130th Station in Seattle is estimated to open in mid 2026. (Thanks to eddiew for the link.)
This would fit in with other openings thus:
- 2023: RapidRide H (Delridge) in March. T Line MLK extension.
- 2024: Lynnwood Link (Lynnwood – Angle Lake) -OR- East Link starter line (Redmond Tech – South Bellevue) in Spring. RapidRide G (Madison). Swift Orange (Edmonds College – Lynnwood – Mill Creek – McCollum P&R). If ELSL starts in Spring, Lynnwood will be delayed until Fall/Winter.
- 2025 : Link Line 2 (Lynnwood – Redmond Downtown) in Spring. RapidRide I (Renton-Auburn).
- 2026: 130th station (Seattle) in midyear. Stride 1 (Burien-Bellevue). Stride 3 (Shoreline-Bothell).
- 2027: Stride 2 (Lynnwood-Bellevue).
- ???: Federal Way Link (Lynnwood – Federal Way). Postponed for viaduct redesign.
- 2032: Tacoma Dome Link (Lynnwood – Tacoma Dome). West Seattle starter line (Alaska Junction – SODO).
I couldn’t find a date for the Swift Green UW Bothell extension.
Sources: ELSL/Lynnwood proposal. ST3 realignment adopted Aug 2021. T line. RapidRide G. RapidRide H. RapidRide I. Community Transit 2024 restructure open house. Swift Orange. Swift Blue expansion.
This is an open thread.
209 Replies to “Open Thread: 130th in 2026”
Stream BRT on Pacific Ave is scheduled for 2027.
Regarding CT’s extension of the Swift green line, the fall 2022 TDP listed it as “TBD” in their graphic on page 47, and gave the following narrative on page 49:
“Swift Green Line Extension
The Swift Green Line Extension project will extend the Swift Green Line (launched in 2019) along Bothell Way to downtown Bothell and the UW Bothell campus. Terminal facilities and routing in the vicinity of UW Bothell are still in a preliminary planning stage in coordination with King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the University of Washington. Revenue service is targeted for 2027/2028 which would align with the City of Bothell’s plan to widen Bothell Way. As of February 2022, the Move Ahead Washington LEAP transportation package has proposed $10 million in funding for this project.”
Hope this little bit of info helps.
Btw, keep up the good work with your STB pieces. I haven’t been leaving comments of late but I have still been reading the blog pieces and the ensuing commentary.
ST recently held a Ballard Interbay workshop. I did not attend, but they posted meeting materials here:
I really like some of the options they are considering at the 15th Ave station. Smaller secondary entrances and building in ROW.
I’d be curious if anyone was able to attend and has any more information. I’m curious about station depth with the two new 15th Ave options. I hope that ST is directed to drop 14th, and take one more shot at studying something near 20th.
I think the Board will go with the ROW 15th Ave alignment. I can see the neighborhood balking at 15th going down to 3 lanes total for 4 years, but it’s also pretty avoidable, and it achieves the one thing the neighborhood wanted: moving the station west (albeit by about a hundred feet).
It’s minor, but I am undecided on how I feel about the potential loss of publicly-owned TOD if ST doesn’t take the Safeway property, but maybe that’s something best left to Safeway to figure out what to after ST takes their gas station.
I’m ok with ST just putting a staircase/escalator to the station at the Walgreens instead of taking the full property, and I really like the concept of a staircase/escalator in ROW next to the Urbana building. Since there isn’t a bus stop next to the Target/Polyclinic building, the three stations would serve all existing bus stops directly.
PS: I really wanted to attend the meeting but was unable to due to other commitments.
It’s still amazing to me that the core design requirement of every alternative doesn’t require at least one entrance from the west side of 15th. I care much less where the station platforms are as long as they aren’t insanely deep. Crossing 15th at grade is both scary and time consuming, and if SB RapidRide D buses stop on the west side of 15th that’s even more people crossing the street.
I also rue that no study of an east-west oriented station ever gets considered. It appears to me to be the more natural solution as the district density runs east-west and not north-south. Entrances west of 17th and east of 15th to an east-west platform under Market really does seem ideal and the disruption to 15th Ave would be minimal.
The change of the [preferred?] Interbay station from 17th to 15th, for $30MM theoretical savings, is a small but nice improvement.
I’ve lost respect for ST scheduling press releases. I can understand something unexpected like the Federal Way Link problem, but the other lengthy delays appeared avoidable. The East Link delay in particular should outrage the Board.
What is the Federal Way link problem. I don’t remember seeing anything about it here, and it wasn’t listed in any of the sources for this post either
Bad soil requires some kind of suspension bridge.
Some other updates here:
Can we just call BS on the 2032 opening dates for West Seattle and Tacoma Done now?
The fastest completion date of a major extension is Lynnwood Link, and that DEIS was published in 2013 (with the FTA ROD in 2015). That’s 11 years and with more secure funding (as opposed to wildly underestimated costs). Lynnwood Link also is an easier right of way effort.
I think the earliest that these projects could open is 2035. I really wish ST would be honest about this stuff.
Let the haters wring their hands over things taking the time they take.
I’d rather wring my hands over quality failures, like lack of redundant elevators to escape a platform in case of fire or other emergency, or suburbs installing anti-bus bulbs to get buses out of the way of the flow of traffic and having to cool its heals for someone to obey the law and let it back into the traffic lane, or more anti-transit centers that given politicians a ribbon to cut and virtue signal in favor of transit while adding serious additional time to transit trips and keeping riders walled off from surrounding businesses.
I agree Al on the likely completion date for WSBLE, and think the DEIS is premature.
However a DEIS forces stakeholders to pay attention and make their preferences known, including CID not wanting a second station on 5th, downtown businesses wanting very deep stations (or one station from Sodo to Westlake) and location of underground stations in WS and Ballard, and whether a DSTT2 is necessary and who will have to use it.
If ST can come up with a preferred alignment it can estimate costs, and how short the subarea is. Over the next 10 years ST has to open Lynnwood, Federal Way, East and Tacoma Link. How well those openings go, and actual construction costs, farebox recovery, and general ST taxes will determine the alignment — if any — for WSBLE.
IMO before WSBLE ST is going to discover or disclose that SnoCo does not have the money to extend to Everett let alone Paine Field, and Pierce might not have the money to reach Tacoma Dome let alone Tacoma Mall.
That means if Lynnwood and Federal Way Link are very popular and heavily used those tax averse counties may vote for additional funding, and same with N. King and WSBLE. Otherwise it would be ironic to have a spine through so many undense areas not reaching Everett or Tacoma.
ST has always operated a bit of a Ponzi scheme using new levies to complete projects. That has ended and was accelerated by the pandemic and WFH, and likelihood of reduced federal funding.
If the ridership is there citizens will support more funding. But it may need to wait until 2044 until current levies roll off. By 2044 we should know whether the estimated population growth materialized, and more importantly changes in transportation such as more WFH, 3D manufacturing, and driverless cars and Uber. Life and travel and housing could be much different in 2044 and the region could be happy we didn’t spend even more on light rail.
This Board will claim it identified the routes and leave construction and funding — the heavy work — up to the next Board(s).
“ST is going to discover or disclose that SnoCo does not have the money to extend to Everett let alone Paine Field,”
That’s possible because both were a stretch in ST3.
“Pierce might not have the money to reach Tacoma Dome”
What’s the basis for that? Pierce has been saving up since the 1990s so it already has a large down payment. The alignment is elevated in highway right of way, which is relatively inexpensive to construct.
“let alone Tacoma Mall.”
There is no project for a Tacoma Mall extension yet. It’s just a wish expressed in 2016. Who knows whether a future board will have the same opinion.
I think the DEIS was hurried because of West Seattle wanting to get constructed first by certain local elected officials (especially Dow). ST still has the funds to build WS Link even if they can’t afford DSTT2.
I think it’s very manipulative to have released WSBLE as one DEIS. Even the document has the project split in two in many areas. It was a political choice and not a choice that is done for design and environmental reasons. If anything, the broad and long-term nature of WSBLE lets ST avoid discussing particulars had the scope been smaller.
A down side is that it makes the DEIS challengeable anywhere along the WSBLE route. Unlike the other extensions that got supplemental DEIS work, I can see that this one may ultimately get fully resubmitted because it was so premature and broad.
As far a scheduling goes, I don’t see Youngstown getting bought up by ST without a protracted fight. ST has never removed this many peoples’ homes at once. This will impact schedule even if funds are available. Of course, ST will blame delay on homeowner holdouts rather than their wildly unreasonable schedule. ST never admits that it does anything wrong.
“Pierce might not have the money to reach Tacoma Dome”
“What’s the basis for that? Pierce has been saving up since the 1990s so it already has a large down payment. The alignment is elevated in highway right of way, which is relatively inexpensive to construct.”
The last time I read the 2021 subarea report Pierce Co. had around $1.2 billion banked in ST equity (loans to other subareas). $1.2 billion today does not go very far when building Link and stations. 130th station alone is now around $400 million if IIRC.
Yes, Pierce has been saving up since the 1990’s, and that is the problem. It has raised around $1.2 billion over that time period (and I believe spent around $1 billion on the T Line). N. King Co. and East King Co. by comparison raise around $600 million each year each in ST tax revenue.
