Now that many offices will not reopen until 2022 or later, coupled with Delta and lambda variants, if there will be continued depressed ridership on transit?
Given that the FDA is imminently going to approve fully the Pfizer vaccine, with Moderna and J&J probably not far behind, I could see things looking much better by the end of September. Not only will that make it easier to justify vaccine mandates, but doctors could prescribe it off-label to kids younger than 12 at their discretion, even if it the approval for kids doesn’t come until later.
Dosage of the vaccines will be the big issue for under 12’s.
Phil, I don’t see why that would be an issue. Remember, there’s nothing remotely “alive” in the RNA vaccines. They’re just a short stretch of the RNA code found in a location at the base of the spike which seems to be very necessary for virus viability. It is the least-mutated portion of the virus capsule.
The virus’ replication machinery is completely absent.
That short stretch is attached to a lipid molecule which apparently dissolves once it is in the bloodstream, making the snippet of RNA visible to the immune system which tags T-cells with the sequence. Later, when an actual infection is encountered, those T-cells replicate themselves in a form that finds infected cells and kills them before they can replicate the virus widely.
So, other than possible allergic reactions, it seems that the dosage given is pretty irrelevant, as long as a necessary minimum is met.
I believe that all the vaccine manufacturers are attempting to find that irreducible minimum for children. But in its absence “overdosing” is really not possible.
Back to school ridership will return throughout September. Back to office for Microsoft is October. For Amazon, it’s January. And, hybrid is here to stay for many businesses. So, ridership will return in stages, but will remain depressed overall.
Peak ridership maybe will be depressed for a while, but off-peak ridership is already well on its way to recovery.
The variants suppress just about all social activity. I have no interest in going to a club if I wearing a mask is required, or appropriate. The same goes for indoor bars, sporting events … pretty much anything. That doesn’t mean I’m locked down, like the first few weeks (back when everyone was washing their hands and sanitizing to a level that turned out to be completely unnecessary). But it does mean I’m less interested in doing those things.
All of this hurts the economy, and hurts our ability to get out there, and socialize. As a result, it hurts transit. This isn’t the “summer of the recovery”, as everyone hoped. This will be a slow move towards normalcy. It won’t be steady, either; expect three steps forward, two steps back.
Agreed, still doing much less socializing and out-of-home activities than in 2019-prior. I didn’t even leave home for 3 days this week. Larger family gatherings still being cancelled.
I don’t want to commit to something (sports tickets, for example) and then have to eat them because of a new lockdown (which would be credits, but then my money is tied up) or me suddenly not feeling good and having to isolate while I wait for a test.
I’m standing on the Link platform yesterday and again hear “The next train … northbound .. arrives in two minutes.”
I look around the station and there is no sign with the word “Northbound” or “Southbound” anywhere.
Should this be fixed? What should be done to make things consistent?
“The next train… to (terminus station)… is in 2 minutes”
Something like that maybe?
Yes, in theory the announcement should simply announce the end point. It should also announce Line 1 or 2 headed south since both with be running north of ID on the same track.
Not knowing the complexity of changing automated station announcements, I’m not sure what ST will do — but I think that new announcements will have to be rolled out before East Link opens. Does anyone know what changes will happen?
As long as we are commenting about noticing trivial transit stuff, I notice that the wear-a-mask announcements on transit make no mention of the free masks in a mask dispenser at the front of the bus. Seems like a pretty obvious thing you’d want to include in a mask PSA.
Good point. You should be Metro’s director of communication. I’ve seen people board in the rear who should have gotten a mask but they may not have known they were available. One was covering his mouth with his shirt as he got on, although he only kept it up for a couple minutes. Lest this alarm anybody, on the buses I’ve been on, all or the vast majority are wearing masks.
It’s annoying enough to have constant random announcements that don’t really do anything. Making them longer makes them worse.
The announcements do nothing to improve safety or security, and are merely just theater. By all means, post signs saying “mask dispenser, this way”. But there is nothing important enough that happens every 10 minutes to justify interrupting everyone’s conversations.
To put things into perspective regarding the current state of affairs with ST’s capital program, take a look at the following:
2017 Financial Plan (2017-2041 YOE$)*–
Sounder Commuter Rail $3,158M
Link Light Rail $41,228M
Regional Express Bus $943M
Bus Rapid Transit $1,826M
Service Delivery $133M
System-wide Activities $1,048M
Total Capital Exp: $48,337M
Chairman’s Realignment Proposal, Updated Financial Plan (2017-2046 YOE$)**–
Light Rail Transit $57,798M
Tacoma Link $1,689M
Commuter Rail $4,466M
Regional Express Bus $1,179M
Bus Rapid Transit $2,389M
Service Delivery $146M
Total Capital Expenditures: $69,172M
Thus, the updated number above reflects a whopping ~$21B anticipated increase in the CapEx category over the life of the modified, i.e., 30-year, capital buildout program since the 2017 forecast. It bears stating that some of this increase reflects actual cost increases for ST2 projects such as Federal Way Link, Lynnwood Link, Tacoma Hilltop Link and so on, that have nothing to do with the cost estimation “miss” for ST3.
So which numbers are we to believe? Just food for thought.
*This is the first updated financial plan following passage of ST3.
**Exhibit C for August 5, 2021 special board meeting
I’ll be curious how much of the increased is based on unit cost increases versus bad cost estimates. The two different causes should have very different consequences.
My takeaway from the consultant’s reports thus far has been that the bulk of the miss is from poor estimating of both unit costs on the construction side and scope and costs on the ROW acquisition side. If ST was actually governed by a responsible board and facing this magnitude of an increase (+$20B in the CapEx just since 2017) in their new capital program estimates, Rogoff’s contract would be terminated. I sincerely believe that the agency’s former CFO, Brian McCartan, knew that the 2014/2015 estimates that backed the 2016 ballot measure were crap, saw all of this coming and got out of Dodge long before the stink of it could stick to him. He joined the University of WA back in early 2018.
“ If ST was actually governed by a responsible board and facing this magnitude of an increase (+$20B in the CapEx just since 2017) in their new capital program estimates, Rogoff’s contract would be terminated.”
Why did Rogoff get hired in the first place? He has never built nor operated a light rail system. Usually boards hire people like that when they want an agency to be run by someone that they can control rather than someone who can spot financial problems and confront them. Plus, the estimates were initially drafted before Rogoff started the job.
There is a collective belief that Dow (along with other board members) is not to blame for any of it. I think he is a big part of the root of the problem — and I wish another leader with enough guts (or an opponent) would point this out.
I think Rogoff did not anticipate Covid and the pandemic.
He wanted to stay on for the opening of Northgate Link, East Link, Federal Way and Lynnwood Link, which should be a time of public acclaim for ST, which he hoped would cement his legacy in the region.
But he had to sell ST 3 to get to these openings. ST 3 was first about finishing ST 2, and selling a levy to a diverse three county electorate, when subarea equity and uniform tax rates meant either not raising enough to finish the projects listed above, or raising too much revenue in some subareas leading to questionable projects, or both. And a county executive who was demanding an impossible vision: WSBLE, which was decades off anyway.
My guess is Rogoff figured he (and Constantine) would be gone when the issues with WSBLE arose, or hoped Seattle revenue and farebox recovery would grow enough to help hide the issues. Personally I have never understood why ST raised these issues now, and then came up with a “realignment” plan that I don’t think is realistic, or honest, but highlighted the issue.
Personally I think it was watching the tunnel issues when replacing the viaduct that made Rogoff or someone at ST realize it was way too risky to dig a very long and deep tunnel under 5th Ave. when all five subareas were paying for the tunnel (at least up to $2.2 billion), and so WSBLE was not feasible, and the pandemic made ST realize there just wouldn’t be the future ridership/farebox recovery plus increases in general fund tax revenue in the N. King Co. subarea to make Dow’s dream come true. The underestimated project costs and inflated ridership estimates were always suspected; it is the loss of general fund revenue in N. King Co. from the long term effects of the pandemic that was not anticipated.
At this point the Board cannot get rid of Rogoff because the Board is trying to act like the realignment solved the problem: a few year delay in some projects and suddenly all projects — including DSTT2 and some accelerated infill stations — are affordable. I am sure Dow can see the writing on the wall from the “stub”, but he wants to run for governor and so wants to act like ST 3 and DSTT2 will be completed, after he is governor, by someone else.
At the same time, if the realignment is effectively eliminating DSTT2 all the other stuff that can be afforded — from 130th to Graham St. to other projects — is a much better deal. But WSBLE and DSTT2 were necessary to sell ST 3, and Dow, because Seattleites and transit junkies love transit bling, even including the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line. It is just that eastsiders don’t get so bent out of shape ideologically when told ST 3 might not have been totally honest, and so you are not going to get a really stupid line from Issaquah to S. Kirkland (but you will get express peak buses to downtown Seattle after East Link opens and some extra express buses that do make sense in East King Co.).
Rogoff was hired because his last job was an FTA administrator. It was thought that he’d be better able to get federal grants than a transit engineer would. I’ve heard nothing about how long he wants to stay. Dow is running for another term as county executive, so he wants to stay where he is in the near term. It’s assumed he wants to be governor eventually. He probably decided to postpone it because of the complicated covid/climate/Trump/Biden situation; it’s clear we need Inslee right now until things settle down somewhat. All of Daniel’s speculations about what Rogoff and Down think about ST3 and WSBLE and how long they want to remain in their current positions are just his speculation.
Dow is running for county exec. because he can’t believe Biden didn’t tap Inslee for a cabinet or federal post (and neither can Inslee), and neither could Gregoire after she came out so early for Obama when all the money (and women) were for Hillary.
But when Inslee polled at 0.3% at his max during his “run” for president he had nothing to bargain with, and sometimes sounded like he needed extra time for his exams, and was a white male to boot, his chances for a cabinet post — being from the Pac. NW — were done.
Kerry who even bores himself and orders breakfast in the same intonation as MLK got the “climate envoy” spot, there have been three administrators of the EPA to date under Biden with Michael Regan who is
Black the current administrator, and Deb Haaland (Native American) got Interior, the real plum. Inslee didn’t raise enough money for Biden to get a plum ambassadorship like Locke got, and Locke was much more qualified to be an ambassador to a country like China.
So Ferguson and Constantine never got to run against each other for governor, and I thought it was definitely time for new blood in the governor’s office after Inslee’s handling of the pandemic and unemployment mess. I thought that would have been a very interesting race, basically pitting the state Democrat party against itself with possibly the vote from Eastern Washington deciding the winner. I probably would have voted for Dow because I think King Co. and the UW did an excellent job with testing and vaccines for Covid, Dow has more executive experience and has had to deal with east and west King Co., and I don’t blame him for Seattle’s homeless mess.
“ Rogoff was hired because his last job was an FTA administrator. It was thought that he’d be better able to get federal grants than a transit engineer would.”
That’s a job description for a deputy director, not an executive director. Would we hire a police chief or fire chief primarily because they can get grants? It’s terrible logic — and I feel like it is masking a different reason called “control”. Keep in mind that the hiring happened as ST3 was being developed and West Seattle light rail was not assured.
If we want to ban bike helmet laws to increase bike ridership, shouldn’t we also ban mask and vaccine mandates to increase transit use and school attendance?
What infectuous disease spreads if people don’t wear bike helmets? The only impact of a biker I can think of is they might collide with a pedestrian and kill them, but that’s the same regardless of whether the biker is wearing a helmet or not. Except for such marginal cases of the helmet itself slamming into the pedestrian and being harder than the biker’s head, or the helmet having sharp edges, or the helmet keeps the biker more physically and mentally intact so they can save the pedestrian as they fall. As compared to masks, which reverse the spread of a disease.
