network but run a totally separate route (STX?) from S Renton TC through Renton to Bellevue TC. If the riders heading ‘to’ S Renton are minimal, that could be a good operating pattern.

        Direct access ramps at exit 5 would still be a nice improvement for the Renton only route, and other improvements like an inline Stride station at Lind for a Stride-F transfer would be useful under either operating pattern.

        But jas still offers a compelling counter point. The S Renton to TIBS connection is useful for many trips. Sure the 101 is a more direct connection to central Seattle, but TIBS connects better to SeaTac and elsewhere on the ‘spine.’ I’m guessing you’d argue a Renton bus to Rainier Beach is better than anything to TIBS? Still feels like there is a good policy goal of creating better transit connections within south King, even though the demand is mostly going to the larger job centers in Seattle and Bellevue. S Renton TC may not be convenient for Stride, but if it’s a transfer nexus for local routes, then it’s something Stride should strive to serve. (pun intended)

        A system that solely optimizes ridership is going to end up with great express service to Seattle/Bellevue and medicore service within SKC.

      9. The problem with routing the 101 or 150 to TIB is it would cause backtracking for northbound riders. BAR will be in a better position to intercept buses. Also, both the 101 and 106 corridors are necessary, because the 101 has several apartment buildings that are a long hilly walk from any other bus route.

        Metro’s 2040 plan, for whatever it’s worth now, has four bus routes serving Boeing Access Road Station.
        1. Extend the A to BAR. (Requested by Tukwila.)
        2. A 150-like route. (Kent-Rainier Beach.)
        3. A 107-like route. (Renton, Rainier View, E Marginal Way, 4th Ave S, to downtown)
        4. A coverage route from Des Moines (200th & 1st Ave S) to Military Rd/42nd Ave S, Rainier View, and Rainier Beach Station.

      10. I still don’t understand where they think they’re actually going to *build* BAR. There’s zero spots on that stretch of track that make any sense that I’ve been able to see.

      11. One solution for Renton->TIBS could be a straighter F-line that just stayed on Grady Way/Southcenter Blvd., without all the meandering that the current F-line does. It can have stops along the way, it just needs to go in a straight line.

      12. A rider can go from Rainier Beach Link Station to the current Renton TC on Route 106. It’s an excruciatingly slow bus that takes about 24 minutes to make the trip. The overall route length makes it somewhat unreliable. The same amount of time on Route 101 would get a rider to at least SODO.

        A private car can drive on Henderson and Rainier Ave or simply down MLK into Renton and make the trip between Rainier Beach Station and the Renton TC in 10 minutes.

        If a second Stride Line goes into the new South Renton Garage, it could make sense to just continue it to feed into Link at Rainier Beach or BAR Link Station using limited stops. Then, there would be a south Lake Washington Stride loop running through Renton with faster access to much of the region with just one transfer.

      13. I don’t remember seeing anything from ST about this, so please forgive me if this has already been covered.

        Assuming Stride doesn’t skip the South Renton Transit Center, I’d like to see Northbound stride buses get off at the hwy167/rainier ave exit, proceed to a stop on the south side of Grady Way directly across from the transit center, and get on the freeway at the Benson onramp.

        Southbound Stride should do the inverse with a stop on the north side of Grady.

        It’s not as good as an inline highway station, but ought to be better than having the bus meander through the transit center every time.

        Some sort of pedestrian bridge, or walkway underpass, would be in order to help pedestrians make that trip to the south side of Grady.

      14. So just drop S Renton from the Stride network but run a totally separate route (STX?) from S Renton TC through Renton to Bellevue TC.

        Exactly.

        If the riders heading ‘to’ S Renton are minimal, that could be a good operating pattern.

        We know, based on history, that it is pretty small. The existing buses serve Renton really well, and cause a delay for those headed to Bellevue; but it doesn’t matter, way more people go to Bellevue. In any event, riders would still have a good way of getting there. They would simply transfer at NE 44th.

        Direct access ramps at exit 5 would still be a nice improvement for the Renton only route

        Yes, absolutely.

        and other improvements like an inline Stride station at Lind for a Stride-F transfer would be useful under either operating pattern.

