The President’s speech starts 27:50 into the video.

This is an open thread.

98 Replies to “Weekend open thread: Biden’s infrastructure speech”

  1. Bellevue Transit Center today 2pm: I got off the 550 and transferred to the B. There were two B’s there, and usually the first one goes first, but this time the second one had its doors open. I got on and asked the driver, “Are you really going next or is he next?” The driver said the bus in front won’t move because it’s dealing with an assault situation. As we went around the bus I saw a transit police or transit admin car in front of it.

    Bellevue transit center today 10pm: I got on the 550. Four other people did, including a drunk guy with a six-pack. The driver said repeatedly, “Get off the bus.” He rambled the whole time and sat in the back. She said, “This bus isn’t moving when there’s an open container on it.” Then the driver repeatedly said, “Put your mask on.” Another guy went in back to try to talk him down and deal with the bottle situation, and went up front to get him a mask. Dude still wouldn’t wear a mask and kept rumbling drunkenly. At one point he walked up to the middle and kept saying he wasn’t drunk. He kept saying, “550”, which was apparently his way of saying “Get the bus moving.” We waited fifteen minutes; me hoping the driver called the cops and they’d put him off the bus. Bellevue’s finest came in fifteen minutes and did the soft approach. “You can’t ride this bus, you’re violating Metro’s policies, let’s get off and we’ll help you get on the next bus.” Dude kept sitting and rambling for five more minutes. The cop finally said, “I’m losing patience and if you don’t get off we’re going to arrest you.” They finally got him off. Ridership had doubled by then. The bus departed twenty minutes late. It picked up more people, and by the time it go to Bellevue High School there were several people standing, It wasn’t pre-pandemic full; people still weren’t sitting next to strangers. The driver declared the bus was full and it wouldn’t make any more stops until Mercer Island. That wasn’t a big deal because the following bus was presumably ten minutes behind it. Although of course the people at the bus stops didn’t know that; they just saw the late bus sail past.

    People say this stuff only happens in Seattle, but I’ve never seen someone that annoying before, or two separate incidents in one day, and I’ve been riding Metro extensively for forty-three years. I guess it happens in Bellevue too.

    1. This is the kind of episode that makes people vow to never ride transit again. Especially those that missed connections and got stuck downtown for 20+ minutes because this.

      1. I think there are three factors influencing transit ridership today.

        First is the closure of many offices. These commuters simply don’t need to take transit today, and most live in areas or have lives that require driving if not commuting. The issue with these riders is they represent a large amount of transit revenue and revenue per rider (packed buses/trains and fare paying percentage) and we have built a transit system that assumes coverage for these absent transit riders.

        Second is safety. Asd2’s second example occurred at night, in Bellevue. America is just a more dangerous country than Europe or Asia. The pandemic is fraying social norms, and police reform legislation has restricted and demoralized policing. It doesn’t help there are now fewer riders at transit stops and on the streets. Plus transit “malls” tend to be located away from retail hubs (or destroy retail hubs) so they seem remote. Women in particular are hesitant to take transit alone if they don’t have to, especially in the dark or downtown Seattle.

        Third is what asdf2 references: convenience, which in this case is frequency, and transfers when there is very little traffic congestion if you drive. Frequency is basically funding divided by coverage which depends on ridership, the sum of which is total trip time. Frequency even without delays for crime or drunks isn’t very good today, and farebox recovery is way down.

        I am not sure how some of these factors can be fixed. After almost three years of Covid, and a 3.8% unemployment rate (although 2 million workers have dropped out of the workforce) I am not sure these riders are coming back because they don’t want to come back.

        I see transit funding — especially for operations — staying depressed, and think it will very difficult for urban mayors to get the crime genie back in the bottle (like from the 1970’s to 1990’s) and most transit one way or the other runs to or through urban cities, like the 550.

        I guess that leaves whether to cut frequency or coverage, but I think transit systems are hesitant to cut coverage not knowing if the commuter will return (and light rail’s coverage can’t be cut unless new lines are eliminated) so in the short term frequency will be poor which makes transit too inconvenient for those who want to take it, or must.

        If I had to choose the most existential issue for transit ridership from the three it would be safety. People simply won’t take transit if it isn’t safe, the urban place transit is going and has transfer hubs is not safe, and the street isn’t safe which means it isn’t vibrant and the rider feels alone. Without safety I just don’t see how you get the discretionary rider on transit.

      2. As I have not personally experienced any safety issues of late (the 550 incident was someone else), the biggest thing preventing me from riding transit more is the huge influx in trip cancellations. A few weeks ago, the combination of cancelled trips and a Montlake Bridge Closure brought the total travel time from Kirkland to Belltown to a whopping 1 hour 45 minutes. (No, using the 545 to avoid the Montlake Bridge detour mess was not an option because the 545 also had trips cancelled, and I would have been stuck at Evergreen Point for nearly an hour; I checked).

        Then, on the way back, I decided to see if I could avoid most of the Montlake Bridge detour by taking Link to the U-district station and boarding the bus on 45th, but, of course, the 255 drove right past me and refused to open the doors, even though the westbound 255 *did* stop in front of U district station.

        And, to make matters worse, while I was waiting for the westbound 255 at south Kirkland park and ride, I badly needed to pee, but the nearest restroom was a gas station a 10 minute walk away, which would have caused me to miss my bus after what was already a long delay. I ended up finding an out-of-sight area in the woods and just going (male privilege).

        I have now pretty much given up riding the bus for anything until the staffing issues get back to normal and these random trip cancellations stop.

      3. This past August I rode the Orcas (island) Shuttle. The driver normally drives for one of the airport bus companies. He was having to stop driving for Orcas because he was the only Belair driver that had been vaccinated, and so he had to be available to drive all their buses that cross the border as that was opening back up.

        If the vaccination rate among Meteo drivers is similar or close, I would expect stuff to get worse before it gets better.

      4. Does the 255 really have widespread cancellations? I wrote a few weeks ago about how I tried to take the 255 on a Saturday from UW Station to the South Kirkland P&R to take a look at the Northup Way cycletrack I’d glimpsed and whether it was part of the 520 trail, but two 255’s didn’t come and I gave up. The display said it was coming in 5 minutes, then 2 minutes, then it disappeared off the screen. Then there were no 255’s, then another one appeared on the screen, but it also disappeared. I waited a total of thirty-five or forty minutes, and then decided even if one came I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in Kirkland if the same thing was happening over there or there was a big traffic jam on 520, so I postponed the trip and still haven’t gone. I wondered if they’d been cancelled, but I couldn’t see such a core route like the 255 cancelled in the middle of the day; I mean, how are people in norheast King County supposed to get to Seattle and vice-versa? It’s not like canceling the 226 or 249 when the B is less than a mile away.

