A documentary on how the east/west division of Berlin during the Cold War affected its trains.

70 Replies to “Weekend open thread: Trains and the Berlin Wall”

  1. I notice some of the same commenters that decry running Link up 14th in Ballard because it misses the center of town by a 1/2 of a mile, and is adjacent to low density single family neighborhoods, support running Link up the Cross Kirkland Corridor, which is 1/2 mile from the center of town, and is adjacent to low density single family neighborhoods.

    1. A good plan to serve downtown Kirkland using the CKC should involve departing from the CKC close to downtown Kirkland. That was an advantage of the BRT alternatives, because buses can simply use city streets for the ‘last mile,’ but even with Link a ‘tram’ extension departing the CKC around 6th St could work well, with the CKC still providing several miles of cheap ROW (Google says 2.4 miles from South Kirkland P&R to 6th street via the CKC, in addition to the ~2 miles from S Kirkland to the OMF junction).

      That’s one of the reasons ST ended up keeping Stride on 405. Using the CKC exclusively wouldn’t serve downtown Kirkland much better than the freeway station at 85th, and departing from the CKC to serve the Kirkland TC would create too much of a delay for through-riders. So I would argue that the CKC is still very a promising alignment to serve Kirkland itself, but Stride on 405 will remain the ‘spine’ for moving between between Bellevue and Bothell/Snohomish county for the long term, regardless of what investment goes into the CKC.

      As for Ballard, this is why the best elevated alignment ideas I’ve seen are to use 14th as the bridge approach but turn left at Market before starting the station so the station itself is closer the heart of Ballard. This would be the equivalent of following the CKC but then turning left at 6th to get closer to downtown.

      Alternatively, if the station ends up at 14th, upzone accordingly. This would be akin to what Kirkland is doing with the Rose Hill neighborhood, bringing density to the future station location rather than bringing the station to the density.

      1. That’s one of the reasons ST ended up keeping Stride on 405.

        The only reason ST ended up rejecting the BRT plans for Kirkland is because members of the board insisted on rail. It would have been easy to keep the I-405 Stride plan AND build a BRT plan for the CKC.

        The problem is that the board is used to focusing on light rail routes. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are ST, everything looks like light rail. Even BRT looks like rail, and you focus too much on complete routes, and not enough on corridors.

        So rather than build a series of overlapping routes (like BRISK) Sound Transit mainly just focused on one corridor (405 and I-5 to Lynnwood). It works great most of the way. But it fails in downtown Kirkland. Downtown Kirkland is actually a considerable distance from any freeway (which should be seen as a major long term bonus in terms of transit potential, but in this context is seen as a hindrance). So the solution became the NE 85th Station. A hugely expensive station, a long distance from anywhere.

        This is just a failure in mindset. A CKC BRT is just a corridor. In that sense, it is no different than the bus tunnel. No one had a complete map for the buses that were going to go into the bus tunnel — and besides, those routes changed, over the years. That is the nature of a BRT, or rather, a BRT segment (what is essentially open BRT).

        I could have easily seen the following:

        1) All day bus service (every 10 minutes) as shown: http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/06222608/CKC_BRT2.png.
        2) Replacing the 255 with a bus that followed that same initial route to South Kirkland, but instead of going to Bellevue, went to the UW.
        3) Rush hour service from Lynnwood to downtown Kirkland using the CKC routes. The rest of the day those riders would transfer.
        4) Rush hour service from Juanita to the Kirkland TC, then onto the CKC to South Bellevue, and on to the UW.

        But again, its flexible. That’s the point. You aren’t spending billions hoping that people will ride a train just because it is a train. You are simply leveraging a corridor.

        I find it especially bizarre that so many people simply ignored the great success we had with the bus tunnel, and every aspect of it. People were freaking out, and suggesting that the CKC would be electric there (even if they were diesel on the freeway) as they were in the bus tunnel. The infatuation with just one route through the CKC was just as bizarre — as if the bus tunnel had only one route through it.

      2. “ The problem is that the board is used to focusing on light rail routes. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are ST, everything looks like light rail.”

        A profound statement that pervades almost everything ST wants to build. Even Sounder and Stride choices are tinged with light rail wishes. Other track technologies are treated as nonexistent by this Board.

      3. My observation is that we shouldn’t obsess about Downtown Kirkland as much as we do. It is quaint and vibrant, but its density is not much different than many other urban villages in the area that aren’t getting any ST service.

        It also strikes me that Kirkland generally prefers to say “no” rather than “yes” to change — unlike Bellevue or Redmond. So, I am in favor of not forcing solutions on them. Anything given to them will be perceived as unwanted and even a foreign invasion by many there — kind of like Mercer Island. They need to agree as a city what to ask for — rather than what they don’t want.

        The exception is the 405 corridor, as that’s a regional commute corridor. That investment has value as a regional strategy.

        With the Bellevue TC and the direct transit access in the 85th interchange rebuild, it seems relatively cheap and easy to simply operate a Downtown Kirkland / Google to BTC bus shuttle on 405 lanes upon completion and just call the place served.

      4. They [Kirkland] need to agree as a city what to ask for — rather than what they don’t want.

        They did. They asked for BRT on the CKC. Repeatedly. ST kept telling no, insisting on rail. So instead they get a largely useless Link line to South Kirkland, and an overpriced station at 85th. Not what they wanted, but not worth turning down.

      5. “It also strikes me that Kirkland generally prefers to say “no” rather than “yes” to change — unlike Bellevue or Redmond. So, I am in favor of not forcing solutions on them. Anything given to them will be perceived as unwanted and even a foreign invasion by many there — kind of like Mercer Island. They need to agree as a city what to ask for — rather than what they don’t want.”

        That was the challenge of the I-405 Corridor Program when WSDOT was developing the EIS back at the turn of the century (21st).
        (Now referred to as the “Master Plan”)

        For the Program Manager, it was like herding cats.
        That’s why the decisions that were made were as much political as technical, every municipality had veto power of what they didn’t like.
        (Renton (specifically) killed Commuter Rail on the ERC)
        But, what most people didn’t know was that prior to that, Kemper Freeman and the ETA gang were pushing for what was then known as Kemper’s “Reduce Congestion Now” plan. We were graced with that point of view at a few Citizens Committee meetings, up until….
        (and I don’t know the origin of the veto…) it was announced at one meeting that this particular solution was “Off the table”.

        It was an interesting meeting.

        I-405 Super Duper Express Buses, More GP Lanes, and Glorious Interchanges the result.

    2. The assumption is it would leave the CKC downtown to get closer to the center. Since ST decided not to pursue the Kirkland segment at this time, it didn’t get into detail on where exactly the Kirkland station would be or how it would get there.

