This is an open thread.
A few thoughts for the weekend open thread.
#1. G*d bless and protect our flight attendants/FAs. I normally buy a bag of M&Ms and some flowers (for those ladies who don’t like candy) for good luck at this point. Sure perks up the FAs and in return one of them had my back when my recent Alaska flight with broken toilets back from Davis-Monthan Airshow in Arizona got diverted to LAX to change planes and the LAX gate boss lady wanted to put my bag w/ a $1000 rented lens in the cargo hold. Also the FAs made sure I was able to disembark the delayed flight and make my transit connections home. The point: What goes around, comes around. Be nice to your FAs.
#2. I hope for a flat fare to use Sound Transit Link. It’s really regressive to penalize those pushed out from job centers with a distance-based fare. I know some of you regulars will cringe and have a legitimate argument, but a flat fare with a progressive exemptions for disabled & low-income is the best for everyone.
Disabled & low-income already get to pay less than the standard fare with ORCA LIFT, and they don’t pay more the further they travel.
Careful what you wish for Joe. Service levels are often tied to revenue. The bulk of the trips are within the city. It is possible, therefore, that if they went to a flat fee model, they would follow it up with lots of turnbacks. It would be cheaper to take a train from the suburbs into the city, but the train would run a lot less often.
Along with Ross’s point, I’d rather subsidize housing construction in Seattle so that people aren’t priced out of the city in the first place, rather than allow people to be pushed out, and then subsidize their transportation. The city of Seattle can accommodate millions more residents- there’s no reason to force people to live in far flung towns and endure long commutes and other trips.
I am also pro-subsidizing housing construction in our cities. A lot. But it’s so damn hard to get density in our cities, but especially Seattle.
Plus yes, I know we have ORCA Lift, I was just making clear I want that to stay.
I rode the 550 through the new South Bellevue Station on the way back to Seattle. Ignoring the fact that nobody actually got on or off at the station, I was surprised that nobody thought to put a protected left turn off Bellevue Way. We ended up waiting for a couple minutes for a brief break in traffic, which seems a mistake for a station that serves one of the busiest express routes in our system.
Does anyone know if there are plans to add a left-turn light for southbound buses to access the station?
Huh, there is a working signal to get into the P&R. I had to wait at it for quite a long time last week for the first time in ages while zero vehicles went in or out. That’s what had Bellevue Way backed up to 112th. If the bus loop isn’t using the light then someone totally screwed up. Having had to make an unprotected left NB in the PM with a school bus that was 3-5 minutes delay at 4PM.
Maybe the driver was using the wrong entrance which is kind of scary.
So I think that’s the south entrance/exit to the station. The one we used is this one:
I think it’s the correct one or at least we didn’t have to do anything crazy to get to the stop in the station, but you can see that despite being “bus only” there’s not actually a left-turn light. The driver then used the south exit (the one you linked to) to get back onto Bellevue Way.
Maybe traffic is heavier than normal on a weekend due to the 520 bridge being closed, but I can’t believe it’s worse than a weekday.
It’s non-stop traffic NB on a weeknight. Much heavier SB but NB traffic is constant and traveling at 40mph+. Although, thinking about it, when the light turns for the entrance to the P&R there will be no traffic NB except for a few cars going north from the P&R so this should work just fine.
Traffic was definitely heavy for a weekend due to the 520 closure. 405 was a parking lot starting at 520 going SB. Fortunately I was able to exit stage right. There was likely a bunch of people using Bway to avoid 405 NB which is what I do in the evenings. NB 405 is rarely bad from I-90 but the exit from I-90 is a choke point because of the now gridlock SB.
And, looking at the picture in your link you can see there is an inductive signal loop sensor in the roadway so my guess is that it’s tied into the light at the South entrance. But clearly, Bellevue needs to get some intelligent traffic signaling software updated to reflect the reality that nobody is currently actually parking at the garage. In theory, the light would change when a bus enters the protected left turn lane. They could even hold the green for the cars leaving the garage NB for a few seconds to give the bus a clear left turn. My bet is they just haven’t gotten a roundtuit yet.
Ah, you’re right, it probably is tied to the other light, though as you note that one certainly is set to favor through-traffic on Bellevue Way rather than pedestrians or transit. In a few years, the 550 will go away but anyone on the 554, 241, and 249 (or whatever replaces those routes) will still be delayed by it.