      5. “People simply won’t take transit if it isn’t safe”

        Of course, but people have widely different thresholds for what they consider safe. The police blotter published in The Stranger said my old block in the northern U-District had crimes every day but they never affected me. It said there were shootings on the Ave but I never saw one and nobody i know got shot. Likewise, desperate panhandlers may swear at you and mentally ill people may talk to themselves and smell but it’s unlikely one will assault you.

        The normal social protocols apply: you can make yourself look more like a deterrent. If you bump into somebody you can say “Sorry” or they might say “Asshole”, and that’s the end of it. If they call you an asshole for not giving them money, well that’s their problem.

        Many people, especially suburbanites, think things are worse than they are, or they feel unsafe just because one person doesn’t have manners. They think if they go to Rainier Valley they’ll be shot, when gang shootings decreased there twenty years ago. The media reports on the two Seattlites who were assaulted but not on the 724,000 who weren’t.

    2. Me, I personally would rather have those nasty drunk people with open containers move around in the privacy of their own vehicles.

      Did he just pick the six-pack up at the local mini-mart?

      I suppose, in lieu of having Spock-like abilities to deal with unruly types, one could do what an old short [language] friend of mine did many years ago.
      (let’s just say… convince the offender you’re just one step crazier than they are)

      1. It was a green box of probably cans. I said bottle but it was probably a can. I didn’t see the open container, just the box when he walked past me when he got on. Is there a mini-mart near Bellevue TC? The closest store I know of is Safeway.

      2. ” Is there a mini-mart near Bellevue TC? The closest store I know of is Safeway.”
        Would be a bit of a walk with a bag of suds, I would think.
        Maybe he had that woman at that gas station mini-mart pick it up for him, she wasn’t masked either.

      3. Drinking on planes and trains, allowed. Drinking on light rail and buses, not allowed. If a passenger drinks on light rail, the train doesn’t stop. If a passenger drinks on a bus, the bus driver might stop the bus. I think the bus driver should react the same way a light rail operator would react if he knew about a passenger with an open container. Call it in, but keep driving.

        I encourage people to watch this YouTube video from three weeks ago. It’s about a Metro bus driver who is concerned about all the drug use on the bus. He specifically mentions 12th and Jackson as a particularly bad spot for riders getting on the bus and then “smoking their drugs.” It sounds like this guy doesn’t stop the bus and call the police for drugs worse than alcohol.

      4. Google is your friend, Sam.

        Per the Rules and Etiquette page on ST’s website:
        “Basic rules for bus and train passengers

        (bullet point 15)
        * Do not consume alcohol or drugs.

        Amtrak’s rules are a bit more specific:

        Alcoholic Beverages
        We serve alcoholic beverages onboard trains in most Dining, Lounge and Café Cars.

        Private Stock
        You may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages subject to the following limitations:
        You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket.
        You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public areas.

        Both Amtrak and Sounder operate on BNSF’s property.
        Serious enough violations can get you banned from railroad property.

        The beauty of train travel is, a train can stop mid-way to remove such unruly passengers.

      5. You can drink airline-provided booze but I’ve never heard of anybody drinking their own booze on a plane. Airplanes also have flight attendants who walk past passengers every few minutes and make sure things don’t get out of hand. Buses have no equivalent.

    3. I’ve dealt with completely sober riders who were more annoying. Most who refuse a mask are in some way out-of-it, or unaware of the mask requirement if they are coherent, and some haven’t even heard of COVID, but a couple of them I recall vividly were just getting their jollies expressing their freedom to be jerks on the train. Fortunately, in the case of both those jerks, they departed at the next station.

      As I said a couple days ago, I do feel more safe on trains and buses now than I do on an airplane, now that the airlines have given in to the anti-mask troublemakers, and let them breath on the rest of the passengers for the duration of the flight for the price of a drink, or for just having a free drink. Basically, planes are becoming a lot scarier than going to sporting events, where I can get up and move, or leave. I went to two Sounders matches last year, and spent more time watching who was around me and moving to another seat than I did watching the match. My suggestion to discontinue food and drink service for the time being does not seem to have been taken seriously.

      Air travel reliability has been taking a big hit, not just because of the weather, but also staffing shortages due to airlines deciding not to protect their employees from their fellow unvaccinated employees and unvaccinated passengers. The return of food and drink service would make more sense if it were accompanied by requiring proof of vaccination and a negative test before flying. Airlines have been a key culprit in the spread of the virus, so applying some common-sense rules ought to be one of the remaining low-hanging fruit in our efforts to get the virus under control.

      1. Our state’s DOH says there are people who are exempt from wearing masks in mask-required areas, like public transit. And, they don’t have to carry or show proof of their exemption.

      2. I was pleased to see today the announcement that California will be ending its indoor mask mandate next week. Time for Washington to follow suit.

      3. So Ron, do you not believe that government should regulate our ability to refuse to wear things on our bodies?

        Well if you do, why don’t we remove all of our nudity laws? After all, the primary reason we have them is to protect the spread of disease. Requiring masks prevents disease prevention much better than requiring that women wear tops.

      4. In Cali, the unvaccinated will still be required to wear masks indoors. The vaccinated won’t. The unvaccinated account for the vast majority of hospitalizations. And hospitalizations have fallen sharply in the last couple of weeks. Cali cities can still make their own mask mandate rules. All of this sounds reasonable to me. I agree with you, Ron. Our state should start thinking about doing something similar in the near future, if the current trends continue.

      5. along with all the transportation experts here, we seem to be graced with experts in epidemiology.

        Even if you have followed this statistically (as opposed to being on the front lines in health care), there’s probably potential for about a million more Covid deaths.
        Since vaccines are available for most everyone, (except for 5 and under as of now, ) the worry is that the inbreeding will cause another variant to emerge.

        Keep your eye on the UK. They’re stripping their masks off now.
        However, 80% of their population is vaccinated.

    4. It is exactly for situations like this that god invented the taser. The Bellevue police shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

      But hey, did he at least pay his fare?

  2. Do we know what stage of testing East Link is in and what steps are remaining? I’d love to know how much project float is left.

  3. Now that it’s Winter Olympics time, thoughts of how Seattle could host it in the future cross my mind. This year, I’m amazed at how some events are at least 100 miles from Beijing. The IOC seems willing to accept event venues scattered out more than what used to be the norm.

    So where would the different venues in our region be? Could existing and planned rail corridors be adjusted to serve those venues? How high (elevation) should the outdoor venues be and where would that be? Is there a town that could evolve into a great winter village (Leavenworth just seems to far) that would be reachable by train?

    I’m enough of a realist to understand how costly a Winter Olympics is. Let’s avoid that issue for now and imagine what it could be!

    1. Several years ago there was a group that wanted to try to bring the Olympic games to the Seattle area and it got shut down very quickly by the Seattle City Council and other governments basically for the cost in staging them before and after the games. The after is that the IOC expects local governments to pickup all of the expenses and they keep the profits and cities have found that the expenses last for years afterwards.

