This is an open thread.
Continuing our discussion on the widespread service reductions by Metro, ST, PT, and CT Sept 17th due to driver shortages.
Over fifty Metro routes will lose at least 1-4 weekday trips. The ones losing more are:
120: 5, 218: 9, 271: 8, 301: 5, 311: 11, 320: 5, C: 19, D: 7, E: 8, 204: 10, 906: 5, 522: 5. Some of these are regularizing existing cancellations; others are probably new.
ST Express has similar deletions across ten routes, although it doesn’t always specify which days. The 512 loses 2 weekday trips, adds 6 Saturday, and adds 2 Sunday. The 522 loses 5 weekday trips. the 550 loses 3 weekday trips.
Pierce Transit’s 1 (Pacific Ave-6th Ave) will be hourly after 6:30pm weekdays, a reported reduction. Never mind that PT is already preparing to upgrade the Pacific Ave half to Stream, a RapidRide-like line, with a contribution from ST3. PT’s announcement lists 25 routes with weekday changes, although it doesn’t say which are reductions.
Stephen Fesler at The Urbanist thinks elected officials should raise alarm bells about these widespread cuts, and hold public hearings and debate it in their board/council meetings, and identify ways to improve this.
This time it’s not a lack of tax revenue or bus-base space, but a lack of drivers.
David Kroman at the Seattle Times says Metro is down 62 full-time drivers ($) from its target service level this year.
Another report seemed to say the number is increasing every month, in spite of full training classes and the “Metro Hiring” message that has replaced “Masks Required” message on bus route displays. The shortage is affecting agencies throughout the country. In addition to the boomers retiring and drop in immigration that has caused labor shortages throughout the economy, anecdotal reports have said some Metro drivers are finding similar-paying jobs with private bus companies and truck companies that don’t have the stress of misbehaving passengers to contend with.
Mike, if Metro daily ridership is down 200,000 riders post pandemic is it reasonable to expect the same level of service as pre-pandemic. Based solely on ridership declines — 400,000 to 200,000 — one would expect closer to 50% cuts in Metro service, at least on some runs.
The mistake The Urbanist makes is the 200,000 riders who have left Metro or who no longer ride Link despite three new stations are not demanding their elected politicians do something about transit. They have other issues today.
While I agree more drivers will retire or leave Metro than can be hired over the next decade I think a deficit of 62 out of 2500 full and part time drivers is not the issue. The issue is the number of riders.
I think ST and Metro are trying to focus the cuts to areas and times where ridership has declined the most, and probably will have to continue the process of allocating limited dollars and service based on “equity”, which ironically today is where the riders are. Where I live is hurt by the cuts but based on ridership and need I think focusing on transit reliant riders is the fairest approach, whether due to lack of drivers or funding.
I have always said the loss of the commuter would have impacts on levies (at least county or region wide) and on political decisions. I think it would be very hard today to get an Eastside politician’s attention if the issue was transit because so few ordinary voters are raising that issue today, and the actual levels of transit service based on current ridership are higher today than pre-pandemic. If those missing riders return and the drivers are found then that is the time approach political leaders for more money as their Covid stimulus is running out at inflation is killing cities.
Daniel, you might want to take a look at Metro’s monthly ridership data (from Monthly Performance Measures). They only have data through April, but they show a 22% increase from January and a 41% increase from April 2021, and a 6% increase just from the prior month.
Metro would be foolish to make decisions with long-term detrimental impacts when it’s clear the recovery is apace. It’s clear that maintaining frequency to bring riders back to support that frequency is the right move, especially when it’s almost certain that by now ridership is even higher.
Based solely on ridership declines — 400,000 to 200,000 — one would expect closer to 50% cuts in Metro service, at least on some runs.
That is not how it works. The cuts have certainly caused a reduction in ridership — especially since many of the runs have ended without warning — but that is only part of it.
Nor should service be cutback across the board just because ridership has gone down. Some of the trips were aimed at capacity, and many of the cuts are based on that. But most service isn’t, and cutting service that much would be a very bad idea — you would create a vicious cycle. Let me know if you don’t understand this idea — it is a fundamental aspect of transit, but not always understood.
Skylar, I did link to Metro’s current and historical ridership, and did use the April 2022 daily boardings of 200,000 as the new current baseline, and used 400,000 daily riders as the 2019 baseline although daily ridership in February 2020 was around 422,000 daily riders.
If ridership post April 2022 changes I agree transit service levels might have to change depending on the level of change, which could mean more service for peak commuters. Or less.
Right now Metro is providing close to 2019 levels of service for half the number of riders. I don’t know if that is sustainable (80% of Metro’s operations are subsidized from general tax revenues) and if the exhaustion of Covid stimulus will affect budgets.
IMO if cuts in service must be made — due to driver shortages or funding although driver shortages could be more difficult to solve long term — I think service should first be allocated to transit reliant riders and areas, and think using ridership during the pandemic is a reasonable way of determining “equity”, but there are several SDOT and Metro equity groups know better than I do what transit equity should be (and I doubt it includes Mercer Island).
If of course funding and driver shortages are not issues than cuts to any routes or levels of service no matter how small ridership is might not be necessary. I don’t think “induced demand” will return bus riders who no longer have to ride transit, and probably is not financially sustainable.
I agree with your points Ross if you would read my posts. Of course I was not advocating for a 50% cut across the board in Myreo service and apologize if that is how it sounded. And I can’t be any clearer that I think cuts need to be based on ridership and on “equity”, and I think using ridership during the pandemic is a good starting point in determining transit equity, although certainly there are better organized groups within SDOT and Metro who know much more about transit equity than I do.
That’s not what’s happening. Metro decides on the year’s service level based on several strategic factors that are a balance between ridership and other factors, and have been approved by the county council. It has enough money to operate this level. It’s jut short on drivers.
The strategic factors include how full the buses are, coverage, equity, appropriate service for the corridor’s population and destinations, potential future corridor ridership if frequency is increased or a route is restructured, etc. Part of the budget is reserved for coverage routes, and the rest for ridership-based routes.
The important issue is appropriate baseline frequency in the core corridors. It should be at least every 15 minutes, and Metro has been gradually working up to that over the past decade. Additional runs beyond the baseline frequency are to address demand spikes and overcrowding. Naturally they will be deleted if no longer needed. Metro has been saying this since 2020, that it will reduce extra peak and shoulder runs when they’re no longer needed. And a spot-check of the new schedules seems to show it’s mostly keeping up baseline frequency and canceling extra relief runs. That’s good: the problem is if it creates gaps in baseline frequency, or if baseline frequency is not adequate to be usable. We’d have to examine each route to determine where that’s happening. But the acute issue remains: Metro doesn’t have enough drivers for its target level of service. If we do nothing and it keeps getting worse, it WILL lead to gaps in baseline frequency, and people who want to take transit won’t be able to.
So the 200,000 fewer riders are coming mostly out of canceled relief runs. That’s appropriate, and what I’ve been saying all along. What’s not appropriate is to have gaps in baseline frequency disproportional to the population size/density and destinations in a corridor. And for that we need to look at other country’s standards, and agencies like Chicago’s CTA that have similar standards. Not to the anemic service levels in other American cities or Pierce Transit or Community Transit, which are wrong in themselves and should be increased. Regardless of whether the buses are heavily or lightly used.
Metro is adamant that the bottleneck is a driver shortage, not a passenger shortage. If it were a passenger shortage we’d be treating this issue much differently.
, including ridership, coverage, equity, reasopotential future ridership if frequency is increased, etc. A certain percent of the budget is dedicated to ridership-based routes, and a certain percent to coverage routes. These factors are a balance and have been approved by the county council.
“Not to the anemic service levels in other American cities or Pierce Transit or Community Transit, which are wrong in themselves and should be increased.”
I don’t think I would lump PT and CT into the same category but that’s a discussion for another time. My follow-up question is actually this: how does CT go about increasing its level of “anemic service” given its limited resources*? I just spent some time the other day reviewing CT’s recently adopted 6-year TDP and, given the curveball the district was thrown with the pandemic, I think it’s done a pretty good job of managing its finances and near-term planning for its operational needs as well as its capital program. Do I wish my local CT bus had higher frequency than once per hour? Of course, but where does the funding come from?
*CT has maxed its 1.2% sales tax authority
Tlsgwm, once Lynnwood opens the remaining 400’s will truncate there. Or at least, I would hope they will. I don’t see any needs for the 800’s at all. Surely there will be funds freed for at least some targeted service enhancements at that time, which isn’t that far away.
Yep, I’m unfortunately not counting on any substantial improvements to CT local service at least until Lynnwood Link opens and those 8XX and 4XX service hours get freed up. TBF, they have at least restored some of the weekday half hourly service on my local route (130) in MLT. Their focus seems to be going in to the Swift line expansions, especially the Orange line in the Lynnwood area, where the pavement is being reinforced and the enhanced bus stops are being installed.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I’m aware of the plans for the commuter route truncations of which you speak. With that said, the latest 6-year TDP isn’t as optimistic as it was just a few years ago:
CT 2019-2024 TDP
Service Hours, Bus Fleet Size
2018 (Baseline)- 412.4k, 286
2019- 457.4k, 304
2020- 475.4k, 306
2021- 487.4k, 317
2022- 499.4k, 317
2023- 511.4k, 317
2024- 565.4, 338
CT 2022-2027 TDP
Service Hours, Bus Fleet Size
2021 (Baseline)- 417.9k, 294
2022- 387.7k, 294
2023- 408.7k, 277
2024- 424.9k, 257
2025- 451.6k, 257
2026- 489.1k, 285
2027- 529.6k, 312
From the same report:
“2023 – 2027 Service Expansion Priorities
“A significant effort is underway to prepare for a larger-scale restructure of the system in 2024. From our March 2022 service level, Community Transit will increase service by approximately 23% with the Lynnwood Link launch in 2024 and by 36% with the launch of the Swift Gold line in the last quarter of 2027. These service increases will include expanding and redesigning existing routes, offering existing and new customers an improved system, with significant increases in service options. ”
The district faces some significant challenges on the interlinked capital program related to its bus replacement program and the additional coaches needed to support the build-out of its Swift service network.
I worry about the Swift program. Part of the problem as I see it is the extreme stop spacing. A stop diet is a great idea, but if your stop spacing is so large that you need a “shadow” (a regular bus making lots of stops on the same corridor) it gets expensive. You aren’t reaping any of the service benefits from the increase in speed. You are doubling up service, without doubling headways. The Swift line is faster, but not that much faster (it isn’t as cheap to run as a true express). I think they got away with it on the first Swift line because it is such a huge corridor (relative to the rest of CT) and because the corridor is so “spiky” (there are extremes in terms of demand). I don’t think that is the case with the other Swift routes. Basically you spread yourself too thin.
Look, in contrast, to the Rapid Ride lines. They have their faults, but when all is said and done, service costs go down — way down. The E serves Aurora, and it is the only bus serving Aurora, despite European spacing, instead of North America. There are fewer stops, the bus goes faster because of all the red paint, off board payment minimizes dwell time AND there is no shadow. From a service-cost standpoint, this is ideal. For a service starved agency like CT, they should consider that model for all but the main Swift line.
In the long run, there are always enough drivers if you pay them enough. What we call a shortage of drivers is actually a shortage of money, only one driven by increases in the cost of labor, rather than decreases in revenue.
I was curious about how much drivers make, and it turns out they start at $26.05/hour after the initial 33 day training period (during which they earn $19.49/hour).
If you can get 40 hours a week of work, earning $26.05/hour would qualify you to rent an apart for about $1505/month, which is sadly iffy in Seattle. Even if you’re lucky to have cheap rent or a wealthy spouse, if you’re less than enthused about navigating a gigantic vehicle through city traffic while interacting with the general public, I can understand why many people would look elsewhere at the wage that Metro is offering.
My son and daughter got summer jobs in restaurants, one in Bellevue and one in Seattle. With tip sharing each made around $31/hr. My daughter qualified for full benefits except I cover her.
That’s the thing that grates on me on a transit user, why are we spending lots of money on expensive projects, administration, and board salaries then utterly cheap out on front line worker wages. Like people will deal with being a bus driver if paid well, though I do wish the drivers cabs were enclosed instead of just only had a plexiglass swing. As I do feel that you’d keep a lot more workers if safety of workers by Transit agencies was considered a priority by then.
Zach, there are orders of magnitude more hours worked by “front-line workers”. Multiply them all out and it’s a lot more than the board salaries, the total of the admin salaries, and even most projects.