      1. There was no assumption it would go downtown. The very clear assumption was a station on the CKC just east of where it crosses 6th st. There’s no way to get a train downtown from there nor would there ever have been money to do so. The advocate chatter about fixing it later was just useless hand-waving in the absence of money or a practical path to do so.

    3. Also, Ballard has a higher percent of people who take transit, are willing to leave the car at home or not have a car, go to Ballard because of it’s walkability, want to make Ballard more walkable, think high-capacity transit directly to neighborhood centers is essential both in Ballard and elsewhere, vote for such measures like ST# and the Monorail, and advocate for it with their neighbors and adjacent neighborhoods. The entire 45th corridor is like that. That was the catalyst that got Link to Ballard and got ST3 accelerated in the first place. McGinn as mayor had the largest government role in this, and he lives in Greenwood, which is part of the greater Ballard/45th/Greenwood transit-advocacy hotspot.

      Kirkland was an early pioneer in urbanism, keeping its downtown street grid and was the first city in the Eastside to build a large number of condos (on the waterfront). But in recent years it has become more reactionary, trying to keep growth out of downtown and shunting it to Totem Lake where it’s “Out of sight, out of mind”. A large percent of Kirklanders don’t want growth, larger than in Bellevue or Redmond. Kirkland doesn’t have a lot of lower-income people or students who might ride transit, precisely because it has more limited housing options than surrounding cities. And its reluctance to grow in more than a modest way (except in Totem Lake, because the GMA requires growth somewhere) means it will remain like that, and will continue to have a lower percentage of transit riders or advocates or tolerators.

      Regarding the CKC, I’ve walked it a few times and I agree it should be kept as a trail. Trunk transit is important, but a pedestrian/bicycle highway is also important. It’s the only major north-south pedestrian corridor in the Eastside that connects major centers. People are increasingly seeing the importance of this in urbanized areas, and it’s a semi-wooded corridor which is a breath of fresh air in a city. Although some people say it’s wide enough for both trains/buses and a trail, I have doubts about that. It’s not very wide, and in parts it has elevation changes across it, which would limit the feasibility of three lanes. If trains have a fence, it would cut off walking access across it (east to west). Buses would require two asphalt lanes, and then it would look like a street. There are streets all around, including a parallel one on 108th, but there’s no other semi-wooded corridor that goes to downtown Kirkland and Bellevue, and potentially Totem Lake and Renton and beyond. I would put BRT on 108th.

      1. Regarding the CKC, I’ve walked it a few times and I agree it should be kept as a trail.

        The plan would have kept it as a trail: http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/08184051/CKC_Corridor.png. In my opinion, it would have been better. I really don’t like walking next to bikes, nor do I like riding next to pedestrians. Last time I was on it, it wasn’t even paved (did they pave it recently)?

        There was so much bullshit propaganda by locals it is disgusting. They complained about “stinky buses”. Of course the buses would be electric (look at the diagrams — you can see the wire for the buses). They complained about “losing their trail”, when all the NIMBYs were really concerned about was the construction, and *increased* use of the trail after they paved it, and made nicer. There was no organized opposition from trail or bike advocates — it all came from the locals.

      2. I’m one of the locals. I am not a NIMBY. I support allowing more growth in the downtown Kirkland area. Increased use of the trail is not a concern. What is a concern is 1) construction, 2) loss of east/west access due to fencing, 3) loss of green space.

        With regards to 1), I’m all for paving the CKC. But, paving the CKC is much less of a construction project than widening it to include a busway, as the latter entails extensive regrading, slope stabilization, and tree removal. Paving the trail might see a few section closures lasting a few days at a time. Building a busway likely means that the entire trail gets completely closed for multiple years.

      3. Regarding the CKC, I’ve walked it a few times and I agree it should be kept as a trail. Trunk transit is important, but a pedestrian/bicycle highway is also important. It’s the only major north-south pedestrian corridor in the Eastside that connects major centers. People are increasingly seeing the importance of this in urbanized areas, and it’s a semi-wooded corridor which is a breath of fresh air in a city.

        I too agree with leaving it as a pedestrian corridor. The SVT connects Redmond & Bothell and it connects to the Lk Sammamish trail between Redmond & Issaquah. But once the section through Bellevue is open and Kirkland completes the ped bridge across 124th this trail will go all the way from Renton to Woodinville with connection to the Burke Gillman at the north and with a little work the Interurban in the south. In Bellevue it crosses both the I-90 and 520 trails. Construction of a dual carriage bus way through the Everest neighborhood would be expensive and entail years of destruction. If Kirkland has to have a train it could be run on Lk Washington Blvd; good luck with that. And even if you did it’s a dead end as you can’t go up Market or 85th with rail. For the cost of BRT on the CKC an upgraded 108th/6th St would be a much better value. Their would probably be money left to improve Kirkland/Redmond transit on NE 85th. This give you Link connections at both ends (once the relatively cheap spur to S. Kirkland P&R is built). The roads actually have something along most of the ROW besides million dollar homes and are already being further developed.

      4. I am not a NIMBY. I support allowing more growth in the downtown Kirkland area. Increased use of the trail is not a concern. What is a concern is 1) construction, 2) loss of east/west access due to fencing, 3) loss of green space.

        With regards to 1), I’m all for paving the CKC. But, paving the CKC is much less of a construction project than widening it to include a busway, as the latter entails extensive regrading, slope stabilization, and tree removal. Paving the trail might see a few section closures lasting a few days at a time. Building a busway likely means that the entire trail gets completely closed for multiple years.

        So I assume you oppose Lynnwood Link. Lynnwood Link involved the removal of many trees. It involved construction that has completely shut off east-west bike access, as well as access in general.

      5. I too agree with leaving it as a pedestrian corridor.

        Once again I feel the need to point out that if they added buses to the corridor, it would still be a pedestrian corridor. Look at this diagram: http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/08184051/CKC_Corridor.png. Those are pedestrians off to the side. This is better than many of the pedestrian corridors in our region, like most of Burke Gilman, or the Sammamish Trail, because the bikes and pedestrians have their own path.

        For someone who walks the trail it would largely be the same. It would have just as many crossings (I don’t know asdf2 thinks it wouldn’t). The more interesting side trails — the parts of the corridor that actually feel even remotely wild, like Forbes Creek — would remain unchanged. This is why no bike or pedestrian organization opposed this. In fact many thought it was great. The only opposition came from locals.

        All that would happen is that you would have electric buses, carrying lots of
        people, in the middle of the trail. But instead, those people will just drive. Sound Transit (with its insistence on rail) and NIMBY opposition destroyed a great opportunity for transit in the area. Next time someone from Totem Lake wonders why it takes so long to catch the bus to the UW, they will know who to thank.