      In 1990 Ted Turner brough his version of the Olympics to Seattle called the Goodwill games with Husky Stadium used for the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field events. The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way was built for the swimming and diving events.

      Bob Walsh who used to be a Sonics executive was the man behind bringing the Goodwill Games to the area but made promises about facility availability without having firm contracts with the owners of the facilities. Husky Stadium was a prime example where he promised the stadium to the point where the UW was forced to make the stadium available.

      The current Winter Olympics are in Bejing because 4 European cities backed out of the bidding because of the cost involved and pushback from their citizens.

      The next 2 Summer Olympics are in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 with the former being backed by the French government over the objections of many French citizens. Los Angeles will host their 3rd one and their costs will be reduced as they will use all of the facilities that were used in the 1994.

      In the future the IOC will find that cities will no longer be bidding to host the games because of the cost and the major hassle it brings before, during and after the games.

      1. Yeah, I really doubt that Seattle would want to host the winter or summer Olympics. There has been talk of just picking a city (e. g. Athens), and having it there all the time. Rotating amongst cities that have held it before is just as good, and makes way more sense than having a new city spend all that money to host.

      2. Summer Olympics are much bigger. It would be like comparing a cow to an elephant. It’s a whole other discussion. I will say that the bigger event could attract more financial support for fast-tracking rail transit projects that currently appear to on a path for delayed openings until well past 2040.

        Winter Olympics seem less costly but still costly. I would think that mostly existing venues would be used. In particular, I’m not sure how the Northgate and Climate Pledge Arena investments in hockey ice would lead to cost savings.

        I’m reading that Vancouver has a strong interest in 2030. If they get it again, that would push out a Seattle bid well into 2038 or beyond.

        Oh well… It is an interesting event to ponder hosting.

      3. There is a possibility of Seattle and Vancouver co hosting. It would be a chance to really up the quality of the RR connection between the two cities. Crystal Mtn is the only resort in WA that even comes close to having enough vertical to stage the DH and that’s questionable without building a ramp like they did in Sarajevo. The problem is the base area is way to small to handle the crowds. Whistler Blackcomb has 4,000 employees and is a true year round destination resort. Seattle could definitely host hockey, speed skating, figure skating and curling. The Methow Valley could host the cross country skiing. But it would be silly to build an Olympic venue for ski jumping in Washington which is a giant single purpose stadium that would never be used. But Snoqualmie could be used for snowboarding. Although, again building the stands wouldn’t be practical unless they could be a temporary structure. The sledding events would have to reuse the facilities built at Whistler. There’s also the associated Paraolympics which usually follow the regular Olympics that with two cities could be hosted simultaneously. One city could host the opening ceremony (likely Vancouver) and the other the closing ceremony. Or Seattle could do both for just the Paraolympics.

    2. Crystal Mountain would be similar to Whistler. It is a ways out of town, but that is relatively common. Calgary and Salt Lake City have held it before (with the big mountains outside of town). Even with the Oslo Olympics they held the downhill races an hour and a half outside of town.

      I think most people get back and forth by bus. For example, Mount Teine (where they held the alpine skiing, bobsled and luge in 1972) is close Sapporo, but you get there via a 20 minute bus ride. Taking a bus to the ski resort is common in Europe and Asia. There are exceptions. You can get to Chamonix via the train, but not Courmayeur.

    3. Given the proximity and resulting warmth of the ocean, everything would have to be high.

      There are 3 obvious locations.

      The main one would be E, C, W, Summit and Alpental at 3000 ft. There are no trains through Snoqualmie pass, as far as I know.

      Stevens is at around 4000 ft. Crystal is around 4500 ft. It may be that these are the only 2 viable, by the time it comes around to us.

      Crystal is really remote. I guess you could make something of Enumclaw. But Enumclaw. Certainly no transit other than buses.

      You make something of North Bend or Issaquah. Again, buses.

      So Stevens and Leavenworth are really the the only places that might be fruitful transit-wise with Amtrak’s icicle station. It isn’t particularly high, but is cold enough that you could build venues for much of the non-vertical stuff there. Pipes and slope style and jumps. It is used to tourists and festivals, and would probably be totally remade by hosting. Whether that would be bad thing, I won’t debate.

      The indoor would lean heavily on Seattle Center I would guess, with some down in stadium district. Place your ST3 stations wisely, Seattle.

      Tacoma will be happy to host short-track monster trucks at the dome.

      1. Stuff like Luge and Bobsledding would need an entire new facility built for a very niche market.

        Lake Placid and Salt Lake City are the only two places in the USA with a bobsled course, and those are left over from previous Olympics.

        The only way I see it happening is for it to be split between Vancouver BC and Seattle. That might allow some of the expensive stuff from the previous Vancouver Olympics to get used again.

  4. I’ve a page 2 post that’s been in progress for some months about my experience riding Orcas Shuttle (on Orcas Island). Is there any actual interest from the STB readership?

    They are attempting to do flexible route transit dispatched by cell phone, but it has hiccups.

    1. Yes, I’ve heard a few times about that shuttle and I’d like to hear more. I’ve been to Orcas Island twice with my family in the 70s and once with a college group in the 80s. I didn’t know there was any transit there and maybe there wasn’t then. So it was interesting to hear the island has a seasonal shuttle to discourage tourists from driving and clogging the roads. I’d like to hear more about it, and your other transit experiences in rural Western Washington. I’ve been thinking about going to Port Townsend someday because I’ve never been there. Not sure if I’d be willing to take the local buses or if I’d take the Dungeness Line or whatever Greyhound-like thing there is even if it’s more expensive. I hear people have luck with the transfers on county-based routes, but I still have a fear of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours or a whole day if I miss a transfer.

  5. 12th & Jackson today 4pm. I went to Goodwill, taking the 36 because the 7 didn’t come, so I got off on 12th. I’d read the Times articles that that intersection had deteriorated a lot and was unsure whether to believe it. I used to love the little Vietnamese grocery store in the strip mall in the southwest corner in the early 2000s, and Thanh Vi, and Tamarind Tree. Today the southwest strip mall has a chain-link fence around the parking lot, with a one-lane opening for cars. The east side of 12th and the north side of Jackson had several shops boarded up, like last year just after the demonstrations. Some boarded-up shops looked vacant; others were open but still had boards. The southeast corner had a hundred people standing around. One tried to sell a pack of toilet paper to somebody for $5. Others had odd things that might be hot merchandise, like a hair iron box. My first thought was “New York in the 70s”. My second thought was “Haight-Ashbury after the kids realized they had no nowhere to go”. I never saw either of those but that was my impression.

    7pm. I came back from Goodwill and tried to take the streetcar to Capitol Hill but I just missed it and the display said the next one was in 25 minutes (if the display was accurate). The hundred people were still there. I tried the 60 stop but it was also 20 minutes away. I tried the 1/7/36/49/106 stop, intending to take a bus to Intl Dist and Link, but this time I was lucky and the next minute a 49 came going all the way to Capitol Hill.

