Mayor Bruce Harrell:

“We are now hearing many community members questioning whether there needs to be a new station in the community at all – and as a matter of good government we need to answer that question. “To be clear, looking at alternative location options in addition to those currently proposed does not mean we don’t expand transit capacity downtown – it just means we assess a broader range of options. Let’s let the process figure that out, with the community fully at the table.”

Via today’s informative Seattle Times article.

Time to put First Hill back on the table?

206 Replies to “No station in Chinatown?”

  1. “Time to put First Hill back on the table?”

    They should do that anyway, but not as a result of this.

    If they do build the second tunnel, then people from the south will need a place to transfer if going east. That place has to be IDS.

    This no-build nonsense is posturing by certain people trying to extract concessions from ST. Make no mistake – it is nonsense. They are going to study it as a sop to the neighborhood, but it can’t go anywhere.

    1. Actually, if they pushed East Link to DSTT2 the next station after Judkins Park could be either First Hill or Midtown (or both) and then Westlake.

      Of course, all those attorneys in Pioneer Square would have to change trains at Westlake…

      1. Al, whichever tunnel gets East Link gets double the frequency.

        My guess is the CID and downtown Chamber want East Link in DSTT1. That means a transfer to get to SLU — the only possible location eastsiders will be going in DSTT2 — but with large tech companies letting Eastside workers work in Eastside offices or WFH that commuter my go away.

        So don’t look for East Link to be routed to a DSTT2. Harrell needs to get those eastsiders back downtown from the CID to Westlake, same reason Bellevue decided to run the one seat 554 to Bellevue Way, and assuming some better policies downtown Seattle and the UW are the only real destinations eastsiders will want to take Link to. The Eastside subarea didn’t build East Link to go to First Hill. . We have the 630 for that.

      2. I wasn’t aware that the 630 went to Bellevue, Eastgate, Issaquah, Newport Hills, Renton, and Kirkland. It’s not the entire Eastside that has a one-seat ride to First Hill, it’s just Mercer Island. Sure, some others can transfer at Mercer Island P&R, but then it’s a two-seat ride. The most you can say there is that at least the transfer isn’t downtown.

        The 630’s schedule at the P&R westbound is 6:18 (canceled), 6:58, 7:38 (canceled), 8:19. Eastbound at Boren & Madison: 4:08, 4:43 (canceled), 5:28 (canceled), 6:02. I don’t know how feasible it would be to take the 111, 550, or 554 to Mercer Island and transfer to the 630, or how many people currently do so. I assume “canceled” is due to driver shortages, because Metro used the word “suspended” for pandemic reductions.

        The fact that it’s a 600-series number and labeled “community shuttle” suggests a third party is funding it at least partly, that it may have non-union drivers, that it costs less to operate than regular Metro service, and that it is in the lowest category of ridership.

        Or maybe the only Eastsiders who work at First Hill live on Mercer Island. Is that possible? Patients and visitors come from the rest of the Eastside. And when I worked at Harborview, one of the nurse managers came from Issaquah, and other nurses came from all over including Eastern Washington, Bellingham, and the Olympic Penninsula. (The furthest ones tended to work four consecutive days, staying with a local friend.)

      3. Mike, the 630 does not serve areas east of MI. Today.

        But ridership (and frequency) are so low today on the 630 — including on the 554 and 554 — I think there is a real possibility that Eastside cities won’t want to have their own 630’s, and MI will stop subsidizing the 630, in the future. The riders just never came back despite the fact these workers can’t WFH. .

        Either they are driving to work or found jobs on the Eastside since these are such coveted healthcare workers. Good for MI taxpayers.

        But the issue Al raised was whether to continue East Link on a WSBLE line that accessed First Hill rather than DSTT1.

        If there are not enough future riders on the 630 to continue even peak service it makes little sense for the Eastside to run East Link to First Hill.

        At the same time it makes little sense for Seattle to use East Link trains to double frequency in a WSBLE line that serves First Hill rather than DSTT1 that serves the downtown core, UW, and Nirthgate. There may be few eastsiders on East Link trains north ofcWestlake, but CID to Northgate is the heaviest volume for Seattle and would benefit the most from doubling frequency with East Link trains. Especially if Eastside ridership is so low on the 630 it doesn’t even support a few peak buses M-F.

        I always wondered why an Eastside healthcare worker — especially east of MI — who can’t WFH — would commute to First Hill rather than get the same job on the Eastside closer to their home in a safer neighborhood. It looks like they thought the same thing which no doubt is great for Eastside hospitals and medical/dental facilities.

        I have often stated it is very hard to get people to do what they don’t want to do. One of those was commute to First Hill, especially with a transfer downtown. Looks like those Eastside healthcare workers found an alternative, like so many Eastside workers.

        The real issue no one is discussing is WSBLE and DSTT2 are based on Rogoff’s prediction 48,000 riders PER HOUR will be riding Link through Seattle IN EACH DIRECTION, and no doubt future operations revenue is based on that estimate along with a 95% fare paying percentage.

      4. 48,000 per hour is a typo, I’m confident no one actually has that in their predictions intentionally considering thats Tokyo levels

  2. “As conceived in ST3, a second station in the neighborhood [CID] creates one of two major hubs, along with Westlake Station. Easy train transfers are key to the vision proposed by then-CEO Peter Rogoff, for three downtown lines that would carry 48,000 riders per hour each direction.

    “Equally crucial, the International District/Chinatown complex is where trains from Bellevue and Redmond (beginning in 2024) arrive, then turn north toward toward the University of Washington — so ST3’s plan calls for thousands of Eastsiders to fill a dual-station hub while changing trains.”

    48,000 riders per hour in each direction? Is that remotely accurate? 100,000 riders per hour through downtown? Thousands from the eastside when the 550 and 554 today are maybe hundreds.

    I am not sure I understand the issue for eastsiders. Assuming any take East Link into Seattle how many will need to transfer to get to West Seattle or Ballard? East Link will continue onto the UW and Northgate. I guess some could transfer in-station to take Link south to RV or MLK but doubt that will be significant. If an eastsider needed to go to West Seattle wouldn’t they just drive, or at worst transfer at Westlake?

    If they need to go to SLU, which is the one stop I could see having any significant ridership except most large tech employers are giving eastsiders an option to work on the eastside, couldn’t they transfer at Westlake (for their second or third or fourth seat including park and ride), like they have to today after a one seat bus ride, but refuse to.

    The only drawback from no second station at CID would be riders from West Seattle travelling east who would have to transfer at Westlake for a two (or three seat) ride to the eastside unless they need a transfer to their ultimate eastside destination which means a fourth seat. But as Al has pointed out there will be very few riders from West Seattle on WSBLE, even fewer going to the eastside.

    I would put the no station at CID and fourth Ave. tunnel options at better than 50/50.

    1. A big Eastside issue is that they could not transfer to get to SeaTac or anywhere else in South King or Tacoma without going to Westlake and walking the proposed very deep Westlake maze with its multiple levels proposed.

    2. That’s not the only transfer, there are also people going from south/west to east. How many folks from West Seattle and in South Seattle are employed by Microsoft and friends on the East Side?

      Generally speaking, overloading at one station like Westlake is a bad idea because increases in disruption and dwell time are probably exponential with ridership. We already saw in the pre-four-car days that Westlake has no issues filling up, I don’t know that making *everyone* transfer at Westlake is a great idea.

      1. “ Generally speaking, overloading at one station like Westlake is a bad idea because increases in disruption and dwell time are probably exponential with ridership.”

        I shudder to think about how long it would take to just get on an elevator or escalator in that situation.

        To date, ST has shown no interest in expanding existing platform vertical capacity at Westlake.

  3. I’m trying to decide which of the following statements is more jaw-dropping, the mayor saying that considering not building a station at the most important transit junction in the entire state is “good government” or the Coast Guard treating the ship canal like the Panama Canal because the Port wants to get into the business of working on mega-yachts, because god forbid we coordinate economic policy between provincial Port agencies and have the yachts park somewhere else in the Sound when they need a oil change.

    1. I kinda wish the city on some level would tell the Coast Guard and Port of Seattle to pound sand about their canal access qualms. Unless the Coast Guard and Port of Seattle are willing to pony up the additional cost for making the crossing either underground or high enough over the canal for the supposed “tall boats” that use the canal than they should maybe step away from conversation about it.

    2. We really need to go Dutch on them and say we’re building this bridge and your megayachts can go fuel up on Harbor Island. Imposing such a cost on a busy transit line because of a hypothetical mega-yacht industry is dystopian.

  4. So, I take this option does not mean that the new trains use the existing tunnel. Rather, it means that the new tunnel is still built, but contains no international district station stop. So anybody riding there from south has to ride to the next station (5th/Madison?) and backtrack. This definitely feels like a downgrade relative to existing pre-ST3 service.

    1. “So anybody riding there from south has to ride to the next station (5th/Madison?) and backtrack. This definitely feels like a downgrade relative to existing pre-ST3 service.”

      So I am confused. Won’t riders coming from the south on Central Link still access DSTT1 and the station at CID (and if necessary East Link eastbound), along with riders on East Link? The only riders who will have to travel past the CID to backtrack to transfer to East Link will be riders on WSBLE from the south. Riders from Ballard will always transfer at Westlake because it is their first stop with transfers. Or are all riders from the south going to have to transfer onto the WSBLE line? Where is that transfer?

      My understanding is the only riders who will be inconvenienced will be riders coming from the south on WSBLE who want to transfer to East Link and so will have to go to Westlake, and riders on East Link who want to transfer onto WSBLE going south (to West Seattle) who will have to transfer at Westlake. That sounds like a pretty small number of riders overall.

      1. I don’t remember which of the two south branches was supposed to go in which tunnel, but I’m pretty sure it was one on one tunnel, one in the other. So, anyone coming along whichever branch uses the new tunnel would need to backtrack at Pioneer Square either to a train in the old tunnel, or to a bus down 3rd Ave. If Rainier Valley gets the new tunnel, they will be in for an ugly surprise. At least they’ll still have the #7 bus as an alternative.

      2. You don’t need to backtrack at Pioneer Square station. I work in Pioneer Square. Just get off the train at Pioneer Square and walk four blocks to the CID.

      3. Not exactly, I think. If you look at the Sound Transit website, the way they are planning on structuring the lines, people will have to go north to Westlake to transfer on trips between Rainier Valley and West Seattle, as well as between Rainier Valley and University Street/ID, or between West Seattle and Midtown or the Eastside.

      4. Service on the new “Red Line” as The Urbanist’s map shows it is scheduled to begin in 2032 according to the ST system expansion website. Service to Ballard, including a new DSTT2 is not scheduled to begin service until 2037.

        Which begs a whole lot of questions, including whether a second SODO station will accept riders from the Beacon Hill Station southward at that time, or if Beacon Hill will be the end of the line for five years. (The West Seattle branch will be using the existing SODO Station at the inception of the new branch.)

      5. You can certainly tell that the long-time Sound Transit Board chairman is from West Seattle, it seems to me.

      6. @Question Mark — The plan is to essentially just build an independent line from SoDo to West Seattle. That line will run for five years or so, while the other line(s) run normally. There will be some disruption — similar to what happened when they connected East Link to the main line — but otherwise the other service won’t be effected. Thus people from West Seattle will transfer to the other train to go either direction (downtown or towards Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley).

        Yeah, its nuts, but that is just one of the screwy aspects of West Seattle Link.

      7. The current plan for 2045 service is to have the Tacoma-SeaTac-RV trains use DSTT2 while East Link and West Seattle Link trains would use DSTT1. East Link trains would terminate at Lynnwood while West Seattle trains would go all the way to Everett.

        It is way too far for trains from Tacoma to continue to Everett or even Lynnwood, so sending them to Ballard keeps their run time below two hours between terminals. That is also true for West Seattle-Everett and Redmond-Lynnwood runs.

        It is insanity not to have a transfer between East and South Link at the south end of downtown Seattle, whether you think it’s important “to the East Side” or not.

      8. “It is insanity not to have a transfer between East and South Link at the south end of downtown Seattle….”

        Agreed. I think that sums up the situation perfectly. This new development, i.e., the idea of just eliminating the planned station in the CID, is just crazy.

        I also have to agree with RossB in his assessment of the board; they clearly have no idea what they are doing if they are even entertaining this notion.

        Scrap the DSTT2 and interline everything in the existing tunnel. Geesh. I thought that ST3 was a terrible plan back in 2016 (hence my no vote), but they are actually trying to make it even worse!

      9. It’s nice to see you back Tisgwm.

        As one of the very first on this blog to suggest interlining the real issue is project cost, not station placement. I predicted from the beginning Ballard and West Seattle would not “drink the bitter ale” of surface lines and stations, and downtown businesses and neighborhoods would not agree to cut and cover tunnels (although to be honest I did not know stations would take 7 years to complete, even using deep bore tunneling). I think many on this blog didn’t want to believe this because basically it means believing ST lied when it came to project cost estimates, ridership estimates, and subarea revenue in the levies, although as Al has pointed out DSTT2 was basically a back of the napkin design and project in ST 3.

        WSBLE is now estimated to cost (by ST) $14 billion, without a project cost contingency listed. My guess is $20 billion will be more likely when completed based on the demands in the DEIS and inflation returning to historical norms over the next 22 years which of course raises bond interest rates, and ST’s history of underestimating project costs at every stage.

        No doubt N. King Co. does not want to give up subarea contribution for DSTT2, assuming the four other subareas have their contribution. But the reality is WSBLE is not affordable, not just DSTT2. N. King Co. does have a good argument that when it comes to light rail its money probably would have been better spent on a WSLBEor urban subway rather than running light rail to Snohomish Co. and S. King Co., but that decision (and the costs) are a done deal.

        Last month I posted a link to the 2021 subarea report you suggested I read. Beginning in 2022 it is likely ST tax revenue in the East King Co. subarea will exceed ST tax revenue in the N. King Co. subarea which must complete the Lynnwood Link extension, and now stations at Graham St. and 130th which have soared in estimated costs. If someone proposed a $20 billion Link project in East King Co. people would laugh (and $4,5 billion for the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line raises eyebrows), although that subarea will have higher ST tax revenue for the next 22 years (but apparently does not get its park and rides, even though I don’t think they will ever be necessary on the eastside post pandemic).

        Even with subarea contribution for DSTT2, and even if the four other subareas could come up with $550 million each to complete DSTT2 at its likely current cost estimate of $4.4 billion, that still leaves a project cost for WSBLE of $20 billion less $2.2 billion = $17.8 billion less N. King Co.’s 1/2 share of DSTT2 of $2.2 billion but with no DSTT2, which means an SB5528 levy would have to be closer to $8 billion rather than $10 billion. But without DSTT2 there is no subarea contribution, and to be honest the 2021 subarea report did not suggest to me three of the subareas even have their $275 million contribution for DSTT2 based on project cost estimates in ST 3 ($2.2 billion).

        The Board knows this, but they are politicians. That is why it will begin with a stub from WS despite this is probably the least productive part of WSBLE and a promise to complete the rest later. The Board will kick this issue down the road for another Board, and Dow will claim he delivered the WS Link extension (to nowhere).

        So even if “WSBLE” is interlined in DSTT1 N. King Co. does not have the funds for the rest. Harrell is not going to place an $8 billion SB5528 levy on the ballot, especially if the politics of WSBLE being abandoned are better than it going forward for him, which will raise all kinds of Seattle political issues like racism, equity from the RV about their surface non-segregated Link line, who gets DSTT1 and who gets DSTT2 (even though theoretical), underground stations in WS and Ballard, and so on. Plus Harrell has learned having a major bridge fail is a political disaster, whereas Link not so much.

        The big issue is how to kill WSBLE without telling transit fans in Seattle it has been killed. The DEIS, followed up by just the WS stub, was not a bad idea, certainly for Dow’s run for governor, leaving the truth to a subsequent Board, but now DSTT2 and station placement are raising citizen rancor over a line that never can be completed with the funding in the subarea.