Like I said I don’t know enough about the project cost estimates ST made for TDLE (but doubt they are high considering WSBLE was underestimated by around $12 billion when it is all said and done, and the 130th station is now double the estimated cost from just a few years ago), and maybe the Pierce Co. ST subarea tax revenue will increase dramatically.
If I had to bet, I would bet Pierce does not have the banked revenue or future revenue to complete TDLE. When I suggested a few years ago WSBLE was not going to cost $6 billion, and the subarea could not afford DSTT2 and WSBLE based on subarea revenue and real project costs (before the pandemic moved a lot of revenue out of downtown Seattle) people on this blog also challenged me. Generally, if you bet ST underestimated project costs and overestimated ST tax revenue you win; the real issue is just how bad the estimates were, for example WSBLE, and for TDLE.
You are right that you’ve been warning about the shortfall in funding since you came to The Blog. However, several [i.e. “more than a few”] of us had been saying “Stop at ST2 and give Seattle sufficient independent bonding authority to build a system” for a long time.
So you can’t take sole credit for the collapse of The Sound Transit Ponzi.
It’s not a ponzi scheme and kinda gross that we are even saying it to be one. This is no better than the stuff Tim Eyeman pulled in his anti transit crusade over the last two and a half decades.
If people want to claim negligence on underestimating funding for future projects in the long term, then I can on some level agree there. But calling it a ponzi scheme is a stretch. Ponzi scheme implies true malice and corruption, which I really don’t see here.
Is the spine and some other projects on STs agenda political, sure. The Seattle Process emphasis on consensus through exhaustion which is both it’s best and worst aspect.
Do I wish that ST had better estimates on funding and better planning of the project back in the 90s when they initially proposed it, yeah.
If there’s something to complain about, it’s the overiliance on outsourcing to multiple subcontractors in the construction process and no in-house construction team. ST would of been in a better position financially for the project had both of these been done, along with something Alan Fisher of the Armchair Urbanist has pointed out in a recent video and that is spending more money upfront to spend less down the road to curb inflation rises. But here and right now all we can do is push ST to be more realistic in funding costs and push then to fix some of their issues with the projects.
“…and I believe spent around $1 billion on the T Line…”
Daniel, you keep saying this without any support.
From what I can find, your estimate is triple what it actually cost. The first bit cost 80 million 20 years ago. The extension is over budget at around 280m, but has trains running in text now, so essentially done.
Where in heck are you getting a billion?
“…the overiliance on outsourcing to multiple subcontractors in the construction process and no in-house construction team.”
When they had to bring in an external “track expert” for misaligned track on the T a couple months ago, when all they have been doing for 30 years is laying track, it exposed this obsurdity.
Cam, my source for the costs of the T Line come from Wikipedia.
$80.4 million original segment (about 3X estimated costs).
$280 million so far for the Hilltop extension.
$478 million estimate extension to Tacoma Comm College.
With likely cost overruns on the final segment based on history $1 billion is in the ballpark.
Then Pierce Co. has its share of the $1 billion in Sounder S. upgrades and contribution to DSST2 which depending on whether contributions are based on the 2016 estimated cost of $2.2 billion or actual 2021 cost of $4.2 billion is $275 million or $550 million for Pierce.
That is exclusive of TDLE.
My last reading of the 2021 subarea report showed Pierce with about $1.2 billion in banked funds after 20 years.. That doesn’t seem like a lot to me for a subarea that hasn’t started TDLE and has more than that owed for DSTT2, Sounder S. upgrades, and completing the T Line. I guess the key will be the actual costs for TDLE, DSTT2, finishing the T Line, S Sounder upgrades, and future Pierce Co. subarea tax revenue. It looks tight to me unless like WSBLE Pierce Co. approves its own SB5528 transit levy.
OK then. I might suggest not using the past tense for a future line that won’t open for 20 years. If ever.
Consistent under-estimation of projects — every one except Northgate Link which benefited from the lack of contracts available after the financial crisis — rescued by yet another project, sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me. Sure, the people on the Board didn’t plan it to be so, but it has become one. It takes new money to p rovie “dividends” to old “investors”.
And the designs are insufferably grand. It’s BART del Norte masquerading as a “Light Rail System”.
That’s not how a ponzi scheme works …. if ST2 projects were still stuck in design phase maybe you’d have metaphor to work with, but a ponzi scheme is defined by the absence of an actual business. You can whine about traditional public works funding techniques, but I think it is a stretch to accuse ST of intentionally never completing any of the ST2 projects.
Also the “people on the Board” definitely intended ST3 funds to support ST2 projects: the ST3 political campaign was explicit about how an ST3 vote would ensure a timely completion of Redmond & FW Link extensions. I’d wager there we plenty of voters in Redmond and Federal Way who voted for ST3 primarily to fund their local ST2 project.
It is more of a bait and switch. You think you have bought something, only to find that it isn’t quite what you agreed on. But, if you only pay a bit more, then you can get what you wanted. But along with finally getting what you were supposed to get before, you will get new, great things. Until, of course, you find that you won’t, unless you pay a little bit more…
I forgot when I wrote it that Tacoma Dome depends on the Federal Way viaduct. Still, if they’re built in parallel or if Tacoma proceeds while Federal Way is delayed, the Tacoma schedule may not be affected.
All projects were delayed by the concrete workers’ strike. Some ST contractors had non-union drivers deliver concrete; otherwise the openings would be even later.
East Link’s problem is the shoddy plinths that have to be replaced. That sounds like a contractor failure, and I can’t think of any comparable problem in other projects.
We don’t have any concrete bases for second-guessing ST’s dates. ST knows more about the projects than we do. This “the earliest is 2035” sounds like pulling a number out of the air.
The West Seattle stub is pretty useless alone, so it doesn’t matter when it opens. Tacoma Dome matters more, but it will still be over an hour travel time to Seattle, so even when it opens it won’t be great. Its main advantage will be frequency.
I don’t see the viaduct redesign delaying Tacoma Dome Link. I guess if the redesign ends up radically shifting the alignment it might, but it’s going to be easier and cheaper to just design a new bridge structure. I think a revised opening date will be set quickly and I highly doubt that it will be any later than 2027.
If the delay is too long, I would expect there to be political pressure to open the line one station to KDM. The problem is south of KDM.
It has to serve central Federal Way, so TD would connect to the same station location. Isn’t the viaduct north of that?
The landslide was south of KDM and north of FW. It appears possible to open to KDM in 2025 but that could depend on operational specifics.
KDM has three things going for it that could make a one station opening useful:
1. It’s across from Highline College.
2. It’s visible from I-5. That’s a powerful attraction for those on I-5 to park there.
3. It’s near SR 516. That’s a direct feed into both Kent and Des Moines. Angle Lake feels more out of the way.
The replacement distance appears to be about 200 feet but it could be more. It’s not nearly as long of a distance than the East Link plinth replacements needed. Even though it’s a change order and more money, I can’t see how the resulting delay would push the timeline any further than 2027. Whether KDM opens early appears to be a secondary consideration once the delay is determined.
KDM is also KDM is also what ST intended before ST3. So it already has bus-feeder planning scenarios.
FWIW, some of the columns have had to be redone due to faulty construction in the Highway 520 project, so this kind of issue is not limited to transit projects around here. IIRC the floating bridge issue is mainly about flawed construction needing to be re-done rather than the “back to the drawing board” issues that Federal Way Link faces.
Brandon, any information on a possible familial relationship between the plinth company owner and the column company owner?
And why does Washington State not spend a few million per year on a cadre of a dozen or so highly-qualified concrete structural engineers to catch these fly-by-nighters in the act rather than after a job opens?
It would be pennies compared to the rebuilding costs.
The East Link plinth issue is not on the floating bridge. The problem is predominately located on the elevated structures east and west of the floating bridge.
There is a secondary problem related to some stripped nylon fasteners on the floating bridge segment, but that issue is not nearly as serious as the plinth issue. And it only effects about 1% of the fasteners.
If Sound Transit had their own expertise, they would not need to rely as much on local subcontractors who know roads, but not transit technology. They could also learn from prior mistakes.
Why do the more recent guideways on Lynnwood segment look more like freeway bridges rather than the slimmer counterparts along the airport? I bet this has to do with road expertise while transit technology has evolved in a different way. For example if Sound Transit would have used premanufactured rail components, it might have avoided the track support issues and could have built the line more efficiently.
I really don’t understand why this plinth issue is such a big deal.
This same size and shape as used on railway structures everywhere, for decades. They use pandrol clips, just like everyone else that uses concrete ties or plinths.
There’s off the shelf track maintenance equipment that works with this stuff.
TriMet completely rebuild the mile of MAX track on NE Multnomah in several weeks, and that’s concrete encased track (similar to the stuff Link has along ML King) that required removing quite a lot of concrete just to remove the rails.
A KDM early opening warrants further thought.
It stays in line with the pattern of opening southward one station at a time.
It is the closest station to Seattle that would have reasonably fast I-5 access (how fast I haven’t studied).
Parking will be less than at Federal Way, but Angle Lake remains an overflow option, albeit a not terribly convenient one.