Distinction without a difference. Both have to do with protecting health.
Motorcyclists and bicyclists who ride without a helmet make wonderful organ donors if killed because they are generally younger. They also often don’t have underinsured motorist coverage, PIP or health insurance so the cost of their non-fatal accidents cost the taxpayer a fortune.
At the very least they should have $1 million in health insurance if they want to ride without a helmet, except no insurer would be crazy enough to write that policy.
I personally always wear a helmet when I ride a bike. I also have health insurance. But, I am also aware that the largest risk factor while riding is not wearing/not wearing a helmet, but exposure to high speed car traffic and road hazards, such as streetcar tracks. The speed that you’re riding also matters a great deal. Bombing down a steep hill at 40 mph is very dangerous, even with a helmet.
Of course, helmets should be strongly encouraged. But, I don’t think issuing tickets to people riding without one is a productive use of a police officer’s time.
Nor should you be making sweeping generalizations about how people riding without helmets do not have health insurance. Having a helmet and having health insurance have nothing to do with one another.
Distinction without a difference. Both have to do with protecting health.
Wrong for two reasons. A seat belt (for example) will protect the individual. It doesn’t help anyone else. This makes it different than a vaccine. The entire point of the vaccine is to protect society. The fact that the individual who is vaccinated is also somewhat protected is merely a side benefit. This is why health officials get really excited when a vaccine is only 50% effective. 50%, you say? That is nothing. I still might die. Yes, absolutely. But if everyone gets vaccinated, far fewer people will die. Side Note: It really is baffling how people don’t get this. I swear, most of America doesn’t even understand the point of vaccines. Stupid fucks.
The second reason you are wrong is that you forgot about the data on bike helmet laws. Turns out, bike helmet laws discourage biking. As a result, those that do bike are in more danger. That’s because the more bikers there are, the safer they are (likely due to the fact that drivers expect to see them). In biking circles, this is known as “critical mass”. So if you have more bikers, but fewer helmets, then the number of accidents go way down, even though the number of head injuries *per* accident goes up. Overall, the number of head injuries goes down. I know this is counter-intuitive, which is why articles about the subject use that word (https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/counterintuitive-argument-against-bicycle-helmet-laws).
People who argue for mask and vaccine mandates, while arguing for the elimination of helmet laws are being consistent, in that they are simply following the science. They aren’t stupid fucks.
Well, I won’t let my child ride a bike without a helmet, or even ride a motorcycle. I also wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle, and really don’t worry about whether that discourages others from riding a bike, because I don’t quite see the societal good in bike riding, except pleasure, and of course the biggest push for eliminating helmets are from ride share companies that mostly rent to pleasure riders.
I don’t know if that is counter-intuitive, or reduces safety for other bicyclists, but I don’t want my kid to suffer a head injury and die or lose cognitive function, even though we have adequate health insurance, UIM coverage, and PIP (except there are exclusions for the motorcycle for UIM as usual, so if the driver is uninsured or my kid simply falls onto his/her head any out of pocket costs fall on me and our health insurer).
Of course, my entire family is also vaccinated, mostly because we did not want to get Covid (my son had it last summer), although I do understand the epidemiological argument that the more people who are vaccinated or reach immunity the quicker the virus will die out, but my guess is around 99.9% of those who get vaccinated get vaccinated because they don’t want to get Covid, not to reach herd immunity. Hence the frustration over requiring a vaccinated person to wear a mask indoors. So who knows, maybe those who refuse to get vaccinated are doing it for the good of society.
In India cases have fallen from a peak of 440,000/day to 40,000/day, with only 10% of the population vaccinated. Some of that may have to do with sheltering, but unlike the U.S. India (and Great Britain) perform large random anti-body tests. India shows anti-bodies in 66% of the population, and current hotspots are in those communities with the lowest anti-body percentages.
There’s a difference between a personal decision and a mandate. I always ride with a helmet, and would insist that my child do the same also. But, I still don’t feel it needs to be an outright law. If push came to shove and, say, I rode a couple miles somewhere and lost my helmet, I would take the chance and do without for the ride home, if it the route feels safe enough. I feel the law should grant me the right in such situations to use reasonable discretion.
Helmet laws are also almost never enforced, nor really enforceable. What few helmet tickets are issued are mostly pretexts to go after homeless people.
“There’s a difference between a personal decision and a mandate. I always ride with a helmet, and would insist that my child do the same also. But, I still don’t feel it needs to be an outright law.”
Now you are back to Ross’s analogy about seatbelts. Why is wearing a seatbelt mandatory? Same argument the unvaccinated make since 99% of new infections are in the unvaccinated (at least those reported with symptoms). It is a personal choice.
The mandate is to make sure kids wear helmets ALL THE TIME. If some old fart in spandex falls off a bike and hits his head and dies who cares. And it is to cut down on the staggering medical costs of head injuries from bike injuries, pretty much the same reason we had shutdowns last year due to Covid, and mask mandates today, and some are moving to mandatory vaccinations. Health care costs and capacity.
The problem is (and you learn this as a lawyer) there are very few things stupid people do that society doesn’t end up paying for one way or the other. Seat belts and helmets are mandatory because the mandate is designed for the stupid, or worse kid who doesn’t understand, and sees stupid adults riding a bike without a helmet.
If the goal is to reduce injuries and death, preventing the accidents from happening in the first place by building separated bike paths and traffic calmed streets where bikes and cars must mix is much more effective than a helmet law.
But, people oppose those things because they involve tradeoffs that cost money and/or delay car drivers by a few seconds, such removing a car lane to make room for the bike path. The helmet law is a cheap way for county officials to be able to say they’re for bicycle safety without doing anything to actually make it safer.
A helmet is not this magical piece of body armor that means if you get hit by a car, you’re ok. It only helps to reduce the severity of head injuries if you hit you head. The Netherlands does not have a helmet law, but is very hard core about safe streets. And, as a result, they have far fewer accidents and far fewer head injuries.
Mask mandates will go away as coronavirus transmission falls, both from vaccination and infection, and eventually becomes endemic. The mandates are not going to be permanent, despite what some hope and others fear.
I can’t remember, was there any discussion of additional stations along North Link way back in the planning stages? The one thing about it that seems like a shame is the huge gap between Roosevelt and Northgate. There’s not much around a hypothetical Maple Leaf station right now, but it would significantly improve connectivity in the long run. I’m assuming that would be essentially impossible to add as an infill station?
You’d be assuming correctly. It would be enormously expensive and technically tricky, and I believe that the alignment is pretty constantly in curves north of Roosevelt.
Yes, there was discussion of a station at 85th. That was so many years ago I don’t remember if it ever got into feedback to ST. The public expectation was different then; there was more emphasis on the spine and having few stations so it would be fast to eventually Lynnwood and Everett. The initial segment hadn’t opened yet so there was more skepticism about Link. ST had gone through a financial meltdown a few years ago so was skittish about increasing costs. Seattle hadn’t started its upzones yet so it wasn’t clear whether they’d happen or how substantial they’d be, and the city council was more nimby. ST was neutral on station-area density because it didn’t want to get badmouthed by both sides. So there was no realistic possibility of a commitment to increasing density around a station not in the long-range plan. 85th dies into nothingness east of I-5 so there didn’t seem to be any way to serve northeast Seattle (Wedgwood) with it, and that area is lower-density than the stations it does serve anyway. A few people advocated for a station between Roosevelt and Northgate but it never got very far. The focus was on serving Northgate, and eventually Lynnwood and Everett.
Also, the Northgate Link alignment is different than the original proposal. The original proposal surfaced at 63rd near I-5, and Roosevelt Station would have been there, then it would weave around I-5 to Northgate. That’s neither for nor against a station at 85th, but it would have been in a different location than the underground track runs. But then Roosevelt lobbied for an underground station at its neighborhood center, and it’s an affluent area so it got its way. And then ST engineers realized it would be cheaper to continue underground to 95th than to go up and down weaving around I-5, so that led to the current alignment.
then ST engineers
ST engineers? Everything is done via design build contracts. ST doesn’t design any of this. ST is a political entity that collects and appropriates money. They have some technical staff that’s supposed to QA the work meets the specifications of the contract and signs off on change orders (i.e extra money).
@Bernie — Which explains why it is so expensive, and has so many flaws. The relationship between third party engineering and high costs has been documented repeatedly by Alon Levy. The relationship between a bunch of politicians who know nothing about transit and a poorly designed system is rather obvious.
@Mike — Thanks for the history. This is a concrete example of why “The Spine” is such a stupid idea. The pressure for it resulted in way too few stations. Who came up with the spine, anyway — a transit consulting firm? The planning engineers at Sound Transit or WSDOT? Nope, just a bunch of politicians who thought it would be cool.
They’re still ST engineers even if they’re contractors.
Link stations should connect with pedestrian centers or significant bus routes.
Several suggested a third U District station under the HUB on Stevens Way. The UW did not want it; I do not know their rationale. Prof. Scott Rutherford did want it. It would have improved bus-Link integration; see congestion on southbound Montlake Boulevard NE. ST thought it would not be cost-effective; they had a regional one-track mind. Note the downtown Seattle station spacing; a similar spacing would have been fine for the second downtown.
My understanding is the UW did not want the general public having such easy access to the campus that a station under the HUB would allow.
“Link stations should connect with pedestrian centers or significant bus routes”.
That is easier said than done. This region does not have many areas with the kind of population density that allows walking to light rail, or creates pedestrian centers. Downtown Seattle and Bellevue, but still the walk between stations can be long (and steep in Seattle), and many of the riders are/were peak commuters. Much of the spine is through areas with very little population density, or ability to walk to a light rail station.
Link is actually designed to eliminate many of the “significant” bus routes, and will replace those with feeder buses. Rail’s route is fixed, but it is grade separated transit, but IMO first/last mile access will be an issue for Link, when the first “seat” is really from doorstep to next seat, whether you are walking to a bus stop or driving to a park and ride.
The HUB station would have replaced Husky Stadium Station, not be in addition. Nobody was expecting downtown station spacing in the U-District.
The UW’s main concern about a HUB station was construction disruption I think. The regents have a narrow definition of what benefits the university. They refused to extend the Triangle Parking Garage tunnel to the station, which would have given an underground walkway to the west side of Pacific Street. Their reasoning was it would increase the university’s security costs for something that benefits mostly non-UW members. The issue of security never came up with the HUB alternative that I saw, probably because that would have been ST’s responsibility. But the Triangle underpass, being outside the station, would not be ST’s responsibility. Of course ST could have defined the station entrance as the west side of Pacific Street and then it would be shared responsibility between UW and ST, but ST was unwilling to do that. (The same way Westlake station has no entrance on the south side of Pike Street where the eastbound buses are, never mind that that’s a common transfer.)
“This region does not have many areas with the kind of population density that allows walking to light rail, or creates pedestrian centers.”
There are existing pedestrian centers Link should be closer to, and cities that prioritize subways would have done. Columbia City station is three blocks west of the Columbia City center. Rainier Beach station is several blocks west of Rainier & Henderson. 130th, 145th, and 185th stations could have been on Aurora. East Main could have been on Bellevue Way. There could be stations on Pacific Highway at 212th, 272nd, and Federal Way. Ballard Station should ideally be at 20th, and certainly not east of 15th. All these would allow pedestrian concentrations to walk to Link easily, like people in London do.