        Look for Harrell to throw the Board under the bus, and to side with every local community like the CID, WS and Ballard and the Chamber over every issue, because he knows WSBLE can’t be built so why fall on your sword over WSBLE when it doesn’t vote and will never happen.

      10. As one of the very first on this blog to suggest interlining

        “No you weren’t.” Ross has been arguing against the second tunnel since it was proposed and many others have agreed for years that Interlining would improve the rider experience, especially with center platforms at IDS and Westlake — or USSS if a junction were between there and Westlake.

        Of course, you didn’t know the Blog e isted in 2014 when the fights about First Hill and the Bus Tunnel erupted, so your insoucience can be forgiven.

        You came out of the blocks sneering at “Urbanists”, and grabbed onto the weakness of the tunnel proposals as an exemplar of “Teh Libruls” and a post onto which to hitch your scorn.

        That’s all.

      11. It would be crazy to not build a station at CID if the 2nd tunnel is built. Because of the lack-of-money issue this could simply be the ST board seizing on an excuse, community opposition to a second station, to study how to interline everything into one tunnel.

        If this study includes a study of how to create a Y that allows a line to Ballard to hook into the existing tunnel then we will know.

        Could they manage the budget for the rest of WSBLE if they don’t have to pay for digging a 2nd tunnel and three new stations?

        Still, I’m convinced ST desperately wants to build the second tunnel because they have the voter approval to do so.

      12. Could they manage the budget for the rest of WSBLE if they don’t have to pay for digging a 2nd tunnel and three new stations?

        jas, I think that, especially if the Interlining junction were east of Westlake so that all three new downtown stations are eliminated, the North King projected tax revenues would be sufficient to build a “full WSBLE” within the projected time frame.

        However, having the diversion somewhere along Pine is very difficult because of the wall of new to newish large buildings along the south side of the street. The existing tunnel rises more than one story in depth below the street between Sixth and Ninth.

        You can’t just demolish and replace one of the buildings to make the junction, because the track would still be heading eastward and slam into the basement of the next one to the east. And so on.

        So far as I can see, the only thing that really “works” is to have the Ballard-Downtown Seattle leg be a stub with a single-track non-revenue connection between Third and Pine and Westlake and Stewart or Jonathan’s “dogbone” idea.

        Either of these would require every user of the SLU/Ballard “branch” coming from or traveling to points south of Westlake Center to transfer there. The stub would require a relatively small center-platform extension to the existing station which could be considerably shallower than ST’s proposals for “New Westlake”.

        Since all of “BLE” would be grade-separated, stub trains — but not “dogbone” vehicles — could be composed of smaller automated third-rail powered vehicles, as long as the third rail collectors were retractable and they carried closed pantographs and a small cab for operation on the larger system south of Third and Pine. Such vehicles do exist.

      13. jas, Interlining with a stub or dogbone has a problem with what to do with the Tacoma-SeaTac-RV trains. They can’t go all the way to Lynnwood within the standard two-hour maximum driver leg, so some improvements to the turnback facilities at Northgate would be required. Either “double-cabbing” where the new operator boards the train at Northgate headed north and the previous operator debarks southbound after the reversal or widening the trackway to include a full pair of stub tracks with a covered walkway down the middle of them would be required. The union will never agree to forcing a single operator to reverse trains in the existing tail track for scheduled operations. It’s too dangerous and exposed to the elements.

      14. Tom, it’s not been discussed — but a turnback at Northgate seems doable without a huge cost.

        1. A third siding is already included. It may be too short to layover trains, but it still may work. That’s a question for ST operators.

        2. If more tail track is needed, it’s up in the air and next to I-5. There would be some capital cost to extend it — but not an huge cost relative to other projects. It would likely not be very disruptive to existing service either (but I’m not a track designer).

        3. The third line would not begin operation until 2032. That’s time (but not much) to construct adjustments to facilitate turning trains.

        4. If the outcome is to get at least some RV trains in DSTT better Northgate reversal capabilities will be useful even if there is a DSTT2.

        5. Once out of the tunnel, the RV line could even be given a new branch to a single end station — like in Lake City or Aurora. While it would be expensive — either a subway segment or removal of dozens of homes — a single station branch could be a systems game changer.

        6. It appears that the big drawback is reversing trains at peak rather than at the base. If the base service is set at 10 minutes, a peak overlay line could be shorter — like between FW or SeaTac and Lynnwood or Mariner.

        7. The RV line could simply be a stub line ending at SODO as a last resort. (I think this is a real possibility once TDLE opens anyway as Tacoma Dome train drivers probably cannot last even as far as Lynnwood — even though that’s what ST3 assumes as an interim operation until DSTT2 opens.) In that case, redesigning SODO (or even Stadium) for same direction cross platform transfers (just a level 25 foot walk from 16 doors on one train to the other) and trains arriving at the same times could really reduce rider hassles. It’s just one more reason I keep arguing for redesigning SODO even though it doesn’t seem important to hardly anyone else.

      15. Yeah it seems to me that if they can figure out how to break into the tubes after Westlake so that the Ballard Line can interline there then that would be best. Difficult – yes. Disruptive – yes. Impossible – maybe yes too!

        But I bet it’s never been studied in the context of not building DSSTT2.

        As far as making the RV line a stub. No way. You simply can’t tell the RV that they are losing their direct route to downtown so that West Seattle can take over the tunnel.

        New lines can be stubs: West Seattle, and Ballard, but not the existing line.

        That tells me in the context of only one tunnel that the turn back/driver change for RV trains has to be at Northgate, or they do a quick driver switch when the train goes by the maintenance facility.

      16. “ As far as making the RV line a stub. No way. You simply can’t tell the RV that they are losing their direct route to downtown so that West Seattle can take over the tunnel.”

        I’m not saying that they should. I’m only saying that they may have to because of driver work rules. It will be a 100- minute trip from Lynnwood to Tacoma Dome (adding estimated travel times from Lynnwood to Westlake, Westlake to Seatac and SeaTac to Tacoma Dome), which is what happens when TDLE opens before DSTT2.

      17. Who says Northgate won’t have turnbacks. The earlier operating scenarios had East Link trains terminating at Northgate off-peak. I wouldn’t expect ST to remove turnback capability from the plan, knowing it might be needed someday. There’s no turnback between Stadium and Northgate, so you’d think ST would realize one is needed there. And you have to turn back in various special scenarios like ballgame relief capacity, disabled train, and broken track segment.

      18. Mike, I guess they can try, but the union will certainly refuse scheduled service being turned back in an elevated tail track with no shelter.

        Northgate works as a terminal because there is a scissors just to the south. An arriving train is switched into whichever platform track is empty and the next southbound train leaves almost immediately from the other.

        However, when trains are also running through from the north, there is only half as much time for the reversal before a train from the north arrives.

        If one assumes that every reversal would involve an operator change, it might be possible to accomplish it though it would be tight. If they use the tail track and every reversal includes an operator change, then “double cabbing” would probably work.

    2. asdf2 is right. Here is a map of ST3 through Seattle: If anyone has a better map, please share. The bright sections are new to ST3, while the faded ones exist now. The green line goes from the south end to Ballard. If the CID Station is skipped for this new (bright green) section, then it has some negative ramifications. For example:

      1) Trips from the south end of the existing line (e. g. Rainier Valley) to the south end of downtown requires a big walk. You either get off at SoDo or Midtown — there is nothing in between.

      2) Transfers from anywhere on the green line (e. g. SLU) to Sounder require a big walk. Same idea.

      3) Trips from West Seattle to the East Side involve a transfer at Westlake Station. This is not that different than the station at CID, except that the train trip is a bit longer.

      4) The same is true for transfers from the south end to East Side.

      5) Trips from the new line to Ballard (e. g. South Lake Union, Uptown, etc.) to the East Side would always involve a transfer at Westlake. This is not much better or worse than CID, but it could cause some crowding.

      6) Similarly, trips from the south end to the north end (e. g. Rainier Valley to Northgate) would involve a transfer at Westlake or SoDo. Thus riders would have one less option.

      The first problem is the biggest, by far. It means that riders from Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley and all places south have to walk or make another transfer to get to the south end of downtown. This wouldn’t be the end of the world if there was some added value, but there isn’t. This doesn’t serve a different part of downtown (e. g. First Hill) it just skips it. It is very poor stop spacing — SoDo to Midtown is 1.8 miles, or 2.8 kilometers!

      All the other disadvantages are relatively minor, but they begin to pile up. Overall it is much worse than what they originally planned. Not only that, but it would be much worse for many existing riders (as opposed to the original plans, which are only significantly worse). It really doesn’t make much sense, but that is ST for you. The obvious answer is staring them in the face, but they still don’t see it.

      Interline *all* the lines through the old tunnel.

  5. I don’t blame the CID. The city has abandoned them (maybe more so in Little Saigon than Chinatown). The people hanging around the station wreak havoc on the neighborhood not to mention they were PROMISED that the construction they had to endure for the streetcar would be worth it when CCC was built.

    No wonder they’ve developed an us vs them attitude. Why should they have to endure construction from an org that doesn’t give to shits about transit.

    1. Yes, it’s not clear that the 2nd station really benefits a neighborhood that’s already the most transit-friendly in the state.

    2. It was a lot if the same beingin NIMBYISM we’ve seen on Pac Highway when building the FW extension where all the strip malls, car dealerships, and a McDonald’s lost the plot over long term construction that would happen, but would greatly benefit the area 10 fold in the longer term with better property values, more business and we forever a great opportunity because a few business owners were being stubborn about the short term outlook.
      They’re mad about long term construction even though in my opinion they’d probably be fine and are just honestly overreacting to 3 or 4 years of major construction with maybe 1 or 2 years towards the end of it for minor construction or testing.

    3. yes, the Nickels, McGinn, and Murray SDOTs over promised the CCC Streetcar. it makes little sense to spend many millions to make transit worse and tear up 1st Avenue just because we mistakenly and clumsily tore up South Jackson Street. Note the risk of gentrification stems from Link making the land more valuable.

  6. OMFG!! I’m speechless at the irresponsibility of this mayor. And disgusted by the extremely shortsighted NIMBYism of certain folks in the ID. No wonder the city can never get anything done right or on time. This is why we can’t have nice things…

      1. No, it’s not. Check your hyperbole at the door.

        NIMBYism is NIMBYism. Call it what it is.

        Building a subway station in a neighborhood isn’t racist. Good lord, is this the level is discourse now?

      2. How can we possibly have a constructive conversation about this if it’s borderline racist to suggest that some people in the ID are being unreasonable in their demand to kill an infrastructure project?

      3. Many on this blog claim any SFH neighborhood objecting to upzoning is racist NIMBYISM on the basis upzoning small, expensive residential lots with restrictive regulatory limits will somehow lower their rent in an urban multi-family building and house the homeless. . So yeah, I can see the CID raising racism against a mostly white transit class who claims they are too stupid to understand the benefit of six years of disruption to bring a few hundred folks from West Seattle to the CID so Mon Dieu they don’t have to transfer at Westlake to eat Asian food, especially when one compares Link south of the CID to north of the CID where most of these progressives live.

        Based on my history there are two types of transit advocates:

        1. Those who see transit as a mode of transportation for those who don’t own a car. They tend to focus on cost per rider mile, ridership, urban focus, and are much more skeptical about mode, cost, claims by transit agencies, TOD, routes and projects. They just want to provide the most transit service for the funding available, and begin with a deep skepticism of transit agencies based on their usually long history with transit.

        2. The second group sees transit as a way to change society. The elimination of the car, suburbia, global warming, racism (even if transit has disparate racial impacts), wealth disparity, classicism, more urbanism, and so on. For them transit alone is a good, no matter how inefficient or expensive, because transit will create the society they want. So the “Great Transit Plan” not unlike Robert Moses must supersede impacts on individual neighborhoods, and one must begin with the presumption the transit agencies are correct. So route, cost, most efficient mode are not really relevant to them because any transit is better than no transit, and the more transit expenditures the better, and any objection to government power is NIMBYISM. This group then becomes frustrated when presented with a neighborhood like the CID that is not white and has a long history of disparate racial impacts objecting to the claimed benefits of transit and assumes they just don’t understand. When it comes to financial realities they believe the new society transit will create will find the necessary funding, although a pandemic is quite the curve ball.

        For me, not being a transit “advocate” I start with the money. Basically my belief is the factors group 1 focuses on are subsumed within operations funding which means farebox recovery which means cost per rider mile. I begin with the assumption the agency manipulated these assumptions to pass the levy. This tells you how well transit is performing. I also believe transit funding is finite and will decline going forward, and transit changes little except getting as many people from A to B with the money available. The wealthy will never ride transit.

        For me the most important factor is Rogoff’s assumption that there will be 48,000 riders per hour in each direction riding Link through Seattle. If those assumptions are incorrect post pandemic now is a good time to get honest about future ridership and projects rather than telling the CID to stop using racism because they are too stupid to understand how six years of construction of a SECOND station next to the CID will be good for them, if their business survives and they can’t afford to send their kid to college because they don’t want him/her to spend their lives cooking Asian food for white folks they know will drive to the CID if they have money, which is the customer every restaurant wants no matter their race.

      4. I would probably call it more “classist” rather than “racist”. I would also call it “privilege” as the West Seattle residents feel no guilt in kicking RV residents out of the DSTT. Keep in mind that the ID-C merchants often serve the generally less wealthy Asian populations in SE Seattle and South King as opposed to wealthier Asian populations in East King.

        It’s also how Issaquah gets light rail but not Renton. Or how ID-C suffers through construction so West Seattle residents can have a train. Or how small homes in Youngstown get taken so Alaska Junction residents can have a station. Or how South Federal Way gets light rail before Burien. Or how Lake City and First Hill (Harborview patients often low income) and North Aurora get ignored.

      5. Correct, Al, if Sound Transit would really care about racial equity, they would not just serve the privileged parts of West Seattle, but the former red lined areas. They would not build a tunnel by the Junction but serve High Point, Westwood, Greenbridge, and White Center, may be even the Duwamish longhouse or redirect their light rail efforts to serve Georgetown and Southpark as SkyLink proposed:
        and stick with a single tunnel to limit CID impact.

      6. I think it’s fair to observe that consistently underplaying the objections and needs of a non-white class of people may be racist. Whether that is actually happening is the question. A lot of people on this blog are criticizing shortsightedness, which I think is fair. It is a short-term pain that could put people out of business, which is valid for CID residents to worry about. There needs to be a balance of the long-term and short-term benefits, general benefits and community benefits, which is why I think that the compromise pick of 4th Ave shallow, while more expensive, is the best option.

      7. Daniel: Surely, there is a third type of transit advocate:
        3.) Those who see transit as basic infrastructure that a modern city just has, the same way it just has roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, storm drains, and sewer systems.

        From this perspective, if you’re passing through one of the most heavily used transit hubs on the entire west coast anyway, you simply Just Build a transit stop there — period!

      8. Who are you and what do you know about transit? That’s the point of this blog, not “Woke” race baiting. If the people in the ID don’t want construction along Fifth South, that’s understandable, but for Harrell to throw away the transfer opportunities at IDS is stupid beyond belief.

        Shallow Fourth solves the problem, but it DOES mean that Fifth South will have to become the relief for northbound Fourth South for the duration of the trestle replacement. That will be a big impact as well.

    1. Fascinating. So the idea of environmental justice is just … NIMBYism?
      Is it bad for anyone to oppose any change in their neighborhood (or to be active in support of their neighborhood?)

      The ID is what environmental justice is about. It has borne the negative impacts of every major transportation initiative affecting Seattle. To brand anyone pushing back against impacts to their neighborhood is ridiculous, but in this case it’s infuriating. NIMBY has become a libertarian rallying cry, and it’s time to push back. There is nothing wrong with advocating for your neighborhood.