I can’t see truncating ST 590, 592, 594, or 595 there (nor at Federal Way).
I could see truncating 574 and 577 there, maybe, but not 578. Probably just 574, as the transfer is probably faster than continuing on the 574 around the airport terminal loop, except during hours Link is not running. During those hours, it still ought to get to the airport.
I don’t think any of the Metro express routes would divert to KDM. Federal Way to KDM is already covered quite well by the A Line.
Switching the 586’s middle stop from Federal Way to KDM might please a few riders at the expense of others, but only result in scavenging some ridership from Link, so I think the 586 stays the way it is for now.
There will be no starter line between Federal Way and Star Lake.
“I could see truncating 574 and 577 there, maybe, but not 578. Probably just 574, as the transfer is probably faster than continuing on the 574 around the airport terminal loop…”
Really? Forcing people into a 5-10 minute transfer with luggage, just to get 8 minutes more up the road? That sounds brilliant.
KDM doesn’t have a freeway direct access ramp like Federal Way, so I don’t see KDM opening early driving much of a bus redesign.
But yes, once the Board gets through this Lynnwood/East/Redmond Link decision & has a better feel for the FW long-span bridge delay, I would imagine they will look at splitting FW into two and ‘early’ opening KDM. KDM is a good station without any changes to bus operations. I’d speculate KDM will open 6 months after Redmond, with 130th opening 6 months after than, and then the rest of FW another year later (so 2027-ish). ST staff could then get into a good rhythm of opening a Link segment every 6 months.
Metro has a RapidRide planned on KDM, KDM Road, Kent, East Hill, 132nd, GRCC. It won’t be able to fund it before the station opens, but it might come later.
The 586 should have been killed off years ago, when Link to UW station opened. Every other sound-end neighborhood not directly along the Link line doesn’t get this. To reach the UW, they ride a bus to downtown and transfer to Link. There is no sensical reason why UW commuters from Tacoma specifically deserve a special privilege that UW commuters from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, and West Seattle don’t. Especially with the privilege being so expensive to provide because the route is so long.
And all this is being funded with Pierce subarea money while Pierce Transit local bus service can barely afford to run its most popular bus routes once an hour until 8 PM. There is something wrong with this picture.
Asdf2, when Federal Way Link opens will the 586 be eliminated? Or truncate there? What is the time difference between the 586 truncating at Angle Lake, or Sodo, and going all the way to UW including transfer? Both Tom and Ross have pointed out how slow Link can be over long distances compared to one seat buses. I mean, TDLE will stop in FIFE.
If the 586 were eliminated where would folks catch Link to UW and how would they get there? The park and ride at Angle Lake seems like the best place.
Sounder S. is also a mode that makes little economic sense today but Pierce elects to fund it. Too bad Link and Sounder don’t have a common stop in Seattle. But then that is three seats: drive to park and ride, catch Sounder, transfer to Link. Walk to class. , you can park in the E lots for $8/day as a student, about the same as a round trip bus.
I think East Link will have some runs that are slower and less convenient than a bus. The 630 and 554 to Bellevue Way are two that come to mind. If there is a route that has enough Eastside riders originated at a few places (park and rides at Issaquah, Eastgate and MI) I definitely see one seat buses continuing after Link opens.
Otherwise those folks won’t take the trip or will drive. Especially since the subarea has so much ST revenue and eastsiders are so picky about transit.
By the time East Link opens (in full) it will have been 5 or 6 years since eastsiders have ridden any transit. The idea that East Link is going to force them to ride it even if worse than one seat buses they stopped riding 6 years ago is unlikely. They aren’t transit slaves. If ANY bus is full today (and none are on the Eastside) my advice is to continue it. It must be doing something right.
“when Federal Way Link opens will the 586 be eliminated? Or truncate there?”
We don’t know, because there has never been a Federal Way or Pierce restructure proposal. The closest was three planning scenarios in January 2016 before ST3. That was when Link was going to terminate at KDM. All three scenarios (Low, Medium, High service hours) truncate all Pierce expresses at KDM except the 574. But the board never did anything further with them, and then ST3 superceded it.
From that we can guess ST’s general intention is to truncate all of them, but whether that will make it through future restructure proposals and any pushback, we don’t know.
Metro published its own long-range vision (Metro Connects) between 2016 and 2020, with ST’s intentions integrated into it. That had no ST Expresses in South King County except the 574. Pierce expresses were outside its scope, so they weren’t shown.
That map had two Metro expresses replacing the 577 and 578. One was downtown-Federal Way. The other was downtown-Kent-Auburn (and I’m not sure if Renton’s future TC was intended). Metro stopped publishing route-specific examples in 2020, so we don’t know whether its and ST’s route intentions have changed since then. I assume they have not changed.
At the time, ST mused about extending the 574 north to Westwood Village to replace the part of the 560 that Stride 1 would abandon. It never made a final decision on that.
For any Link opening, the first concrete restructure proposal usually comes 1-2 years before opening, and the final vote 6 months before opening. Federal Way’s opening has been a moving target so I don’t know when the clock will start.
“What is the time difference between the 586 truncating at Angle Lake, or Sodo, and going all the way to UW including transfer?”
I don’t know; the planning scenarios didn’t have time estimates, and there has never been a scenario truncating at SODO. The current 586 is 58 minutes from Federal Way to U-District (arriving at 8:10am for an 8:30 class), and also 58 minutes the other way (departing at 5:08pm, the worst congestion). Link UDistrict-Angle Lake is 48 minutes. I think Westlake-Federal Way is estimated at 55 minutes. So adding 7 minutes to get to U-District would be 62 minutes. That’s 3 minutes longer than the 586.
In the past we thought Link would be significantly slower than ST Express to Federal Way and Tacoma Dome. But when I recalculated it a few months ago, Link had caught up. Or rather, gradually worsening traffic congestion had slowed down the buses to Link’s speed. Link was comparable to ST Express to Federal Way peak hours, and to Tacoma Dome full time.
“I mean, TDLE will stop in FIFE.”
The train stops for only 20 seconds at stations that don’t have a large crowd.
“If the 586 were eliminated where would folks catch Link to UW and how would they get there?”
We don’t know because the board never commented on the planning scenarios and they’re now offline, and the scenarios didn’t contemplate TLDE. I assume the 586 would be truncated at Tacoma Dome.
“I think East Link will have some runs that are slower and less convenient than a bus. The 630 and 554 to Bellevue Way are two that come to mind. If there is a route that has enough Eastside riders originated at a few places (park and rides at Issaquah, Eastgate and MI) I definitely see one seat buses continuing after Link opens.”
We’ll see what the final East Link restructure does. I always assume past plans will continue until the agency says otherwise, so I assume the 554 will be rerouted to Bellevue as in proposal 2. The 630 is as far as I can tell funded by Mercer Island, so it will continue as long as Mercer Island wants to pay for it. I can’t think of why else Mercer Island is the only Eastside city with an express to First Hill.
“Otherwise those folks won’t take the trip or will drive.”
Agencies have to make tradeoffs with service hours. It’s overall better for Issaquah to be connected to Bellevue, and for Link to take over I-90 trips. Every restructure has winners and losers, and in this one Issaquah-Seattle commuters are the losers. Issaquah is twice as far from Seattle as Bellevue, and has fewer Seattle commuters than Bellevue does, both because it’s a smaller city and further away. So it’s only inconveniencing a minority of riders.
If East King really has as much extra money as you say, and really wants an Issaquah-Seattle express to continue, then possibly it will, but then why wasn’t it reflected in round 1 or 2 of the proposals? That’s what Metro and ST are intending. If there were large public pushback to deleting an Issaquah-Seattle route, it would have appeared in feedback to round 1 or 2, and if ST changed its mind it would have been in the next round. I doubt an Issaquah-Seattle express will appear in round 3, or that ST will add one at the last minute when East Link opens.
Unless you think Issaquahites aren’t paying attention, and will only realize their one-seat ride is disappearing when it happens, and they’ll then have such a huge groundswell that ST will re-add a route at the last minute. That seems far-fetched. Issaquah is not the largest city in East King, so it’s not going to get what other cities don’t get.
“By the time East Link opens (in full) it will have been 5 or 6 years since eastsiders have ridden any transit.”
You’re focusing on a subset of Eastsiders. The politicians need to look at everyone, and what’s appropriate to growing cities, and people’s needs and attitudes change over the decades.
“If the 586 were eliminated where would folks catch Link to UW and how would they get there?”
They would ride a 590 or 594 bus to downtown (or SODO, if they prefer) and catch Link there. It’s not that complicated.
Of course, those who wish could also drive to Angle Lake station, but what you gain by avoiding the transfer, you lose by adding a Rainier Valley detour. Plus, it’s a lot of extra extra driving and gas, and you lose access to the I-5 HOV lane south of Angle Lake. Overall, I don’t think it would save any time most days over simply riding the bus downtown and transferring to the train.
Certainly, inadequate user design is a much bigger issue and will curse Seattle for a century. The DSTT is now 40 years old and look at how little has changed. Those elevators predate the ADA regulations!
Still, the theme of the post is scheduling hence I made the comment about an unrealistic opening year.
I think poor routing is the biggest issue because you can remedy poor station design or appurtenances. People make escalators that work.
