Open Thread: Snow Time

Snow started to fall this morning in central Seattle. The National Weather Service expects snow and rain/snow and snow through Thursday, although with little ground accumulation. Enter your zip code for a neighborhood-specific forecast, and scroll down to “Additional Forecasts” and click “Forecast Discussion” for a detailed analysis.

Metro’s Snow Guide dashboard has a map of which subareas are on snow routes or the Emergency Snow Network. The page has a map of ESN routes, and links to the route-specific Service Advisories page and to subscribe to Alerts.

A KUOW report says Seattle has readied its snow plows and has a new map of plowed streets. All the bus streets appear to be on it. This year the city will also start clearing pedestrian access to bus stops. It says Link and Sounder will continue to operate normally during snow.

If you get stuck inside, here are some transit videos to watch:

This is an open thread

(The next open thread will be whenever this one approaches 150 comments)

Snohomish County Transit

This is a semi-open thread on transit in Snohomish County. I’m trying this as a new idea to group topics by broad areas. The next one will be on Pierce County in a week or so. If you have any Pierce-related links, or ideas for other semi-open threads, you can email them to contact at seattletransitblog com.

Everett Transit has a restructure planned for next March and is asking for public feedback. Thanks to Jordan for bringing this to our attention. One potential flaw is a loop in the middle of Route 2, which would add coverage but make trips between the outer thirds of the route longer. Does this make the route overall better or worse compared to the existing 2? The alternative may be no service northwest of 112th and 4th.

This gets into many other issues regarding how well the overall transit network works for passengers in Everett and Snohomish County. How well does Everett Transit’s proposed network meet Everett’s residents needs and trip patterns? What about the surrounding Community Transit and Sound Transit networks?

Everett opted out of Community Transit to avoid a higher sales tax and loss of local control over its routes. So Community Transit’s routes bypass the county’s largest city in the middle of the network. CT routes 201 and 202 run local north and south of Everett but express through Everett, with only three stops in the city. The Swift Blue line is a joint endeavor, so Everett Transit pays Community Transit for the Everett segment. The City of Everett was adamant from the 1970s through the 2000s that Everett Transit should not merge with Community Transit. With the 2008 recession and 2020 pandemic it has started to reconsider, although there’s nothing definitive at this point. Would a merger improve Everett’s service and Everett’s connectivity with the surrounding area and region? Would it lose important Everett-specific corridors that would be low priority for Community Transit’s countywide focus?

What would an ideal network for Everett look like? And for Snohomish County in general? What is the current multi-agency network doing well for passengers? Which trip patterns (origin-destination pairs) is it still missing?

On-topic comments for this article are all of the above and other issues regarding transit in Snohomish County or to/from Snohomish County. Other comments belong in an open thread.

Transit in North America

Not Just Bikes and Strong Towns discuss transit in North America.

Includes comparisons to Europe (of course). The video is an hour long but has several topics of interest to transit fans.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread: Slow News Day

The Urbanist has a news roundup on Sound Transit and Community Transit activities. Stride 3 (Shoreline-Bothell) is at 60% design. Community Transit is starting to write a new long-range plan. Sound Transit is asking the public about access alternatives at the South Tacoma Sounder station.

Other than that there’s been little news, so it’s up to the comments to launch discussions.

Update: A very interesting discussion of Link stations’ walk scores is in the comments.

Election Open Thread

Initial election results will be posted at 8:15 pm, then on subsequent days by 4 pm. I assume there will be one or two comments about it.

Link will be closed between SODO and Capitol Hill November 11-13. Replacement buses will fill the gap. Trains will continue running north of Capitol Hill and south of SODO. The alert says replacement buses will run every 15 minutes, while a sign at Stadium says they’ll run every 10-15 minutes. In my experience they’re often more frequent than that. So the buses will be either less frequent, the same, or more frequent than Link.

This is an open thread.

Station Codes will Replace Link Pictograms

Sound Transit slide comparing navigation by pictogram and by station codes.

Title is Station codes could assist with wayfinding.

Take the 1 line to Beacon Hill. Line diagram with stations represented by pictograms. People standing at International District Station, represented by a dragon, asking questions: Which direction? How many stops?

Take the 1 line to station 47. People standing at International District Station (number 40) count 3 stops in the down direction.

In the next Link expansion, riders will have another shorthand way of identifying stations and navigating the system. The rarely used station pictograms will be retired in favor of a system of station codes based on international best practice. Similar to bus stops, airport gates, and freeway exits, stations will have a 3-digit code consisting of the line number and a sequential station number. Sound Transit staff presented the new approach to the ST Board’s Rider Experience & Operations Committee last Thursday.

