KCM 4602 (Proterra) at Eastgate P&R

This is an open thread.

65 Replies to “News roundup: fresher air”

  1. Potential plan to replace the Mt. Baker Lowes (across from light rail, zone 145 feet) with an Amazon distribution center surrounded by parking:

    https://www.djc.com/news/re/12139529.html

    Link to read full article if you have a Seattle Public Library card:
    https://www-djc-com.ezproxy.spl.org/news/re/12139529.html

    Land use pre-application – see ‘Attachments’ for the site plan:

    https://cosaccela.seattle.gov/Portal/Cap/CapDetail.aspx?Module=DPDPermits&TabName=DPDPermits&capID1=21SCI&capID2=00000&capID3=34267&agencyCode=SEATTLE

    1. This seems to be sad news. Lowe’s and a small nearby Stewart Lumber are the only SE Seattle hardware stores. It has a good outdoor section too.

      I know some people think the site should have more urban density. However, the store serves an important retail function for both SE Seattle and Central Seattle residents — including those who could no longer take a single bus ride to get some home improvement essentials. That includes a range of lighting, plumbing, small rugs, closet, electrical and paint that urban dwellers occasionally need to repair a house or apartment situation or complete a new space that someone moves into.

      And a warehouse center seems to be taking a giant step backwards towards activity-driven urbanization.

      1. According to the DJC article, the Lowe’s site is about 13 acres (>566,000 sq. ft.). If Amazon is planning a 68,000 sq. ft. distribution facility on the site, there will still be almost 500,000 sq. ft. of land available for other/better uses.

        With all the new construction going on in Rainier Valley it does seem unfortunate that Lowe’s would be looking to close down that store. The Home Depot in SODO isn’t terribly inconvenient for my needs, however.

      2. Thanks, GuyonBH. I’m too cheap to pay for the DJC.

        There is a small Amazon distribution center there already on the east side of the building. I’m not sure how Amazon uses it.

        Ideally, any site redevelopment would keep Lowe’s (or an equivalent) as well as puts something dense above the store. Figuring out how to design some streetfront retail on Rainier if not MLK and McClellan would also be ideal. Still, the store is important — even essential — for tens of thousands of people and that needs to be understood.

      3. I went to that Lowe’s once. From the bus stop I had to go around three sides of the building to get to the entrance. That made me never go back.

      4. Amazon’s distribution center sites take up far more room than that (that’s likely the interior space, which is small for them) – they stage their delivery vans on site as well, and typically need semi-truck access also for bringing the goods there to be sorted. Lowe’s of course also had provisions for semi-truck access but no need to stage/store all of the delivery vehicles that Amazon will.

        This is a terrible use of land that lies so close to an urban rail station, and actually in between two of them on different lines. That area is prime for denser development due to that. I doubt Lowe’s would have been built there today (I used to shop at that Lowe’s and it was convenient, but still).

        (Note for local history buffs – that site formerly held Sick’s Stadium, Seattle’s long-time ballpark and home to Seattle’s first MLB team, the ill-fated Pilots, for one year before they packed up and bailed for Milwaukee.)

      5. that site formerly held Sick’s Stadium

        Oh, now I know where the site is :)

        Seriously though, I remember going by it well after MLB left town, but before they tore it down. They actually tore it down a couple years after we got the Mariners (who played in the Kingdome initially).

      6. Jeff spent a few million to quash the Head Tax. Time for some paybacks. Give it a categorical thumbs down. Lowe’s probably gets five or sic semis a night. This will get them all day long plus the delivery vehicles.

        Seattle has reserved about 20% of its land for industrial purposes, which is what a DC is.

        Just say “No!!!”, Seattle.

    2. That’s crazy. That is a horrible place for a distribution center. It is one of the most transit rich locations in the city (and for that matter, the state). You can walk to Link, the 7, 8, 14, 48 and 106. There should be apartments or clinic an office or something with a lot of people there, not a lot of stuff, with a lot of trucks clogging things up.

    3. The comment section said Link should be automated. Unemployed Link operators will need a job. Amazon will need warehouse workers. Except for the part where they’ll earn less than half their old salary, it seems like a win/win for everyone.

      1. Is there any truth to the fact that automated trains take jobs from operators? Or do they do different jobs instead? SkyTrain definitely employs a lot of people, I know when Paris started automating the 1 line most of the operated started working behind computer screens instead.

