60 Replies to “Weekend open thread: pulling a locomotive with model trains”

  1. So a big locomotive was pulled by some miniature locomotives? Way Cool! BUT… why did they do it?

  2. On the topic of that damn virus, I, for one, am mortified at the likelihood that the Mariners and Sounders will allow thousands of fans into the stadia for each game/match. The numbers (daily case count, daily death count) are not looking good right now, even with vaccines being injected at breakneck speed. I’m still seeing lots of people who don’t know how to wear their masks (Yes, you have to cover your nose), or don’t think they need to wear one.

    For those who think the vaccine means you get to stop wearing your mask, this long-winded and tedious interview with the virologist cited by both Sen. Paul and Dr. Fauci in their recent on-camera tif is for you. It’s for everyone else, too.

    1. Regarding my concerns for the safety of the games/matches, I don’t doubt that the clubs know more about safety inside the stadium than I do. Getting people in and out with social-distancing is a next-level challenge that I’ll believe their plan works when I see it. (And I don’t plan to be there to see it.)

      But even if they have that all planned out well, there is the question of how 9,000 fans will get to the stadium, and how they will get home. If just half of those fans arrive by modes other than transit, that’s still 4500 fans packing onto buses and trains. In the case of the baseball stadium, that will be mostly the trains. Even that number could overwhelm the COVID capacity of Link and the relevant bus routes.

      If you have not gotten the vaccine yet, consider waiting until a few weeks after you have if you feel you must see some ball games in person.

      If you have a job you have to go to and interact with other people in person, consider the safety of your co-workers and customers, and their families, and everyone who interacts with any members of their families, and so on, and so on. For my part, I have an essential job I have to go to. I can go to football matches, or I can go to my job. I can’t, in good conscience, do both.

      Getting to stop wearing your mask is not a reward for getting vaccinated. Getting to stop wearing your mask *is* a reward for wiping out the virus and all its variants. The more we avoid each other, wear masks when we can’t avoid each other, get the vaccine and any necessary boosters, and follow any other guidance the epidemiologists may offer, the sooner we will get to take off our masks for good.

      1. I fear many people are under the mistaken belief that getting vaccinated means they can no longer get covid. You can be fully vaccinated and still get it, and still spread it. I plan on wearing a mask in public indoor spaces at least through 2022.

      2. Yes, there are ample examples of people getting COVID after being fully vaccinated, but the vaccinated are much less likely to get it (and even less so if they keep wearing their masks, etc), or to suffer the worst symptoms.

        “Efficacy” has generally been determined by how many of the vaccinated have self-reported nevertheless getting symptoms and then testing positive, not a measure of how many have tested positive with or without symptoms.

        Rarely do I hear the virologists bother to explain this basic definition, but it might improved people’s behavior if they did.

      3. The original studies definitely tested everyone in the study, to see whether they got the disease after being vaccinated. So it really wasn’t “self-reporting” that got the various numbers (e. g. Pfizer says its vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 cases with symptoms and 100% effective when it came to preventing severe cases.)

        But each study was done in “real world” conditions. They didn’t purposely expose people to the disease after the vaccines. Thus the results of the study were influenced by their exposure, which varied depending on how the virus was spreading at the time of the study. Then you have the variants, which came later, complicating things further. There also hasn’t been a huge amount of evidence that the vaccines actually stop the spread — although early research is promising. To quote the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html):

        “The risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus. Vaccinated people could potentially still get COVID-19 and spread it to others. However, the benefits of relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements and reducing social isolation may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to others.”

        I agree with your main point. If anything, I feel like we should be tightening the restrictions right now, not making them looser. We are in the home stretch here, as a country. The combination of wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and mass vaccination could get us to herd immunity by June. The more it spreads, the more likely we will have a variant that is resistant to any of the vaccines. That would then require a booster, which could take another several months.

        Even if we get to herd immunity, there will still be flair ups, as most of the world will have it. The global pandemic won’t be over. But the same things is true for lots of diseases. Whooping Cough is a terrible disease, which kills about 20 babies each year in the U. S. each year. To quote the CDC again, of those babies who get treatment for whooping cough in a hospital, about 1 out of 4 will get pneumonia and 1 or 2 out of 100 will die. Other complications include violent, uncontrolled shaking, life-threatening pauses in breathing, and brain disease. It is a lot more contagious than the standard strain of Covid.

        Then there is the flu, of course. It kills around 35,000 a year in the United States. It is possible that the U. S. could get to the point within a few months that Covid is like some combination of those two diseases. There will be flare ups, and the authorities will do tracing, make announcements, that sort of thing (like a measles outbreak). More people will probably die, but probably not more than the flu, and people will treat it similarly.

        The big exception will be travel, in that we will likely require people to be vaccinated to travel to the U. S. (or return back). Either that, or quarantine.

      4. The P.1 variant in Brazil has been shown to re-infect 28-61! percent of people who have had active disease and are then exposed to P.1. Of course nobody knows how successful it is with asymptomatic previous cases, and the vaccines are still able to prevent serious illness when it is encountered. However P.1 is certainly not the end of the line for that mutation. It will give rise to others as well.

        Remember how AIDS got more and more aggressive until people got really frightened by it and started limiting the numbers of partners? It’s no surprise thst a variant 60%more infectious arose in Brazil where Macho is king.

      5. We’re going to need the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to put down the virus in Brazil, along with an administration there more concerned about the virus.

    2. My understanding is that vaccinated people can still get COVID, but the symptoms are likely to be far less severe than if they were unvaccinated. There is also strong circumstantial evidence that vaccines somewhat reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others, although exactly how much is still not yet known, so it best for vaccinated people to wear a mask in public spaces, just to make sure.

      While I think it’s definitely too soon to remove mask mandates right now, it is worth starting to at least think about what standard needs to be met for mask mandates to be removed in the future. I don’t think a standard requiring complete eradication of the COVID virus will ever be met, but I do think that once every person (adult+child) has had ample opportunities to get vaccinated, that might be a reasonable trigger, assuming the vaccines are shown to remain effective. At some point, people who refuse vaccinations need to live with the consequences of their own decisions, and it’s not fair to put everyone else’s life on hold to protect them. There are some activities such as eating at restaurants or playing in a school band which are fundamentally incompatible with mask wearing. Even then, mask mandates may still have to come back if a vaccine-resistant variant surfaces. So, it’s something that heath officials will have to always keep an eye on.

      At the same time, I’m staying in Texas for a month and, in spite of Gregg Abbott’s famous proclamation, the sky hasn’t fallen. At least in the large cities, most businesses seem to be continuing to require masks, most people seem to be complying, and there ample opportunities for curbside service/delivery for people who don’t feel comfortable walking into a store. I would guess that most of the people who aren’t wearing masks today weren’t wearing masks before, anyway.