      1. So true! when I look at the billions spent on stupid commuter trains, the TOD bullshit, and crazy belief that more density is good thing…. I look at the old racist Red Line real estate maps and Wow! The big changes “urban progressives” long for always seem to be where poor or non-White folks used to live. Seattle is one of the Whitest cities in America and young White urban planner types seem Hell- bent-for-leather to make it even more White.

      2. It is not NIMBY to oppose anything in your neighborhood. NIMBY is most properly applied when the rich and entitled are squashing collective benefits for their own benefit. In this case the ID is clearly not a rich and entitled class. However going as far as advocating that no ID connection be built is advocating for system-wide relative delays for as long as it is unmitigated, which could be 50-100 years. That’s why people call NIMBY, because we are talking about a very significant collective cost.

        I’m also uncomfortable with environmental justice being invoked to build light rail, which is emission free. The traditional environmental justice case study is freeway bulldozing or industrial sectors causing massive air pollution morbidity and mortality. This is not comparable in that way, and hopefully will even reduce emissions and traffic deaths in the long run.

      3. Andrew, on environmental justice: yes, light rail is emission free, it does not automatically make it the best choice. The DEIS states that the WSBLE will generate three million tons of carbon which is the equivalent of 7.5 billion gas-vehicle miles. How long will it take to offset that much carbon with actual elimination of vehicle miles?
        If we upgrade the existing tunnel instead of building a 2nd one or not build another bridge across the Duwamish and a tunnel along the Junction but use a gondola, the carbon balance would be far better and we may have a chance to benefit with a reduction of overall carbon during my life time.

      4. Gentrification is not because they built more stuff in the minority neighborhood. It is because they didn’t allow the same to be done in the “white” neighborhood. That is your fight, that is the 600 pound Gorilla in the room! Not fighting infrastructure that directly and indirectly (by improving the region as a whole, “a rising tide lifts all boats”) benefits the minority neighborhood. Even if you kill this piece of infrastructure, as long as more homes are not being built in the “white” neighborhoods, guess where the newcomers to the city will have to live?

      5. “Not fighting infrastructure that directly and indirectly (by improving the region as a whole, “a rising tide lifts all boats”) benefits the minority neighborhood. Even if you kill this piece of infrastructure, as long as more homes are not being built in the “white” neighborhoods, guess where the newcomers to the city will have to live?”

        It depends Brandon on who gets to decide whether “infrastructure” “benefits the minority neighborhood” and raises their tide. White transit advocates or the minority communities.

        In the past, and currently with the CID, the minority neighborhoods are being told they don’t know what is good for them, mostly by white people who don’t live there. It is very hard for transit advocates to understand many communities, white and minority, don’t see transit as a benefit, and sometimes as a negative, like a surface train in the RV, or a “bus mall” on 3rd Ave. in Seattle, or East Link along Bellevue Way, or a bus intercept on MI, and so on. It is why West Seattle and Ballard are demanding underground lines and stations.

        When it comes to an essential public facility there is SEPA to balance out the power between the agencies and the neighborhoods. The CID is well organized, and it is hard for transit advocates to call the CID privileged, racist, NIMBY’s like they prefer to frame any transit or housing dispute, although I sense a bit of that in this debate over a second station in the CID.

        I don’t have any skin in the game if you are talking about a station at the CID for DSTT2, which I don’t think is affordable anyway. But even though I am white and privileged I am willing to give serious consideration to the concerns of the CID, although they don’t need my help. We fought ST for years on MI so I support their fight to be heard. It is their neighborhood, they built it, they live there, l like to visit it, I think they are smart enough to know what is best for their neighborhood and whether a second station for DSTT2 will benefit them when really DSTT1 hasn’t benefited them.

        I don’t get your last statement. Are you saying that if the CID opposes a second station for DSTT2 the suburbs will get upzoned and poor people will flood in there to live?

        We are talking about the WSBLE. Aren’t those pretty white and privileged neighborhoods? So if they don’t get a station at CID which will cause 7 years of construction the eastside suburbs (and I assume West Seattle and Ballard which are more agnostic about WSBLE than I think you think) will have to upzone so poor folks can afford a new unit there? I don’t follow. WSBLE is designed to carry wealthy white people to wealthy places so they don’t have to take the bus, not build affordable housing for the poor.

  7. I agree with Bob. Why would the CID want to put up with six years of construction to bring a few hundred citizens from West Seattle to the CID when the CID has been waiting for a long time for East Link to bring in the golden customer from the east.

    What is “nice” about WSBLE? Is it that hard to transfer at Westlake Center if you want some Asian food? Or getting off at King St. Station when some on this blog think a 10-block slog uphill to Bellevue Way in Bellevue is not a big deal.

    As for eastsiders having to transfer at Westlake Center to take WSBLE to West Seattle you can count the number of those riders on one hand, in part because West Seattle has a fabulous bridge that connects right to I-90.

    Of course, don’t be surprised if the CID suggests what Al suspects: why not have south Seattle folks switch to WSBLE and be whisked through downtown with few stops like Lenin on a boarded-up train back to Russia and put the white West Seattle diners on Central Link along with eastsiders arriving on East Link at the CID station.

    1. Please stop this, it’s honestly embarrassing how you view Eastsiders as more self important than people who actually live in the city of Seattle who’d greatly benefit from easier and quicker transit access as well around the city.

      All I see from CID is a bunch of people shooting themselves in the foot along with came up with some very bizarre reasoning for saying the second station at CID was problematic. I read their arguments and they fall apart fairly easily once parsing what they meant. A little bit of pain for a few years is worth more it’s weight in gold for the long term returns they’d get for a station in the heart of CID.

      1. Zach, the Eastside is just a spectator in this surreal WSBLE play so don’t blame us. It will be our trains running to Northgate so DSTT1 can have 3 minute frequencies when no eastsider is going there (let alone 100,000 per hour) while the Eastside gets 8 minute peak frequencies, which will also be unnecessary post pandemic.

        I don’t know why some on this blog who have never run a business think they know more than those in the CID what is good for the CID, like transit has been good for 3rd Ave.

        If there is no station at CID big deal. So an Eastside rider — all two of them — will have to transfer at Westlake (probably their third “seat”) to get to West Seattle or the airport. Do you have any idea how long it will take to get from the Eastside to SeaTac on East Link? And what in the hell is in West Seattle that isn’t available on the Eastside (with free parking).

        I think the CID will get what they want, and racism these days is a legitimate political tool, especially when Link south of CID is so much different than north of CID.

        GO CID!

      2. “I don’t know why some on this blog who have never run a business think they know more than those in the CID what is good for the CID, like transit has been good for 3rd Ave.”
        Businesses and business people can make bad decisions or have confusing/bad opinions like anyone else. I’ve seen it many many times in my own personal experience.
        It’s clear that no one from the local CID Business Association actually bothered to look at the plan other than hearing that there was construction and the construction was going to he extensive and long. They also used racism to say that the plan for a second tunnel farther into the CID was a bad idea. Which was just a really bizarre thing throw out as a reason to say that the plan was bad and honestly came off as more like flailing to find a point that stuck from their side rather than constructive feedback to ST about their issues in relation to construction and the project scope.
        There’s things to complain about with the 2nd CID but what the CID Business Association has brought forth is more of just NIMBYISM and not really wanting to be an equal parter in this project that they’d greatly benefit from long term.

      3. Clarification on my last post: I do understand the concerns of business owners within the CID. There are pretty valid concerns to have for longer term prospects of minority owned businesses during a long period of construction going on which wrecks havoc on business flow and profits. On the other hand, I do want the CID and ST to find a middle ground on this that makes both parties happy. I do think for the viability of the second tunnel, there is going to be a rough patch period for local businesses as they adjust and shift their business model to accommodate such a wrinkle with long term construction in the area. And that’s where I think both parties need to figure out the sweet spot to mitigate impact.

      4. “There are pretty valid concerns to have for longer term prospects of minority owned businesses during a long period of construction going on which wrecks havoc on business flow and profits.”

        As if none of the minority business owners or their customers take transit or live in the areas the line would go.

      5. Living in Tacoma for 20 plus years, I got to observe a few non-White and immigrant communities over time. I know this might be hard to understand for some of us, but immigrants build their own lives here, make friends, have families, educate children, start businesses…. and never fully trust the White natives around them. The Asian business owners in the CID are grateful for White customers, but they in no way do they need White people to approve of them or validate them.

        No means no. If the CID business community doesn’t want a subway stop, it doesn’t go in.

      6. “No means no. If the CID business community doesn’t want a subway stop, it doesn’t go in.”

        Is that all it takes?
        You mean I could have stopped the state highway project from taking some of my property to widen the roadway by

        Just Saying No ?

        I guess I’m not a privileged white guy.

      7. Hi Zach,

        Can we meet to 1) discuss your views of CID business owners “shooting themselves in the foot” and “A little bit of pain for a few years is worth more it’s weight in gold for the long term returns they’d get for a station in the heart of CID.” I am very curious as to what these unspecified benefits are and how you can answer questions that Sound Transit has yet to answer, which is why there is a 6 month pause, to give ST time to get their answers together–the DEIS was way too vague. For example, one DEIS touted benefit is the presence of hundreds of construction workers looking for lunch. The only future benefits cited were: faster access to downtown jobs for residents and a connection to Pioneer Square. No benefits were cited for the 1200+ elderly non-English speaking residents or the assisted living facilities or daycares or even the mom and pop businesses. Particularly helpful would be examples of another Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon anywhere in the US that you know of that has benefited many times over from light rail going through the heart of their communities after only “a little bit of pain” from 10 years of demolition and construction noise, dirt, debris, vibration, environmental degradation, utilities shutoffs. 2) We can also discuss why community people oppose light rail through the lens of the NIMBYism of Chinatown forced off the waterfront as it became too valuable for Chinese laborers to live there (late 1800s-1910), the 2nd Ave Extension (1920s) that forced the 2nd Chinatown to its 3rd & final current location; the taking of the Charles Street area for a city vehicle repair facility and streetcar bus barn (1950-present); I-5 bisection of an extensive Japantown, Chinatown (’50s-’60s); stadium construction & operations impacts (1970s-present), the 4th Ave. Transit Tunnel debacle in the landmark CID historic district (1980s) ; I-90 ramp construction (1990s), Seattle Streetcar construction (2012-2016), to name a few major projects that CID was forced to accept. And 3) I’m also very eager to read the same arguments you found and hear your analysis of the “bizarre reasoning” of CID community members that “….[the arguments] fall apart fairly easily once parsing what they meant. “

      8. “No means no. If the CID business community doesn’t want a subway stop, it doesn’t go in.”

        If that’s the standard that every transit project has to hold itself, this type of community objections should be voiced before, not after the vote.

        I still think the 2nd tunnel is not necessary in general, but the point is, the region did vote to build it, and if every neighborhood along the line gets after-the-fact veto power over everything that goes through their neighborhood, then it becomes effectively impossible to ever build anything.

        And, no, businesses being minority-owned should not have anything to do with it. The purpose of a business is to make money, so if the station is built, Sound Transit can give them money to compensate for construction disruption, which will keep them afloat until the construction finishes. Whether the owner of the business is black, Hispanic, white, or whatever, does not make any difference.

      9. ST has made clear it only funds relocation and nothing else to the amount of $50,000. So disruption costs are not covered nor loss of revenue nor payroll nor remodeling a space for special needs such as refrigeration, kitchen vents, commercial gas stove, freezers, etc.

      10. Oh please. The community first said the best thing to do would be to build it over on fourth. Now that it looks like fourth may be ‘winning’ they are posturing to say what a hardship that would be too. Why? I assume they want the mitigation (read: money) that they would get if it were built on fifth, even if it is built on fourth.

        And yes, making the international district one of the easiest places to get to in the entire region, if all rails lead there, the.n there almost has to be profound benefits to the community – but particularly to the property owners.

      11. There’s a diversity of opinions on a “best” alternative. Many chose 4th despite awful impacts, too because that’s all that ST offered. Newer voices in the discussion are raising the No build option. In addition to businesses being able to have a say, there are thousands of residents who need to be included, too.

      12. Betty Lau
        I want to apologize for being an ignorant jerk about this topic to you and the local community you represent in the CID. What I have said in previous posts about your local community with my assumptions about local business owners and the racism issue in light of the project was ignorant and stupid for me to say and I deeply regret saying that.
        I do want to thank you for taking time to comment here, as I do appreciate your perspective on this topic as there were some things I didn’t know about the project in relation to community outreach ST or how it would affect business owners and residents. It’s clear after hearing your perspective on this ST have really dropped the ball on this from all aspects and that does annoy me because it’s clear they could of handled the situation better, in particular outreach to non-english speaking residents and business owners about the project, how it would affect them, and what their opinions about it are. I really don’t know what the best path forward, but maybe it starts with going back to the drawing board.

      13. Zach, I accept your apology; ST has a lot to answer for in light of the lack of information and the vagueness of the DEIS regarding the CID segment; so now it has the time to do so and up the ante on outreach and really hearing rather than dismissing concerns out of hand. For example, I asked regarding the DEIS, “What does “full closure of King Street” mean while someone else added, “And what about “full closure of Weller Street”? ST answer: “You don’t need to worry about that. We’ll leave space on the sidewalk for people to get in.” Full closure of King and Weller would be like full closure of Market Street, California Avenue or the Ave and Roosevelt Way.

      14. Well Betty, I actually lived in San Francisco when the BART-Muni tunnel was dug and so I know what “complete closure of Market Street” wasn’t! That’s because the project decked over the street. Cars, buses, pedestrians and even street-cars used the surface freely. Sure, there were periodic closures for three or four weeks while a new “super-block” (between the numbered streets in SoMa) was dug down far enough to add the decking.

        Maybe ST is not able to migrate the 1960’s work plans from San Francisco to the transit hub at Weller using the people they currently have working on them, but the tools certainly exist if they will simply hire the proper planners.

        Would there be NO disruption? Of course not. But it doesn’t need to last six years at ANY point within the project scope given proper site preparation and decking.

      15. LA Metro’s temporary closure of Wilshire Drive may be a better example of how to manage a major street closure, as it occurred more recently than BART’s closure of Market.

      16. AJ, yes, certainly. I have not seen the construction on the Purple Line extension, whereas I lived with BART-Muni for four years and was impressed with how well it maintained surface circulation. I wanted to dissent from personal experience, not Wikipedia, but you’re certainly correct that LA is much more current.

    2. “Why would the CID want to put up with six years of construction to bring a few hundred citizens from West Seattle to the CID”

      Not West Seattle. The existing DSTT1 station will go to West Seattle, Redmond, and Everett/Mariner. The people who will lose out are those who LIVE, WORK, or SHOP in Chinatown and want to go to Ballard, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and further south. Incidentally, the CID has similar demographics as the last three.

      Normally you can’t expect the closest station to go everywhere. But the one place it’s most reasonable to expect it is downtown at multimodal hubs.

      1. Exactly. To be clear, I get Daniel’s point. Without West Seattle Link, it is quite possible that no one would be proposing a new tunnel. They would be hard at work trying to interline the Ballard spur with the main line (at Westlake). The West Seattle spur caused ST to think they needed a new tunnel (even though they really don’t).

        But that in turn lead ST to think about how they plan on pairing the various sections. Instead of by use or by geography (which would favor East Side to Ballard) they went with making the train trips reasonably short. That is because they decided to make one of the longest metro systems in the United States (if not the world). Not most extensive — not even close. But very, very long. To the north and south it will stretch way outside the urban areas, to places where buses run infrequently, if at all. As a result, they decided to pair the south end with Ballard, just to minimize the time a driver spends running through Fife or Ash Way.

        That means that it wouldn’t be West Seattle riders who would be hurt, but south end riders. In other words, existing riders, who get off at CID every day (close to 3,000 before the pandemic). They would be out of luck. They would get off at SoDo or Midtown, and then walk (or transfer) to their existing destination. Instead of being a bit worse (with a new station) they would be a lot worse (with no station at all).