If you go back to the Google Street View NB you can see there is a long Bus only pullout with a tiny shelter on the right. It’s going to be confusing as hell if some routes use the “loop” and others the bay on B’way. But if you look close you can see there is another inductive sensor loop in the Bus Only lane. I wonder if this is to trigger the light so a bus can get back onto B’way?
set to favor through-traffic on Bellevue Way rather than pedestrians
This is Bellevue, we don’t need no stinking pedestrians :=
The only reason this is even an issue for transit is because the bus is detouring into and out of the station. If the bus just stays on the street, following the same path as the cars, it automatically gets the same signal priority that a car does.
I rode the 550 yesterday (Saturday), eastbound at noon, westbound at 6pm. It did the routing as above, which is what it used to do. On the way over I saw the west side of Bellevue Way has no sidewalk and is a blank hillside, but I don’t remember if that’s exactly at the intersection or only south or north of it, and on the way back it was dark so I couldn’t see. It is a rather long walk from a southbound bus stop on the street, and if there’s no way to walk north or south I’m not sure I’d want to dump people there.
The Eastbound run at 5th & Union had the usual 2-3 people. I was reading so I didn’t notice people getting on after that, but at the 4th & Bellevue Way stop fifteen or twenty people got off all at once — 3/4 of the bus. That’s twice as many as used to ride it pre-pandemic Saturday and Sunday midday. The B eastbound was also pretty busy.
Westbound between 6 and 8 pm is usually busier, but both the B and 550 were light that day. Traffic gridlocked at Main Street and was heavy on south Bellevue Way and I-90. But the Evergreen Bridge was closed so that’s not surprising.
The stop announcement for the P&R now says “South Bellevue Station” instead of “South Bellevue P&R”. The display says “South Bellevue Stn”.
This is depressing. And necessary.
It’s depressing that it’s necessary.
If the airlines agreed to share their no-fly lists with each other, and flight attendants could tell unruly passengers that if they don’t comply immediately, they will be put on the all-airlines lifetime no-fly list, the passengers pretending to be children would pipe down and comply. The truly-triggered passengers, well, at least they wouldn’t be able to buy an airline ticket again. Why the airlines won’t deploy more nonviolent tactics, I don’t know. Having those passengers able to fly again is bad for their business, not to mention pubic health and safety.
If everyone on the plane were required to be vaccinated, (1) the incidences of mask-wearing refusal would probably go way down; (2) the health risks associated with having a mask refuser stay on the plane for the duration of the flight would be much lower (vaccinated-to-vaccinated spread only); and (3) a few more thousand lives of people who had put off getting vaccinated because they were not required to might be saved, maybe even tens or hundreds of thousands. Stay on course to the original destination, and let the mask refuser stay right where he is, move other passengers away from him, if possible, in particular anyone in a high-risk category, and then once he is off, he is banned for life from the privilege of commercial air travel. Having an air marshall there when he deplanes to read him a trespass warning would be a nice touch, but not necessary, given his ability to buy any more plane tickets, or finish his current travel plans by plane. No arrest would be needed unless he refuses to leave the airport. Fine will be coming in the mail.
I can’t see why airlines would be afraid of any of these tactics hurting their bottom line.
I think the airlines fear losing customers if there is a vaccine mandate.
Toss ’em out mid-flight, I say.
That’s the beauty of train travel.
Unruly passengers can be booted off at the next stop, or something more inconvenient.
International travel already has a ‘Vaccine Mandate’
International travel has many vaccine mandates, with each country having their own list if viruses against which one has to be vaccinated in order to enter the country. The state department keeps such a list, so travelers can plan ahead and get the requisite vaccines.
The US’ international flight COVID-19 vaccine requirement currently only applies to visitors coming into the country. But everyone, regardless of citizenship status, has to have a recent negative test for COVID-19 to fly in.
State Sen. Doug Ericksen appears to be a special exemption. He tested positive while in El Salvador, got sick, couldn’t get the wonderful treatments we have here, got a medivac flight to Florida, and is on the mend. It probably saved his life.