      1. Let’s say it’s December 2021. You are fully vaccinated. You get on a crowded train or bus. Most passengers aren’t wearing masks. You have a mask in your pocket. Do you put it on?

      2. That’s not the question; the question is whether you remain on the bus. That’s something I’ve started asking after two recent bus trips had a substandard of mask wearing. For months I saw 100% mask compliance, then it started deteriorating around December.

      3. I’ve observed similarly poor results on the train. I can’t blame security for not intervening because most of them have not had time to become “fully vaccinated” since they became eligible for the vaccine back on March 17. That may change in a month or so as they feel their job is less life-threatening.

        Hopefully, all transit agencies and contractors made sure all their employees knew of their vaccine eligibility back then. Those in all the newest eligible categories who have not gotten vaccinated had better get on it, as you’re going to be in competition with 2 million more Washingtonians starting Wednesday, and find it much tougher to get a place in line.

        There is more ST could do to encourage mask wearing on its property. More signage, including floor signage, would be a cheap install. More messaging in both male and female voice, different languages, etc might be annoying, but worth it. And of course, providing as much information as possible about the vaccination process to employees and contractors seems like a basic responsibility.

        At some point warnings and temporary bans may need to kick in, but the up-front improved messaging is less dangerous and probably more efficacious.

      4. Wearing a mask is not “putting one’s life on hold”. Getting the vaccine is not “putting one’s life on hold”, except for maybe a couple days rest. Social distancing in many cases is also not “putting one’s life on hold”.

        Not getting the vaccine is a choice, but probably a not very smart one given the relative risks of getting it or not getting it. Still, ask your doctor if you are not sure whether getting the vaccine is right for you, and which vaccine is safest for you. (Disclaimer: I have no credentials regarding medicine, so don’t consider anything I say as medical advice.)

        If you are in one of the categories of people who can’t wear a mask, there are face shields. Admittedly, I don’t know what the tactics are for young children for whom wearing a mask is not safe. But they, too, can spread the virus or suffer from having it.

        While public schools will be re-opening, hopefully with all the staff having taken advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, vaccine treatments for youth are still in the study phase. Parents in most public school systems can opt to keep their children on a home-learning plan. School districts can opt to do better than the bare minimum of 3 feet between children and 6 feet between adults and anyone else. CDC could change its mind at any time about what the minimum distance is as they learn more and more about how the variants spread.

        The new normal can certainly get better, but better behavior and better decisions right now can help stop future more dangerous variants, and make that new normal more tolerable.

        Still, I have to say, getting children back in school seems like a far higher priority than getting to attend sporting events or getting to eat in restaurants or drink in bars, especially when the restaurant workers aren’t even eligible for the vaccine until Wednesday.

      5. Let’s say it’s December 2021. You are fully vaccinated. You get on a crowded train or bus. Most passengers aren’t wearing masks. You have a mask in your pocket. Do you put it on?

        Probably not. A lot of things have to happen, of course. We need to get herd immunity in this country. It appears like we will, but there are variants that might dominate, and idiots who refuse to get vaccinated. After that, the government needs to handle the flare-ups, with adequate tracing and testing (they do that for measles, and other diseases). I assume there will be a requirement to vaccinate before coming (or returning) to this country. If all that is in place, I will feel comfortable without a mask in an indoor, public place.

        There will be more people wearing masks. I think the same thing is true in airports. Like a lot of people from Asia (prior to this pandemic) it will be more socially acceptable. Covid isn’t the only worry, of course, there is also the flu, and lots of other diseases.

        Me, personally, I don’t like wearing the mask. So I probably won’t (assuming there is no reported flare-up).

      6. There’s a difference between wearing a mask all day every day like we’re doing now if we’re around people, and wearing it occasionally in the most crowded and stagnant situations. I might continue wearing it on buses during flu season, or when it’s crowded and longer than 30 minutes, or when I have any sniffles. It will just become an accessory like a handkerchief or a mobile phone.

      7. I am indeed in Houston. I’ve been very cautious about COVID, and relying on my vaccinated family members to do grocery shopping. Still, the masking situation doesn’t seem that bad around here, at least in the places that I go. My parents report generally good mask compliance when out and about shopping, similar to back home, even though no longer required at the state level. The biggest difference between Houston and Seattle is that, in Houston, people don’t make a show out of masking in places where it doesn’t matter – when simply walking down a sidewalk or park trail, almost nobody wears a mask.

        One somewhat unexpected side effect of the trip, though, is early access to a vaccine. Through a friend of a friend of my sister, I managed to snag an appointment for next week, within the first few days of vaccines in Texas being open to all adults. (Of course, having access to a car to get to an exurban medical clinic at the other end of town, with limited/no public transportation access helps also). I’m even thinking about changing my return ticket so I can get the second dose in Houston also and be fully vaccinated for the flight back (which will be good piece of mind with all the variants circulating, on top of the masks).

      8. Is Washington state one of the slowest in vaccine availability or is it just my imagination? I keep hearing news that a large percent of the population is vaccinated in some states.

    3. I’m surprised the state is reopening right when numbers flatlined and have now started to go up. I congratulated Seattle last month for getting down to its last trough in September. Then it stagnated there and now it’s going up again. It may be less mask wearing and more contagious variants. I thought we should have stayed closed another two months because that’s what’s worked in other countries.

      The vaccines have curtailed deaths but we still don’t know whether they’ll last more than three months or we’ll have to get shots four times a year. And there are cases now of long-term symptoms reappearing or starting a couple months after the infection. As one doctor said, even in asymptomatic cases where people say they feel fine, lung imaging shows a lot of damage. The belief that vaccines will solve everything and we don’t need to mask or be cautious about stadium events seems as pollyanish as believing that TNCs can replace transit or we can just replace our petrol cars with electric cars and keep cities car-dependent.

    4. Oh, here’s a mask story. My bus trips now are once or twice a week. This one was a couple weeks ago, maybe when I went to the Ballard Fred Meyer on the 40. I sat in the back section on the left. A man sat across from me on the right, with a mask hanging off one ear. He was talking to himself and appeared maybe homeless. He got in and opened the ceiling vent and sat down. After a couple minutes I said “Mask, please” as a friendly reminder. He didn’t and I opened my window. I tried saying “Mask, please” again bit it didn’t work. After a few more minutes — I couldn’t believe this — he got up and sat down directly behind me and closed my window. I opened the window again and said, “The window has to remain open if you’re not wearing a mask. Please put on your mask.” After another minute I decided I didn’t want to sit there anymore and moved forward. The only seat that didn’t have somebody directly in front or behind was the first row above the articulation. In the sideways seat below was a woman without a mask who was talking to the people across from her and kept talking the whole time. I think those were the only two maskless people on the bus, although I could only see the backs of the heads in the front section. This was my worst maskless encounter so far.