      2. If a train is fully automated, then operators aren’t sitting behind a computer screen. If there is someone behind a computer screen, the automation is worse than useless. The operators still can’t get up and walk around while the train is in service, the extra technology and electricity elevates cost, and the operator is sufficiently additionally separated from the transit experience that their response time to emergencies is increased.

        This underscores the myth behind automated cars any time in the next 20 years. They’re not fully automated. That semi/taxi/Uber still has a driver with an emergency abort button to override the system should something go wrong. They’ll have to pay attention to the road or be liable in crash situations. Their driving time limits will still exist and be enforced. Safety won’t substantially increase. Only the costs will.

      3. Link operators are KCM union employees; they can return to driving buses. Remember we had a bus driver shortage before the pandemic, and we likely will again once the labor market heals.

      4. A Joy, I didn’t say they were driving the train remotely with a joystick. They’re doing other work. Even automated trains run in a larger system that still needs some human interaction.

    4. They’re apparently eyeing a few more locations as well.

      https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-eyeing-three-seattle-spots-for-new-warehouses-documents-show/

      For the Interbay one. I live near there, I can actually see the current building from my window. My dad worked across the street from that location my whole life and I worked down the street from there for over a decade. It is an absolutely moronic location to put a high use distribution center. Its freight connections to the rest of the city are an absolute joke. Every freight truck be it UPS or XPO always bitched about that section of the city being bizarrely out of the way. And since this is a transit blog, I can confirm there is ZERO mass transit anywhere near this location. So everyone who works there, will drive there.

      What is truly strange, is the Port of Seattle keeps talking about how they want to redevelop the real Interbay, Terminal 91. They’re supposedly making 100,000 sq ft. space already, which only takes up maybe a quarter of the available space. The rest being an empty parking only used for car storage when the cruise ships come in. It’s a significantly larger piece of property, has much better road connections and would be nearish to a light rail station in ST3 and has all the buses that run on 15th. It also would also have real access to heavy rail. https://www.portseattle.org/projects/terminal-91-uplands-development-project

      1. Interbay spot seems like a good place to dispatch delivery vans, is it just a bad spot to drive in semi trucks? At a facility like that, only a small fraction of the workers will not be driving some sort of vehicle, so the lack of transit access doesn’t concern me. If anything, the poor access the transit makes this a better location for a logistics hub rather than light industry or office, as the latter uses would have a higher number of workers who could use transit but won’t given the poor transit access. The fact that the neighborhoods are “out of the way” is the point of the facility, as it reduces the frequency of large trucks driving to NW Seattle and shifting that activity to a van fleet dispatched from the Interbay facility.

        Amazon doesn’t really do rail deliveries, not for just-in-time inventory like these facilities, so not sure how valuable the rail connection is, but otherwise yeah that seems like a good use for some of that Terminal 91 space away from the water.

      2. Interbay North, not to be confused with the much larger Terminal 91 location in Interbay South. Is essentially a dead end road as far as all delivery drivers were concerned. It connects to nothing and is out of the way. So basically they’re making a special trip to reach anyone at that location. It was extra bad for trailer trucks but regular UPS vans didn’t like it either. The wrong time of day makes it very easy to get trapped in traffic trying to leave N.Interbay. Which was part of the reason its dried up as an industrial zone. Once the boom of servicing the Alaskan fishing fleet was over the area just hollowed out.

        Which is probably why Amazon is actually eyeing it. The land there would be much cheaper than other similar sized lots due to its undesirable location.

        I also won’t be shocked at all if Amazon tries to pitch this as something that would revitalize the area. Which it won’t as Amazon doesn’t buy services from surrounding businesses. So it won’t create a virtuous cycle of B2B transactions.

  2. There is a significant fiscal action item on the agenda for this week’s ST System Expansion Committee meeting, Motion 2021-25. The purpose of the motion is to authorize use of about half of this special additional design allowance of $100M that was incorporated into the project’s baseline budget:

    “Proposed action
    Authorizes use of contingency identified for Alternative Technical Concept / Notices to Designer for the Federal Way Link Extension in the amount of $48,500,000 for an optimized design of the Federal Way
    Transit Center.