“Link is actually designed to eliminate many of the “significant” bus routes”
Link replaces express buses, not local buses. All parts of Link have local shadows: the 106, 124, 49, and A. It has to because Link’s station spacing is like a limited-stop route. There’s no overlay on I-90 because it’s an express-only corridor: the nature of the lake, low-density Mercer Island, and no-man’s-land South Bellevue preclude anything else. You complain about people on the 554 having to transfer, but you should have heard me complain about people on the 550’s predecessors having to stop at West Mercer Way and East Mercer Way and go through Beaux Arts or Enatai.
There is an art project on Link that is over the Duwamish River crossing in Tukwilla. The blue looking grass over the bridge is supposed to be lit up blue at night. I think it has been a few years since it did that. Who fixes tax paid art?
Those blue lights over the Duwamish only come on when the train cars pass. Are you saying they no longer activate when the train goes by?
No. I used to drive by them nightly at around 3am. The lights were on continuously with no trains. This was in 2011. Around 2018 I started driving on that area again and the lights were not on. Last week I did the same thing.
I did not know they were programmed to only come on when a train came by. I will have to go back and see if they are currently working that way. Thank you for the input.
Sound Transit budgets 10% of the capital costs for their STart projects for maintenance of said installations (per a 2018 presentation to the Citizen Oversight Panel):
Sound Move & ST2 Combined: 1998-2023
Capital $49.27 M
Operating $ 4.93 M
Art Total $54.19 M
** Operating/Maintenance Fund:
10% of Art Life-time Budget
Hope this answers your question.
The thread is open. But the video is about art.
1. What is your favorite Link public art display to this date.
2. Are there any small hidden Link art projects that are overlooked or not known to most of us?
I’m bored so I am curious.
I like the artwork at South Bellevue Station.
I like the artwork inside the Capitol Hill Station. I like riding south, outside the downtown tunnel before the Beacon Hill tunnel, and seeing the murals outside. I was looking forward to the elephant-on-a-tree sculpture outside the Federal Way Station, but I’m afraid it won’t happen. My guess is they have some random assortment of metal, to make sure that no one is offended.
I like the murals also. They are not on ST property. Are they part of the art program or a very nice donated feature from our warehouse partners? If it is the latter they should be publically thanked for it.
Murals along the SODO busway have been there since at least when time the WTO came to Seattle in 1999. One of the murals was a cartoon about how free trade benefits Seattle. Another was a Native American/Mexican woman, and another with the mysterious letters ZOAR. I’d have to look again to see which ones are still there.
@Mike Orr. I never knew that. Thank you for the history. I never traveled along Sodo busway or E3 until Link opened in 2009.
I like the cards west of Beacon Hill. Whimsical, yes, but slightly amazing.
I’ve been enjoying the Standard neon sign re-installation at Roosevelt while I wait for the 67. Not formally part of Link STart.
I love the sea monsters at Beacon Hill and blue neon at Husky Stadium.
Where is it? I haven’t seen it when I’ve been in that area. The community asked ST to preserve and reinstall that sign somewhere, and it did.
I think of intricate architecture as “art” and really enjoy the designs in the Pioneer Square and Westlake subway stations. The original DSTT stations are beautiful in comparison to the new minimalist ST stations!
ST’s design aesthetic is more minimalist and that’s a huge disappointment to me. I’ll take simpler decorative motifs across a station over a single sculptural installation at a minimalist station any day.
As far as ST installations go, I like the red and white hand iconography in Capitol Hill Station and the twilight lighting effect in UW Station. I feel like ST should put less effort into inane or odd sculptures and more into murals, tilework and lighting in its stations — but that’s because I see the need to make public art also have a useful function beyond a discrete visual distraction. I also think the installations should be organized by entrance/ exit path rather than have one at the entrance and something totally unrelated at the platform. (It would be more user friendly to tell someone getting off at Capitol Hill to use the red and white hand mural exit or to use the pastel airplane exit rather than have one theme on the platform and another upstairs.) If a sculpture is installed, it should “landmark” the location rather than be a mere pass-by feature (like a 100 foot clock tower with banners as opposed to a 20 foot shovel sculpture). I want be be able to say to someone “meet me at the fountain” or “meet me under the Chihuly chandelier”.
Finally, I wish more effort was put into the “art” of including live plants, local artistic talent, Native American themes and our local climate as installations. It sickens me that ST brings in artists just because their resumes have art installations in other parts of the country. We should support local artists first.
I feel like ST should put less effort into inane or odd sculptures and more into murals, tilework and lighting in its stations
Yes! I get that they want to use a standardize station design to save money (like the Amtrak stations from the 80’s). But taking the art money and using it to customize something as simple as the tile work not only is aesthetically pleasing but helps with way finding. When an out of town guest leaves a station or a lost child is trying to describe where they got off the train they are less likely to remember a name than “it was the station with all the train logos” (Wilburton, AKA Hospital Station).
I will finally answer my own question.
I like the lights at Mt Baker Staion. There are old fashioned Seattle Street lights in a flower or pinwheel shape facing up and iluminating the ceiling. I like recycled industrial type art.
I like the art connected to the rain gutters at Othello Station. I think using free rainwater and turning a gutter into a very small seasonal waterfall is pretty clever.
I like the standing art next to the escalators at TIB. It is cool to have art that is visual and also audio.
I like the wall globes at Beacon Hill Station next to the platform elevators.
The micro park on the east side of the Sodo Station has seats with tools anchored in the center of them. I kind of like the working class feel to it in a warehouse distrct.
I like others but those stand out to me.
Thank you. It is nice to see that the art is blended in with noise dampening panels. Pleasing and functional.
Can anyone explain to me the logic behind Boeing Access Road Infill station? There is almost nothing there. If the point is to serve Boeing facilities, the closest one is at least 1/2 mile away and most are more than 1 mile away, all with parking available, so there is very little incentive for employees to take transit. Is there a plan for a large number of bus-rail transfers or something I’m missing?
Link’s alignment and stations are political decisions. The reason it’s there is Tukwila asked for it and South King supported it. Tukwila cited several use cases: extending the A to BAR to serve a planned urban village at 144th, and better access to the Museum of Flight and Aviation High School (on the 124, although I don’t know where the school is). Tukwila also wanted a BAR Sounder station for Link-Sounder transfers, but the Sounder station didn’t make it into ST3. Metro’s long-range plan also reroutes the 150 to BAR and Rainier Beach and terminates there. There has been unofficial talk about truncating the 101/102 there but Metro is adamantly against it. So these are the transit-access reasons I know of. None of them seems central to me so I don’t understand why Tukwila prioritizes it so much, but it does.
The museum of flight is over a mile walk from BAR station. This station ought to be cancelled.
I like the idea of a.co-located sounder a d link station at BAR. I like it better if they could manage to also add an inline freeway bus station like I saw Ross suggest as one way to make it more useful.
I like it because it would create a multimodal nexus that would give people more options.
It would also create redundancy in the system in the event Link gets blocked in the rainier valley by a train-car incident – or at least it would when Sounder is running
The Museum of Flight is on the 124. Transferring to the 124 at BAR is shorter than transferring to it at TIB or riding the 124 south from downtown. This station will be an improvement in that, and maybe convince more tourists to take transit to the museum. The benefit is small, but cost of the station is small too. Tukwila probably sees it as low-hanging fruit that it would be a shame to pass up, the same reason Sounder was set up.
Does it really take that long to ride the 124 south from downtown? The route looks pretty straight, at first glance. I would expect it to be faster than transferring.
The BAR transfer would be most useful for people visiting the museum of flight who live in the Rainier valley, but that’s much less common.
It’s long enough to be annoying that you have to take a bus parallel to eight Link stations because Link doesn’t stop closer.
If the city had plans to develop the area, then it’d be a great station location. Rainier Beach NIMBYS are C-blocking development of the RB station area, but one stop south, a BAR station would be almost complaint-proof.
Correction … BAR station area development would be almost complaint-proof.
The Rainier Beach station area is getting developed, it’s just happening slowly. That’s mostly because developers want to build closer to downtown first, and come to Rainier Beach when that’s all built out. Because people want to live fifteen minutes from downtown rather than twenty-eight. And Rainier Beach had the most violence in the 1990s (the most affected Metro routes were the 7, 106, and 107). The community wants to slow down development, not block it permanently, so in that sense they’re not full-on nimbys. And they’re not doing it to keep lower-income renters and minorities and renters out of the neighborhood like typical nimbys, because that’s what the neighborhood already is. They just want some time to cope with the future influx to minimize displacement and set up community-serving institutions. At least that’s what they told the city, and the city did it.
The Rainier Beach station area today, 13 years after the station opened.
“The Rainier Beach station area today, 13 years after the station opened.
So? What would you prefer. A Nordstroms? Met Market? Whole Foods?
Starbucks? Tall new condos filled with white people? If the area supported any of these they would be there today, and if light rail created economic transformation it would have happened over the last 13 years. Upzoning doesn’t magically transform a neighborhood, and if it does the poor residents are screwed.
I will also say it doesn’t look like ST put its heart and soul into the station, and I imagine that was not lost on the residents of Rainier Valley. I doubt they were surprised, while residents of Ballard and West Seattle (and UW and Roosevelt and Capitol Hill) demanded exorbitantly expensive underground stations and tunnels (and art). Black neighborhoods don’t get underground stations and tunnels, but they are affordable in a very unaffordable city.
The irony is if this area were upzoned and upzoning did transform it into a commuter neighborhood the current residents wouldn’t be able to live there. They learned that game with the Central District. Calling them NIMBY’s because they don’t want to be priced out of their neighborhood, again, just shows how corrupted and white that term has become.
Sam’s picture is cherry-picking. There are a few recent multistory developments around Rainier Beach station. I’d have to go down there again to say exactly. Maybe I can do it tomorrow.
Rainier Valley is not black; it’s a third black, a third white, and a third Asian. It’s one of the most integrated areas in the country. Rainier Beach is not much different from Othello, Columbia City, or Mt Baker. It’s just a bit further from downtown and a bit poorer and doesn’t have as much retail amenities. As I said, developers and would-be residents want to be in Columbia City first, Mt Baker second, Othello third, and Rainier Beach fourth. Most of the development has been at Columbia City and Othello, but it has started at the other two stations and will continue to expand. New condos or houses in Columbia City were going for $600K according to a sign a couple years ago, and Rainier Beach is not that much different, so it’s either there now or will be soon. My friend who grew up in Rainier View wishes he’d bought a house around Othello or Rainier Beach in the 1990s for $200K, but he didn’t, and now the houses are much higher. So Rainier Valley and Beach are not a no man’s land or war zone that everybody shuns. Middle-class people are in the new apartments and houses, and they’ll fill up any others that are built. It’s just taking longer in Rainier Beach than a mile further north.
The Rainier Beach station area is getting developed, it’s just happening slowly Yeah, glaciers are receding at a faster rate. Mean while, development in the spring district is going gangbusters and light rail hasn’t even opened yet. The social equity meme Seattle insisted on resulted in a terrible alignment. And remember it was a punt after they threw in the towel on the original 1st Hill plan.
I don’t see any development happening next to an airport. You’ve got noise and air quality issues with the airport and made even worse by I-5. This station location makes sense if it can be a bus intercept route. Although I’m not convinced it would offer any significant advantage over TIB or Angle Lake given the same level of funding for bus access. The other thing that could make it popular is if it were convenient for flights from Boeing Field and assuming that becomes a more of a hub airport than Paine Field. The Museum of flight, while very cool, isn’t a large tourist draw. IIRC, parking is free so transit won’t very get much mode share. I’m guessing cruise lines already offer complimentary bus shuttles.