    4. This was Kirkland’s plan: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/11/16/kirklands-brt-design/. Here is the map in more detail: http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/06125250/E06_Map.png. In case isn’t clear, it would have gone right into the center of town, right by the transit center. That is why the city rejected light rail — rail wouldn’t do that, but instead bypass downtown.

      The BRT plan would have also included a stop at Google (one of the largest companies in Kirkland), as well as Totem Lake. Not just the freeway stop, but the actual housing development, which is about a half mile away. The freeway connection to 405, as well as the connection to SR 520 on the other end open up a lot of additional routes. You could have one seat rides from Lynnwood to downtown Kirkland, or downtown Kirkland to the UW that are dramatically faster than what is available now, or will be available after ST3 is built out. It would complement the I-405 BRT, not seek to replace it.

  2. Thank you for posting this video. David Frankal has one of the best YouTube transit channels around. He has many other interesting videos.

  3. I listened to the three-hour ST3 realignment workshop linked from the West Seattle Blog article. Here are my impressions (incomplete because I didn’t take notes). The first half focused on ways to increase revenue (taxes, federal grants, state action, refinancing), and wandered into some dissatisfaction with the meeting structure and a sense that things were being rushed.There was not one word from boardmembers on which projects they might prioritize higher than others; that’s all for later. If you don’t have three hours to watch, you can jump through and see from the slides what they’re talking about then.

    This meeting had more pushback against the staff than I’ve seen at any ST board meeting/workshop. Several boardmembers said they needed more details to make a decision, or questioned certain evaluation criteria and said the staff need to look at other things too. Some felt the process was going too fast and they were being asked to state preferences before they had enough information. There was discussion on whether this was due to the general process or this particular meeting’s structure. Rogoff said the staff had a lot of background material on their methodologies and conclusions, which they’d be happy to present to boardmembers individually or collectively, they just need to know what questions the boardmembers want answered.

    Balducci appeared to be the only one who had been there for the ST2 realignment; for the others it was new.

    On the revenue side there’s unused property-tax capacity and a car-rental tax. A property tax increase would require voter approval. A car-rental tax wouldn’t bring in much, and car rentals are down with the Ubers of the world. The board wondered whether the car-rental authorization could include Uber-like services. New grant opportunities may come from the Biden administration. ST has a large federal loan (line of credit) which it may be able to refinance at a lower rate. It could ask the state for direct funding, sales-tax relief on construction, more permitting authority like WSDOT has (to override cities demanding pork), or state-owned highway land at less than market rate. Rogoff said the only thing that must be decided soon is any legislative asks, because the legislature is in session now and is in the middle of planning a transportation package. There’s also a possibility to increase ST’s debt ceiling, but it would require 2/3 voter approval. ST3’s Yes vote was around 58-59% (I don’t remember the exact number), while the car-tab initiative’s No vote in the ST district was the same percent. So it would require an 8% increase in Yes votes to pass.

    On the alignment side, the evaluation criteria are at 1:58:00. It essentially ranks projects into High, Middle, and Low categories across a half-dozen criteria. Most projects varied widely on different criteria, ranking high on one but low on another.

    On Ridership [2:03:00] the only High rankings are DSTT2 and Ballard (>45,000 riders). Most of the others are Medium (5,000 to 45.000). Then there’s a gap to the Low: individual infill Link stations and individual Sounder station improvements.

    On Social-Economic Equity [2:04:25], the High rankings are Graham and BAR infill stations, Sounder South, and individual Sounder station access. Medium-High are Everett and Tacoma Link extensions, Stride South, Tacoma 19th Ave, and Auburn and South Tacoma Sounder station access. Medium-Low are West Seattle Link, DSTT2, Stride 522, 130th infill station, Sounder Dupont extension. Low are Ballard Link, Stride North, Issaquah-Kirkland Link, and three minor things. The metric is the number of disadvantaged residents in a mile radius of the stations. Several boardmembers said this metric is flawed, misleading, and/or should be supplemented with other metrics. They said many disadvantaged riders who benefit live outside a 1-mile radius, that some inside won’t necessarily use ST, and sometimes when you try to help disadvantaged people you end up hurting them (e.g., gentrification). Rogoff agreed that “LA Metro has buses in Beverley Hills, but it’s probably not mainly Beverley Hills residents who are riding them.” But he said it’s hard to get data on route-specific demographics, who outside the 1-mile radius benefits, or who inside the 1-mile circle wouldn’t use it. That’s an industry-wide problem he said.

    On Connecting Centers [2:05:23] the levels are whether each project connects More than One, One, or Zero PSRC-designated regional growth centers or industrial centers. More than One include Everett, Tacoma, Ballard, Stride North and South, DSTT2, RapidRide C and D, and Issaquah-Kirkland. One include West Seattle, BAR station (!), Sounder South, and some others. Zero include Stride 522, 130th and Graham infill stations, and others. (Note: Seattle’s three PSRC growth centers are downtown/SLU, U-District, and Northgate. South Ballard is a PSRC industrial center.)

    On Tenure [2:21], meaning how long voters have been waiting, the only ST1 item is BAR station, with the caveat that it was deferred in ST1, not included in ST2, and reappeared in ST2. The ST2 items are the station access programs. The ST3 items are everything else. So by this criteria, Everett and Tacoma have been waiting only since 2016, not 1996 when they first approved ST1 expecting a future Spine in a later phase. (This has been a contention in Snohomish and Pierce, that they’ve been paying ST taxes for over two decades with little benefit from it.)

    On opportunities for Outside Funding [2:24:16], several projects are competitive to apply for >25% of their construction costs: Ballard, West Seattle, DSTT2, Everett, Tacoma, Issaquah-Kirkland, and Sounder Dupont extension. Several are competitive to apply for <25%: all three Stride lines, all three infill stations. The others are not applying for outside funding.

    On Completing the Spine and Advancing Logically Beyond the Spine [2:26:56], only Everett and Tacoma complete the spine. All the others "support" the spine (even those that might appear not to) and are logical advances beyond it. Durkin (?) asked why DSTT2 was not listed as completing the Spine. Rogoff said that while DSTT2 is necessary for the potential increase in riders expected by the Spine, it was viewed that Seattle's part of the Spine had already been done, and noted that even though DSTT2 is not considered a Spine project, it's a systemwide project so all subareas would be contributing to it.

    On Phasing [2:28:30], all the Link, Stride, and Sounder lines/extensions can be split into smaller phases except DSTT2. This implies ST might consider some of STB commentators' ideas: an Everett phase to 164th or 128th, a Ballard phase to Smith Cove, a West Seattle phase to Delridge, etc.

    Future steps are at 2:41:36. February: Discuss realignment approaches. March: Define approaches (alternatives) for public debate. April: Seek public feedback, discuss cost review results. May: Discuss public feedback and board priorities. June: Develop realignment plans. July: Decision time.