One more anecdotal story: The owner of a delivery sub-contractor for Amazon told me his employees receive full benefits and their top wage is only $3 shy of Metro’s top operator wage. I was stunned they paid that much. They are very different jobs, of course. Delivery van drivers have an active component to their job that would be appealing to many.
As for other possible causes for the driver shortage, the most recent employee survey at Operations flagged many issues, some of which have been around for years. One example is the question “My ideas and suggestions are sought out” which only 34% of Operations employees responded to positively. There are plenty of positives in the survey as well but for the negatives, management has plenty of data and feedback on why drivers and others in Operations are frustrated. Now… Will they do something to change things? I’m increasingly skeptical, given the changes I’ve seen so far.
Hi Velo, long time no see. Good to see you’re still around.
One thing I’m sure is an issue being a bus driver is working hours. Ideally, a bus driver would like to work something like 9-5. But, a big city needs transit service far beyond those hours, so you end up with a morning shift that begins at 5 AM, followed by evening shift that ends around 1 AM. A driver that neither willing to get up that early or stay up that late doesn’t have much in the way of opportunities to drive a bus at all, other than a part-time shift covering evening rush hour only, which, of course, is not enough hours to pay rent with.
But, unlike Amazon deliveries, a transit agency cannot schedule its routes based on the convenience of its drivers, at least not without providing a Pierce Transit level of service, or worse. There is simply no alternative except to simply pay them more to compensate for the odd working hours.
Velo, In addition to pay, I expect working conditions are key. Are reliable breaks provided in the face of variable traffic? Do operators have to deal with fare collection, drug use, and rowdy behavior on the vehicle? In Europe and SF Muni, it is common for agencies to apply proof of payment fare collection; operators were protected by plexiglass before Covid. Truck drivers are in short supply; that market responded by increasing the wage rate.
And that folks is why all the “conservative” arguments and actions against transit eventually fail. There is no choice as long as people prefer living in cities.
They’ve proven that they do for 5,000 years now, and the pleasures of a life fighting crabgrass isn’t going to change it. The folks in Europe and Asia for differing historical reasons just do it a lot better than we do in North America.
As pretty much everyone on this blog realizes ….. “cars don’t scale”. It’s a thing.
Video of a bus+tram trip from Stockholm to a suburb. OMG, an elevated subway in the suburbs, single-family houses, a freeway crossing, boardings similar to Link off-peak. Riding a bus in the city and an el in the suburbs — in Stockholm. But the average environment is more walkable and multifamily than in Pugetopolis. And they still think the train is worthwhile even if it doesn’t have two dozen people getting off at every station in the slow part of the afternoon.
On the bus ride, see the open sidewalks next to building construction, and the cycletrack, and separated transit lanes. In the subway station at the end, see the newsstand.
Mike, isn’t East Link not only elevated but surface for almost the entire route through the suburbs? Where north of Sodo is Central Link elevated or on the surface? Where north of Northgate is Link not elevated or on the surface, or south of Sodo, and these are all SFH “suburbs”?
East Link from Judkins Park to downtown Redmond will cost $5.5 billion (in part because ST does not know how to build light rail over a floating bridge). I would say comparatively that is pretty economical.
So I don’t get your “OMG” when it comes to light rail in the suburbs. Is the presence of a newsstand at a train station so unusual or important?
All of these suburban routes will have little ridership but we built them, and the suburban routes used the cheapest design, elevated or surface. The irony is ST is cutting service on East/West express buses the Eastside pays 100% of but benefits Seattleites just as much.
What else did you want the Eastside subarea do when it came to light rail it didn’t do? Issaquah to S. Kirkland? Build a tram? Where? Put a newsstand in one of the stations when reading content on phones killed newsstands?
DT, nobody knows know how to build light rail over a floating bridge. It’s never been done before, due to the need for the bridge to move and the rail to be fixed.
Downtown Bellevue could benefit from a tram I’d say as a circular route connecting the TC/Link Station to all the major destinations around the Downtown area. Along with tram lines connecting Crossroads and Downtown Kirkland.
“The irony is ST is cutting service on East/West express buses the Eastside pays 100% of but benefits Seattleites just as much.”
I very much doubt that Seattlites get as much use out of express buses as East siders.
In 20 years living in Seattle, I went to the east side maybe a dozen times. Usually when a rich boss wanted to throw a party and show off their McMansion, pool and grand piano. I considered it a hostage situation, and I certainly couldn’t have taken transit, and wouldn’t have gone at all if my job hadn’t depended on it.
Zach, Bellevue is/was considering an electric driverless shuttle system when East Link opens that would deal with the fact East Link runs along 112th/110th. When I attended the ACES seminar the plan was to run a shuttle in a dedicated lane along Main St. from Bellevue Way to 112th to NE 8th back to Bellevue Way to Main St. picking up passengers from East Link or a park and ride along the way. The question was how slow such a shuttle would be and whether anyone would ride it. The bigger question today is Bellevue’s idea was in part based on ST’s ridership estimates on East Link which look to be about double what actual ridership will be at best and the 554 will access Bellevue Way directly.
The other connection point was The Spring District to Bellevue Way where the retail vibrancy is. But today housing in The Spring District looks to be pretty low in future Spring District development, a shuttle would probably be slow, and Uber/Lyft quicker and more popular and not much more expensive for such a short trip.
Although I am not in the know I do know some of the planners at Bellevue and their transportation consultant and I think Bellevue will wait until East Link opens — and whether it crosses the bridge — to see what ridership is post-pandemic, and how folks get around before making any decisions. The world is just so different post pandemic, and who knows what it will look like in 2025 or 2026..
Cam, when I was a young associate in a large law firm partners would often throw a party at their house, sometimes in Laurelhurst, sometimes in Washington Park, sometimes on the eastside, sometimes along Hood Canal. They wanted the young people there, and I wasn’t talented enough as a young lawyer to not show up. I didn’t even know how I got the job in the first place.
The setting was usually fabulous, the food fantastic, and the booze free, which isn’t bad when you are in your 20’s and living in a rental house drinking cheap beer and eating frozen burritos. I loved those parties.
The problem with short distance shuttles like that, by the time you wait for it, it’s no faster than walking. Even ignoring wait time, the stoplights and traffic would make it only barely faster than walking.
I’d rather what limited transit dollars we have get spent on trips that are too far to walk. There are tons of them, and they could use more service.
I’m just saying Stockholm has some things people might not expect. We need more information on what the entirety of these metro areas are like. We’ll probably find out that there are more similarities with the US than “no detached houses, no freeways”, but we’ll also find out that even lower-density areas are more walkable.
I’m not comparing specific Link segments or what we should do there. I’m saying the whole line has on/off ridership similar to Link off-peak. Some people say Link doesn’t have enough ridership, but this makes that questionable.
The presence of a newsstand means you can buy a paper or magazine there. That gives you something to read while you’re waiting, and avoids a separate trip to obtain it if you were going to get it anyway. A cafe is also worthwhile for coffee/tea/pastries, and other retail too. These make the stations more useful.
These “suburbs” are very close to the city. This would be like calling Fremont a suburb, then taking a bus up and over Queen Anne. This is part of the journey, only on a bike: https://goo.gl/maps/bJDrpANNJHm8ot2Q9. Farsta is about 5 miles from downtown.
From what I can tell, the tram system doesn’t go very far from downtown. The metro does, but like most subways around the world, only goes about ten miles out, and most of the stops are within a five mile radius. If you look at a Google map of Stockholm, and turn on the “Transit” layer you can see this. Only a few of the metro lines extend over 7 miles. The purple lines (to Taby) is a commuter rail line, not part of the metro (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roslagsbanan). Here is a good map of the metro — https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Stockholm_metrosystem_map.svg/2726px-Stockholm_metrosystem_map.svg.png — you can find the stations on a Google map and see they are all pretty close. Again, this all pretty standard. The Stockholm Metro carries 1.2 million a day. You wouldn’t get that kind of ridership if you were busy trying to serve the distant suburbs while ignoring the central city (like some systems we know).
Of course it isn’t just the standard approach to building a metro that allows for that kind of ridership. It is also the development style. Stockholm is an old city. It grew the way most cities grow — bit by bit, from the center out. At first glance the suburbs look like those you would find in the U. S. For example, checkout Rinkeby: https://goo.gl/maps/TqeEGzTjgRtkaign9. There are plenty of parking lots, a nearby freeway and none of the charm of the old city. At the ground level though, the main street looks like a main street: https://goo.gl/maps/CPGjt7eLbMFDX9NBA. There are definitely cars, but it is also walkable. There is also plenty of density, everywhere. But again, this is an inner suburb. Squint, and it doesn’t look that different than Northgate. The difference is that it looks like this everywhere outside the city. Either that, or it looks really rural. Europe in general has very hard edges for development. You are in the city, a (relatively high density) suburb (or town), or you are in the country. There is none of this mile-after-mile of low density suburb that is so common in the U. S. we think that is what “suburb” means.
Side note about the “hard edges” of development: https://oldurbanist.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-curated-landscape.html.
Anyway, like all great metros, the Stockholm metro has all of the keys to success: population/attraction density, station density and proximity. The metro “covers” much of the inner city and inner suburbs. Riders in these areas are (for the most part) not far at all from a station. They aren’t far from buses, either. This is very different than what we are building.
The OMG was a satire, you realize.
In Germany some central train stations (like King Street, not like metro stations) have an entire supermarket at the station. That’s partly because of archaic German laws that limit evening/Sunday retail except at train stations (ostensibly for travelers’ essential needs), but the net result is that riders can get groceries on the way home, and non-riders can go to the station for groceries rather than riders having to go a long way from a station to get groceries. It inverts the assumption that grocery shopping is primarily driving a car to an isolated supermarket plaza and parking in a large surface lot.
King Street Station has Uwajimaya a few blocks away, but it’s not at the station or within sight of it, so most passengers probably don’t even know it’s there.
Bellevue Transit Center has no newsstand or cafe, and the adjacent restaurants close at 5pm and on weekends. The adjacent buildings are all offices rather than a mixture of offices, housing, and all-day retail. Ideally the transit center would be closer to Bellevue Square, or the station area would be more like the area around Bellevue Square.
Capitol Hill Station has M&M-Mart (a fancier version of the H-Mart Korean supermarkets), and ST indirectly supported it in partnership with a nonprofit developer. But few stations have this, and you can only see the store if you go out of the station and around a specific corner.
Westlake Station has entrances to the department stores, which is good. But now the Nordstrom entrance is closed in favor of a surface entrance. In Germany they’d assume an important segment of shoppers are transit riders and would keep the entrance open to encourage them. Instead Nordstrom closes it and discourages transit riders, and makes them go around to another entrance.
The elevator entrance at Nordstrom’s surface level is also closed, so if you want to take an elevator down to Link, you have to cross the street to the monorail entrance. And there’s no sign telling passengers that the other entrance exists, or that that’s where to go if you’re disabled.
All these are examples of prioritizing transit and making it more convenient, and allowing people to fulfill more errands while they’re at the station, or not.
Yes! Transit stations and Park and Ride lots should have little shops (I’m thinking of a cross between a tiny convenience store and a gift shop) where light (non-messy, non-smelly) snacks, and reading material (newspapers, magazines, and maybe paperbacks) are sold. IIRC, Tri-Met’s Beaverton Station had one about 30 or so years ago. It was such a great idea! The San Francisco CalTrain station may still have a stand that sells Club canned cocktails (drinking alcohol is allowed on the train, probably a relic of a more civilized past, but a welcome one on an evening commute after a hard day at work). The “no food or drink” rule on transit, if seriously enforced, is a deterrent to people who could benefit from multitasking. I know the lack of common sense in modern society is a problem, but East Coast cities like NYC and Boston don’t have such rules and they manage somehow. Non-messy, non-smelly snacks should be allowed on buses and trains per driver discretion. End of rant.
Yeah, I remember visiting Kraków Poland this year and they had multiple supermarkets in the main train station. A discount supermarket on the station concourse along with two supermarkets in the attached mall, full service upstairs and an express Aldi-like store in the below level for people who just needed a few items as they were coming from their train and either getting on a tram or bus.
Can I make a meta comment on the state of discussion on this board, for a moment?
On this comment board, too much air is spent trying to persuade certain recurring posters to abandon their anti-transit views.
In Q4 2019, 44% of households in King County included a Metro rider. This does not include people who only use Link or Sound Transit. Individuals who have no personal connection to transit do not make up the average or norm. While their perspectives should not be ignored, their desires and needs should not set the public transit agenda. Nor should they drive the discussion for this comment board.
I believe the alternative is spending more time discussing, productively, how to improve transit in Seattle.