Rather than treat that as a case of rules-for-thee-but-not-for-me, we should probably give all US citizens the same opportunity to fly back, under quarantine conditions, if their life is in jeopardy. Some countries require ill visitors to be flown home for treatment in their own country.
Meanwhile, we really ought to have a Marshall Plan to get the rest of the world vaccinated before a supervariant evolves that defeats the current vaccines.
Don’t get me wrong, I support a vaccine mandate for travel (and the feds would win any lawsuit if they imposed it) but if you want to start another front on the culture war, this would do it.
The “culture war” is already going on on airplanes, and has passed the intolerable point. A vaccine mandate would essentially move the “culture war” off airplanes.
Vaccination status was not the only reason for unruly behavior. The fines being proposed by the FAA range from $8,250 to $34,250, with one passenger having a proposed fine of $40,823 for drinking their own alcohol and sexually assaulting a flight attendant.
“The FAA this year has received about 300 reports of passenger disturbances due to alcohol and intoxication. Unruly behavior on flights has “dropped sharply,” the regulator said, adding the current rate of 5.6 incidents per 10,000 flights is still too high.”
Not surprisingly the common element for the behavior was alcohol. Whether these folks were vaccinated or not is not disclosed, but my guess is based on vaccination rates in the U.S. probably 70% were vaccinated, but drunk. What the airline companies don’t want to discuss is intoxication is much more likely on delayed flights when passengers drink more waiting for their flight, and become more frustrated.
In addition the FBI is reviewing the cases for possible criminal prosecution. However fines address the core problem despite the reason for the unruly behavior, and whether the person plans on flying again, (and my guess is the rate of unruly behavior among unvaccinated passengers is similar to those who are vaccinated, except most airlines and states don’t require proof of vaccination except Hawaii), although I tend to agree some of these unruly folks should be added to a no fly list. But even an $8,250 fine will drive the point home.
Whether an airline can require vaccination to fly, and the effort to verify vaccination status, is unclear based on the litigation over Pres. Biden’s vaccine mandates. This would then raise the issue whether all public transit should require proof of vaccination, for example by requiring proof before an Orca card is issued, and requiring new Orca cards that show proof of vaccination.
Right now the problem is the risk of infection to the those who are not vaccinated, especially if they have co-morbidities like obesity, which is the dirty secret no one wants to talk about. America is just a very unhealthy country. Even if over six months, the vaccines are still effective against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and now a booster is available to anyone, although I am sure the risk of a breakthrough infection depends on your underlying health, especially obesity. If Americans would watch their diet and get some exercise the death rate for Covid would be much, much lower.
So the rest of us have to continue to wear masks to prevent those unvaccinated from getting Covid, and because we are such an unhealthy country, but that has little to do with the alcohol consumption and unruly behavior on planes.
Having been through the line at a couple Sounders matches, and to a restaurant that was complying with the county mandate, I can tell you vax checks are not that difficult. I can also verify that a large chunk of the crowd were maskless (but also all fully vaccinated), despite having ushers walk up and down the aisles with signs telling fans to mask up. The cup of alcohol or plate of unfinished food became the excuse to keep their masks off throughout the match. I don’t think I’m up for going to another match any time soon.
But back to airlines. Airlines don’t want the responsibility of choosing to have that all-airlines-forever-no-fly list. They want the government to make the decision for them. I’m not aware of any legal roadblocks to this happening, other than getting the federal government to issue the rule.
The federal government could mandate vaccination for interstate transit travel on Amtrak. Obviously. Amtrak already has a glacial boarding process, so the time for vax check wouldn’t make a difference. Public transit is a far larger project to check vaccinations, basically upon boarding the bus or entering the station. It could be done, and could be required by the FTA because they provide funding for most every public transit agency. It would impact travel time. It would hurt service availability. I’m not really for doing it, at least not now while we have better, more surgical, approaches to getting more people vaccinated.
I’m not buying the hypothesis that all airline incidents are from people just having a bad day and being triggered. After all, why did incidents not explode until January of this year? Given the huge growth in incidents, I believe a lot of it is willful. I don’t understand what they are trying to accomplish. But I sense a complete lack of empathy for the rest of the passengers on board when they pull these stunts. I don’t have proof that lack of vaccination is heavier among those inciting incidents. You have no proof that there is a complete lack of correlation.