        I suppose, but most of those riders would just transfer from the the F to the Renton Express. The buses would overlap from the Renton TC to the Landing (which is fine, especially if the area continues to grow). For that matter, you could probably just extend the F to go to downtown Bellevue. My guess is it would only add about 15 minutes (since the F ends very close to the freeway) and there would only be one stop before downtown Bellevue.

        The S Renton to TIBS connection is useful for many trips.

        Not really, but imagine it is. Are those trips in Renton within walking distance to a freeway station? Of course not. So people have to transfer. That means every bus in Renton has to serve the freeway station to be very useful. Buses like the 101, 105, 106 — buses that serve the neighborhood (as well as go well outside it) have to get close to the freeway.

        In essence, you’ve moved the transit center next to the freeway. This is a bad idea. I realize it doesn’t make much difference if the center consists of a park and ride, and nothing more. But your transit center should also be the center of that community. The three best transit centers (although they aren’t called that) are downtown Seattle, downtown Bellevue and the UW. Not because it is easier to transfer, but because there is so much at the transfer point. The hope is that Renton will build up around the transit center — it is hard to do if it abuts the freeway.

        Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to freeway stations. I think they can serve a very important purpose. If you have a major crossing corridor (e. g. 130th) then they are great. They are also great for transfers from freeway buses (same direction or reverse direction). I would feel differently about the situation if there was not freeway station at NE 44th. That would mean people would have to transfer in Bellevue to get from Burien to Renton. That would be a big transfer. But that isn’t the case. There will be a freeway station at 44th, and we don’t need to build another one. We need to take advantage of it, and the bus network I outlined would do that.

        Still feels like there is a good policy goal of creating better transit connections within south King, even though the demand is mostly going to the larger job centers in Seattle and Bellevue.

        Yeah, I hear you. To a certain extent, that’s what the F is for. An express version of the F isn’t worth it to me, and neither is spending a bunch of money on another freeway station and sending all the Renton buses there. I also think the Boeing Access Road Station should be designed as a freeway station. That would mean that the 101 — which performs quite well for a freeway bus — would connect easily to Link. That gives you a big speed improvement for Renton to Rainier Beach. It also gives you Renton to SeaTac. Although that would require a substantial amount of backtracking for some, others (e. g. here: https://goo.gl/maps/6BwVmwTHQqTqWRcVA) come out way ahead. Instead of going south to Renton, picking up Stride to TIBS, then taking Link to SeaTac, you just make one bus to Link.

        The only trip that comes out behind is Burien to Renton. I just don’t think that is worth it, especially since it would still happen. For those riders, the current plan is ideal, while everything else (everything we are talking about) is worse. Imagine we build a freeway station at Exit 5. If you are at the Landing, you ride the (extended) F to a freeway, then Stride to Burien. If the F is extended to Bellevue, then you make that transfer at NE 44th. That is a minor difference for very few people.

      15. If a second Stride Line goes into the new South Renton Garage, it could make sense to just continue it to feed into Link at Rainier Beach or BAR Link Station using limited stops. Then, there would be a south Lake Washington Stride loop running through Renton with faster access to much of the region with just one transfer.

        Wouldn’t it make sense to just make the 106 faster, by putting it on a stop diet? It looks to me like the 106 route (using Renton Avenue) is about as fast as any way to get from Renton to Rainier Beach Station (https://goo.gl/maps/rwcMxfw3GTgy1YG2A). A simple stop diet would speed up trips between Rainier Valley and Renton (as well as places along the way), while the 101 continues to be the express to downtown (and other Link destinations). A quick glance at the route looks like there are plenty of places where the stops are too close together. As with our entire system, it would be nice to do away with paying in the front (and delaying the entire bus in the process). Fare verification along with a reader/fare box in the middle of the bus would likely speed things up significantly. I just don’t think you have enough demand for an express (since most of those potential riders would just take the 101).

      16. Sounds like a good STX route. Only reason I’d be keen to create that F connection (at Lind or Exit 5) is this proposed Renton-Bellevue STX route likely won’t have the same span of service as the F or Stride, and so Renton might not have a good connection to Bellevue midday/evening/weekends. But I guess ST could just run the STX route on a longer span of service until that connection is established, and then trim it back based upon what the data says ridership supports.