      1. As an adult in my late 40’s, I would probably have handled it close to that way. When I was 17 and as hot headed as I used to be, I would have beaten that piece of shit to an inch of his life. And gotten off the bus and not felt guilty at all. In the 80’s I had to put up with that kind of crap all the time on night trips. If you did not stick up for yourself you would get harrassed all the time on busses. I guess we get older and more mature.

  3. There is long discussion about the low ridership of the Community Transit Green Line on a previous open thread. At the risk of oversimplifying a nuanced subject, I’ll offer my attempt at incorporating the idea into a larger context.

    Jarrett Walker has written about the coverage-ridership tradeoff (https://humantransit.org/2018/02/basics-the-ridership-coverage-tradeoff.html). It is a fairly simple concept that I think is well understood. The subject also comes up when discussing micro-transit (https://humantransit.org/2018/02/is-microtransit-a-sensible-transit-investment.html). It is the same basic idea — microtransit is coverage. But there is more than just coverage. He makes it clear that microtransit performs worse than a coverage route, while giving riders a better experience. In that sense, “coverage” (as it is commonly understood) is really just a subset of service that enhances the ridership experience, but doesn’t improve ridership.

    There are a number of things like that, which include:

    1) Running a route in a low density area (this is the classic example of what Walker refers to as “coverage”).

    2) Stopping too often (a variation on coverage). A bus that stops every block will add very few riders, while reducing frequency and speed (thus leading to an overall loss of ridership).

    3) Running routes to avoid a transfer. The 43 comes to mind. This is convenient for a few riders, but lowers overall frequency.

    4) Express routes designed not to maximize ridership, but to give those riders a faster trip to their destination.

    What is clear is that 2 and 4 are contradictory. Stop too often, and the bus is too slow. Don’t stop often enough, and you risk losing many of your passengers.

    Some agencies try and compromise, by doing both. They run a limited-stop route and a regular route, making all of the stops. Unless the regular bus is running frequently, and both buses are full, this reduces ridership. A limited-stop bus is faster, but there are diminishing returns. A bus with half the stops is not twice as fast. Despite two routes running on the same corridor, you haven’t combined the frequency, since one is significantly faster. It becomes a combination of a low frequency coverage bus, and a low frequency express bus that only serves a small number of riders (giving them a better customer experience — i. e. a faster ride). If the goal is to maximize ridership along a corridor, then there should be one bus serving it, with the appropriate stop spacing*.

    There are exceptions. Some corridors are so busy that the main bus reaches a saturation point. You can increase frequency, but not see an increase in ridership. This depends in part on the reliability of the corridor, but this is roughly around 3 minutes**. At this point there is nothing to be gained by running the main bus more often, you might as well run express buses. If they fill up, then you’ve increased ridership. You’ve saved money (since the express costs less to run than the main bus) and you’ve given those riders a better experience.

    None of the bus corridors in Puget Sound reach this level all day long. In the middle of the day, none are so crowded that Metro (or another agency) is forced to run expresses, since the regular buses are running every 3 minutes and are full. The only time this level of crowding occurs is during rush-hour, and only a handful of corridors. The E is a classic example. It peaks out at 4 minute frequency. Given its length (and lack of grade-separation) any increase in frequency is unlikely to increase ridership (you will get more bus bunching, even with the off-board payment). This is where the peak-only 301 comes in. It makes very few stops along the way, while picking up many of the riders who would otherwise put capacity pressure on the E. This combination maximizes ridership.

    The Orange Line and 105 do not. The 105 has too many stops — the stop spacing is coverage oriented. Except for one little piece in the south, the two lines overlap. Neither bus is frequent, with the Green Line running every 15 minutes in the day time, and 20 minutes in the evening at night. If the goal is ridership, then the Green Line should have more stops, run more frequently, and the 105 be ended.

    But like all agencies, that is not their only goal. There are some people who come out way ahead. Either they enjoy the coverage of the 105, or the express nature of the Green Line. My point is that these are variations on the same theme. It is giving some riders a better experience, but at the expense of many more that would benefit from a more traditional approach.

    * All other things being equal, ideal stop spacing is somewhere in the 300-600 meter range. This is the international norm, and is based on maximizing ridership. There are studies and math supporting this idea (https://pedestrianobservations.com/2018/10/30/sometimes-bus-stop-consolidation-is-inappropriate/, https://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html). Of course that is all things being equal. They usually aren’t. There are times when it makes sense to stop a little more often, and times when it makes sense to skip sections. In this context, the sections that are skipped have to be considered coverage. They aren’t “on the way” if you need a completely different bus to serve them. They are coverage.

    ** The three minute frequency rule again comes from Walker. In his discussion on streetcars ((https://humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html)) he mentions the obvious advantage of them: capacity. As with express buses, they only start making sense (from a transit perspective) as the bus gets that frequent.

    One final thing. It is worth noting that adding off-board bus “stations” is not that cheap. Thus you have a situation similar to what exists for subways. The folks in charge know they should have more stations, but they can’t afford them. Or they plan on adding them in later. In both cases we shouldn’t assume that the very long stop spacing — with the secondary route making more stops — maximize ridership.

    1. One quibble – “As with express buses, they only start making sense (from a transit perspective) as the bus gets that frequent.” I’d replace ‘transit’ with ‘productivity.’ It’s possible an express overlay might improve access by giving the express riders more destinations within a 30 or 45 minute travel time. Since access is an important part of transit (https://humantransit.org/2021/03/basics-access-or-the-wall-around-your-life.html), I think that’s still within the ‘transit perspective.’ This is perhaps most clear when we remove popular express routes: when we truncate routes at Link, many riders will have longer trips, even though the overall result is more cost effective therefore higher frequency bus service.

      Still agree with your general point that express overlays usually only make sense when they help address a capacity constraint, so only a quibble.

      And in a simillar vein, the improved stations (lighting, shelter, signage, etc.) that come with a RR or Swift project is also a transit investment in that they improve the rider experience, even though they don’t improve mobility directly. A more comfortable and more visible station may help increase ridership (this is a simillar argument to the thought that trains/streetcars are ‘nicer’ and more visible transit and therefore get better ridership). It’s easy to ‘waste’ money on stations, but there is presumably some value in ensuring bus stations don’t make it onto Streetsblog’s sorriest stations list

      1. There is a pretty tried and true concept about travel regardless of mode: Not every minute is perceived as equal to every other minute.

        For bus riders, waiting five minutes seems longer than riding five minutes. The anxiety of wondering if a bus is coming soon has been eased with real time arrival info. Good lighting adds a perception of safety. Noise buffers can reduce stress while waiting. In places like Alberta and Chicago, staying warm waiting is valued (a five minute wait at 10 degrees seems much longer then at 70 degrees).

        Because time is perceived differently depending on the person and the reason for a trip and the time of day and weather and other factors, it’s hard to quantify. Still, adding a good shelter experience probably has the average effect of reducing the perceived waiting by twenty or thirty percent. And a bare bus stop in a hostile environment probably makes every minute waiting feel like 90 seconds or two minutes.