You can’t move tracks. Link will go where it goes for the next 50 years. ST and some believe Link will manufacture its own ridership in TOD in places folks so far have chosen to not live in. I think that is unlikely. Transit is about as important when choosing where to live as access to a freeway. if access were critical, and 90% of trips are by car, Ballard would not exist. So we will end up stressing the feeder bus system which will require more and more coverage and probably less and less frequency, especially if ridership stays depressed or even declines.
Uber and WFH show just how fast society and the market change. Governments and agencies then try to disadvantage these inventions to protect their investments but never succeed. In ten years I expect new inventions and advancements as groundbreaking as Uber and WFH, most likely driverless technology which will mean micro-transit for everyone.
Just yesterday Microsoft announced it will allow employees unlimited leave time, which really means unlimited WFH. Microsoft was a major driving force for East Link, and running East Link all the way to Redmond. Now the routing does not serve Bellevue Way and Microsoft has a 3 million sf garage when traffic congestion has declined significantly according to the Seattle Times, Microsoft is leaving offices its leases on the eastside, and in-office employment on campus could be very light.
There is a reason eastsiders are so sanguine about the endless delays in opening East Link. Close a bridge for a weekend or a lane on 405 and they go nuts, because they use those.
@Daniel Thompson, Microsoft has been allowing unlimited work-from-home for the last year and a half at least. This week’s announcement was unlimited vacation, which has always been less unlimited than it sounds when other companies have gone there, but I don’t think it’s going to affect transit ridership much.
“the theme of the post is scheduling”
This is an open thread, so that’s fine. When things change I’ll update the list for another article, and I’ll make that one dedicated. In the meantime, this one still has only 44 comments, so there’s plenty of room for more. Maybe just keep openings and non-openings in separate top-level threads, so that those looking for opening information can find it quickly.
RapidRide J Line is estimated to open in 2027, with the option to terminate at U-District Station under serious consideration.
I think that makes a lot more sense than bypassing U-District Station to go to Roosevelt. Let Ross’s proposed 348 take over north of UDS. That’s the current 348, but continuing south on Roosevelt Ave NE, taking over most of current route 67’s path down to UDS. Maybe renumber it 367 or 370. And split it at Shoreline 185th Station. Consider it for future RapidRide treatment.
65th was a secondary option that emerged after the project started. SDOT said a few years ago it couldn’t afford that option. The intention to terminate at U-District station goes back to then at least I think.
I would not send the current 67 or my proposed 348 on Roosevelt. Not until we have a sufficient number of buses on the Ave. Until then, I would consolidate service along the 48 pathway.
Once we have a lot of buses on that corridor, I would send the J Line up to 67th via Roosevelt. You still connect to Link (via the Roosevelt station) and it really wouldn’t cost riders much time if they are coming from the north. For example, someone from Shoreline would get off at Roosevelt instead of U-District Station. Very few will be coming from the south on Link since it would be going north and south. Capitol Hill to Eastlake would be the 8 followed by going north. From south of Westlake you just transfer at Westlake. It is also not that far of a walk between Roosevelt/12th and the U-District Station. Extending the bus improves the connection with the 44 (Ballard to Eastlake becomes faster) and would add more one-seat rides, without forcing the bus into a series of difficult turns. It would be nice to provide service along Roosevelt (between 45th and 65th) but not until we have sufficient service on The Ave (between Ravenna Boulevard and Campus Parkway).
Can we look forward to a day when the Ave is car-free, and multiple routes don’t have to zig-zag around the U-District Farmers’ Market once a week?
Can most of us learn to walk from U-District Station for most trips to Ave businesses? I know I never catch a bus to shop on the Ave, no matter how frequent they are.
Upzones and upbuilds seem to be happening west of the Ave, while nostalgia for some old businesses and surface parking lots on the Ave is giving the NIMBYs an excuse to exacerbate the housing crisis. Save the Jack-in-the-Box!
Also, the difference between the 348/67 and the RapidRide J on Roosevelt is stop spacing. Is there really a purpose for a limited-stop route serving that 20-block stretch, in addition to the 1/2 Lines? As Mike pointed out, that mule is dead and defunded.
The farmers market detour on the Ave is possibly one of the most frustrating cases of lack of communication in Seattle, at least for people who take transit in the U-District. At least now the transit detour is all day, so in theory you just have to wait on 15th for the 45/73/75, but I’ve definitely been on a 45 in the last year that went down the Ave rather than 15th, after the market was closed. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have waited on 15th only to see the bus go by on the Ave because the driver forgot about the detour.
It seems the ideal solution would be just to have the market on Brooklyn, where the street is just as wide and there are no buses at all to detour, but that would presumably require the market folks, SDOT, and Metro to all talk to each other. I guess Metro might have to relocate their layover space outside University Heights but surely that’s easier than detouring multiple routes every week.
The Ave is where the bulk of the population is. Most of the commerce is there, as it the cultural center of the area. It is like Broadway on Capitol Hill. You could bypass it, but that wouldn’t be a good idea. Making it car-free would be nice (it would essentially be a bus mall) but there are plenty of businesses that need access. I could see a (restricted access) permit system.
Link does not replace it. The big problem is Link stop spacing. It is not urban. There is too much distance between the stops. For a trip like this, Link is irrelevant: https://goo.gl/maps/HDymbvYocZMqHuj19. Even for longer trips, the bus is faster: https://goo.gl/maps/E7zoeMXTwfyL1N1d9. If you arrive from the north on a bus, you definitely don’t want to get off the bus at 65th and transfer or walk a long distance to your destination (or both). It is the same reason that buses from the south don’t just end at SoDo, requiring people to get on the train.
As far as the Rapid Ride J is concerned, it is not a limited stop express. Stop spacing follows international standards (roughly 400 meters or a quarter mile). But it is faster than typical buses — or at least it should be. Not only does it have off-board payment but quite a bit of work was put into reducing congestion (for the bus). There are still some spots I am concerned about, but hopefully over time those get better.
As for the value of an extension along Roosevelt, it is worthy, but only if the other corridor has frequent transit (which is not the case today, and likely will not be the case for a while). Sending the J up past 65th would get plenty of riders just going along the corridor (as they avoid going back and forth). You also connect to the 65th (east of the station) avoiding three-seat rides. You make for a better connection to the 44 (the bus doesn’t go back and forth trying to work its way over to the parking spot close to the station). There are plenty of one-seat riders from that part of the U-District/Roosevelt neighborhood to Eastlake and SLU. This is enough to justify the extension mainly because an extension (if done right) would not cost much in terms of service. Roosevelt is a straight-shot both directions. If the bus could layover at 67th (between Roosevelt and 12th) the service cost would be minimal, while the improvement in connectivity would be significant.
The upzone is centered on Roosevelt. The lower Ave is a protected cultural district. I doubt that extends north to Jack in the Box.
A 65th station is worthwhile to have more frequent transit options at 65th, but it comes with a tradeoff of either bypassing U-District station three blocks east or detouring to it. This is a fundamental problem with Roosevelt not being the main street or closer to campus. But the upzone is trying to make Roosevelt the main street, not for culture or campus proximity but for general residential/business growth.
Cities and developers have shown that they can’t create new centers as diverse or pedestrian-friendly as the pre-WWII centers: University Way, Ballard Ave, etc. Roosevelt and 15th Ave NW and downtown Bellevue are a far cry from it. So we need to preserve a few blocks at the cultural center where the village is best.
Roosevelt/Eastlake/Fairview has a lot of overlapping trip potential along the entire length of it. Splitting it up into parts with different bus routes is less than ideal. But this is incompatible with serving U-District Station or the Ave or campus directly, which are also important. I lived at 55th, so I would do Ross’s non-Link trips to Roosevelt & 65th (Whole Foods, other shops, Greenlake), 53rd (The Monkey Pub, Friendly Foam Shop), 50th (library), 43rd (exHalf-Price Books), Eastlake & Roanoke (physical therapist), Eastlake & Louisa (my dad’s apt and office), the ex Lobo bar and Mars bar, etc. I would have gone to SLU if it had been built up then. Some of these were split up because of the change of bus routes at Campus Parkway. This is a very promising urban corridor if it had one unified bus route. It’s still OK split up, just less than ideal. And I lived on University Way so I took an Ave bus to Campus Parkway and transferred to the 70. If I’d lived on Roosevelt, I’d have to take the 67 and turn left on Campus Parkway, cross the street, and then take the 70 back to Roosevelt. Hopefully the 67+J transfer will be better than that.
There’s value in having buses on the Ave: it puts bus stops right where the pedestrians and shops are. That’s convenient for riders and gives the businesses more exposure. 15th is a car sewer so who wants to take a bus there? Roosevelt’s development in the U-District is “modern”, so less interesting or useful and fewer shops. I can see an argument for pedestrianizing the Ave, but at the same time, it’s also worthwhile to have the most frequent buses there.
Yup. I’ve been in that area many times. The first trip link, I would probably just walk, as it doesn’t seem worth waiting for a bus for a trip that short. The number of times that a bus can beat a 15 minute walk, door to door, including wait time and walking to bus stops, is near zero.