“development in the spring district is going gangbusters”
That’s apples and oranges. Beacon Hill station isn’t like South Bellevue station either. The Spring District’s closest comparison is SLU.
“The social equity meme Seattle insisted on resulted in a terrible alignment.”
It’s not a meme; it’s real people having a high-quality transit trunk available for their trips. The buses before Link were slower and less frequent and didn’t go everywhere Link does. There was never a bus route between Rainier Valley and the airport for instance. Did the word meme even exist in the 1990s when Link was planned?
Rainier Valley is a residential/retail area with a fifth of the city living there. It’s an especially high-ridership area. It’s exactly the kind of place a subway should be, where people can walk to it from the retail businesses and apartment concentrations.
“And remember it was a punt after they threw in the towel on the original 1st Hill plan.”
Everything between Westlake and 45th was deferred. That’s hardly just First Hill. First Hill was dropped later, after the northern half was revived.
BAR station is in an industrial area. It’s not going to get housing.
I thought it would be useful to reference the Boeing Field (King Co Airport) height overlay restrictions into the discussion. The district is defined here:
Exhibit B shows that there are 37 feet limits in some areas (like near the BAR station site) and 65 feet in a much wider area (much of the Rainier Valley).
I’m no expert on height restrictions but this does seem to put limits on BAR as a TOD site.
Is that why the Mt Baker upzone was so minimal? Why didn’t they say so. Still,it could have been over a wider area.
The big problem at Rainier Beach is the City Light transmission ROW. It can’t be built upon and takes the entire northeastern corner of the intersection plus the block behind the fronting block in the southeast quadrant. Add in the steep side of Beacon Hill directly in the southwest quadrant, and there’s little space for ant development. It will get something but it will never be like Othello, Alaska or Graham.
However, there is the opportunity to use the City Light ROW for a bus layover facility.
“If the city had plans to develop the area, then it’d be a great station location. Rainier Beach NIMBYS are C-blocking development of the RB station area, but one stop south, a BAR station would be almost complaint-proof”.
And once upzoned and gentrified, the city can finally get rid of those pesky Black people like they did in the Central District. Nothing is scarier to a Black person than a white urbanist filled with guilt over their white privilege upzoning their SFH neighborhoods when those houses contain large families of color and are some of the most affordable housing in Seattle.
I wonder if some see the irony in the phrase “Rainier Beach NIMBYS”. The word that is missing to flesh out the irony is “Rainier Beach BLACK NIMBYS”. Has a different ring to it, doesn’t it.
In single family home areas of Vancouver BC, the homes are now going for millions of dollars over the asking price.
Either way, you wind up with a shortage of affordable homes. The difference is those areas that are upzoned at least have more homes to buy than previously, reducing the housing shortage somewhat.
The alternative is to not upzone and force affordable homes even further away from employers.
ST 2022 service plan dates per ST homepage: August 11 open house, August 12 hearing, August 22 comment period ends
Can anything be done to increase safety on third Avenue? The number of both mentally ill and drug addicts are astounding. I avoid taking buses on third Avenue fir this reason. I wonder if they can move some bus routes to 6th Avenue?
Sixth Ave. is a weird street. It is one way south at Madison, and one way north at Madison. 6th has terrible traffic congestion.
After 3rd Ave. was turned into a “transit mall” it became the worst street in Seattle, with the most crime and least retail vibrancy.
There have been lots written about urban design and crime deterrence (assuming that is the “safety” issue as opposed to vehicle collisions). These are typical:
1. Animate the adjacent street storefronts.
2. Add patrols.
3. Increase bright lighting.
4. Add loudspeakers with frequent announcements or jazz music.
5. Separate passenger waiting from sidewalks (treatments like loading islands or paid fare areas or a center island with buses running contra-flow in concert with narrower sidewalks).
6. Shift nefarious retail to other streets.
7. Design the stops better for transferring to appear like they are stations (with treatments like visual “gates” for all pedestrians).
They may all fail and it takes continuous assessment to come up with strategies. There is no lasting sure-fire way to solve the problem.
So on third and Virginia, they were blaring classical music the other day from speakers. Near the old Columbia clothing store!
Sketchy hotspots are extremely place-bound. The ones at 3rd & Pine and 47th & University Way have been there for decades and have resisted several attempts at removing or moving them. Just two blocks around them there’s nothing; it’s always those blocks. I don’t know why they do that. Some say it’s the McDonald’s downtown, and in other cities that have the same thing around a McDonald’s, when the McDonald’s closed the sketchy entourage vanished too. But who knows. If the head of Macy’s and the Downtown Seattle Association could find a solution they would have done it years ago. 3rd Avenue between Pine and Pike was “renovated” a few years ago to make it safer. The changes seemed to be very little: filling in a parking space in the sidewalk is the only difference I see, and of course the sketchy people soon came back.
Every time I go downtown these days, I ask myself why Seattle allows 3rd and Pike/Pine to be so sketchy. What would be the systemwide ridership increase if this was a safer area to make transfers, instead of being such a hotbed of illegal activity? Can’t this drug market etc. just be moved to a nearby block that isn’t a major transfer point? If I were even a little more uncomfortable with this kind of thing and could afford it, my first transfer to a bus here after dark would probably be the last time I would take that trip on transit.
Yeah, it’s awful! I love taking transit – but the level of mentally ill people that are borderline dangerous has increased by ten fold over the last year. I’m avoiding transit now, more because of my sense of safety, than COVID.
I kind of doubt it has changed that much over the past year. To me it seems similar to what it was like a few years ago. Maybe a little worse but nowhere near 10x.
It’s just such a bad setup for a major transit stop. This is a place where transit riders need to stand and wait, sometimes for quite a long time, often in the dark. It’s the last place in town that this kind of unsafe activity should be routinely tolerated. If this activity needs to be tolerated somewhere, move it somewhere else. If it needs to happen at 3rd and Pike/Pine, what about closing the stop, moving the stop down a block, or making it offload-only?
Try getting female staff to take transit to work in downtown Seattle. Once it starts getting dark at night any employer subsidized parking that is not under the building and patrolled with a gate — which none of the buildings have right now due to few tenants using the building — won’t be used by staff to commute to the office. Even using rail is not seen as safe because you have to walk to the station and there are not a sufficient number of peak commuters to make the station seem safe. No way staff will wait on 2nd for the 550 home.
It doesn’t help that no one leaves the office for lunch or to shop. Or that King Co. staff marched in protest against returning to the courthouse with the elimination of free parking and a return to transit after a female staff was raped in a bathroom by a registered sex offender living in the park next to the courthouse. I walk by that park from my garage to work and back each day (kitty corner) and I don’t feel safe on that part of 3rd, and it will soon be dark on my walk at the end of the day.
For us it isn’t Covid so much with subsidized parking and vaccines. It is that staff are afraid to walk around downtown, and this problem began pre-pandemic.
Folks on this blog used to attack me when I raised this issue in the past. Too bad they didn’t join the protest march, but then I don’t think most actually go downtown.
Downtown Bellevue is very nice though.
I mean, I wouldn’t take it that far.
Most of downtown seems average to fine for a comparable urban core, maybe even safer than many other cities. I feel like most people who would venture out on transit to a downtown area would be fine with what they encounter in most of downtown Seattle. It’s a city, after all.
I’m talking specifically about 3rd and Pike/Pine, which is a major bus transfer stop. The sketchiness of this particular stretch seems off the charts compared to almost anywhere I’ve been, and yet Google Maps still suggests it as the transfer point to use for many bus trips.
Nobody attacked you for bringing up the issue. People attacked you because the solution you proposed (having the police chase them around town) doesn’t work, and has also now been ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court, unless there are sufficient shelter spaces provided.
Homelessness has been a growing problem since Reagan. Maybe that whole “throw them on the street and make them get jobs” thing didn’t work so well?
I last visited Bellevue in 2011 or something. I remember it having a reasonably nice 1 block square park with a waterfall fountain and the city hall having an outdoor courtyard with a view of sorts. None of it was particularly safe to walk due to inattentive drivers, and while nice it wasn’t especially interesting so I never went back. I did spend some time in Mercer Slough and the amount of motor oil and trash floating on the water surface from I-90 didn’t seem like a particularly great environment. I found UW’s Union Bay preserve has somewhat less traffic noise and far more wintering bird life, so I’ve been going there instead.
I’m glad someone likes Bellevue and I should probably go back at some point. However, vast stretches of entire blocks of half vacant parking lots surrounded by dozens of dangerous intersections isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Glenn, Martin v. Boise was a ninth circuit case. Its holding was the city of Boise could not criminalize sleeping in public if there are no shelter beds available. Boise like many cities used criminalization of homelessness (a misdemeanor) and lack of shelter beds to move the homeless onto other cities, like Seattle and Portland.
In fact, Seattle has the largest criminal penalties for unauthorized camping in parks in the region: a gross misdemeanor with a 1 year in jail maximum and $5000 fine. All the other cities like Mercer Island make camping in a park a misdemeanor with a $1000 fine and maximum 90 days in jail.
Of course cities never prosecute the homeless for camping in parks. Mercer Island has not even charged, let alone prosecuted, someone camping in a park in 30 years. But the criminal provision gives police the authority to remove someone camping in a park who refuses to leave and take them to a shelter.
Seattle does not have a shortage of shelter beds, even with restrictions for congregate shelters during Covid, and Seattle regularly sweeps its parks and streets of tents and campers (especially when they begin to throw rocks over I-90 to smash windshields). It is just the number of homeless in Seattle has become overwhelming, and many refuse to go into a shelter, especially if it is not a low barrier shelter (no drugs or alcohol).
I never advocated for shuffling the homeless around, which is sort of what Seattle is doing. What I argued for is moving those camping on the streets into the shelter system. Now King Co. and Seattle have instituted a new program to move the homeless in Seattle to distressed regional hotels, at a cost of $65,000/year, which is more than a jail cell.
But at the same time you can’t have county employees refusing to return to work in the downtown courthouse, and marching through the streets because they don’t want to be assaulted or raped, or have to step around excrement in the doorstep of their courthouse. Or someone like Dave saying that although he is willing to use transit during the pandemic he is unwilling to use it in downtown Seattle because of the situation with crime and homelessness.
What Dave is really telling you is if employers cannot get staff to return to Seattle (because they feel just like the marching county employees) you cannot run a business, and folks on this blog are correct that if downtown Seattle wants to return to pre-pandemic work levels — or even close with WFH — you need transit. Unless staff refuse to take transit to downtown Seattle.
Naturally moving Seattle’s untreated homeless to regional hotels is not going well with the regional cities, and of course King Co. has chosen mostly neighborhoods of color and high levels of affordable housing for these hotel/shelters. But the reality is the homeless arrive in Seattle every day in greater numbers than hotel rooms can be found, and since these shelters are low barrier it is unlikely many will migrate to sobriety, work, and affordable housing, so the remedy is not financially sustainable.
But right now Seattle and King Co. are desperate to move the homeless off the downtown streets of Seattle for the tourist season, and because King Co. had to loan the Convention Center $100 million to complete its $1.2 billion expansion.
Charter 29 has qualified for the ballot, and will ask Seattle residents to dedicate 12% of its general fund for 6 years to build affordable housing and emergency housing, with the promise the homeless will be moved off the streets and out of the parks of Seattle, which of course the homeless industrial complex does not want. What isn’t discussed is the cuts to other programs that will lose that 12% funding.