      2. I should have wrote “ridership”. The comment is all about ridership, and trade-off between ridership and “customer experience”. Good catch.

        As far as access, an isochrone map (showing places that can be accessed within a certain amount of time) wouldn’t be great for the Green Line. The bad frequency would hurt things. It would be really “spiky”, with circles around the handful of Green Line stops, with poor access for those on the 105. It might extend a bit farther than combining the two routes (with good stop spacing) but not much farther.

        Truncating the buses at Link stops improves overall ridership. The buses run a lot more frequently, even though some riders have a worse customer experience. This added frequency adds more riders than are lost from those who would prefer the express bus.

      3. The Green line isochrone map should get better once Stride 405N opens? Compared to the 105, Swift is sorta* ‘pre-truncated’ in anticipation of a major transfer node at Canyon Park, so obviously those transfer benefits will not appears until Stride is running. Like any network, the benefit requires the whole network, so the Green might have mediocre ridership until Stride helps unlock Green’s potential? The slightly faster access to Canyon Park that Swift provides isn’t as compelling if the rider is transferring to poor frequency STx routes rather than all-day, frequent Stride service.

        *In reality its a funding issue and the best option will be for the Green to make it all the way to the new Stride transit center at 522 & 405, but you can understand what the planners are trying to do with the current route.

      4. I guess I’m wondering if it would have been better to delay the Green line until Stride opened, given the current performance & scarce resources, or was it better to get it built now, given the constant uncertainty around funding and project timing, and live with so-so performance for a few years. I lean towards the latter.

      5. The Green line isochrone map should get better once Stride 405N opens?

        Yeah, definitely. Keep in mind those maps are all from a single point, so my previous comment is a bit vague. But consider downtown Bellevue as your starting point, and consider a large amount of time (45 minutes). Right now, if it covers that corridor, it does so poorly. It will improve substantially.

        But it still won’t be as good as if they had good stop spacing, and more frequent service. At best you have a few circles (surrounding each stop). They go out pretty far, but there are very few of them, with big gaps in between them. If you added more “stations” (with off-board payment) and more frequent service, things get better. You might not extend that far, but with added frequency, it could very easily be a wash (in terms of distance). Most of the existing circles extends farther, since each of those existing stops are served more frequently. Then you add a bunch of new circles, and you just have a lot more area covered.

        They actually wouldn’t be circles, but diamonds, reflecting the coverage gap between stops (https://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html). (Given enough time, there is no coverage gap, but if you’ve used up 40 minutes just getting to the bus stop, then you can’t walk 10 minutes and claim you got to your destination in 45.)

      6. “Swift is sorta* ‘pre-truncated’ in anticipation of a major transfer node at Canyon Park”

        Swift Green was planned years before ST3 and Stride. There were no plans for Canyon Park other than the hope it would become a larger destination. Swift terminated there simply because there wasn’t enough money in the budget to get to UW Bothell — the same reason Roosevelt RapidRide doesn’t go to Northgate and and Madison RapidRide doesn’t go to Madison Park. All of them were options in the plans, but the budgets weren’t enough to include them.

      7. @AJ
        “I lean towards the latter.”
        I lean that way as well. With additional funding (for the extension to UW Bothell), perhaps from a partnership with one of the other agencies, the Stride line, and the stop spacing and frequency improvements that some (myself, RossB) on this blog believe are needed, I think the Green Line ridership will improve significantly. I also think CT knows all of this and is trying to balance the baby on its somewhat shaky knee (small budget), so to speak. I will also reiterate that the Orange Line timeframe was being impacted by Lynnwood’s stalled 196th St project. Moving forward with the Green Line was the right move imo.

        “There were no plans for Canyon Park other than the hope it would become a larger destination.”

        That’s kind of unfair. The corridor was identified way way back in 2010 when CT created their LRP in consultation with Nelson/Nelgaard (published in 2011). Additionally, the city of Bothell has included the Canyon Park Subarea as part of its comp plan update as far back as 2006. CT’s planners took all of this and subsequent developments into consideration in their run-up to entering the Small Starts CIG Program in 2014. It’s disingenuous to suggest that this was all being designed in a vacuum.

      8. Swift terminated there simply because there wasn’t enough money in the budget to get to UW Bothell

        Right, which is why my highly critical assessment of Swift Green (and Swift in general) needs to taken with a grain of salt. Keep in mind, the federal government (which favors new projects over the far more cost-effective added service) paid for a lot of this. But the county still had to come up with a good chunk of money. This gave them every reason to come up with a plan with a handful of stops (saving money) but just enough to get the feds to pay for much of it.

        — the same reason Roosevelt RapidRide doesn’t go to Northgate and and Madison RapidRide doesn’t go to Madison Park.

        Madison Park is at the end of a dead end. This means that Madison has no connections past 23rd. This is important from a network perspective.

        It is important to remember that Metro is not happy with the southern end of the 8. It is very close to the 48, and thus does not add a lot of value for the cost. They would like to get rid of that section of MLK, or at most, provide (infrequent) coverage service for it. I agree with that assessment.

        That gives Metro two choices:

        1) End the 8 at 23rd, extend Madison BRT to Madison Park.
        2) End Madison BRT at 23rd, send the 8 to Madison Park.

        The section of Madison from 23rd to Madison Park is much lower density than the rest of the street. It has a lot fewer people, and a lot fewer destinations. Madison BRT is very expensive (per mile) from both a capital and frequency standpoint. This bus will have 6 minute frequency all day long. The 8 ran every 12 minutes before the pandemic. The second option is a much better match of frequency and service. They made the right choice.

      9. “But the county still had to come up with a good chunk of money.”

        Bingo! Folks need to keep in mind how much smaller of a transit agency CT is compared to KCM. The budgets are just night and day.

        Fwiw….The breakdown of the funding for the Green Line project went like this:

        Total estimated project cost: $73.63M

        Section 5309 Small Starts
        $43.19M (58.7%)
        Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program
        $3.36M (4.6%)

        WSDOT Regional Mobility Grant
        $13.80 (18.7%)

        Community Transit Capital Reserve Funds
        $13.28 (18.0%)

        Without the federal funding this project would still be on CT’s wish list.

      10. “Madison Park is at the end of a dead end.”

        The plan wouldn’t have had RapidRide improvements east of 29th, it would just have continued as a regular bus. It’s less than a mile and a low-congestion area, so not much additional cost. It would have allowed the G to serve Madison Park instead of the 8. I think there are more people there going to First Hill, Pike-Pine and midtown than to Denny Way.

        “It is important to remember that Metro is not happy with the southern end of the 8.”

