Airport Link Opening Ceremony (4198862959)

On Friday, Sound Transit announced that Northgate, Roosevelt, and U-District stations will open for service on Saturday, October 2nd. There is no word about any celebration for what, with luck, will be a nice symbol of our emergence from the pandemic. We might not get one, with ST having endured bad-faith critiques about marketing expenses for the U-Link opening, and potential public health restrictions lingering.

It is a cause for celebration. The U-District is an obvious place to put a subway station. Roosevelt is the rare fashionable neighborhood where some growth is legal. Northgate is simultaneously a transportation hub, a blank slate for major redevelopment, and a logical interim terminus for buses coming from further north. Link will provide an alternative to the very worst bit of I-5 congestion, 5 minutes to the U-District and 13 to Westlake.

Better yet, this is the first major Link deliverable from the Sound Transit 2 vote in 2008. It arrives only one year after the proposed date at election time (2020). Combined with East Link 1-2 years late (with City of Bellevue dithering) in 2022 or 2023, and Lynnwood and Federal Way also a year late in 2024, ST2 is going to have an excellent delivery record after weathering an unprecedented recession, far better than Sound Transit 1 and a testament to the abilities of former CEO Joni Earl (2001-2015).

ST3, in year 5, is already in quite a bit of trouble on these terms. Thanks to poor cost estimation, the most likely outcome is some major projects suffering a couple of years delay, and either a large new infusion of cash or the other projects sliding over a decade.

122 Replies to “Northgate Link opens Oct. 2nd”

  1. COVID situation permitting, are we going to have an STB meetup to ride the new train segments together? One would think that the bulk of the Seattle population should be vaccinated by then.

    1. I’m in! It would be great fun, and I don’t think I’ll be sick of people yet.

  2. What’s the latest on the new train fleet? I can’t keep it straight anymore, which fleets are needed for which extensions, for many trains and at what length.

    1. It’s all one fleet for ST2 (the ST3 fleet hasn’t even begun design yet). Northgate will be the start of 4-car trains all the time.

    2. Perhaps Adam S was asking about the two sub-fleets. ST is bringing on Siemens LRV. Was the first sub-fleet Kinkisharyo?

      1. Correct. The initial vehicles were all Kinkisharyo. The new vehicles are all Siemens. I’m not sure how many Siemens are required for each extension, but if ST has announced an opening date, then presumably they are confident they will have enough Siemens trains in service by that date.

        I do know Northgate can be fully serviced using only vehicles in the current OMF, using a mix of KI and Siemens, while all future extensions require the new OMF to serve the large fleet.

      2. Yeah, this is what I meant. How far along (if at all) does the Siemens fleet integration have to be to get 4-car trains all the time? If Northgate is opening only on the Kinkisharyo fleet that’s fine too.

      3. for network integration, short headway and short waits are more important than train length. It would be better to have six-minute headway. but off-peak headway is also critical.

      4. The breakdown is:
        40 for Northgate
        46 for East Link
        34 for Lynnwood
        2 extra
        20 for Federal Way
        10 for Downtown Redmond
        152 Total

        They’re going to be right up against the opening date for the first 40; final acceptance per the schedule is October 1. If they don’t have enough fleet ready I suspect they’ll mix in three-car trains, similar to how they did pre-COVID (base service used 3-car trains, while the extra peak trains were 2-cars). After that though they should be okay; they have enough time for the other extensions.

    3. We last wrote about this in February, when the schedule looked achievable but with little margin for error. They needed 32 of the new Siemens vehicles to open on time with the full complement of 4-car trains and planned headways. Rogoff committed that they would open Northgate on time, though didn’t commit on the 4-car trains and headways. The next milestone in testing was for end-March, so it’s likely we’ll see an update soon if the news is good.
      https://seattletransitblog.com/2021/02/12/northgate-lrvs-on-schedule-but-risks-remain/

  3. It is a cause for celebration.

    Agreed. This is a huge advancement in urban mobility for the region. This is why you build a subway. In many cases, trips to downtown won’t be much faster (in some cases they will be slower). But trips between urban centers will be dramatically faster. Northgate or Roosevelt to Capitol Hill will go from a half hour to about ten minutes. Northgate to the UW Medical Center has the same sort of improvement. This is huge, and it means that taking connecting buses (and transferring) is worth it.

    But only if everything else works out. The trains need to run frequently. The buses need to run frequently, and take advantage of Link. Not only by feeding Link, but by creating a better overall network. Seattle became one of the few cities to see increased transit ridership a few years ago. This happened because the buses ran more frequently, Link was extended to the UW, and Metro restructured the routes. For Seattle to take full advantage of this big improvement, we need to do the same thing.

    Unfortunately, things don’t look good. Frequency is hampered by the city’s tepid approach to renewing the bus service levy. The restructure — at this point anyway — looks like it will add nothing from a network standpoint. The one route that would dramatically change the bus network — the 61 — appears to be gone, and in its place a bunch of coverage routes, or rush-hour express buses that largely mimic Link. It doesn’t look like we’ll have a bus that connects Lake City, Northgate, Greenwood and Crown Hill. We won’t have an east-west bus that crosses every major north-south bus (and Link) north of the ship canal. This means we will squander (for now) our opportunity that this Link extension provides. It will still be a major improvement (for the reasons mentioned) but it won’t transform public transportation in the north end of Seattle. You will still have trips like this: https://goo.gl/maps/jsUVEAyQjc55AAHb9. Trips that make people suffer the costs of owning a car, or the pain of spending much of your life waiting for the bus. We can do better. I hope we do.

    1. I think one market that will be huge is UW. Link will now have two stations to serve the campus — and the one opening now will serve the student activity district.

      I saw a marked increase in students on Capitol Hill when that station opened in 2016. I am thinking that gathering in the U-District will be much more popular with Link’s opening. I think it will be a welcome shot in the arm to the businesses there.

    2. The upzone of the U-District likely would not have happened without the new U-district subway station, so I’d also consider the wave of development and new housing to be added to that neighborhood over the next few years also a part of the success of Northgate Link. The new development alone should generate thousands of daily transit riders who otherwise would have lived in less transit accessible neighborhoods.

      I don’t disagree with any of your points on the need for 1) a better restructure, and 2) better frequency no matter the route structure, but I will point out that Northgate should make some routes, like the 44, significantly more compelling by creating new or better Link transfers. Trips within north Seattle might not improve much unless they are directly along the Link alignment, and trips to downtown might not change much because of the many N/S feeders that converge on Westlake, but trips from north Seattle to ID and then eventually East Link should be profoundly improved by Northgate (and East) Link. In other words, for much of NW Seattle, transferring Link might only be compelling if you are heading beyond downtown.

      Northgate Link is unlike the other ST2 extension in that NG Link’s value is connecting two major urban centers, while Lynnwood/FW/East/Redmond mostly create value by reorienting express bus service into feeder bus service (East Link does both, with a direct Seattle-Bellevue connection and multiple major bus transfer points, mostly because it’s simply a much larger project). Reinvesting the 41’s service hours is nice, but an improved north Seattle grid was always something Seattle/KCM was going to have to execute on *in addition* to Northgate Link, rather than something that is unlocked by Link itself.

      1. The upzone of the U-District likely would not have happened without the new U-district subway station

        I disagree. If you look at the various neighborhoods where zoning was altered, it had very little to do with Link (although a fair amount to do with transit). South Lake Union was rezoned a long time before anyone was planning on putting Link anywhere near there. The Central Area has been rezoned fairly recently. The HALA compromise (the grand bargain, as it were) was to double down on the failed urban village concept. Bigger urban villages (greater downtown, as well as the U-District) would get even bigger, while most of the city remained single family.

        The one area where you can point to Link’s influence on zoning is Roosevelt. Without it, it is likely all the development would be west of the freeway (close to Green Lake) or maybe a block or two next to it. But the city managed to rezone the area closest to the station, despite community opposition. The rezone still doesn’t go far enough, as there are plenty of places relatively close to the station that will remain zoned single family (with extremely expensive houses).

      2. SLU’s rezoning had been inevitable since the 1940s; the city council just kept kicking the can down the road. The U-District got a major upzone that might not have been as large without Link. More importantly, buses alone wouldn’t have been able to cope with the demand. The 71/72/73X were melting down in the half-decade before U-Link and the upzone. I-5 couldn’t handle more buses since it could hardly handle the existing buses, especially for those who reverse commuted or otherwise couldn’t use the express lanes.

      3. As a resident of Ballard, getting on the 44 to go to Link to then go north or south is essentially a 30 minute+ non starter. Given how long it takes, plus the awkward-as-heck transfer at UWMC, I’m much better served just getting on the 40 or the E for my trip. It takes about the same time and costs about half as much.

        I’d love to take Link more, but apparently NW Seattle is the lowest priority for… pretty much everything.

      4. The transfer will move to U-District Statoin which will be shorter and easier. Northgate Link is a step toward East Link and Lynnwood Link. If you’re gong to Bellevue or Lynnwood or Rainier Valley, the advantages of going to U-District station will start to add up. Link’s fare is the same or less than Metro’s for distances up to UW-Rainier Beach.

      5. Yeah, the new station at U-District will be a big help, I think. I look forward to it!

        The problem with the justification of the Link fare being around the same as the Metro fare is that it’s not either-or for riders on the west side of the city, but is rather a both-and situation. You pay Metro to get to the Link station (which takes 30-45 minutes in its own right), then you pay SoundTransit to ride north or south. If you happen to be coming back more than two hours after the very first time you tapped your card getting on the bus, you pay bus fare again. All told, it can easily add up to $10 or more round trip.

      6. That’s not the way Orca works. If you use the same card, it’s a free transfer from bus to train (or vice versa). Your total fare is the larger of the two segments, not the sum of the two.

        You only have to pay twice if you pay cash.

      7. From Ballard to a Link destination, it depends a little on where you are going, and where you started. For example:

        Northgate — If you are close to the 40, you’ll probably take that. The 40 is not especially fast, but neither is the 44. According to Google, it takes about a half hour to ride the 40 to Northgate, or the 44 to the U-District Station. If you are closer to the D, then you’ll probably take the 44, rather than transfer to the 40.