        It really isn’t about West Seattle, it is about very bad planning. If you are going to build a new tunnel, it should add new, significantly different stations. Between Westlake and SoDo, it doesn’t. There are three stations, and all three are very close to the existing stations (and all a bit worse). If you build a new line, you should enable very easy transfers. Again, this doesn’t. Every planned transfer is terrible. If you can’t do those things with the new tunnel, then you should interline. That is what they should be studying, not skipping this station with a new, unnecessary tunnel.

      2. Ross, if West Seattle was the original driver for a 2nd tunnel, what if West Seattle would get served by gondola between CID and the Junction instead? Are you saying then there would be no need for 2nd tunnel?

      3. @Martin — Hard to say. In my opinion, both the second tunnel as well as West Seattle Link were pushed purely for political reasons. There were studies, but they were geared towards supporting the case they wanted, instead of taking an open mind towards the situation. For example, with West Seattle Link they compared it to “BRT”, but the BRT was much slower, as the buses were stuck in traffic. You could do the same with trains, too (compare a streetcar stuck in traffic with a bus in a busway and suddenly the buses look like the best option every time).

        Likewise with the second tunnel. They thought there might be issues with the interlining, and figured it would be easier to just build a second tunnel. As it turns out, building that second tunnel isn’t easy, and they need to go back to looking at interlining.

        With that in mind, it is pure speculation as to what would happen without West Seattle Link. If the trains are replaced with a gondola (or better yet, bus service) then ST might decide that they don’t need a second tunnel. You would have the same number of trains running through the downtown as you will in a couple years, so it stands to reason that they would decide to just interline.

        But again, ST has never been driven by reason. This is not an engineering organization — it is a political one. I say that as the child of a politician. But my mom had the good sense to contact experts when issues were out of her domain, and unfortunately the ST board doesn’t. They just wing it, and they have been winging it the entire time (how else would you come up with the ridiculous “spine” idea of a subway line from Everett to Tacoma).

      4. Ross, for the thousandth time, “The Board” did not decide that Link needed to go from Everett to Tacoma, the Legislature did. That’s why it created the three-county agency.

    3. Look up the results from the residents of the CID when this was put to a VOTE. Literally THREE times (ST2, ST3, $30 car tabs referendum). Stop listening to the vocal minority and listen to the Voters!

  8. This makes having same direction cross platform transfers at SODO vital! ST needs to reconfigure SODO Station!

    Please fix SODO and give us what most multi-line systems have across the world.

    1. Al, you don’t need four platforms as SoDo. With eight minute headways on South Link and FIFTEEN minute headways to and from West Seattle, a single platform would work smoothly. All that’s needed is to elevate Lander so that the northbound merge turnout can be under the street, just before the station. The northbound track from West Seattle can replace the block of bicycle path south of Lander. It really doesn’t go anywhere that it can’t just jog over to Sixth and do.

      The southbound diversion turnout would be placed at the beginning of the turn into Forrest. There is no need for a second set of platforms at SoDo.

      With a brief closure, the southbound track and platform could be reversed, producing a center platform station with superb transfers.

    2. Tom there are other complicating factors:

      1. Creating a vertical entrance from a Lander overpass means installing vertical devices like stairs and elevators and hopefully escalators. The current platforms seem to be quite narrow (about 12 feet) so I’m not sure that the devices will fit. At the very least, the strip of land where the bicycle path is will be compromised — and while there may be room for adding vertical devices it will squeeze the bicycle path.

      2. The interim of many years after West Seattle Link opens but before DSTT2 opens is to reverse trains at SODO — without a siding. (ST proposes doing this for West Seattle Link trains but as I explained elsewhere here, Tacoma Dome opening may require them to instead be RV as Tacoma Dome to Lynnwood is 100 minutes for a single line in one direction.) End of line will need a siding to reverse; ST cannot simply leave the train in the station on one track or the entire system will get quickly clogged. While it is true that an ultimate could have just two boarding positions at SODO, the interim cannot work like this without adding tracks to reverse trains or possibly using the siding south of Stadium (but it would be potentially challenging, especially during the years of disruptive DSTT2 construction).

      Of course, side platforms (like at SODO) make no sense in any transfer station — but WSBLE plans to leave them anyway. They have no plans to eliminate the side platforms at South Bellevue as well.

  9. Who the heck comes up with these solutions? It’s not a transit rider.

    I’m amazed that the highly Asian population in SE Seattle would be content with not having direct access to the ID-C Station.

  10. No CID station?!? Just another reason to reconsider the 2nd tunnel and stick with ONE!
    Anybody who wants to travel from the South (RV, Seatac, Tacoma) to the Eastside would have to transfer at Westlake or take a long walk from Pioneer Sq or do an extra transfer at SODO.
    A single tunnel would increase frequency downtown, simplify transfers and provide much better rider experience.
    If Munich can handle 800,000 daily riders with a single tunnel, why can’t Seattle handle 150,000? (yes, slightly different technologies, but still)

    1. I agree, this 2nd tunnel is making less and less sense by the day. If the 2nd tunnel has no International District Station, it looks even dumber.

      Given the general shift from rush hour riders to all-day riders, I just don’t believe that 4-car trains running at whatever the single tunnel’s theoretical capacity is would not be sufficient to handle the crowds. If if people have to stand for a bit, it’s just a few stops until people get off, and some seats open up.

      The financial savings of sticking to a single tunnel has got to be enormous, and riders benefit as well. Transfers happen at the same stop without going up and down, and less elevator/escalator distance to reach the surface.

      Even if there were technical reasons why a junction to SLU just past Westlake Station would be impossible, there are still alternatives that don’t involve a whole separate downtown tunnel. For instance, here’s one option I’m just throwing out off the top of my head:
      – Trains from Belleuve, Rainier, Valley, and West Seattle all go through the existing tunnel and continue northward. Of the three branches, one turns back at Northgate, one at Lynnwood, one continuing onward to Everett.
      – The Ballard/SLU line begins in the International District as a streetcar down 3rd Ave., sharing stops with buses. Some bus route switch to 2nd/4th to avoid congestion on 3rd. (This is feasible only because Link will eliminate the need for many of the downtown bus routes altogether).
      – If a 4-car train is too large for a downtown city block, just run it with 3-car trains.
      – After 3rd/Pine, the train switches to underground to SLU, bypassing numerous stoplights in the process. Underground station at Westlake/Denny as planned.
      – Train continues to Expedia and Ballard as planned.
      – Out-of-service track connecting the southern terminal of the Ballard line to the Link mainline (after it exits the tunnel near the stadiums), allowing Ballard trains to be based out of the existing SODO maintenance facility.

      Of course, there are some compromises. The train might occasionally have to wait for a bus or traffic light within downtown. But, 3rd Ave. moves pretty well for buses as is, the train never experiences mixed traffic with cars and trucks, and where it runs diagonal to the street grid heading to SLU, it runs underground. And, in exchange for these compromises, you save a ton of money, some of which can be used to make the line more useful on the Ballard end, for example, by tunneling under the ship canal to put in a station at 20th, rather than setting for 14th.

      1. “The Ballard/SLU line begins in the International District as a streetcar down 3rd Ave., sharing stops with buses.”

        ST’s first proposal for Ballard was a streetcar, to fit West Seattle Link into a smaller 15-year plan. I don’t think it would have gone south of Westlake, unless maybe it was integrated with the CCC. That’s one possibility: the city has already agreed to transit lanes on 1st for the CCC. So basically, the core of downtown (3rd to 5th) would be served at Westlake and Intl Dist bit not in between. Well, that’s the same as eliminating Midtown station from DSTT2, so maybe it’s not so different. There would then be a same-station transfer to RapidRide G at 1st & Madison.

        But it would have to be a streetcar. You can’t have two-block-long trains blocking streets downtown. That means it would have much less capacity. And as RossB always says, even though streetcars have more capacity than buses, the kind we have don’t. So how is this better than the D and RapidRide 40?

        The biggest problem with the D is the Uptown bottleneck. Metro could solve that by routing the D like the 15, and then thinking of something else for Uptown. For instance, the 8 could be extended northwest to Ballard. (Metro is already planning to shorten the other end at MLK & Madison, as of the 2020 scenario.)

        I was always against a Ballard streetcar or having Link on the surface in Belltown (now Denny Triangle). But it might be a way out of this dilemma, since ST3 downtown is turning out much worse than expected.

        What about three frequent bus routes to Ballard: D, 40 (RapidRide), and 15 (all-day express, maybe more express than current)? Is there a role for an 8 extension?

      2. The idea I was throwing off the top of my head was not a streetcar all the way to Ballard. You still get grade separated passage through Belltown, SLU, Lower Queen Anne, ship canal bridge, etc. The only place it wouldn’t have it is within downtown.

        It does sound somewhat counter-intuitive, but I think grade separation is actually more important around Belltown/SLU than within downtown, itself. 3rd Ave. actually moves pretty well, and could be made 100% transit-exclusive, if it’s not already. But, in SLU, the train would need to travel diagonally with respect to the street grid, so going on the surface require a ton of stoplights, since you have to cross all the streets in both grid directions. This is what the SLU streetcar does, and that’s why the train is often slower than walking.

        To be clear, I think finding a way to tie the Ballard train into the existing transit tunnel is still a superior solution to running on the surface downtown. But, if for some reason, that’s not possible, I would have a train that’s underground in SLU and on the surface in downtown than the other way around.

        Of course, your comment does bring up and interesting point that, if you are going to dig a tunnel from Interbay to 3rd/Pine via SLU, it doesn’t have to be a train tunnel. If such a hypothetical tunnel were for buses, rather than trains, it could potentially host the E-line as well as the D, which would also solve the “blocking downtown streets” problem.

        Anyway, this is all fantasy. It sounds like where we’re headed is a second downtown that duplicates the existing tunnel, but with no stop in the international district.

      3. I like the idea of an SLU-Uptown-Ballard streetcar integrated with a *completed* City Center Connector. That would be huge! Probably not easy to change it without a vote, though.

      4. “I like the idea of an SLU-Uptown-Ballard streetcar integrated with a *completed* City Center Connector”

        The concept ST studied in the mid 2010s (funded by Seattle as a piggyback on the Ballard-downtown Link study) would have extended the SLU streetcar on Westlake and Leary Way to Fremont and Ballard. It wouldn’t have served Uptown.

        The CCC was being pursued separately at the same time. That envisions two lines: SLU-CID and Westlake Station-Jackson-Broadway (the First Hill line). So if we add the extension to the existing plan, it would turn the first line into Ballard-CID.

        An SLU-Uptown-Interbay surface segment would require going down the west side of Queen Anne Hill, which would probably be to steep. It would have to go down narrow Mercer Place. Or if it went on flat Denny/Elliott, it would be on the edge of SLU and Uptown.

      5. Mike, asdf2 is exactly right. You can certainly use two-“car” trains of 30 meter (98-foot) multi-section 2.65 meter wide “Trams” and fit them within a downtown Seattle block (240 feet). That is well more than 350 people per train maximum.

        Alsthom and Siemens both make such vehicles. Given the desire for speed in the tunnel section through SLU, it probably makes sense to choose the part-low floor versions (“Regio-Citidis” but without the diesel charging engines) because they’re quicker.

        Portland has shown conclusively that “skip-stop” operation with buses can be accommodated within a four-lane street, so the Trams could share Third with the Rapid Ride buses. Third Avenue would be absolutely Transit-only, so garages with entrances only onto it would have to be re-configured or replaced. Cross-streets would have stop signs except for Pine, Pike , Spring, Madison, Columbia and James.

        ETB lines 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 would have to be moved to Fourth and Fifth, because the ETB catenary cannot cross pantograph catenary easily. Ideally they would run in contra-flow lanes.

        Have the transition to tunnel take place between Pine and Stewart. That block is a bit shorter than 240 feet, but it is just barely possible to make the descent with a 5% grade. That would require track heaters to keep the rails dry in the winter, but it’s doable. Turn while continuing to descend into the Stewart ROW, the Olive ROW and then into the Westlake ROW to continue north on the existing planned routes. Place a station under Olive between Fourth and Westlake.

        Since the SLU streetcar runs in the outer lanes of Westlake, it might be possible to have a pair of underground turn-outs to connect it via ramps to the surface just north of Virginia. Yes, such transitions are security problems.

        A bit of elevated construction between Yesler and Jackson would be required.

        This would be vastly cheaper and allow future extension of the tramway north of 65th in the center of 15th NW, conceivably as far as the south end of Shoreline using the Interurban ROW. Use as much surface as possible between the Elliott portal and the Ship Canal south portal.

        Such a hybrid plan would allow West Seattle to have its useless “branch” with a tunnel on the plateau while getting high capacity transit to SLU/LQA and Ballard within a reasonable ST3 budget.

        It would make sense eventually to extend the tramway from Twelfth and Jackson to Mount Baker in the middle of Rainier and upgrade the stations along Jackson to Tram length. This would end service by the 7 on its current route north of Jackson. It would continue on Boren to SLU.First Hill and SLU streetcars would share between 12th and Jackson and Westlake and the tunnel portal on Westlake where they’d switch to the bus lanes.

        Upzone a block on either side of Rainier north of I-90 to high rise and create some nice view properties above the sixth floors.

      6. I think grade level tram is too unreliable/slow, but if we use the street car’s ROW (or asdf2/tom proposal), it could make a great elevated route, kind of what the monorail promised, but with modern technology such as TSB/maglev. The trolley wires could either be hung underneath or next to it. If you want to put it under ground through SLU or ship canal, it allows for that, too (unlike monorail), in fact it can dive faster as rail.

    2. I agree Martin. They should be studying interlining all the lines. The existing tunnel has much better stations than any of the proposals, and using it for all the trains would make transfers as easy as possible. That is by far the best option for riders, and the budget.

      1. Ask your guru to find the set of buildings on Third or Pine to demolish in order to accommodate the northbound diversion.

      2. If something must be torn up, it seems like one place worth looking at would be Westlake Park. There’s nothing there that couldn’t be put back, for $2 billion.

    1. “Why” is because the ST board doesn’t want to. It decided in the 1990s to use Link, and doesn’t want to change. It cites the maintenance convenience of having all cars the same and interchangeable. And now we’ve voted for “light rail” for ST3, and voters understood that to mean the existing Link technology. A new technology would have higher capital costs, at a time when Link’s capital costs are already too high.

      Glenn, what would be required to retrofit automation into Link. Assume the level-crossing issues in Rainier, SODO, and Bel-Red have been resolved. I’m just wondering what modifications to the trains and trackway would be required. Is it feasible, common, expensive?

      1. Tom, is automation really much more expensive? On new lines we can certainly offset any increased equipment cost by reducing the size/cost of the stations. Anyways, what good does the current technology provide if we can’t get enough drivers.
        In Europe several cities are now automating their lines (London, Paris…). You need to upgrade the control systems, but I don’t think there is much track work. The major concern would be RV or any other place (Bellevue) where cars or riders may cross the tracks. Those intersections could get an underpass or turnstile.

  11. Another solution is to split the RV/ SeaTac line trains to alternate which tunnel that they use (and the same with West Seattle). Sure that means a longer wait — but the extra effort to transfer is quite time consuming so it still would probably be faster.

    It’s either that or make West Seattle and Ballard a stand-alone automated line with smaller station vaults and shorter trains.

    Or just put all three lines into the DSTT and make it work at 2 or 2.5 minute headways.

    1. [Klaxon Sound] Works great for northbound. Southbound, not so much. I’m at Fourth and Stewart. Do I go to DSTT1 or DSTT2 Westlake? If I choose DSTT2 I SURE don’t want to miss the train and have to climb out.

  12. The transfer problem isn’t just the Link trains.

    Rainier Valley to Amtrak, Sounder or any of the buses on Jackson and 4th become an undertaking, because the Rainier Valley trains are the ones that are supposed to wind up in the new tunnel.

    As indicated in a previous STB article, Amtrak Cascades actually gets a fair number of commuter riders because Sounder is so infrequent.

    There’s an awful lot of lower income people that will have a much more difficult commute.