There is no shortage of discussion of “settled topics:” park-and-rides, the “death of transit” due to remote work, people’s supposed natural preference to live in suburban detached houses, or the idea that transit has little effect on most people’s lives.
Many of these topics, I believe, function as noise. It distracts from discussion premised on things most people on this board know: that transit matters, that transit fulfills certain roles better than cars, and that if transit becomes useful enough to people, they will ride it.
I’ll close with one other point: throughout 2021, the number one thing that both riders and non-riders said would cause them to ride more, is “more convenient stops, routes, and reactivating routes closed due to Covid-19.”
Other forums such as Nextdoor and Usenet exist for those wishing to boast about how much better their lives are because they drive everywhere.
Andrew, how would you improve transit in Seattle?
Also do you have a cite for the statement 44% of King Co. households have a Metro rider.
The figures come from King County Metro’s 2022 rider/non-rider survey, which is available on their website.
I appreciate your question, but that’s not the topic that was introduced. The topic is the state of discussion on this board – specifically, whether too much energy and time is used on certain areas of discussion. If you have a direct comment on what I had to say, however, I would be happy to answer it here.
I think the problem on this board is a bit more complex than just transit advocates vs. anti transit crusaders. To illustrate my point, I will refer back to Will Rogers.
When Will Rogers was asked if he was a Republican or a Democrat, he responded, “I don’t belong to any organized political party. I am a Democrat”
So, ya, there is definitely a transit vs anti-transit crusader thing going on here, but there is also a traditional vs emerging transit divide here too. To state more directly, the pro-transit position is split between those who accept the emerging role of rail, and those who do not.
I could give examples, but who cares? It is Sunday and there is football to be watched.
One can appreciate the ridership dominance of Link Light Rail and simultaneously beg ST do a far better job protecting the health and safety of its passengers.
I wish ST would require masks on board again, but they seem to have joined public officials of both legacy nailed-parrot parties in surrendering to the Loud Boyz and Oathbreakers on that debate.
Lots of signage strongly recommending masks would help, along with recorded messages.
At the very least, ST could require all uniformed personnel to wear masks when around riders.
Right now, I find the 1 Line to be essentially unrideable. ST ought to be making its services safe for everyone to ride, including the various immunocompromised populations.
In the meantime, lots of former riders have been relegated to Lyft (on which the drivers wear masks and freely offer the passengers masks).
For every person who won’t ride if others are not made to wear masks, there are probably 10 others who won’t ride if they themselves are made to wear a mask. And mask mandates are really just a false sense of security anyway, as mask wearing only helps if the masks are worn properly, and, for the most part, only people who are actually afraid of COVID wear them properly, while people who wear a mask only because they are made too, don’t bother, and the huge air gaps around the nose make it next to useless.
Unless you have a dataset, I consider your claims about people being unwilling to ride if required to wear a mask a one-person heavily-biased though experiment.
Even with a mandate, I don’t expect 100%, compliance, based on the numerous trips I took during that period. But a much higher rate of passengers were wearing masks. It worked, if the goal was to maximize mask wearing.
I’m one of the lucky ones who has not tested positive. I did not take Vitamin D, or get lots of exercise. I have simply worn a mask when around anyone else except family who had just tested negative. And I did my best to keep my distance and stay out of others’ line of breathing.
Masks work best when both the infected person and uninflected person are wearing one. If a substantial amount of water droplets get by the infected person’s mask, it’s probably because he wasn’t even wearing it over his nose. But if he covers his nose with a loose fit, the water droplets will still drop down instead of flying toward other people’s faces.
Wearing a mask is easy, and I am not aware of any legitimate medical reasons not to wear one. Most transit agencies still recommend them for good reasons. Just do the right thing and wear it for the short duration of your transit trip.
To state more directly, the pro-transit position is split between those who accept the emerging role of rail, and those who do not.
Never mind the examples, the sentence is so vague as to be meaningless. “Emerging role of rail” where? Vancouver? They have had rail a long time. Lots of people use it. It is arguably the best system west of the Mississippi (which is amazing, given Vancouver’s size). But as great (and popular) as SkyTrain is, more people ride the bus. That may change as the rail system expands, but it won’t change the fact that in just about every city the size of Vancouver (or Seattle) the buses play a huge part in the overall transit system, even if there is “an emerging role of rail”. Given Seattle’s very limited (yet extremely expensive) rail, the buses will have to play a bigger role.
I think everyone accepts this. Link does make the most important transit connection in the state (UW to downtown Seattle). Other, future transit connections will be important as well. But with so much left out, and with so many of the stations next to the freeway (in the middle of nowhere) buses will have to play a huge part in both Link’s success, as well as transit’s overall success in the region.
But I don’t think this has anything to do with the typical debates that occur here. Should we try and interline the trains downtown? Where should the station in Ballard go (and how should it get there)? Should we try and roll back West Seattle Link, if not all of the major ST3 plans? How should the buses change after East Link (or anywhere).
None of the answers have anything to do with accepting rail’s increasing role, but everything to do with making sure that we spend the money wisely, and don’t end up being yet another U. S. city with little to show for their major rail (and minor bus) investment. Basically there are folks (like me) who want what Vancouver has, and others who think it doesn’t matter.
I agree. If masked Metro riders are dying or becoming critically ill from maskless riders, then masks should once again become required for all riders. Does anyone have the most recent stats on how many people are dying or becoming critically ill because they rode Metro and caught covid on it?
King county doesn’t, and probably couldn’t contact-trace buses. They haven’t actually been even bothering to link outbreak cases for almost a year.
If you fund my grant, however, I can start working to get a DSA to get ORCA card data and link it to cases and hospitalizations. What’s your budget?
King County’s COVID numbers, hospitalizations and deaths are very easy to find, although not tied to any particular activity.
Additionally, KC has a dashboard on who is getting sick and dying (short story: the un-vaccinated are almost 10x more likely than the boosted to go to the hospital or die from COVID.. And the overwhelming majority of deaths are in the 65+ age group.)
All the data is at your fingertips!
Sam is asking, perhaps tongue firmly in cheek, about the effectiveness of masking on transmission on public transit.
That’s a very complicated study, though one we should certainly be doing, but for the fact the our public health system is, and has been for a long time, vastly underfunded. After nearly 3 years of pandemic, and a unappreciative and sometimes actively hostile public, it’s workers are over-worked, exhausted and quitting in droves.
Be very careful using that data on the King dashboards. The quality of the case data has deteriorated substantially. Only an estimated 12% of cases are being reported. Though the effectiveness of vaccination on hospitalization and death are based on better data and likely correct.
I have to agree with Lazarus about the pointlessness of taking up lanes on Pacific and Montlake with shuttle buses parked there for the duration of the game. If not for that, people taking local bus routes to the game might not have to suffer the reroutes.
Most of the shuttle routes are obsolete, and could be handled at Northgate, ID/CS, and Angle Lake Stations. For the remaining shuttles serving the norteastside, carve out space in the parking lots for them.
Yep, I obviously agree. I’ve always wondered why they don’t stage the buses elsewhere, but there just aren’t many easy answers. And this is the way it has been done for decades, so the path of least resistance is to just keep doing things they way they have been doing them.
And I think Metro understands that things will change drastically after East Link opens anyway.
So why expend time, effort, money, and political capital trying to improve something that is going to change anyhow in a year or so?
Just keep your head down and keep doing what you are doing until it all changes.
Most of the shuttle routes are obsolete, and could be handled at Northgate, ID/CS, and Angle Lake Stations.
What shuttle routes are those? Metro only runs shuttles on SR 520. The rest of the buses are normal Metro buses.
Strongly agree. I’m not coming here much, too much transit dragging.
This does seem to be the intent for threeish frequent commenters.
Suburbanists are a large part of the public and voters, so we need some engagement with them because we’ll get the same viewpoints when we talk with family members or other suburban acquaintances, and it’s helpful to have discussed those issues on STB first. In addition to “I drive because it’s convenient” or “90% of Americans drive so we should accommodate that”, there’s also “Metro took away my bus stop or one-seat ride, and others have complained about this to me too, so Metro is making it hard to take the bus.”
It’s not just one-seat rides to downtown. One person complained about losing the 230, which used to go from Totem Lake (Evergreen Hospital) to Kirkland, Bellevue, Crossroads, eastern Bellevue, Overlake, and Redmond. So if you lived in the middle of it, you could take it to all those places without transferring. And mobility-challenged people find transferring difficult.
The other complaint I’ve heard is about stop diets. “They took away my stop, and now I have to walk several blocks up a hill to get it.” Stop diets and route consolidations speed up service for hopefully the majority of people, but those who lose out can feel like transit is against them.
The biggest case I heard of, although this was in the 80s when Metro had an anti-transit/pro-carpool director, was, there was an express route to Boeing. Then Metro truncated it at a P&R with no route to the P&R. When workers without cars complained, Metro told them, “You’ll have to buy a car to drive to the P&R to catch the express bus.” Huh?
Repetitive discussions on whether East Link or some bus routes are worth it can be excessive, but at the same time we need some engagement with suburbanists, because they influence city councils and whether ballot measures pass.
Another Husky game, another victory. And another experience using game day LR.
Worked perfectly. Took my friend Tom from Lake Stevens. He had never ridden LR before. I loaned him our Guest #1 ORCA card and off we went.
Everything went great, smooth as silk. I had to explain to Tom a few times about the whole “tap on/tap off” thing, but he eventually got it (sometimes it takes awhile with Tom…)
His big observation? “Why are those buses just sitting there?” This was as we were leaving game and passing by all the game day buses that were just sitting there empty, not moving and not loading. I had no good response except for, “don’t worry about it, just keep moving”.
We also didn’t attempt the last mile bus transfer thing this time. Just stopped for a celebratory beer part way home and walked the rest of the way. Much better, much more relaxing.
It was a good day.
You did it the right way. Why let the players get all the exercise?
I learned to avoid LR before and after sportsball events. Sportsball fans are overwhelmingly maskless on transit.
But for those who can’t stand wearing a mask for even a half hour, please stick to transit and stay away from Lyft, whose drivers have earned their safety.
Also, please take a seat in the lower section. At least let masked riders have the back seats and the standing space. Pretty please with sugar on top.
This was as we were leaving game and passing by all the game day buses that were just sitting there empty, not moving and not loading. I had no good response.
I told you before. Come on man, if you ask a question, read the answer. One more time: The buses fill up from the front. As they fill up, they leave. The next bus — an empty one — then loads. It is not that complicated. Surely you’ve seen the same thing at the taxicab loading area at a big city airport.
Let me explain one more time.
I’ve now attended 2 games at Husky Stadium this year and I have yet to see a single bus actually moving. Not a single one. This is true regardless of which route the bus serves, and it is true regardless of whether the buses are the $16 game day “specials” or existing local service. All I have observed is buses stuck in traffic.
Now I am sure that somewhere there is a bus trying to move, and I am likewise sure that somewhere there is a bus in the process of loading. That certainly must be happening somewhere. It must.
But the combination of game day traffic, plus pedestrians, plus slow bus loading, plus just general post game chaos is a serious problem. And if the result of all that is that the buses are just sitting, then certainly Metro should be looking at improvements. Because the current setup really isn’t providing a good service level for those transit riders who can’t use Link.
That said, it might be that Metro knows the current situation is bad, but isn’t willing to invest much in changing it. After all, it is too late to change it for this season, and the opening of East Link will completely change Metro service model for future event traffic.
I.e., maybe Metro has just decided to live with the current situation until the big Link driven changes in 2024.
“Metro knows the current situation is bad, but isn’t willing to invest much in changing it.”
What do you expect Metro to do? It can’t create transit lanes. SDOT and WSDOT own the streets; only they can create temporary transit lanes and queue jumps. They aren’t willing to make car backups longer than the are, otherwise they would have done so twenty years ago.
There is really no point. You obviously are purposely obfuscating the situation, to push your childish understanding of transit (trains good, buses bad). You have never bothered to explain where these buses are. Are they stuck at a traffic light, in traffic, or are they parked? Which way are the buses even facing (i. e. where are they headed)? How long after the game was it — were there light crowds at this point, or hardly anyone? All of this matters, and I can explain why, if you are at all interested.
I get that you don’t understand what is going on — but you seem to be determined to remain ignorant while criticizing Metro for a situation you don’t understand.
I concur. There really isn’t much Metro can do. The street grid is what it is, for a variety of reasons they can’t take lanes or create meaningful queue jumps, and the traffic situation after games is horrendous, both from a car perspective and a pedestrian perspective.