Seattle is a little different than Portland in that there are very good alternatives to downtown Seattle, and those are Bellevue and the Eastside, and since you have not been to Bellevue since 2011 I don’t think you quite understand the dynamic. You need to go to Bellevue and see the development, and wonder WHY, when Bellevue does not have a single advantage over Seattle, except safe streets and good schools. It is not up to businesses to solve this problem: their choice is to move, and that is what we will doing after 30 years in downtown Seattle, because that is the only choice we can make.
When that happens to cities in the past, what are left are the poor. Urban schools become even worse. Retail and restaurants disappear. Some of the first retail to go are pharmacies like Bartell’s. Then Macy’s (and you can bet the Macy’s in Bellevue Square Mall didn’t close). The reallocation of general taxes like sales taxes that will move to where the worker now lives and works with working from home will accelerate in urban cores. Right now there is an absolute flood of office space for sublease in Seattle, but soon those leases will expire. Whether that is from WFH or downtown Seattle’s deteriorating scene I don’t know, but probably both, but neither is good news.
All a person, family or business can do is make the choice that is best for them. The fact SFH’s on the eastside are up 39% year over year (think about that, 39% when the median cost was already over $1 million for a SFH), loads of office space available for sublease, county employees marching in the street refusing to return to a shuttered courthouse, transit advocates unwilling to take transit to downtown Seattle, and the incredible development in Bellevue which is just a flat piece of land bisected by 405, tell me the choice these folks are making is to leave, and it is very hard to get them to move back once they leave.
“But the reality is the homeless arrive in Seattle every day in greater numbers than hotel rooms can be found…”
Says who? What study has ever found this to be the case? Every study I have found indicates that the majority of Seattle’s homeless are from Seattle, and most of the remainder come from King County. As far as the latter group, the county centralized homeless services in Seattle up until recently for ease of access, so their move into Seattle was an intentional, desired effect.
Good news, Dan: SPD swept City Hall Park today. Hope it was worth it.
“Good news, Dan: SPD swept City Hall Park today. Hope it was worth it.”
I missed it Nathan. Even though I work next door I haven’t gone out to walk around the neighborhood in 18 months. Few do. That is why so many businesses have closed shop, which won’t be great for their service employees when the eviction moratoria end and they are homeless.
I’ll take a look when I walk to my car after work. Do you know if they cleaned up the needles and excrement?
I suppose the rape of the King Co. worker in the courthouse bathroom by one of the residents of the park, the two recent murders and stabbings at the park, and the protest march by King Co. employees who refuse to return to the courthouse — especially on transit, because they are too afraid, including judges, attorneys, and staff — motivated SPD and the mayor. I doubt they did it for me.
Or maybe it was the King Co. council seriously considering condemning the city park so it could be cleaned up so they can reopen the County’s recently remodeled $125 million courthouse.
Only you miss the irony of having a courthouse in downtown Seattle completely closed because it is too dangerous to use.
Somehow I doubt you were here for the sweep, because you don’t go to downtown Seattle, and this is all theoretical for you. Lucky you. When our lease is up and we move to the eastside in a few months it will be theoretical for me too, and I probably won’t care anymore, and you can do whatever you want to with the park. Maybe even spend a few nights there.
When selfish older “conservatives” who resent every penny of social spending on people other than themselves die off sufficiently, the problem will be solved.
It is pretty easy to envision a solution, but it’s expensive. Increase the penalties for repeated disruptive public behavior to include constraint within supervised “group home” settings with mandated treatment protocols [e.g. “you must take your meds and do something productive with your time”]. Repeated violation of the rules of such facilities would lead to light-burden full incarceration in rural places.
Yes, this is expensive, and certainly could lead to the sorts of abuses which ended “state hospitals” before. Much better oversight of the facilities by advocates for the inmates would have to be divised. But it’s the only thing that will work. Without supervision, just providing unstable people with places to live won’t end their undesirable behavior which is rooted in damaged or insufficient impulse inhibition. That has to be addressed with therapy and medication.
TT, I agree with part two of your comment, but I am not sure it is legal unless the behavior is a crime. Ironically your remedy is the one homeless advocates claim is the “selfish” one, although it is somewhat similar to Charter Amendment 29, and what our shelter migration system used to be.
Rhode Island has instituted a program like you suggest, because it has found that without some kind of incarceration/commitment and removal from drugs treatment is impossible, and same with adherence to psychotic medications for the mentally ill. It is not more expensive than paying $65,000/year per hotel room for untreated homeless.
“When selfish older “conservatives” who resent every penny of social spending on people other than themselves die off sufficiently, the problem will be solved.”
I don’t know if you are referencing yourself, but the problem with facile comments like this is they are untrue. And pointless unless self-virtue is the goal.
The reason the homeless migrate to Seattle is because of the social spending (and tolerance). Charter Amendment 29 is a vast increase in spending.
Accusing older conservatives of being selfish is foolish, because if they are truly selfish they don’t care what you think of them (or think you are one of them). It is this kind of morality, and virtue signaling, that is making addressing this issue so difficult. After all, you begin your post by blaming selfish older conservatives, and end it with calling for the incarceration of the homeless.
The reality is we are all selfish when making the decisions that are best for our families and our businesses. Period. People will move to where it is safe, public schools are good, and there are jobs, which are areas in which transit thrives. If they can afford it.
Driving away citizens with higher incomes who are willing to contribute to solutions that work, if they actually see them work, and businesses, while calling them selfish as they leave, is a poor tactical decision too many progressives make, because too often progressives are not talking about their contribution to the solution because they have no money; they are talking about the “selfish” people contributing, because they have the money. But they want to see a real plan, and real results for their money, and don’t like to be insulted for having the money to help solve the problem.
Still though, their first reaction will be to move because they can afford it, and probably don’t believe the voters in Seattle will ever make the hard decisions to actually address any of these issues. If they do see hope they will contribute their fair share, but they won’t move back.
It is ironic progressives have all the ideals, few of the solutions, but none of the money.
Not “incarceration of the homeless”, incarceration –humanely — of the senselessly disruptive, who atr “the problem at Third and Pike. Don’t deflect.
You complain about the unruly homeless in downtown Seattle and then counsel rich people like yourself to move out of the city.
I said “increase the penalties for repeated disruptive behavior”. That sounds like a “a crime” to me. Now it may currently be a violation, not even a misdemeanor, but that can certainly be remedied by the City Council or the Legislature if necessary.
But changing statutes or ordinances without providing treatment is ineffective, stupid and punitive. However, as I said, it takes money for the treatment, and, since you arrogant MOTU’s think that you can hide on your moated island the County should as a whole should pay for the treatment and group housing.
“You complain about the unruly homeless in downtown Seattle and then counsel rich people like yourself to move out of the city.”
“HYPOCRITE!” (emphasis original).
TT, cities are not prisons. People leave cities all the time, for all kinds of reasons. The entire community of Buckhead hopes to secede from the city of Atlanta. https://insideradvantage.com/2021/08/02/buckhead-city-its-time/ The only reason the city of Atlanta wants Buckhead to stay part of Atlanta is for Buckhead’s tax revenue. Hardly altruistic.
People make their own choices where to live. Public safety, schools, neighborhoods, and jobs are the four main reasons, and pretty much determine price. If a city screws any of these up, or all of them, of course people will leave.
If residents begin to feel there is no hope because ideologues and silly people won’t address the issues why shouldn’t they leave? Once again you expect everyone else to clean up your mess, and the mess in Seattle.
You couldn’t make it clearer: the only reason you want me (or my firm) to stay in Seattle is to pay to clean up the mess you created and don’t want to pay to clean up, while listening to your class drivel, which is just you wanting others to pay to solve the problems they didn’t create.
I already pay quite a bit through the county, which is why I am a proponent of splitting King Co. into east and west.
Dude, it isn’t my “mess”.
When my wife and I returned to the Northwest (from Texas where I worked for — gasp! — big oil companies as a database developer/designer) we knew that we could not pay off a home in Seattle in the time I had remaining to work. So even though we both love it, we did what I’ve counseled many people who complain about rising housing prices in the City — we moved to a much less expensive place from which I could commute to big Oracle shops. Seattle is not my “mess”; in fact, with the exception of the homeless problem it isn’t a “mess” at all.
And boy did you prove my point in that last sentence: “…which is why I am a proponent of splitting King Co. into east and west.” Like any other wanna-be MOTU your motto is “I’ve got mine, screw you” to the rest of the world.
Try 3rd and Yesler and the park next to the courthouse. Something is seriously wrong if the courthouse has to be closed due to safety concerns. We can’t have criminal trials in Seattle because the area around the courthouse is too dangerous for jurors, court staff, attorneys and judges. Now all trials have to be held in Kent because Kent is safer
3rd and Pike got even worse with the closing of Macy’s.
There was a pandemic, remember? A lot of people lost their jobs, some people lost their housing, and people who were going to outpatient mental health services or who hadn’t started it yet suddenly found those services closed. Macy’s happened to close a month before the virus started showing up here.
Try Bellingham. Even in 2018, the sheer number of violent homeless was worse than Seattle at the time.
More of the same of what has been done in the past has been as successful as may be expected.
“Now all trials have to be held in Kent because Kent is safer”
Sounds good for you, but try to think of this from the shoes of someone who lives north of downtown, but doesn’t have a car. You still have to ride a bus downtown and deal with whatever crazies are there. But, instead of being done at Pioneer Square, you have to ride another 45 minutes on the 150, then transfer to a second bus with half hourly headway that goes to the actual courthouse. The grand total is 3-4 hours of round trip commuting each day, of which the court provides no mitigation. They do not pay for Ubers or rental cars. They do not run special shuttle buses for jurors from downtown Seattle to the Kent courthouse. They do not help people arrange carpools. Nor is, I believe, not having a car considered valid justification to get out of jury duty altogether. Instead, they say, no car, tough luck. Sure, they offer to cover the $5.50 round trip bus fare. But for 3.5 roundtrip commuting hours, that’s a party sum indeed. In fact, the court will actually pay you more if you lie about your method of travel, tell them you drove, and ask for reimbursement for mileage on the imaginary car you don’t have.
asdf2, I am not happy that the downtown King Co. Courthouse is closed. I have an office directly across the street from the Seattle County Courthouse, for a reason. I had access to the law library, could renew any license there, and had access to the courts and county clerk by simply walking across the street.
Driving to Kent to use the King Co. Courthouse is a great inconvenience for me.
My point is something is seriously wrong in a city if the judges close the Seattle County Courthouse because it is unsafe, King Co. seriously proposes to condemn the city park next to the courthouse so it can be cleaned up, and county staff actually march through downtown Seattle refusing to return to work in the courthouse (including taking transit to work) because it is not safe inside or outside the building.
Am I the only one to see the terrible irony in having to close the county courthouse in downtown Seattle because the area surrounding the courthouse is too dangerous for staff, judges, attorneys, jurors, and the general public?
About the only other area I have seen this is the new Federal Dept. of Labor building on Market in downtown San Francisco, which like the King Co. courthouse does not have onsite parking and is really too dangerous to walk to.
Oh FGS, Daniel. Will you still be raving about the DBT at your funeral? The DBT was bored for its first third in freaking landfill. There was no way to know what was in the next yard to be bored until Bertha got past Columbia and turned inland.
DSTT2 will be in landfill from Massachusetts Street to Main, which is a very good argument to cut-and-cover it.