  13. When the Frank First Hill line ran in STB, several commented on the flaws of the Beacon Hill stub. Some suggested that the East, Beacon, and West Seattle line could all serve the DSTT without transfers; three six-minute lines would sum to two-minute headway north of IDS. The Ballard-South line would serve First Hill and three transfer points with the other lines (Westlake, Judkins, and Mt. Baker). Would it be maintained in the south maintenance base? For East Link, ST said its LRV would have to reach the South Forest Street base for heavy maintenance; would that be so for the South LRV as well?

    The RossB notion did not include the First Hill service but had a junction near Westlake; some are quite skeptical; RossB wants the pros to study and cost it. We know the cost of the second tunnel is extreme.

    Both seem consistent with the notion of avoiding the second Link station in the CID. The Frank line has greatest cost and benefits.

    1. We don’t necessarily know what the Frank First Hill line would cost. It has quite a lot less miles of tunnel through the deep foundations of downtown Seattle. A considerable expense in tunneling is the amount of crap already in the ground to tunnel around.

      The math on the combined tunnel concept is:
      + we know the Rainier Valley is limited to 6 minute headways, or 10 trains per hour.
      + we know the Eastside line is limited to some number (8 minute headways has been kicked around by some).

      So, that means at peak there would be only 17 trains per hour per direction.

      Some operations have as many as 32 trains per hour per direction at peak. I find it doubtful West Seattle to Everett would ever need more than 4 trains per hour, but even if they get 10 we’re only talking 27 trains per hour.

      Thus the appearance that there is enough capacity in the existing tunnel, if rebuilt for higher capacity (Eg, center platforms added to use the “Spanish solution” to high capacity stations, more and more reliable escalators, upgraded signals and control systems, etc)

      1. Supposedly, it’s the bridge.

        I’ve not yet seen any reliable sources declare the actual limit. I think Daniel said ST brought it up on one of the Mercer Island meetings.

        I would also point out that one solution to combined lines is creative scheduling. Eg, TriMet has 4 lines that share the Steel Bridge. Peak period before the pandemic was 32 trains per hour. Some lines needed more service than others, and some lines needed surge capacity. There used to be a slot on the timetable that had two orange line trains with a one minute headway. Normally, they only get 15 minute headway, but for one shift change at OHSU they extended a green line train over the orange line, one minute after the regular train.

        Oh, yeah, and that type of flexibility becomes vastly more difficult if the line were split into two parallel lines.


        Peak frequency on East Link is 8 minutes. My understanding is that is because of the bridge span. I think 8 minutes will be fine when a four car train holds 596 passengers (4/600 are fare ambassadors I believe).

        With ST’s original estimates of 43,000 to 52,000 boardings/day on East Link with ridership very peak oriented to and from Seattle there was real concern pre-pandemic about train capacity with 8 minute frequencies, but not any more, although ST has not amended its ridership estimates.

      3. There is a difference between the plan and the physical headway. The current plan is to run trains every eight minutes at peak. That goes for East Link as well as on Rainier Valley. But that doesn’t mean that either is limited to eight minutes. We know that trains are capable of running every six minutes on Rainier Valley because they did it before. Likewise, trains are capable of running every six minutes to the East Side — see the previous document. Sound Transit just doesn’t think it needs to run them that often.

        Suggesting this has something to do with the bridge is pure speculation and rumor mongering. This is similar to the Montlake vent shaft rumor, which turned out to be complete nonsense.

      4. I’m not rumor mongering Ross. I am just pointing out frequency on East Link will be every 8 minutes and the reason ST gave us was the bridge span. Of course Link can run more frequently, but apparently not across a floating bridge. Before the new hinge joint and post tensioning we were looking at two car trains with only one train on the span at a time.

        Look, we on MI spent a lot of time pre-pandemic looking for more frequency and capacity because ST was claiming there would be 43,000 to 52,000 boardings/day, and MI would get the optimal bus intercept configuration that would bring 20 SRO articulated buses to MI each peak hour and is the last stop going west. . I don’t know if you have seen the station on MI but is quite narrow and 35’ below grade between four lanes of I-90 in each direction. Where would all those riders go peak hour as full trains arrived at MI?

        Granted we know now that was false, and Metro (along with Bellevue and Issaquah) changed the intercept in the Eastside transit configuration based on declining cross lake ridership, but we actually believed ST back then. Silly us.

      5. You both are right about East Link frequency. The New Starts application and DEIS have 8 minute frequency at peak times (really 7.5). ST3 promised to bump those to 6 minute frequency at peak times. I don’t believe ST set a date for the 6 minute trains on every line.

        Ultimately, ST will choose frequencies under 10 minutes based on overcrowding. It takes lots of drivers and support.

        My armchair expectation is that a single tunnel option could work fine with 6 trains an hour to West Seattle, 8 to Redmond and 10 to Tacoma for a total of 24. Among those 10, I would expect only 5 or 6 to make it into Pierce County and the others could be reversed somewhere in South King.

      6. I am just pointing out frequency on East Link will be every 8 minutes and the reason ST gave us was the bridge span.

        No! That is not the reason they are planning on running the trains every 8 minutes. They are planning on running them every 8 minutes for the same reason they run them 8 minutes now, down Rainier Valley. They simply don’t *need* to run them more often. That’s it. It has *nothing* to do with the bridge. It has everything to do with capacity and demand. If more people ride the train during rush hour, then they will run the trains more often across the lake.

  14. I predict an agency that won’t move a station slightly onto First Hill because the voters didn’t vote for it, will not seriously consider not building a tunnel and station at IDS that the voters DID vote for.

    Nor can I see one of the new ST director’s first acts be to cancel an integral part of the ST plan that she was brought on board to figure out.

    1. I somewhat agree with one of your earlier posts: that if it is, in fact, not compatible with the ST3 ballot measure to cancel a CID station, then studying this option is a bit like pandering.

      1. Yes, Sound Transit declared they couldn’t move the line a few blocks to serve First Hill because ST3. But they’re also looking at an Everett extension that skips Paine Field. So that “rule” seems infinitely malleable. They’ll find a way to do what they want to do.

  15. Can someone point me to where ST has ever documented the need for a second downtown tunnel (to be paid for by the Seattle subarea)? It seemed to appear out of smoky back room negotiations, not through a planning process I’m aware of. With six minute minimum headways in the Capitol Hill tunnel, it’s hard to justify the need on any technical basis, and the fact that short tails to Ballard and W Seattle are paired with long tails to Everett and Tacoma means there will always be a directional capacity imbalance that limits the incremental capacity benefit of having two tunnels. That’s my gut feeling anyhow – I’d like to see the technical justification.

    1. DSTT1 is limited to 3 minutes without potential train bunching. The Capitol Hill tunnel is at least that. ST said it would have to retrofit DSTT1 for reliable 2-minute or 1.5-minute service, but it didn’t say it would have to modify the Capitol Hill tunnel. There was a rumor that the Capitol Hill tunnel couldn’t be ultra-frequent due to a ventilation shaft being deleted, but ST confirmed to STB that it added a fire zone to compensate for the loss of the shaft, so this limitation doesn’t exist.

    2. I dug deep into this in the DEIS. Here is what I found:

      1. DSTT2 was assumed as part of the Purpose and Need Statement.

      Here is the summary comment from the Purpose and Need chapter:

      “ Sound Transit studied the operational feasibility of connecting a Ballard light rail line directly to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel rather than constructing a new downtown tunnel. The agency concluded that once all Sound Transit light rail extensions are operational, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will not have enough capacity to reliably serve downtown because of operational headway (service frequency) requirements and future passenger volumes. A connection from a Ballard line to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel would also be difficult to construct and would require lengthy system closures and/or service disruptions.

      “To address these challenges, the operating assumptions in the Sound Transit 3 Plan included routing the extensions to Ballard, Federal Way, and Tacoma through a new downtown tunnel. Extensions to West Seattle, Redmond, Lynnwood, and Everett would use the existing Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The new tunnel provides additional capacity by distributing passengers and trains in two downtown tunnels. This would also improve system reliability and provide shorter running times for train operators compared with running service on one line between Everett and Tacoma Dome.

      “The City of Seattle also recognized the capacity constraints of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and called for the construction of a new downtown transit tunnel in the City of Seattle Transit Master Plan (City of Seattle 2016). The plan states “Sound Transit’s examination of Ballard to downtown and West Seattle light rail alignments has included options that operate on surface streets. ”

      I find it amazing that the DEIS would include that the City of Seattle adopted the second tunnel need based on Sound Transit’s own analysis. It’s circular logic.

      2. The 2042 No Build condition forecasted level of service overcrowding between Pioneer Square and ID-C at LOS F, and stadium and SODO at LOS E. However, the No Build is for no WSBLE at all, meaning trains every 3 minutes north of ID-C and 6 minutes south of ID-C. Using the data in the report, I calculated that the overcrowding would go away (LOS D or better) at 2.5 minute headways.

      See Table 3-7 and Table 3-21 here:

      It took me awhile to dig through the calculations referenced by linking a variety of reports. The possible rider overcrowding is based on how many square feet is available on an average rail vehicle. It’s there but it’s like a scavenger hunt. I’ll have to keep digging to find the explanations again.

      At its core though, ST did NOT look at these other solutions:

      1. Increasing frequency from 3 to 2 or 2.5 minutes.
      2. Increasing train car capacity by eliminating one of two driver cabs on a vehicle (paired train cars).
      3. Calculating the impact of a WS-Ballard automated line with shorter and more frequent trains.

      Further, the peak to daily ratios applied for demand in the afternoon peak period were derived from studies as far back as 2010 if not 2000. Surely the surges are less pronounced than they were 12 or 22 years ago.

      Finally, it came out after the DEIS release that the forecasting did not assign enough transfer difficulty to get to Link. The rail overcrowding could be eased if more transit riders will be on buses on Third Ave or the SODO busway.

      1. “Increasing frequency from 3 to 2 or 2.5 minutes.”

        That was in the list of potential ST3 projects in December 2015. It would do the DSTT1 upgrade to make 1.5 minutes reliable. When ST selected the DSTT2 project, it deselected the upgrading DSTT1 project.

      2. Ross’s guru says that “[a] connection from a Ballard line to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel” could be connected up in one night! So who ya’ gonna’ believe, the guru in Canada or the engineers here in good ol’ Seattle?

        Less snark: the projected pre-Covid ridership peaks will never be attained, so THAT argument against full Interlining is hooey. But the difficulty of connection northbound is not.

        The right solution is a high capacity Tram to Ballard — they do exist all over the world — using surface through downtown Seattle for collection-distribution since relatively few riders to/from north of LQA would be “through” to anywhere south of downtown. Eventually it might go on to the North RV, but not as an immediate goal.

      3. Honestly just having both a tram and LR would be better. I could see a tram serving both SLU and Belltown if the city was up for doing it.

    3. Frankfurt just decided to upgrade their metro and tram lines to digital train control to increase number of trains without construction of more tunnels or lines, Yunex/Siemens got the contract:
      Many things have changed since Sound Transit decided that a 2nd tunnel is necessary, now that the options turned out to be a lot less rosy as promised, it would be a good idea to revisit the option to interline in a single tunnel.

    4. There are some extremely obvious technical reasons for building a second tunnel. It’s absurd to argue against it. It’s very counterproductive to transit.

      1. Redundancy – when one line fails, an alternative is critical, especially getting people out of downtown. You have to think multimodal to understand this. It means someone has some method of getting out of downtown and switching to alternate transport.

      2. Capacity – this is 100 year capacity. Tunnels last forever. They do require maintenance but they are tremendous investments. Already the trains are packed full. Double the frequency, increase the signaling, it is not going to be enough. You have to think long term.

      3. Maintenance – being able to close one tunnel and people take the other one during quiet weekends is will allow for a higher quality of maintenance to be performed.

      I think not having a transfer point at CID would be wrong and I expect us to end up with the 4th Ave option. I think the people complaining about that today will live too regret it because it might shift the focus of the neighborhood in a westerly direction.

      1. With stations 150 feet deep, I’m not sure this second tunnel is a particularly useful redundant line. With the time spent getting to stations that deep, you’re better off using a surface line as a backup, like Pittsburg does.

      2. I would agree with you if there was any redundancy planned. or even crossovers at downtown stations. I’m not sure where you would be able to cross from one line to the other. I would also be more comfortable if the north/south volumes were closer to balanced on the two lines.

        When we’re talking about an extra billion or so, elevator access between lines and significant EJ issues, at least the analysis should be transparent.

    5. “Can someone point me to where ST has ever documented the need for a second downtown tunnel (to be paid for by the Seattle subarea)?”

      It’s paid for by all sub areas in proportion to ridership.

      1. My understanding is the N. King Co. subarea will pay 50% of DSTT2 and the four other subareas will pay 50%, or 12.5% each, not that a subarea’s contribution would be based on use. ST can’t wait until DSTT2 is completed to determine use percentages to determine contribution.

        Three other questions are:

        1. ST estimated DSTT2 would cost $2.2 billion in ST 3. That figure was so low it raises a legitimate issue of intentional misrepresentation in ST 3. The question is whether the four other subarea’s total contribution is 50% of $2.2 billion (which is the assumption their levy rates are based on), or 50% of whatever DSTT2 ends up costing. The difference based on cost estimates today are huge: $275 million each or $550 million for each subarea.

        2. Subarea contribution was based on ST’s claims a second transit tunnel through Seattle would be necessary to meet capacity for the other subareas based on inflated ridership projections. That just isn’t true, especially post pandemic. If the basis for subarea contribution — and the only reason DSTT2 could be a “shared regional facility” — is not true is contribution still valid, especially when Seattle is demanding such a deep, long and expensive tunnel other subareas never got.

        3. You can’t get blood out of a turnip. When I look at the 2021 subarea report I don’t see an extra $275 million for DSTT2 in the reserves/tax revenue of Pierce, Snohomish or S. King Co., subareas, and IMO N. King Co. (Seattle) will have to pass acSB5528 levy of around $7 to $10 billion to complete WSBLE based on preferred designs.

        The reality is the levy rates and estimated ST tax revenue were manipulated in ST 3 in order to pass it. The levy rates are too low for every subarea in ST 3 except East King Co. to complete just their projects. The levy rates and ST revenue in ST 3 were never designed to fund a $20 billion WSBLE.

        So where is that money going to come from? ST 4 as ST hoped? SB5528? Certainly not a “realignment” that extends project completion dates concurrently with ST taxes when project cost inflation is the problem, especially with inflation rising along with bond rates.

      2. “ST 4 as ST hoped?”

        Where have you heard that?I haven’t heard ST boardmembers or staff say anything about ST4 besides the concept studies included in ST3. Other previously-studied projects that didn’t make it into ST3 may still be at the front of the line. The most likely projects are:

        * Everett College extension (Snohomish strongly wants)
        * Tacoma Dome extension (Pierce strongly wants)
        * 45th line (was next in line North King)
        * West Seattle extension to Burien and Renton (South/East King have been quiet about this lately)
        * Issaquah extension to downtown Kirkland (stymied in ST3 due to disagreements between ST, Kirkland, and south Kirkland nimbys)
        * Issaquah extension to UW (unlikely: ST has never proposed it, and the UW-Redmond study was lackluster)

        If you think those are far off, well, then ST4 is far off. As for an ST 3,1 to modify ST3 projects or taxes, ST has never suggested it.

  16. And yes, omitting First Hill so they could poke into the U District with a limited budget and timeline was a travesty that should be fixed. The streetcar just papered over the damage.

  17. If there are any Surrey Downs residents here, I hope you are taking notes. You’ve just been handed the blueprint on how to combat ST3 at East Main.

  18. Cancelling the second downtown tunnel in favor of tunneling to Ballard at 20th Ave NW and through West Seattle would probably please a lot of people (in Ballard and West Seattle)

    1. Wait, a station in Old Ballard would please Ballard residents? The CID says tunnel and station construction brings years of devastation and misery. Why would Old Ballard wish that upon themselves?