    “Key features summary
    •Consistent with Motion No. M2020-54, the proposed action seeks Board approval for use of
    $48,500,000 of the existing $100,000,000 Alternative Technical Concept (ATC) / Notice to Designer (NTD) allowance to execute a change order for an alternate layout to the Federal Way Transit Center Station. The requested amount of this change order is within the approved
    Federal Way Link Extension baseline budget. Pursuant to the motion, any expenditure that
    exceeds $5,000,000 would be brought to the Board for approval.
    •The change order for alternate layout of the ATC would extend construction of the station by 108
    days, which is within the approved baseline schedule for the Federal Way Link Extension (FWLE). The revenue service date of December 2024 remains unchanged. The alternate layout
    to the Federal Way Transit Center (FWTC) Station relocates the agency’s existing bus transit center from adjacent to the existing parking garage to the new FWTC Station location.
    •The proposed alternate layout includes, but is not limited to expansion of the roadway
    network for the Federal Way City Center, relocation of the bus layover facility, adjustments to
    the final grade of the site, modifications to the light rail station ancillary spaces, and
    demolition of the existing transit center.
    •The alternate layout is a substantial change to the Federal Way Transit Center design, resultingin the following significant improvements….”

    Some of the background that caused the need for spending this allowance is stated as follows:

    “On March 13, 2018, Sound Transit began the procurement phase for the FWLE contract; the Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on September 14, 2018. During the procurement phase, ST conditionally accepted ATC-03 (Optimized Operations at FWTC Station) which included substantial changes to the
    Federal Way Transit Center scope of work included in the original RFP. After award of the contract, the project team heard concerns from the city of Federal Way, KCM, Pierce Transit, and other internal stakeholders regarding the ATC-03 30% design. The project team collaborated with the respective parties to address their concerns and continued to progress the design.

    “During progression of the design, substantial changes were proposed to explore an alternate layout that would meet new design criteria standards, improve operational efficiency, further enhance safety, and meet agency passenger experience standards for the FWTC Station.

    “The alternate design includes substantial changes from ATC-03. The largest driver of these changes is a requirement that defines the acceptable distance for bus connections to light rail at 500 feet. To achieve this, the alternate design relocates the existing bus transit center adjacent to the new light rail
    station. This change in layout requires revisions to the roadway network of the Federal Way City Center, relocation of the bus layover facility, adjustments to the final grade of the site, modifications to the light
    rail station ancillary spaces, and demolition of the existing transit center.

    “Motion 2020-54 increased the contract contingency for the design-build contract with Kiewit by $100,000,000 using the ATC/NTD allowance within the Federal Way Link Extension baseline budget.”

    This special design allowance was incorporated into the construction phase of the project’s baselined budget, so there is no change to the overall budget. The latest progress report shows the contingency status as follows:

    “The Federal Way Link Extension project budget was baselined in September 2018 with a total contingency of $549.9M. The
    current contingency balance is $470.2M.

    “As Baselined:
    Design Allowance- $139.6M (5.7%)
    Allocated Contingency- $232.2M (9.5%)
    Unallocated Contingency- $178.1M (7.3%)
    Total Contingency- $549.9M (22.4%)

    “Current Status:
    Design Allowance- exhausted ($0)
    Allocated Contingency- $296.3M*
    Unallocated Contingency- $174M
    Total Contingency- $470.2M”

    *This extraordinary increase is mostly related to this special design allowance now being used in the Kiewit contract modification and was explained as follows in the Sep 2020 progress report: “During this period the Allocated Contingency increased by $122M, of which $100M is due to additional F200 contract contingency for ATC/NTD change items approved by ST Board and $22M that will be paid by WSDOT for retaining wall betterment work.”

    1. “The alternate design includes substantial changes from ATC-03. The largest driver of these changes is a requirement that defines the acceptable distance for bus connections to light rail at 500 feet. To achieve this, the alternate design relocates the existing bus transit center adjacent to the new light rail
      station.”

      500′ sounds like a pretty big distance for someone to walk from a feeder bus to light rail. After all, this rider probably had to walk some distance to the feeder bus from their front door to start the trip, and of course will likely have another walk from the train stop to their ultimate destination.

      1. “Passenger Experience – The alternate design reduces the distance for light rail riders who will use buses and paratransit to connect to light rail at this station. It will also limit exposure to undesirable weather conditions our riders face the majority of the year and further enhance safety by reducing the number of at-grade street crossings.”

        Sounds like the initial design was greater than 500′ and the new standard reduces the walking distance.