The second trip, I would probably just ride the 67 exactly as you say, except in unusual cases, like a Husky game messing up traffic, in which case, I’d do Link+long walk. On a normal day, the 67 doesn’t spend much time stopping, so you don’t gain anything by avoiding it, and of course, Link+67 just puts on on exactly the same bus you could have just gotten on to begin with.
But, I don’t understand your argument about not enough buses on the Ave. It has the 45 and 73, which seems like enough. Ideally, I think you’d have the J line on Roosevelt and the other buses on 15th, but there’s too many buses to all go down 15th without getting in each other’s way at bus stops, causing delays. So, having some routes use the Ave and others use 15th seems like the right call. If you want more buses on the Ave., the 49 and 70 would be good candidates since the move would straighten their routes… except for that pesky annoyance that they’re trolley buses and 15th just happens to be where the wire is, and the benefit of moving them to the Ave. is miniscule compared to the cost of building more trolley wire. So, I’d probably just leave things alone, although I would put the J line on Roosevelt to better connect it to the Eastlake corridor.
I do still wish they would just move the farmer’s market to Brooklyn so buses wouldn’t have to detour.
“I don’t understand your argument about not enough buses on the Ave. It has the 45 and 73, which seems like enough.”
That’s not what I meant. The frequent 45/75 through-route supplemented with the 73 does an admirable job of serving the Ave. I was objecting to calls to move all buses off the Ave, either to consolidate buses on 15th or to pedestrianize the Ave. I’ve been going to the Ave since 1979 in junior high, and the 10-15 minute 71/72/73X and later the 45 always seemed like a major asset to me, and appropriate for a high-pedestrian retail area. My only disappointment was that they were diesel routes while the trolley routes were on 15th. Trolley routes connote streetcars; diesel routs connote cars. But trolley wire north of 45th was ripped out, and it’s important the routes travel the entire length of the Ave.
The U-District farmers’ market stared after I moved out of the U-District in 2003, so I never experienced closing my street and rerouting my buses for it. If I still lived there, I might be more annoyed.
I see. I think we both want the same thing, but with different perspectives. The problem with consolidating buses on 15th is not one short block being too far to walk – it’s lines forming at bus stops where buses can’t pull up to the stop to open their doors because another bus is in the way. At the Campus Parkway stop, this is especially bad, given the light right after the bus stop and the very long light right before it. A line of just 3-4 buses can easily lead to a 10-minute delay, just waiting in line to pull up to this one stop to drop off one person. A traffic jam like this, which impacts only buses, and not cars, is quite maddening, and Metro is absolutely right in splitting service between 15th and the Ave. to avoid it.
Just to be clear, I wouldn’t put all the buses on The Ave or 15th. Regional buses, like the 542 and 271 make sense on 15th. Right now all of these come from the south, and don’t go north of 45th. Even when the CT buses served the area it was good that they used 15th, just because of their peak nature.
In contrast, the more the merrier when it comes to local buses (like the 45 and 67) going through the greater U-District (roughly defined as between 65th and Campus Parkway). Right now we have inadequate frequency along that corridor. On the Ave you have the 45, and the infrequent 73. Meanwhile, just a few blocks over, you have the 67. That is a bad combination. If you miss the 45, you are tempted to walk five minutes to the 67, only to find that you just missed that bus too. It is an anti-spine, if you will. (Definition of “Spine”: https://humantransit.org/2018/09/dublin-what-is-a-spine.html. )
But you do reach a point with a spine where you don’t really gain anything. There are really three stages:
1) The buses should be timed, since there only a few. This would be the case with the 67 and 45, as they could form 7.5 headways through the corridor (a major improvement).
2) There are so many buses that it doesn’t matter how they are timed. This is true downtown, and it is true along 5th NE close to Northgate.
3) There are so many buses that adding them actually becomes a problem. This is most common during rush hour. Buses have to wait for buses. But like downtown, this can be alleviated by going with off-board payment, even for just that section.
The Ave isn’t even at that first level. You can’t time the 45 and 73 because they run at different frequencies. If you combined the 67 and 45 they could reach that first level. Only with the addition of other buses (e. g. a bus coming from Lake City via Lake City Way, a 45 extended from the south) would it reach that second level. It wouldn’t reach that third level unless we sent regional buses there (which seems like a bad idea).
Is the J going to be diesel or keep the trolley bus wire?
I didn’t see anything on either City of Seattle or Metro segments of the web site that suggested either way. Most of the Seattle web page was about dealing with non-transit stuff: parking, bike lanes, etc.
There is no way they will open an East Link starter line before Lynnwood Link.
I agree. Once they realized it would delay Lynnwood Link the idea just seems silly.
I don’t know. Someone with some juice, likely Bellevue and Balducci and some property owners along East Link like in The Spring Dist. who have investors who are getting antsy, got The Seattle Times to place an article on page 1 pitting Lynnwood Link against a limited East Link. Front page articles like that get printed because people with press agents want them printed and have juice.
I think we all agree it would be stupid and unfair to open a limited East Link segment before Lynnwood Link for all the reasons that have been stated. But that is exactly what was being suggested in the front-page article.
Maybe Microsoft announcing it will now allow employees unlimited leave (really WFH) will cool the prospect of opening East Link from S. Bellevue to Microsoft, considering S. Bellevue is mainly designed for riders going to downtown Seattle and Microsoft might not have many folks commuting to its campus. The rest of the stops — at least today — along the limited line are not worth taking Link to. Much easier to drive because parking is free.
Do you know else has juice, has used it successfully in the past when it comes to Link, is on the ST Board, is President of the Seattle City Council, and whose district Lynnwood Link Extension goes through? Debora Juarez. I’m not saying Lynnwood will open first because of her, but I do think it will come down to equity issues and optics, and the Eastside can’t win that battle. I also think a rail line that goes to downtown Seattle trumps one that doesn’t.
Suppose the East interim Link line opened six months before Lynnwood Link; March and September 2024?
I can see it going either way. The Eastside has the second-largest downtown, a large employer (Microsoft), more TOD, and wealthy people who feel entitled and are viewed by others as such, and several employers who want it. Against that, Lynnwood would just fulfill a north-south transit need in a straight extension, in a less-desirable, less-dense area that’s more of a bedroom community. It seems like Lynnwood makes the most transit sense but the Eastside has more political clout, and usually political clout wins the day.
It would be interesting to see a board and public debate on Eastside vs equity. While all the agencies and governments have moved toward prioritizing equity, it’s hard to see them turning down the Eastside for it.
That is a good analysis Mike IF we were talking about an East Link that crossed the lake. A limited segment East Link that will have low ridership should not have priority over Lynnwood.
This is a different type of equity. As you note these north Seattle and south SnoCo neighborhoods are not the wealthy white privileged folks some in Seattle love to demonize. These cities and areas really hope Link and some upzoning can make them Totem Lake and have accepted higher than mandated housing targets. In the past these have been distressed areas.
Other than Balducci and some property owners/developers along East Link’s route — including little in office work at Microsoft — delaying opening any of East Link until 2025-26 is a non-event on the Eastside. I think it is a little unfair to characterize eastsiders as arrogant and entitled on this issue when I don’t think there is a single ordinary eastsider demanding a truncated East Link open before Lynnwood even though a full East Link was suppose to open three years before Lynnwood Link.
I think we have been pretty reasonable about the fact East Link will open five years late, if all goes well. I hope Lynnwood Link is transformational for the cities along the route. I worry the pandemic and WFH and decline of downtown Seattle will hurt these areas serving as suburbs of downtown Seattle commuters. East Link will have little impact on the Eastside, even when it finally opens. The arrogance you perceive is just indifference.
I agree equity means Lynnwood Link opens first, plus I think ridership will be much higher than East Link, even when it crosses the lake.
Mike, isn’t it the ST Board that is going to make the decision which line opens first? And if you look at who is on the ST Board, which I just did, the political clout isn’t on the Eastside. It’s (mostly) all to the west, north, and south of the lake. “But, Sam, what about the clout Microsoft has?” Again, I believe this decision will be based solely on equity, or the optics of equity. The ST Board is made up of politicians. If I’m on the ST Board, I’m thinking … during my next election in my district or city, I don’t want my opponent to be able to frame my Link decision as I sided with tech millionaires over the working class. The optics of choosing the Eastside over Lynnwood isn’t good. And that’s what I think it will come down to. I believe it will be a purely political decision, not a technical one. Of course, they aren’t going to admit that. They’ll throw out a lot of technical or logical reasons why it will be Lynnwood first, but behind it all will be political strategy.
On a much more practical note, it will probably also be based on operating costs.
There is 0 potential for an Eastside only line to reduce bus operations. It means running the buses and the trains at the same time.
There is significant potential for Lynnwood Link to reduce the number of buses on I-5, by both CT and ST.
Sam, another consideration is opening Lynnwood Link is part of the normal plan. A limited segment of East Link is an aberration, so I do think ST staff will have a lot of input on this novel idea. The burden is on Balducci to sell this idea, and inertia in an agency like ST is enormous.