But that is exactly why Link does so well. Not only does it have capacity well beyond what can easily be achieved with buses, but Link is completely free of the chaos that is occurring on surface streets . And it has huge capacity. It’s actually very, very impressive.
Why doesn’t Metro attempt to improve the situation? Because I think they rightly understand that it would be wasted effort. The transportation situation will so drastically change with the opening of East Link that anything they do today will be meaningless then.
Why doesn’t Metro attempt to improve the situation?
Who says the situation needs improving? All we have is one person claiming there is something wrong, and after numerous comments, hasn’t bothered to say what exactly is wrong. I’ll ask the questions again, since you didn’t bother to respond: Are the buses stuck at a traffic light, in traffic, or are they parked? Which way are the buses even facing (i. e. where are they headed)? How long after the game was it — were there light crowds at this point, or hardly anyone? All of this matters, and I can explain why, if you are at all interested.
For example, you specifically mentioned slow boarding. This is irrelevant. The buses layover where they board. They either leave when they are full, or at a set time. Thus it really doesn’t matter how long it takes to board. I’ve seen people run to get on the bus, only to have it continue to sit there. I’ve seen a group of people crowd to get on, only to have it sit there. Dwell time is not determined by boarding time, like it would be with a normal transit route.
Even if it was, it is highly unlikely to be a factor. Assume for a second that the 271 shows up, and riders crowd on. It takes a while for them all to board. The bus is full at this point, so it has to operate like an express, like it or not. It will make no stops until someone pulls the cord. A few may get off before downtown Bellevue, but they manage to squeeze themselves close to the door before it opens. The overall dwell time is fairly low, simply because you have very few stops, and not that many people boarding. A bus like the 40 — even when it isn’t close to being full –will have more boardings because more people are getting on and off along the way. Or consider Link. For the same trip on a train it will have many stops. Each one will be crowded, with people pushing to get off and people holding the doors to get on. Overall dwell time is bigger, mainly because there are more stops.
Boarding time is a major issue, but not for express routes like these.
the opening of East Link will completely change Metro service model for future event traffic.
Why? A bus headed to Ballard can’t take advantage of East Link. Nor can the local buses that serve the area.
Oh, are you talking about buses headed over the lake? Has that what this had been about the whole time? Holy cow, dude, explain yourself. We can’t read your mind. Most of the buses that serve the stadium after the game aren’t going to the East Side — if that is what concerns you, say it.
Anyway, East Link will not make it easier to get to Kirkland from the UW. What will help, and what will be here long before East Link is the new 520 HOV ramps and lanes. These will make a huge difference, obviously. Not just for this situation — which is largely a minor one, considering it happens only a handful of times a year — but the more common situation that effects way more riders. Rush hour is a problem, but so too is the bridge going up. This largely effects riders heading *to* the UW, not away from it. But with HOV lanes from the freeway all the way to the bridge, that should correct that problem. If it doesn’t, the city should fix it (with more red paint).
“Are the buses stuck at a traffic light, in traffic, or are they parked?”
“All I have observed is buses stuck in traffic.”
This is about congestion, not about lights or boarding time.
“ Why? A bus headed to Ballard can’t take advantage of East Link. Nor can the local buses that serve the area.”
Huh? That certainly isn’t true, and Metro policy aligns against your opinion.
You might not be aware of it, but when Husky football games get out Metro revises many of their North Seattle bus routes. Metro doesn’t just recommend taking Link one or two stops and then switching to your local bus route, Metro actually requires it!
Take for example the 44 to Ballard. When the game gets out Metro truncates that route at U-Dist Station. Want to go to Ballard from the vicinity of Husky stadium or UWMC? Metro requires you to take Link first then transfer!
So of course East Link is going to benefit riders heading north to catch the 44. Because double the frequency, and double the capacity, means half the wait time. And that is important. In some situations frequency actually matters.
As per the impact of East Link going south and to the Eastside, it should be obvious. Many of those buses parked outside Husky Stadium will disappear in favor of Link intercepts on the Eastside.
It will be a brave new world. Because let’s face it, right now the Metro game day buses in the vicinity of Husky Stadium are moving about as fast as a Russian mechanized convoy approaching Kiev. We’ve all seen the pictures.
“Want to go to Ballard from the vicinity of Husky stadium or UWMC? Metro requires you to take Link first then transfer!”
The 48 and 271 may still run through the area. They did during the games in the late 2010s, and there was also a shuttle from Campus Parkway to UW Station to mitigate the other reroutes.
It already takes the 44 half an hour to go the 6 miles from UW station to Ballard. If it did that during game traffic you’d probably get to Ballard faster by walking. Hell, you’d probably get there faster by taking Link to the D.
Tlsgwm, thank you very much for the operations budget projections. It looks like the pandemic and its predations is expect to cut about 35 thousand bus hours out of 2027. But in 2023 the agency is expecting to run just about as many hours as it did in 2018 and in 2024 to exceed them a bit.
Already the 800’s are turning around at Northgate; grant that’s not a huge number of buses, but missing out on the joys of the main lanes, 45th and Stevens Way must be worth something.
When the 800’s go completely away and the 400’s almost all stop at Lynnwood, CT will be entirely a local and feeder bus agency. The roads in Snohomish County aren’t too jammed, so the agency can focus on providing a great network which happens to form funnels at Link stations.
Yes, those buses do still run, and Metro does mention them after they mention the 1-Line. But at one bus every 15 to 30 mins, and still stuck in game day traffic at that, they just really aren’t much of an option.
Metro would undoubtably prefer to truncate them south of Husky Stadium (like they truncate the 44 north of the stadium), but there just isn’t a good Link intercept to the south.
They even mention he 167, which runs weekdays only, so you pretty much know Metro is just grasping at straws.
@Glen in that other city,
Yep, and while RR D is incredibly slow itself (I once outwalked it in LQA), when Ballard Link is finally built it won’t be slow. At that point the Link to Link DT transfer becomes a viable option.
This is one of the reasons we will never see UW-Ballard built as LR. Other viable options will exist.
Because double the frequency, and double the capacity, means half the wait time.
Ha, now you are playing semantic games. You are calling “East Link” an increase in frequency on the main line — something ST could achieve tomorrow if it wanted to.
As per the impact of East Link going south and to the Eastside, it should be obvious. Many of those buses parked outside Husky Stadium will disappear in favor of Link intercepts on the Eastside.
Many? That is a stretch. The Seattle buses won’t change. The 255 won’t change. The 270 (replacing the 271) won’t change.* Even the 542 won’t change. In fact, it will run more often. They can’t just cancel buses during a game. They might reroute them a little bit, but buses like the 48 are still going to run.
As for the ridiculously expensive special “express shuttle bus” (https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/travel-options/special-event-services/husky-football.aspx) most will probably go. South Kirkland is probably the only one that makes sense, but even without traffic, that is probably the only one that people use. Before the game, you take the 255. After the game — with lots of people headed to the same spot — you take the shuttle. You avoid paying the extremely high fare($16 a trip, per person!!!). Getting to Kirkland any other way just doesn’t make sense, especially after the 520 work is done. (Link from the UW to Bellevue will take a half hour. Then you have to get to Kirkland. Even without the work on 520 the current bus would beat that.)
So yeah, a handful of express buses that run a handful of times each year may go away. So what?
What matters are buses like the 48, 255 and 271. The situation should improve dramatically after the 520 work is done. But it may take work to eliminate all the major bottlenecks around the stadium. It will probably be an iterative process (as it is for buses like the 44, where they have improved things, but still have a long ways to go). This is way more important than what happens to those shuttle buses — it effects way more people and costs Metro way more money. As important as Link is, it is largely irrelevant when it comes to those buses.
* Some riders may prefer taking link over the 270 after a game. It will be one of the few times the train is competitive with the bus from UW to downtown Bellevue. Maybe.
I’m not sure express buses to and from the Eastside will end for Husky games. $16 round trip maybe 8 times/year is not expensive compared to the cost of a seat and refreshments. (East Link will be around 1/2 that round trip from the Eastside so $8 is chump change). Plus no parking hassles or costs, HOV lanes (although it is Saturday) and you can drink as much as you want. I had season tickets plus season tickets to a tailgate for around 25 years and $8 each way won’t move the needle.
I think East Link will be attractive to Mercer Islanders and those using the park and ride at S. Bellevue (if you are sober and who goes to a Husky game to not drink alcohol), but anything north of S. Bellevue is too far for Link from Husky Stadium and too far from Issaquah. 520 is the better route. The shuttle buses access park and rides on the Eastside and are convenient.
As with all transit the keys for fans is first/last mile access and number of stops. If I live in Issaquah I don’t want a milk run to or from the game.
Taking Link from the stadium to catch a feeder bus up or down the line might make sense although it includes a transfer so pick your poison.
Some of the buses might be waiting because a lot of folks don’t leave right away to avoid the crush. So the buses are staggered, or as Ross notes wait until full. They attend a tailgate or catch up with their student kid. If you don’t insist on being the first to leave — or leave early — the traffic dies down after 30 minutes.
In the end whichever is the most convenient mode without a lot of consideration for cost will be the mode you take, and whether you plan to drink. In the good old days as a student I walked or rode a bike but still partied well after the game was over at a tailgate.
This might actually be one case where some sort of ferry might make sense. The buses to the east side get stuck in traffic, and the stadium sits right on the lake. I’m not sure where you put the other end, and it gets expensive to have facilities like that only used a few times a year.
@Glenn: Marina Park in Downtown Kirkland could be a Husky Stadium ferry site. The docks their host Argosy tourist cruises, and the Kirkland Transit Center is a five-minute walk away. Carillon Point would also work; there’s lots of boat infrastructure, and for those who need a car post-ferry, there’s a paid garage (hotel, restaurant and office complex).
There’s a reason Husky Specials originate at Eastgate P&R, Houghton P&R, Kingsgate P&R, and South Kirkland P&R.
I think I remember Kirkland Marina and the UW as being spots that were considered for ferry service. I agree that during game day, this could prove to be reasonably popular.
A ferry would be slow and expensive, and as Sam points out the bus shuttles run from large park and rides directly across 520 and I-90.
Furthermore boat traffic is pretty crazy around the UW during game day. I spent a few seasons as part of a tailgate on a boat and getting to your assigned spot with the very slow speed limit and boats everywhere takes a long time, although you are partying on a boat.
Other than Lazarus I don’t hear a lot of complaints about the bus shuttles to UW games, at least from the Eastside. If you live within walking distance of Link I am sure that is a good way to get to the game as well, but don’t skip the post game parties.
Husky Shuttles to Eastgate seem kind of pointless once East Link opens. Anyone with a car to drive there can just drive to South Bellevue park and ride instead and hop on the train. Lots of capacity, zero car traffic to deal with.
South Kirkland park and ride, though, is a bit different. The 255 goes right there, but one bus every 20 minutes is not enough capacity for everyone trying to go home after the game, all at once. You could run extra 255 buses, but then you have to run them all all the way to totem lake, plus create potential bus traffic jams at Yarrow Point and Evergreen Point. Houghton shuttles may also be needed if South Kirkland park and ride doesn’t have enough parking capacity.
Of course, if the parking at south Kirkland park and ride is not full during a game, I don’t think the Houghton shuttles add much value. Anyone driving there can drive to South Kirkland park and ride instead.
A ferry would be slow and expensive
Slow is relative. There is bound to be some bus congestion, even if SDOT and WSDOT “fix” 520. It is one of the few times where you have lots of cars with at least three people in them crossing the lake. It isn’t that far, so it wouldn’t take that long. Then you have the fact that riding a ferry is more enjoyable than riding a crowded bus or train.
Cost is trickier. You have the up front cost, but that is one time. Ferries are like any other form of transit — they are expensive when they are empty. You have to pay for the boat, but maybe you could borrow the one from West Seattle. It runs seven days a week, but that is new, if I’m not mistaken. Now that the bridge is fixed, it will probably run less often on weekends (if at all). Thus you really only have to pay for the crew, and if the boat fills up, it becomes worth it. I think it is more promising than just about every other ferry proposal out there.
All that being said, I’m not sure who would be expected to pay. It seems like a very low priority for Metro, or any other transit agency. These events happen rarely. Hard to imagine this would be a good value compared to improvements in day-to-day transit.
As far as the express shuttles go, this is how I see it:
* Eastgate — Unnecessary after East Link.
* South Kirkland — Adds the most value, and East Link doesn’t change things.
* Houghton and Kingsgate — Tougher call. My guess is the South Kirkland Park and Ride fills up on game day, essentially making these overflow lots. Otherwise I agree with adsf2 (they don’t seem necessary).