    2. I always find it interesting that ST portrays station locations as fixed in early planning and design studies — only to unilaterally change things just before or during construction. It seems that ST doesn’t follow the principles that they expect others to honor.

    3. I do enjoy that Tlsgwm quotes ST documents at length, rather than just providing a link, but then abruptly ends this quote to exclude all the documented benefits of the action.

      I’d have to see a diagram to better understand, but this reads like a significant improvement to the FW station area by improving the rider experience and using space more efficiently to unlock additional TOD.

      https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/ActiveDocuments/Motion%20M2021-25.pdf

      1. My bad. I meant to include the link to the discussed motion. (I had to jump on a zoom meeting just as I was hurriedly trying to wrap up my comment. In my haste, I unintentionally omitted the link.) Thanks for adding it.

        The rest of your comment suggests some sort of ill intent on my part, which just isn’t the case. The quoted section was simply getting rather long so I just highlighted the four primary bullet points contained in the motion’s summary. Folks here are certainly fully capable of reading the measure in full if they’re so inclined. And, again, my intention was to provide a link to the document.

        Now, setting aside all that conspiracy nonsense and moving on to the substantive issues here, I agree that this does indeed sound like ST’s alternate design will lead to some significant improvements to the final outcome. It’s just sad that it comes as a result of a very expensive “course correction”. Frankly, it seems in line with the assessment and critique disclosed in last year’s WA SAO (limited) performance audit. Also, one needs to keep in mind that this project was already under financial pressure since being baselined at some $460M over its ST2/ST3 cost estimate.

  3. Presentation on the 4 station Redmond segment of East Link. Check out the beautiful art inside the Overlake Village Station Pedestrian Bridge. It sounds like it will be open to the public in a few months.

    1. The link started after that part for me. The station and art drawings start at 0:30.

      Part of south Redmond is supposed to be surface. Where is that, and does it have level crossings?

      1. For anyone interested in watching, it starts in the middle, so you have to move the video back to the beginning. This was actually a pretty interesting transit presentation, as transit presentations go.

      2. From about 14:45, he talks about how as it comes down off the hill going east, once it crosses the Sammamish river, it will then be at grade. I think after it leaves SE Redmond Station and turns toward dt Redmond, then it becomes elevated.

      3. Correct, the SE Redmond station is at grade and Link goes under 520 at grade before elevating into an elevated downtown Redmond station. The alignment from Redmond TC to SE Redmond is all at-grade except for where SR-520 is also elevated, such as when it crosses the river.

        There will be level crossings within the SE Redmond station platforms, but otherwise the alignment is immediately adjacent to the freeway so I don’t think there will be any at-grade crossings elsewhere in the alignment.

    1. It is the closest thing to true BRT that we’ve ever had in the state. It would probably be considered “real BRT” by ITDP (at a silver or a gold level). I’m not sure why it will take so long, but my guess is they are moving utilities to widen the street, and building level bus stops (in a part of town that isn’t level).

    2. I’m less bothered by 3 years for construction than the 10 of planning, design, and finance that it took to get to this point. The whole process of planning and building a BRT line should be much shorter than creating a Link line, but this wasn’t.

      1. Be thankful it’s not like where I live in Denver where we are still debating and planning East Colfax Ave BRT for nearly 10 years and won’t be done till the end of the 2020s

      2. Talking about Swift or Rapid Ride G? Either way, with CT or SDOT’s resources, a Link line would have taken much longer (or just never completed, like the CCC). It’s apples to oranges to compare ST’s ability to deliver Link extensions on a multi-billion dollar budget and large dedicated staff vs CT & SDOT ability to deliver a single project in a few hundred million.

        SR522 Stride is the only apples to apples BRT Sound Transit will deliver (405 Stride is delayed slightly due to WSDOT project sequencing), which will go live by 2024, or 8 years after approval.

      3. It is all about funding. Well, that and they didn’t work well with the bus manufacturer. But mostly it was about funding.

        Its just the way we do transit in America. In the rest of the world they can do it faster because they manage things on a larger scale. To quote Jarrett Walker, in this great post (https://humantransit.org/2021/01/is-covid-19-a-threat-to-public-transit-only-in-the-us.html).

        We are seeing this with our own clients outside North America: Even with demand cratering, authorities continue to fund good service.

        There’s one technical reason for this in some cases. In most wealthy countries outside North America, transit agencies are not free-standing local governments dependent on their own funding streams. Instead, any needed subsidy flows to public transit directly from the central government budget.