      1. Because Ballard residents are more transit-oriented. It was the 45th corridor that pushed for a 45th line and spearheaded the effort to accelerate ST3. McGinn took it on but supported Ballard-downtown. The other subareas said, “Hey, we want to accelerate our projects too.” And the 45th corridor and Ballard are highly enthusiastic about funding transit.

        You’d think CID residents would be transit-oriented too, but the vocalists trying to stop Link are acting like some of their non-CID counterparts, and not considering the benefits of having good transit access to more places. That would be nonsensical anywhere except the inverted-values US. Everywhere else people would clamor for more transit, not less.

      2. I suppose it depends on perspective and life experiences. Some of us BIPOC are simply not welcome in other parts of Seattle, especially if we’re black or brown, or we are looked at with suspicion in certain places. The vagueness of the many times worth it benefits of light rail have not been spelled out in the DEIS, nor have questions about environmental justice and social and racial equity even been discussed in any ST meetings. All we know is what has happened to us from past infrastructure projects. The 4th Avenue transit tunnel is a good example. I was on the ISRD review board toward the final years of construction. Yes, the transit tunnel is part of the CID historic landmark district, one of 7 or 8 in the city. The promised benefits never happened. The vaunted TOD surplus land was sold to Vulcan instead of being returned to the CID community for commercial and housing space in the CID to make up for the years of demolition, construction and permanent loss of almost 80 parking spaces. Sound Transit couldn’t even get the name right so that’s why it’s backwards–International District Chinatown Station, contrary to City Ordinance 119297 of 1999, which states the official name is Chinatown International District, from 4th Avenue to Rainier and from Yesler to Dearborn/Charles Street. Can anyone on this blog name any gigantic financial benefits to the CID from any major infrastructure project?

      3. Because Betty is not a transit nut or car hater or urbanist she hit the nail on the head: what the CID really needs is more parking. Like at Old Main St. in Bellevue: an obvious parking garage open to the public with a reasonable fee that is partially offset by shopping or dining in the CID.

        The problem with losing 80 parking stalls for DSTT1 is those stalls represent people who consciously got in their car to drive to the CID to shop or dine, whereas Link is just folks passing through, too often without the money to shop and dine. East Link really won’t change this. Eastsiders will continue to drive to the CID. The same bridge that will bring East Link to the CID also brings cars.

        Right now the best parking deal is at Uwajamaya: $10 or $20 in purchases depending on amount of time and parking is free.

        But $10 to $20 is too high for some even if it represents stuff purchased at the store. Really around $3 to $5 for two hours if you dine or shop is about the right amount so folks don’t consider parking in their decision, because most parking outside downtown is free.

        But instead ST and transit advocates who have never run a small business in their lives tell the CID don’t worry, in six years WSBLE and Link will kill the car when instead the mitigation for the CID for DSTT1 and DSTT2 should have been large parking garages built FIRST.

        If Link is as great as claimed let it compete: don’t destroy CID businesses based on some vendetta against cars and SFH zones with silly concepts like “induced demand” or whether cars “scale” — when car owners obviously think they do, especially during dining hours — when you have no skin in the game.

        Give the CID what the wealthy white people get at U Village: lots of free parking. The CID doesn’t want to be the alternative to U Village but for transit riders.

      4. No, the CID does not need more parking. To quote

        At Strong Towns, we’ve described a parking lot as virtually the worst use to which you can put a piece of urban land. We’ve published dozens of articles on the high costs of our cities’ addiction to free parking. … Our oversupply of free parking is financially ruinous—it results in cities that have been eaten alive by parking lots at the expense of value-generating land. It cannot be sustained.

      5. Ross, to park or not to park is a matter of balancing needs. Parking is needed in the CID (it’s been steadily eroded over the decades) for those coming for health care at the many types of clinics for treatment, for those out of towners visiting elderly relatives in the 15 low income buildings, for parents shuttling kids to daycare, multiple schools and extra curricular activities, for tourists. Ask Jan Johnson of the Panama Hotel in Japantown about her parking needs for regional, national and international visitors. And yes, shopping. As a senior, I seldom drive, but am not likely to go to Chinatown to load up on bags of groceries and herbs on a bicycle (as I was told to do by a bicyclist from Bainbridge Island), let alone carry heavy bags of groceries on transit. Consider whose perspectives are reflected in the study you cited.

      6. The perspective is those of people who have studied the issue. These are land use planners who have looked at similar cities across the United States. They know what works and what doesn’t. They are familiar with communities that thrive, and communities that collapse. Providing a subsidy for parking is simply a bad, unsustainable use of public resources. It would be crazy to shift money from public services (low income housing, day care, schools) to pay for extra parking. Likewise, it would be crazy to ask struggling businesses to pay extra so that free parking be provided. Yet ultimately, that is who pays. Free parking is not free — residents ultimately pay the price. It is simply not sustainable.

        That doesn’t mean that people don’t drive. Of course they do. Every use case you mentioned can be provided by other means. Either you ride transit, pay for parking, or take a cab. In some cases those people pay more, but the community, as a whole, is better off. They can focus on what is really important, like the things I mentioned.

        The fact that parking is more difficult now is a very good sign. It means the community is in better shape. Look at Ballard. My friends often complain that “you can’t park there anymore”. So what? The businesses are thriving. It is busier than ever. Folks walk, take buses or bikes to get there. When they really need a car they just pay for parking (or call a cab). That is what you want in a big city — it is how big cities thrive the world over.

        It is when parking is cheap and easy that you should worry. It might be OK for a while, but can eventually sink a place into oblivion. Malls were known for years for their convenient parking — it was their signature feature. Yet malls over the country have been collapsing for years. Meanwhile, the hard to park places like downtown New York, D. C. or Montreal are doing just fine.

      7. Ross, all I see is the suffering of loss of business income in Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon as parking is lost because customers are not coming as before. We are not seeing the prosperity you mentioned that is happening in Ballard and other places. The 4th Avenue Metro tunnel was supposed to bring in more than enough business to replace the permanent loss of parking (in that case, 80). Yet when asked by a community member to document or estimate the “financial business boost” for the proposed ST3 CID segment based on the 4th Avenue transit tunnel, ST3 planners were silent and remain silent to this day. I have yet to see or know of multigenerational families (infants to mobility challenged elderly) come in fleets of bicycles, transit trains, buses, cabs, or ride shares for the traditional baby parties, wedding banquets, community events or weekly family dinner. Even Vulcan deemed their “highest and best use” of designated TOD land was to build a parking garage for itself.

      8. I would like to see grocery at home delivery be a lot easier for seniors and disabled if we’re not going to add more parking. My parents are both in their 70s and I worry for the day they can’t physically go to the store anymore. Europe seems to be on the better in terms of home delivery being affordable for seniors and disabled. Like when living in Italy, major Italian grocery chains have at home delivery and would usually give a discount of 50-60% off on delivery fees for seniors and it being free for disabled with documentation. So it would be €3-4 for seniors compared to €6-8 regular population for at home delivery along with had in store pricing so there wasn’t a delivery markup because you couldn’t make it to the store for whatever reason.

      9. Betty Lau:

        It’s not enough to just eliminate the station. The connection to the Rainier Valley must be maintained. After alL, there are sizable lower income Asian residents in SE Seattle that today can ride directly to ID-C via Link.

        The current ST plan proposes the RV trains into DSTT2. Eliminating a stop near Jackson will mean that SE Seattle Link riders would have to transfer somewhere else to get to the station. Plus, all of the transfer stations will require using at least 2 or 3 elevators, escalators or stairs to make a transfer and probably walk two blocks in the process.

        There are complementary strategies available. Enable same platform transfers at SODO. Split the RV trains so half run in each tunnel.

        But these strategies won’t be implemented unless interests in the ID speak up! And if RV direct connectivity isn’t kept, ID businesses will lise business as their SE Seattle clientele will have a much harder effort to get to the ID (like 10-20 more minutes longer) and will shop there less.

    2. Ballard seems to be the complete opposite of West Seattle and the CID. Ballard really wants trains. Read the public comments. They want them elevated, underground, right downtown, dig up central Ballard- please! SLU and Seattle center are also mildly enthusiastic.
      I find it amazing that West Seattle is getting such an investment given their lack of interest.

  19. Ironically, I was wondering that as well. I’m glad that I’m not the only one thinking along those lines. The shared station could be at a different station location.

    1. How about moving the Stadium station a bit North? That area is going through a lot of changes atm, properly planned it could become a major transit mall with great TOD and office spaces. The Eastlink line is coming in high on a wide bridge, it might be possible to add a center platform and turn it a new above ground transfer station, would certainly much cheaper than building another CID station and transfers should be much easier than what was envisioned for any of the CID alternatives.

  20. No second tunnel? On top of no CCC, the utter lack of redundancy that would result for Seattle’s transit system is laughable for how often the downtown tunnel seems to get shut down or have service reduced.

    Buses won’t cut it when all trains downtown get shut down for a single “incident” in even one of the tunnel stations.

    Let alone when another link train loses power.

    The original tunnel is the worst place for extra train lines given how they were built. (with trains as a afterthought.)

    1. Oh please. There are much bigger systems that are built without redundancy. BART focuses everything on one single tunnel, that goes across the Bay. It carries way more people than our system ever will. The same can be said for lots of other systems, all over the world. Yes, it sucks when there is an outage. But in our case, the buses can definitely handle the load.

      1. Does BART have to shut down their entire system if a single train gets stuck or if there is an *incident* in one of the tunnel stations?

        If it does its a bad system to model after.

        If there is only one tunnel for all three lines it *will* shut down multuple times a year. Often without warning.

        I know because it already does this now when almost any problem occurs in the transit tunnel. With just a single line in it.

        And no, the buses will not be able to take all of the passengers from three lines shutting down because the bus routes of today will be rerouted to support the new link lines and will no longer be there to collect passengers. Past experience tells me that Metro, as decent as they are, will not be able to respond fast enough to catch the slack of all of link going down post ST3. Its just too many passengers even if you assume current ridership levels.

        If your entire train system shuts down multuple times a year people won’t just take the bus… they’ll stop taking transit altogether.

      2. A few comments:

        Full BART trains are about 60 percent longer than full Link trains. They do have better acceleration and braking so it’s similar in that respect.

        BART’s biggest operational problem is the lack of crossover tracks in San Francisco. There are no crossovers in the Transbay tube either. That really creates an operational problem if a train goes out of service. It’s not the frequency but the long distances between crossover tracks that hampers BART.

        Except for peaks, each line would only need a train every 10 minutes, or 18 an hour (less than the peak 20 trains in the DEIS). It’s only when crowding is an issue do they need extra trains.

      3. BART has some of the worlds’ fastest, widest (Indian gauge) and longest subway trains to deal with the Bay tunnel. They are at capacity and building another one. A single tunnel for a city the size of Seattle insufficient. Compare us globally. Think long term when less people drive and people use transit all day for all kinds of activities.

      4. George, Munich is handling 800,000 riders daily and are just now building a 2nd tunnel. Why would Seattle need one now?
        Any of the proposed 2nd tunnel alignment will make it so difficult to transfer, that it won’t really be a full replacement even if there is an outage, buses would still need to run. If it doesn’t get connected to CID, that’s even more so the case.

      5. @Martin

        I am not well informed on the specific details of Munich’s system but while there is a large tunnel that seems to carry a lot of lines there also seem to be other transit tunnels crossing the city center.

        As far as the one big tunnel goes, is it formed of two one way tunnels with no cross over track for rerouting when one of the tunnels is blocked? Do all four lines only operate on two tracks?

        Make sure the systems we are comparing are actually quivalent.

        The biggest weakness of Seattle’s downtown transit tunnel is its inability to adjust to problems in any of the tunnels or stations in the critical downtown section which forces both of major humbs of Westlake and IDCS to completely shut down when this happens.

        Its not a flaw we should make the entire system vulnerable to.

      6. First of all, most of you are missing the point. We aren’t talking about total capacity. We are talking about redundancy. BART is not building a second tunnel because it would be nice to have for the rare occasions when there are problems. It is building a second tunnel to add capacity. Our second tunnel won’t add capacity (because of other limitations in our system). In fact, there are no plans to use the capacity that we do have. Trains can run every six minutes along Rainier Valley, but they won’t, even when the trains get to Federal Way. Why? Because we don’t need to run them more often.

        I get why people think we are big, but we simply aren’t. The city sprawls, and what little density we do have does not neatly follow the train lines. Quite the opposite. Much of the density lies east of downtown (on First Hill and the greater Central Area). The idea that our huge trains — and buses — can’t possibly handle all the people is absurd.

        If you want a reasonable comparison, look north. Before the pandemic, SkyTrain carried 520,000 riders a day. Link carried 80,000. Vancouver isn’t the least bit worried about capacity problems going downtown, even as the system expands. All of those riders from Surrey and the entire east side of the greater Vancouver area focuses on the one Expo Line. It is basically three branches, yet they aren’t building another line to downtown. Instead, the Millennium Line will bypass downtown, and head west, on Broadway.

        These are just local examples. If you look around the world, you can find many more. The problem is that the people who are in charge simply don’t know what they are doing. They came up with this idea in the same way they came up with many other (bad) ideas. They had just enough of a study to make it sound reasonable, while ignoring basic human behavior. The idea is that thousands of people will want to go from one end of downtown to the other, and will automatically prefer taking the train. That simply isn’t the case — not when the train is deep upderground, and the buses run far more often.

        Speaking of buses, that is the obvious way to handle capacity issues. If Link ever gets too crowded, they can simply bring back the express buses. There will be much rejoicing. People who used to take the 41 downtown would love to have it back. People farther north are dreading the day that their express bus goes away, and they are forced to transfer. Same with folks in Issaquah, and even more so to the south. If we ever have *capacity* problems, that is what we’ll do, and it will actually be a more popular system.

        In all likelihood, we won’t need to. We will instead force a transfer, just to save money. But that money saved is minuscule compared to the cost of building a second tunnel, which again does not add capacity (unless we make other big changes, like put the train underground in Rainier Valley).

      7. I agree Ross, forcing transfers into a deep tunnel just to prepare to have some redundancy in case of maintenance, is crazy and from a capacity point of view downtown isn’t the bottleneck, RV is far higher on the list. We either need to put RV in a tunnel or at least create underpasses for cars to create a separate ROW for LR – or we can leave RV as is just create a Duwamish bypass.
        Before we add a tunnel just for redundancy, we should consider a tunnel east of downtown which would not only create redundancy/capacity but reach more riders.
        Yes, Express buses are a great backup, unless they get stuck in traffic as they often do on I-5, but we could increase HOV to 3+.

      8. Before we add a tunnel just for redundancy, we should consider a tunnel east of downtown which would not only create redundancy/capacity but reach more riders.

        Yes, exactly. A new tunnel should add downtown coverage (as Frank’s suggestion does). It should be built when we need it, and make other improvements to capacity, such as running more trains down Rainier Valley, or just use trains that carry more people.

        Yes, Express buses are a great backup, unless they get stuck in traffic as they often do on I-5, but we could increase HOV to 3+.

        Exactly. When the West Seattle bridge went down, we took drastic action to improve mobility to the peninsula. The lower bridge was reserved for trucks and buses. If there was some sort of long term disruption, we could do the same thing on our HOV lanes. You could change the HOV signs in one night.

        I find it crazy that some believe that there will never be a significant rush-hour spike in transit use, while others think there will be tens of thousands of people commuting from Everett and Tacoma to Seattle (via Link). It will probably be something in between. The farther out you go, the less likely you will work 9 to 5. It is quite possible we will continue to beg ST to run the trains as often as they are capable (6 minutes) not wishing it was physically possible to run them even more often. As it is, the existing tunnel doesn’t reach its capacity until you start running East, South and West Seattle Link trains every four minutes, which means prioritizing a new tunnel is putting the cart before the horse.