In the long run I would like to see an express bus that runs from UW-Seattle to UW-Bothell via 520 and 405. It would serve stops like the last two on a regular basis (similar to how the 405 Stride will serve stops like those). The bus could get crowded on game day, and thus adding a handful of express buses to deal with it is reasonable.
Today I ran across a good YouTube video talking about transit and land use featuring a Jeff Speck and Jarrett Walker. It’s here:
In Jarrett’s presentation, he makes reference to the dangers of “Elite Projection”, which is when people in power (elected officials and wealthy “stakeholders”) make transit investment choices for their own benefit rather than the public as a whole. The term is presented as what happens when accessibility for the public as a whole is not examined and debated.
I couldn’t help but think of ST3 in general and WSBLE in specific — although the term could be applied to most of the details in the other ST3 extensions. If we spend billions to kick RV residents out of the DSTT and put the fewer West Seattle residents who live within walking distance of a station, we make transit mobility worse for more people rather than better for more people. The same goes for TDLE rather than buses to get to Downtown Tacoma or the Paine Firld diversion.
Notably, ST never shows the public how aggregate travel time changes if these projects open due to transfers and LR with a 55 mph design speed. At most, ST cherry picks on or two trip pairs and does not discuss the entire study area. The assembled stakeholder committees who are asked to respond to ideas with no data like this and given 10 minutes to think about and say something and direct choices.
I encourage looking at the map diagrams that Jarrett presented and start asking for them in all ST3 studies. Without them, we will only continue to get “elite projection” of our previous ST3 tax dollars. Given the tens of billions we are spending, a few thousand bucks to pay for an accessibility analysis seems preferable rather than the default elite projection bias that ST creates and people in our region put up with..
Yes – I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m pretty sure most people are only vaguely aware that ST is planning a new transit line, and all of the messaging (even the name “WSBLE”) implies that the line is West Seattle to Ballard, not West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions To Downtown.
I think relatively few people are aware that the current plan is to chop Line 1 in half, and I’m morbidly curious how ST will wave away the problems with kicking southern Line 1 (RV to FW) off 3rd Avenue and into a stupid-deep DSTT2 when they complete the equity analysis that the city requested for the FEIS.
The current design for DSTT2 from CID to Seattle Center is gilded garbage, and the only way ST will reconsider the design is if (or when) the Board is faced with an unaffordable, inequitable tunnel – and then they’ll probably put together an SB5528 ESZ to pay for completion instead of going back to the drawing board. The best possible result is that they use the ESZ to get a voter mandate to somehow splice WSLE and BLE into DSTT1.
I can see the tagline now: “Sound Transit: Building Less With More”
Nathan, maybe ST can rename their lines the “White Line” and the “Black Line” to make it easier for riders.
Agreed. Losing access to the several downtown stations AND losing access to Stadium Station for game days is going to be extremely inconvenient, and really unfair for all the riders from the Rainer Valley and points south.
oh sure there could be transfers at Sodo – turning what is now a one seat ride into two, but ST has shown no willingness to make that particular transfer spot quick, and easy.
Sodo needs to be center platform with the RV line tracks and the West Seattle line tracks going in the same direction and on the same level.
RossB, can we scrub a racist “joke” comment?
And I can’t believe I missed that the new route (technically the BLE half of WSBLE) is going to bypass Stadium Station. Maybe because it seems beyond stupid to not serve a commonly-crush-loaded station with two lines.
“the only way ST will reconsider the design is if (or when) the Board is faced with an unaffordable, inequitable tunnel – and then they’ll probably put together an SB5528 ESZ to pay for completion instead of going back to the drawing board. The best possible result is that they use the ESZ to get a voter mandate to somehow splice WSLE and BLE into DSTT1.”
ST can’t do that. SB5528 gives that authority to Seattle, not ST.
I agree. That comment was so blatantly racist that I thought I must be misunderstanding it. In fact, I’m still not sure about it.
Harrell will never agree to place or support a $10 billion SB 5528 levy on the ballot although I am not sure Nathan understands the numbers we are talking about.
Although Nathan is too delicate to use white and black black citizens are not. And the idea Harrell would ask all of Seattle to tax themselves $10 billion to complete WSBLE and DSTT2 when there is $3.5 billion of critical bridge repair and replacement needing a levy is foolish, especially when the CID and honest folks on this blog like Al have pointed out how racist WSBLE really is.
One only has to compare WSBLE, DSTT2 and Link in north and south of Seattle to see the racial disparities. East Link looks like a paragon of racial equity in comparison. Unless we are talking about wealthy white northern Seattleites catching Link after paying $200 for a Husky ticket when most current transit riders didn’t go to college.
The reality is the house of cards ST is is falling down. Rogoff tried to point this out as he was heading out the door. The operations budget is not sustainable, and you can’t pass a ST levy e without east King Co. Four subareas can’t afford their projects and the fifth couldn’t give a damn about transit. The route depends entirely on feeder buses but ST has sucked all the transit money out of the system while acting condescendingly towards the low brow bus systems that hope ST gets its due, and next in line are the bridges and after West Seattle Harrell is 100% focused on the bridges.
Transit in this region and this blog have nothing to do with buses vs. rail. ST can’t even operate its own trains. Transit is about money which is about ridership. Post pandemic bus systems will do well because they can adapt to funding and ridership and actually are equitable. ST will end up with highest cost per rider mile in the U.S. because of its crazy length through nowhere and lack of ridership. If the three stations of Northgate Link didn’t move the needle game over.
ST and the spine were always designed to lure the white suburban commuter. But the suburbs and cost shunted Link to freeways with some dumb dream TOD would sprout when even The Spring District will have low housing and Link ridership. WFH was like coming home and finding your wife’s closet empty.
Mike, it seems to me that SB5528 was basically written only to enable Seattle to fill the impending funding gap for WSBLE, but the gap only exists because ST thinks it’s too risky to dig a shallow DSTT2.
It seems obvious to me that only the Seattle members of ST’s Board would initiate putting an ESZ on the ballot – so even though the bill was written to give cities the ability to speed up projects, it’s really just going to be ST’s representatives on the board getting funding to backfill overpriced projects.
If being antiracist is delicate, then I question how little strength the islander’s ego has that he can’t stand to be a little delicate, too.
“it seems to me that SB5528 was basically written only to enable Seattle to fill the impending funding gap for WSBLE”
SB5528 was written to build additional lines that ST won’t include in a regional package like Metro-8, or won’t include soon enough like the 45th line. The idea is Seattle voters would approve and fund them, and SDOT would hire ST to build them. WSBLE’s budget gaps happened afterward. If SB5528 ends up just backfilling WSBLE and doing nothing else, that would be sad.
And given WSBLE’s major post-vote design flaws, I wonder if SB5528 should even backfill it. Having 200-foot deep transfer stations, a 4th Avenue CID station, a forced transfer between Northeast Seattle and Southeast Seattle, and a 14th Avenue Ballard station, may be worse than having nothing at all. Ballard (Seattle’s fourth-largest urban village) should be on Link, but ST2 Link alone is better circulation than we’ve ever had before, so even if there’s overhead in getting to/from Ballard to U-District or Westlake Station, when you do reach the station you can go everywhere within Lynnwood/Redmond/FW on Link. West Seattle of course, Link won’t serve very well, so it doesn’t matter that much whether it’s built or not.
So if WSBLE has a huge budget gap, I’m not sure if I’d want to use SB5528 to fill it. Building another line (like Metro-8 or 45th) would not be politically feasible at that point. So I would probably want to use it for RapidRide lines and other bus improvements instead. That would require a change in state law, as I believe SB5528 is restricted to rail. But if there ever is an actual proposal to use SB5528 to backfill ST3 and it doesn’t look worthwhile, we could have a counter-proposal to ask the state to allow it to be used for BRT.
Mike, Seattle could not afford to pass a SB5528 levy to complete WSBLE as currently designed, or really at all. The gap is too big, around $10 billion. When you look at the ST tax revenue for N. King Co. which is around $600 million/year, and deduct the rapidly escalating costs for the 130th and Graham St. stations (according to Appendix J to the 2022 Financial Report the 130th station has increased in estimated cost from 2021 to 2022 from around $76 million to well over $200 million) N. King Co. simply won’t have the tax revenue for WSBLE through 2044.
DSTT2 really is a small part of the cost problem. In one year, from 2021 to 2022, the estimated cost of WSBLE has increased over $6 billion, from a little over $8 billion to around $14.6 billion in the 2022 Financial Report. Even if that estimate does not increase, which it will, when one adds the 30% cost contingency for a public project with tunneling we are getting close to $20 billion when completed.
As far as I know, ST is still using the $2.2 billion estimated cost for DSTT from ST 3. $1.1 billion is suppose to come from the four other subareas, (although when I look at the 2021 subarea equity reports and Appendix J to the 2022 Financial Plan it doesn’t look like three of the subareas have $275 million each for their share of DSTT2, and don’t even have adequate funding for their own projects) so that still leaves a total cost for WSBLE of around $18 billion if NO DSTT2 is built because the other subareas would not owe their contribution.
The reality is it is the “stubs” from West Seattle and Ballard to downtown that are the major cost. WSBLE could run along the surface on 3rd and still a SB5528 levy would be around $8 billion to complete WSBLE. Harrell and Seattleites would be foolish to levy that kind of money to complete WSBLE, which would exhaust transit levy capacity for decades in Seattle.
The Board has known since 2019 about the plinth issues on I-90 but only revealed that in 2022 as part of Balducci’s plan to open a limited segment of East Link. My guess is the Board knew for some time that WSBLE would be repriced $6 billion higher in one year floowed by a “realignement” that no doubt was in the works but does not solve the funding issues because inflation will outpace revenues in the outer years (and the 130th station would be dramatically repriced) so look for some kind of public proposal for WSBLE that is not unlike Balducci’s “plan” that probably suggests capacity across I-90 is going to be permanently compromised.
I don’t know what that plan will be, but if I had to guess it will be a “stub” from WSBLE to appease Constantine and to allow the Board to claim the rest of WSBLE will be affordable at some date well into the future while allowing a DSTT2 station near CID to be avoided for now.
Daniel, PLEASE stop peddling this lie about racism toward Southeast Seattle. You have been told many times why Link is on the surface on Martin Luther King Boulevard and in tunnel to 90th on the north end.
You claim over and over that Ballard and West Seattle will “demand” and “get” tunnels for the portions of WSBLE west of Avalon and north of the Ship Canal. But you don’t know that, nor do you know how such a tunnel might be dug or how much it might cost.
The contractors at ST have produced options that they believe the City will support, but when everyone contemplates the inconvenience of having terminal stations nearly as deep as Beacon Hill in semi-suburban Urban Villages, not to mention the stratospheric costs, “value engineering” changes to make the stations shallower, smaller and entirely within the street envelope will suddenly appear as “Alternatives”.
The same thing will happen downtown. Somebody will “Eureka!” discover that with work from home and the inevitable collapse of tech companies — after all, given who trains the models, who exactly do you think that AI will first replace? — there is no need for a second tunnel and three lines will run through the existing one.
Unfortunately, because no amount of hand-waving is going to find a reasonable place for a northbound diversion without a major overhaul of the existing tunnel, Ballard-Downtown will be built as a stub. Maybe it will have a different technology; it certainly doesn’t need 400 foot trains to handle the load. Maybe it will mostly be on the surface, skipping SLU, and go all the way to through downtown. Or maybe it will be a stubbed automatic SkyTrain clone with some sort of non-revenue connection to the existing tunnel.
We don’t yet know what North King’s financial power will be. Maybe WFH will turn downtown into a silent steel forest and Ballard will have to be surface. Maybe the people in West Seattle will see the value in their great bus system, especially when the 120 goes RapidRide next year, and no WS will be needed.
The thing is that taking victory laps before the gun has gone off is really wasting a lot of energy that might be needed later.
Tom, if WSBLE has the same non-separated surface configuration as through the RV then I will withdraw my comparison of Link through north and south Seattle as indicia of racism. After all, it is how BIPOC groups feel, not me, and there are several equity groups who are part of SDOT and ST who can speak for their communities.
Whether N. King Co. will have the ST tax revenue for the configuration you suggest is affordable for WSBLE after constructing Graham St. and 130th I can’t say because ST has never suggested it, and there are no cost estimates for such a configuration, for what they would be worth.
If a surface configuration from Judkins Park to downtown Redmond — across a floating bridge — can be built for around $5.5 billion I suppose the same could be done for WSBLE, although I doubt it would be politically palatable, or as you say West Seattle, Ballard and the downtown Chamber would drink the bitter ale.