        So, basically, in most countries, the project would be funded by the federal government, or more likely the state government. It would be like how the state builds a new overpass. Delays are rare because the funding is steady, and people know how to do this at a large scale. Instead, it is the city, with very little in resources, having to do all the work. Not only does the state chip in very little, but it prevents the city from raising taxes to pay for this, or plenty of other services.

      4. SR522 Stride will go live by 2024, or 8 years after approval.

        And that assumes that there isn’t further delay. Just about all of the “scenarios” have the project delayed a couple years, and some have it delayed 9 years (even if we get an extra 4 billion). In general, it is all about the money (and about what ST decides to prioritize).

        https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/FinalRecords/2021/Presentation%20-%20Program%20Realignment%2002-25-21.pdf
        https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/ActiveDocuments/Presentation%20-%20Realignment%2003-25-21.pdf

  4. I noticed that none of Metro’s Proterra buses have been running for a while. Does anyone have any idea on why?

  5. The Kraken Monorail project is a good, small step forward for the Seattle Center. For decades, the Seattle Center has been such a dead space in the middle of the city. Outside of the occasional sporting event, concert or festival there hasn’t been much to do on the Seattle Center grounds since 1962.

    1. Will the Kraken really bring more people to the arena than the Sonics and concerts did? It’s nice that the’re enlarging the stations, but how is it that they need it now but didn’t then?

      1. The Kraken won’t bring more significantly more fans than the Sonics did, but hopefully, having the Monorail running 2 trains back and forth will encourage more fans to take public transit than the Sonics ever did. Kraken tickets will be good for a free trip on the Monorail and with the upgraded infrastructure, more fans might use public transit.

        I don’t know what percentage of Sonics fans took public transit to games but I would guess it was a very small percentage of the crowd. Game nights always guaranteed slow traffic in the Seattle Center area, on Mercer Street and across the bridges from the Eastside. Maybe you remember the disruptions that Sonics games would cause for any bus that traveled near Key Arena on game nights? Once East Link and the other Link extensions are open, I would expect more fans would be willing to take public transit to see a Kraken game. Taking the Monorail to Westlake then Link to Bellevue, Northgate or Angle Lake sounds better than 60+ minutes just to get out of the parking garage and onto the freeway.

      1. I’d love to ride the Wild Mouse again, but I’m thinking there are plenty of other uses for the Seattle Center. How about activities aimed for teens? Maybe even a new high school that could leverage the resources of the Pacific Science Center and the performing arts groups? A community center for seniors? Food truck plaza? Public basketball courts (or would a skating rink be more appropriate)? The fountain is nice on hot days, but on the other 330 days of the year, what is there to do at the Seattle Center?

      2. There is a high school in the Seattle Center (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Center_School_(Seattle)). It could be bigger, and there could be other schools. I think there are a fair number of the sorts of activities you mentioned. There could be more, but when I looked at the list of things going on at the Seattle Center (before the pandemic), I was surprised.

        I think a big part of the problem is that it feels isolated from the community. This is the opposite of Cal Anderson park, for example. It’s not that the park is anything special, but it serves as the center of the community because people walk through it or by it all the time. The Seattle Center is not like that — it sometimes feels like a bunker. Some of this is by design — it allows them to charge money to enter “the grounds” during Bumbershoot. A lot of it is just bad luck. Mercer and Denny are horrible streets, serving as a giant moat. The street grid and lack of egress make it difficult to access from the south (https://goo.gl/maps/eZCgbwEsJfH8Ysvv8). That is an unpleasant, and somewhat circuitous walk. From the west it is OK. From the east it just got a lot better. Connecting the grid up to Harrison is a huge improvement. But there are still too many boring sections, with big parking lots along the way.

        I would work towards making it less of a destination, and more a part of the neighborhood. As a destination, it will happen (as they bring back concerts). But the more it is seen as simply part of downtown, the less people will want to drive there.

        I would open up the street grid, and run a bus right through it on Thomas (under wire, of course). (Cars wouldn’t be allowed). This would save riders a lot of time, and integrate it better with the surrounding neighborhoods. There is work being done to add bus lanes on Queen Anne Avenue and 1st — I would definitely spend a lot of work on that. You want to send a signal after a game, with cars stuck in traffic, and buses cruising by. Improving the monorail will help. But mostly I would try and improve the ease of access from surrounding neighborhoods.