    It made me resolve to go back there soon and support the struggling businesses: Thanh Vi, Thonson Tofu (which I’ve never been to but my friend says has excellent baguette sandwiches), and the grocery I saw on King Street.

    1. I know that Dow went down there and partially cleaned it up. (Only because he was there). So it was probably not that dirty. You have lived in Seattle for a long time. In your opinion, would you tell someone that is not from around here that it is safe at that location? Without you being there to explain it. I have been by there many times.
      I think it is safe for me. But I live here and know what to expect. And you do too. I would be hesitant to recommend one of my friends to go there. I don’t think they would get hurt. I want to suppport the community. The businesses have had it rough. I just think that convincing someone to go there and spend money is a tough sell. And that makes feel bad for the businesses.

      1. I walked around there quite a bit about a month ago. I was just taking a long walk and ended up going by there. Mostly it just looks run down, even though there are places nearby that are doing fine. San Fransisco used to be like that — my guess is parts of it still are. You go by one block and it looks like one of the nicest places in the world. A couple blocks over and it is really run down.

        As I wrote earlier, the pandemic explains why it looks especially weird — there is just a crazy disconnect between the boom in construction, and the boarded up retail buildings. Folks who are down and out, along with ruffians around various corners were fairly common — but so many closed businesses surrounded by so much obvious spending is unprecedented in my lifetime.

        Does it feel unsafe? That is a judgement call. I certainly felt safe, but that was in the middle of the day. It might feel dangerous at night, but that is true outside a club. Even the nicest clubs often have assaults, as drunken men cause trouble. Often these problems get dragged out on the street. The area might be similar.

    2. I feel safe there. The people are just standing, talking and selling, not assaulting people. If there are altercations it’s usually between people who know each other. The only unsafe part was the crowd was so thick I had to walk on Jackson Street around them. Ordinarily I would have gone through the crowd next to the building but I was trying to social distance.

      I’ve never felt unsafe in Seattle, not even around the people on Third Avenue or in tent clusters. I’ve only had two potential assaults, one in the 1970s and one in 2000. The only cities I’ve felt a sense of menace in were London and Moscow. Not Seattle, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Duesseldorf. And the Moscow thing was maybe misinterpreting the culture. The buildings were run-down and the young men liked to wear dark shades and leather jackets and look mafia so it looked like a TV movie of thugs, but I told myself, “These are family people coming home from work or walking their dogs,” and practically all of them were.

      Likewise, a group of homeless people is probably just talking and thinking about ordinary things, not assaulting everyone they see. The main problem is they’re chronically stressed by all the things they have to go through and lack of good sleep, so they sometimes act out like anyone would under those circumstances. The solution is to give them housing: then they wouldn’t be so stressed and those things wouldn’t happen.

      1. Your comments about Moscow remind me of Trevor Noah’s bit about the Russian language. I’m sure you would enjoy it (if you haven’t seen it already). His whole standup routine is hilarious — well worth checking out.

    3. Also, the dodgy crowds are only on a few blocks. The crowd on Jackson was only on the south side of Jackson between 12th and Rainier, and a half block south on the east side of 12th. Thann Vi, Tamarind Tree, and Viet Wah are on the north side of Jackson hardly had any people, just a few walking or waiting for a bus. King Street didn’t have anybody else, and Rainier down to Dearborn had just people walking. So it’s easy to go around the crowd if it bothers you.

      Likewise, on Third the loitering crowd is usually between Pine and Union. Sometimes it’s tents, sometimes just people standing. This week I saw a new tent cluster on 4th & Pike, but again only for one block and on one side of the street. There are a few sketchy people on Pine and Pike Streets but I’ve never seen a crowd. And I go through there a few times a week to Pike Place Market or to catch a Third Avenue bus, and it never changes much. it’s just that sometimes there’s more people than others for reasons I can’t fathom. But you can avoid it by walking on Second, Fourth (with the exception above), Fifth, First, Union, or Stewart, just one block away. Those streets usually have just a few business people, tourists, and ordinary people walking.

      I don’t know about Pioneer Square because I haven’t been there much since the pandemic started.

      1. Yeah, I agree. There are only a few spots where you have big crowds of people who look like they are waiting for something (or loitering). You do have a lot of people under the freeway in tents, but that is common throughout the world.

    4. I went to 12th and Jackson the other day. I got off the bus right into the crowd. There was a big cloud of meth smoke, making it hard to breathe. The tents that were blocking the sidewalk on my previous trip had been removed. On my return trip, I took the trolley to avoid the meth smoke.

      I’ve put up with much more danger in other cities, so it didn’t feel unsafe to me, but I imagine a lot of people feel otherwise. The cloud of meth smoke is not something I want to deal with, though, so I if I’m taking the bus, I’ll use a different stop next time.

      I wish we could put our Hamsterdam away from major transit stops. Philadelphia has a huge open-air drug market, but it’s at least a few blocks away from the el. And wherever we have it, we should really have some police presence 24/7. Meth addicts are not stable people.

      1. Bruce Harrell held a news conference in which he stated the city and police dept. have targeted 12th and Jackson and 3rd and Pine as intersections to prioritize. According to Harrell, the new city attorney and King Co. prosecutor are part of the team. Harrell stated dozens of arrests for felonies and misdemeanors have been made at 12th and Jackson, and drugs and stolen goods seized, but so far the drug sellers and drug users continue to return but the city will stay diligent.

        Harrell seemed to distance himself to some degree, and placed the burden on Diaz and the criminal justice system to prosecute and sentence these offenders to get them off the street, but that he as mayor was a strategic partner. I think Harrell understands how difficult it will be to put the crime genie back in the bottle after the last four or five years of a feckless mayor and worthless council. It is amazing how bad downtown Seattle and areas like 12th and Jackson have become.

        But it was Harrell who was elected by a landslide based on public safety and homelessness. I got the feeling watching him and Diaz during the joint conference that the very public firing of Zimbabwe was to put Diaz on notice he better get his shit together and start cleaning up Seattle or Diaz is out. Diaz seems like the perfect fall guy if things go slower than Harrell hopes, which I think they will. The residents of Seattle want results and they want them now, but it would have been much better if this process had begun four years ago under Durkan whose administration really was a mess.

      2. The crime genie? Really? Hyperbole much?

        I wouldn’t put much stock in the “dozens of arrests for felonies and misdemeanors” line either. Outside of SFH enclaves, dozens of felonies and misdemeanors occur on every single block in Seattle. Most vehicular moving violations are misdemeanors, for example. Harrell is likely playing fast and loose with technically accurate legal language here. Something I am sure you know nothing about.