        But don’t go messing up the Madison area just to fix that. From the 8N perspective it doesn’t matter much if it turns south on MLK; there’s no better place for it to go to. From the 8S perspective, Metro’s plan terminates the successor route at MLK & Madison. That’s not a good transfer point or destination.

      11. It’s less than a mile and a low-congestion area, so not much additional cost.

        Not counting bus stops, it takes 10 minutes to get from MLK to 1st via Madison. 23rd to Madison Park adds another 5 minutes. That means around 50% more buses, and 50% more service cost. That is a substantial cost, with very little gain.

        “It is important to remember that Metro is not happy with the southern end of the 8.”

        But don’t go messing up the Madison area just to fix that.

        Nothing is being messed up. I don’t think you get it. There are two routes heading east towards MLK:

        1) Metro 8 — https://goo.gl/maps/n6GCusRboCZiX7mK7
        2) RapidRide G — https://goo.gl/maps/Ts5GbRnaksScTpzZ6

        Both could end at MLK. Both could extend to Madison Park. Those are the only choices. Both are frequent, but the RapidRide 8 is extremely frequent. It also has special buses (with doors on both sides). Sending the Metro 8 to Madison Park — a relatively low density area with no transit connections — is a much better match of frequency with demand.

        The rest of MLK, on the other hand, should be served with a less frequent bus. It has some density in spots, but much of that is served with other buses (like the 2). It has nowhere near the density of the truncated 8 or RapidRide G.

        As to how it should be served, that is another question. The concept in Metro’s long range plan looks OK to me. Madison and MLK is not a major destination, but still a decent one (with lots of shops and apartments). It would connect to the most frequent bus in our system (RapidRide G) as well as the 8, which would likely be frequent as well. It would cross buses like the 2 and 3, along with Link at Judkins Park. A lot of people would just walk to the more frequent 48, but for those who don’t want to walk that far, this gives them good connections to the rest of the system. Oh, and it gives those riders a good connection up to Beacon Hill (it actually runs by three Link stations). Personally I think that is pretty good.

        But again, that is not the only option. This could be extended to 19th, and provide service there. This would make sense if there if layover space at MLK and Madison is hard to find. There are similarities with service on MLK and 19th. In both cases the route is a bit too close to another route. It thus becomes more coverage in nature, despite having pretty good density. Not great density (like most of the buses in the area) but better density than most of King County. Running a route like this seems reasonable: https://goo.gl/maps/uFtmmp7jmTbSb7mX9. This gives those MLK riders a connection to the 48, along with the other connections mentioned earlier. It covers areaa that might lose all service when Madison BRT is built. Overall it is coverage in nature, but with enough going on to get decent ridership.

        You run the new, shorter 8 around 10 minutes (while the RapidRide G runs every 6 minutes). Ideally the MLK bus runs every 15, but I could see it slip to 20 or even 30. It has some nice features, but at the end of the day, it is largely a coverage bus compared to the other routes in the area.

      12. Ross, I think you don’t fully understand that Route 8 connects areas in the MLK corridor with Capitol Hill. Residents see it as a trade off to Route 48 which runs due north. In fact just 8 years ago, Route 8 extended to Rainier Beach on MLK. So now that trip is split — and one transfer is required. Splitting Route 8 like you want creates another transfer so that would force a double transfer for a trip that had no transfers just a few years ago. With Capitol Hill being the closest Kaiser facility to SE Seattle and transferring Downtown required for any major medical facility in Capitol Hill/ First Hill for SE Seattle residents, it makes essential medical access worse than it already is.

    2. A city needs a robust network of local, limited, express, and local coverage routes. The goal is to make transit convenient for the widest cross-section of trips and people, to reduce car ownership and use to below 50%. That’s what the most successful transit cities have. As definitions:

      * Local: a full-time frequent route with 0.25-0.33 mi stop spacing (5 blocks).
      * Limited: a frequent route with 0.5-1 mile stop spacing (10-20 blocks), or up to 2 miles (40 blocks). This runs at least daytime when traffic congestion bogs down the local, and may run in the evenings if the local can’t reach the limited’s daytime speed.
      * Express: a route with more than 2 miles nonstop that skips over pedestrian concentrations (not just industrial land or a lake).
      * Coverage local: a route that primarily serves low-density areas (less than urban villages) and is usually infrequent. Still a 15-minute minimum frequency would be ideal.

      Please don’t conflate limited and express because it makes things too complicated: they’re different levels of service for different kinds of trips. Metro/ST/CT’s terminology is misleading. Limited routes include Link, Swift, Stride, an idealized 512 (with Northgate and Roosevelt stops), 550, 7X, 9, 15X. Express routes include 4xx, 545, 554, 577, 594, etc. Ideally a limited route is on the same arterial as its local, but some freeway routes function a similar way.

      The most numerous trips and the people most willing to use transit by choice are traveling between pedestrian concentrations: urban villages, transfer points, high-volume buildings. So those should have good travel time between them. That often requires a limited-route overlay. It may not be necessary for a route like the 48, but as the routes become longer like the E and A it becomes more important.

      Seattle’s low density exacerbates this. If the urban villages were larger and connected together, then there would be more people getting on/off in the in-between areas and your destinations would be closer. Insteead Seattle is islands of villages in a sea of low-density and residential-only areas, and the rest of Pugetopolis is even worse. This means people have to travel longer distances and the speed of local routes becomes a more acute issue.

      Community Transit has a planned network of six Swift lines. This is “poor man’s light rail”, because CT is too undense and tax-adverse for several rail lines outside the Spine. These are in the highest-volume corridors, connecting the city centers, major urban villages, colleges, etc. The first to be implemented was highway 99, which had the highest-ridership route. Now both Swift and the 101 are the highest-ridership routes. That also gives a continuous chain of routes between Everett and Tacoma (Swift Blue, E, 124, A, 501) for all the overlapping trips on 99. The second and third corridors should have been Edmonds-Lynnwood and Everett-Smokey Point. Edmonds is one of the major cities, and Smokey Point already has 15-minute service that’s used.

      But Seaway-Canyon Park got pushed ahead of them. That was because of the political imperative to get high-capacity transit to Boeing, to leverage a state grant that was available for only a Boeing corridor, to address a transit hole on 128th Street, and to begin building up ridership on the Bothell-Everett Highway in anticipation of ST3 Link (Mariner Station).

      The problem with Swift Green is not that limited-stop routes are unjustified, it’s that this was the wrong corridor for the second line; its too immature. The governments also don’t understand the difference between all-day corridors and peak routes. All-day corridors are for all-day two-way ridership, to destinations all along the corridor. If you have a specific need for peak service, like Boeing commuters or Tukwila Sounder users, then address it with a peak-only route. Don’t bend an all-day trunk route or put it in an inappropriate corridor to address that peak need. That just wastes resources, and starves areas that would have benefitted more from the trunk route. (As in Lynnwood-Everett-Smokey Point, or a straight line between Southcenter and Renton.)