      9. The biggest problem I see with the existing express buses is the one-way nature of the I-5 express lanes north of downtown. It’s always a mess when I go through there. It seems like there should be a way to (sorry, after spending an hour in the mess, it’s the first word that comes to mind) de-clusterfuck that whole thing where the directional lanes end would help a lot. There should be a way to reconfigure the whole mass so there’s HOV capacity into downtown.

        Also, with the advent of Everett Link, there’s really no reason for the express buses to spend 10 minutes getting off and back on the freeway at Lynnwood and Ash Way. They can then be true expresses.

      10. I agree, Glenn, if you are talking about adding value for riders. It would be nice to catch a bus from Lynnwood to downtown in the afternoon, and not have it be stuck in traffic.

        But from a capacity standpoint, it doesn’t matter. The express lanes follow the peak direction, which is all that matters. It is very unlikely that we will need to run express buses in the future because of rush-hour demand. It is crazy to think we will need that all day long. In the middle of the day, the 512 carried around 20 people. The reverse commute was about 30 people. There just isn’t that much demand from the suburbs to downtown outside of rush-hour (peak direction).

      11. The traffic congestion begs to differ about the capacity needs. The paak capacity needs of I-5 are quite different now than when that whole concept was built.

        Amtrak and Belair buses have been pretty busy, so maybe the demand to Bellingham to Seattle buses that don’t wander around in Ash Way is higher?

        Amtrak currently schedules afternoon Everett to Seattle buses at 1 hour 20 minutes. They provide an hour of slop in Seattle to any connecting trains, because the mess on I-5 at Northgate produces half hour + delays so often.

        It just seems ridiculous that northbound obviously has more than enough lane capacity as it moves just fine, even at peak, but southbound grinds along at barely 10 mph. Why is where ever northbound traffic going more important than southbound? Because southbound is definitely much more congested.

        Do you expect that the HOV lanes from Everett to Tacoma will go away once Link is finished? If not, then shouldn’t there be HOV lanes in the most congested part of the highway to allow what bus traffic there is to move better?

      12. BART is expanding capacity in the existing tunnel by doing everything it can to utilize that.

        The second trans-bay crossing isn’t necessarily going to be a BART tunnel. My opinion is most likely it winds up being standard gauge and replaces the old Sacramento Northern line over the Bay Bridge. This tunnel would most likely carry Capitol Corridor trains, California High Speed Rail, etc. BART is involved in the planning, but it isn’t clear it’s for their trains.

      13. @Glenn in Portland:

        BART’s Concord (now Antioch) Line uses the old Sacramento Northern route for a good portion of it’s route. There’s a good chance it will be BART tracks, because BART needs more Transbay capacity so it more properly serve the core. And deliver the Geary Subway that San Francisco so badly needs.

        In terms of mainline rail, there’s been a lot of discourse about moving the Capitol Corridor/San Joaquin route inland, partly due to sea level rise issues, but also due to wanting a passenger rail only corridor.

      14. It is worth considering more than just the capacity of the trains. How many people can actually fit on the platforms. When three lines are running through the same tube, can the platforms safely accommodate the number of people that are waiting? Can people waiting reach the train when the one they are waiting for arrives? With all the discussion of headways and throughput on the trains, this is a opic I’ve seen little or no discussion on. The DSTT platforms are not large and they can get quite full even now on Seahawks or Mariners game days…with a single line, that is 1/4 of the length of what final Spine length.

        Also, as one that commutes regualry from the RV…A line that doesn’t stop downtown between Sodo (or even Stadium) and Westlake is a non-starter IMO.

      15. But if all three lines would go through the same tunnel, people could transfer anywhere: CID, Pioneer Sq, University, or Westlake. That would spread the number of people waiting per platform. Whereas if Westlake becomes the only way to transfer between the lines, that could easily lead to platform overloading.

      16. MH, for three years we asked ST how East Link could handle 52,000 boardings per day that historically were heavily weighted toward peak hours cross lake with maximum 8 trains/hour frequency, and how Mercer Island — the last station going west with a very narrow platform 35’ below grade between 8 lanes of I-90 — could handle 20 articulated off-Island buses per peak hour under the optimal service intercept configuration we are still litigating over.

        ST didn’t care. Then the pandemic exposed the endless web of lies ST is. Then Metro and Bellevue/Issaquah put a dagger in ST’s lies. The DEIS for WSBLE is surreal to me.

        Ridership through Seattle will be less than half what ST estimated, (and I am not using Rogoff’s ridiculous figure of 96,000 riders per hour through Seattle as a baseline). Ridership today will be ridership tomorrow even after East Link opens. This weekend there were seven shootings in Seattle. No one on the Eastside is going to Seattle.

        The irony is West Seattle should implement a 630 type bus because that is all that will be needed. Platform capacity is not the issue: farebox recovery and operations recovery is the issue because there will be plenty of space on the platforms. Lack of ridership is the real future issue.

      17. The platforms aren’t the problem. The number of entrances / exits are, because that controls how fast people leave the platform. London Underground stations are narrow in far too many cases, but they’ve added a lot more vertical capacity.

        This is where use of all those pointless mezzanines comes in: build a center platform in each station. The center platform allows for the addition of far more vertical conveyances. And the mezzanines can then serve as a surge spot for passengers going further upward. The center platforms also make transfers vastly better between trains. Full Spanish Solution should clear the platforms pretty quickly, if needed.

        It’d be nice to add more connections to the surface though, especially horizontal connectors to 2nd and 1st if possible.

        Anyway, for $2 billion there’s a lot that can be done with the existing stations.

      18. BART has FOUR lines in the Transbay Tube and all the way through San Francisco. And “Yes, when a train breaks down or a section of track loses power, all lines, except the north-south Eastbay line, stop until the outage is repaired.

        It doesn’t happen often because BART officials care about maintaining service standards, not doling out construction contracts.

  21. Let’s be clear. By the 2030s (as scheduled) there will be two *separate* lines: A line from Federal Way to Ballard, and another from West Seattle to Lynnwood. The “One Line” will be effectively split in two.

    In fact, according to project milestones, West Seattle Service is planned to begin in 2032 ( ). Ballard service, including a new second Downtown Service Tunnel. isn’t planned to begin until 2037.

    The board has apparently selected its preferred alternative alignment, aka Tunnel 41st Avenue Station (WSJ-3a), which is described as “Preferred Alternative with 3rd Party Funding” and pushed a $1.8 billion shortfall and delay onto the Ballard segment.

    So, between 2032 and 2037 there seems to be no guarantee that South Seattle residents (and beyond) will be able to get past the Stadium Station on a train.

    1. The split is not supposed to happen until the Ballard line is done. Between 2032 and 2037 the plan is to run WS trains from 41st Ave to SODO where everybody has to get off and wait for a RV train.

  22. I keep trying to figure out if there is some way to move the BNSF main lower under downtown and have Link take over the space it now occupies under 4th, just until it gets a bit further north. Problem is, I think that winds up conflicting with the highway 99 tunnel.

    But, if there is one piece that has to be deep level, it’d be nice if there were a way to make it be that piece.

    1. BNSF would not want the extra grades it would entail, plus it would be below MSL, bad for a rail tunnel.

  23. If Rogoff is correct and the two lines through Seattle will carry 96,000 riders per HOUR then yes a second tunnel — and light rail line could — could be necessary to meet capacity even with peak ridership down and likely to stay down forever.

    Today AFTER the opening of Northgate total ST boardings are well under 96,000 per DAY on by far the densest part of Link.

    For most purposes Covid has passed and the CDC has lifted any restrictions on gatherings. Attendance at sporting events, bars, restaurants, airports etc. has returned to pre-Covid levels. Unemployment including in this area is at historic levels, but rising. Still the peak commute has not returned.

    If there is one thing that really bothers me about ST it is the “build it and they will come” philosophy, usually based on hyper inflated ridership projections.

    We are looking at $14 billion to build WSBLE, an estimate that is surely low. Ridership from Ballard and West Seattle — and East Link to and through Seattle — will be low although East Link trains will double frequency. So where will these 96,000 riders per hour come from?

    You build capacity when you need capacity and are sure you will need more capacity. More people are not coming to Link. WFH, reduced traffic congestion, deurbanization, perceptions of safety on transit more than offset artificially high costs of parking for commuters or dreams of TOD.

    In the future there won’t be enough riders north, south and east of downtow Seattle to support (politically and operationally) what we have built already. Any agency that thinks a (estimated) $4.5 billion light rail line between Issaquah and SOUTH Kirkland is a good use of funds is not dealing with reality, let alone suburbia, and as Ross alludes to this whole region is essentially suburbia north of Northgate and east of CID that has no plans to change their zoning for transit because transit isn’t worth it.

    Show me the riders. ST 3 was passed before a major pandemic. Life and travel have changed. The riders are not there, but those who truly believe light rail will change life made a catastrophic mistake: the riders Link needs to change society in this region are discretionary riders, and the competition with the car was going to be brutal, even pre-pandemic.

    When ideology drives transit you better have unlimited funding, except ST does not. As I predicted long ago, once the DEIS was issued everyone forgot about how to pay for WSBLE, and that Seattle will have to pledge all its transit levy capacity for decades to complete WSBLE and DSTT2, and began to argue over a design that is theoretical, without the cash.

    1. Good post!

      From the very beginning I saw 3 problems with Sound Transit.

      1. “Build it and they will come” isn’t true.
      2. The lunacy brought on my “train on the brain” would cause bus service to get cut to pay for trains (been happening for 10 years in Pierce Country)
      3. Sound Transit always secretly planned to dig a big @%$&*$% hole and then ask for more money to finish the job.

      1. I’d argue that the 1st issue is more of a chicken and egg problem in terms of long term viability and development. You want to build to places that already have well established history of being important stops for commerce, business, retail, and residential. At the same time you want to build in potential growth sites that while don’t have the density would in the future.
        The 2nd point is more of an issue with Pierce Transit and it’s longstanding death spiral since 08. It can’t seem to figure out what it wants to be as a transit agency in terms of a network and frequency. It’s somewhat better now as it’s consolidated the service area to the most dense parts of Pierce but the network is still a bit of a hodge podge and frequency being a joke of 30 to 60 being way too common on many routes when it should be closer to 10 15 or 20 minutes minimum for most routes.

    2. No one is projecting based off of 48000 riders per hour, as I noted above. I think you can cross that off your list of concerns. Pretty sure that was the CEO making an error.

      1. A more realistic number is probably between 10,000 to 15,000 riders per hours which would be in line with subway standards.

      2. “A more realistic number is probably between 10,000 to 15,000 riders per hours which would be in line with subway standards.”

        A more realistic number would be the number of riders today on Link through Seattle. East Link will simply transfer eastside riders to Seattle (which won’t be many) from buses to light rail. WSBLE has very few riders, and I am sure those estimates are inflated like all the other ridership estimates ST made during the levies. How many folks are really going to commute on Link to Seattle from Everett or Tacoma in this new economy when the trip is slower than every other mode? Or take Link from Federal Way to Tacoma when those folks drive?

        Just because ST builds it doesn’t mean riders will come, not with lower traffic congestion today and WFH.

        Did Rogoff mis-speak? What did he mean to say? 4600 riders/hour? Did the Times make an editing error? Well, based on the cost of DSTT2 and WSBLE there probably needs to be 48,000 riders each hour in each direction (and Rogoff may have been referencing peak demand, although that is gone) to justify the cost. The reality is whatever the ridership estimates for DSTT2 and WSBLE we know they are highly inflated.

        Mike asks where the proof for a ST 4 is (other than AJ’s comments that of course a ST 4 was in the cards just like ST 3 was necessary to complete ST 2). It is called SB5528 in Seattle, which for those of us who live in a subarea not N. King Co. is much preferable to ST 4, except the reality is four subareas cannot complete their promised projects with the revenue from ST 3. Then what?

        Some on this blog who think transit will change the world — especially Link –simply refuse to demand the cost per rider mile in these analyses. Instead they project massive regional population growth, TOD, folks abandoning cars for Link (because otherwise all we did is spend $142 billion to move riders from buses to slow trains on a fixed route when that route isn’t where most people live or work), folks returning to pre-pandemic in office work, when trends today are the opposite.

        All I have asked from the beginning is show me where my subarea pays its $275 million (plus free use of East Link trains to Northgate) and let us out. I don’t trust ST as far as I can throw ST when it comes to project cost estimates, ST tax revenue (and which subareas it is allocated to post pandemic), operations revenue and costs, you name it, including that Snohomish, Pierce and S. King Co. have their $275 million or N. King Co. will pass a $7 to $10 billion SB5528 levy which is where any sane transit agency would begin first, because unless Seattle pledges all its transit levy capacity for decades to its 1/2 share of DSTT2 and WSBLE this is a waste of time.

  24. It’s official, STB has reached the heights previously only attainable by the Seattle Times comment section.

  25. To Frank’s idea of routing the line from Mt Baker up Rainier and Boren….

    It just seems too unwieldy For West Seattle, I don’t know how many would be going to the airport, but they would either have to go far out of their way to the north and transfer at Westlake, or transfer twice: at Sodo and Mt Baker. Doable? Yes, but not appealing, and there are probably buses that are faster.

    Another issue is making everyone from points south on the main line transfer at Judkins park to get downtown.

    But even larger, in my mind, is that getting to Stadium Station to get to an event there would require two transfers from anywhere south of Mt Baker. There are a lot of people who use Ink on game day and they are really not going to like that.

    I don’t know what to do though, because people coming from the south are screwed – unless ST doesn’t build a second tunnel and puts everything into the existing one. Either the second tunnel is built as presented and people have to endure deeper and fewer stations downtown, or go with Frank’s idea which gets Link to First Hill, but inconveniences riders with one or more transfers to get downtiwn.

    For myself I’d have to think on game day if I would want to deal with multiple transfers to get to the stadium, or just drive. For people with young children going to the game I think they would just drive.

    What about this? Frank mentioned ST not wanting to go under I-5 as a reason to only cross it the once going south after leaving Westlake.

    Could the train to Ballard, instead of diverging from Mount baker, diverge after leaving Stadium? In other words people would transfer at Stadium, or Sodo, to go to IDS and points north on line 1, and the Ballard train would then hook into the east link line and continue to Judkins Park where they could transfer to east link. After leaving Judkins it would then diverge to go under first hill, and on to Ballard.

    1. West Seattle to SeaTac should only be one transfer: to the existing line at SoDo.

      One good thing about Frank’s line is nothing would change in the existing lines. The existing line would continue to UW.

      1. “One good thing about Frank’s line is nothing would change in the existing lines”

        eh? running a shuttle train between sodo and mt baker is a huge change.

        My idea is essentially the same as Frank’s, in the sense that the line from the south would avoid Chinatown/IDS, and you would transfer to East Link at Judkins Park, AND you West Seattlites would transfer to the airport at Sodo. the line would then continue as Frank suggests from Judkins Park through First Hilll to Westlake and on to Ballard.

        where I’m different is that I wouldn’t build a new line from Mt Baker to Judkins, and from Sodo to Stadium the line would share track with the West Seattle-Everett line, AND from Stadium to Judkins the line would share track with East Link. (perhaps operationally difficult even if the connection to East Link from the south could be built)

        You would still get to transfer to the Airport from West Seattle at Sodo.

    2. I don’t see any route changes for the other subareas from DSTT2 or WSBLE.

      The routing of DSTT2 and WSBLE will be an issue for the four other subareas if their line does not run through DSTT1 which accesses the main parts of Seattle they would be taking transit to without a transfer, probably their second or third.

      East King Co. is going to insist on East Link continuing through DSTT1 without a transfer, especially since its trains are providing double the frequency for free through Seattle and DSTT1, East King Co. paid a proportional share of DSTT1 and has equal ownership as Seattle, the downtown stops and UW are the destinations they would take Link to, and this is the route Seattle wants the most frequency on.