But I do know that if the instigating person is unvaccinated, the harm they do to the passengers around them by being unmasked is magnified. Likewise, the risk of liability is magnified when one of the victims of the maskless breathing is also unvaccinated. The airline insurance departments should be thinking about that manageable risk. While they are at it, bundling an N95 mask with the ticket price would go a long way to improve risk management.
On top of that, what happens to the airlines when they get sued for transporting someone who is carrying a newer variant across state lines? That’s a bankrupting class-action lawsuit waiting to happen, if an outbreak is traced to one of their passengers.
Each airline has the ability to control this risk. If they value their continued existence as a business, they will choose to take all free and nearly-free measures available to significantly reduce that risk.
People get mixed messages about masks. This King County website says not everyone needs to wear a mask. Example, it exempts “Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues.” So, if someone is told by a medical professional not to wear a mask because of personal health reasons, I can see where that may escalate into a conflict when someone insists they wear a mask, but they are under the impression they don’t have to because the government they don’t have to.
I’d like to read a well-written Page 2 or Guest Post about a gondola connecting South Bellevue Station and Factoria and/or Eastgate P&R. I’d also like it to include conceptual drawings.
I’d like to read that too! Why don’t you write it?
I personally like cable-pulled liner systems, which is similar in technology to a gondola.
If it went further to Eastgate and Bellevue College and a second gondola or cable-liner rail to Kirkland from Wilburton, ST could connect every Line 4 station but Issaquah years earlier due to cost savings. It could also go to Downtown Kirkland if the locals supported the idea.
” It could also go to Downtown Kirkland if the locals supported the idea.”
Therein lies the rub
Sam’s getting his Santa Claus wish list ready early. Have you been good this year? There’s been improvement in less race-baiting/rich-baiting inflammatory trolling.
I will troll again. I see A Joy is easily triggered over homeless issues. I might write something along those lines. In the mean time, I’m happy to sit back and watch a few others take the lead on angering the comment section.
By the way, any relation to Sam’s Tavern in Bellevue?
Sam and William,
I have posted a few times about a gondola connecting Link (either via SBellevue or BellevueTC station) to Factoria and/or Eastgate and had prepared some concepts for some meetings. I would be happy to put it into an article, who do I need to work with?
Al, I like cable liner systems, they have some of the advantages of rail solutions whereas gondola systems are slower but have other advantages such as the fact that they can span longer distances without any support towers. The latter might be useful on this line. A cable liner for example would be great to connect Burien with TIBS.
Regarding Kirkland: The city of Kirkland has already studied a gondola from the 85th St Stride station to Kirkland TC.
Kirkland has already studied a gondola from the 85th St Stride station to Kirkland TC.
And what was the conclusion? That one seems like a no brainer if gondolas are at all viable as public transit. OHSU I believe is a tram, would that make more sense. I don’t believe the expense of the multilevel freeway interchange rebuild is at all a good use of transit dollars but this could be a recipe for lemon-aid. A lot cheaper would be to put a stride station at Houghton. Farther from DT but closer to Google and IMHO Old Redmond Rd is a better transit use than 85th. A gondola to Google connecting to DT would provide wide area coverage.
Google will soon have 3 facilities in Kirkland: The one you mention, one they plan next to the 85th station and one on Central Way&6th. The current gondola plan would have a midway station on 6th. Google could fund an extension to their first campus.
Kirkland also plans to build major TOD at the Stride station. Residents would benefit from a gondola station to connect to downtown Kirkland.
I think the city is waiting for Sound Transit, Google and the TOD plans to solidify before they finalize their gondola plans and stations, I understand that the study showed a line is certainly possible.
It’s good to hear they are keeping an open mind. I’ve somewhat followed the proposed development on 85th and frequent the Safeway there and the pet store that used to be an Albersons. It’s not ever going to be anything but a car centric environment and west of 405 is a cliff. The huge expense of the proposed STride freeway WSDOT give-away is what I object to. I look at those plans and I’ve had some engineering/survey experience with 520 (rest of the west) and JBLM and seriously see a billion dollar baby here that will drag on for decades like the HOV lanes in Tacoma. And in the end it uses just as much land as the current cloverleaf. Get a bus from DT to Totem Lake (already have one, it’s just not revenue service. I used to get experienced drivers to let me ride with them and it was great). Get a bus from DT to Redmond. Done. Let WSDOT fix the cloverleaf.