But the scary-deep portion between Main and Denny Way will be bored through a natural hillside whose geology is well-known. There is a bored tunnel two blocks away, and Martin’s Shaft hasn’t toppled yet.
Obviously the tunnel will have to avoid the footings of The Shaft and other big buil))
You have some symptoms of being a drama queen. Have you spoken to your analyst about this?
TT, you are accusing me of being a drama queen about transit on this blog? Transit?
I remember being told the DBD would be a piece of cake.
Is downtown Seattle going to approve a years long deep cut and cover tunnel along 5th? Talk about the big dig. You talk big but I will believe it when I see it.
Anyway you miss the point. Easy or hard DSTT2 will cost at least double the cost estimate in ST 3, and the four other subareas who promised to pay 1/2 of $2.2 billion — based on ST’s lies about future ridership and capacity — won’t pay more than that.
So it is the same old conundrum for class warfare progressives: big hat no cattle, as my family from Butte would say. You don’t have the money no matter how smoothly the dig goes, and the actual contractor is going to include a 50% contingency in the bid BECAUSE IT IS A TUNNEL UNDER 5th AVE.
Do you ever wonder how ST was able to delay a few projects — mostly park and rides in a subarea that can afford them — and suddenly ST could afford not only DSTT2 and WSBLE, but a bunch of infill stations.
Delay those projects three more years and we can afford Seattle Subway’s vision map.
Maybe because we are lawyers, but Tisgwm and I are just a little more skeptical and a little more influenced by history.
Drama queen or not I understand it comes down to the money, and I wouldn’t trust ST as far as I could throw them when it comes to money. Wasn’t the deficit $12.5 billion 6 months ago. Does anyone on this blog really know how $12.5 billion became $6.5 billion in six months. No, of course not. The estimates are and always have been made up.
“I remember being told the DBD would be a piece of cake. ”
You didn’t hear that here. Most of us opposed the Deeply Boring Tunnel. We supported the Surface+Transit alternative. That would have been a wide boulevard and additions to the E and C and unspecified other routes. Instead we got a wide boulevard and an SOV bypass but no additional transit. We also were nonplussed the city and state did a backroom deal for the tunnel after we voted against it.
Did I mention that buses can’t effectively use the tunnel because it has no downtown exits? The only routes people can conceive of are ones from West Seattle, the airport or Burien to SLU. But they can’t replace the C or 120. It’s hard to imagine a route from North Seattle to West Seattle for instance; it would get too few riders. And many freight runs can’t use the tunnel because it has no exit pointing towards Interbay, and trucks aren’t going to go down narrow West Mercer Place.
By the way, most of us also support a cut-and-cover Intl Dist station on 5th Avenue, and any other cut-and-cover segments that may be feasible. The other Intl Dist alternatives are a deep station on 5th or a shallow or deep station on 4th. The representative alignment is the shallow station on 5th, and it’s also the least expensive and the most convenient for bus transfers and International District shoppers and workers. ST favored it in the run-up to ST3, but now it’s bowing to pressure from Intl Dist merchants who don’t want the construction disruption of a cut-and-cover tunnel after DSTT1 and the First Hill Streetcar. Never mind that a shallow station on 5th would attract more customers to the merchants permanently.
I don’t know whether the entire 5th Avenue segment could be cut-and-cover; I haven’t been following that. But naturally the city would oppose that. I think Alon Levy has written about how American cities eschew inexpensive and more effective cut-and-cover tunnels that have permanent benefits, to avoid a few years of construction disruption. Many people look at the cut-and-cover tunnel under Pine Street and say never again. That’s one reason why Link’s capital costs are so high and some stations are in less-than-ideal places.
Mike, cut and cover would be suboptimal north of Main because of the “hump”. Whether it’s under Fifth, Sixth or a combination, Madison is thirty five to fourty feet above Pine where it crosses either street. Sixth is a bit higher, obviously.
The thing is, DSTT2 must underrun DSTT1 at Westlake. If ST chooses a deep station at IDS as well as at Westlake, the trench for a cut-and-cover would be as deep as the BART level of the Market Street Subway, maybe deeper.
That is an enormous amount of dirt remove ( and then mostly put back). This is not a place for cut-and-cover.
Yes the entire DSTT2 elevation as proposed is constrained by going under light rail tracks at ID and Westlake.
I get why ID is valuable as Sounder and Amtrak stop there and that’s where East Link merges. However, there is no similar reason for Westlake as it’s just the monorail and SLUS that meet there. University Street or Capitol Hill as the transfer point would not seem to be that suboptimal.
However, ST has selected Westlake for better or worse. If they can spend almost a full year just changing opening dates (and conveniently forgetting that the earlier dates were set for PR rather than realism in the first darned place), I can’t fathom how “hard” moving a station will be.
About the only plausible design change I can see is to use smaller light rail vehicles by tying West Seattle and Ballard together as one line with shorter platforms, steeper grades and automated driving — unless a ST3 modification is put in front of voters.
Daniel, I said
“It” there was supposed to refer to the immediate antecedent which is the section “from Massachusetts Street to Main”, not “DSTT2”. That Mike appears also to have mis-construed my statement, I guess I should have said “cut-and-cover that section“. Disculpe me.
However, in the very next paragraph it says
But the scary-deep portion between Main and Denny Way will be bored [emphasis added] through a natural hillside whose geology is well-known.
How can that be ambiguous? In the future, if you wish to reply to my or other folks’s comments, please read as if it were an opposing counsel’s pleading.
You claim to speak for all the people on the Eastside and to be inside their heads to an amazing degree. The world is not made up of Daniel Thompsons, though; even the other MOTU’s have their own opinions. I have done yeoman work trying to suggest ways to save money on ST3 by finding a way to squeeze the Ballard-West Seattle trains through the existing tunnel because I basically agree with you that the cost is too great for the benefit. So do a lot of people here on STB.
Extending to tiny, circumscribed-on-three-sides Everett, especially, is a fool’s illusion. But that’s one of the two things in ST3 you want to do. (I’m assuming that you consider the Redmond extension as just “finishing up” ST2.)
What you’ve done since you came to the blog is bloviate and sneer from your moated Island.
So, up yours about the “talk big”.
“Extending to tiny, circumscribed-on-three-sides Everett, especially, is a fool’s illusion. But that’s one of the two things in ST3 you want to do. (I’m assuming that you consider the Redmond extension as just “finishing up” ST2.)”
TT, are you suggesting I supported the spine to Everett? You haven’t been reading very closely. Extending East Link to Redmond was always part of ST 2, before ST 3, and could have been financed out of the eastside subarea’s ST 2 excess revenue, because where else can the eastside spend its ST subarea revenue. But that doesn’t make running rail to Redmond a good financial investment. Just politics, subarea equity, and uniform tax rates, and this fascination with rail and ignorance of the east King Co. Same with the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line.
“You claim to speak for all the people on the Eastside and to be inside their heads to an amazing degree. The world is not made up of Daniel Thompsons, though; even the other MOTU’s have their own opinions. I have done yeoman work trying to suggest ways to save money on ST3 by finding a way to squeeze the Ballard-West Seattle trains through the existing tunnel because I basically agree with you that the cost is too great for the benefit. So do a lot of people here on STB.”
You have posted some alternative ideas for DSTT2 on STB. What are you talking about Yeoman’s work? Posting on a blog? Do you understand what it is like to build a deep tunnel though a dense city core? It isn’t posting on a blog.
ST will never consider these ideas, because they are likely not feasible, ST has no imagination, and most importantly because ST has no intent of building DSTT2 or WSBLE. That is the whole point of the realignment, unless you believe what ST tells you.
Why in the world would the four other subareas agree to fund a dime more than $2.2 billion for DSTT2 (when we know the refurbishment of DSTT1 will cost double what was estimated), or allow their capacity to be reduced for WSBLE in DSTT1? Forget about me: do you think Bellevue and the eastside cities are going to pay 100% of East Link and an equal share to refurbish DSTT1 and $1 billion for express buses east/west until East Link opens and then reduce capacity for WSBLE because you posted about it on STB? If you do you are very naïve.
What do you think is funding the stations at 130th, Graham St., and other new projects in the realignment? Santa? DSTT2 is funding those. And completing ST 2.
It isn’t the tunnel alternatives, cut and cover, deep bore, squeezing WSBLE into DSTT1 when WSBLE was a bad idea anyway. The issue is subarea politics, and lack of money.
N. King Co. can do whatever it wants if it can find the money. But it won’t be DSTT2 because ST knows the risk and unknowns are too great, and DSTT2 never was worth it for West Seattle or Ballard anyway, although I imagine Dow Constantine, like you, scribbled some ideas on a napkin, except he was King Co. exec., but ST figured sooner or later he would be gone.
Start with the money. That will tell you what you can build, except it won’t be a tunnel through downtown Seattle, certainly not for Ballard or West Seattle.
Daniel, if “posting on a transit blog” is so useless an avocation, why are you here?
Oh, I forgot, it’s to sneer and “own the libs”.
TT, I never said posting on STB was useless (depending on the poster). I have learned a lot. But it is highly unlikely ST will read a post on cut and cover or deep bore tunnel alternatives by someone calling himself Tom Terrific on STB. But that isn’t even the issue.
It isn’t the engineers that concern ST about DSTT2. Engineers will tell you they can build just about anything, for the right price.
It is the construction bids for DSTT2 that will be around $4 billion base with a 50% contingency that smart people at ST will look at, and understand a 50% contingency means anything could happen, and will, because it is a tunnel under downtown Seattle, in a subarea (Seattle) and agency (ST) that had to borrow from Kenmore to complete its projects, and four other subareas who will say “we’re out”. You know it is bad when you have to borrow a park and ride from Kenmore.
Once you look at what can be completed, and the new stations and projects that can be completed in the realignment you can see they are better projects for the cost of WSBLE and DSTT2, with little risk.
Even if you came up with the greatest solution of all to DSTT2, the cost of rail from WS to Ballard isn’t worth it, even at $2.2 billion for DSTT2. The four other subareas don’t give a shit about WS or Ballard when it comes to their capacity in DSTT1, and they own 80% of it.
Solve the politics and the money, then design tunnel alternatives for DSTT2 so at least you know what you can afford, after paying Kenmore back for the park and ride.
“it is highly unlikely ST will read a post on cut and cover or deep bore tunnel alternatives by someone calling himself Tom Terrific”
ST boardmembers and staff and city and county councilmembers read STB the way everybody else does: they read it for the high quality of articles and most comments, especially articles about Link, and they’ll read a few articles by new Page 2 authors. We know some politicians read STB regularly because they tell us so or they say it in a talk, and a few occasionally comment (though rarely). I assume they don’t comment much for ethical or conflict-of-interest or political reasons, but they do comment occasionally. If Tom wrote a Page 2 article he might sign his whole name on it, as some others have done. So the politicians are reading your (Daniel’s) comments too, at least until they “TL;DR” them or dismiss the viewpoint.
“If Tom wrote a Page 2 article he might sign his whole name on it, as some others have done. So the politicians are reading your (Daniel’s) comments too, at least until they “TL;DR” them or dismiss the viewpoint.”
No Mike, ST is certainly not reading my posts because they already know everything I have written. As a lawyer, one of the pleasures I have of litigating against smarter lawyers with all the money is if I discover something they already know it. Very rarely do I have to explain something I think I have “discovered”. My job is to monetize what I have discovered.
I don’t subscribe to the view that ST is all idiots, and will read STB and suddenly see the light. ST understands escalators, tunnels, politics, and most importantly of all, money.