For background, please read my 2020 post where I wrote about the pictograms’ shortcomings and proposed station numbering/coding as an alternative. Although not reported at the time, ST staff took note and was in the exploratory stages of considering such a system. After extensive outreach and user testing of concepts earlier this year, staff arrived at a preferred option that will be incorporated into wayfinding for the East Link and Lynnwood Link expansions.

The Stop Codes numbering system

Here is my breakdown of the system based on materials ST has publicly released. Each stop on a line will have a three-digit code. That means stations served by more than one line will have multiple codes corresponding to each line. The first digit represents the line name. The next two digits represent the position of the station along the spine with higher numbers in the north and lower numbers in the south. You count up when traveling toward Everett and count down when traveling toward Tacoma. The numbering continues along branches from the spine.

Continue reading “Station Codes will Replace Link Pictograms”

Beacon Hill Bike Lanes and Trails

SDOT is planning a north-south cycletrack on Beacon Hill as part of Safe Streets. Separately, a set of recreational trails recently opened in Cheasty Park on the eastern side of the hill.

The cycletrack will run along 15th Avenue South and Beacon Avenue South from the José Rizal Bridge to South Spokane Street. This will connect Little Saigon, the apartment-filled northern part of Beacon Hill, the Link station, the retail village, the library, and Jefferson Park.

This is just phase 1 of the project (or “Segment 1” as SDOT calls it). This phase is funded by Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District. Phases 2 and 3 are not yet funded. Phase 2 would extend the cycletrack south along Beacon Avenue to South Myrtle Street. Phase 3 would continue south to where Beacon Avenue ends at South 39th Street. If all these phases are completed, the cycletrack would run the entire length of Beacon Hill, from the 12th Avenue Bridge to where the 107 makes a U shape to get to Rainier Beach.

At this point SDOT is just introducing the project and collecting email addresses to send announcements to. You can email feedback now or wait for a survey later this month. One question the city is asking about is whether it should be a two-way cycletrack on one side of the street, or two one-way cycletracks on either side.

The Cheasty Park trail opened in October. I walked it last week. From Columbia City Link station, I went out the northern exit to the north side of Alaska Street, and turned left and walked a half mile to the entrance. Alaska Street merges into Columbian Way, and the entrance is a little further on the right, with a sign for “Strawberry Trail”, and a request for user feedback. Cheasty Park is an old-growth woods stretching north and south. The dirt trail runs across it, and is entirely switchbacks up the side of the hill to Cheasty Boulevard. I encountered five mountain bikers going the other way downhill, one or two at a time. At Cheasty Boulevard you can turn right and walk along the 2-lane parkway street to Mt Baker Station. I turned left instead, and walked along the south end of Jefferson Park Golf Course to Beacon Avenue. I turned north and walked along Beacon Avenue past the VA hospital, Jefferson Park (the non-golf park), and the village to Beacon Hill Station. Walking time was around thirty minutes from Columbia City Station to Cheasty Boulevard, and forty minutes from Cheasty Boulevard to Beacon Hill Station.

Partway along the trail there’s a connection to a mountain-bike-only loop that’s not open yet. Another multi-use trail and a mountain bike loop are proposed in the northern part of the park, closer to Mt Baker Station. A third mountain-bike-only [Correction: 2-way hiking only] loop is on the south side of Columbian Way. I’m not sure if it’s open; I saw a park sign but no obvious entrance.

I also walked the Westlake path from Fremont to Denny Way, for the first time since the cycletrack was installed. It is a full cycletrack next the sidewalk, between the continuous parking lot and the business entrances. The cycletrack was well marked, and I saw people walking across it with no conflicts.

On-topic comments for this article are on bike lanes (potential or current), transit lanes, pedestrian infrastructure (including pedestrian bridges), walking tours, and bike tours in the region. Other topics belong in an Open Thread.

News Roundup: Pedestrianizing Pike Street

A proposed pedestrian superblock on East Pike Street, bounded by Broadway, 12th Avenue, East Pine Street, and East Union Street. This looks intriguing. 10th and 11th Avenues already feel almost pedestrian between Pine and Pike Streets, which is pleasant when shopping or attending a nightclub. Having a 3 x 2 block fully pedestrianized area would give Seattle something it doesn’t have, and pedestrians would flock to it. I’m not 100% sure about closing the street, but the arterial ends two blocks east at Madison Street anyway. Buses use adjacent Pine and Union Streets, and cars coming from east Madison can easily choose them instead of Pike.

Animated map of the Chicago L’s evolution from 1892 to 2029. 1900-1910 had a huge wave of expansions. 1948-1958 had a wave of contractions.

This is an open thread.