“Farther from DT but closer to Google and IMHO Old Redmond Rd is a better transit use than 85th.”
On the contrary, from the Google Campus, I would much prefer to walk to 85th. The distance to 85th is less than it seems because most of the route is on the CKC, which runs diagonally. The CKC is also a much better quality walk than the skinny sidewalk of busy 70th, right up against the street. The construction plans for 85th call for building a new sidewalk that will connect the station to the trail in a safe manner.
I also disagree about Old Redmond Road being a better road for transit than 85th in the Rose Hill area. The single-family walkshed is similar, but 85th contains far more commercial destinations that people might conceivably ride a bus too. 85th also connects the downtowns of Kirkland and Redmond (which is where the bulk of the ridership potential is) in a fast, straight line, which Old Redmond Road does not do. Anecdotally, I have ridden both the 250 and 245 through Rose Hill. The 250 consistently has people getting on and off around the 124th St. area. The 245 usually does not.
Ultimately, both 85th and Old Redmond Road should have a bus on them, as they’re far enough apart that simply having one line and telling people to walk is not acceptable. But, of the two, the 85th route is the one that should have better all-day frequency.
The CKC doesn’t reach 405 until you get to Totem Lake. At 85th you still got a hike straight up a big hill along a busy four lane road to a major interchange. Old Redmond Rd is only 2 lanes, carries a fraction of the traffic and winds it’s way up. It’s .8 miles from the A building to the existing Houghton P&R (east of 405). To use the CKC for the majority of your walk it’s 1.3 miles to the center of the freeway. 27 mins vs 19 min; it might be worth the extra distance by bike but not walking. On a nice summer day, sure. Dark rainy night in winter not so much. Thing is there’s already existing bus service up NE 68th so really no walking required. To get to 85th you’re going to have to make the long slog on a horribly congested 6th St to Kirkland and then transfer to another bus.
Thinking about this Google walking directions I was looking at are not using the CKC which run through the Campus. And the crossing of 85th is further down the hill on 85th with a steep hike. I haven’t walked that part but I seem to remember it crosses under 85th. Yeah, the Google walk directions I was looking at are going through a park and then using Slater. CKC is only a mile, 24 min.
I’ve had……interesting mixed results with Google walking directions. Sometimes it has directed me to walk through industrial buildings or other places there is no pedestrian path, and other times it selects a route that is really bizarre and out of the way.
With a gondola along 85th and a midstation on 6th, you could walk from Google to the midstation and take the gondola up the hill, no need to hike! On the way back on a nice day, you might want to walk down 85th (once the new walkways are in place) until it crosses CKC and then walk along the trail to the campus.
If you run a gondola up the NE 85th ROW (which is pretty much the only option) you have to clear all the signals & overhead power plus allow for the cable drop. Your mid station would load about 50′ (five stories) above the street. That’s expensive elevator service for low ridership. And a gondola ends at the freeway where connecting bus service connects both sides of I-405. Even Kirkland Transit Center isn’t that busy and most of the people using in are walking to their destination from there. I don’t see it ever being a major transfer center. Not many routes are going to make the long trip down to the waterfront and people coming from outside of DT probably have better options than DT Kirkland like S Kirkland or Totem Lake.
Bernie, have you reviewed Kirkland’s plans for TOD at the 85th station? https://www.theurbanist.org/2021/01/07/kirkland-proposal-could-bring-300-foot-towers-to-85th-street-station-area/ talks about it… Along with the new Google campus across the street (currently a car dealership), I think the need for a connection along 85th will greatly increase. The city is considering a connection from that development (East of the freeway) along 85th ROW to Kirkland TC. The midstation on the NE corner of 6th would be elevated, but not very much (20 ft?), though the towers may reach 130 ft to clear the freeway.
That’s an interesting blog post. Quite remarkable that it’s written by a high school student. The take home quote is:
the station isn’t expected to get too much ridership in its current state. Estimates from the City of Kirkland puts ridership at just 250 to 300 daily once BRT service begins in 2025 (for perspective, Rainier Beach got around 2,200 each day in 2019). As Seattle Transit Blog touched on before, it’s rather ironic that a station with such low ridership would account for almost 30% of the I-405 BRT program cost.