The routes for ST 1, 2 and 3, along with subarea equity and uniform tax rates, are not novel concepts to ST, and ST understands light rail decisions were dictated by these factors, probably more than good transit sense. The problem with transit is it is mostly funded by those who don’t use it, so selling it isn’t always easy. Cities like Bellevue understand everything I understand, except Bellevue just isn’t that interested in light rail with all the development going on.
There is only so much money for the projects. It was existential for ST and ST 2 that it sell ST 3, so ST promised whatever any area wanted to get the votes and underestimated the costs for N. King Co. so as to scare off the other subareas, figuring it would deal with it later.
When the money got tight, and a pandemic hit and probably changed future ridership and general fund revenues forever, something had to go, and that something was always DSTT2. The pandemic just gave ST a handy excuse to kill a risky and profligate project that a few West Seattle politicians wanted. I did think changing deficit estimates by over $6 billion in six months during a pandemic was a little blatant.
ST also knows that without DSTT2 there is plenty of money to finish everything else, even park and rides, downtown Seattle is not going to consent to a cut and cover tunnel under 5th, and even enough money for some kind of rational transit to West Seattle, which will always prioritize car capacity because of its great access to I-5, I-90 and 1st Ave. so look for buses as part of the new bridge, and Ballard which is like Pluto anyway. Anyone who lives in Ballard did not move there for the easy access to I-5, Seattle, UW, or basically anywhere, and a 90 minute train ride to Tacoma isn’t exactly great transit.
Everything I think I might have discovered smart people with ST already knew. No need to read STB to find out what you already know, and they know studying tunnel alternatives when ST was looking for a way to scuttle DSTT2 is pointless.
Maybe TT is correct WSBLE can be accommodated in DSTT1, but as I pointed out earlier the four other subareas own 80% of DSTT1, don’t care about WS or Ballard, so even if feasible and affordable including new bridges the real question is whether those other subareas will consent to reducing their capacity, for free. I doubt it.
Dan, are you claiming that in conversation with ST, they’ve either implied or explicitly stated that they’re trying to avoid building DSTT2?
Or are you just assuming that since you think it’s the obvious solution to funding issues, that they have the same opinion?
No Nathan, ST did not call me up to let me know they don’t plan on building DSTT2. In fact it is in Tier 2. Of course, although many eastside transit agencies and experts predicted before the 2016 vote on ST 3 the cost estimates and future ridership estimates in ST 3 were “flawed”, ST never called anyone up and said ST underestimated projects by $12.5 billion, then $6.5 billion.
I did email ST and asked for the formula it was using to estimate budget deficits since the deficit estimates went from $12.5 billion less than six months ago to $6.5 billion recently — figuring a $6 billion difference in estimates in a matter of months during a pandemic was a pretty wide spread — but never heard back.
It can’t be a very complicated formula, something actuaries do every day: ROW costs, station costs, construction costs, contingencies, future farebox recovery, general fund tax recovery for the N. King Co. subarea, inflation, maybe some grants, although many of these factors like stations are not decided upon, and of course huge assumptions are being made about the future. I also asked for a third party audit to confirm ST’s budget estimates, knowing that would never happen. If a private corporation acted like this the SEC would be all over them, and of course private corporations are required to have independent outside auditors.
I think we can also agree the original cost estimate for DSTT2 of $2.2 billion was false even before the vote on ST 3. Recent cost estimates for DSTT2 put the cost at $3.56 billion, exclusive of the 50% continency that is common on major tunnels, although I have not seen anything from ST indicating it has adjusted the original cost estimate for DSTT2, even though there is no debate that $2.2 billion is not remotely accurate.
The four other subareas agreed in ST 3 — based on ST’s misrepresentations about future ridership and tunnel capacity — to pay 1/2 of $2.2 billion, not 1/2 of $4 billion, which they don’t have in their budgets.
At the same time we have ST delaying park and rides, which are an insignificant cost compared to WSBLE and DSTT2, to balance the books/debt ceiling.
Then there is the realignment itself, which many have pointed out on its face it is just a reschedule. Delay some projects a few years to collect more revenue even though ROW and construction costs are rising faster than the revenue each year, and suddenly all of ST 3 — including some infill stations at 130th and Graham — is affordable, plus a stub from WS to Sodo.
Then throw in the fact some people I think are pretty smart about transit like Ross have always said the WSBLE made no sense transit wise (and Constantine and Durkan live in West Seattle).
I am not surprised at the realignment, and I am not angry to the extent I think DSTT2 is much too high of a risk for N. King Co., WSBLE does not really make sense if both neighborhoods will always demand no loss of car capacity in any new bridge, and the infill projects and ability to complete all of ST 2 and some good express buses is a much better use of the DSTT2 money.
I could be wrong, and I tend to follow the money, but time will tell. Who knows, maybe TT is correct and WSBLE can fit within the capacity of DSTT1, although I don’t know why the other subareas would agree to that, although I bet ST is studying that very, very closely, because that would solve many of ST’s issues.
Forget about the “realignment”. That is a political document to cover the Board’s asses. Show me where N. King Co. can come up with the true cost of DSTT2 with contingency which also counts against a debt ceiling, even without a pandemic, and I will believe, but also wonder why ST is delaying park and rides if it has the money and debt capacity.
No need to read STB to find out what you already know, and they know studying tunnel alternatives when ST was looking for a way to scuttle DSTT2 is pointless.
Maybe I misread this part of your comment, then. You write with such certainty in the same breath as admitting that ST’s lawyers and staff are more capable than you in their fields.
I did email ST and asked for the formula it was using to estimate budget deficits since the deficit estimates went from $12.5 billion less than six months ago to $6.5 billion recently
ST says the change in deficit came from improved income estimates, not reduced cost estimates, although the April deficit update did include some minor cost adjustments. I’m confused how you imagine you’d somehow personally audit ST’s projections, using materials that ST would give you that would obviously corroborate your claims. You’re going to personally audit their unit costs and tax income projections? No wonder they don’t respond to you.
ST is expecting to receive $131B between 2017 and 2046, whereas their initial estimates were for $96B between 2017 and 2041. So, it seems they expect that be extending the tax collection for an addition 5 years, they’ll get themselves a cool $35B to work with, with N. King doing the heaviest lifting. It seems to me that if the tunnel does end up being a $10B monstrosity, then ST would just collect taxes for another few years to make up for it. DSTT2 was designed as an ST-wide project, not a N King project, and I think ST will figure out how to get its taxpayers to pay for it, whether at a higher rate for a shorter time, or the current rate for a longer time.
The Seattle-Tacoma MSA will need high-density electrified transit to meet a number of social and economic goals in the next 25 years, and the people voted in 2016 to give ST the legal authority to do it.
“It seems to me that if the tunnel does end up being a $10B monstrosity, then ST would just collect taxes for another few years to make up for it. DSTT2 was designed as an ST-wide project, not a N King project, and I think ST will figure out how to get its taxpayers to pay for it, whether at a higher rate for a shorter time, or the current rate for a longer time.”
If I were N. King Co. I would have this in writing before digging (especially if east King Co. gets rid of Balducci). The four other subareas don’t have an additional $8 billion. And since they are paying half what would they do with all their extra revenue?
DSTT2 was sold as a quasi ST- wide project (the only one I am aware of except refurbishment of DSTT1, and even then N. King Co. has to pay 1/2), but the four other subareas have since learned their capacity can be handled by DSTT1 alone.
Bellevue thought its tunnel (and ideally a tunnel under Bellevue Way that did make sense, but was expensive) was ST-wide, but Bellevue ended up paying 1/2 and the east King Co. subarea half. Just because the project is in Seattle does not make it “ST- wide”. I can’t think of a single benefit to the eastside from DSTT2, or WSBLE.
“The Seattle-Tacoma MSA will need high-density electrified transit to meet a number of social and economic goals in the next 25 years, and the people voted in 2016 to give ST the legal authority to do it.”
But they didn’t get what they voted for and were promised, and as you note it will, as of today, cost $35 billion more, which doesn’t even phase you. I would not dismiss litigation over the extension of tax collections. Based on your comment, why is there an eastside subarea and Snohomish Co. subarea? You are very Seattle centric.
I asked for the formula, not the underlying data, to find out how ST weighted things. I planned to have an expert review the formula and give me his/her opinion, but knew ST would never disclose the formula, even as a public agency. Of course, if ST were a private corporation all of this would be audited by an outside, independent auditor, and senior ST management would be gone for dishonesty.
It is impossible, if independently done, to have a $12.5 billion deficit become a $6.5 billion deficit within months during a pandemic, unless someone is manipulating the underlying data, or formula, and we know the numbers are manipulated to benefit ST. Any auditor that issued these kinds of estimates with such huge swings would be sued, even for misestimating project costs in the $12.5 billion deficit estimate, and probably investigated like Anderson Consulting when Enron’s numbers seemed unbelievable. Because it turned out they were.
Time will tell. Of course I said that last year, before the deficit admissions which I said were coming based on what others had taught me. Let’s see if ST puts its heart and soul (which usually means dishonest statements) into the EIS and permitting for DSTT2. Before you can build it you have to permit it which means Seattle signs off on the construction mode, and then seek bids, and it is the bids that expose the honesty or dishonesty of ST’s cost estimates because the construction bids end up being the de facto outside audit, which I assume is what started this realignment process to begin with.
It was existential for ST and ST 2 that it sell ST 3
Another lie, or at least a gross misunderstanding. The only thing in ST3 that was originally in ST2 was Link to Redmond and Link from Midway to Federal Way. ST1 has been completed for almost ten years with the opening of Husky Stadium Station.
Yes, Sound Transit is using all of its current revenues — including those from ST3 taxes — to build the Midway, Lynnwood and East Link lines. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have completed them without ST3; it just would have taken longer.
The agency had the voter-approved right to sell bonds to build Link to Midway, Overlake Tech Center and Lynnwood with ST2. If it took until 2200 they could keep on collecting the ST2 taxes. The ST3 revenues just mean that the two main lines to the north and east get finished more quickly than they otherwise would have, but only a year or year-and-a-half.
Midway just got folded into Federal Way because it makes sense to do it all as one contract.
Nobody is “stealing” your money, unless like all Loose-Screw Libertarians you consider any tax at all to be “theft”.
Al, when you say “University Street … would be a fine transfer point” I agree. However, if you assume a new parallel tunnel through downtown on the way to SLU, if it’s under Fourth Avenue it still has to be Uber-deep to underrun the Westlake station box. Maybe not as deep, because its mezzanine for “Midtown” station which reached University from the south could certainly fit within the greater elevation of Fourth Avenue, but still it would be pretty deep at Pine.
So that means either adding another level down to the Third Avenue tunnel as Glenn proposed — and I think that the almost certain existence of pilings underneath the USS and PSS station boxes would make that impossible — or running under Second, far below the center of development around Fifth and Marion.
If there is to be a DSTT2 it ought to be under Fifth, possible swinging over to Sixth for “New Westlake”.
Now your idea for a transfer at Capitol Hill for SLU is intriguing, but it would really only work for a “Metro 8” alignment. Trying to swing back to a Midtown station would seriously entangle the two tunnels around Summit and Union. Now if ST had designed a station there (a bit northwest of the original “First Hill Station” site, that would be a fantastic location for a transfer station. The tunnel from there to SLU could very naturally serve the big cluster of buildings south of Denny and Boren with a station there. But they didn’t build that essential First Hill station and the alignment has no flat spot to accommodate one.
Sorry. I replied one comment too shallow in the tree. This was meant as a reply to Al S. at AUGUST 11, 2021 AT 12:56 AM.
