In Switzerland, the post office has provided rural transit service for over a century.

22 Replies to “Weekend open thread: PostBus”

  1. This month, I’ve been working my way through David Frankal’s tour of European transit systems on YouTube.

    I enjoy it because just about every form of urban transit technology is shown at some point. It has maps, exterior shots, interior shots and soundtracks (alternating with background music) to provide the viewer with a pretty good experience of each technology and system. It’s also cool looking at how the systems are set in historic architecture — especially in cities with steep hills like Seattle.

    Does this channel inspire other readers or posters here?

    This week the PisaMover is featured. It is a cool installation of cable-driven trams for “last mile” connectivity between the train station, parking and the airport. Also branded a “mini metro”, the half-mile line is similar in concept to BART’s Oakland Airport Connector except it’s much shorter and more expensive (5 Euros).

  2. The first pieces of the Northgate ped bridge which will connect the Northgate LR station with the area west of I-5 have arrived on site and are being readied in the freeway median as I type.

    One more weekend of prep work like this and then the first segment of the bridge will be ready to be hoisted into place.

    LR to Northgate will be an incredible improvement in transportation over the current situation. When the ped bridge opens it will just make it even better.

    1. Actually, they will pre-install a bunch of stuff and lift later. Looks like an early May lift.

      Hopefully they get this all done in time for the NG Link opening!

      1. The bridge was a fiasco. It should have been done long ago and opened before Link (it has value as a stand alone bridge). It also should have cost less. Basically SDOT screwed up.

        Still, like a lot of things, it was worth building, and will be a welcome addition. It will tie together neighborhoods that have been cut off for years, while providing better access to the station from the college (and the community west of I-5). I walk by there periodically to see how they are progressing.

      2. Needless to say – this bridge could have been built for a fraction of the cost of it were done back in the 1960’s – at the same time that I-5 was first built to begin with.

      3. @asdf2,

        Ya, because if we had built the ped in bridge in the 60’s it would look like crap, have a fracture-critical design, and not be able to withstand even a moderate earthquake. But it would be cheaper!

        Cheap isn’t always best.

      4. Construction is always much cheaper if you can take advantage of crews that are already mobilized and not have existing stuff to keep running through the construction zone.

        Just like the 130th St. station is cheaper to build at the same time Lynnwood Link is being built, a bridge over a freeway is cheaper to build at the same time that they’re building the freeway.

        Back when I-5 was built, WSDOT was cheap and didn’t bother to include pedestrian crossings. We’re paying for it now.

      5. @asdf2,

        Well, as bad as 1960’s design was, I really can’t blame WSDOT for not building a ped bridge connecting NG Mall with North Seattle Community College given that the freeway was built in 1963 and the college wasn’t built until 1970.

        But hey, shame on them for not being better fortune tellers. I expect better from my tax dollars!

      6. And Forward Thrust wouldn’t have gone to Northgate. :)

        As to what planners did envision, it’s that people would drive to Northgate, drive to NSCC, and Licton Springs would have fewer destinations to go to. If they didn’t drive, they would use buses like the 41, 26, and 40. (And no 346 since there was no Metro; the 26-ish route would have been extended to 145th.) The ped bridge on the wast side would have led to a one-story strip mall. And how many people would go to both NSCC and Northgate Mall in the same day?

        WSDOT’s 520 bridge didn’t even have a sidewalk until the rebuild a few years ago. It was “Pedestrians and bicycles prohibited”. For a while Metro had a free fare between the Montlake and Evergreen Point freeway stations so hardy bicyclists/walkers could get across the bridge from the entrances. But you still had to get to Evergreen Point. And that doesn’t help at night when there are no buses. Some street kids used to walk across the bridge at night, but that was dangerous because the shoulder was very narrow.

    2. LR to Northgate will be an incredible improvement in transportation over the current situation.

      I agree. This is huge. We really should have started with U-District to downtown, but better late than never. We’ll finally have a real urban subway. The system won’t be based on commuter-rail type trips (e. g. Tukwila to downtown) but quick trips within the city to urban destinations (Roosevelt to Capitol Hill). The speed improvements for trips like that will be huge. Not only much faster than taking a bus, but faster than driving.