  6. During planning for the 1962 World’s Fair, one of the rejected transport concepts was something called “The Carveyor”– an elevated system designed to carry people between Westlake and the Seattle Center.

    In drawings, the system looks like a bunch of golf carts running on a very long airport baggage carousel. In the loading and unloading areas the system ran at 1.5 mph and people boarded and alighted from a conveyor belt that was also running at 1.5 mph. Outside of the boarding areas the system ran at 15 mph.

    My guess is that the Monorail likely looked simpler and more reliable. The Carveyor would have had a lot of moving (until they break) parts.

    1. I’m reminded of the Tomorrowland People Mover at Disney World with this description. A user gets on gradually faster moving sidewalks until it’s the speed of the automated slow-moving cars. It is novel — but a little stressful from a balance and safety perspective — to use.

      I much prefer a gate-controlled full stop vehicle like a monorail or a train or a guided driverless shuttle vehicle. It’s probably more energy efficient too.

    2. It reminded me of a slower version of the Heinlein and Asimov people movers in their sci-fi novels. Some of the versions of those were described as topping out at a hair-raising 100mph…

    1. That is really good news, but it is still pretty tight. CV-19 did a number on NG Link.

      But as long as NG Link is open in time for Husky Football season all should be good. This will be a huge improvement in local transit. Can’t wait.

  7. Transit cannot be seamless; it has seams of distance, time, and information. Agencies can minimize seams. ST Link stations have often had long walking transfers. The three opening this year will be better. It is good to have Federal Way improved; it is not surprising the initial design had long transfer walks. At Northgate, the several governments had to negotiate the shift of the NTC to 1st Avenue NE next to the Link guideway twice; ST forgot the 2002 agreement. At MI, the bi-lateral agreement leads to long walks between the station and North Mercer Way. At SeaTac, there are an infamous 1,400 feet between Link and the airport and pedestrians going to southbound buses on International Boulevard South twice. SDOT designs do this as well. The G Line misses the Capitol Hill Link station and the USS Link station is one or two blocks from the G Line on Spring or Madison streets. The walk to/from the WSF Marion Street causeway will increase by a block. What would TransLink do?

    1. Yeah, and the nature of the seams vary quite a bit. You might have a bus drop you off right next to the entrance of a station, but if the platform requires a very long walk, it hardly feels seamless. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of distance, but traffic lights. The UW Station, of course, has all of this. You often have to cross a busy street (sometimes twice) as part of a walk, followed by a long trek inside the station to get to the platform.

      Then there is the route taken by the bus. When the Roosevelt Station is built, the 62 will just keep going. It takes the logical path east -west, never deviating because of the station. In contrast, most of the Northgate buses deviate to get to the station. The transit center has existed so long, we just take it for granted. The 40 makes a huge deviation (going north and south) but so do buses like the 41 and 347/348. Instead of just cruising along 5th (or Roosevelt) they make several turns into what is essentially a wall, where they either end, or are forced south. It is an awkward connection between bus and train — hardly seamless — even if the rider has a short walk between the bus and the station. Yet there is really no good alternative.

      In other cases, the bus spends a lot of time deviating to avoid a short walk — like the F to get to TIBS. In those cases, we should focus on how people are using the bus. If Link is a major destination, then the deviation makes sense. If not, then it should be avoided.

      That is true in general. In stations like Mercer Island, 130th or 145th, it is the only reason they bothered to put in a station. Yes, it is nice that there are a handful of apartments, but their main purpose is to connect to buses. The station should be designed to minimize turns, and traffic (they failed with 145th). Users shouldn’t have to cross the street (they failed with 130th) and it should be a relatively short walk (not the case with Mercer Island). Which is not to say that they are all as awful as Mount Baker (https://seattletransitblog.com/2012/04/18/the-awfulness-of-mt-baker-station/) just that they could be better. As to whether it is worth money to make them better — that is a different story.

      As for the G Line, its integration with Link is not that important. If you are coming from the northeast, then you are better off getting off at Capitol Hill, and taking a bus or the streetcar (no matter how seamless the integration with the G). There may be people coming from the south that could use it, but not a huge amount. From Beacon Hill you have the 60 (you wouldn’t bother with Link). You have the Rainier Valley stations, but if the 106 is extended to South Lake Union via Boren, people wouldn’t bother with Link. That leaves the southern suburbs, which just don’t have a huge number of riders (and they could make do with the new 106 if they wanted to avoid the walk). This is one of those cases where a deviation (to get closer to the station) would hurt more than it helps. The big connection will come from the northwest, southwest (and due north/south). Buses like the C, D, E, 2, 3, 4, 5, 40, 70 (and a lot more) will integrate with this really well.