The “equity” argument in Seattle politics is not going to reach momentum if both sides are white, or perceived as white. If I am standing on an outdoor platform in S. Seattle in winter waiting for my surface Link I am not going to worry about Lynnwood rural whites vs. Eastside suburban whites, and who gets light rail first, because I know eastside whites have no intent of using Link. Wealthy people don’t ride transit. That is the “equity” right there if I am waiting for Link in S. Seattle in the winter because my station and line are above ground and not enclosed.
You can’t really have an equity argument if one side doesn’t care about the decision. East Link is now going on five years of delay and no one on the eastside cares, including Microsoft. Mercer Island residents are thrilled with the landscaping at both station entrances and along the bus intercept, but never ask where is the train. It doesn’t even serve downtown Bellevue, and investments in the development that supposedly will manufacture the ridership for East Link are dead for several years. Balducci cares because she looks inept, and maybe some property developers along East Link, but investment has dried up for the next few years so who cares. What Bellevue citizens are really up in arms about is the closing of three elementary schools due to declining enrollment post-pandemic and loss of state funding based per student.
If Lynnwood, Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace think Link and upzoning will revitalize and gentrify their town centers, and just towns in general, then let them try. The eastside does not believe East Link will gentrify any areas that matter, or that transit is how you gentrify an area.
My guess is staff will come back to the Board and point out the additional costs and manpower necessary to open a limited segment of East Link without a transit restructure so buses duplicate much of East Link, ridership could be so low it is a public embarrassment, and the vast majority of residents on the eastside don’t care when East Link opens, so go with Lynnwood, probably as Ross has noted with existing 6 minute frequencies so scheduling and maintenance gymnastics are not necessary to open Lynnwood Link. If crowding and capacity become issues ST can throw a party to celebrate, because you know capacity and crowding won’t be an issue on East Link, either a limited segment or the full eastside route.
I agree the decision will be partly political and partly logistics, but “equity” will have little to do with it because there is nothing equitable about the decision. At best some north Seattle and south SnoCo cities might get a little investment, that won’t make up for the loss of the peak commuter to Seattle they were relying on to buy those new condos because they can’t afford Seattle or eastside prices but don’t want to live in S. Seattle.
It isn’t just optics. It’s actually inequitable.
Are you going to really open a toy line for rich people that goes where rich people live to where rich people work, and doesn’t even go across the lake, and as a direct consequence delay actual, working real transit, for real people who need it, and work jobs that can’t be done from home?
I’d been freakin’ angry if I lived in Lynnwood. I don’t and I’m pissed that anyone is considering this an an option. It is offensive.
Are you going to really open a toy line for rich people that goes where rich people live to where rich people work, and doesn’t even go across the lake, and as a direct consequence delay actual, working real transit, for real people who need it, and work jobs that can’t be done from home?
Transit riders are transit riders, even if they live in Bellevue. What this debate really needs are some current ridership numbers. Are there any ridership numbers in the public domain for an Eastside truncated line? Are there post-COVID, post-WFH, numbers for Lynnwood? Why is this discussion going on without the basic data needed to make an assessment of the options?
I think that it is interesting that Cam considers people living on the Eastside not “real people”. Thank you for expressing your thoughts about people so clearly, Cam, it helps a lot.
“Transit riders are transit riders…”
No, they aren’t. Lack of access to transit have differential impacts are some riders over others. If you happen to make your blood sacrifices at the shrine of Jarrett Walker, you probably feel that access is what matters.
If I potential rider’s option to transit is to fire up the Tesla and drive 8 minutes to a 5 gazillion spot parking garage, that is much different than someone who’s deciding between paying rent and buying another 10 rolls of duct tape to keep their beater running long enough to make it the 10 miles for their next paycheck at the Barely Bare Barely There Barista .
Is there really that much of a demographic difference between Lynnwood and Bellevue P&R users? South Bellevue P&R is going to be filled in by drivers coming from Renton, Covington, and North Bend, not from folks driving across the street in Bellevue.
For whatever that’s worth, people whom I knew of as users of South Bellevue P&R lived North of I-90 – some of them even fairly far North (as far as Mill Creek/Bothell), but others were from the city itself. That’s obviously a biased view as well. I would just not assume that they’re all from South East King.
And Cam is correct that having choice does matter (and thus preference could be given to helping those who are more dependent on transit). I will continue to look askance at the implication that the upper middle class crowd in East King are not “real” people, though. I have lived in both Lynnwood and Bellevue in the past. I am trying to figure out if right now I am real, fake, or somewhere in between… How would I even tell? Cam, any suggestions? :)
Well Cam, some might argue it is inequitable that East Link was supposed to open three years ago, and might not open for another three years, although bus service is more comprehensive on the eastside than Link will be and has little ridership today.
I agree a limited segment East Link is not a good investment, and without a bus restructure duplicates a lot of costs. Unlike your comment, “where rich people live to where rich people work” the reality is eastsiders are not commuting much at all post pandemic, and as Dan noted we are talking about transit riders in Lynnwood vs. transit riders on the eastside, so not a lot of rich folks there. The “equity” argument falls flat.
The cities and areas along Lynnwood Link have planned for Link and think it will help transform their cities. The eastside has taken almost the opposite approach with East Link and expects no transformation or impact will come from Link. That is why Lynnwood Link should open first. They are excited about Link and it is part of their plans and zoning so let them see if it fulfills their dreams.
“The cities and areas along Lynnwood Link have planned for Link and think it will help transform their cities. The eastside has taken almost the opposite approach with East Link and expects no transformation or impact will come from Link.”
The Spring District development is predicated on Link; that’s one of the reasons it’s being built now and not in twenty years. Overlake Village and downtown Bellevue redevelopment is at least partly related to Link. The difference between the Eastside and Lynnwood is the Eastside development is happening during Link construction and the Lynnwood development is waiting until afterward. But also, East Link was supposed to open two years ago, and some of the development was timed to coordinate with that.
As an Eastsider, I can attest that there are plenty of people who would use Link. It’s not just commuters, UW students and event attendees; more people than you would realize rely on public transportation for work, errands and appointments. I’ve been on some of those Eastside-only buses that were fuller than expected at times like 6:30 AM Saturday and 10:30 PM Sunday. Those riders would likely utilize East Link to expand their transportation options, such as riding between Redmond and Bellevue on a mode that won’t get stuck in traffic.
Whether one area or another “deserves” expanded public transit more than another, I’m not going to play that game. I’m just saying there’s a need and an interest for Link on the Eastside greater than most would imagine.
Is there really that much of a demographic difference between Lynnwood and Bellevue P&R users? South Bellevue P&R is going to be filled in by drivers coming from Renton, Covington, and North Bend, not from folks driving across the street in Bellevue.
Is it though? Remember, this is the train that doesn’t go to Seattle — it goes to Redmond. Hard to imagine someone from North Bend using the South Bellevue Park and Ride. Renton I could see, but any alteration of the bus network will be minor. Maybe Renton to Downtown Bellevue to the more easterly stops, but that’s about it. Otherwise someone is driving, and if they are driving, they will likely just drive to their destination.
I think that if you look at any common metric — number of overall riders; number of low income riders; time savings per rider; overall time savings as agencies shift their bus service — Lynnwood Link comes out way ahead by every measure. There are bound to be some low income riders that benefit from the East Side spur line, but way more will benefit from Lynnwood Link.
The *only* metric in which I could see the East Side spur actually come out ahead is the number of wealthy people who benefit. That is a tough argument to make — at least publicly.
On an Eastside starter line, I’d bet south Bellevue becomes a parking shuttle lot for downtown Bellevue. Park at the P&R, take the train for one or stops, and save yourself the monthly parking permit to park in the office garage
My anticipation is ridership on East Link will mimic current ridership on eastside buses. People ride transit because they have to, same reason they drive someplace. There isn’t anything magical about light rail. It is still public transit. The eastside has a pretty good network of east-west buses, many one seat, and buses that cover a portion of the huge eastside, most of which are empty today just like many of the highways and roads.
East Link covers a tiny portion of the eastside, and must rely on a system of park and rides and feeder buses that now add a transfer. With it not accessing Bellevue Way, the decline in office work at Microsoft, the steep decline in eastside commuters to downtown Seattle, and the inchoate development in The Spring District and I guess Wilburton, transit Link ridership on the eastside will not increase after East Link opens, especially since the 554 will serve the greater Issaquah region and be a one seat ride to Bellevue Way.
I disbelieve the myth that mode manufactures ridership. People live and work where they do irrespective of transit (or freeways). The benefit of light rail is grade separation and the capacity to carry large amounts of riders. If the riders are not there light rail will not create them. Light rail is an ultra-expensive transit mode that is only worth it when there is heavy traffic congestion and large amounts of riders in very dense areas who will tolerate the addition of a transfer from bus to Link, which is why it is often underground. Otherwise Link is worse than a one seat bus.
What is often lost on this blog is the lost opportunity cost of light rail compared to other transit. Pierce Co. is a good example. Pierce Co., having an inferiority complex, decided it must have light rail if it was a “player”. So ST will run Link to the Tacoma Dome and deplete most of its transit tax capacity (along with $ 1 billion for S. Sounder upgrades despite plummeting ridership) in a county that cannot support decent bus service and is basically rural. SnoCo probably can’t even extend Link to Everett after 20 years of ST tax revenue. It was crazy to run light rail to these huge, undense, poor, rural counties at the expensive of better coverage and frequency with buses.