    There seemed to be unanimous board agreement that all ST3 projects are important and necessary. It vaguely mentioned the possibility of deferring or deleting some items if funding constraints require it, but there was no hint of reconsidering the worth or importance of any project, they said they'd need all of them to deal with a rising population and to combat inequity and improve lower-income mobility. In my mind, the Issaquah line, Tacoma 19th Ave, and the Everett and Tacoma extensions are of questionable importance, but the board still doesn't see it that way.

      1. First Hill was not mentioned. From ST’s perspective, it got the streetcar so it’s done. The Madison corridor was in ST’s long-range plan, and in 2015 the board discussed whether to keep it. The question was whether Metro’s Madison RapidRide was all the corridor needed or whether it would eventually need more. The de facto resolution seems to be the former, because ST decided to make a contribution to Madison RapidRide and deleted the corridor from its long-range plan.

        Then during post-ST3 DSTT2 discussions, some transit advocates recommended making it detour to 8th & Madison between Intl Dist and Westlake stations, to address what they said was (and I believe is) an unmet high-capacity transit need there, that would be in walking distance of most of First Hill. ST wouldn’t even consider it, saying it was out of scope for the Ballard-downtown-West Seattle corridor voters approved. And that was the last that ST has said anything about First Hill as far as I know.

      2. +1000

        The last paragraph in Mike Orr’s comment above says it all about how useless the ST board has become.

      3. My comment above was in reference to Mike’s earlier comment, not the one immediately preceding mine, specifically the paragraph beginning:
        “There seemed to be unanimous board agreement that all ST3 projects are important and necessary. …”

      4. “There seemed to be unanimous board agreement that all ST3 projects are important and necessary. …”

        Yeah, I agree Tlsgwm. It is the height of arrogance.

        “We came up with the perfect plan. Now it appears that we need to modify it a bit, but it will remain perfect. Everything in there is essential, and everything left out is unimportant. “

    1. … a West Seattle phase to Delridge …

      Ha, that’s funny. I’ve never heard of that. Why make only 90% of your riders transfer, when you have 99%? I can just see it now. The ribbon cutting, the wide grin on the face of Dow Constantine — this is his baby. Finally, West Seattle, you are in the big leagues — you have light rail! Whoopee!

      Then decision time at Metro. First approach — leave it as is. Metro isn’t in the business of propping up Sound Transit, and the overwhelming response from existing bus riders is to keep the buses running to downtown. So they try that and … look at that. Hardly anyone rides the train. Oh, a few — probably folks headed up to the UW during rush hour — but not that many.

      Metro gets bold, and truncates the buses. They take a holistic approach and spread around the savings. Then they look at the numbers: Ridership is down for West Seattle. Not only compared to before the restructure, but compared to before Link. Turns out riders don’t generally like having to transfer, and then take a big set of escalators to then wait for the train. Sorry West Seattle, this is for the good of the system. Times are tight, and not everyone can have an express.

      All for that for how much? I swear, Sound Transit seems determined to give light rail a bad name, much like Trump seems determined to destroy the Republican Party. It is not easy to make Maggie Fimia (and her anti-light rail approach) look sensible, but Sound Transit seems up to the task.

    2. Overall it’s rather remarkable how stubborn the discussion is.

      – Total ridership rather than ridership by millions spent?

      – Phasing by end station but not looking at single track sections?

      – No discussion of technology changes like self-propelled engine segments?

      – Avoiding the discussion of the true effort required to build the Downtown stations?


      1. I wish they’d get some independent rail system experts to assess the situation and give some independent advice. It’s an echo chamber as now structured — and that means there’s going to be years of this hand-wringing.

        And we haven’t gotten to the lawsuit phase yet.

    1. Or its a stupid location for a light rail station. You can change the zoning all you want, the owner is making good money on that lot. Until we get self driving cars, I think that will remain a lot.

      1. ST is in the middle of a TOD RFQ for that exact parcel. The likely outcome is the ST owned south lot will be combined with the SeaTac parking into one private development. The PSBJ had a long article about opportunity zones that spotlighted the owner last year, as pretty much the whole station area is an opportunity zone. Sounds like he’s keen to develop the land but has been content to wait until the right pieces fall together. The city of SeaTac is keen for it to be redeveloped. I would expect movement soon.

    2. There are plans for a new building between the station and airport where the garage is now. The city of SeaTac planned a TOD-rich city center around the station but the lot/hotel owner just east of it refused to sell. The city still wants a city center there someday, it’s just going slow.

  4. Opening paragraph from the latest Pedestrian Observations (https://pedestrianobservations.com/2021/01/29/fare-control-and-construction-costs/).

    Proof-of-payment with ungated train stations is a useful technique for reducing construction costs. It simplifies the construction of stations, since there is no need for a headhouse or mezzanine – people can go directly from the street to the platform. A station without fare control requires just a single elevator, or two if side platforms are desired, and can be built shallowly using cut-and-cover. Cities across the size spectrum, perhaps only stopping short of hypercities, should take heed and use this to build urban rail more cheaply.

    So what does ST do? Build big mezzanines! I’m not talking about downtown tunnel stations — that were clearly built with fare gates in mind, as proof-of-payment was not common for subways back then. I’m talking about just about every station built since then. Why are there mezzanines? Because they look cool? Or maybe because someone saw them in some other system, and thought we should have the same? Who knows — except it is another (relatively small) example of how we spend a fortune on things that don’t matter, and ignore things that do.

    1. Spot on that mezzanines are usually an excessive spend, but are there any in Lynnwood, East Link, Redmond, or FW extensions? Seems to be more an issue with the original alignment (Mt Baker, TIBS) and underground stations. Angle Lake does not have a mezzanine, correct?

      TIBS in retrospect is clearly overbuilt, but the mezzanine might be useful in creating a direct connection to the Stride freeway station, which might make some lemonade out of that lemon.

      For the underground stations, might be a fire code / circulation issue given the depth? Hopefully something they can get better at for WSBLE.

    2. The mezzanines are because of the height of the platform, to avoid long escalators. The height of the platform depends on elevation changes between stations and highways it has to go around because the track can’t climb steeply.

  5. Who the heckfire is a-ok with the state legislature going to buckets of funding instead of specific projects?

    I mean we have some real, genuine local needs and leaving it to buckets means that faceless bureaucrats – mostly in well-resourced Olympia – are making the call – not the state legislature. I just don’t find this democracy and what was intended when our state’s founders wrote a state constitution.

    1. What buckets are you talking about? Also, bureaucrats are often experts, while legislators are not. Nor do legislators have time to go through dozens of projects. They would probably package them all up in one bill and have an all-or-nothing vote on all of them. That’s not much different than giving a bucket of money to the agencies and letting them dole it out. It’s the same agencies who would recommend what to put in a package bill.