      The southern half of the Swift Green corridor is not actually low density: there are dozens of 4-6 story apartment buildings. The problem is they were built without transit — there was only the infrequent 105 then, and it was sometimes reduced to peak-only during recessions. So the buildings were built as if there were no transit, because only the most desperate would wait for a route like the 105. So the buildings have high parking minimums and are oriented a long walk from the bus stops. That’s where there should have been robust transit from the beginning to discourage that. Swft Green is an attempt to start fixing that now. Then there’s the issue that Swift doesn’t go to downtown Bothell or UW Bothell, so you have to wait twenty minutes to transfer to the 105 in a freeway-interchange hell. Suburbanites tend to not put up with such inconveniences and just drive. But it’s not that CT didn’t want to extend the Green to UW Bothell initially, it’s just that it didn’t have enough funding to, and as soon as it gets the funding it will extend it.

      The problem in the Swift Green corridor is that its underdevelopment, transit-unfriendly buildings, and too many residential-only areas drive rindership down, on both limited and local routes alike. I don’t know if the 105’s stop spacing is too close (less than 0.25 miles), but that’s not the primary issue. The primary issue isn’t even whether a limited-stop route exists or whether it should be somewhere else. It’s that this corridor has bad land uses that are unconducive to ridership, that it never had a frequent route until a few years ago and it takes time for people’s habits to change and more transit-oriented people to move there, that this “frequent” route isn’t really that frequent, and there’s a time-consuming transfer to get to the major destinations at the southern end (downtown Bothell and UW Bothell), that it doesn’t connect to ST Express, etc.

      1. The goal is to make transit convenient for the widest cross-section of trips and people, to reduce car ownership and use to below 50%.

        That is a nice goal. What I’m saying is if your goal is ridership than most of what you mentioned is a waste of money. The reason why lots of cities have things we take for granted is because they aren’t focused on ridership. I’m not saying they should be. But if you wonder why the Green Line fails to get enough riders it is because they are focused on other things. Fundamentally, there is very little difference between the 105 and the Green Line. The Green Line has worse ridership, but gives a few riders a faster trip. The 105 has worse ridership, but gives some riders a shorter walk. The combination leads to poor ridership — meaning most of the people in the area would be better off with one route using international stop spacing — but a few riders are better off.

        That’s what the most successful transit cities have. As definitions:

        * Limited: a frequent route with 0.5-1 mile stop spacing (10-20 blocks), or up to 2 miles (40 blocks). This runs at least daytime when traffic congestion bogs down the local, and may run in the evenings if the local can’t reach the limited’s daytime speed.
        * Express: a route with more than 2 miles nonstop that skips over pedestrian concentrations (not just industrial land or a lake).

        Limited stop buses are rare outside the United States, which means they are rare in the most successful transit cities. They might have express routes, especially if they go on an expressway. In both cases they run only if the main route is full, and running every 3 minutes (give or take). To quote Alon Levy:

        A lot of this boils down to the stop innovating and start imitating principle I tell Americans about re construction costs. American bus networks suck. Canadian ones are better, but that boils down to how they feed rail and how the bigger ones run every 8 minutes off-peak, not 15. Once you get out of North America, you rarely see 200-meter interstations on buses. You see a range of 300-600. Nor do you see much creative local/express combos; it won’t surprise me if there are more such combos in Brooklyn alone than in all non-North American cities I’ve lived in (Tel Aviv, Singapore, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, and let’s even throw in the Riviera) combined.

        https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/12/31/queens-bus-redesign/#comment-70568 (all of Alon’s comments are worth reading on that post, as the subject comes up repeatedly).

        The point is, no great transit city would build what Snohomish County did. None would add a bunch of fancy stations with off-board readers, but serve them only with their limited stop express. Nor would they have a limited stop express running 15 min, and their regular bus even *less* often. Nor would they have their regular bus make so many stops. It just doesn’t make sense.

        The problem with Swift Green is not that limited-stop routes are unjustified

        I’m not saying they aren’t justified. I’m saying they lead to lower ridership. Complain all you want about the weakness of the corridor; the corridor is not served well with the combination of the 105 and Green Line. With decent stop spacing and one (more frequent) route, ridership would increase.

        Again, that may not be the priority for this corridor, or any other. Fine. But stop pretending that this is nothing more than favoring a small set of riders (those who want a short walk to their bus stop, or a slightly faster ride to their destination) which in turn hurts the majority, which leads to less ridership.

      2. Oof. I meant to bold the word “ridership” and the word “riders”. Obviously I didn’t close the first tag correctly.

  4. https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/ActiveDocuments/Presentation%20-%20Realignment%2003-25-21.pdf

    Likely to be covered in a future STB post, but my initial thoughts here on the proposed interim termini:

    Mariner – great! This allows Snohomish to revisit in the future if they still want the Paine Field deviation or decide Swift Green is good enough for the Airport road corridor. Link could forge onwards to Everett via several alignments or decide buses on I5 are sufficient and Mariner is a long-term terminus (the OMF-N is likely in the Everett MIC, so I’d speculate the final station likely is the infill station at Evergreen Way, rather than Mariner)

    Smith Cove – great! Allows for the Seattle Process to continue to unfold and hopefully result in a better outcome in Interbay+Ballard, with better ST/SDOT synergy around new ship canal crossings and perhaps better synergy with the Amory site and/or Port assets.

    Delridge – great! At minimum, this appropriately deprioritizes getting to the Junction before the 2nd tunnel is open, and more ambitiously it may allow Seattle to reconsider serving the Junction directly vs alternatives that prioritize getting to White Center & beyond. Also allows for many more years of gondola activism, which is of dubious value but at enjoyable to witness.

    Fife – odd. Seems like SFW would be the phase 1, to get to the OMF-S. Perhaps it is politically important to get into Pierce, but seems to me the Puyallup river crossing is the most difficult part of TDLE, and once Link gets to Fife, getting to T-Dome is rather straightforward. SFW terminus still allows for Pierce to say ‘no thanks’ to Link, but Fife likely makes Link to Tacoma inevitable and therefore permanently tie Pierce to Sound Transit.

    Bellevue College – great. Focuses on the higher ridership stations. Also sorta irrelevant given how far out the project is.

    So aside from Fife over SFW, I think the project phasing efforts are moving in a good direction.

      1. I’m hoping for a wye junction; I don’t think there would need to be a 3rd track? If there is a junction in operation, I don’t think either lines would end at Mariner – one line would go all the way to Everett station, while the other line would take the spur. So the spur’s turnaround would be one or two stations further along Airport Way or I5 (either works, in my mind), not at Mariner itself.