The eastside subarea has the luxury it can afford poorly performing but ultra-expensive light rail (which ironically was built on the cheap) which in some ways always doomed light rail on the eastside because those folks who generate $600 million/year in ST tax revenue drive, even Issaquah to S. Kirkland (because Issaquah had an inferiority complex), and to be fair the pandemic changed things.
But counties like SnoCo., S. King, Pierce, cannot. They got sold. I think that when the costs of local bus transit are stretched for a Link system that probably does not go where people want to go anymore (downtown Seattle) service will decline, and Link is wholly reliant on park and rides, TOD, or feeder bus service, IF the riders are there. Who rides or drives from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle these days?
Personally I don’t care. I figure citizens will decide what is best for them when it comes to getting from A to B, whether it is Uber, cars, WFH, transit, bikes, whatever. I don’t subscribe to the transit slave approach, however.
What I can tell folks on this blog, at the risk of repeating myself, is Link will not have the ridership to support future operations and maintenance, and I think we are seeing that right now in many of the head scratching maintenance issues for a fairly new and “well-funded” light rail system.
And it can’t afford WSBLE unless I am missing something.
The harm is not to the eastside because we now know ST ridership estimates on East Link were phony, but the subarea can afford East Link or even mini–East Link from S. Bellevue to Microsoft no one will ride. The harm was to SnoCo, Pierce and S. King Co. because they actually BELIEVED the light rail hype that it would suddenly make Shoreline, Fife, Mountlake Terrace, Federal Way, Kent, Everett, and so on players, and would make them a Totem Lake along with a massive health complex, or for Lynnwood Bellevue or Kirkland.
I think if downtown Seattle had actually become like San Francisco, and the predicted population gains through 2050 actually occurred, and people still commuted to urban areas like downtown Seattle, the gentrification of Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood from Link might have happened, which of course would have resulted in a lot of new development — like Totem Lake — that is totally unaffordable for the demographic. Irony is sometimes referred to as justice distilled. If Link actually works, it displaces the folks it was designed to serve.
My anticipation is ridership on East Link will mimic current ridership on eastside buses. People ride transit because they have to, same reason they drive someplace. There isn’t anything magical about light rail. It is still public transit.
Right, except people do respond to increased frequency as well as reduced travel times and an improved network. How all that plays out will be complicated. Prior to the pandemic, Seattle was one of the few cities where transit use was increasing (per capita). One factor was Link. But the buses also improved, and not just from shifting away from routes that now copied Link. Seattle spent money on transit at the same time. The last piece that was going on was the region was becoming more urban — lots of people moved to Seattle as well as the more urban parts of Bellevue.
I see all of that continuing, with the possible exception of bus funding. Seattle will likely chip in for another round, but will the county? Will Bellevue (or Kirkland) decide to go above and beyond what the county provides, the way that Seattle did? I think this could lead to a lot of benefits. Transit scales, and there are tipping points. Spend a bit more and you get a lot more. Whether people on the East Side (and the county) want to spend a bit more is the question.
Michael, it would make no sense to open an Eastside-only East Link. There isn’t the ridership for it. Besides some riders using Link between Redmond to Bellevue to save time, who else, in significant numbers, is riding an Eastside-only East Link?
On an Eastside starter line, I’d bet south Bellevue becomes a parking shuttle lot for downtown Bellevue. Park at the P&R, take the train for one or stops, and save yourself the monthly parking permit to park in the office garage.
Maybe, except hardly anyone did that in the past. Only 7 riders (on average). Not 700 or 7000 — just 7.
I’ll take the over on that number. Either that or I know all of them. Who else is the audience for parking on such a short line?
An East Link starter line on the Eastside would not be Redmond to South Bellevue, it would be Redmond Tech Center to South Bellevue.
So Basically just Microsoft to Bellevue. Call it “The Techies Go Shopping Line”.
And the ridership certainly wouldn’t be large enough to justify delaying the Lynnwood Link opening (if they can solve the LRV storage issue).
I’m still perplexed by sneering assumptions of East Link riders. The boogeyman rich techie worker gets free parking in Bellevue & Redmond, so they aren’t looking to avoid monthly parking fees. It’s the contract workers, janitors, staff accountants, and whatnot who will be looking to save a few bucks, people who have job descriptions & incomes indistinguishable from west King office workers.
The vast, vast majority of people who work in Bellevue & Redmond do not live in Bellevue or Redmond, let alone own a single family home in Bellevue.
Perhaps. But where do they live that this toy line from Bellevue to Redmond would actually serve them?
I don’t think that “ the contract workers, janitors, staff accountants, and whatnot who will be looking to save a few bucks” live in downtown Bellevue, the Spring District, or most of the places along this short line. Because, if they really need to save a few bucks, then Bellevue isn’t the best place to do that.
A few might catch the starter line at South Bellevue PaR, but the numbers will be relatively small compared to the number who will eventually use the completed system.
Who else is the audience for parking on such a short line?
Exactly. To be clear, I would assume that we will get more than 7 people using South Bellevue Station as a park and ride for trips to downtown Bellevue. But we won’t get 700. More like around 70. That’s great for a bus stop, not so good for a train stop.
But it really misses the point. Same with the straw man about not a single poor person using the stub line. Like a lot of people, I supported the opening of the East Side stub line, until I found out it would delay Lynnwood Link. It really isn’t that complicated. Who hear believes:
1) An East Side stub line will get more riders than Lynnwood Link.
2) An East Side stub line will get more low-income riders than Lynnwood Link.
3) The bus rerouting changes that come from an East Side stub line will be beneficial to more riders than those that come from Lynnwood Link.
4) The bus rerouting changes that come from an East Side stub line will be beneficial to more low-income riders than those that come from Lynnwood Link.
I think the answer in all four cases is zero. Not a single person believes any of that. If this isn’t the case, then please, make your case. So far, most of this is just irrelevant side arguments.
I’m still not entirely convinced the statement that opening the Eastside starter line would delay Lynnwood Link to be real. It could be ST just saying that to make the decision to not do that easier.
But, even if you take what they’re saying at face value, it’s not a 1:1 delay. If I’m remembering correctly, delaying light rail service in Bellevue by a year would allow Lynnwood Link to open earlier by just three months. So, the ridership doesn’t have to be a 1:1 match to make it pencil out.
“The bus rerouting changes that come from an East Side stub line will be beneficial to more riders than those that come from Lynnwood Link.”
There won’t be any bus rerouting changes for a starter line. ST has said ST Express routes won’t change, and I can’t imagine Metro can do anything. The Bellevue Way portion is too short for a restructure, and the Metro coverage route there is already a coverage route. The Spring District – Overlake Village segment has no existing bus route except the 226, which is also a coverage route, goes next to the hospitals, and truncating it to Overlake Village – Eastlake would leave it with no significant anchor. The Overlake Village – Redmond Tech segment is also too short for a restructure. It overlaps with the B and 245, but both of those have large service areas beyond it, and cutting out the middle for one mile is pointless and won’t save any money. They’ll be needed to bridge the gap between Redmond Tech and downtown Redmond.
“I don’t think that “ the contract workers, janitors, staff accountants, and whatnot who will be looking to save a few bucks” live in downtown Bellevue, the Spring District, or most of the places along this short line. Because, if they really need to save a few bucks, then Bellevue isn’t the best place to do that.”
Contract workers work from home mostly. Same with accountants these days, unless onsite at the client’s jobsite and that comes with parking (clients don’t pay several hundred dollars/hour to have their accountant take transit to the jobsite).
With tech laying off 60,000 workers and Amazon and Microsoft laying off 28,000 (global) workers contract workers are drying up. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/18/tech-layoffs-microsoft-amazon-meta-others-have-cut-more-than-60000.html
As someone who worked as a janitor in college they work at night and parking is usually provided.
What this really means is the predicted regional jobs and population growth are unlikely, at least over the next decade. The other factor is with so much work online and by Zoom very fancy offices in the heart of the urban city are not the cache they once were, and the market not as accommodating for out-of-control spending by businesses on rent.
The key to transit ridership, at least for the discretionary rider on the eastside, is they ride transit because they have to. That is why transit ridership is down so heavily on the eastside. Suddenly they didn’t have to ride transit (or drive to work). In the past, that meant commuting to downtown Seattle due to congestion or parking costs. If parking is free who will drive to a park and ride at S. Bellevue to transfer to a segment of East Link that is not going to Seattle and is not really going anywhere that parking is not free (part of Bellevue Way). If parking were free at the airport no one would take transit to the airport either, and few do take transit to the airport anyway despite high costs of Uber or parking.
So unless a discretionary rider with a car in the garage does not have free parking wherever they are going they are not going to take transit, and if necessary will change their trip to someplace with free parking. It is telling that Nike just announced it is closing its store in downtown Seattle but will be opening a mega store in the new Factoria Mall.
Just look at the park and rides on the eastside pre and post pandemic. Pre-pandemic they were full by 7 am, because the people using them were commuting to work. Most to downtown Seattle, but a few to downtown Bellevue who would catch the 550 directly to Bellevue Way. Driving to an eastside park and ride like MI and catching the 550 to a job on Bellevue Way which has great shopping and dining after work was not considered a hardship, at least before WFH.