        Roosevelt — The 62 isn’t especially fast either. I could see taking the 44 and Link instead. If they increase the frequency of the combined buses on the Ave, then that might be the fastest way. Of course that also depends on the frequency of the trains as well. The train is much faster, but for a trip that short, the “deep bore penalty” (the time it takes to get from the street to the platform and back at the other end) is a bigger deal.

        U-District/UW — Still take the old 44.

        Capitol Hill — All options look pretty slow. The 40 and the 8 take about a half hour, not counting wait time. Taking the 40 all the way downtown and then back is about the same. So is taking the 44 and heading south. So it really depends on frequency and whether the 40 can avoid getting stuck by the bridge. Surprisingly enough (at least to me) the D is similar. While it is extremely fast on 15th/Elliot, it slows down considerably around Uptown.

        Downtown — Take the 40 or D.

        Stops south of downtown — Take a bus and then maybe Link.

        So, yeah, it isn’t exactly a big game changer. Improving the 44 is required before you can take advantage of what Link offers. Ideally there would be a subway but …

        apparently NW Seattle is the lowest priority for… pretty much everything.

    3. You will still have trips like this: https://goo.gl/maps/jsUVEAyQjc55AAHb9

      If the proposed Route 20 is adopted, this particular trip will be pretty quick: get on the 20 in Lake City, transfer to the 45 at 85th and Wallingford. You’re transferring between two frequent bus routes, neither of which really takes you far from the shortest path between the two points.

      I share your frustration that we don’t have any routes that go all the way across the city from east to west to enable a gridded transfer network. A Sand Point to Roosevelt to Crown Hill route would be great, and so would something like the 61 even though it veers sharply northward due to the way the streets are laid out in the Lake City area.

      The orientation toward Link kind of works in opposition to a grid model though. Cutting back on cross-canal bus service in favor of Link transfers saves a ton of service hours, but with the sparse station placement that means you need to implement more of a hub-and-spoke model to enable Link transfers. It’s a tough problem.

      1. According to the official document for the 20 (https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/SDOT/September2021STBDService_MarchTAB.pdf) it says 15 to 30 minute frequency for the 20. I would not call that frequent.

        But yes, that would make a trip from Lake City to Greenwood a two-seat ride. Same with Northgate to Greenwood. But that’s just Greenwood. Consider other places along the main north-south corridors: Phinney Ridge (via the 5) and the east side of Green Lake (via the E). From Lake City, both require a three-seat ride. From Northgate, they require a three-seat ride, or two-seat involving a detour that almost doubles the distance. In other words, all those trips suck. It sucks for any part of that corridor that isn’t served by an east-west line, which consists of only a handful of spots: 45th, 85th, 105th, 130th (and that very infrequently).

        The orientation toward Link kind of works in opposition to a grid model though. Cutting back on cross-canal bus service in favor of Link transfers saves a ton of service hours, but with the sparse station placement that means you need to implement more of a hub-and-spoke model to enable Link transfers.

        Yeah, sure, but no one is proposing a real grid. Even without Link, it becomes very difficult, as many of our streets don’t go east-west.

        Nor is anyone ignoring Link. The 61 certainly doesn’t — it is right in the middle of the route! It is the fastest way to get to Link from Greenwood (and doubles up the effective frequency from Greenwood to Link) which is the only reason it makes sense as a route. If we ignore Link, then there is no 61, and the 40 would just keep going on Northgate Way to Lake City. But Northgate is a major hub, and it makes sense to leverage it to provide for a better *network*. No one is saying that network is a grid, but it shouldn’t make very common, very straightforward trips like this: https://goo.gl/maps/eQKc3QiURDq8mwSA9, look like this: https://goo.gl/maps/kwueCd6dXP82DU5s5.

        The new 20 is much worse than the 61 (that really deserves its own comment — I’m waiting for STB to cover it). It is more expensive than a 61 that ends at Greenwood, and far less useful (which means they will have a very hard time running it frequently).

        But it is just one of many moves by Metro as they take a reasonably good proposal, and keep making it worse. They aren’t cutting back on cross-canal service, they are simply moving the buses around. They retain direct service to downtown, but first it will go to South Lake Union, or there will be direct service to First Hill. Not all day, but just during rush hour. All of that money could pay for the new 61, with or without the 20.

        But they aren’t focusing on that. They aren’t focusing on all-day trips like the ones Walker describes here: https://humantransit.org/2021/03/basics-access-or-the-wall-around-your-life.html. They are focusing on coverage, and pleasing suburban 9-5 commuters who don’t want to transfer to Link.

        At least that is my understanding. It is a mess. Of course Link stations prevent a real grid, as routes are bent to serve the stations. But if you have a chance to serve a station really well *and* provide a major network improvement, you take it. That was in the first proposal, and now it is gone.

      2. Thanks for that; I was wondering what route 20 was and whether it was more than an unofficial suggestion. The 20 I know was an earlier incarnation of the 120 on Delridge.

      3. According to the official document for the 20 (https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/SDOT/September2021STBDService_MarchTAB.pdf) it says 15 to 30 minute frequency for the 20. I would not call that frequent.

        They propose 15-minute frequency on weekdays until 7 pm, 30-minute frequency on nights and weekends. By Metro standards that’s pretty frequent. Higher frequency would of course be better. I’d love to have the chance to vote for that.

        The new 20 is much worse than the 61 (that really deserves its own comment — I’m waiting for STB to cover it). It is more expensive than a 61 that ends at Greenwood, and far less useful (which means they will have a very hard time running it frequently).

        The 20 is a result of SDOT funding from Seattle levy dollars. When you consider that the part of the 20 south of the Northgate Link station was already going to exist as the 26, with half-hourly frequency all day, SDOT didn’t have to pay much to upgrade that part of it. They’re basically paying for an extra set of 30-minute frequency on the 26 during the day on weekdays. If SDOT wanted to put their dollars into the Greenwood segment of the 61 instead they’d have to pay the full cost of 15-minute service on weekdays on that corridor plus 30-minute service on nights and weekends. That doesn’t sound cheaper to me.

      4. It’s odd that the high-volume segment north of Northgate is paired with a low-volume segment south of it; usually Metro tried to balance them more. I hope the southern segment doesn’t become an excuse to not increase frequency on the northern segment. Or maybe Metro is trying to do what it did with the 62, pairing low-volume 65th with high-volume Roosevelt-SLU-downtown, to try to increase ridership on the former and keep it a viable segment. If a route 61 overlay never comes I think we’ll have to push for more evening/weekend frequency on the northern half of the 20.

      5. Lake City->Greenwood is an example of a trip that really stinks with the new network. The 20 helps, but it’s still an untimed 15 minute->30 minute connection when making the trip anytime outside of weekday daytime hours. There is the second option of going 522->45 (assuming the 522 goes to Roosevelt Station), but slower and not really any more frequent.

        If just doing Northgate->Greenwood, you have a lot more options. If the 20 doesn’t work out, you could try 40->5. Or, just walk/run all the way – the entire trip clocks in at just 2.1 miles (https://goo.gl/maps/Rme8Uj9ZhLCUq7BZ7) – I could easily see myself just hopping over the new footbridge and cutting through the neighborhood streets, rather than dealing with multiple buses to go such a short distance. But, from Lake City, it’s substantially further.

        The 61 would have been nice, but the 20 is certainly better than leaving today’s route 75 corridor simply unserved.

      6. They propose 15-minute frequency on weekdays until 7 pm, 30-minute frequency on nights and weekends.

        OK, that’s better than I expected.

        When you consider that the part of the 20 south of the Northgate Link station was already going to exist as the 26, with half-hourly frequency all day, SDOT didn’t have to pay much to upgrade that part of it.

        Yeah, but that assumes that a new 26 (or a new 20) was essential. Why is a coverage route essential, but a route that ties together much of the north end not worth funding? If Metro had started with a route from Greenwood to Lake City (at half hour frequency) then SDOT could upgrade it to 15 minutes. To do so would have been cheaper. From the point at which they diverge (85th and Wallingford) it is much faster to get to Greenwood than the U-District. No matter how they decided to get there, the 20 is a much worse value than the 61 — it is more expensive, and connects fewer places.

        For that matter, it is faster to Sunset Hill than it is to the U-District, using the 20 routing. That means that they could run the 61 all the way to Sunset Hill (while keeping the 45 the same) for the cost of the new 20. That’s overkill for much of 85th, but it would mean a fast one or two-seat ride pretty much anywhere in the north end (Phinney Ridge/Ballard/East Green Lake/West Green Lake to Northgate/Lake City). The 20 doesn’t deliver anything close to that. Most of those trips are still 3-seat rides, and many that are 2-seat involve the giant detour of the 40.

        The 20 is a coverage route that also enables one-seat rides for a handful of riders. This follows the theme for the entire restructure. As good as the 61 was, it was ridiculous to send the 45 on 80th. The planners have a coverage fetish. Rather than doubling up frequency on 85th (a major corridor), they wanted to cover 80th, a mere five blocks away. This same theme is reproduced with the 20. Notice that the 85 is unchanged, which means that two buses (the 45 and 20) go from northeast Green Lake to the UW, but not a single bus stop is shared. There is no shared frequency. It is the opposite of buses like the 65 and 75, or for that matter, the 107. If you look at ridership numbers for the 107, you can see lots of people who ride along 15th Ave South. These are people who are waiting for the 60, but take the 107 because it happens to come along. This is a good thing. This won’t happen with the 20 and 60, because they run on different streets.

        They also have a fetish for one-seat rides. Most of the new routes are express routes to downtown that deviate slightly from Link stops. This follows the same pattern. Rather than take the 62 to 45th, and then transfer to the UW, riders will take take the 20.

        The irony is, it does a terrible job at both coverage and transfer-avoidance. From a coverage standpoint, it is too close to other routes. From a transfer standpoint, it is much worse than the 20.

        Put it this way: Imagine they ran both. Imagine they ran the 61 (all the way to Sunset Hill) and the 20. The 61 is cheaper, but for the sake of argument, assume they have the same frequency, and run at the exact same time. For a lot of trips, you just take either one (Lake City to Northgate). But when people choose, most would choose the 61. It just connects to more places. It just improves the overall network much more.

      7. It’s odd that the high-volume segment north of Northgate is paired with a low-volume segment south of it.

        To be fair, I’m not sure the northern section is high volume. The unique part of it is coverage. That is why Metro eliminated all-day service for a while. It’s main value is as a faster connection from Northgate to Lake City. But if push comes to shove (the thinking goes) folks can use the 41 route.