      3. What is meth smoke like? How do you tell if it’s meth smoke?

        Seattlites voted for Harrell because he said he’d be on top of crime. I expect more from him than just blaming Diaz. Harrell shouldn’t micromanage policing but he should be setting the policy goals and benchmarks. He shouldn’t set up Diaz as a scapegoat the way the city council set up Carmen Best and the department. I still haven’t heard any specifics from Harrell on what he plans to do and work on. It’s only the second month but he should start announcing them soon or I’ll think he isn’t doing anything.

      4. BTW, the news reported a Bartell’s closed on Third, but there are other Bartell’s on Fourth and Fifth. The market may have been oversaturated.

      5. The bartells on 5th is really the only useful retail in all of dowtown.. it is a marvel.

      6. I do not know the political reason for the departure of Zimbabwe. I am not in a position to grade his job performance. I did not hear anything about the firing of Diaz. I think when they decide to open that position up to the public, he should have to apply just like anyone else. I hope that what you mean by firing is only that he may or may not get that position of SPD chief. Not fired. It would look pretty bad to fire him based on 2019-2022 crime metrics. He took over at a time when everything in Seattle was very devisive and a position that was not very popular. He did not have to step up to do it at all. It would look like the city of Seattle backstabbed him if they use his position as a fall guy to blame all those problems on him. For what that is worth. I would like to know what Harrell thought about Zimbabwe. I generally support Harrell. But if he is going to just get rid of the old guard, he should be transparent as to why. He was on the council very recently, so if there were problems, he is saying he is going to solve problems he might have helped create. I would rather talk about Link opening dates. But oh well.

      7. Jimmy James, in politics there always has to be a fall guy if shit goes bad. To think transit is not the most impacted thing by crime and unsafe streets is unwise, because without ridership there is no need for transit or frequency. “Induced demand” means the riders are not there now for a project, but with a bunch of rosy projections about zoning and population gains and ridership they may be one day, a very poor model to build transit upon as we have learned. Without safe streets and the return of the commuter and shopper Seattle loses its cash cow: downtown Seattle, the people who subsidize transit.

        I was surprised Harrell kept Diaz when crime and public safety are the only real two issues Harrell has right now. Diaz is not chief material, and you can see that. He was the next warm body when Best left. But by keeping Diaz Harrell buys time to look for a superstar chief (but probably dreads the equity process the council and special interests will devolve into) and can see what Diaz can do, and what may work. It also allows him to put more pressure on the council for his choice of chief as citizens continue to demand change, and Harrell throws the council under the bus because they got rid of Best. Don’t be surprised if Best is on Harrell’s advice team for the next chief because that will box the council in.

        Getting rid of Zimbabwe had little to do with transportation, because transportation is not an issue Harrell was elected on (unless it is the $3.5 unfunded bridge repair/replacement). Right now transportation could hardly be more depressing, because there really isn’t the money to do much except complete some ST projects and fix the WS bridge. Ridership on transit has plummeted because of the crime and WFH.

        The very public firing of Zimbabwe was like a story my dad told me when stationed in Pago Pago during the Korean war while in the Marine Corps. Monkeys are very smart, elusive and very disruptive, so when they would become too bold the cook would take the chickens out into a field surrounded by the trees the monkeys lived in to chop off their heads for dinner. The monkeys would get the point watching the bloody and headless chickens stumble around the field without a head, for a while.

        This is Diaz’s moment he never really thought he would have. It is a difficult moment, but if Diaz can clean up the city he probably can write his ticket to any number of big city jobs, although I don’t think Diaz is really cut for a big city chief job. Diaz just isn’t chief material, and Harrell knows that, so he is just biding his time.

      8. Harrell never gave a clear reason for firing Zimbabwe. He said it was because they have differences in vision, but never specified what that meant or what Harrell’s vision is. Several STB commentators including myself said Zimbabwe seems to be a competent technocrat, better than the previous director or two before him. So why fire him? It seems to be arbitrary. Harrell never mentioned anything specifically wrong that Zimbabwe did, and STB commentators couldn’t think of anything.

      9. Mike says, “It seems to be arbitrary. Harrell never mentioned anything specifically wrong that Zimbabwe did, and STB commentators couldn’t think of anything.” Mike, I told you last month that you’re overthinking it. New mayors often pick new department heads. You may not understand it or agree with it, but that’s what happens the vast majority of the time.

      10. That’s what I said. If he did because new mayors often appoint new department heads rather than to remedy a specific fault or install a specific expert for a reason he can articulate, then he’s doing it arbitrarily. How does he know there is somebody better available, and we won’t get somebody worse?

      11. @Cam Solomon
        I like shopping at Bartells also. It is sad that the family sold out after over 100 years of pretty good service. The shopping experiance may not change for a while, but in my mind will not be the same.

      12. Swami Daniel, the Mayor Whisperer, knows Bruce Harrell’s every private thought as he knew those of Jenny Durkan and Ed Murray. It is truly a gift, and those of us in the Great Unwashed of Humanity without this gift are deeply grateful to him for enlightening us!

  6. Browsing through the new East Link Connections proposals —

    — I went through the route sheets to assemble a list ordered roughly by proposed frequency (weekday peak · midday · evening).

    [10-15 · 15 · 15] 8
    [10 · 10-15 · 15-30] 554
    [15 · 15 · 15-30] 240, 270
    [10-15 · 15 · 30] 542
    [15 · 15 · 30] 220, 250
    [15 · 15 · 30-60] 245
    [15 · 30 · 30] 211, 215 ending Issaquah, 269
    [20 · 30 · 30-60] 203, 223, 226
    [30 · 30 · 30] 931
    [30 · 30 · 60] 222, 225, 249, 930
    [30 · 60 · 60] 251
    [45 · 90 · 90] 215 ending North Bend
    [30 · 60] 204 (service till 6:30pm)
    [60 · 60] 224 (service till 8pm)
    [peak only] 544, 218, 256, 342, 630
    [eliminated from Phase 2] 202, 241
    [page appears incomplete] 4

    1. I left out RapidRide B:

      [10 · 15 · 30] RapidRide B

      (Odd, and at this point concerning, that ‘15-30’ is not listed as the evening frequency, as has been done for 554/240/270.)

    2. It’s hard to go through those dozens of sections and tell what has changed or what the experience of a rider in any location would be.

    3. Going by your frequency listing, I’m pleased with the frequency of the first five routes. Bellevue-UW, Bellevue-Kirkland, and Issaquah-region need full-time 15 minute service. The middle group has some 30-minute periods I’m not sure about. Not every route needs to be frequent, but at least one route between the main cities does. Is North Bend getting only 90-minute service off-peak? Has the 30-minute service been abandoned? Route 4 changes beyond a Judkins Park Station detour may be waiting until the RapidRide G restructure.

    4. Metro has never had less than 15-minute RapidRide service before 10pm. It’s probably a mistake; there were several mistakes in the last proposal. NE 8th Street hasn’t had 30-minute service for twenty years now, so unless the frequency is moving to Bel-Red I can’t see it just disappearing.

    5. No, it can’t move to Bel-Red, because that would leave Crossroads without frequent east-west service, and Crossroads is the main reason for the B being on 8th.