      1. Good question. The buckets I speak of are putting buckets of money literally into places like multimodal, highways, preservation and such.

        What I like about legislators earmarking is at least there is somebody championing the project. Somebody who understands the need and doesn’t dismiss it.

        I would prefer those projects not be highways.

  6. RossB, Mike Orr, AJ, and the rest of us, let’s just do like Al S. says and remember that at this point in time, thanks to the latest print technology, nothing we’re discussing is even made out of wet colored paper, let alone steel.

    Probably the best thing about contemporary design engineering is how fast every possible object can be re-thought and re-budgeted. Including a speedy shift of focus across about two hundred years of design-to-the core.

    It is easily possible to see how much choice of choice the past has delivered, and what results. I was only five at the time, but like many another agitator from the days when there was still ink, can testify the truth about The Chicago and North Shore interurban could connect cow pastures up-state with industries in Chicago and Milwaukee.

    Look up “The Electroliner.” Also, “The Chicago, Aurora and Elgin.” We recently carried some footage on “The South Shore” too, didn’t we. But probably best outcome of efforts like these:

    We could early and irreversibly put the basic design of this whole enterprise into the hands of the young men and women who who’ll make reality out of paint and metal while we observe, and then deliver our best shot.

    Lake Washington Technical College is my call for attack headquarters. But Shoreline and Highline are a long way from being either Northing or Nobody. Look how long and pervasively the hubcap set has claimed “Auto Shop” for its own. Every pet owner knows how cats can finally be persuaded to let cats in on the action too.

    Owner’s just got to be a little persistent about it, that’s all.

    Mark Dublin

  7. The question shouldn’t be why aren’t we building better transit to companies like Google Kirkland. The question should be why isn’t Google choosing to locate in areas with better transit?

    1. It has transit. Metro 255 goes by the door. That bus has more ridership today (well, pre-covid anyway) than ST figured a train would have in 2040.

    2. I’ll give Google Kirkland’s location a B or C. An A would be a major village center with plenty of housing, retail and transit choices, like downtown Bellevue, central Seattle, Northgate, or to a lesser extent Ballard (because of its isolated location and lack of robust-speed transit options). Google Kirkland is not in downtown Kirkland but it’s in an adjacent neighborhood with the frequent 255 (Brickyard-Kirkland-UW), former Kirkland-Redmond route on 70th (which was probably there when it was built), frequent 250 (Bellevue-Kirkland-Redmondon state 108th at 68th), and former Kirkland-Redmond route on 70th (which was probably there when it was built). If any 405 buses still stop at 70th, that would be an addition. And the 85th 405 stop is a medium-sized but not impossible walk and could be supplemented with Google shuttles. 68th & 108th has a small-village retail cluster like Beacon Hill that I think Kirkland intends to expand. So it’s worse than downtown Bellevue but much better than the T-Mobile buildings in Eastgate. It has a village around it, and frequent transit in three directions. The village has already expanded around Google with more retail storefronts on 108th/State, and it will expand more.

    3. It is very common for tech companies to want their own campus-like environment. Many even call their office park that. So that means land for ultimate Frisbee, and nice nature paths, and the like. That tends to push them to cheap land in the suburbs.

      As these companies have evolved, they have come to realize that it just doesn’t work for a lot of people. Not everyone wants to live in the middle of nowhere (especially after college). These companies have slowly moved towards the city. Many (including Google) are trying to split the difference. They aren’t downtown, but in places like Fremont and Kirkland. Places that have some natural amenities (the CKC, the Burke Gilman), some character (in both Kirkland and Fremont), not too bad in terms of public transportation, and yet are nowhere near as expensive as downtown.

      Amazon — one of the newest gilded companies in this gilded age — is more old school. It hasn’t hesitated to build downtown, or at the very least, at the edges. Bill Gates is one of the richest people to ever live. Yet he never worked in a skyscraper with a corner office. This was part of the pseudo-egalitarian nature of many tech businesses. They were supposed to be more down-to-earth figuratively because they were literally. My guess is Bezos, in contrast, has a gigantic executive suite, with a view of Puget Sound. But at least the employees don’t have to drive to work.

      To be fair to Google and their choice of Kirkland, it was reasonable to assume that not only does the location have middling transit now, it might have really good transit in the future. I’m sure they knew that Sound Transit owned the CKC, and I’m sure they figured that it would eventually be turned into a light rail line — or even better, a bus connecting them very quickly to the UW (huge for a tech firm) as well as downtown Bellevue and other regional destinations important to those who work or do business there. Alas, they misjudged the transit dysfunction in the region — although, being from California, they probably weren’t surprised. They can always run buses (for the employees they care about).

      1. I know many Amazon employees on Mercer Island, and pre-pandemic they drove to work, which is a real pain if your office is in SLU. Generally they would leave quite early, 6 am, work out, and return late. The reasons they live on Mercer Island are schools, single family home, residential neighborhood character, parks, crime, the spouse, which trump the commute. Amazon does or did run its own buses from Mercer Island to SLU, although I don’t know too many employees who used it because it still required driving to the bus stop, so if you are leaving before most are awake and traffic is low just drive to work.

        I am not sure I would agree with Ross’s description of the entire eastside as the “middle of nowhere”, although the density doesn’t really support light rail, and TOD will never manufacture that density. Seattle is more exciting, but the eastside is better if you have a family, and I think the aging Millennial worker — including tech — is part of the reason for the resurgence of the major city in the last ten years, and now the move back to the suburbs that was probably accelerated by Covid-19.

      2. I am not sure I would agree with Ross’s description of the entire eastside as the “middle of nowhere”

        I never wrote that the entire eastside is the “middle of nowhere”. Stop putting words in mouth. Jesus dude, you finally write a comment that is only a couple paragraphs and yet you still include a misrepresentation of what I wrote.

        Oh, and what does your comment have to do with the topic Sam raised, anyway? I get it. Mercer Island has great spouses. Wonderful. What does that have to do with Google locating in areas that don’t have good transit?

    4. Google is planning a giant new campus next to Downtown San Jose. They seem to be moving towards more transit accessible options.

      It is still kind of the wild, Wild West as far as tech companies and locations go. Many of today’s giants were teeny or non-existent 20 years ago — and it takes 20 years to plan out and build a new transit line in a developed area. Microsoft is like a great-grandparent who watched many of their classmates and siblings die years ago.

      Tech office buildings are also not difficult to repurpose. Just look at Bellevue City Hall! More generically , look at the Weyerhaeuser campus in Federal Way — now looking at warehouse uses.