        But this is why the routing is so bad. Metro treats the whole thing as coverage. Fair enough, but this is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Along with coverage, the northern segment also makes for a faster connection to Lake City. But with the current pathway, Lake City is only connected to a few places: Northgate, East Green Lake, Latona and the UW. But because it runs largely north-south, many of these connections (e. g. the UW) are not faster than the alternatives. It also doesn’t connect well with other routes. The only improved connection it makes is the one that the 20 does better (Greenwood to Lake City). This reduces the value of the northern segment — a fast way to get from Northgate to Lake City — because it minimizes the connections to it.

        The original plan was to run the 61 all the way across. This meant that Lake City would be connected to a lot more places (via one-seat or two-seat trips). This created a pretty good balance overall. But then they looked at funding, and figured they couldn’t do it.

        They should have simply scrapped the 26 (especially since they are scrapping the most cost effective part — the southern end) and ran the 61. Of course it would have helped if SDOT allowed them to modify the 62 as originally proposed. That would have made that route a lot faster, and it would have covered the Tangletown neighborhood better. This is a great opportunity to clean up a bunch of messy sections, and it doesn’t look like they will do it.

      8. “Why is a coverage route essential, but a route that ties together much of the north end not worth funding?”

        I think we both know the answer to that one. It’s because the 26 was there before, but the 61 wasn’t. The Hyppocratic Oath of Transit says that existing route 26 riders cannot be made to walk further to get to a bus. Greenwood->Lake City riders don’t matter because that trip has always been terrible, so keeping it terrible is not a regression.

      9. They also have a fetish for one-seat rides. Most of the new routes are express routes to downtown that deviate slightly from Link stops. This follows the same pattern. Rather than take the 62 to 45th, and then transfer to the UW, riders will take take the 20.

        Yes of course they’ll take the 20. For someone who lives near Latona, the 62->44 transfer to the U District doesn’t make sense even if you delete the 26.

        Closer to 65th on Latona it’s faster to walk northeast to the 45 and ride that to the U District. Farther south on Latona it’s faster to just walk to the 44 (or all the way to the U-District, for that matter) than to walk half a mile west to access the 62 and transfer from there.

        Of course it would have helped if SDOT allowed them to modify the 62 as originally proposed. That would have made that route a lot faster, and it would have covered the Tangletown neighborhood better. This is a great opportunity to clean up a bunch of messy sections, and it doesn’t look like they will do it.

        Agreed. I read somewhere else that this plan was scrapped because SDOT didn’t want to commit to upgrading the pavement for the new routing on 56th St. If you look at the condition of the pavement on the block of 56th that the 62 uses right now, it’s in pretty rough shape. The blocks east of there look to be made of the same material, so I can understand why SDOT wouldn’t want to let a longer stretch of that street crumble by rerouting the bus prior to pavement upgrades.

        On the plus side, it looks like this changed routing for the 62 is still on Metro’s revised Metro Connects interim network. This seems to indicate they still intend to keep the dialog open with SDOT to make this happen when funding becomes available.

      10. It’s because the 26 was there before, but the 61 wasn’t.

        Yeah, but the crazy part is that they are killing off the best part of the 26! Ridership south of 45th is higher than ridership north of there. It is also blazing fast to the biggest destination, and biggest transit hub in the area (downtown). It still boggles my mind that they are going to give riders in Kenmore a one-seat ride to South Lake Union, but won’t give riders on Stone Way a fast ride to downtown. Instead those riders — who may have put down first, last, deposit precisely because the bus is so fast to downtown — will have to take the 62, as it works its way through Fremont, and then Dexter.

      11. For someone who lives near Latona, the 62->44 transfer to the U District doesn’t make sense even if you delete the 26.

        Closer to 65th on Latona it’s faster…

        That makes the argument for killing the 26 even stronger! Not only are there very few people who live in the area, but they have multiple options to get where this bus will get them. Not only can they take the 62 and transfer to the 44 (both frequent buses that should become more frequent with Northgate Link) but they have perfectly reasonable alternatives. There are only a handful of people who will benefit substantially with the addition of the 20 — those that live midway between 65th and 45th, and well east of the Metro 62. And guess what? Hardly anyone lives there (https://goo.gl/maps/g8va5WVo8GhpeCT77). It is all zoned single family, with only a smattering of ADUs (https://jeffreylinn.carto.com/viz/681ff218-0a5d-11e6-8f50-0ea31932ec1d/embed_map). The only apartments in the area are on the 62, or within a short walking distance of the 44.

        It just doesn’t add up. Even for the area that it serves, they would be better off simply running the 44, 45 and 62 more often. For the great region, it would be better to simply replace this with the 61.

      12. “Yeah, but the crazy part is that they are killing off the best part of the 26!”

        Grrrr (insert angry emoji, angry emoji, angry emoji here). This kind of infuriates me. As someone who took this bus for a solid 10 years from Stone Way and 40th, this seems insane to me. The lower Wallingford area is the productive part of the route and the quick shot to downtown on this route is why it has been so popular over the years. I’d be totally pissed about this if I had just bought or rented a place in that area of Wallingford with the intention of relying upon the 26 to get downtown (or beyond as was my case).

      13. Tlsgwm, for decades the 26 went through Fremont and down Westlake. When the 40 and E were created, the service on Stone Way which used to get the Aurora routing was eliminated. Both the 26 and 28 started using the 38th on-ramp. That gave Lower Wallingford great service to downtown. Now folks will have to ride the 31/32 to HSS and take Link, a huge downgrade. Or they can walk to Wallingford and take the 62, but it’s slower than the original 26 on Westlake.

        Fortieth really needs better peak service. They should keep the 26 number but only run it peaks south of Roosevelt Station. That would give the neighborhood quicker access to northbound Link than the 31/32 with the long walk.

      14. @Tom — I would keep it simpler. I would run a bi-directional, peak-only bus like so: https://goo.gl/maps/CSpWwnYpHDhRP6kf8. This overlaps the 62, but gives riders in Stone Way an express to downtown (much as the 26 does). It manages to go by the bulk of the potential ridership. By being bidirectional, it deals with the increase in riders from Wallingford headed to the UW that comes from the Link station, as well as riders along Stone Way headed to the UW. But it is really about getting those peak riders along 45th and Stone Way to downtown. This is where the bulk of the ridership comes from.

        Which is not to say you couldn’t get more riders by running it up to 65th, but not that many more, and a bi-directional bus would get very few riders (which would make the thing a lot more expensive). This would be a relatively short, fast route, that doubles up service where it should be doubled up, at a time when it makes sense to overlap (peak). This is the first aspect of the 26 I would preserve (if not the only one).

      15. Walking west to either 5, 28, or E-line could be another option. A bit more walking, but probably still faster than slogging it all the way downtown on the 62. The catch is that, during peak, these buses might already be full from riders further back. Which would seem like plenty of justification for continuing to have peak service on the south part of the 26.

      16. Yeah, but I think you quickly get to the point where walking is worse than taking the slow bus. From 40th and Stone it is an 8 minute walk (https://goo.gl/maps/5D5BSWU3V3C3mAUM9) while the 5 and 28 will save you about 10 minutes. Any further north and you are better off waiting. Plus it is a very unpleasant walk. If you are at 38th it is only a minute faster (but you avoid most of the unpleasantness). The E only makes sense if you are on 45th (and it isn’t quick either https://goo.gl/maps/XHvRCy18XXnYmuuQA). Given the distance (well beyond 1/4 mile) and the type of walking, it is unlikely that a lot of people would do that on a regular basis.

        The exception are people who miss the 62. They will walk, while cursing Metro the whole time (although Pedersen and the mayor are as much to blame for the cutbacks).

      17. I think they’re keeping a Latona route because of Tangletown. A 40th-downtown route is not in Metro Connects. That does seem to be a transit hole, but on the other hand lower Wallingford is underzoned and has fiercely resisted upzoning. A corollary to that is it’s not a priority for a downtown route or downtown express. The parts that have multifamily mixed-use growth like Stone Way have the 62. What really needs to happen is the rest of Wallingford should grow like 45th and Stone Way, and then it will be higher priority for bus service.

      18. @Mike Orr
        “That does seem to be a transit hole, but on the other hand lower Wallingford is underzoned and has fiercely resisted upzoning.”

        Source? The current zoning map looks quite different from the maps that existed for the decade that I lived in lower Wallingford (1993-2003). The area that seems to largely have been untouched by upzones is the section of blocks east of Wallingford Ave. But this is hardly all of lower Wallingford, which extends westward to Aurora in my book. Even with this area of SFH included, lower Wallingford is fairly dense, even denser I believe than the neighborhoods due north on the other side of 45th (upper Wallingford).

        “A corollary to that is it’s not a priority for a downtown route or downtown express. The parts that have multifamily mixed-use growth like Stone Way have the 62.”

        That’s the whole point here. Metro HAS recognized a need for peak expresses to downtown to serve this community in the past and now it’s going to be eliminated. To use a RossB expression, holy cow man, this is the most productive part of the route. There were certainly many days that the 26X was SRO by the time it reached Stone Way and 40th. (Once or twice a month one simply could not board and had to wait for the next one or take the local.) The 62 is simply a degradation of level of service.

        Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that further upzones here aren’t warranted and, frankly, needed. Mixed use should be implemented on the busiest corridors while multifamily zoning should suffice elsewhere. The entire neighborhood doesn’t need to look like the Stone Way and 45th corridors and honestly couldn’t anyway because of the narrowness of the streets.

        http://www.seattle.gov/sdci/resources/zoning-map-books

  4. I find it curious how getting to Northgate was advocated strongly as important because it was expected to remain a major retail hub (as well as a transit center) yet as the station opens Northgate Mall is somewhat transitioned to something else. Of course, it will still have retail — but its layout and other uses are changing.

    I think it invites some reflecting on if, why and how retail and urban rail should interface. Did Link arrive too late to “save Northgate” (and possibly our Downtown Macy’s)? Are stations best on the corners or in the middle of retail districts? Is serving more large suburban malls like Alderwood, Bellevue Square and Everett Mall still vital or what is “close enough”? Is the connection advantageous because of the retail or is it merely the access to a single-owner parcel zoned for commercial use? Is it better to plan for a notable bit of retail at most every station rather than to aim tracks towards the nearby regional shopping mall and ignore significant retail at the other stations?