My guess: the Board will greenlight the stub from West Seattle to Sodo in order to appease Dow and to claim WSBLE can be built as desired at some point in the future, leaving it up to the next board, which also solves the station in the CID problem which that community thinks is racist.
I think it is important to consider the racial implications of much of Link, but I would caution people about oversimplifying things. I urge people to look at the history of Link, and not jump to conclusions. I have more to say, but that’s it for now.
As for the “white line/black line” I’m not scrubbing it. I am quite sure that David meant it as a critique of ST (i. e. the predominately black riders are getting screwed). There is a lot of truth to that, although I don’t think that was ST’s intent. I think ST is just oblivious to most of the details that matter to riders.
Nathan, yes, the assumption that the new tunnel will portal at Massachusetts makes a “New Stadium” station very unlikely. If the current plans are built, the Line 3 trains will roll blissfully by Lower Royal Brougham thirty feet underground, without even a minimalist center platform station. RV and farther south destined fans can change at SoDo, or for baseball games, perhaps walk to and from there.
I don’t think you’re going to get a “shallow” tunnel downtown. The first tunnel was bored between the Washington Street portal and Third and Pine and the belly-aching about the holes for the two stations on Third Avenue and the big one on Pine was endless and apocalyptic. There are three practical options for a “value engineered” WSBLE:
1) Get Ross’s guru down here and have him use his divining rod to find the unknown underground cavern in which a northbound diversion to Ballard can be branched;
2) Accept that Ballard-Downtown has to be stubbed at Westlake and either have a small MF in the big parking lot across from Pier 92, west of Balmer Yard or connected via a non-revenue tunnel patched in at the west-to-south track at Third and Pine. This could be “SkyTrain” style equipment, but the cars would have to have small stand-up operator cabs for operation in the main tunnel to and from the MF; or
3) Omit South Lake Union and go surface from Third and Cedar to the south end of downtown with 250 foot two-car multi-section Citidis-style trams. Connect up with a short section of tunnel from Third and Cedar over to about Republican and Elliott with a couple of minimalist stations under Seattle Center and in west LQA. Cross with an opening bridge at 14th and diagonal over to Central Ballard with a shallow tunnel, maybe under 50th and Russell. To improve SLU, close Westlake to anything other than transit south of 9th and Blanchard, lengthen the existing SLUS stations to the standard for single-car versions of the same trams and run the cars down Third sharing the Ballard tracks. This would mean moving the trolleys to Fourth and Fifth to avoid the problems of catenary among double wire trolley lines.
See film Singles and Super Train. See water taxi for Des Moines, Ballard, and Kenmore: riders will use them because they are fun even though they entail long waits, long walks, and poor connectivity. Will political leaders subsidize them.
I watched the video. Jarrett’s talk from 42:59 to 1:06:53 is excellent, and I learned things in it as I do in all his talks. This time his theme is freedom: the freedom to go more places and do more activities and have a wider choice of jobs. If the transit network is good, then more destinations available within a 45-minute travel time, and that gives you the freedom to do more things.
Jeff Speck’s book, Walkable City, is very good.
RossB: nice video. The key for any transit mode (e.g., bus, streetcar, train) is the degree of separation from traffic that it is provided. The reliability of Link is impacted by surface operation along MLK Jr. Way South; it may have issues in Bel-Red. The Seattle local streetcars are stuck in traffic; all modes can be either stuck or liberated. The Toronto streetcars are of two types with different degrees of separation. The narrator asks how is the local bus network treated. In the past 30 years, Seattle has improved its treatment of the bus; it was slow at first, but stronger after 2005. In downtown, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th avenues have skip operations and some bus lanes; red bus lanes connect the 3rd Avenue transit spine and SR-99 via Wall-Battery streets. In 1990, with the DSTT, 3rd Avenue bus stops were bulbed out. Bus bulbs began to appear in key locations: downtown Ballard, downtown Lake City . University Way NE was reconstructed in the aughts; it got new utilities, new thick pavement, two-foot wider sidewalks, bus bulbs, and half the bus stops were closed. Network wide, there in attempt to optimize stop spacing. The Shoreline Aurora project added BAT lanes; BAT lane popped up on SR-522 and elsewhere. With RapidRide, bus bulbs were more common. Many bus routes are still stuck in traffic. Cars are still stuck in traffic; cars are traffic. In SF and Vancouver, one can see even greater bus priority. See Van Ness: https://www.sfmta.com/project-updates/what-van-ness-bus-rapid-transit
The key for any transit mode (e.g., bus, streetcar, train) is the degree of separation from traffic that it is provided.
I think it is more complicated than that. I think you have to look at the complete trip — door-to-door travel time. There are a number of issues, including vehicle speed, frequency, distance to a stop (including the platform), as well as the overall network. In some cases these are in opposition to each other. Add more stops, and the vehicle is slower. Thus finding the right balance with stop spacing is tricky, and always debatable. In other cases, they complement each other — faster vehicles means they take less service time which allows the agency to run the vehicles more often. The red paint you mentioned has been huge, and more is needed, so we can run the buses faster AND more often.
For Rainier Valley, there are several weakness with Link:
1) It is a bit slower because it runs on the surface.
2) The stations are poorly placed. Rainier Beach Station is not at Rainer Beach (the neighborhood). Same with Columbia City. Mount Baker Station is awful.
3) The stations are too far apart (there aren’t enough of them).
4) Most of the day, the trains are too infrequent.
I would say the first issue is the smallest. The fourth issue is obviously a bigger deal. The train would add riders if it was running faster — it would add more if it ran more often. The second is a big issue — the train should have run down Rainier, not MLK. The third issue is a trade-off, but the gap is way too big for an urban metro. Finally, if the train was buried or elevated, platform placement would actually get worse — the distance to the platform would increase. On the other hand, it would allow for better headways — although ST doesn’t run at the limit now, so it isn’t clear if this would ever matter.
Then of course, there is cost. What if you built this: https://www.theurbanist.org/2022/01/19/the-case-for-improved-light-rail-in-rainier-valley/. This would be a dramatic improvement for the region. Would it be better than UW-to-Ballard Link? No. It improves things, but would not get you anywhere near the speed improvements of a crosstown subway line. As measured in door-to-door savings, it isn’t even close, especially when you consider the network effect. But then again, it is possible that moving the Rainier Valley line would be much, much cheaper.
One of the reasons why I like the plans for the 40 so much is because I think it will be a tremendous value. For very little money, we will make one of busiest buses a lot faster. We will eliminate the worst spots, which should probably be a priority. As much as I like Madison BRT, and the great speeds that will come with it, I wonder if we should have applied a wider approach. Instead of focusing on one corridor, and making it great, maybe we should fix dozens of spots, throughout the city. That doesn’t mean they would be as fast as Rapid Ride G — and thus not as frequent — but fixing the worst spots might be a better value.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with that approach is that federal (and I believe state) grant money doesn’t work like that. The money goes for big projects (rail, or BRT) not lots of little work, even if it is a better value.
“Seattle has improved its treatment of the bus”
It’s getting better but it’s still a far cry from a two-way bustrack the entire length of the routes, like in the Stockholm video, Vancouver’s Surrey BRT, Van Ness, Curitiba, Shoreline’s part of the E, or South King County’s part of the A. If we want robust bus circulation that really competes with cars, we need that.
You are cherry picking specific areas, not looking at the overall region. Shoreline’s part of the E, for example, is way less important than the bus lanes on Third. It isn’t like Shoreline is perfect, either — the 522 encounters congestion in Shoreline. There is still no commitment to add bus lanes on 145th as part of the new BRT project. Overall, Seattle dwarfs other cities in the region when it comes to making speed improvements, even if it has a long ways to go.
That doesn’t mean we are a leader. It is quite likely that most European cities do a better job. Comparing it to other cities around the world would be difficult though. I know of no map showing all the bus and BAT lanes in Seattle, let alone other cities.
Even if you had a map, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Basically it comes down to how much time is saved and for how many riders. Often times, little fixes are more important than major projects. That is what I was getting out before. In Pierce County, it is easy to make the case that they should focus on a handful of corridors — or even just one. Ridership is very stratified, even when adjusting for speed and frequency. The BRT plans are definitely appropriate. They are building the most important thing first.
It is different in Seattle. Ridership is way more spread out. Much is made of the E having the highest ridership, but other buses are relatively close, and a few get more per mile. Making the E “real BRT” would be great, but is probably not the most important project. Going from very good to excellent on one line is nice, but pails in comparison to going from terrible to very good on a section of roadway shared by multiple buses. That is another reason why I am excited about work for the 40. The plan is to allow buses to avoid the traffic surrounding the Fremont Bridge when it opens. This is huge. Not only for the 40, but for the 31/32 and 62. They will be faster, and a lot more reliable.
I think it is way to easy to focus on single routes, or even single corridors. Similarly, it is way too easy to say that we need it to be like Link, or “real BRT”. But I’m not convinced that is the best approach. Chipping away at the bottlenecks that hurt the most riders seems like a better value. I think this is great: https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/12/18/an-introduction-to-rapidride/. But it still leaves out a lot of buses that carry a lot of people but encounter a lot of congestion. I think focusing on the biggest bottlenecks (per rider) would be a better approach.
Yes, there are many relevant margins; I was responding to the video.
Yes, the G Line could have been better, but it will happen and we have to make the best of it. (Just like Lynnwood Link). The G Line would have been better as Route 49M, going close to the Capitol Hill Link station, serving Broadway and Madison Street. It would have much shorter transfer walks with Link and still serve the Madison Street corridor. The walks to/from the Marion Street causeway would have been shorter. I doubt the center islands are really necessary; the SDOT method on Westlake Avenue North method would have worked to get the buses through the I-5 interchange congestion. The service hours and capital should also be spread out other corridors: Yesler Way, Pike-Pine. SDOT has already helped the Spring Street jam at I-5. But, it will be fine, but we are asking for longer walks. Link is key.
The G Line would have been better as Route 49M, going close to the Capitol Hill Link station, serving Broadway and Madison Street.
I disagree. Yes, the bus on Madison should go by a Link Station, but that is the fault of ST. If they had a station on First Hill or even 23rd and Madison, this wouldn’t be an issue. But they don’t, and turning to serve the lonely station on Capitol Hill is not the answer. There is no way we could get as much right-of-way on Broadway as they have on Madison. As you pointed out, the streetcar is stuck on Broadway — the BRT would be too. Nor does it make sense to run a bus every six minutes over the ship canal. Day and night, you get bus bunching, and speeds that are not worth calling BRT. Even if you got all that –and the bus was that fast, it doesn’t help the local network as much as what they have planned.
What they have planned makes way more sense — it is only a question of whether it is worth it. Meanwhile, the 49 should not turn, and head downtown as if Link doesn’t exist. It should go straight, crossing Link and then the BRT. That gives you two ways to get downtown, along with just taking Link from the UW. The greater Central Area (everything in the city east of downtown) needs a major overhaul. It needs to be more like a grid, and less the hub and spoke pattern that we’ve had for decades. Link should have made that easier, but it didn’t (because they only added one stop between the UW and downtown). But Madison BRT does. Now riders will be able to transfer to a bus running fairly fast and very frequent, along with that one Link stop. When you consider the time it takes to get to our deep bore station platform, the bus will be a faster option for many. They just need to make the 3/4 faster (and plenty of other routes). I’m not saying the 3/4 should be as fast as Madison BRT, but it shouldn’t be so damn slow like it is now.
The RossB Route 49 could extend to Mt. Baker TC via the Route 9 pathway and use existing ETB overhead. So, would you revise Route 7? The McGinn SDOT chose the FHSC pathway and chose to congest Broadway with both the FHSC and two-way PBL.
To answer your question, eddie, no — I would not alter the 7. I would, of course, get rid of the 9. Here is my thinking:
The 49 is extended on Broadway. I add a new bus that starts at South Lake Union, and goes along Boren. One of these buses should go to Beacon Hill. The other bus needs to layover somewhere. It needs to at least go as far as Jackson. So far as I know, there is no easier layover than MBS, once you get to Jackson. I suppose it could layover where the 4 lays over (using Plum and Walker) but that seems like it wouldn’t save much money.
In my proposals, I send the 49 to Beacon Hill, and the Boren bus to MBS. This is somewhat arbitrary. I could easily see these being swapped. But this minimizes turns — the Boren bus is basically a straight shot from Fairview to Rainier & MLK. I really, really like buses that don’t turn.
This does mean adding more service on Rainier, from MLK to Jackson. I’m OK with that. This is a densely populated area, and doubling up service is fine. Hopefully SDOT will make this corridor faster for buses, given how important it is. But again, if a layover/turnaround can be found closer to Rainier & Jackson I would be fine with that as well.