      I can’t predict the future of the Google Kirkland complex. It could be converted into all sorts of uses that could be less important to serve by rail transit. Even Google itself may look very different in 10 or 20 years. One thing I can reliably speculate though — Google Kirkland campus in 2040 won’t be like the campus is today.

      1. Ross, it is just that your comments about the Eastside are so inaccurate and often cartoonish. You should visit before making these sweeping generalizations about tech companies, Bezos’ office, frisbee. What does it matter whether Bill Gates has worked in a skyscraper (including his foundation), or that Bezos actually mostly works remotely?

        You fundamentally misunderstand why citizens choose to live on the Eastside, and continue to make the same error over and over by thinking it has anything to do with transit. Granted this is a transit blog, but most people don’t build their lives around transit, and transit is a minor consideration when choosing where to live. You live and breath transit, but for most everyone else transit is sometimes a necessary but often inconvenient tool.

        The answer to Sam’s question why Google or other Eastside tech companies don’t locate closer to what she considers better transit is because transit is a very minor consideration for them when choosing a location. Do you think Microsoft chose its campus location decades ago because of all the great transit along 520 and room to play frisbee?

      2. Microsoft built in a Redmond greenfield location because that was considered the American Dream in the 80s. Since then, many tech employees developed a preference to live and work where they don’t have to drive to and with surrounding retail and frequent transit where they can walk to. Tech companies need so many people that they have to locate where the workers want to be because the workers won’t come to them. That’s why starting with Google and now all large tech companies, have offices in cities all over the US and world, and they’re usually located centrally where the transit is pretty good. Some employees don’t care and will drive anywhere, but enough employees insist on an urbanish location, that the companies have locate at least somewhat centrally. Microsoft managed to bring a lot of transit to itself so its main campus didn’t move. It’s in between the paradigms, with a lot of transit and soon high-capacity transit, but not much retail around it. Still, there are frequent buses and soon trains to the nearest retail and apartments/condos in Overlake and Redmond, so that’s something.

      3. Jesus Daniel, you must have flunked reading comprehension. Over and over again, you misrepresent what I write. I’m sick of it. It is irritating to get on here, and defend your bullshit attacks.

        First of all, nothing I wrote had anything to do with living on the East Side. NOTHING. Not a damn thing. Go ahead, read it again. You can’t find one word or sentence about living on the East Side.

        I was responding to Sam’s question. Since you have obviously forgotten it now, I will repeat it:

        Why isn’t Google choosing to locate in areas with better transit?

        Your comments have nothing to with that, but are simply one more excuse for you to laud the wonderful suburban life you live. Stick to the damn subject, and stop misrepresenting other comments. That is a form of trolling, and it is dickish.

        In contrast, I gave a quick summary of the mindset that went into software offices — and how it differs from normal businesses. It was an explanation as to why companies like Google ended up in Mountain View, and not downtown San Fransisco, or why Microsoft ended up in Redmond, and not downtown Seattle. Holy shit, man, they actually called them “campuses”. Do you think Sears and Roebuck called the Sears Tower a “campus”. Of course not. They weren’t trying to create a lifestyle — a home away from home — but just a place to work.

        To answer your question, Danny, I have worked in a lot of software offices. Many of them on the East Side. I don’t hold any animosity towards the East Side, but your obsession over the greatness of everywhere east of the lake, and general over-sensitivity towards the subject borders on an obsession. Get a life, dude, not every statement is an attack on the East Side.

      4. Microsoft built in a Redmond greenfield location because that was considered the American Dream in the 80s.

        Exactly. And it wasn’t just tech companies. There was a huge rise in suburban office development in the 1980s. Partly is was a response to traffic, but also because of relatively cheap property in the suburbs. The “dream”, of course, was based on sexist ideas from the ’50s (the man works, the woman stays at home). Part of the reason this idea imploded was because dual income households didn’t want to work for the same company.

        Tech companies put their own spin on it, calling them “campuses”, not office parks. The idea is to treat the area like a college. Colleges have a wide range of social activities — they aren’t just a place to work. Companies like Microsoft fostered that image, as a way to attract workers, especially young ones. The image was clear: big office towers are for your dad — this is where the young and hip go to work. All the cool things you liked about college, but you get paid.

        Eventually, of course, the shine wore off, and people realized it really was just another place to work. It is great to be able to play soccer right outside your office. I get that. But the commute is a bigger issue. The problem is that if you put your main office at the edge of town (and Redmond really is the edge) than you make it extremely difficult for *most* of the people in the region to get to you. There are a lot of people who live in the East Side. More live to the west. While a reverse commute from say, Ravenna to Redmond used to be easy, it became hell. Driving doesn’t scale.

        The only way to solve that problem is with mass transit. But the farther you put your office, the harder it is to solve. An office in downtown Seattle can be reached by way more people in a half hour than a place in Redmond.

        This is why a city like Edmonton — that sprawls, and has very bad density — has very good transit ridership. Just about all of their offices are downtown. So they simply ran light rail to downtown, and got a lot of riders. In contrast, diverse employment make transportation — of all types — more challenging.

        Which gets back to the original question that Sam asked. The short answer is “Because they can”. There is very little encouragement or planning when it comes to office development. Cities love offices, so they aren’t about to discourage them. Thus you have a situation in which housing growth is highly regulated — only a handful of places allow new apartments — at the same time they allow office building in very inconvenient places, that will simply encourage more driving.

  8. Two rants on homeless issues.

    Tim Burgess ($), onetime Seattle councilmember and interim mayor, has a Times commentary saying Seattle needs to solve the homeless tent problem compassionately and with existing general funds. That’s what the Times editorial board advocates, and it’s contradictory. We need some 15,000 additional subsidized housing units to house all the homelesss, and 120,000 for the cost-burdened and displaced who could pay sliding-scale rent. Some of these could be subsidizing existing units, but many additional units are necessary. That costs a lot of money, and the general fund doesn’t have it, so we need to raise taxes for it. But Burgess and the Times reject raising taxes, either on everyone or the rich. The Amazon head tax was for homeless housing, but the Times and Burgess argue against it because it would cut into Amazon’s job-creating profits and make it relocate. You can’t have it both ways. Either we need to raise more money for housing or the tents will remain there. Amazon may be offended, but it can’t handwave the problem away: either it contributes more than the token voluntary sums it has done, or the tents will remain and spread and eventually be a bigger problem in the suburbs including Bellevue, as have other “urban ills” over the past few decades.

    The other rant is about a pile of trash next to the Ballard Fred Meyer. I saw it walking in from the Burke-Gilman trail, right next to the east parking entrance in view of drivers. It looks like the typical trash left by homeless encampments. There are no tents or large items, and I’m somewhat skeptical the plot is large or flat enough for two or three tents, but either homeless people left them or somebody dumped their trash there. I’m mad that somebody didn’t pick up their trash when they moved their tent, or somebody dumped trash there. Either way, I’m surprised Fred Meyer didn’t clean it up, even though it’s two feet outside the store’s property, since it’s right in the face of customers entering the parking lot.