    6. Here are some initial impressions — I’m still combing through it.

      Overall Phase 3 consolidates service onto fewer routes than Phase 2 — notably, 202 and 241 are deleted, while a few routes have had their frequency boosted.

      In a couple higher-density locations, Phase 3 retains service that Phase 2 proposed to eliminate. Phase 3 retains service on Old Redmond Rd east of 148th (current 221, now proposed 223) and retains service on 156th north of 40th (current and proposed 245). IIRC at least one of these areas was noted as a concern when the planners presented Phase 2 to the Redmond City Council.

      Issaquah Transit Center is even more abandoned than before. In Phase 2 it was served by 554/202/203; now, the proposal maps suggest that only the 203 serves it. The 554 runs along Gilman but does not appear to reach the transit center itself.

      A couple of the Phase 3 proposals are reminiscent of routings prior to the RapidRide B restructure ten years ago. The 240 is proposed to once again follow 108th Ave NE between South Bellevue Station and downtown Bellevue. Meanwhile, the 223 has been extended to Redmond and shifted westward to make more use of 148th Ave NE, evocative of the pre-RapidRide 221.

  7. Pondering the deep DSTT2 stations, I have to wonder if the problem is a mismatch of vehicle technology and vertical movement needs.

    Perhaps DSTT2 should be for Sounder, Cascades and eventually high-speed rail. After all, it’s going to take a few minutes to get down and then up from those station platforms. That’s just not practical for short transit trips which is the key to a useful light rail. If the public builds the tracks, it can run all-day shuttle trains on the tracks. It can be served by zero emission trains. It can provide a second station for Sounders and Cascades north of Downtown and closer to SLU. It can reduce the southbound demand to King Street in the afternoons so that DSTT1 could handle the Link demand. ST could look to more partners to pay for the tunnel.

    I realize this is a bit of personal fantasizing. Still, it just feels silly to build what ST is currently proposing and not be strategic about the next use for a second Seattle transit tunnel.

    1. Al, Cascadia HSR currently plans a station under Beacon Hill and then a tunnel under Broadway: but no further station. Alternatively they thought about a UW underground station but I can’t imagine the UW would allow that to happen. If that’s the case, there would not be any overlap.
      If the lid over I-5 would get built, there is also a proposal to run elevated over it.

      1. Er. the entrance would have to be on Airport Way. The top of Beacon Hill is too isolated and has too few roads for an HSR station.

        If there are going to be HSR stations in SODO, U-District, 177th, Paine Field, and Everett Station, that raises the question of why Everett Link? I think I read HSR would run once or twice an hour and have fares below $20 to northern Washington, so that’s kind of like Everett Link. It’s too bad the HSR details couldn’t have been settled earlier before Link was planned.

      2. They are actually proposing a station at the west foot of Beacon Hill between I-5 and the steep slope? I want to know which Dispensary they went to before they had the route discussions. And they’re actually proposing to bore a tunnel all the way from North Everett to Beacon Hill??????? Do they think that Washington has its own Federal Reserve?

        I like to armchair engineer as you all know, but this is beyond preposterous. If such an HSR line is ever built it will pass through Bellevue elevated above the median of I-405. But it won’t be, because there isn’t enough potential travel to make it worthwhile.

      3. HS Rail isn’t if you make four or five stops within the city. The bottom of Beacon Hill I think should be considered for a future infill station on East Link. I agree with TT that this is the new “prime” territory for new 5-12 story apartments. Several are under construction and a big one is starting at Rainier and Bush Pl that is literally a walk in the park to Judkins Station. There’s several more abandon or underutilized old warehouse/manufacturing builds west of Rainier and south of Dearborn that sit on relatively large lots.

      4. That CHSR link from Martin is just silly.

        “HS Rail isn’t if you make four or five stops within the city. ” Then don’t build HSR. A new heavy rail alignment from Seattle to Everett is only justified if it can provide intraregional rail in addition to intercity rail. The alignment should have stations at places like Lynnwood or Northgate to allow for transfers throughout the region; if they want to triple track those stations to allow for express run, fine, but to me it’s far more important to have those intermediate stations than for the alignment to strive for “HSR” speeds within King county.

      5. Shinkansen lines have fairly frequent stations. Express trains don’t stop at them. Locals do. There’s no point in a huge investment in HSR without serving as many people as possible, and that means a diversity of service types on the same line. They operate at the same speed between stations, but expresses take through tracks around the locals when they stop at local stations.

    2. RE: mismatch vehicle technology, The Urbanist had a good article on this a few years ago (I’ll link to it if I can find it) where the author argued that Ballard-UW should be done with heavy rail because then tunnel diameters can be much smaller (referenced some London subway rolling stock) and therefore the tunnel cost is lower. I thought it was a compelling argument, because Ballard-UW as a standalone line could have an OMF where UW has surface parking on the east edge of campus.

      I was skeptical of DSTT2 being a different technology because I thought the advantage of interoperability with the rest of Link was very powerful, plus WSBLE’s OMFs will be in Federal Way & Snohomish county, much cheaper locations than SoDo. But if WSBLE is really going to have short tunnels in WS & Ballard, in addition to the downtown tunnel, and the next big project is a Ballard-UW subway, then maybe it does make good sense to build WSBLE with a different rolling stock that allows for smaller tunnel (via more squat vehicles) and smaller stations (via shorter but more frequent trains).

      I also always supported the elevated Ballard stations because I thought a further extension north up 15th at-grade was the obvious low cost, high value next extension, but I’m getting the sense now that many transit activist despise the Rainier Valley surface running segment, so if surface running in Ballard, even if for a short segment well north of Market, if dead-on-arrival, and surface running isn’t on the table for West Seattle’s terminus, then there really is no point to serving either of those neighborhoods with light rail.

      1. I’m not sure tunnel diameter really makes a huge difference in cost, and it’s a real headache to work with, long term. Deep tube London Underground trains can’t have off the shelf air conditioning systems, as an example. The tunnel is too tight to the roofline for anything to fit, and the space under the car is already crammed with traction equipment. The deep tube stock is so tiny that most people can really only stand towards the center of the car. At the walls, the floor to curved roofline start is maybe 5 feet. The doors have to go several feet into the curved roofline to allow people a large enough door to walk out.

        They can afford to buy custom equipment because they buy dozens of cars, and besides nobody is going to enlarge the tunnels so it’s what they have to have no matter what it costs them. For North America, they would be one of a kind cars.

        Underground obstacles, size of statins, the need for emergency escapes, type of ground to be tunneled and a host of other details are more important for tunnel cost, unless you get to some huge thing like Bertha.

      2. I’m not sure tunnel height would make a big difference, but even a light metro is usually a bit wider and high floor, meaning wheels don’t extend into the cabin but are fully under floor. That itself makes for more space inside. Even if you run shorter trains, you get almost the same capacity. If you automate them, you get higher frequency and lower operating cost and more lines can share the same tunnel.
        ST is focusing on elevated or tunneled lines, the few at-grade lines are still totally separate, so you don’t really use any of the light rail advantages other than may be turning radius.