      It sucks that it is opening when all the agencies are struggling for funding. Like most of our system, Northgate Link is dependent on good bus service (especially Northgate itself, which abuts a freeway, and will get most of its rider via buses). Metro needs to have a good restructure, and ST needs to run the train often. Both are in doubt.

      Oddly enough, we may have to wait until East Link before Northgate Link reaches its full potential. When east Link opens, the core (UW to downtown) gets much better frequency (so does Northgate). By then (hopefully) the bus system will be better as well.

    3. I drove by it this morning on my way home from work. I could see what I think is 2 different perfab sections. Coul not take my eye off the wheel long and did not drive back.

      1. Judging by the photos, I think the main span came in 4 major segments: the east and west ends, and the center section split in half lengthwise into north and south sides. Assemble the 4 segments, add decking and railings, and they will be ready to lift.

        Seems like they are going to be doing a lot of work in the freeway median over the next two months.

  3. This guy took his drone out to the Mercer Slough in Bellevue a few days ago to film. It has a couple of nice shots of the South Bellevue Station area. Toward the end of the video, around 4:50, there’s a good view of South Bellevue and all the way up toward East Main.

    Fun fact. The Mercer Slough used to be mostly under water before Lake Washington was lowered by 9 feet in 1916.

    1. That causeway from the P&R connects to a trail through the Bellefields park at 112th, a little waterfall, and ends at 116th south of SE 8th Street. You can take the 271 or walk from Bellevue TC. Except part of it may be closed during Link construction.

      If you walk from the TC on 114th, which curves to 118th Ave SE where the trailhead is, you see the worst of 1970s suburban density: office towers all alone on a big superblock with surface parking. There farther apart than downtown office towers were, and they’re run down because they were built in the 1970s. It’s enough to make an urbanist cry. But once you get to the trail, things are immensely better.

      1. I said 116th but it’s actually 118th. 116th ends on the east side of 405 at SE 8th Street, which crosses 405. 114th goes down the west side of 405, and because 405 curves, 114th becomes 118th while still remaining on the west side. Don’t go down 112th because that’s the other side of Bellefields park, and the only way to get from there to the entrance is again SE 8th Street.

  4. In today’s Peanuts Snoopy takes a bus, then goes around shouting “Arf arf”, then takes a bus again. He says, “That’s the trouble with living in a quiet neighborhood, I have to take a bus all the way downtown when I want to chase cars.”

    NYT links:

    The war on cars is in Heidelberg, pop 160K. (cf. Bellevue 150K, Spokane 227K.) “Heidelberg is buying a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses, building a network of bicycle ‘superhighways’ to the suburbs and designing neighborhoods to discourage all vehicles and encourage walking. Residents who give up their cars get to ride public transportation free for a year.”

    It’s also building an infill development on a former rail yard, called Bahnstadt or Rail City. “The Bahnstadt, with 5,600 residents and still growing, has its own kindergarten and elementary school, a community center, two supermarkets, several bakeries and cafes, two bicycle shops, and six car-sharing stations, each with two electric vehicles. Heidelberg’s main train station and a tram stop are a short walk away, and a bicycle path follows the route of an old rail line to the city center. There are also jobs. The Bahnstadt has several large office buildings.”

    Corona cycleways are becoming major commuter corridors in France, Britain, and Italy.

  5. University Street Station is in really sad shape. Today I went in the Seneca entrance, and both escalators and the elevator were closed! The stairs were the only choice. Then on the platform, three of the four platform escalators are closed! (The platform escalators are all up only.) I didn’t check the University Street or 2nd Avenue entrances to see if they’re that bad.

    The worst part is, there was no sign on the platform elevators, so somebody might take the elevator up to the mezzanine, find they can’t go up further, then go back down to the platform and up the north side. (Where hopefully a mezzanine-to-surface elevator is working.)

    The best part is, one of the escalators had its treads stacked up next to it, so maybe it will be repaired in a few days.

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