  9. As I walked past the Ballard Blocks yesterday I noticed its similarity to Northgate North. I like Northgate North because it stacks several big box stores in one compact space. Or at least relatively compact compared to the same freestanding stores in Southcenter. And it’s within walking distance of Northgate Link station and the 41. If we’re going to have big box stores, this is the way to have them.

    The Ballard Blocks similarly stacks big box stores. Some of them don’t have as wide a clientele as Northgate North, but at least they’re stacked.

    The Up House or Macefield house, by the way, is half-deteriorated. An upstairs window is broken, the tourist info sign is gone, and it’s just fenced off. I think the developer tried to find a tenant-caretaker but was unable to. It’s sad that the house has been left to rot like that. But one advantage of it, besides the extraordinary story behind it, is that it shows how houses were small once upon a time. It may be 600 square feet. Which was enough for an elderly lady, and in the mid 20th century was typical for a 4-person household (two parents and two kids).

    People think they need 2000 or 2500 square feet or more, but that’s just excess. Maybe if you have a six-person household, like my next door neighbors growing up who had four kids in a four-bedroom house. But most households are far less than that, while houses have tripled in size.

  10. An open theoretical question about those bound for the Spring District, Overlake or Downtown Redmond after 2025:

    1. If you park at Lynnwood, will you choose a circuitous one-seat ride on Link, or choose 405 Stride and transfer to Link in Downtown Bellevue, or ride Link to UW and transfer to a 520 route?

    2. If you land at Seatac, will you ride Link to ID and transfer once to get to your destination — or ride Link to TIBS, ride Stride to Downtown Bellevue and ride Link to get to your destination so that you transfer twice?

    Having choices is great! I’m just wondering what’s going to be preferred.

      1. Adding the times shown on the system expansion pages (10 minutes from Downtown Bellevue to Redmond Technology, and 48 minutes to Mountlake Terrace) I would think that a 62 minute trip is about what it would take.

        I’m not sure about the other combinations. Many times, riders may choose to avoid transferring because of the physical hassle of walking at a transfer point or the risk of missing a transfer connection (especially at off hours) even though the direct trip may appear to be a tad longer.

    1. 1. I’d stay on Link unless it was consistently >10 minutes faster, including the average transfer penalty. For a long commute, I think I’d rather have the one seat ride to so to zone out/read a book/listen to a podcast.

      I could see some locations in Redmond where the STX stops are more convenient than the Link stations, which would draw me to the SR520-UW transfer.

      I don’t see Stride 405 north being time competitive end to end, given the lack of bus priority in the I5-405 interchange. Ridership on that route is really going to depend on trips starting/ending in Bothell or Kirkland trying to get to/from Lynnwood and Bellevue, rather than end to end trips.

      2. Will Stride be faster, given significantly less stops? If it was rush hour and the ID transfer was going to be a zoo, I think I’d take Stride, particularly if it was reverse commute. But if I was going anywhere other than downtown Bellevue, I think I’d stay on Link to avoid the extra transfer, unless Stride was clearly faster.

      1. I commuted with a rail-bus transfer and had three different paths depending on what bus and train I wanted. I rarely used the one double transfer option even though it was the shortest travel distance (maybe only two minutes faster) in favor or having a single transfer and a less crowded bus. Among the remaining two bus-rail paths, I preferred the one where the bus trip was less time, even though the train took more time.

        I ask because I’m curious who prefers to maximize travel time so anxiously that five minutes matter (although with each transfer comes a higher arrival delay risk) versus other factors like crowding, bags, security on platforms or in stations, interior noise, vertical conveyances, weather, view or other environmental factors.

        It may feel like an academic question now — but in just four years it will be a common decision that many people will make daily.

      2. I don’t see Stride 405 north being time competitive end to end, given the lack of bus priority in the I5-405 interchange.

        I don’t see that being a huge problem. ST now puts the section between Alderwood Mall and Canyon Park at around 10 minutes (give or take). The trip from Lynnwood TC should be similar. It is longer, but there is very little “reverse commute” traffic. So it would only be bad heading out in the evening, or towards Lynnwood in the morning — and very few people will do that. Basically it is bad just at the interchange (as you suggest) as the bus has to slog its way onto 405, and then move over into the HOV lane. But those kind of delays always seem worse than they are (which is why so many people drive them).

        The trip from Canyon Park to Downtown Bellevue should be fast. Without traffic or stops it is 14 minutes. Every stop is by the freeway, and the whole route is in the HOV lane. So that means an extra minute per stop, and add four minutes. I think it will take around a half hour, give or take a few minutes.

        To be clear, it is less than ideal. They really should be better ways to get from I-5 to 405. It doesn’t look horribly expensive either, unlike some of the interchanges. Not that it looks dirt cheap — like bidirectional ramps for Ash Way, which they should add the day Lynnwood Link opens — but it doesn’t look that bad.

    2. Or will you drive, and choose I-5 to 520 east, or 405 south, and whether to pay for the HOT lanes. My experience is 405 is the quicker route because I-5 runs into the ship canal, although with current tolls the trip across 520 is good for a car, even during peak hours (pre-pandemic, there is zero traffic now). Unless there is traffic congestion I would much rather drive from Lynnwood to Bellevue/Redmond than take transit, especially with all the free parking.

      I guess to answer Al S.’s question, if you were driving from Lynnwood to Bellevue would you take I-90 or 520, or 405. That answers your question right there if you decided to take transit.

    3. 1. According to this (old) chart (http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/14151500/Screen-Shot-2015-08-14-at-8.12.45-AM.png), it will take an hour to Redmond Technology Center (the chart does not have downtown Redmond). I see very few people doing that (I certainly wouldn’t). Either the bus/train works better, or I drive. Link is not a ferry — it doesn’t have bathrooms, let alone a nice cafe, and lots of room to spread out. Forget about it.

      2. I. D. to SeaTac is 30 minutes. I. D. to Redmond Technology Center is another half hour (especially when you count the transfer). I doubt transferring twice would be much better. So either they run an express from SeaTac to Bellevue (which I could definitely see) or I’m calling a cab/getting a ride from a friend. That being said, it is an expensive cab ride (and parking is expensive) so maybe I would take transit.

      To really answer your question though, if I had to take transit, I would probably take the bus/train combination for the first one, and train/train for the second. I think the bus will be relatively fast from Lynnwood to Bellevue, but between the extra transfer, and the trip to Renton, I don’t see that with the second one.