    I would be remiss to not mention retail at Roosevelt and U-District Stations. These stations seem much more convenient to retail even though there isn’t as much as Northgate will have upon completion. I’ll be much more likely to use Link to get to places near these stations than I will to get to Northgate.

    1. The case for serving Northgate as-it-was is pretty weak. The case for serving it as-it-is and as-it-will-be is strong. The old mall was like most malls. Huge amounts of space for parking, no housing, and not a lot of employment density. But the area surrounding the mall (to the east) has plenty of apartments and some clinics in the area. The mall area itself will be redeveloped into something much better (something that will generate a lot more riders). The pedestrian bridge to the college will help with walk-up riders, the clinic, and folks at the closer apartments. Overall though, it will be heavily dependent on connecting bus service. Unfortunately, its awkward location makes it worse for both buses and those walking to the station.

      The main reason the stop is there is because it is fairly cheap to serve. In some ways it is the opposite of the Roosevelt Station. A Green Lake station by the freeway (the original plan) would not have been that bad, since there is plenty of development on both sides, and relatively easy walking from either side. The freeway is pretty narrow there, so while it takes up some potential development, it doesn’t take up a lot. Moving to Roosevelt is a step up, but not a giant one.

      In contrast, the freeway, and especially the greenbelt surrounding it, takes up a big part of the area surrounding the station at Northgate. The station and the new pedestrian bridge help, but it is a long walk, which means the buses in the area will still serve the college. There will probably be three buses that make the roundabout trip from Northgate to the college (in part to cover more than the college) despite the pedestrian bridge. From a network standpoint, it made things worse to have the station next to the freeway. It would have been much better if it was further east, like the Roosevelt Station. If it was on 5th and Northgate Way, for example, it would have made it much easier for the bulk of the buses to serve it. You would lose those that walk from the college to the station, but gain back a lot of riders from the apartments surrounding the station (in all directions, eventually). It would have greatly simplified the bus network in the area, making the trip to Link much faster, and the buses more frequent. Unfortunately, that would have been expensive (just as moving the Roosevelt Station was expensive) but it would have been a much better location.

      To answer your questions, I would say that serving a mall — even a blank slate “mall” — should not be a priority. A typical mall (like the ones you mentioned) are not great in and of themselves, but might be transformed into something better. But that is just as likely to happen in the rest of the neighborhood. In the case of Northgate, the station made sense despite the mall, not because of it.

    2. The retail element may have been minor. Northgate has been an urban center wanna-be even though a designated one. It has super blocks instead of a tight street grid. It has a freeway interchange and copious free parking. Its growth rate has been low. Retail has been shifting due to e-commerce; Link is not the cause of retail shifts; that is national. Northgate will probably be a stronger transit market with more housing. Note that Simon, the mall owner, is more nimble than the public sector in providing housing.

      Martin praised Roosevelt. That was a great ST Board decision.

      True urban centers are pedestrian centers. They have tight street grid and interconnected walking pathways. In most of the country, such grids were developed before WWII. Northgate was developed in the 50s. The I-5 alignment impacts pedestrianism. Freeways are to pedestrians as dams are to fish. North has three overcrossings: North 92nd, Northgate, and NE 117th Street. Northgate Way feeds an interchange, so is jammed with traffic and a lousy pathway for both pedestrians and transit flow.

      Northgate was a critical piece of Link extension due to the I-5 infrastructure, opened in 1963 and designed in the 50s. The general purpose lanes have been jammed every afternoon for decades. Reverse peak direction transit has been stuck in that congestion all those years. some tried to retrofit I-5 for reverse peak direction transit; but neither the state or ST funded it. Link was just around the corner (25 years). Link will have fast and reliable speed in BOTH directions at all times of day and night.

      Now we have to make sure that ST runs Link frequently and provides short waits at all time periods. Long headway and long waits will be bad for the network and ridership. ST should not be cheap. If Link is to an effective transit spine, the neurons have to flow frequently. Link should not just be a pretty monument; it has to sing with frequency. The current frequency should be unrelated to the ST3 fiscal issues. Riders attracted today are worth more than riders attracted decades from now.

      1. True urban centers are pedestrian centers.

        Exactly. Capitol Hill is a great example. It is third in Link boardings, despite not being great from a bus intercept standpoint, and being towards the end of the line. It will see a considerable increase in ridership with Northgate Link.

        Northgate will be OK, based on a mix of factors. There will be people who walk across the bridge, walk to a clinic, or walk to one of apartments or restaurants in the area. It will have lots of bus service, despite its awkward location. As a result, it will have good ridership (despite not being much of an urban center).

      2. Northgate will also be huge for park and rides. I know several people in Lake City / NE Seattle that wouldn’t take a bus to the train to head downtown but absolutely will drive to Northgate and take the train from there. I know people here are (rightfully) wary of park and rides but when bus service is so abysmal it’s pretty necessary.

    3. I’d look at Northgate the urban village, rather than just Northgate the mall. The urban village is intended to contain dense mixed use. If the economy of the future means less retail and more residential, office, or commercial, I don’t think that changes the regional significance of Northgate as a transit destination.

      I don’t think Link ‘saved’ Northgate. If anything, the zoning changes associated wit the Link extension likely accelerated the transformation of the mall and surrounding lots. The value of serving large suburban malls is, to me, clearly in the ease of large scale redevelopment (Ross’s as-it-will-be), so ‘close enough’ is whatever is required to facilitate good TOD and always depends on the specifics of the site.

      For example, WMATA’s station placements in Tysons Corner are rather mediocre, but because the Silver Line extension is paired with a massive redevelopment of the neighborhood, I’d consider those stations ‘close enough’ and plan for the new development to bring the activity to the stations rather than the stations to the as-it-is mall.

      1. The value of serving large suburban malls is, to me, clearly in the ease of large scale redevelopment.

        Yeah, but you could do the same thing pretty much anywhere, which is what happened at Roosevelt. Once they decided to put the station there, they changed the zoning. Once that happened, the area grew very quickly.

        If you believe that every area is a blank slate, then other factors become critical, such as whether it is in a fundamentally attractive neighborhood, or easy to access with surrounding buses. Northgate Station fails miserably in that regard. It is next to the freeway, which means it is less attractive, and difficult to access with buses.

        Northgate strength as a destination has a lot to do with the clinics, apartments and the college, not the mall (regardless of what it turns into). Hopefully the mall will eventually be as attractive as the rest of the neighborhood, but the station is not dependent on it.

      2. Put it another way. I think the argument (amongst those who understood such things) went something like this:

        “Let’s put a station at Northgate Transit Center.”

        “I don’t know. It is an awkward location. It only exists because of the express lanes. Those become irrelevant once you run a train there.”

        “Yeah, but there are clinics and apartments nearby. Oh, and the college is on the other side — we could build a bridge!”

        “Sure, but the mall is crap. It is mostly parking.”

        “OK, but who knows, maybe they will convert the mall to something else. They could open it up, recreate the street grid, add housing, while keeping a lot of retail. [Note: That’s the plan.]”

        “Hmmmmm…”

        “It will be cheap”

        “OK then”

        (I’m not saying that was the thought process. I’m saying that if the folks in charge actually knew a thing or two about transit, that could be the thought process, and it would reach a reasonable conclusion, which is to build the station there.)

      3. “you could do the same thing pretty much anywhere”

        Yes, we could, but we don’t. Roosevelt’s rezone and redevelopment is wonderful but unfortunately is the exception, not the rule. For example, if 130th ends up with zoning comparable to Roosevelt, marvelous, but rezoning is inching along so we aren’t out of the woods yet. I could take the same logic (do the same thing anywhere) and argue that West Seattle Link will be awesome because we can just expand the midrise zoning in the Junction to cover quadruple the area.

        “Northgate strength as a destination has a lot to do with the clinics, apartments and the college…” Agreed, that was what I meant by Northgate the urban village. I think we may only disagree on the fact that I view the mall as a transit ridership asset, not a liability, specifically because it is a large parcel that can be thoroughly redeveloped. Unfortunately both the city (with the zoning) and the developer (with the redevelopment) lacked ambition.

        The Urbanist had a good post recently on new development in Shoreline. Shoreline has solid zoning in both station areas, but the new development has been slow to develop. I have speculated an issue is that while the station areas are zoned for midrise, they are parceled for single family zoning. For larger parcels, whether they are old malls or old industrial land (SLU, Bel-Red), there is more efficiency in redevelopment. From a Strong Towns perspective, Shoreline might end up with a more organic and therefore richer neighborhood fabric, but it will certainly be a slower process that at Northgate.

      4. Roosevelt’s rezone and redevelopment is wonderful but unfortunately is the exception, not the rule

        Is it though? Looking at the zoning maps, around every station it is zoned multi-family, neighborhood-commercial, etc. The only exception is 130th, and yes, that will eventually change. I really don’t think the fact that Northgate is owned by one company has helped anything. It clearly lags the rest of the neighborhood in terms of development. The light rail station is about to be complete, and there is nothing there. In contrast, 5th is pretty much built up, from one end to the other. It is literally across the street from the mall (and farther away from Link) and they are way ahead.

    4. Northgate is one of only three urban centers in Seattle. The other two are greater downtown and the U-District. Urban center means a large urban village with highrises and lots of jobs. Seattle had already decided to channel growth to Northgate, so that’s where it would be. Capitol Hill is not an urban center, although west of Broadway is part of the downtown urban center.

      Northgate Station is where it is because when Link was drawn up in the 1990s it was assumed that the best place for stations was existing P&Rs and freeway entrances. So that became the default option for Northgate and 145th and nothing dislodged them.

      Northgate Mall’s four-department-store decline was inevitable; Link couldn’t have saved it. Penney’s, Frederick’s, and Macy’s all closed because of national problems in their holding companies, not because the Northgate clientele had dried up. The Northgate Macy’s was included on the list of closures because the mall was going to be closed soon anyway for renovations so why not let it accelerate. Transit drives some mall shopping but not the majority of it, and transit riders can just as easily take Link the other way to Bellevue Square or the downtown Nordstrom. Much of Northgate’s retail spending is outside the mall, at Northgate North or the freestanding big-box stores.