Wasn’t U-Link boring starting at I-5? From Midtown, I could see boring or going cut-and-cover under Seneca to Harvard (essentially a local street) then crossing above the current tunnels and a Capitol Hill platform connected at the mezzanine station. A Pike/Pine station may even be possible in that alignment. Another alignment could be to close the I-5 express lanes and put light rail there (south of Mercer) and use that for rail but not have a second transfer station.
The larger point is that multiple core configuration alternatives were not studied. The WSBLE was preceded by two different corridor studies that intentionally ended at Westlake. Then the ST3 configuration and service plan were chosen as a single alternative without further study. It’s not a bad configuration currently — but if we are spending several billion dollars on a new three mile tunnel, alternatives to ensure its cost-effectiveness should have been considered.
It’s quite appalling to me that most of the early energy if the WSBLE was spent on the ends of the project (like having 6 or more versions in West Seattle) — and the most expensive middle part got very little discussion (like maybe 2-3 alternatives just a block or two apart and no variations in service plans).
It’s also seems possible to have a University Street transfer to Fourth Avenue but have the platform north edge near Seneca Street giving 700-1000 to dive under the tracks at Westlake. I’m not a tunnel expert — but why isn’t anyone who is exploring tunneling alternatives?
Al those are interesting alternatives. Having the Midtown Station platforms end at Seneca would mean a pretty long walk from the mezzanine at UUSS. Not that that is unheard of in transit circles, but it makes for a long transfer hike twice a day.
You can’t cut-and-cover the First Hill section of your Harvard proposal. It would be waaaaay too deep for c-n-c. I do think ST should consider cut-and-cover north of Denny if they choose the Republican portal. A trench through Seattle Center for two or three years would be worth the money saved.
Also, you have to cross under I-5. WSDOT Zis going to demand that such a tunnel be deep and bored.
I don’t see the long-ish walk for a Midtown transfer as a deal breaker because riders that prioritize a short walk in their transfer can always travel onwards to the ID, which will likely have a very short transfer distance.
Hey Tom! How far of a walk do you think it will be as now planned if Sixth Ave is where the Westlake platform in DSTT2? It will be a block — just like if you have to walks from Third to Fourth! Also USS is under Third Avenue enabling riders on those buses to have a shorter walk than if the DSTT2 platform is at Fifth or Sixth. The only preferred Link transfer necessary there is from SLU/ Ballard to UW/ Northgate as ID and SODO are going to be easier places to make other transfers.
As far as a Capitol Hill transfer option goes, Capitol Hill is so steep that it could portal at Melrose and fly over I-5. It could then be aerial to past 99 on the west (and an aerial junction for an eventual Aurora Line would become possible in the future). Thus, while tre track would be longer, there could be huge cost savings by running through SLU as aerial.
Again, I’m not espousing a specific alternative. I’m just saying that ST should have studied the consequences of transfers being at the stations on either side of Westlake in addition to Westlake.
So much for people moving out of downtown. Downtown Seattle’s population in 2021 is higher than it was in 2019. ($) Hotel occupancy is also robust. And I’ve personally seen the crowds returned to Pike Place Market and 5th & Pine.
The biggest thing missing is the hordes of commuters.
And development is still robust. 29-story apartment tower at 222 Dexter Ave. N. broke ground last week.
What do people think of this idea I thought-up today: Once there are widespread vaccine and mask mandates, we bring back Fare Enforcement Officers, but we change their mandate from checking fares, to checking riders’ vaccination status and mask usage. They could be renamed Vaccine and Mask Enforcement Officers. And they wouldn’t ride just Rapid Ride and Link, they would randomly ride all regular Metro and ST routes.
Great, they can be racist even more that way!
GJ Sam, they sure didn’t have enough ways to screw people over already!
The National teachers’ union just endorsed mandatory vaccinations. Inslee and Durkan just announced mandatory vaccinations for state/city employees. So has Microsoft. Biden has announced mandatory vaccines for certain agencies. DeBlasio will require proof of vaccination to enter a gym or restaurant. Hawaii and Europe require proof of vaccination to enter.
Those crazy racists.
Meanwhile transit has the only mask mandate because most think transit riders are infected.
>> Meanwhile transit has the only mask mandate because most think transit riders are infected.
And silly me, I thought that the reason was that this is one of the few places that the grown ups have the legal authority enact one.
State and city leaders have the power to require vaccinations of employees, and have the power to enforce mask wearing (and have done so in the past). There is just a split of opinion on this issue among different states and cities.
Whether transit (including planes, or schools) actually has higher rates of infection and transmission, or that is just a perception, is kind of irrelevant if folks are hesitant to use transit due to their fear of infection in a crowded environment with strangers, which is going to make reopening the economy difficult. Most believe the federal government’s mandate to wear a mask on public transit — which for buses and trains is nearly impossible to enforce — is for a reason.
With the Delta variant and more breakthrough cases getting folks back on transit will be even harder. Relying on a mask and its proper wearing, and the proper wearing by others, is a big risk IMO with the Delta variant, one my staff and I are hesitant to take.
I have no problem with mandatory vaccinations, or following CDC guidance to wear a mask indoors if in an area of high infection or low vaccination rates. Ironically the greatest voluntary adherence to wearing a mask indoors I have seen is on Mercer Island, with over a 95% vaccination rate, although also with a slight increase in the number of daily infections. I have seen few wearing a mask indoors in Issaquah.
Daniel, do you understand these commenters who, on the one hand, think it’s smart and safe for a Seattle restaurant to ask customers for proof of vaccination, but, on the other hand, think it’s racist and evil for transit security to ask riders for the same proof?
No Sam, I don’t understand. I think the argument some have made is that if you require someone to wear a mask or get vaccinated to ride transit you exclude the lowest element of society who must use transit but for some reason can’t afford a free mask or vaccine, which IMO only reinforces the perception that public transit is filled with very risky people, which feeds into an inferiority complex some have about public transit.
At the same time there have been some super spreader events even though vaccinations were required because some attendees lied, or the host didn’t really check proof very hard, and so everyone let down their guard. I think the restaurant requirement is a bit of show to be honest, more for business than public health, and wonder who will really check for proof.
The key is the vaccine is free and easily available. The other key is private industry like Microsoft, and governments like state and city employees, and now the military, are beginning to require vaccination.
One would think a free, effective and safe vaccine for every level of society that is mandatory for everyone is the least racist thing of all. After all, what other health care is so even, for rich and poor.
But racism has become a reactionary term, for just about everything, especially among white folk, which is why it has lost so much of its impact in just the last 12 months, which is too bad because the fundamental problem is Black Americans make up 12% of the population but own 0.5% of the wealth.
“Daniel, do you understand these commenters who, on the one hand, think it’s smart and safe for a Seattle restaurant to ask customers for proof of vaccination, but, on the other hand, think it’s racist and evil for transit security to ask riders for the same proof?”
Which commentators have said either of these? The first one is outside STB’s scope of expertise (transit and land use). The second one is you imputing inflammatory labels onto people, in your usual race-PC-trolling.
Mandatory vaccination to ride transit would, of course, preclude riding transit to get the vaccine.
Selecting the Project to be Built for the Stride Bus Rapid Transit Maintenance Base: https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/ActiveDocuments/Resolution%20R2021-06.pdf
Stride bus base moves forward. Most interesting to me is that the base will not be fully electric but instead will support 110 diesel buses and only 10 electric buses to support the Stride 522 line. So ST is spending more money now (for fuel tanks) and more money later (conversion to 100% electric) because (in my reading) they are so keen to get ST Express buses out of KCM bus bases. Presumably they think they will save money in the long term because buses dispatched from this new Bothell bus base will be lower cost than buses dispatched from any KCM base
ST2 included funding for a standalone ST bus base, but that project has been deferred due to various political reasons, most recently through vocal and public opposition by KCM staff & union (but I repeat myself) to a temporary ST bus base in 2019. Looks like ST is going to try to sneak in the STX bus base into the Stride bus base.
I think this is smart politics and good policy. Even after all 3 Stride lines are launched with electric fleets, ST will likely continue to run diesel buses out of this base to provide STX service SR520, and perhaps some service on I5 or 405, as least until the recently purchased double-deckers reach end-of-life (12~15 years).
ST will retain the funded STX bus base in the back of the ST3 plan, allowing it the opportunity to build a base in East Pierce if PT needs the capacity or ST wants a better located base to serve the various routes that either feed Sounder or provide an all-day alternative for the south Sounder corridor.
“ST2 included funding for a standalone ST bus base,…”
Actually the ST2 package included funding for two STX bus bases and these will both be ST2 projects that will not be completed within the original timeframe (2009-2023). When Sound Transit went through their last capital program realignment in 2010, these two projects survived and were shown in table 2 of motion M2010-102:
The following projects will proceed through design and environment studies consistent with board approved budgets. The current cost estimates for these projects are fully funded within the agency’s financial plan. Final delivery schedules for the projects, given the early stage of design and uncertainties of agency local tax revenue collection levels, will have to be monitored and evaluated.”
The following is the long description of the projects as given in the ST2 project profile documentation that accompanied the ballot proposal:
This capital project scope, and the companion capital cost estimate, are intended to include the entire project development cycle (agency and project administration, environmental clearance, design, all aspects of property acquisition, permits, agreements, construction, testing, commissioning and contingencies) from project initiation through the start-up of the revenue operations.
ST Express buses are currently operated, stored, and maintained by the agency’s transit partners – Community Transit, King County Metro, and Pierce Transit. This project will involve constructing new maintenance and operations capacity to accommodate up to at least 300 buses to support existing and future ST Express services through at least 2020. The cost estimate is based on the assumptions that one facility to accommodate up to 200 buses would be located in East
King County to maintain Snohomish County, East King County, and South King County subarea bus services. A second
facility would be located in Pierce County to accommodate maintenance of up to 100 buses serving the Pierce County
“All heavy maintenance (i.e., paint/body work and component rebuild) for the entire ST Express fleet would occur at the
East King County base. All other maintenance functions would be provided at each facility. Sites would be sized to allow
for facility expansion over time to meet demand. The estimated costs and budget presented here might also be used to
expand transit partner bases, tripper storage, or other interim or permanent maintenance and operations facilities in lieu
or or in addition to permanent Sound Transit-owned facilities.
“This project also includes purchase of up to 60 additional buses to support ST Express service expansion during ST2
Only four of the five subareas would be charged with the capital costs, with no allocation charged to the North King County subarea.
At the time of the ST2 ballot measure, the capital cost range for the bases only was given as $142-163M in 2007$. This project is currently shown in the agency’s TIP as project #500005 with a 2021 estimated cost of $238M (in 2020$). As a point of reference, Appendix A for the ST2 System Plan listed the entire capital expense for the STX bus program at $344M in YOE$, but that included funding for the intended fleet expansion as well as contributions to Bothell and Burien parking/transit facilities.
Sound Transit is probably hoping that voters in the district have long since forgotten all about this ST2 promise. Sliding it into the BRT program and hoping that no one is the wiser would certainly be keeping with the agency’s character of ever moving goalposts.
Correction: “…that no one is none the wiser…”
The presentation (now posted) has branded the BRT bus base “Bus Base North” so if anything I think staff is keep the 2nd bus base (presumably base south) in view, albeit well off in the distance.
The cost savings in the presentation were all disappointing. Truncating the ped bridges at Tukwilla and Brickyard would both be very disappointing as both accentuate the walksheds for those stations into something more than just a P&R.
But otherwise good to see the project moving along.
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