    4. I think it would be fun to somebody to build a phone app game around navigating virtual transit puzzles like this. The idea being that the app gives you a random origin and destination and has you race against the clock to virtually get yourself there using only the transit system and your virtual feet. There’d of course be a leaderboard, so you can see how your time stacks up against other app users traveling between the same two points.

      I’d have the clock run while you consult routes, schedule, and traffic information, so that you’d be forced to think your feet very quickly – hesitation on what to do for ever a few seconds would lead to a lousy time. I’d also spice up the game by adding random traffic delays and service disruptions that you have to navigate around, and also by making the virtual user somewhat athletic, creating situations where sometimes the solution that yields the optimal time is not the one that takes the bus closest to the destination.

      As a motivating example, I was once, several years ago, able to beat the Metro trip planner for this trip (https://goo.gl/maps/ZivtG63EzHrVd2Qb6) by taking the 545 to the no-longer-existent Montlake Freeway Station and jogging the remaining 5.5 miles.

      For this particular example, I’d probably start use STRIDE->Link as the base solution. But, if headed to downtown Redmond, I’d get off at 85th and take the 250. I’d take Link into Seattle only when necessary to avoid an unusually bad traffic day on 405.

      1. I used to play that game riding the train home every day, as each of three bus routes left from a different station but converged near my home. Just when I thought I had a perfect transfer, there would be a train delay or the bus would regain its late time on the schedule. I also missed buses because the crosswalk wouldn’t get me across the street in time — as I would watch a bus appear two blocks away and blow past the stop on a green light.

        The worst was catching a bus for its last two service miles of the day. The driver apparently would decide to skip it and head back to the garage! The real time arrival app would show the bus was there until just before the station — when it would disappear. Then I would watch an out of service bus drive by. I filed a complaint and got “we can’t afford to run buses” standard excuse even though it was pretty obvious that the driver was simply skipping the last run.

    1. “Sure would be nice if that could be integrated with Stride.”

      You would have to connect a stride stop to a local bus as there is hardly anything to walk to there – some light industry and the big box stores at the edge of the The Landing. Too, it’s unfortunate that the neighborhood up the hill to the east of there isn’t (can’t be?) served, although there isn’t much density there either, so meh…

      Or…. if the intent is for buses coming North on 405 to serve the South Renton TC and then immediately get back on the freeway there are certain times of the day when the buses would have to fight their way across traffic to get back to the HOT lanes.

      Routing Stride instead through downtown Renton on Wells Ave-Sixth-Park-Eighth, or using Grady and the Houser Way bypass , perhaps even on a BAT lane, so that they could then get back on the freeway at 8th might save some time.

      Southbound 405 buses could similarly exit 405 at 8th instead of trying to fight their way through the three lanes of traffic to exit.

      If they did this they should put a North Renton Stride stop near the Landing, maybe near 8th and Park which is near enough to the Boeing office buildings (when they reopen… they are closed now), and the factory, and the Landing so as to be somewhat useful. It would still be a bit of a walk from there to Southport, and that big new office complex though, so extending Rapid Ride F to there once they build the Park Ave Extension would be in order.


      1. Yeah I’m not sure if the best approach would be for Stride to take city streets between the new S Renton TC and N 8th St, or if N 8th should be an inline freeway stop (like most Stride stops) and coverage of Renton itself left to local route. Was keen to read others’ thoughts.

        I think I would lean towards keeping the Stride on 405. Looks like having the F turn left instead of right off Garden at 8th would be a modest change. Most critical will be if the direct access ramp includes a facility for buses to turn around, otherwise will be hard to create good integration with the F and an inline freeway station.

        But that’s a good point about merging on to the HOT lanes. In Burien and TIBS, Stride will be in the outside lanes. You might be right that the ‘detour’ through Renton city streets might not be a material time penalty vs having to merge across multiple lanes of 405 traffic to access the HOT lanes, in which case 8th might very well be the best point for Stride to enter/exit the HOT lanes.

      2. “hardly anything to walk to there” – aye, but if there’s a high quality 1-seat ride to Bellevue, that should drive robust TOD along 8th. Replace those parking lots with midrise apartment blocks and you’ve created a good base for ridership, plus the Stride-TIBS transfer would create some reasonable 2-seat rides for people heading to work at Boeing/Kenworth/Southport.

        East of 405, if it’s a inline freeway station, a stair up the hill to NE 7th would be great. If it’s just a vehicle interchange and any bus station is on 8th itself, that neighborhood will probably remain cutoff.

      3. “….robust TOD along 8th.”

        Paccar is on the south of 8th. Would they move? They have a lot of land there…

        Slightly west of there is a Boeing parking lot that isn’t used, and what will be a new driving range – supposedly. So there could be something done there in that small spot, but immediately south of there are more Boeing buildings that restrict what can be done.

        North of 8th is all The Landing. You would have to do something similar to what’s being done at Northgate to develop anything there, and I can’t see one Stride stop being enough of an incentive.

        However, I also don’t see ST seriously considering taking Stride through Renton city streets, so another solution would be to have the inline freeway stop, and then route the F on 8th to Houser to connect with Stride, and then have the F go north on Houser to Southport, before hooking back down Park Ave to The Landing.

        Importantly you can’t do that now because if you take Houser north from 8th it soon runs into a train overpass where the train bridge supports are so narrow that the road becomes one way SOUTH. So anyone headed north to Southport on Houser can’t get there, and has to turn around. And of course the Park Ave connection isn’t built yet either. heh

      4. Oh nice! You are right. I hadn’t seen that yet. Anything increasing the density there would be a good thing.

        Still, I think my idea of routing the F along the south side of The Landing (and yes, Fry’s heh) to the ramp at 8th, and then up Houser could work well. Ready access to Southport is going to be important and it really is a short and straight shot from 8th and 405 to Southport if you can take Houser under the train bridge.

      5. These kinds of opportunities to integrate this HOT lane exit are why Renton needs to get serious about a broad, coherent transit plan. I could see this being pretty useless for transit unless Renton endorses a plan that decides that a second transit center for north/ east Renton is appropriate, and services can sometimes skip the expanded South Renton transit center.

        RapidRide F connectivity to Stride seems to be advantageous but that could be available if the line is shifted a few blocks. Connectivity to the proposed RapidRide I is another strategic possibility. Even a north Renton — Skyway Metro RapidRide route or a Bellevue — North Renton — Rainer Beach Stride or ST Express line could be created.

        As for Paccar/ Kenworth, the freight transport world is due for a huge technology shift away from diesel and to more automated features in the next 15 years. The land would seem to be worth a lot, and that will probably increase — and it’s not particularly essential to stay at that location. Thus, I think it would be strategic for the region to entice Paccar to move elsewhere when the inevitable change in product requires a different design or they will locate somewhere with a cheaper labor pool like Centralia, Richland or further away.

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