The McGinn SDOT chose the FHSC pathway and chose to congest Broadway with both the FHSC and two-way PBL.
Yes, that was a mistake. I would move the PBL to 12th. You still might need to move the tracks of the streetcar (to allow it to run faster) but hopefully you wouldn’t, as moving tracks is extremely expensive.
I would also look into limiting the number of cars that flow onto Broadway. This may be difficult, but consider Eastlake. This is much the same situation — bike lanes competing with bus lanes. Eastlake is such an important bike corridor that the buses have to share space with regular cars in places. But they did some clever things to speed up the buses. Right now two lanes of traffic continue north on Eastlake, as it merges with Fairview. Likewise, you have two lanes of Fairview merging onto Eastlake. That is basically four lanes of traffic heading north, merging into two lanes (not counting everyone on the side streets who turn and head north). The plans limit a lot of that traffic. There will be one general purpose lane from Eastlake, and one from Fairview. So even though the bus may have to share space with cars, it will deal with a lot fewer of them. They will be backed up, waiting to access the street, in much the way that cars have to access the freeway. If this sort of thing can be done in strategic places for Broadway, it could greatly increase the speed of transit along there.
“This does mean adding more service on Rainier, from MLK to Jackson.”
That’s what the 106 currently does. Metro Connects has suggested extending it north on Boren to SLU.
Metro preferred a Broadway-Madison line over an all-Madison line. It was Seattle that insisted on an all-Madison line, so Metro just accepted it and worked around it.
I’m not so convinced about a Broadway-Madison line. It seems to have the same flaws as the 49 and 43; i.e., it serves the northern part of Broadway/10th and 24th/23rd but not the southern part. Why should a route go east then north in the middle of an urban neighborhood, privileging the northern segment of the street, and making things more difficult for people who want to continue south?
Metro’s last Metro Connects concept (2020) replaced the 49 and 60 with a north-south route from the U-District to Beacon Hill, possibly on 12th south of John. It replaced the 2, 11, and 49 with a Pike/Pine-12th-Union route. The 8 would be rerouted to Uptown – Madison Park. The MLK part of the 8 would be abandoned or attached to another route. So that’s the latest we know of Metro’s thinking.
Why should a route go east then north in the middle of an urban neighborhood, privileging the northern segment of the street, and making things more difficult for people who want to continue south?
Exactly. My big point is that it doesn’t enhance the grid. Not to speak for Eddie, but I believe his point is that it should connect with Link. This is where we disagree, and allow me to explain why I feel this way.
The vast majority of riders get to downtown via buses, not Link. If you are on a bus from the north (Eastlake to Western) you don’t want that bus to turn. If you were headed up to John, you would have taken Link or a different bus. Likewise if you are headed to the UW. So it would only benefit you if you were headed to that section of Broadway/10th/Harvard. There are way more people, destinations and potential transfers on Madison, east of Broadway.
The same is true for those who arrive by bus from the south. If anything, they would benefit more from a 49 that went as far as Jackson, as they could avoid going downtown if they were trying to access that area.
Now consider Link riders. If you are headed to Broadway, the main thing you want is frequency. This can be accomplished with a combination of the 49 and the streetcar. But imagine if the 49 turned on Madison and went downtown. If you are headed to Madison, and approaching on Link you would get off at University Street Station or at CHS. The stops on Madison west of Broadway are closer to USS. Even if you are approaching from the north, at best the time savings from using CHS are minimal, if they exist at all.
When you look at the overall potential network, staying on Madison is just better.
Metro’s last Metro Connects concept (2020) replaced the 49 and 60 with a north-south route from the U-District to Beacon Hill, possibly on 12th south of John. It replaced the 2, 11, and 49 with a Pike/Pine-12th-Union route. The 8 would be rerouted to Uptown – Madison Park. The MLK part of the 8 would be abandoned or attached to another route.
I more or less agree with all of that. I prefer consolidation (by running the 49/60 replacement the whole way on Broadway, and combining with the streetcar for good headways) but otherwise think the Metro Connects plan was outstanding for that part of town. It was the basis for a series of restructure proposals I suggested: https://seattletransitblog.com/2022/05/16/the-12-after-rapidride-g/
I’m still surprised that all of the Downtown stops are on steeper slopes except First Ave. Making a BRT route ADA accessible on a steep slope is a complete joke. For the sake of wheelchair riders, the route should have turned somewhere Downtown to create more level stops.
And I’m still curious if one of those all-electric no-wire articulated buses can climb that Downtown slope with ease when fully loaded. Have they even tested one before spending the hundreds of millions on the project? There are plenty of machines that have been designed to spec but don’t work in the field.
And let’s not even think about snow days on this route.
“Making a BRT route ADA accessible on a steep slope is a complete joke.”
How else do you connect First Hill to downtown? They’re among the biggest activity centers in the state. Thousands of people were already taking the 12, 2, 3, and 4, which were on s steep slope. The 12 west of Broadway was so popular Metro threw as many resources as it could at it to avoid overcrowding. That’s a large part of why the G was built. Madison is the main street in the area, and a better BRT corridor than Seneca or James, which are both also steep.
Mike, surely you understand that Routes 2, 3 and 4 turn onto Third Avenue — where there is a level slop for transfers to other RapidRide and regular Metro routes as well as Link. The streets also appear to be steeper below Third Avenue than above Third Avenue.
I realize that a bus turning corners isn’t optimal, but I really feel that RaidRide G was designed badly because it does not have a level transfer stop on Third Avenue.
There is level boarding on 1st Ave for G, correct?
That’s right AJ.
That’s why I said “ except First Ave.” In the original post.
I live car-free in the U District and regularly ride a variety of King County Metro routes in Seattle north and east of downtown — Routes 31/32, 44, 45, 40, 48, 49, 62, 67, 70 — and looking at some of the new timetables with the trip eliminations, it seems like for the most part, those routes will generally maintain their existing 10- to 15-minute service frequencies (and the trips that were cut were from the margins). Which is good because, anecdotally, in recent weeks and months, I’ve encountered increased crowding on many of these core bus routes including outside traditional “commuting” times. (Canceled trips on Route 40 have left long gaps in service leading to random crowding. There also seem to be fewer 60-ft articulated buses running on Route 44, which may be contributing to crowding on certain crosstown runs with shorter, 40-ft buses. Afternoon traffic through Wallingford has seemingly sucked more than normal this summer, delaying eastbound 44 buses, in addition to delays through the N 46th St & SR-99 construction zone, including time for bus drivers to reconnect trolley poles around N 45th St & Stone Way N. Despite all that, Route 44 service has remained a mostly reliable workhouse and, best of all, frequent. The new eastbound NE 45th Street bus lane and Route 44’s recent westbound reroute via NE 43rd Street in the U District seem to be doing what they were designed to do to keep buses moving. I thought there’d be awful eastbound jams on NE 45th Street between I-5 and Roosevelt Way NE that would create headaches for Route 44, but buses seem to progress through surprisingly well without too much delay getting through the light at NE 45th St & Roosevelt Way NE. I’m sure some motorists may not share my enthusiasm for that new eastbound bus lane but it’s clearly not the end of the world some had predicted.
UW-serving bus routes seem to have been more crowded during the morning and afternoon peak times compared to this time last year which makes sense since more UW folks are working on-site. Weekend ridership on many North Seattle buses serving Ballard, Green Lake, Fremont, and Wallingford, seems to be pretty strong, too. (I was even on a packed-to-the-gills Route 24 bus on 28th Ave W on a recent Saturday! Yes, that’s random anecdata, but what on earth is happening in Magnolia?)
Link trains have been regularly crowded, as many have observed, especially between the U District and Westlake stations and especially on the weekends. And not just because of sporting events downtown. It’s because we have underground train service in dense areas that connects key activity centers and destinations where people want to go.
That’s not to say the transit experience everywhere in Seattle is going along swimmingly, of course. The very limited Routes 15X, 17X, 18X between downtown and Ballard never seem very busy; the Latona/E Green Lake section of Route 20 is never busy; Route 49 buses via Broadway rarely seem full, which makes sense given the opening of the U District Link Station. And I can’t speak to bus routes in South and West Seattle or suburban/commuter oriented routes to/from downtown. But from my perch as a regular transit rider of many core routes within UW-Ballard-Downtown wedge, it’s as if people — get this now — are causally but consistently using buses and trains to enjoy and explore Seattle vs. using transit specifically as a way to get to and from work! (But many are using transit to do that, too.)
Thanks for the report. I lived car-free in the U-District from 1985 to 2003, first as a student in the dorms, then in an apartment on 56th. My experience was probably like yours, except transit was less frequent and slower (due to no transit priority, and bus stops every 2-3 blocks).
My spot-check of a few schedules tallies with yours: it has preserved baseline frequency with no larger gaps. The reductions come from already-cancelled runs, extra peak runs, and extra relief runs. So it’s less of a blow than it appears. The 2014 cuts did more damage, deleting entire routes, making others infrequent, and forcing consolidations that didn’t serve the former corridors very well.
Link has been standing room only twice this week with ballgames, and peak-hour ridership is also standing room only. There have been several ballgames in the past month, and part of Link’s purpose is to clear large crowds like ballgames.
The 44 has gotten stuck in traffic for decades, and it sometimes takes 45 minutes to get from University Way to Ballard Ave. I don’t know about the 40 but others have said it’s busy. The 20 replaced a low-volume route in Latona, so I never expected more.
In my area (southwest Capitol Hill), there are so many buses they don’t get that crowded, so I’m lucky that way. When I rode the 49 before covid, ridership was robust on Broadway in the afternoons, but not packed like other routes.
“The new eastbound NE 45th Street bus lane and Route 44’s recent westbound reroute via NE 43rd Street in the U District seem to be doing what they were designed to do to keep buses moving.”
I haven’t seen the 43rd routing in action, so that’s good to hear. I don’t even know where the 75, 31, and 32 stop at around the station. I used to take them all the time, but that was before covid and Northgate Link.
“what on earth is happening in Magnolia?”
Those routes can be surprising sometimes. The 24 and 33 have a secondary job connecting downtown to Interbay jobs. And people use the 24 to get from one part of Magnolia to another, like from 28th to 34th, or 28th to Government Way. The hills are so steep that this makes sense. I don’t know about a huge crowd on a Saturday. There may have been an event in Magnolia, or the previous bus never showed up.
My spot-check of a few schedules tallies with yours: it has preserved baseline frequency with no larger gaps. The reductions come from already-cancelled runs, extra peak runs, and extra relief runs. So it’s less of a blow than it appears.
I agree. I took a look at the C, which got hit the hardest. I believe midday frequency is the same. It is peak service that got hammered. The bus went from 4 minute headways to 7.5. This is bad. This hurts. But it isn’t nearly as bad as going from 15 to 30, which could easily happen if just a handful of midday buses are cancelled. This cutback (at least from what I can tell) is largely peak oriented reductions. Buses that used to run every 4 minutes did not run that often to benefit the riders (although it did), but to deal with crowding. Since rush hour crowding is less of a problem, this is where the big cuts have come from.
Right, RapidRide’s minimum frequency is 15 minutes, or more if needed. Full-sized subways often have trains every 2-3 minutes, but that’s not strictly necessary in Seattle right now. First we need to get all the core routes up to 15 minutes until 10pm, and get as many of them to 10 minutes daytime as we can. Then we can worry about frequency beyond that. 7 minutes peak sounds typical for high-volume RapidRide lines at Seattle’s current level of development. That 4-minute service was partly to mitigate the West Seattle Bridge closure and restricting the lower bridge to transit only. The bridge is reopening at the same time as the runs are being deleted.
“the 15X never seems busy”
That’s surprising because it used to be packed, and people use it for more than just commuting to downtown jobs. It’s the fastest way to get in and out of Ballard, so people use it when it’s running their direction.
I took the 15X to Ballard for my Shilshole Burke-Gilman trail walk. At 5pm there were 11 people on the bus. I transferred to the 44 westbound at 5:20 and there were 5 people. However, another 44 had come a couple minutes earlier. I finished sometime after 6pm on the 44 eastbound, and it was moderately busy.
That’s just one Thursday, but it collaborates Michael’s experience that the 15 is lightly used now. It looks like few people are going to Ballard in the PM peak, either from downtown or from the U-District. That’s fewer than I see in other neighborhoods.