The maximum growth scenario creates a new Bellevue CBD out of a car dealership, Costco and a high school. Where are the new HS and other schools going to go?. It also assumes that much of the new housing that’s been built and currently under construction will be torn down. Why it can’t work:
Kirkland is all in on office space, but less so for housing… For each city like Kirkland that plans for three times as much office growth as housing growth, at least one city planning the inverse will need to exist
With less road capacity they’d have to funnel in an additional 20k commuters (mostly cars) from places like Monroe, Marysville, Duvall, etc. More actually since not all the new residents will work in the 30k new jobs. Why bet the farm now on dubious future plans when it wouldn’t even come close to meeting the need if it does somehow materialize?
I don’t care what Google says. I live in the neighborhood and walk through it all the time. The best walking route to 405/85th, by far, is CKC to 85th. Yes, today, there’s no sidewalk east of Kirkland Way, but by the time the construction is finished, there will be. It’s supposed to be a decent width, with decent separation from traffic and not have at grade crossings with freeway ramps.
70th is a lousy walk. It doesn’t avoid the hill climb, but it does force you to go a long way on a skinny sidewalk right up against the road. It’s only advantage (for accessing the Google campus) is having the 245 connection for those that don’t want to walk, but waiting for the bus from 70th won’t be any faster than just walking from 85th.
If this were my daily commute, I would probably run rather than walk to save time, get some exercise, and keep warm on cold, rainy days. But if you’re in good physical shape, it’s really no big deal. For the lazy, Google will be opening up another office building right next to the 405/85th interchange, so you’ll be able to just walk over there and ride a private shuttle to the main campus – no double transfer to go one mile required.
Why are the station announcements in Westlake Station (and presumably other DSTT stations) so loud? What is the point of these announcements? Do other cities have “… does not tolerate harassment…” messages blasting into everyone’s ears every few minutes? These messages are harassing my sensitive eardrums.
On a more positive note, the light rail has been very busy most of the times I have taken it since Northgate opened.
I remember watching a YouTube video about this but with signs.
This British-German youtuber said that the amount of signs that adorn some intersections in Germany are absurd, distracting, and overwhelming that it’s often referred to by Germans as a forrest of signs or sign forrest in German.
Yep. I think we may have to wait until 2024/2025 to get a sense of what post-pandemic long-term peak/rush hour transit ridership looks like, but off-peak Link ridership has looked strong when I ride it on evenings and weekends, even when there’s (to my knowledge) no major events going on.
I agree, and I imagine it’s particularly painful for people with sensory processing disorders. Is there any research into whether playing safety-related bleatings every minute actually improves safety, or is it just theater?
ST really, really, really wants you to know they don’t tolerate harassment.
ST’s new motto: “We don’t tolerate harassment, but we sure as hell tolerate broken escalators!”
It’s obnoxious and, as far as I know, other cities do not do this. I’m guessing the reason it’s so loud is some accessibility thing – to ensure that people who can barely hear are able to hear it, it needs to be painfully loud for everyone else.
My personal opinion is that audio announcements should be made only when a train is arriving and departing. Everything else should be communicated the old fashioned way, by simply writing it down on a piece of paper and stapling it to the walls.
I went to Brussels this weekend and pretty much the only announcements they had were for train arriving and final destination along with an announcement for a long term bus detour in part from ongoing construction in the city.
Does anyone here have any recent experience using any of the bus routes that run on NE 45th St? Most of the time when I’m in the U-District, traffic on 45th looks as bad as ever.
It’s an unpleasant stretch for pedestrians- the majority of blocks have cars trying to slide through yellow lights and running red lights, then blocking the crosswalk for people trying to cross 45th. For me, The most surprising part of the Northgate Link restructure was Metro adding a new route (the 20) to NE 45th, and moving the 31 and 32 onto 45th as well- the Steven’s Way loop can be frustrating if you’re not going to the UW campus, but my expectation is that moving them to NE 45th would make the buses slower and less reliable.