      The transfer to the ferry is less than ideal, but that actually gets it closer to the Link Station. While our ferries carry plenty of people, they aren’t like the ones in Vancouver (or New York) where you have a frequent passenger ferry all day long. I think there was some talk of sending it farther south (to Western) but they figured it wasn’t worth it (maybe because of added congestion?). It is not ideal, but it is not horrible (people walk further to get to the bulk of buses, on 3rd).

  8. re the G Line FTA funding. The paraphrased remarks by the elected officials may be a bit off. Does it serve Lake Washington? If the mode is hybrid rather than electric trolleybus, will it really lead to a reduction in GHG? Will traffic congestion decrease? Traffic congestion will continue and probably worsen on First Hill; will the G Line buses get through the congestion? We hope so.

    1. Yeah, Dow is confused. He doesn’t know much about transit. He doesn’t understand that this doesn’t go “the full length of Madison”, let alone that it shouldn’t.

      As far as emissions go, this should get some people out of their car, and others to decide to get rid of them. It will emit CO2 (for now) but that is true for the bulk of the cars anyway. The efficiency of a bus (especially on a line like this) more than makes up for the fact that it isn’t electric.

      Traffic congestion probably won’t change. It has reached the point at which congestion itself helps determine use. If congestion goes down, driving becomes more appealing. If congestion gets worse, more people take transit. At least this will allow those that take transit to get through the worst of it much faster (with center running bus lanes for over a mile, and curbside BAT lanes for most of it).

      The statement by Rogoff was silly. He focuses on light rail, even though this has little to do with light rail. This is about connecting to the bigger transit network (buses) as well as just people who travel between the two areas all day long. But as the head of an agency full of problems right now, he wants to use every excuse to promote expansion “North, South and East”.

  9. No, it doesn’t go to Lake Washington. There was a big deal when the streetcars were built out to Lake Washington, and Dow may be misremembering. Here’s the Times article today ($) with a map. It terminates at MLK (28th).

    The G is replacing the 12 trolleybus to 19th, but from 19th to 28th is currently the diesel 11, and people also use the 11 for destinations west of there. The G is twice as frequent as the most frequent route in the area, and won’t have the congestion bottlenecks the 12 has, so it may attract some people from driving. There’s also another route coming, a 2 on Pine-12th-Union, which will presumably be trolleybus (all the wire exists except two blocks on 12th), and will absorb the rest of the riders currently on the 11. So you’re replacing two trolleybus and one diesel route with one hybrid and one trolleybus route. And they will both probably be ultra-frequent (the 2012-2014 plans for the 2S had it 7-minute frequent too).

    1. The restructure that goes along with the G will be very interesting. I happen to think that the long range plan for the area is outstanding (unlike in a lot of neighborhoods) and is a very good starting point. Shifting the 2 will be very nice, as you will have much better spacing between buses. Sending the 8 to Madison Valley will be controversial. I’m sure a lot of those folks won’t like it, even though they will have a very good connection to the G and Link (and a one-seat ride to South Lake Union/Belltown and the Seattle Center). Getting rid of service on MLK will also raise a lot of complaints. They may backfill it with an infrequent bus. Likewise 19th Avenue (the tail of the 12); do they just go without service, or get an infrequent bus.

      I also think you need better north-south service on Broadway, as well as something on Boren. I would send the 49 to Beacon Hill Station, and truncate the 60 there as well. Then I would run a bus from South Lake Union to Mount Baker Station via Boren. I would make up for the lack of front door service to Harborview by moving the 3/4 over there (as previously proposed). The 49 would run every 12 minutes, opposite the streetcar (giving folks 6 minute frequency for most of Broadway). That’s a much better network than we have today. As to whether it could be built or not, that’s a different story. People will complain, and without additional funding, it is a tougher sell.

      1. “Then I would run a bus from South Lake Union to Mount Baker Station via Boren.”

        I agree with that since it seems like an obvious gap in the network there. Is this even on Metro’s radar?