        Option A: Everett Link follows the Paine field alignment as planned. The future spur goes in phases to 112th, then S Everett Mall, and finally perhaps ties back into the main line so both lines go all the way to Everett station.
        Option B: Everett Link punts on the Paine field alignment, but the OMF-N is still in the vincity of Paine Field, so the spur at least would serve the SR99/Airport Rd station since it is ‘on the way’

        In either example, I’m operating under the assumption that Link can center run on I5 given the wide, unused median in that area for low (relative to Link) capital costs.

        Good point on the Mariner station being east-west and therefore after a theoretical junction; I suppose that would mean an I5 spur would have to build a 2nd station at Mariner with a short walk for transfers (or just wait until the next station); not ideal, but I’d rather get the best station placement for the initial Mariner station and then make lemonade with the spur, as a spur line would presumably be built a decade or more later.

      2. Yes, a wye for Paine Field and Everett trains so that each one gets a line (but traveling between the two requires a transfer) would be my hope too. After all, CT has Swift which — if the ET merger happens — can create direct connectivity by simply extending the Green Line from Seaway into Everett by 2026 rather than wait 15-20 years for Link.

        Then, turning around trains from the two Link lines gets immensely easier as there would be only one line at each terminus.

        I think that the 128th St SW segment is going to get really politically ugly as it runs through developed residential areas. Most of ST3 outside of Seattle follows freeways and that’s an easier land and noise challenge — but not here.

        Regardless, ST seems unwilling to rethink adjustments to their ST3 plan outside of delaying the most outer stations on each line. Even simple operations changes, like switching SODO platforms to promote operational flexibility as well as cross-platform transfers, seems out if their lock-step capital planning. Meanwhile, there is no discussion of how do you reverse a train when another train continues on three minutes later at Mariner.

    1. “Likely to be covered in a future STB post…”

      Yeah, I hope that’s the case. I’d love to read what others here on STB have to say about the latest developments. Personally I’m just diving into the material you’ve referenced as I’ve been reading thru the ST3 capital projects cost estimate assessment (draft) report from Triunity also presented recently. The following narrative contained in the report regarding the ROW estimates for the WSBLE components (section 3) really jumped out at me:

      “SCC 60 Comparison of Estimates

      “ST3 (2016) Plan to Phase 1 (2019)

      “Overall ROW costs increased from $162 million in the ST3 (2016) plan to $678 million, representing an increase of 318%. As the design was further developed, the total area of impacted ROW increased by 11%; however, as the ROW impacts
      were further analyzed, it was determined that the number of full takes increased from 65 in the ST3 (2016) Plan to 100 in
      Phase 1 (2019).

      “Rising real estate values in Seattle over the three-year period also largely contributed to the change in overall ROW Costs
      (see bullet points below).

      “The increase in the overall contingency from 55% to 75% also made a significant contribution (36% on top of higher property values) to the increased ROW costs.

      “Phase 1 (2019) to Phase 2 (2020)

      “Overall ROW costs increased from $678 million in the ST3 (2016) plan to ~$3 billion (PA 201) and $2.58 billion (PA 202),
      representing an increase of 342% (PA 201) and 280% (PA 202).

      “The area of impacted ROW measured in square feet (sf), including full acquisitions, increased from 2.4 million sf in Phase 1 (2019) to 6.7 million sf (PA 201), representing a 174% increase, and 6.3 million sf (PA 202), representing a 162%
      increase, in Phase 2 (2020), with associated full takes increasing from 100 in Phase 1 (2019) to 298 (PA 201) and 259 (PA
      202) in Phase 2 (2020).

      “The single greatest reason for the increase in cost appears to be the use of the buffer method for estimating private property impacts in the ST3 (2016) Plan and Phase 1 (2019) cost estimates, in contrast to the use of a more refined project
      footprint in Phase 2 (2020). This footprint resulted in a more accurate understanding of the ROW impacts, with a significant
      increase in the number of full acquisitions (see above) as well as more impactful partial acquisitions. In fact, real estate
      impacts associated simply with construction (not including TCE’s) account for $1.4 billion (PA 201) and $1.2 billion (PA 202). These costs are particularly noticeable in the downtown segment.

      “The other significant factors include rising real estate costs and redevelopment of parcels to higher density uses.”

      Wow. Just wow. This makes the ROW estimate miss with the Lynnwood Link extension project look tame in comparison.

      1. It just shows how we should have reserved right of way for transit as the city and metro area expanded rather than waiting until decades later when it’s much more expensive to retrofit them. That’s how the streetcars in Fremont and Phinney Ridge were done, they were laid out while the houses were being built. We reserve space for streets and cars but no transit-priority ROW, and then buses get stuck in car traffic, so people drive because transit is no faster than driving.

      2. But where do we have large pieces of ROW just sitting around unused? LA and (to a lesser extend) Denver had freight corridors that are recycled pretty well into transit corridors, but the PNW simply doesn’t have that ROW sitting around. We can tut-tut at our forefathers, but given absence of major greenfield development in the region, I don’t really see how we can do better ‘next time’?

      3. “But where do we have large pieces of ROW just sitting around unused?”
        Now THAT is FUNNY !

        Let’s see, the Eastside Rail Corridor for one, given up for a more costly and less effective Enhanced Freeway Express Bus System.

        Something farther west?
        When Sound Transit had one of their Lynnwood Link scoping meetings in Shoreline, one thing stood out for me in the presentation.
        I was wondering why the Cost/Benefit analysis used 20 for it’s horizon year span when comparing the freeway alignment and the Interurban/Hwy99 corridor. It would seem ridership numbers for the Hwy99 corridor would have more potential given the TOD that could happen beyond 20 years (we used 30 years in the I-405 analysis).

        Something else was afoot. I got the feeling there was more politicking involved, so I posed the question: “How does Shoreline feel about the Hwy99 alignment?”
        A reply came from the Shoreline representative “As long as it doesn’t compete with our plans.”
        Code words for “We just did a GLORIOUS Highway Beautification project and we don’t want you to mess it up with your stinkin’ trains!”
        So, if you’re travelling on Hwy99 through Shoreline, admiring the lovely stripmallcarsewer-butwithbeautifullipstick scenery, when you get between N 185th St and N 175th St right across from Brotherton Cadillac, there is a sculpture in the park that shows how we really want our transportation systems to perform.

        If you want an easy visual idea of where rail capable, at-grade ROW’s are, just match up the local level trunk power lines with the walking trails.

        It doesn’t seem like we have a lot of ROW because we are pretty much pissing them all away, so that people of privilege won’t be offended by the unwashed masses in their stinkin’, noisy, slow (did I miss anything?) trains.

      4. All of Jim’s examples are ROWs being used for vehicles or bike/peds, which I think underscores my point. I won’t bother to rehash the Renton-Bellevue ERC debate aside from noting that the region is using that ROW, but allocated it to bike/ped rather than trains. So again, not sitting around unused.

        I do think power ROWs are interesting, for example to get from Rainier Beach station to Renton, but often those also hold major gas or water pipelines. The ERC that ST does own (and is planning on fully using) also includes PSE easements that ST needs to accommodate, so I’d imagine it’s possible to share rail ROW with major power lines but it depends on the specifics.