      The city zoned only the mall lot for highrises, so that’s a missed opportunity. Not only did we miss out on the other lots, but the mall owner doesn’t plan to use the maximum zoned capacity. But at least the mall’s replacement will be more than two stories and include housing and redevelop some of the parking lots, so that will be an improvement. I don’t know that I’ll ever go to the ice rink as much as I’d shop in the department stores, but the totality of the Northgate neighborhood should make up for that. Already you can do most of your everyday errands within the neighborhood, so in that sense it’s succeeding as an urban village.

    5. I went to all the open houses during Northgate Station planning. A rep for Simon Properties showed up only once during that time and believe it was to “support” the parking garage. Support in quotes because their whole opinion was active hostility to the station only slightly mitigated by the additional parking garage. The rep didn’t quite say that the light rail would bring shoplifters, not shoppers, but came fairly close.

      1. Thanks for sharing this observation, good to know. It helps make sense of the mall’s somewhat head-scratching decision to focus on hockey-centric development. Nothing against hockey, but it seems like such a big gamble compared to building in-demand housing like Alderwood Mall is doing, where multiple 6-7 story buildings are under construction on two sides of the mall campus.

      2. But buses bring shoppers, not shoplifters? Who knew that the drivers were so perceptive of unspoken intent. Especially in the ten seconds that an ORCA card user is nearby.

        Does Kemper own Simon Properties?

      3. There will be a mix — the hockey training facility is only part of it: https://www.gglo.com/project/northgate-mall-redevelopment/. It is a huge amount of land, so they will have plenty of housing, retail, lots of office space, along with the hockey training facility. It won’t be the most efficient use of space, but compared to most of the city, it will look like Brooklyn.

      4. Not a gamble for the hockey people: The season tickets have sold out and have a waiting list. The team expects a lot of fans to come out to the Northgate facilities to watch practices and exhibition games, and participate in skating and skill lessons.

        Maybe that in demand housing can go to Shoreline or Bitter Lake?

      5. I see one latent high demand use at Northgate as hotels. Sinon plans at least one. I think many older UW alumni will probably think it’s better to stay somewhere more quiet away from campus and those that drive in from 100 miles away won’t want the challenge of downtown parking supply and fees. Northgate is just two stations and a few minutes from UW sports facilities and performance spaces on Link starting in October.

        It’s also noteworthy to mention that except for Downtown Seattle and maybe in Downtown Bellevue and Federal Way there aren’t many hotels at Link stations. As new suburban stations open in the next 3.5 years, I expect to see that several hotels will be constructed once the pandemic depression on the travel industry fades.

        Will there be new hotel districts in Link’s future?

      6. Happy to be proven wrong about the long term popularity of hockey. The important thing is for all stations to be successful travel destinations and/or origins.

        It is fun to imagine what “character” each Link station will grow into. My station at N 185th might turn out to be the more boring one. Currently, we have a bunch of popular soccer fields and stadium for student athletics. We’re also near the interurban trail connection to burke gilman. Wonder if any of these uses will persist in the long term.

  5. 4.6 miles. 3 stations. 13 years since it was approved.

    By the time I can take a train from Ballard to West Seattle, Elon Musk will have built a useless hyperloop in Mars.

    It’s going to be very tough to get voters to pass more funding initiatives when Sound Transit looks this bad at building anything.

    1. Well, voters firmly approved 12 years to deliver these things. Why is 13 a dealbreaker?

      1. Well, in the case of the U-District Station, it’s a 25-year deal and two affirmative votes. Nothing unlucky about that number, eh?

    2. There won’t be anything BUT “Hyperloops” on Mars. Nobody is going outside except for repairs and experiments. Baby, it’s cold outside!

    3. You should see how long it is going to take to deliver the monorail from The Junction to Ballard!

  6. As I noted in a prior post, most other new major rail projects in the US have been looking a delays a year or two that were not announced until years after construction began. That includes projects for BART, SF Muni, LA Metro, DC Metro and Honolulu.

    What did ST do differently to prevent a similar fate here?

    1. Huge amounts of float. It kinda works like this:

      1) Propose a spending package that will get some good stuff in a few years.

      2) After it passes, announce that after further review, it will take a lot longer, and it won’t be as good.

      3) When you are done building it, tell everyone how good you did, based on the numbers you quoted in the second step, not the first.

      1. Bingo! That’s the pattern at work here. I would modify step #2 to include “and cost a whole lot more than we told you” as well.

        ST’s history to date has been one full of moving the goalposts and deliberate amnesia.

    1. Is need the correct question? In which areas will microtransit be a cost-effective way to spend very scarce service subsidy to improve transit mobility. I suggest none.

  7. I agree with Ross that Link from Northgate to Roosevelt to the UW and then to Seattle is a critical part of the project, in an area with some density to support Link. This route always made sense to me, (especially as a subway). At least going south.

    I also think Northgate will be a good test case because it has all the features that should make Link very successful.

    That begins with first/last mile access. Northgate will be an important test case since there is no park and ride, so feeder buses will have to be first/last mile access, and have to be frequent enough and close enough to where folks are walking from to make a bus/train trip better than a bus only trip.

    Train frequency is critical too, but it begins with the feeder buses, both coverage and frequency, and as many have noted going east-west in this area is not easy. If this area does not have the density, or right “equity”, to have good feeder service then neither will any other areas north or south of Seattle.

    Next is who will take the train and this Link. As Al S notes Northgate Mall is much different today. Peak hour commuters would seem a prime rider for Northgate Link because parking in downtown Seattle is expensive and traffic congestion can be terrible. But will Seattle have the same commuter demand or retail demand post pandemic. Who knows. Ridership will likely be mostly southbound and then back north, not the other way around.

    One issue with mixed use development is retail usually gets the short end of the stick, and putting housing where retail once existed usually means a steep reduction in total retail sf, although developers have claimed increased housing density will create some kind of induced demand for retail, except that hasn’t happened. This is from Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northgate_Mall_(Seattle)#cite_note-10

    “On October 8, 2018, it was announced that JCPenney would be closing in 2019.[9] Macy’s subsequently announced in January 2019 that it would also close its store in 2020; the closure was ultimately moved up to July 2019, allegedly at the request of Simon Property Group.[10] Nordstrom closed its Northgate store on August 9, 2019,[11] though the Nordstrom Rack remained open.[12] Approximately 40 stores and restaurants at Northgate will remain open through the redevelopment project.[13]”

    One real benefit of retail is the sense of safety. The loss of Macy’s on 3rd Ave. in Seattle was a big blow to perceptions of safety for shoppers.

    Students and the UW are key riders, and students generally take transit. I will be interested to see if riders coming from the North prefer the station at the “U District” or University of Washington, mostly due to the Ave. Taking transit at night is different than taking it during the day, and in this region it gets dark by 4:30 in the afternoon in winter. Jimmy James had a sobering post about taking the bus at night at 125th and Lake City Way, but I don’t know what Northgate Link is like at night. The U District station at night may scare some riders off, although there is the UW station.

    If Northgate ridership is a disappointment that pretty much means so will ridership on East Link, which is already estimated to be around half of ST’s original projections of 43,000 to 52,000 riders per day, whereas ST is predicting 41,000 to 49,000/day on this section of Link.

    East Link has almost none of the features a Northgate to UW Link has, at least when it comes to ridership. But most on the eastside are pretty agnostic on East Link. The bigger issue is whether the Northgate station and Link sells rail to West Seattle and Ballard, which likely will need another levy or some kind of huge capital infusion.

    I have said it before, but I really hope Metro understands how critical its role is in making sure the public sees the Northgate Link as a success, and primarily that will be measured as total trip time before and after Link opens, especially with the frustration transfers sometimes cause. Like Ross states, that means feeder bus trip time plus rail frequency.

    1. Thompson wrote there is no Northgate parking. In fact, the 500-space King County lot is still there; it was not taken by housing; the new ST garage is open at the northeast corner of 1st Avenue NE and NE 103rd Street; does the Penny’s garage still stand? The Lorig garage has shared stalls. The surface could be converted to housing in a few years. As it did before Covid, the parking will continue to fill quickly each weekday morning. Route 41 had four-minute headway in the peak direction.

    2. You are so full of crap, oh my god. Always talking about the Ave like it’s Fallujah or something. When’s the last time you were there, 1975? There is no shortage of foot traffic on the Ave after dark, and I really don’t think anyone will be “scared off” of U District station.

      If you’re looking to have your KOMO brainworms treated, UWMC is right next to UW station. Be careful though, it’s only a stop away from the U District which means you’re not far from all of the scary people up there.

      1. I didn’t get that far. As I wrote before, I find that these posts all follow the same pattern. The first few paragraphs are quite reasonable, and then it quickly falls off the cliff. I stopped reading when he wrote that Northgate has no park and ride. Completely untrue, and easy to fact check with a simple search. I knew the answer, but typed in “will there be parking at northgate link station” and Google’s first response was this: https://www.soundtransit.org/blog/platform/northgate-station-garage-opens-monday-nov-19.

      2. I was on the Ave. the weekend before last.

        We have a daughter who is a senior in high school, and so along with some other parents did a tour of the campus and school grounds. Two years ago I did it with my son (he chose U. of Arizona).

        The kids are flying around the country right now looking at universities (for Pat a university is a school some go to after high school), from Boston to LA to San Francisco to Dallas to Austin, to you name it. I also get out to Roosevelt every once in a while for a deposition of a doctor at the UW medical clinic on 43rd and Roosevelt, but usually don’t go to the Ave.

        Name one reason to go to the Ave., except scoring heroin. I spent a lot of time on the Ave. from 1977 through the early 1990’s’s when I either lived on campus or nearby during graduate school, and it is a sad memory of what it used to be. The one piece missing from the Ave. these days are the students. I still like 65th and Roosevelt, and Green Lake, although it seems like a lot of restaurants are gone.

        My wife and I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant a month or two ago we used to visit on Roosevelt just north of Ravenna where I lived in the early 1990’s. We went to the Ave. for a drink afterwards for a lark.

        It was pretty run down, dirty, and during the tour every parent unanimously agreed the Ave. is not a favorable for the UW, which is an excellent school. (And I was surprised at what a poor comparison Seattle is to a city like Boston which I just visited for the first time). Our tour guide from the UW actually apologized for the Ave. and noted there were plans to deal with it, without specifics. Maybe cool for Pat, but definitely not a parent of a 17 year old daughter.