I think a lot of people were concerned about sending the buses to 45th. The station is too important to ignore though. For the 31/32, the transfer at UW Station is much worse. Sending the 31/32 there also allows the bus to continue on to Children’s Hospital/U-Village, making a nice connection. If I’m not mistaken, at one point they were going to send the 67 on 45th as well, but it had trouble making that turn. The 20 is a bit of an afterthought. It got moved around (in part because of financial problems) and they finally just settled on the current route.
I think the big problem is that there aren’t enough BAT lanes on 45th. I would have them both directions, for quite some distance. Westbound, I would start at Sand Point, and go all the way to Wallingford. Eastbound I would start at Wallingford, and end at 18th (where the roadway becomes one lane eastbound). There is no reason that 45th should have two general purpose lanes each way. Traffic will simply shift to 50th, where there are freeway ramps as well as two general purpose lanes each direction. There aren’t enough BAT lanes in the U-District, considering its importance as a transit hub.
45th definitely is as bad as it’s ever been, especially since the new all-day frequent Metro routes on it more than make up for no longer having the peak-only CT routes. The only slight consolation is that once Metro hangs new trolley wire, the northbound 44, 49, and 70 will turn off 15th on 43rd, and then go north on 11th, avoiding the left-turn-from-hell at 45th.
Having the 31/32 on 45th actually is a big win for transit, since it fills in a gap in the old network around the “frat row” housing east of 15th and north of 45th, which had no service for the last few years, and very bad service back in the route 25 days, despite having (presumably) a lot of people who would be happy using transit. Supporting that, I was on the 32 last week and around 10 people got on at the stops at 20th and 17th.
In addition to bus lanes on 45th, another big improvement would be simply closing the I-5 ramps, forcing private vehicles onto 50th where there at least isn’t much transit right now. If 50th were more backed up, it actually probably would be safer for pedestrians since traffic would be moving more slowly than the 40+ mph I’ve seen now.
It’s surprising because Metro took the 30 off 45th thirty years ago because of congestion, and now Metro is arguing that 45th is better. But it probably is better, because Stevens Way is a longer distance with many more turns, and it gets crawling slow with students. Also, the primary congestion is Montlake Blvd, and the 45th viaduct goes over 25th so that’s one less chokepoint, while the 45th/Pend Orielle intersections is in the middle of it. I’ve waited fifteen minutes to get from U Village to Pend Orielle Road westbound between 4:30 and 6:30pm, all because it has to cross Montlake for one split second.
I agree with the need for BAT lanes along 45th, especially in the U-District. Route 44 alone would justify them, but now that there’s 3 other buses running through the corridor, it’s silly not to have them.
When I was in the area during the late afternoon/early evening yesterday, 50th also appeared to be a sea of cars. With the opening of Northgate Link, the U-District has the most extensive transit out of any part of the city except for Downtown, or possibly Capitol Hill. When Seattle gets congestion pricing, it would make sense to put the U-District inside the congestion zone and put the fees towards adding bus frequency.
Should be a reply to RossB above
As someone who relied upon the 44 route almost daily for the ten plus years that I lived in Wallingford, I certainly would’ve loved to have seen such BAT lanes implemented a long time ago. I think SDOT is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing congestion on the 45th and 50th street couplets. One has to keep in mind that 50th is designated as a major truck corridor in the city’s Freight Master Plan (2016) with daily truck volumes of 1,000+ even back in 2014*. Additionally, 45th is identified as a minor truck corridor with daily volumes at 500+**. Thus any transit mobility plan that ultimately transfers more general purpose lanes’ traffic to 50th will have repercussions for the city’s freight mobility needs. It’s a balancing act that I would imagine (hopeful thinking?) Zimbabwe’s management team must be keenly aware of at this point.
*”There are also a large number of streets that carry more than 1,000 trucks a day, which constitutes a high volume. Many of these connect logical freight destinations but are not on the 2005 MTS network, for example:
• N 85th Street between SR 99 and 15th Avenue NW
• Fremont Avenue N, north of the Fremont Bridge
• E Olive Way, east of I-5
• N 50th Street, west of I-5″
**The distinction between the designation as a major vs. minor freight street in the FMP is not restricted by the daily volume metric:
“Both the major truck street and minor truck street designations have the same minimum threshold for truck volumes. These designations were differentiated by using the other criteria in the process…
“MAJOR TRUCK STREET
Purpose: Through trips
Land use: Connections to MICs, intermodal facilities, Urban Centers, and the regional system
Roadway classification: Minor arterial or higher
Truck volumes: 500+ trucks per day
“MINOR TRUCK STREET
Purpose: To/from trips
Land use: Connections to and from urban villages and commercial districts; provides secondary through routes for network resiliency
Roadway classification: Collector arterial or higher
Truck volumes: 500+ trucks per day”
Thanks for the info- freight isn’t something I’m knowledgeable about.