    3. RE: 2nd tunnel for Sounder/Cascades. I’m not sure if I’m following your suggestion; do you want a tunnel that moves South Sounder terminus further north, to alleviate the peak transfers on Link? Or a tunnel that allows for Cascade through running?

      If the later, I think that would be a compelling reginal/statewide project, but it really wouldn’t do much for travel within Seattle. I’ve always through that any new alignment for Cascades/HSR heading north from downtown would need to use the I5 ROW, even if it tunneled under the Ship Canal. Any other alignment would be prohibitively expensive, even with a $50B budget. So Seattle could get a much better placed intercity rail station, but that likely does nothing for improving access to SLU, let alone Ballard, and likely could induce just as much demand on to the DSTT1 by creating a much better intercity/regional rail network (presumably with a dramatic increase in frequency, if we are building a $10B regional rail tunnel).

      1. That said, I think you are basically describing the Stahbahn system. It would require a change in federal regulations, but what you describe is very common. The problem is we only have a single regional rail line, so the downtown trunk likely doesn’t have the frequency to be useful for locale trips. Stahbahns work by overlapping moderately frequent regional lines into a frequent urban line (think Seattle’s bus tunnel, or the BART system)

        So either you are designing a station for 15 minute Sounder frequency, and therefore need to account for 10-car long trains, or you are designing a station for 5 minute Sounder frequency but then need to either build an entirely new rail line from Seattle to Tacoma or buy out BSNF. If ST owned the commuter rail from Tacoma to Seattle (like they do from Lakewood to Tacoma), this would be an excellent idea and would be very much like Caltrain moving their terminus from 4th & King to Salesforce Transit Center, but unfortunately Sounder is not Caltrain.

      2. I ask the question as a concept first. The genesis is that the extra time to reach deep stations makes using DSTT2 much less useful for short trips. Investing in surface solutions or at worse modest level change solutions would be both cheaper and more useful for these short trips. The ST3 diagram looks streamlined — but the actual travel time to get between something like Westlake and Seattle Center in the deep station environment is terribly long, possibly 15-20 minutes. RapidRude is faster!

        Add to that the slow speed of light rail when covering long distances. Why build a very expensive second tunnel where trains won’t exceed 55 mph right next to a tunnel that already has trains operating at this lower speed? Imagine how wildly less beneficial the 99 viaduct replacement tunnel would be at 25 mph and stop lights as an illustrative comparison. If we must go deep, let’s make the trains faster and offer limited stops!

        Finally, trains are on their way to bring electric —either through wires, paddles or batteries. There will someday soon be no worry about diesel exhaust.

        With that overview with caveats, I would suggest something like this:

        1. Three regional rail stations — one at or near King St and one north of Downtown like in SLU along I5 or perhaps Smith Cove and one in the BAR area. I would suggest pitching a King Street replacement — although that could set into motion a bargaining chip to make King Street work without gouging the public in track fees. The new Downtown North station would have several platforms so trains could lay over. I’ll assume it as one in Interbay but perhaps one in SLU is possible.

        2. A deep tunnel connecting the two Downtown stations with no stops in between. That tunnel could be supplemented with extensions that are aerial or surface or even a short bit in an extended underground alignment. For example, exclusive tracks that follow next to the current tracks unless some tracks can be purchased between BAR and Interbay. These tracks would be built for faster trains (say 150 mph max but even 80 mph would be great).

        3. Building track connections to allow South Sounder and Cascades trains to use the new tunnel pretty quickly upon opening.

        4. Opening a new rail service that works as a fast shuttle. I’m thinking train sets that would run from Interbay to ID (King St) to a SODO future rail station to BAR. It wouldn’t be 130 mph but would be much faster than Link. It could make the trip between Downtown North and ID in 2-4 minutes with 10-12 minutes to get to BAR if not less. The fast trains would mean that just three train sets could offer service every 15 minutes.

        4. It would set the stage for future regional rail and high speed trains to use the new core track segments and stations.

        Honestly, it’s enough of a systems paradigm shift that it would offer up new opportunities for trams, TODs and other new supporting strategies and projects. It’s hard to sell as a stand-alone incremental rail system improvement but the enhanced speeds to get through Seattle could be a huge catalyst for new proposals and attracting new riders.

        We probably wont get the opportunity for another downtown transit tunnel for many generations. I’m simply pondering how to make the tunnel effort more worthwhile.

      3. “Honestly, it’s enough of a systems paradigm shift that it would offer up new opportunities…”

        @Al S.
        I get where you’re going with this thought experiment. Honestly, I think it would make for a good page 2 article.

      4. Since every single train will stop both King Street (either the current or the theoretical new one) and Westlake, the speed through downtown doesn’t really matter as trains will spend little time at max speed? There’s no need to design for high speeds within downtown.

        I like the idea of a better located regional rail station, but serving Sounder & Amtrak stations requires a massive footprint. Unless you can stick the station somewhere like I5’s express lanes, this will be a massive underground station much like the Salesforce Transit Center’s underground box, which would be much more expensive than any Link subway station. That’s a big investment for a station that will be unused most of the day, given the lack of heavy rail capacity moving trains in/out of Seattle.

        Unless it was paired with all-day frequent Sounder, basically your argument is to build another downtown tunnel to mitigate peak crowding issues, but otherwise don’t do anything that helps improve mobility within Seattle?

      5. Brightline in FL is doing the same strategy: intercity HSR service once or twice an hour to major cities and more frequency more regional service around Miami and Atlanta to smaller cities/stations in between. That way you can get the most out of an HSR investment. I would consider that the next generation Sounder service on new publicly owned ROW. It will take another 20 years, but at least something to look forward to! May be DSTT2 could wait until then.

  8. Did anyone on this blog actually watch Biden’s infrastructure “speech”? This the theme of this thread.

    Biden’s speech begins at 28:00 and runs until 51:49. The first 28 minutes are basically campaign speeches by supporters and subordinates about how great Biden is. Biden really never mentions a single transportation project in his 23 minutes, except he did spend time on inflation and supply chain bottlenecks, and thanking those who spoke kindly about him.

    I would have liked a discussion on our aging water and sewer lines which is a multi-trillion-dollar unfunded need, and of course on this country’s bridge needs. If there is one aspect of the infrastructure bill that I think is sobering it is how much of the funding is going towards maintenance.

    I think the states too often forget they have to maintain what they build, and that metric depends so heavily on the cost of maintenance, and on ridership. If there is one term I would like to see retired it is “induced demand”, which simply means there isn’t the ridership to support the mode and cost (including roads), which of course leads to all kinds of manipulation of future estimates on project costs (low), population gains (high), and actual ridership (very highly inflated).