        Other than that I can’t think of a single reason I would visit the Ave., although that really wasn’t the point of my post The restaurants suck, the bars are not so great, dirty, and other than the bookstore retail is shitty. I can get bad take out teriyaki just about anywhere. And I am someone who spent 15 years living near the Ave. I have no idea how long Pat has been visiting the Ave.

        The Ave. is a concern among parents of potential students. https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-ave-seattle Maybe Pat is a little more casual about safety than a parent would be, (and maybe Pat is not a parent and so can’t understand), and probably never attended the UW. In fact, most of the parents are quite concerned about the safety of their 17 year old daughters no matter where they go. I work in Pioneer Square and it is much better than the Ave., although I still don’t want my 17 year old daughter roaming around Pioneer Square at night (and nowadays I am not so comfortable doing that myself).

        My point was I will be interested to see if there is any impact as to which UW station is used by students, especially in the dark. I have already posted about how moving the 550 from the tunnel to 2nd Ave. has affected eastside workers using the 550 to commute to Seattle. Maybe there will be no distinction. Having a kid who is looking at going to the UW, I would definitely have her use the UW station, or Uber, although the UW is not her top choice right now.

        Every time someone like Pat or Ross goes ballistic if anyone suggests Seattle is not perfect someone like Jimmy James posts a real story, or Sam posts about Lake Shitty (which took me a moment to figure out). If people in Seattle can’t be realistic about things that need change how will anything ever change?

        I take it Pat will vote against the upcoming Charter Amendment to address homelessness and ban camping in Seattle parks and on streets because Seattle is perfect (hey, didn’t Mercer Island just adopt a similar ordinance?) https://sccinsight.com/2021/04/01/18517/

      3. I’m a parent. I’ve been visiting the Ave. for 25 years as well as attended in the summers of 91-93 (through The Center for the Study of Capable Youth Program), and honestly the level of dirtiness hasn’t really changed. I also know you’re only going to be scoring pot and meth on the Ave at the moment. Oh, and I coined the phrase Lake Shitty, not Sam. And I’m rallying the local homelessness NPOs against The upcoming Charter Amendment.

        Your logic and observation skills are about as good as your memory.

      4. Name one reason to go to the Ave? Thai Tom! Red Pepper dry pot. Noodles galore! The farmers market? Big Time!

        There are lots of reasons to go to the Ave. I just wish University Seafood was still there. They were the best in the city for black cod.

      5. Yep — same pattern. First three paragraphs: quite reasonable. Fourth paragraph, insane. Criticizing the cuisine options on the Ave is like saying that Broadway (in New York) just doesn’t have any good theater options.

        Oh, and the reason you don’t see that many students, bright boy? There is a pandemic!

        If you look at Google Street View from before the pandemic (https://goo.gl/maps/x4nonWKNyc2yQ8b3A) you can see plenty of people who are probably students: https://goo.gl/maps/x4nonWKNyc2yQ8b3A. Walking on the Ave, you see more young people, and a higher ratio of Asian people, which is what you would expect, given the demographics of the student body. So again, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say “there are no students on the Ave” when clearly you can see people who are likely students in the Google pictures. For that matter — how do know if the people walking around are students are not? Did you take a poll?

      6. I live nearby, in the Suburban Shithead Approved (TM) area near 65/Roosevelt, and I go to the Ave frequently to grocery shop at H Mart, visit my barber, or get an Aladdin gyro, Korean fried chicken, boba, or any kind of Chinese food. The bars are not really my vibe as my student days are behind me, and if I were some old ass lawyer I bet they’d be even less my vibe. Even now with the pandemic, the sidewalks and restaurants are packed with students every time I go. I don’t know if there’s anywhere else north of the ship canal with that much pedestrian density, other than maybe Ballard Avenue on a nice day.

        Obviously Seattle has problems, but it’s not exactly helpful to just tell transparent lies like “there are no students on the Ave.” I know you’re a lawyer so you tell lies for a living, but this is STB, people will call you out on your bullshit. Anyway, let me know next time you’re here and I’ll help you realize your fears by mugging you.

      7. And to be clear, I’m not saying the Ave isn’t sketchy (it absolutely is) but I’ve never really felt unsafe there at any hour, although that might be because I’m a man. Women are going to have a different experience basically anywhere, don’t kid yourself that there are fewer creeps in Tucson or Corvallis or wherever your daughter winds up (although, realistically, the biggest threats to your daughter are likely to be male students, not vagrants in the adjacent commercial strip).

        But also consider that sometimes what people tell you can cloud your perception. When I was an undergrad in an inner suburb of Chicago, people told me the area between the nearby ‘L’ stations and campus could be kinda sketchy at night, and as a result I was terrified and ultra-alert my first time coming back to campus after seeing a show in the city. Eventually I realized it wasn’t that bad at all. If all I heard about the Ave was how dire it is, I’d be jumpy too, but eventually realize that reports of its sketchiness are greatly exaggerated.

        (I’m not actually going to mug you, btw. I’ll leave the stealing to my classmates who went to work on Wall Street.)

      8. the biggest threats to your daughter are likely to be male students

        Bingo. I was going to mention this as well. Guys like Brett Kavanaugh — nice, apparently upstanding young men — are just as likely to be rapists as a vagrant. Since a young college student is far more likely to encounter a lot of them, that is what she should guard against.

        The bars are not really my vibe as my student days are behind me, and if I were some old ass lawyer I bet they’d be even less my vibe.

        The old ass lawyers I know would definitely join me in a beer at the Big Time Brewery. Good to support your local brew pub. It can get really noisy though, as it gets overwhelmed by (what I presume to be) students. I’m looking forward to all of that — I haven’t been to pub or a restaurant in a long time.

      9. “The old ass lawyers I know would definitely join me in a beer at the Big Time Brewery. Good to support your local brew pub….”

        This old ass (former) lawyer would join your little group too! I love going to brew pubs and microbrewries, noise and all, and am anxiously awaiting the chance to return. It’s been a very long time for me as well. My niece and her spouse came up from Phoenix a couple of summers ago and we took them all around Seattle hitting up some of the microbreweries along the way (walking, transit and Uber being our modes of transport). It was fantastic.

        Honestly, I am stoked that we are finally here with Northgate Link about to go live. It will be a game changer for mobility in the area. Also, it will finally (almost….sorry First Hill, Graham, BAR) complete the initial segment from Sound Move with the opening of the station in the U-District.

      10. Daniel,

        Aspects of your post come dangerously close to “My daughter must NEVER be exposed to the ACTIVITIES of those DREADFUL FILTH-RIDDEN POORS” and I suggest you take this opportunity to meditate on what that suggests about your personal values.

        If your daughter has not already recognized that buying heroin is not a wise path toward adulthood, the city cannot remedy your parenting. As a female-bodied person who regularly walked down 3rd Avenue when I was only a few years older than her, I assure you, the drug dealers are not going to chase after her or bother her in any way. The most dangerous presence in her daily life will be overly-entitled male classmates, but if she wants to date heterosexually, she will have to brave them no matter where she attends.

        Any urban college campus is going to interact with, and be influenced by, that of the city around it. This will inevitably involve some mixing of the classes, as that is one of the purposes of a true city, if you will. If that is horrific **to your daughter** then she should not attend one. There are plenty of options which will keep her wrapped in a comfortable bubble, and as a Mercer Island resident, I am sure they are within your budget.

        As far back as I can recall (and as local residents can recall) the Ave has been grungy, an open drug market, and thronged with weirdos and the homeless. It also, historically, provided cheap real estate for immigrant restaurants, student-oriented business, ramshackle (and affordable) student housing, and so forth. Rich and privileged students from all over the globe regularly stand less than 10 feet away from the not-quite-all-there homeless busker at the bus stop, not to mention individuals from every conceivable class and wealth position in between. Most cities contain these sorts of streets, and they play an important role in renewing the city’s culture and vitality. Much like the growing of plants, they seem to require a regular infusion of sh!t to flourish. You may think that the city should manage the area differently, forcing it to align with your aesthetic preferences – well, with enough money and police presence that may happen, but something essential will vanish if it does. The locals know that well enough, which is why they’ve collectively fought to keep their grungy street intact.

        Send your daughter wherever makes you feel comfortable, but kindly keep your mitts off an ecosystem you do not understand. I don’t know how to “fix” the Ave but I’m damn certain that no one like you has the right answer.

      11. Ross/Tlsgwm:

        Ah, Big Time totally slipped my mind – when I said bars, I was thinking of joints like Earl’s or Finn’s. I’ve drained many a pitcher at Big Time and I’m looking forward to going back after I get vaccinated.

        Another good brewery in the area is Floating Bridge Brewing, on 45th and 8th.

    3. “I really hope Metro understands how critical its role is in making sure the public sees the Northgate Link as a success”

      The problem isn’t convincing Metro to have Link feeders, it’s giving it enough resources to do so. Metro proposed the 61 and would have kept it if it had had the resources. I assume it will come back as soon as it does, and we can make it a focus of feedback to Metro and SDOT that this is our highest priority. RossB says we can delete the remaining peak expresses and fund them, but they’re only a couple routes, that’s a hard political goal, at least they’re not going downtown, some of them do support transfers to Link stations along the way, and maybe future ridership patterns will prove us right and they’ll be restructured again.

      “Name one reason to go to the Ave., except scoring heroin.”

      Thanh Vi (Vietnamese), Professional Copy (one of the few remaining non-chain copy shops), the U Bookstore (and art supplies on the bottom floor), Magus Books, the most bus transfers in North Seattle, a stroll on campus, the convenient neighborhood north of 50th I used to live in, one of the largest farmers’ market in Seattle, live music and second-run movies at the Neptune and Varsity whenever they reopen, etc.

      There’s a surprisingly large number of Chinese and Korean restaurants now, following the previous waves of Irish and Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I don’t know how they can all stay in business with six of the same kind in a 2-block area, but somehow they do, and that shows that people are buying more on the Ave than just heroin.

      And the Ave isn’t just students or mostly students. A lot of people work or live in the neighborhood. I started going to the Ave in junior high, and have either gone to school there or lived there or shopped there or transferred buses there for most of the time since. I haven’t been there as much in recent years because half the time I transfer at Stevens Way, and I’ve only been there a couple times since the pandemic started. But I expect it will continue to be a long-term destination for me, and maybe I’ll move to the U-District again someday.