      I do think Al has a point that ST or some (Dow) would prefer to have white and wealthy West Seattleites be part of DSTT1 along with eastsiders, and shunt South Seattle and S. King Co. riders onto DSTT2, whether that is a tunnel running through downtown Seattle with very few stops or meandering along First Hill. But I think ST would get real blow back on equity grounds, which would be valid.

      The reality is DSTT2 is going to handle West Seattle and Ballard riders, because no matter what the route will be worse (except perhaps for SLU unless that is a slow and winding slog through First Hill), the other lines will already be in DSTT1 for years by the time WSBLE comes online, and they will want a tunnel that mimics the route of DSTT1 (after all the only reason for DSTT2 is lack of capacity in DSTT1 according to ST, so why not mimic its route in DSTT2?).

      Ballard will have to transfer at Westlake for that, and so will West Seattle even if those riders have to backtrack unless there is a second station at CID which I don’t think there will be. There is just zero benefit to the CID from a SECOND underground station that will serve very few riders, and the construction would be brutal. The reality is most merchants just don’t see transit as a benefit.

      For everyone else the route stays the same. S. King Co. and Tacoma are not going to pay half of DSTT2 to be routed along First Hill or through downtown with the only real stop at Westlake. If they have to go into DSTT2 they will insist DSTT2 mimic DSTT1 since capacity and not route through Seattle is supposedly the basis for DSTT2 and their $275 to $550 million contribution. Since half the trains will be East Link trains the eastside will have a say where at least those trains go, it owns its share of DSTT1 (as do all King Co. cities), and it won’t be First Hill or DSTT2 with very few stops they want to go to.

      So the people to talk to are West Seattle since they will be using DSTT2. Where do they want to go? Ballard will probably have to transfer no matter what at Westlake although I am sure they would love their line to interline with DSTT1, and there is probably capacity for those riders.

      To me the contest comes down to the CID and no second station at CID and West Seattle which would prefer to not have to transfer at Westlake and ride back south on DSTT1 unless there is some way to transfer before the CID. At that point interlining might look pretty attractive to West Seattle.

      That is a very expensive second tunnel for very few riders from West Seattle. Maybe just a bullet train from West Seattle directly to Westlake is the best idea. Or very few stops along the way after leaving West Seattle. Because I just don’t see West Seattle wanting to take DSTT2 up and along First Hill to get to downtown or SLU or UW.

      Of course on Sept. 19 after the West Seattle Bridge opens West Seattleites will be so giddy they probably won’t even think about transit, and my guess is the last two years on transit on the lower bridge drove home the reason they own a car. The reality is West Seattle is suburbia.

      1. “So the people to talk to are West Seattle since they will be using DSTT2.”

        No. West Seattle and East LINK will go through DSTT1, the first tunnel and on to Northgate and Everett. Your entire supposition is wrong here.

        The line from Tacoma will get shifted into DSTT2 and on to Ballard if it is built as planned.

      2. The original route for DSTT2 in ST 3 basically mimicked DSTT1, with essentially the same stops through downtown. ST sold subarea contribution on the basis DSTT2 would be necessary to meet capacity for the other subareas along the route DSTT1 takes. Although DSTT2 does not continue to UW it does go to SLU. So yes, if the route of DSTT1 and DSTT2 are basically the same, the stations basically the same until Westlake, and the transfers not too burdensome riders from Tacoma might not object to DSTT2 even though very few will be going to Ballard.

        But if Seattle wants to reroute DSTT2 to First Hill, or eliminate stops in downtown but then shift West Seattleites to DSTT2, I would see the S. King Co. and Pierce Co. subareas objecting considering they are paying for part of DSTT2, and South Seattle as well if they are shifted to DSTT2 based on equity grounds.

        If one tunnel’s routes and stations are materially better than the other’s there is going to be fight over who gets which tunnel. Few outside Seattle want to go to First Hill because they don’t live there. If DSTT2 has no stop at CID, and very bad transfers, and is very deep the subareas will want the “better” tunnel, DSTT1.

        Since they will have been running in DSTT1 for years, even decades, by the time DSTT2 comes around and WSBLE completed and travel patterns develop around that route, it will be West Seattle that gets DSTT2 because …. drum roll … DSTT2 is part of the WEST SEATTLE Ballard extension.

      3. Oh. I don’t think anyone is talking about shifting West Seattle to DSTT2. Operationally ST wants the line from Everett to terminate in West Seattle so West Seattle in DSST1 is pretty much baked into any dual tunnel system isn’t it?

        As for South King and Tacoma riders the only reason to consider a shift to First Hill is in the context of no Chinatown/ID station. If you delete that station and continue with the plan of building stations at Madison and Westlake I am struck with how useless and unconnected the Madison Station is. The vast majority of downtown would remain unserved so most riders from South King would have to make a transfer anyway – meaning you may as well look at ways to make the line more useful to more people, and putting the line on First Hill fits that bill. (Except I do agree with you that making people transfer at Westlake and backtrack south wouldn’t work, so they need to figure out a way to do it that keeps a direct transfer from South County to DSTT1, and not the shuttle train under Beacon Hill.)

        Now, unless I’m misremembering, I think I you’ve noted many times Daniel how medical professionals from the east side won’t take transit. Would a line from Judkins Park through First Hill change some people’s opinions? It wouldn’t be a one seat ride, but it would be an easy transfer, and not even require going downtown to do it.

      4. JAS, I think if WSBLE continued towards First Hill more eastside healthcare workers who must take transit would take Link rather than specialized buses like the 630 (depending on park and ride space) because a big concern is the time and safety with a transfer downtown. But there just are not enough eastside healthcare workers to justify routing an entire light rail line up First Hill. We are talking less than 100 riders/day during peak times only.

        Definitely the eastside would benefit by having East Link continue through DSTT1 and a transfer onto WSBLE going up First Hill although I think the number of riders would be small, just like they are on the 630 today. But if I were coming from the south, and naturally wanted to access downtown, UW, or Northgate, I would object to routing through First Hill, and there will be many more riders from the south than eastsiders going to First Hill.

        I get the argument that WSBLE should increase coverage in downtown Seattle rather than just mirror DSTT1, especially when DSTT1 will have plenty of capacity and frequency with East Link trains no matter how many lines run through it. But that is not what the other subareas were told when they were obligated to pay hundreds of millions of dollars they don’t have for a second transit tunnel through Seattle.

        If subarea contribution were eliminated for DSTT2 and N. King Co. picked up the entire tab for WSBLE then I would agree N. King Co. and Seattle should be able to choose the route, which might be the best outcome as long as riders from the subareas to the south continued through DSTT1. If DSTT2 is good enough for them it is good enough for riders from West Seattle, who may want to go to First Hill.

        The real problem is ST lied when it claimed DSTT2 would be needed to meet the capacity through downtown Seattle for the other subareas so they needed to pay 1/2, and there is plenty of capacity — especially with East Link trains — for East, South and Pierce Co. subareas in DSTT1. But that lie is predicated on mirroring DSTT1 so that was the deal.

        Since I don’t think three of the subareas have their contribution for DSTT2 — even just the original $275 million — Seattle might want to just tack on another billion to a SB5528 levy and control the routes and stations for WSBLE since N. King Co. subarea would be paying for 100%.

        I think it would be very, very difficult for the Board to take the contribution for DSTT2 from the four other subareas and then tell them DSTT1 will be used for wealthy white folks from the eastside and West Seattle. Just my opinion, although the reality is I seriously doubt WSBLE will be routed along First Hill, or that WSBLE or DSTT2 are affordable.

      5. “But there just are not enough eastside healthcare workers to justify routing an entire light rail line up First Hill”
        When talking about serving a place like First Hill, the focus is more on the mixture of people who’d go there. You will have healthcare workers (nurses, doctors, administrators, cleaning staff) yes, but also medical students, patients, caregivers, visitors, business people, scientists, and researchers, etc that will be going to Harborview, Swedish, Polyclinic, and Virginia Mason along with all the smaller doctor practices and businesses that support the medical industry in rhe area itself. First Hill also has a university as well with Seattle University. So I find the reasoning that not enough people go there to be a bit of a moot point.

      6. For now RapidRide G will serve Madison. For Harborview and Swedish on Broadway (may be even Cherry Hill) you could add a gondola connection from Pioneer Sq (or CID) station, but ultimately an eastern LR line would be nice.

      7. Zach, I think you may have missed the point of my response to JAS. JAS noted that in the past I have pointed out that the reason Mercer Island is subsidizing the 630 to First Hill after East Link opens is because Island healthcare workers don’t want to take Link downtown and transfer to a bus or streetcar to then get to First Hill. (As Mike notes, based on the frequency being cut in half on the 630 fewer and fewer Island healthcare workers are likely commuting by transit to First Hill so the 630 may become moot. My guess is eastside healthcare workers are moving to eastside jobs).

        So yes, if WSBLE were routed to run along First Hill, and East Link continued directly to DSTT1, that would be the best of all worlds for eastsiders despite the very few riders going to First Hill.

        But I don’t think it would be the best of all worlds for riders coming from the south (which will likely dwarf riders from the east) who get routed along First Hill while residents in West Seattle get a one seat Link ride through DSTT1 to the main downtown stations, UW and Northgate. Unless a ton of those riders from the south are going to First Hill, except they are not because the number one factor where someone is taking transit is where they live.

        DSTT2 will cost these subareas to the south between $275 million and $550 million each, money they could use on projects in their own subarea. In ST 3 ST claimed that based on highly suspect future ridership estimates a second transit tunnel would be necessary to meet THEIR capacity, which is why the route of DSTT2 mimics — or did mimic — the route of DSTT1. Lack of capacity does not mean riders suddenly want to go from downtown and UW to First Hill. It means just the opposite: so many riders want to go where DSTT1 goes they need a second tunnel.

        If Seattle and N. King Co. want to change the route of DSTT2 to create more coverage along First Hill then they should pay for that, and the subarea contribution to DSTT2 (and WSBLE) should be eliminated. But N. King Co. cannot take between $1.1 and $2.2 billion from other subareas for DSTT2 and then change the route of DSTT2 that is laid out in ST 3.

        Unless of course it is N. King Co. residents and residents of West Seattle that take the new route so riders from the south get DSTT1. Surely more healthcare workers are going to First Hill than from south of Seattle so route them along First Hill and see how Dow feels about that.

  26. “Let’s let the process figure that out, with the community fully at the table.”

    Meaning: let the pro-car busybodies decide everything, like usual.

    1. “Let’s let the process figure that out, with the community fully at the table.”

      “Meaning: let the pro-car busybodies decide everything, like usual.”

      The four other subareas other than N. King Co. have nothing to do with WSBLE or where stations are located. Yes, it is true Snohomish, Pierce, S. King Co. and East King Co. subareas are heavily car oriented, and becoming more car-oriented post pandemic, but they are focused on their “subarea”. They travel to Seattle less and less. They don’t give a darn about WSBLE or DSTT2, especially if they didn’t have to pay 1/2 for DSTT2.

      No, this sh&t show is all transit, and all Seattle. It is time for transit to stop blaming everyone else.

      I will still drive to the CID for dinner whether there is a station there or not, unless the construction forces me to get Asian food on the eastside for the next 7 — 11 years, which is getting better and better all the time with the increase of Asians living on the eastside. Our office is moving to the eastside on Sept. 1 so I basically will be a spectator on the transit shit show. I don’t plan on deciding anything, or meddling in WSBLE, and already my city is funding alternate buses to avoid Link and a transfer in downtown Seattle.

      Robert Moses dismissed the complaints from minority groups for his great vision because he knew better, and knew his highways would benefit poor people of color. ST is just the transit version of Robert Moses.

      1. Funny how the battle lines for the second ST tunnel are much the same as the same as the battle lines for the I-5 freeway. As a progressive, it makes me question the whole project.

        If there was a public vote in Pierce Country about clawing back money for Sound Transit and moving it into a fund for affordable housing, I’m very sure it would pass. But then planning transit 30 years out just isn’t a wise choice.

      2. I will still drive to the CID for dinner whether there is a station there or not.

        Thank you. Thank you! I’m confident that Ms. Lau is now certain that the future of the International District is saved.

        But are Eastside distaff family members also willing to go? That’s the real question on which it’s future hinges, isn’t it?

  27. Wasn’t the entire DSTT built in under three years? Construction started in 1987 and finished in 1990. But they say it will take over eleven years to build a new station on 4th?

    1. Yeah I’m confused by that, I’d get it if that was the time frame for planning to opening because that’d make sense.

    2. DSTT1 was partly cut-and-cover (the Pine Street segment), which is much faster. Cut-and-cover isn’t being considered now because it causes even more construction disruption for longer, so think of the current CID controversy multiplied. Three years sounds short for an entire mined tunnel and stations (Westlake-CID). In any case, the entire project is waiting for its share of tax revenue. First North King has to finish Lynnwood Link. And then ST has scheduled the West Seattle-SODO stub. DSTT2 and Ballard are after that. They may start construction before West Seattle is finished, but only when ST 1 & 2 bonds are sufficiently paid down and there’s enough money to pursue both West Seattle and DSTT2. DSTT2 also needs the other subareas’ contributions, so it depends on their scheduling.

      Where are we at with ST1 bonds?

      1. That’s not an easy question to answer because of the several rounds of debt restructuring the agency has undergone over the years, most recently in 2021. In other words, if the agency issues refunding bonds in a subsequent debt restructuring to retire a certain issue that was obtained to finance a certain phase of Link, when is the debt pertaining to that phase considered retired?

        Fwiw though, strictly based on the year of issue, the only bonds that predate ST2 that the agency still had on the books as of the year ending December 31, 2021 was the Series 1999 ones issued Dec 1, 1998 and which at the conclusion of last year had a balance of $206.4 million outstanding. The agency’s total bonds payable stood at $2.251 billion as of 2021 year-end.

  28. Yeah I’m confused by that, I’d get it if that was the time frame for planning to opening because that’d make sense.

  29. Assuming that ST comes up with the money to build it I still predict that they will build a shallow 4th station, and that they will come up with more money than the $50k per business that Betty alluded to.

    I think once ST starts working better with the community, and gets the mitigation compensation right, then the objections will go away.

    1. The $50,000 that Ms. Lau alluded to only pertains to businesses that are displaced by a project sponsor that receives federal funding for said project. It’s a mandate that stems from the Uniform Act of 1970. Under federal law, the business reestablishment provision is actually limited to just $20,000 but under Washington law that limit was raised to $50,000 per impacted business. But again, only businesses that have to relocate due to the relevant project are eligible for this assistance. Sound Transit is simply trying to stay in compliance with the Uniform Act provisions for relocation assistance as well as its Washington State statutory counterpart.

      With that said….

      I believe the deal the University of Washington struck with Sound Transit when it decided to place a Link station at Husky Stadium and then proceed to tunnel underneath the campus to reach the U-District station was something north of $80 million. The bulk of that “mitigation” package was some $43 million for the disruption and relocation of specified labs on the UW campus due to the tunneling underneath. But also included in that package was a provision to pay the UW $10 million for the temorary loss of 600 parking spaces at the Husky Stadium site, 100 of which were deemed permanent losses.

  30. The Seattle Times is reporting new ST CEO is announcing substantial delays for virtually every Link Line. What caught my attention is Redmond Link is now extended from its December 2024 completion date. Was December 2024 the original completion date? Most Lines are scheduled to open sometime in 2025 or later. STB won’t let me link the article. I imagine it will be a STB article tomorrow.

    1. Yes, it was 2021 to Redmond Tech. Downtown Redmond wasn’t in ST2. In ST3, downtown Redmond follows a year later. As Redmond Tech slips, downtown Redmond seems to be slipping with it.

      Also, did I hear these ideas before? : “Committee Chair Claudia Balducci of Bellevue… suggested that if I-90 isn’t usable on time, Sound Transit should either beef up its Route 550 express bus across Lake Washington to rail-like quality, or even operate a light-rail segment reaching Eastside stations only. (Former Redmond Mayor John Marchione mentioned that notion years ago, in the event the unprecedented floating bridge route is unbuildable.)”

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