    If there is one paradigm of Ross’s I like it is mode follows existing ridership. You should know which mode to build, and where — and how much to spend — based on actual ridership, rather than fantastical assumptions leading to “induced demand”. Only when a mode is no longer adequate for the existing ridership and frequency has been exhausted on the current mode do you spend the money on a new more expensive mode to meet the capacity, with the risk ridership patterns and levels can change suddenly, like in a pandemic.

    I think the manipulation of assumptions to validate “induced demand” because agencies or advocates wanted to build a certain mode no matter the cost or existing ridership is the virus that infects transit projects, from Cascadia to Seattle Subway to ST, and why we have such large maintenance deficits in this country.

  9. FYI…

    Rider Experience and Operations Committee Special Meeting Wednesday, February 9, 2022 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    One of the items on the agenda is this:

    “7. Reports to the Committee •November 26th Incident Audit Findings and Response”

    Might be interesting or might be a big nothingburger. We shall see.

  10. Swiftly, one of the software companies attempting to market various solutions to transit agencies, is having a “State of Public Transit” webinar on Feb 15th.

    They are not providing much information on who these panelists are or who qualifies them to be on this panel, or why we should listen to them.

    Some of us in the comments section really should figure out how to get paid a pile of money to spout the same opinions we give here for free.

  11. Yikes, I just heard six gunshots go off in Pioneer Square from my office. The police are streaming in, and there appears to be a standoff. Think I will have lunch in my office today.

  12. My daughter has been complaining that Link only runs 3 car trains at 8am for the last few days. I thought ST received enough cars now for 4 car trains during peak times, does anybody know the reason?
    On top of that, a large portion of the front AND back of one car is cordoned off for “ST personnel only”, but nobody sits in that area while the rest of the car is standing only, why is that happening?!?

    1. The cordon started with covid. It’s ostensibly so drivers can get in and out of the cab in a socially-distanced way.

  13. East Link restructure information sessions are Thursay, February 17th, 6-7pm; and Saturday, February 26, 10-11pm. “These sessions provide an opportunity to talk with service planners and share your feedback on the updates we made to address the public feedback we received in fall 2021.”

    I still have to go through the routes section by section to see what the network would be like. I assume somebody is writing an article about this?

    1. Aside from the routing changes detailed in the Urbanist article, Phase 3 also clarifies what changes are proposed to occur in 2023 vs. 2024.

      Removing the peak-only 252, 257, and 311, and introducing the peak-only 256 as a replacement route, are all now scheduled for 2024. It’s noted that they’re waiting on the SR 520/I-5 express lane project to introduce the 256, hence the 2024 timing:

      The Phase 3 timing for ending the peak-only 237 is odd; I wonder if it may be erroneous. The 237 route map notes that the 256 will provide replacement service Woodinville-Totem Lake, while the 237 survey notes 251 + Link provides replacement service Woodinville-Bellevue. However, 237 is proposed for deletion in 2023, while both 251 and 256 do not start until 2024.

      This leaves Redmond, where the Link-based changes come in separate 2023 and 2024 steps. Mostly looks intuitive; here’s a summary (with some guesses here and there where the documentation lacks detail; notably, how exactly each bus will travel on Cleveland and/or 76th isn’t explicitly shown):


      542 – stays as-is
      545 – stays as-is
      B Line – stays as-is (there’s a tiny change at 160th/83rd whose timing is not noted)
      221 – eliminated (see 222/223)
      222 – through Redmond via Redmond TC (this routing not explicitly specified)
      223 – ends at Redmond TC (routing otherwise per Phase 3 documentation)
      224 – stays as-is
      250 – stays as-is in downtown Redmond; upgraded so all trips serve both Bear Creek P&R and Avondale Rd
      269 – truncated at Bear Creek P&R
      930 – stays as-is


      542 – takes the Bear Creek P&R tail of the eliminated 545; kept on Redmond Way (no Cleveland/76th dip)
      545 – eliminated (see 542)
      B Line – extended via 83rd/164th to end on Cleveland/76th at DT Redmond Station
      222 – moved away from Redmond TC to serve DT Redmond Station instead
      223 – extended via 83rd/164th to end on Cleveland/76th at DT Redmond Station
      224 – still ends at Redmond TC, but put on Cleveland/76th to serve DT Redmond Station, plus other changes
      250 – still serves Redmond TC, but put on Cleveland/76th to serve DT Redmond Station
      251 – begins service; skips Redmond TC to serve DT Redmond Station instead
      269 – moved away from Bear Creek P&R to serve SE Redmond Station instead
      930 – same route; weekday evening and weekend service added (will DT Redmond Station be layover point?)

    2. Thanks. How about them route 240. It backtracks from Factoria Blvd to Eastgate P&R and then to South Bellevue Station. How much travel time would that add for people going from northeast Renton to Link? How much better is it from the previous proposal?

      I’m dubious about the B not serving Overlake Village. The densest and lowest-income part of eastern Bellevue should have frequent service to the Overlake shopping area and the closest Link station, and RapidRide has several benefits like an easy-to-find route and next-arrival displays that’s appropriate for this trip pair. On the other hand I suppose Crossroadians could go the other way to Wilburton to get to Link, and that doesn’t take very long.

      1. Phase 2’s Route 240 only connected to Link at Downtown Bellevue Station; someone in northeast Renton, if they were close to the 240 but not the 111, would need to either ride the 240 through Bellevue College and Lake Hills Connector to DT Bellevue Station, or transfer to a route that connected to Link faster (likely the 554 at Eastgate Freeway Station). Reversing the trip was even worse because Phase 2’s 240 wasn’t frequent; it had 30 minute frequency midday and evenings.

        Phase 3’s 240 has 15 minute frequency for most of the day, much better transfer-wise for riding Seattle to northeast Renton (or Newcastle, or Newport Hills); however, in that direction the Eastgate deviation will feel a bit absurd – it appears to me that from Eastgate Freeway Station, one would loop down via 142nd Pl/32nd to Eastgate P&R, then retrace back 32nd/142nd Pl.

        The specific shape of the deviation is likely to invite debate. The routing is *asymmetrical* between South Bellevue Station and Eastgate P&R. Going from South Bellevue Station to Eastgate P&R, the 240 follows I-90 to Eastgate Freeway Station Bay 4, then looping down to Eastgate P&R. Going from Eastgate P&R to South Bellevue Station, the 240 follows Eastgate Way to the I-90 onramp at the Richards Rd intersection.

        I get the impression the planners were quite committed to having the 240 continue to serve both (i) the bus stops on 142nd Pl near 32nd (to bring people closer to Bellevue College) and (ii) 36th between Factoria Way and 142nd Pl. Compromising on either of these two points would likely allow a faster deviation to be designed.

  14. The various articles on the SoundTransit management failures leaning to the Apple Cup situation are pretty damning. It doesn’t sound like they’ve learned much from the Cascades disaster in 2017.

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