      It’s not as good as it used to be, because many of the places I used to go to are no longer there. But it still has a lot of variety and I assume innovations will continue. And that upzoning will bring more people. And not all of them will be afraid of the Ave.

      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ave

        “The Ave is also the major hangout for homeless and transient teens and young adults in Seattle. The local seasonal and year-round homeless population, referred to as “Ave Rats”,[16] is notorious for being a particularly countercultural crowd. Their numbers have dwindled somewhat in recent years due to increased police patrols, tougher enforcement of loitering laws,[17] and designation of an Alcohol Impact Area (along with Broadway on Capitol Hill and parts of downtown neighborhoods).[18]

        “Another factor contributing to the homeless youth’s decline was the extension of organized, gang-related criminal activity on the Ave in recent years. Several groups, whose signature graffiti “tags” can be seen throughout the U. District, contributed to the transition in drug sales from marijuana (formerly sold by homeless youth and transients) to include the organized sale of methamphetamine and cocaine. This transition has resulted in multiple incidents of gun-related violence, as well as obvious deals occurring in broad daylight.[19]”.

      2. From the same source:

        The Ave remains at the heart of campus life for university students, and is filled with busy restaurants (mostly inexpensive), new and used book and record stores, clothing stores, and movie theatres, most densely between NE 41st and NE 50th Streets. … The Ave is so full of salon-style establishments that it has become its own sort of macro third place. This is exemplified by the coffeehouse culture of the middle and lower Ave – with at least six cafes on the Ave or its alleys – by the remaining used bookstores with late hours, and by the annual Street Fair and weekly Saturday Farmers Market. The Ave is also home to one of Seattle’s Neighborhood Service Centers,[12] outposts of the city government originally known as “little city halls.

        Then my favorite paragraph:

        We’re not an organized shopping district. We’re very much like Main Street America,” said an independent retail business owner on the Ave in 2001.[21] “It’s not a mall.”[22]

        Bingo! There you have it. This, in a nutshell, is why Daniel doesn’t like it there. There are students, there are regular people. There are restaurants with funny sounding names, and weird food that he isn’t sure he wants to eat. It is Main Street America, but he wants a mall, where he can pretend that America is a Leave-it-to-Beaver land that never existed, but he imagines did in his youth.

      3. Daniel: “no one goes to the Ave, there’s no reason to go except to buy drugs”
        Everyone else: [lists dozens of reasons they go to the Ave]
        Daniel: “yeah but wikipedia says there a vagrants there you can buy heroin from QED”

        And you’re a lawyer? I know UW Law isn’t anywhere close to top tier but lmao, you should be embarrassed.

      4. I am not trying to dump on Daniel’s version of history. But I know that the term AVE RAT has evolved over the years. In the late 80’s it was a term used for kids that hung out there all the time. I was pegged as being an Ave Rat between 1989-1990. Not proud, but just sayin. There were no cell phones. You would go to a specific restaurant or place on the sidewalk and find out where everyone was going to party or hang out later that night. Some of the common spots were from north to south: Pagliacci’s, McDonald’s (used to be on the AVE). Space Port, The Espresso Roma Cafe, ( commonly called Depresso Roma), some second hand record store, (Can’t remember the name), Arnolds on the Ave, (Sir Mixalot’s hang out), and finally, The Last Exit on Brooklyn. If you have ever gone to The Last Exit, you really have some interesting stories.

        If you couldn’t find your crew or Possie by then, just take your shit home.
        There were more places, but the ones I mentioned were the under 21 places. There were some homeless, but many were posers so I never paid attention to it.

        Today, many of the people hangin around The Ave are more likely to be homeless. But I do not know that number.
        But I do know thatbthe Ave is still pretty popular and I do not know the homeless to poser ratio. I am not in the know anymore.

  8. Looking fwd FINALLY Seattle getting more major rail service like a real city..
    After voting it down for decades and Atlanta received Seattle’s federal funding money for building rails back n 1970s(?), stubborn Seattle.
    Now bring back downtown dept. stores and shopping again!

    1. The department stores aren’t coming back. Downtown will have to reinvent itself again. The new owner of the Macy’s building says it will have an arcade of shops on the ground floor and respect its art deco style.

    2. Ross, you can be sure an assault from a male student is a risk I am well aware of, and you can be sure the colleges my daughter is looking at go out of their way to lay out their programs to prevent that. It is a constant concern. At the same time that doesn’t mean the safety of her surroundings should be ignored.

      When it comes to a mall I haven’t been in a mall in at least a decade as I literally do no shopping in our house, whether clothes, groceries, pet food, toiletries, furnishings, you name it. They just show up. My wife does all the shopping, and she is the customer Kemper Freeman and downtown Seattle retail stores covet (along with my daughter, although younger girls love shopping online). Old men are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to value as retail customers.

      The other quote about old ass lawyers is not my quote. Believe me I drank plenty on the Ave. in my time considering I attended the UW for 7 years, and like you look forward to returning to a crowded bar.

      The rest of your assumptions about me say more about you than me. I am not sure why you would assume I don’t like restaurants or food with funny names when my wife is Asian.

      1. When it comes to a mall I haven’t been in a mall in at least a decade

        And yet you speak with such authority on such matters.

        https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/12/09/news-roundup-more-chatter/#comment-864897

        most of the student activity has moved to the University Village Shopping Center.

        https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/12/09/news-roundup-more-chatter/#comment-865084

        The reason most UW students favor University Village over the Ave. is because all the retail is there, because it is safe and clean.

        For someone who hasn’t been to a mall in at least a decade, you sure know the conditions of U-Village. It is “safe and clean” and “all the students” go there.

        I am not sure why you would assume I don’t like restaurants or food with funny names

        Because why else would someone come up with such a stupid statement like this:

        Name one reason to go to the Ave., except scoring heroin.

        or this:

        The restaurants suck, the bars are not so great, dirty, and other than the bookstore retail is shitty.

        The restaurants suck? Seriously? Several people have pointed out how ridiculous your claim is, and sorry if it turns out I was wrong in assuming that you didn’t care for Asian food (since that is the primary cuisine in the area).

  9. I think a celebration should be had for the opening. I know Sound Transit will be a little shy to throw a big event, but it’s useful in building social capitol and bringing the community together.

    It’s a bit of a utopian idea, but I feel like a partnership with the Seattle Subway, Seattle Transit Blog, Transportation Choices Coalition, and the Urbanist could organize and fundraise for an event to celebrate the opening and bring the transit community together. I say this knowing it’s quite an organizing feat to pull this off, but it would be nice.

    1. Whatever celebration is planned for the Northgate opening will be on the small side after the fallout from the opening of the last link to the UW Station.

      That celebration rankled people because of the raise in license tab fees and they see Sound Transit as a money grabbing government agency. Then they see the money spent on a celebration and they see another government agency wasting money on something that they felt was not necessary.

      1. I get it. The first paragraph of my comment addressed that and I suggested a solution. For the record, I’d argue that it’s money well spent, but I’m not going to change the optics as demonstrated by your comment.

      2. Ah , no. Very few people think ST is a “money grabbing” government agency. Because, after all, all of ST’s (local) funding is voter approved. It is incorrect to accuse ST of money grabbing when we are the ones (rightly) giving them the money at the voter’s box.

        And most of the cost of the celebration for Husky Link was actually for security, crowd control, safety, etc. it is just that the top number looked big and the critics ran with it.

        This celebration will probably be smaller. The pandemic is still with us, the system is bigger and already operating at higher volume, and ST will probably wish to avoid any controversy. And they will probably be smarter about how they roll up some of the costs.

        And besides, when Husky Link opened a Coug was in charge of ST, and nobody loves a good party like a Coug. Ragoff? I don’t think he parties much.

    2. The celebration will happen with or without ST controlling it. ST controlling it would be best for public health.

      The politicians (of both parties) who complained about the price tag for the U-Link opening weren’t there to see the tens of thousands of joyous faces. There weren’t many joyous faces there to console these politicians as most of them lost their re-election bids as their turn came up.

      If ST needs to spend six figures for security, commemorative masks, etc for opening day, it will be money well spent. Release the light rail!

      1. @Lazarus

        Voters may have approved the Sound Transit ballot issues but they didn’t expect that their license tabs renewals would go up as much as they did because of the method used to evaluate the charge. Look at the number of times there have been proposals in the legislature to change the evaluation method and each time Sound Transit raises a storm about it.

        People on this website see everything good about Sound Transit and the building of light rail but among the people I associate with they see the agency in a different light and express great frustration with Sound Transit each year when they receive their renewal notice.

        They see Sound Transit as another government agency as a money grubbing vulture where the money they receive is never enough. Some consider light rail as a waste of money because they will never use it.

        I know that will raise the ire on here but keep in mind that with every issue there will be different opinions and Sound Transit is another issue.

        My own feeling is that Sound Transit has not done the greatest job with public relations over the years and when they are criticized their responses at times have come across as a petulant child.

      2. You appear to be one of those “some”. You might consider getting a fifteen year-old car to thwart that “money-grubbing vulture”, Sound Transit.

        Given the squeeze in new car production, you’ll get top dollar for your current ride.

      3. @Tom Terrific

        Interesting that you say I am one of those “some”. I don’t know where you got that from my post.

        But your response is typical of this website and that is if you don’t march in step with everyone else you are criticized.

        It seems that most everyone on here sees Sound Transit through rose colored glasses and any critical comments about them or Light Rail is not tolerated.

        Sometime some of you need to get out and talk to other people who are not so upbeat about Sound Transit and light rail and hear some other viewpoints.

        A good discussion and even some disagreements are good as you hear another viewpoint.

      4. “Voters may have approved the Sound Transit ballot issues but they didn’t expect that their license tabs renewals would go up as much as they did because of the method used to evaluate the charge. Look at the number of times there have been proposals in the legislature to change the evaluation method and each time Sound Transit raises a storm about it.”
        Maybe because that idea has no real traction, since what you are saying is that anyone who voted did not make use of the available ST3 tax calculator, which was also available at the Seattle Times back in 2016, before the vote. The Seattle Times was not known as a big Sound Transit supporter.