Gene Balk in The Seattle Times says Seattle had the second-highest work-from-home rate in the in the country ($) — 47% — in 2021. “Among the 50 most-populous U.S. cities, only Washington, D.C., had a higher percentage of remote workers in 2021, at 48%. San Francisco ranked No. 3 at 46%. All other major cities were below 40%.”
“Nationally, only about 18% of all workers primarily worked from home in 2021, according to the new census data — Seattle’s figure is nearly three times higher. Pew data also shows that the majority — 60% — of American workers have jobs that can’t be done from home.”
Maybe Ballard has more work-at-home workers than other neighborhoods.
My partner and I are partial-WFH partial Ballard-to-Downtown commuters, and my partner routinely claims that the 15X doesn’t exist – largely because it’s been very unreliable during the pandemic. I can’t speak to ridership on the 17/18X, but I know that when I’m waiting at the bus stop with other apparent commuters, folks will let the D pass by if a 15X is on its way. However, anyone heading to downtown knows the mental math that the 15X is “only” about 5-10 mins faster than the D to get to downtown, so if the D arrives more than a few minutes ahead of a 15X, you’re better off taking the bus that’s here than the bus that isn’t. If anything, the 15X vs D ridership starkly demonstrates what’s always been true: office-commuter-oriented transit isn’t worthwhile, and high-frequency, all-day transit that doesn’t require timetable memorization induces more use.
My dream, though, would be an all-day, 15-min frequency 15X. I generally start to get motion sickness after about 30 mins on the bus, which makes that last 5-10 mins of a 40-min commute kind of rough. The 15X’s 30-min run is great, but somehow surprisingly hard to catch.
For the other masochist, er… Pierce Transit rider out there, they are requesting feedback on their (lack of) service.
I would mention they need to be transparent about how many runs each route is losing, not force people to compare the new and old schedules for each route. Especially as the old schedules may soon go offline and people haven’t printed them out.
Planning a train ride this weekend?
Be aware, cancellations have already begun.
Let’s hope all your mail-order items have made it already.
Wow. You do know that this is a transit blog don’t you? We are very slightly interested in freight rail because Sounder used the BNSF between Everett and Tacoma, but overall nobody here cares much about “goods trains”.
If this strike happens on Friday, you are aware that the Cascades service shuts down.
Long distance trains are already being parked (Empire Builder, Coast Starlight up here in our neck of the woods).
Ah, I walked by U-Dist station today and they apparently are starting construction on the UW building that they are going to build between the North and South station entrances. That is good.
But directly west from the south entrance across Brooklyn Ave? It’s going to be public open space.
Yep. Just 40 ft from the entrance to one of the most high capacity, highest frequency, transit lines this city has ever seen in its entire history, and it will be a plaza.
What can you say.
It’s what a U-District neighborhood group pushed for. They wanted to eliminate the building too and have it all open space. Because you can never have enough open space. And it’s not like there’s a university campus two block away with open space, and a wetland beyond it.
It’s a problem, and it isn’t just there. Partly it is because people view the stations as monuments. Even calling them “stations” (not “stops”) contributes to this problem. Not having enough of them also contributes to the problem. As monuments, people want public space around them — as if this was a small town, and this was its only train station. But this isn’t the public square for the neighborhood. It is just an access point to a metro. Wind swept plazas are generally a bad idea, but especially next to a station.
It could be worse. If this turns out to be a popular park, then it adds local value. Buildings like the one you mentioned are more likely to be built. In contrast, a parking lot (common withing our system) adds a lot less local value — it can make building *less* attractive.
Only quibble I’d make is a parking *structure* adds a lot less value. A parking lot can be fine if it is simply a placeholder for land to be put to a higher use in the future. I expect the lot at Bel-Red/130th station to turn into TOD by next generation. It’s possible the lot at TIBS could also be repurposed in the future.
This one wasn’t to make the station monumental. It was to increase open space and prevent a density increase.
U-District Station looks to me like an ordinary full-sized metro station. It was built for high capacity because of the hordes of US students. Speaking of which, classes start September 28th.
US UW students
A parking lot can be fine if it is simply a placeholder for land to be put to a higher use in the future.
Fair enough, good point.
This one wasn’t to make the station monumental … U-District Station looks to me like an ordinary full-sized metro station.
It wasn’t that the station was designed to look like a monument — it is the mindset. The planning around the station took this approach. A lot of it is the way Link stations are viewed as well as the general shortage of them. You had “The U-District is getting a station — what do you want around it?”. Of course people wanted a park. Same thing happened at Roosevelt. In contrast, what if there were stations like there are downtown. Then the thinking would be different (“the tunnel is coming, and with it will be lots of stations — see how your neighborhood can change as a result”). With a station at Campus Parkway, or in the middle of campus, the idea that we need a park, or that the station at the U-District is even special goes away. It is just one of many stations on a stretch of a subway line. The fewer the stations, the more monumental they become.
Only value is if the open space is needed to allow for crowd control during peak periods, and/or if it is used regular for active space (e.g. a weekly farmers market) rather than simply open space.
But yes, at the highest ridership subways systems, station entrances are often little more than a sign next to a stairwell.
I really like Ross’s idea of using the KC Footferry. It’s a public asset and this is a public event with heavy transit usage. How nice for the folks in Kirkland
Toronto is decommissioning a subway line:
An interesting piece on how they’re tearing down an underutilized, elevated metro line operating in the suburbs. What’s more interesting about this is that it was built separately from an existing line. It would be like building a separate light rail rolling stock between Northgate and Lynnwood, forcing people to transfer at Northgate if they wanna travel to/from Seattle.
They’re replacing it with another technology in a slightly different location, not eliminating the corridor. The reason they didn’t just extend the subway in the first place was 1970s issues. They thought this technology was cheaper and better than the legacy subway. This is similar to BART being different from previous subways. It’s also similar to how BART transfers to e-BART (DMU technology) at Pittsburg to serve a far exurban area. And it’s similar to how the Alaskan Way Viaduct was replaced by a tunnel.
It’s now at its end of life and they’re replacing it with a subway extension, which they should have done in the first place. Anthough from the video it sounds like this is a better route with higher-ridership stations. And interestingly, they’ll convert the abandon tracks to a BRT line.
If you want to see a real teardown, see the Almaden Shuttle in San Jose. When I first saw it in the 1990s it was a branch: most trains went to Santa Theresa but some went Almaden. But for the past twenty years it was a shuttle, so you had to transfer to it to get to Almaden. VTA Light Rail has among the lowest ridership in the US, and the Almaden segment had the lowest ridership in the light rail network. So the shuttle was eliminated and replaced by a bus route.
Some context on the line, it was a pilot project by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation during the 70s. Which was a Crown Corporation by the Province of Ontario at the time, think government run corporation. The line was used as a means to test and show off their driverless light metro technology they were working on at the time. This is the same tech that laid the groundwork for the SkyTrain system in Vancouver, including sharing the same Mark I rail cars or the ICTS (Intermediate Capacity Transit System) as Toronto’s Line 3 and the Downtown Detroit People Mover. My guess as to why it failed compared to the initial SkyTrain Expo line from Waterfront to New Wes was it being both too short of a line that didn’t really go into a lot of urban or even semi suburban areas and mainly went through industrial areas with the exception of Scarborough Center and McCowen. On top of a weird transfer at Kennedy Station, noisy cars on hard bank turns, and inaccessible stations for wheelchair bound people. What to do about this line has been debated for a long time with a lot of flip flopping and politicians building and canceling plans for fixing it till they finally settled on the 3 stop extension of Line 2 from Kennedy to Sheppard East in the last few years. They’re also looking at extending the short and stubby Line 4 out to Scarborough in the long term for better cross town travel and to relieve burden on Line 1 and 2. For it’s failure of a line, it did give us the beta testing to building light metros like Vancouver SkyTrain, Copenhagen Metro, and Milan Metro M4 and M5. So even failures can become successes even if the first pilot is a fluke.
Maybe I’m blind, but has ST posted their new bus timetables yet? All I can see on their site are the timetables ending this weekend, along with a generic table of how many routes will be cut for each route.
But it’s not clear whether ST is A) cutting individual trips or B) making all trips less frequent within a window, for instance by making weekday afternoons every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes.
My family members who ride the 522 would like to know so they can plan their Monday commute and know if they have to wake up earlier…
I looked at the routes online and found the same thing you did: the schedule PDFs are the current ones. If you enter a future date in the interactive schedule, it may show the future times; at least some interactive schedules do.
The reductions will almost certainly be individual trips that exceed the baseline frequency. That’s what Metro has been doing, and Metro operates most of the ST Express routes within King County. ST is usually clear when midday frequency is reduced. Peak frequency may go down toward midday, as happened with the C. Basically, spot relief trips to avoid overcrowding, and were restored last September assuming workers would return to offices imminently, are being reversed. Metro has to plan these changes three months ahead, and last summer that looked likely, but the increases happened right before Omicron and Omicrion II dwarfed all previous waves, and then it became clear that work-from-home is remaining medium-term, and even hybrid work schedules can be accommodated with the baseline frequency. So those extra runs are being deleted, to minimize unpredictable daily cancellations that screw up people’s trips. But ST is usually clear when a 15-minute route turns into a 20-minute route, etc. Although it doesn’t win any awards for the 522 scheduling with Northgate Link, which wasn’t as clear as routes usually are, so people thought it would be more frequent than it was. Still, if your focus is peak times, I’d expect peak frequency to go down towards midday.
In the past the schedules were typically published a week ahead, which is today. So you may see them Sunday or Monday. Metro recently has gone to two weeks maybe, but ST may still be operating under one week.
Sharing this video, thought it might be a good feature for our open thread:
What it’s like living low vision and car free in Seattle, by Delvin Silvernail
The West Seattle Bridge opened yesterday. According to the Seattle Times pre-pandemic the upper bridge carried 100,000 cars/trucks per day and 20,000 bus passengers. What could have v been a 30 to 60 minute crossing on the lower bridge due to bridge openings or driving around is now a 4 minute crossing.
The number of cars/trucks that cross the bridge daily significantl exceed all of Link ridership including Northgate Link, even if each car/truck has only one occupant. The ridership on a truncated East Link would never a tiny fraction of those who cross the West Seattle Bridge daily, maybe 5%. . That is the lesson Spotts and Harrell should take to heart.
About AJ’s comment that in the future Seattle will see a much higher in office work percentage — and presumably those workers will take transit to work:
Last week I attended a seminar for law firms, accounting firms, financial services and other white collar employers called: “Net Vs. Gross Income”.
Originally the dispute re: returning to in office work was employer/employee. Naturally employees don’t want to spend 60 to 120 minutes/day in uncompensated time commuting to an office if they don’t have to.
But rising interest rates, inflation, increasing taxes, and the steep decline of the stock market have led even huge companies like Meta and Alphabet to re-examine their cost structure. The CEO’s and founders of Meta and Alphabet have lost tens of billions of dollars due to stock declines and have publicly admonished workers to be more productive to restore their wealth.
Meanwhile venture capital has dried up, and investors and banks are only interested in net revenue, not “growth”.
One of the major costs for any company is office space. For example, our firm reduced its overhead — rent, Seattle taxes, and parking — by 50% by moving to the Eastside. That is money in our pocket.
So the conclusion of the seminar is although your employees don’t want to return to the office you maybe can’t afford to have them return, especially with interest rates going higher, stock prices lower, and shareholders demanding a focus on “net revenue” because their stock has declined too.
The predictions by the moderators is in office work will decline in the future, not increase, and not surprisingly the huge public pension funds are bailing out of their investments in commercial office buildings. Employees and investors are demanding it in different ways, but the point was in office work will decline in the future, not increase.
Huh? You are just learning about “Net vs Gross Income” now? Why, oh why?
But if what you are saying about investors pulling out of new office building construction is true, then you are basically saying that downtown Bellevue is doomed. Because as the last in to the office building boom, they will have the hardest time filling the offices now under construction. And they will never develop true critical mass to have a real downtown office environment.
Which essentially means Seattle will remain the office employment center of the region, and also the #1 commute destination for the region. Because all those existing office buildings in DT Seattle won’t remain empty. Eventually the cost structure will adjust, and those employers who have a need for office space will fill those buildings. DT Seattle will be full.
So East Link will be well positioned to feed these workers into and out of DT Seattle, as well the other Link extensions. Link will be doing its job.
So AJ is effectively correct, although the mix of employers might change somewhat.
As per your comment that Link Moves fewer people than the WSB, who cares? It’s a nonsensical comparison with a nonsensical conclusion.
The SR520 floating bridge moves fewer people than the I90 floating bridge, but that doesn’t mean that SR520 isn’t doing it’s job, or that it isn’t valuable, or that we can do without it.
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