      5. Wow. Just wow.

        It is almost as if they chose a particular, seemingly arbitrary route for political reasons, then purposely low balled the estimates to make it seem like a great idea. Now they are defending the route as if it was chosen because it would carry more people, or be a better value. Wow indeed.

        What really sucks is not that the projects are such overpriced turds, it is that they will suck the life out of the transit system that most people will use. Seattle bus service is barely adequate. Suburban Metro bus service is terrible. Snohomish and Pierce transit is worse. Yet in every area, people will be highly dependent on those buses, and they won’t get better.

        At this point, I think we would have been better off just throwing our money at bus service. Imagine if every bus came twice as often. Also imagine that Metro (and other agencies) create more of a grid, since the transfers at that point aren’t so painful. This increases frequency even more, and dramatically speeds up many trips (as folks avoid big detours to downtown). How much would that cost? How many years before ST3 actually becomes a better value? Forty years? Sixty? Never?

      6. This paragraph (cited above in my earlier comment) needs to be corrected before the draft report is finalized:

        “Overall ROW costs increased from $678 million in the ST3 (2016) plan to ~$3 billion (PA 201) and $2.58 billion (PA 202), representing an increase of 342% (PA201) and 280% (PA 202).”

        The $678M figure listed here is from the Phase 1 (2019) assessment, not the 2016 ST3 plan figure. That was previously listed as $162M, with all figures given in 2019 constant dollars*. That’s important to keep in mind as well while reading through this report. The YOE$ figures are not shown.

        Finally, based on my knowledge of what has transpired on the Lynnwood Link project since ST2 was passed way back in 2008 (the project I’ve been most involved with), the scale of the impacted properties within the scope of the WSBLE project(s) is probably still greatly understated in this consultant’s assessment.

        *From page 3
        “The below are specifically addressed in this report:
        a. Assessment of the cost estimates for WSBLE, TDLE, OMFS and the BRT program in 2019 dollars, including the
        methodology used by the Assessment Team to perform this work.”

      7. @RossB
        “At this point, I think we would have been better off just throwing our money at bus service. Imagine if every bus came twice as often.”

        Yeah, I have to agree. As more and more information has come out about the ST3 capital program over the last few years I consistently have had the reasoning behind my 2016 “no” vote confirmed. I think TomTerrific summed it up best, and very succinctly, in one of his comments not too long ago when he characterized ST as a very amateurish agency. The question I have whether there is more at play here than just incompetence, paired with a good helping of arrogance.

        The rest of your comment hit home with me as well. Please indulge me by allowing me to tell the following personal anecdote. I recently received a jury summons from the muni court in Edmonds, which surprised me a bit at first since I live outside the city limit. (I guess their jury pool of just Edmonds residents isn’t sufficient so they also include residents from the unincorporated area.) There is no mention on the summons and questionnaire nor on the accompanying letter about using transit to reach the courthouse. It did include a parking pass however. Interesting. So I decided to check out what my transit options were as I’ve never taken the bus to get to downtown Edmonds from where I live now. In order to get there by the 8:30am reporting time, I would have to leave by 6:30 to take my local CT bus and then transfer to another local CT route that goes to downtown Edmonds, and then walk a few more blocks to the courthouse. I would then have like an hour wait outside. Thus, I will be driving there instead.

    2. great!

      I love your attitude AJ. You would make a great preschool art teacher. “That’s great Timmy! You got most of the paint on the paper this time.”

      Sorry, most of this is crap. They keep finding bullshit reasons to delay the most cost effective parts of ST3. Last time it was looking at ridership without considering cost. This basically meant prioritizing large projects, even though they had much lower ridership per dollar. Now it is “connecting centers”. Yeah, sorry Graham Street. I know you have the best ridership per dollar, and probably the best ridership time saved per dollar, but you just don’t connect to enough centers. (Apparently downtown Seattle and the UW aren’t “centers”?)

      Then there is the stub lines. Yeah, fine, Mariner is OK, but does it add much? Of course not. The stops are along the freeway, and there is very little travel between them. Lynnwood has the best connection to the freeway (although to be fair, Ash Way is good as well). But stopping at Mariner is pure genius compared to the other ideas.

      Smith Cove to Delridge: There is nothing at either location! It adds practically nothing for the north end and absolutely nothing for West Seattle. Either you tell those folks on Delridge that they have to get off the bus and catch the train (right as it is about to express to downtown) or you will have no ridership. Oh, and what about the C, 21 and express buses from Alki? Are they supposed to detour to Delridge to serve the station, instead of getting on the freeway as well? It is nuts. This is a brand new line, likely costing over a billion dollars, and there will be one station, in the middle of nowhere. It is bullshit symbolism. It is a way of telling West Seattle that they haven’t been forgotten, while giving them basically nothing.

      Yet even that sounds brilliant compared to running the line to Fife. Critics of ST3 would often reference Fife, just because there is nothing there. Again, the plan is to spend a fortune serving a stop in the middle of nowhere. This is similar to when ST ended the train at Tukwila, instead of SeaTac (except that even TIBS is a much bigger destination than Fife). Except this is worse. That first line (that ended in Tukwila) included Beacon Hill and all of the Rainier Valley stations (except Graham Street, which they will add in 2055). The Fife extension means adding South Federal Way, another station in the middle of nowhere. You might assume that this would make feeder buses from Tacoma much better. Nope. The best connection from the freeway to a transit center is at the main Federal Way station. It has HOV ramps serving it: https://goo.gl/maps/XrsFKjrwSEuD7Xux7.

      The one section they got right is the truncation of the Issaquah line at Eastgate. That actually makes sense. (Great! Nice job Timmy). Of course South Kirkland doesn’t, but South Kirkland never made sense. The train should just end in downtown Bellevue, or better yet, serve another part of downtown Bellevue. Of course that would mean rethinking the plans, instead of assuming that everything that ST has planned so far has been brilliant.

      1. “(except Graham Street, which they will add in 2055).”

        Is that the outcome of the realignment plan as things now stand? I try not to curse when posting comments, but holy shit. If that is indeed the case, I’ll be long gone before then as will countless others who could have actually benefitted from this infill station decades sooner.

      2. I was being sarcastic, but let’s see. Graham Street was originally supposed to be completed in 2031 (wow). In the “Centers” plan, it gets delayed 14 years. In the “First Segments Scenario”, it gets delayed 15. Holy smoke, I was trying to be a smart-ass, but I wasn’t that far off. Instead of 2055, it could be 2045 or 2046. For a freakin’ infill station. The most cost effective project in the whole thing, and they want to wait until 2045.

        It just looks like bullshit. Just various reasons to focus on the big projects (Rail to West Seattle!) instead of the things that will actually increase ridership (stations).

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