        “People on this website see everything good about Sound Transit and the building of light rail but among the people I associate with they see the agency in a different light and express great frustration with Sound Transit each year when they receive their renewal notice.”
        The simple solution is – start a petition, (that will pass constitutional muster,) to repeal ST3, limited to the voters in the ST3 taxing district.

        My conversations with individuals about their car tabs almost always end up with them admitting that they voted NO on ST3. What they are really upset about is that the majority voted YES.
        I’ve even had discussions with people outside of the district who think they’re paying for Sound Transit projects because they don’t understand the other fees that the State of Washington has included to pay for highway projects (“Why aren’t my tabs EXACTLY $30?”)

        “They see Sound Transit as another government agency as a money grubbing vulture where the money they receive is never enough. Some consider light rail as a waste of money because they will never use it.”
        Be careful about that, since the same argument works for Highways,… Big Time!

        “….and when they are criticized their responses at times have come across as a petulant child.”
        I’ll remember that the next time people complain about traffic. Come to think of it, I already give them an earful when they do, and I lay the full FEIS for the $10 billion I-405 expansion project on them!

      5. @Jeff P,

        Huh? What do you mean voters “didn’t expect” their car tabs to go up by the amount they did? The valuation schedule that ST was permitted to use by the State legislature was well publicized, and the text of the ballot measure was fully published in multiple locations as required by law. Additionally , there were multiple sites were you could calculate your actual car tab bill per the ballot measure well before actually voting “yeah or nay”.

        Anybody who claims they were surprised by their car tab bill is either willfully ignorant, certifiably ignorant, or just a plain liar.

        But hey, I get it. Sometimes you are on the losing end of an election. It sucks to lose. But elections have consequences, and part of being a citizen of an actual democracy requires accepting that fact. That means that if the bulk of your community votes to fund something then you either need to pay the taxman or move out of the district.

        I would suggest that either you get better informed friends, or you that stop listening to them, or that you move out of the RTA taxing district if you agree with them. Because this is a democracy and the people have spoken.

      6. “The valuation schedule that ST was permitted to use by the State legislature was well publicized,…”

        This is demonstrably false. Even our high court justices had a difficult time determining the proper schedule. This came up at oral arguments during the Black et al case. Additionally, even Sound Transit’s own lead counsel was making arguments on the basis of the wrong schedule. His ultimate response (paraphrasing): it doesn’t matter.

      7. @Jeff, I have criticized Sound Transit plenty. In fact, I’ve coined “Unsound Transit” as an alternative name because of the fiascoes with station placement and access. They don’t seem to know much about anything except pouring cement; they certainly aren’t good at long-range project estimation.

        That said, the majority of people in the Taxing District voted to pass ST3 and bonds have been sold against the car tab taxes, so unless you get that repeal initiative that Jim suggested, the only way to beat “The Man” [Peter Rogoff, I guess] is to trade in a recent-vintage car for one built before 2011 and sit down in the sweet spot of the depreciation schedule.

  10. I’ll repeat my suggestion for qualification for a golden ticket to the first ride, or riding free during opening week: Proof of vaccination or recent negative test. You still have to wear a mask of course, or you are cancelling out the vaccination’s impact on protecting other people from you. (No vaccine has ever been 100% effective, and none of the COVID-19 vaccines are exceptions.)

    If you are still uncertain about getting the vaccine, talk with your doctor, who you hopefully trust. If you’d rather wait until the lines clear to see if people are reporting side effects, then wait. But I do think some carrots will help motivate a few more people to make the time and effort to get vaccinated.

    I certainly don’t think we can or should bar people from riding if they haven’t gotten vaccinated, but everything we can do to bend the math against the virus’s profligation will help.

    Admission to the opening ceremonies and first ride will have to be smaller than it was for U-Link, given the continuing need for social-distancing. So, the free-ride-for-those-with-proof-of-vaccination-or-negative-test probably does need to be strung out over days, or maybe even longer. It will take a lot of trains at COVID capacity to get everyone through the queue.

    1. “My own feeling is that Sound Transit has not done the greatest job with public relations over the years and when they are criticized their responses at times have come across as a petulant child.”

      Jeff Pittman, that has to be the mildest rebuke of ST I have seen, and of course you were attacked for your incredibly mild opinion, which is the sad part of this blog. (Maybe read some of Ross B’s or Tisgwn’s past critiques of ST if you want to see the gloves come off).

      Here is the good news: you and your friends, if they live in Seattle, might get another chance to vote for ST 3 projects in the N. King Co. subarea because ST, in 2016, accidently underestimated ST 3 in Seattle by $11.5 billion (the number ST currently admits to, which does not include the actual cost of the second transit tunnel), if Seattle can convince the legislature to allow Seattle to levy itself for ST 3 projects without the four other ST subareas voting on a levy.

      Otherwise you and your Seattle friends will get to pay for ST 3 projects like rail from West Seattle to Ballard but never receive them, although some claim if ST just extends the completion date until the year 2022 they will get done, when of course the ST 3 revenue is going into completing ST 2 projects.

      If you live in West Seattle, or Ballard, or use Metro north of Yesler, yeah, I would look into buying a car if you don’t already own one, (after all, Seattleites own 460,000 cars) although the pandemic and risk of infection have increased the price of new and used cars across the board.

      Don’t worry Jeff,

      1. I am not following your logic. Why should Ballard Link opening in 2040 vs. 2035 have any impact on whether to go buy a car today? Either way, the car will likely be in the junkyard by the time the line is built.

        Cars also have a high enough operating costs that it’s something you buy when you need it, not because you might possibly need it at some point in the next 10 years. After all, if you wait, the car will still be there later and avoid paying for registration and insurance all those years in between.

      2. @Daniel Thompson

        Several years ago I was in a discussion on this website on the cost of Sound Transit and the effect it has on senior citizens like myself and one person told me to just move out of the area and leave it for younger people.

        My response to that was all of you will be getting older and become senior citizens and be on a fixed income and then you will know what that is like.

      3. @Jeff,

        Two comments:

        1). Have you calculated how much money you would have saved by now if you had just taken that advice? Cars are expensive. If you are truly on a fixed budget, then you could actually save money by ditching it and going to some other mobility model.

        2). Don’t assume that because someone disagrees with you that they must be different than you. There are plenty of transit and ST advocates who are also seniors on fixed budgets.

        Get over it. The region voted to fund ST. Either live with that or find a way around it. I hear housing is cheap in Omak. And taxes are low too. If that is where your heart is, then consider it.

        Seriously. Cars are expensive.

      4. @Lazarus

        Just what I expected in response because I had the audacity to make comments that you don’t agree with and just like a couple of years ago you are telling me to move.

        Well I am not going to move as I have lived here for over 60 years and no I am not going to change friends.

        By the way did I post that I didn’t like Light Rail. No I haven’t but I posted that are people who don’t like Sound Transit because they come across to them as an arrogant organization and comparing it to how Metro Transit is perceived. The latter comes across as an organization that has tried to do their best in providing service but not in the arrogant manner that Sound Transit comes across. Go see how Sound Transit reacts to any criticism versus how Metro Transit reacts.

      5. @Jeff, you are correct about all of use getting older. I certainly am. However, until late 2019 when one gave up the ghost at 300K miles, my wife and I owned a 2001 and a 1990 Acura Integra. Needless to say, the tab taxes were pretty minimal. We sort of splurged and got a 2014 to replace the 2001 because we had gotten pretty used to electric windows and bun warmers. We didn’t like the five cylinder cars Acura made in the years after the Integra was discontinued.

        The payment isn’t super comfortable, but nobody has a “claim” that her or his life be easy. A few people win the Birth Lottery and can live comfortably on their trust fund, but the rest of us have our ups and downs.

        Similarly, living somewhere does not give one a “lock” on a place in that somewhere if prices rise at an unaffordable rate. There are plenty of smaller cities west of the Cascades which have roughly the same climate as Seattle but are still somewhat affordable, especially if one moves there having sold a Seattle home. Bremerton, Olympia, and Bellingham actually have waterfront. No, the others don’t have Puget Sound, but Gollicky Mo, Uncle Dan Dan, economics ain’t bean bag. There hundreds of times as many people who would love to live in the Puget Sound region if they knew about the experience than can reasonably fit.

        This is cruel, no doubt, but it is an unavoidable reality.

    2. Geez Lazarus, I think most folks were surprised by the false valuation method used by ST, and the legislature did look at amending the valuation, but of course ST had already bonded the revenue knowing the valuation was dishonest. Maybe you could tone down the rhetoric just a little.

      Claiming elections have consequences is a little ironic when I-976 passed.

      Maybe you also understood in 2016 ST was underestimating costs for ST 3 in the N. King Co. subarea by $11.5 billion (basically the entire cost of ST 3 in Seattle), not including the $1.365 billion underestimated for the second transit tunnel. Don’t you feel a little foolish living in Seattle and paying for ST 3 but getting nothing, or maybe paying for it twice? ST 3 was a total lie, from one end to the other, but the joke is on N. King Co. Yes, there was someone who was willfully and certifiably lying, and it was ST. And you bought it.

      I mean, just think about the irony in your post about ST 3, when if you live in Seattle you will pay billions for ST 3 (if you pay taxes) but will get nothing for it. Talk about asleep at the wheel.

      1. I-976 only passed because it was a statewide initiative. It failed within the Sound Transit district.

      2. “…but of course ST had already bonded the revenue knowing the valuation was dishonest.”

        Yup. The very next month ST issued $400M in parity (“green”) bonds that sealed the deal. Then several months later at a board meeting, Rogoff suddenly got a case of amnesia when directly asked about the new revenues being bonded against (from Kent Keel I believe). His answer was a patently false “no”.

        For the record, I consider myself a transit advocate but I voted against ST3 for two critical reasons, the first being that the projects were low value and the second being that I knew ST was vastly underestimating the capital costs involved. For me it was a no-brainer but the measure passed anyway and I accepted that. (The RTA “excise” tax increase for our vehicles had little to do with the voting decisions made in our household. With that said, the valuation method is indeed flawed and still needs to be rectified by the legislature. The DOL, thru the legislature’s mandate, was wise to abandon the valuation-based methodology for vehicle registrations. The RTA tax is the only purpose for said schedules today.)

  11. Count me in unless some people object. I’m going to be there with my camera anyhow.

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