I did have commercial vehicles in mind in combining BAT lanes, a congestion charge, and increased transit frequency. Everything else being equal, I’m sure companies would prefer not to pay a fee to enter the U-District, but I feel like an explicit and predictable fee is preferable to the implicit and less predictable costs associated with being stuck in traffic.
I can’t see how the present situation on NE 45th works for anyone. It’s awful for pedestrians. Trying to bike on it is death-defying. It seems to be a morass for buses. Car drivers routinely and blatantly break the law just to make the slightest headway. I don’t think there’s anyway to improve the street without a large mode shift from cars to transit.
Freight/trucking companies would be all over this in a good way. They are paying drivers to sit in traffic and it’s tying up expensive capital. They could pay a $30 cordon fee and be money ahead. UW and DT should definitely adopt a London style cordon zone. Poof, no need for a second Montlake Bridge.
Redmond is calling the area around SE Redmond Station “Marymoor Village.” And, some people are starting to call the future station “Marymoor Village Station.” I like it. I wonder if it will stick.
I like it. Too bad Redmond didn’t suggest it to ST earlier.
Can they just drop the “Village”. If you have to have something other than just Marymoor call it Marymoor Park; or to be en vogue, The Park at Marymoor Station :-P The only Washington town or city with “Village” in it’s name is Beaux Arts Village and most people just call it Beaux Arts. Greenwich Village, I’m fine with that. I can’t think of another instance though including Overlake Village.
They do use Village a bit in the San Juans. Eg, Orcas Village to separate the community of that name from the Orcas Island on which it sits. Same for Lopez. Can be useful in Magnolia for the same reason.
That must be part of the recent “Village/at” meme. I haven’t been to the Islands in probably 20 years but it was not used at all back then. I find it as annoying as upspeak. Seems it’s mostly used to try and upsell something; Overlake subsidized housing Village, Marymoor big ass garage Village. And maybe even worse it adds a bunch of useless characters to the station name. I’m not against long names. Piccadilly Circus is great; much better than the Village at Piccadilly. And don’t get me started on how colors are systemically racist. They only are if you want to make it that. OTOH, I’d have no problem with Central Link being called the Rainbow Line as it reflects the central demographic it serves. Not my values but I’m not offended in the least. Live and let live.
I don’t believe that ST has had a naming decision on the two Downtown Redmond Link Extension stations. I believe too that the new policy doesn’t allow three stations to have a city name.
With that in mind, I think Marymoor or Marymoor Village is the very likely name.
I have seen BART do a political thing and name stations that serve a nearby city although they aren’t in them. In this case, I could see Marymoor/ Sammamish as another alternative.
Marymoor would be best. It’s one compact place. I’m not sure how long the walk from the station to the park is but hopefully it’s close enough to give reasonable access to all the park activities. The problem with “Sammamish” is it could be anywhere around the lake and that’s a huge area. Or it could be downtown Sammamish, which it isn’t.
I’ve been to the Marymoor area several times. The walk from the station to the edge of the park would be about 5-10 minutes, at most. Even though the park itself could add another 30+ minutes or so, depending on which part you’re going to, SE Redmond Station would still be the closest transit service to just about anywhere in Marymoor Park, by far.
Today, I think the best you can do is to take the 545 to Redmond and walk the Sammamish River Trail. It’s quite a bit further.
There’s another Sound Transit survey available online, this time regarding the Everett Link extension alignment alternatives. The Everett Herald ($) is doing its part to get the word out.
Link to online survey:
I had some shopping to do near Hospital Station so walked over to take a look. Station lights were blazing for no apparent reason. Looking up into the light it was hard to see much but appears the OCS wire is up. Absolutely zero sign of any pedestrian bridge or provision for a RR-B stop. I’ll check with the last person I talked with who was the City of Bellevue liaison for the ped bridge and see what I can find out.
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