      17. Sure there may not be a lot of trips to Renton currently, but why the disbelief in the possibility that people who live in Renton might benefit from (and want) all day quick access via the South Renton Transit Center and Stride to Link at TIBS; which then gives easy access to the airport, and points south, after Stride and the Link extensions to Federal Way and Tacoma come online?

        In other words a slow bus ride is not as good an incentive to ride as having to take only one bus which takes the freeway to the next stop at an inline freeway station.

      18. why the disbelief in the possibility that people who live in Renton might benefit from (and want) all day quick access via the South Renton Transit Center and Stride to Link at TIBS; which then gives easy access to the airport, and points south, after Stride and the Link extensions to Federal Way and Tacoma come online?

        Of course people in Renton will benefit from the express bus to TIBS. But very few people. This is based on existing trip data. Check out page 144 of the latest Sound Transit Service report: https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/2020-service-implementation-plan.pdf. It lists the pre-COVID numbers for the 560. The 560 connects to SeaTac and Burien, not just TIBS and Burien. Not only that, but it continues to Westwood Village, which has almost as many eastbound riders as Burien (84 versus 95). Clearly this is better, for Renton, than what they will soon implement. Yet only a small fraction of the riders from the west bother to get off in Renton. An eastbound bus only drops off 67 people at the Renton Transit Center, and 101 if you include all the other stops in Renton. Bellevue has over 600.

        Of course the numbers will go up as frequency increases. But a bus that carries less than 20 people a trip will not carry a lot more than that, especially when it happens to trade its third most popular stop (SeaTac) for a spot along the freeway (TIBS). There just aren’t that many people making trips from West Seattle to Burien, or Westwood, or SeaTac, despite the direction connection. There won’t be that many when they have to make a transfer.

        Just look at page 145. Look at how almost every bus has ridership in the teens. Now consider that almost everyone — including people that boarded at Renton — are just headed to Bellevue. It just doesn’t add up to many people making the type of trip you envision. Again, those riders would still be able to make that trip. They would simply transfer at NE 44th. People do this sort of transfer all the time. It is the nature of a hub and spoke system. To get from the main campus of South Seattle College to the Georgetown campus, you transfer downtown, or deal with the 60, which works its way through South Park. That’s life.

        Off the top of my head I can think of better uses of transit money *for Renton* than infatuating over long distance trips via Link. For example, how about running the 240 twice as often. It runs about as often as the 560, but gets way more riders. It performs well for a suburban bus — by far the best bus in the area that doesn’t go downtown. Why spend all this money hoping that people will ride a new version of a bus that gets very few riders, instead of simply increasing frequency on a proven winner?

    4. Renton is somewhat a victim of subarea politics. Whether it’s light rail from TIBS or a shuttle from BAR or Rainier Beach, Renton is in a different subarea than Tukwila or Skyway or of course Seattle is.

      It’s also a victim of rapid growth and demographic change through annexation. It takes a few decades for a city’s leaders to understand what it means to go from 50K to over 100k in 20 years — and to fathom what it means to have an adult population is now 30 percent foreign born or majority minorities.

      Merely studying a rail shuttle — or perhaps a single-track connector line in the median of MLK —just won’t happen until Renton reimagines itself.

  5. https://publicola.com/2021/01/14/tunnel-option-back-on-the-table-plus-updates-on-homeless-authority-and-vaccinating-unsheltered-people/

    Excerpt:
    At Sound Transit’s system expansion committee meeting tomorrow, agency staff will present new numbers showing a greatly reduced cost differential between the elevated and tunnel options for light rail between Ballard and West Seattle, according to multiple sources. Previous cost estimates indicated that various tunnel options could add well over a billion dollars to the cost of the project; if the difference turns out to be negligible, a tunnel alignment might start looking better and better.

    1. Feels like the reporter is speculating that the tunnel will look more favorable. Since the elevated alignments mostly follow the street grid, I don’t think the ROW difference is that profound – tunnels still require staging areas and station access – to close the gap with tunneling. We shall see.

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