        I see that you and Mike Orr mentioned a revision for the 2 route. I wasn’t even aware of that. What does the proposed change entail? (Thanks in advance for providing a quick synopsis.)

      2. The 2 isn’t a proposal yet, it’s just in Metro Connects. So that’s Metro’s most likely next step.

        Previous proposals for the 2 in the restructures for RapidRide E, the 2014 cuts, and U-Link would have split the southern half, kept it on Seneca (because the G wasn’t ready yet), and increased the frequency to 7 minutes. It got scuttled because of pleas to not split the 2. The 2 gets the largest number of status-quo activists, followed by the 12.

      3. In both cases (the 2 and a new line along Boren) it is in the long range plan (http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/). The routes for “2025” seem like a good starting point. It isn’t likely they would follow it exactly (it isn’t meant to be a blueprint).

        They propose a 1074 that takes over the 106. It goes farther than I usually mention, even though I like the idea. The 8 would (now modified to serve Madison Park) is modified further, and sent to Lower Queen Anne via Harrison. The new 106 not only goes to Boren and Denny, but it then takes over the other part of the 8, and ends at Lower Queen Anne. I like all that, but it would cost more, and further complicates things. That is why I generally on the most important part, which is service on Boren.

        The 2 is fairly straightforward, and likely to happen. It is also on the map (as the 1068). The concept is pretty straightforward. From the east, it goes on Union, then doglegs to Pike/Pine. They show the dogleg on 12th. I’m not sure if that will be possible, but at worst it will use 14th (like so: http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/). That means it takes over the western tail of the 11 (but with better frequency). You get better consolidation and spacing downtown as you eliminate service on Seneca/Spring. You either have Pike/Pine (with the combination of buses) or Madison (very frequent).

      4. Mike, the reason that 2 has “status quo activists” is that it connects Queen Anne Hill to the north edge of Pill Hill. A lot of people travel to clinics on it. I think the jog should be made at Eights using the tunnel underneath the Convention Center. Yes, the poles would have to be almost flat, but supposedly the new trollies can go off wire for a couple of blocks. The wires would be continuous, just not energized through the tunnel. Use the batteries.

        That way the link to Virginia Mason wouldn’t be broken.

        If the north end of your proposed bus on Boren hooked left on Mercer to Lower Queen Anne, that might be a reasonable replacement.

      5. It wasn’t Queen Anne residents testifying, it was Union Street and Madrona residents. One said everywhere they go is on the 2, and they didn’t want to transfer downtown because they felt unsafe there. They also mentioned front door access to Virginia Mason, but that was in the context of everyone going to Virginia Mason, not just Queen Anne residents.

      1. SDOT considered that but said it wasn’t necessary because 1st Avenue is two flat blocks from Alaskan Way. This terminus will share a station with the City Center Connector streetcar if that is ever built. It was debated in the open houses but there wasn’t much opposition to not going to Alaskan Way.

      2. I would rather have that route go to the waterfront than another street car line. Even if the street car line connects the other 2.

      3. It could always be extended. You would need bus lanes the rest of the way (and on Alaskan, at least one direction) along with at least one (relatively expensive) bus stop. It also takes a bit longer to run, so that might require another bus, and another bus driver (all day).

        Hard to say if it would be worth it. ou don’t gain much (if anything) in terms of bus connections, so it depends a bit on how the waterfront develops. The 12 doesn’t go that far west, so I guess they figured it wasn’t worth it.

      4. The Madison debates were refreshingly urban overall. At the open houses we used clickers to anonymously say yay or nay to design concepts. There was little opposition to removing parking or having transit-only lanes. The community strongly supported the option to extend it from 23rd to MLK.

        The complaints, such as they were, focused on usability issues like the distance from University Street Station, and stops on a hillside that are hard for wheelchairs. There was some interest in extending it to the waterfront but the majority agreed it wasn’t necessary.

        I looked again at how somebody would get from the ferry terminal to the 1st Avenue station. They’d use the pedestrian bridge, which is level to the terminal’s second floor where eboarding occurs. If you’re a pedestrian on Alaskan Way, currently you’d have to take the stairs up to the bridge, or the ferry terminal has ramps with moving walkways when it’s open. But the waterfront redesign plan has additional public escalators so I assume there will be one for Madison. The bridge may be somewhat different and the ferry terminal is being redesigned. Hopefully the future access will be better than the existing one, and the bridge won’t look so much like 1960s industrial.

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