Post pandemic the park and rides are empty, and S. Bellevue is open and the 550 serves it between Bellevue Way and downtown Seattle, probably the most intense route on East Link and the main reason for East Link. The second most intense route, pre-pandemic, was the 554 with a one seat ride from Issaquah along I-90 in HOV lanes to downtown Seattle hitting the major park and rides. It too is empty post pandemic.
If these workers do return to in-office work it will be seen first in the park and rides, not from janitors and contract workers. Only as a VERY last resort will an eastside commuter drive to a park and ride to catch a bus to catch East Link, God forbid for a discretionary trip to shop or dine. With employers begging for in-office work and onsite parking available most just rotate parking spots for partial WFH with landlords desperate to keep tenants and so accommodating on parking costs, which is attractive to workers depending on whether the worksite is attractive (downtown Bellevue vs. downtown Seattle) because getting out of the house a few days/week is nice if after work you are in a vibrant area.
Transit cannot compete with cars if parking is free, traffic congestion light, and a city does not do whatever it can to disadvantage non-transit modes, from cars to Uber (very hard to disadvantage because they don’t park) which is what Seattle does but is now killing Seattle for the discretionary rider. Downtown Seattle got very arrogant and assumed workers would stay transit slaves forever, and a lot of workers still resent that (from home).
The other big piece, at least with Link, is the demise of downtown Seattle since almost all of Link runs through downtown, the unsecured stations, and perception of lack of safety for a large segment of the population that has zero tolerance for personal danger when there are so many other options. You build light rail because folks need and want to get to the dense urban heart, whether NY or San Francisco, because that is where the retail and dining vibrancy is, the galleries and performing arts, the people, where suburbia (which has its merits if you have kids) is not.
Right now this region, both housing and employment, is dispersing all of its density, which is really tragic for retail density. We built a “spine” that has Seattle as the hub but no one wants to go to Seattle anymore, on transit or in a car, and you can’t have transit slaves if folks don’t have to ride transit. Instead they go where it is safe and parking is free because there is no danger in driving, no first/last mile access, the car is paid for and in the garage, and you can carry people and things.
There shouldn’t be a vibrant downtown Bellevue, and the irony is if any stakeholder is hurt by the delay in opening East Link it is downtown Seattle, although it is too late. Downtown Seattle is not interested in a bunch of poor transit riders from Lynnwood.
For transit to work, at least for the discretionary rider (or “choice” rider as some call them) you have to have URBANISM, real urbanism, with real retail density and vibrancy, and SAFETY. Instead, progressive policies that favor transit also made Seattle a place too many people in the region don’t want to go to, which leaves our light rail system in a strange place with empty park and rides, empty office towers, and dying retail in the one place it should be. Without urbanism, real urbanism, you don’t need transit.
If Seattle were a European city the downtown core would be vibrant because retail would have been condensed by zoning there, it would be safe, better transit, and the housing dispersed in rings going from dense to less dense. Instead this region, despite the GMA and PSRC, is going in the opposite direction with a zillion satellite neighborhoods with their own mild density (middle housing) that transit can’t possibly serve well until you get into 7000 sq. miles of basically rural areas from SnoCo to S. King to Pierce.
Having lived in several very dense cities around the world, and visited many others, I think Seattle and this region is without a doubt the worst urbanism I have ever seen, mainly because urbanism became class warfare for urbanists and the politicians they elected. I would never recommend someone in the U.S. travel to Seattle because the urbanism is so terrible, because the same progressives who love transit favor policies that destroy urbanism no matter how much upzoning you do (which ironically with upzoning SFH zones just disperses the existing “urbanism” even farther out).
The Urbanist could never see it, but they are their own worst enemies when it comes to urbanism, and why Seattle has the worst urbanism of any city I know of in the U.S., when it once looked like it was on the verge of really becoming more than a big dumb town.
Summary: transit and ridership, mode, and Lynnwood vs. the eastside are not the issue. Folks need to want to go somewhere that requires them to take transit. There is no place in this region that has the urbanism today to be that place.
There won’t be any bus rerouting changes for a starter line.
That is my point. You obviously don’t believe that sentence. (For the record, I expect some modifications, just very minor. For example, the 566 would get truncated in Downtown Bellevue.)
I’m not talking about the East Link stub, that’s just temporary. I’m arguing that East Link going over the bridge to Seattle will attract an important amount of ridership. Along with commuters to /from Seattle who can’t work from home, Eastside sports fans and attendees events like Seafair, the Bite of Seattle and 4th. of July fireworks would love the lower-stress transit experience of the train vs. driving.
As for the East Link stub, maybe run it for a month as a “soft opening”, to work out any operational kinks.
Daniel, it’s clear you care very deeply about Seattle, but it’s mind boggling that you spend all your effort here bloviating against some straw-stuffed “urbanist” instead of actually advocating for actually useful policies that would improve the walkability, liveability, and popularity of downtown Seattle. However, since you think most posters (including me) are naive morons, you routinely repeat the same talking points over and over.
For example, you frequently point out that when free parking and free roads are plentiful, driving becomes the superior form of personal transportation. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in opposition to that concept.
You also reiterate that without the commercial commuter, commuter-oriented transit is largely worthless. I don’t think that anyone disagrees with that concept, either.
Finally, you assert that transit only works when there is enough density of retail for people to want to go to a place, and compare Seattle to European cities. What you ignore, though, is that most European cities with functional transit also have a level residential density you find intolerable.
What I’m curious about is what you think of the proposed alternatives for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan due in 2024. The more aggressive alternatives propose allowing for retail and denser housing in much more of the city. You’ve already expressed a complete disbelief in new construction to build affordable housing, so please don’t bother repeating that. What I’m curious about is what policies you think Seattle should actually enact to engender a more interesting downtown.
Although, in writing that and re-reading your post, I think I have some guesses as to what you’ll answer. Maybe I’m just hoping you’ll surprise me.
Nathan, currently there are several opposing land use policies, but zoning is just a vision:
1. The PSRC advocates for increased density in urban areas within walking distance of transit (TOD), ideally near light rail, and walkable retail (although there are many factors determining retail density and vibrancy beyond housing density, hence U Village). If you can’t walk you can’t take transit unless it is to and from a park and ride. Still, much of the 2050 Vision Statement relies on future population growth estimates that are inflated, but still recognizes around 50% of new population growth will disperse to the less dense areas of SnoCo, S. King and Pierce Counties, which together are around 6500 square miles. It is an urban “vision” for a huge area with very modest population levels (for example compare the population growth in Phoenix and Maricopa Co.), but urbanist goals has been hurt by the pandemic.
2. The GMPC is tasked with allocating housing based on the DOC population estimates. There is some latitude for cities to request more or less housing, and where to place it, often based on whether a city is rich or poor. The allocation throughout the region disperses a lot of housing density, and at best is a very mild upzone that disperses retail so it becomes unwalkable. As part of the GMPC housing targets, a subcommittee of King Co. called the Affordable Housing Committee is studying how to create affordable housing, recognizing the pernicious effects of gentrification. Their approach at this time is to require ALL future housing targets to be affordable, 0-30-50%, which of course is silly because no one will build that. I have posted many times why these policies will not create affordable housing, because ZONING IS NOT HOUSING. Every city in this region has zoning that already meets its GMPC housing targets through 2044, mostly in multi-family units in their town centers because that is what the PSRC has recommended since 1991.
3. The legislature in HB 1133 and 1110 seeks to upzone the SFH zones and allow DADU’s in all areas in the state, including rural areas which is why Futurewise opposes 1133 and affordable housing groups oppose 1110. HB 1110 has no provision mandating any affordable housing. Anywhere. So this policy is at odds with the PSRC because it allocates housing to remote SFH zones without transit and increases carbon emissions.
4. Basically some proposals for Seattle’s Comp. Plan do the same. Seattle acts like it is 4 million residents, not 737,000 in a city that is 142 square miles.
Beginning with the GMA the hope was despite the fact these huge counties had all been zoned for some kind of development, and the population levels for 6500 sq. miles are very small, that future growth could be condensed, and some areas actually made walkable, even though the region has so many separate cities. But it was going to be very hard to mandate any kind of density except by incentives. For downtown Seattle that was the work commuter.
The fundamental error you make (or zoning proponents make) when you write, “The more aggressive alternatives propose allowing for retail and denser housing in much more of the city” is Seattle does not have the total retail or population for more density. Zoning does not create retail or retail density. All you are really doing is dispersing the little bit of retail and housing density Seattle still has throughout the neighborhoods. Progressives think if they zone something someone will else build it.
So that brings us to a central question with any land use policy or Comp. Plan (which is not zoning ordinances but guidelines): are we trying to create affordable housing or are we trying to create housing and retail density, an urban core. It was only 6 years or so ago Seattle went through a gut-wrenching rezone that was supposed to create density, retail density and affordable housing with UGA’s and three separate dwellings per residential lot. Now we are trying again. And still Seattle progressives act as though Seattle has 4 million residents and has too much retail for the areas zoned retail.
If we are trying to create affordable housing Tom Terrific is correct, and Seattle is following his advice (so does ARCH): start with affordable land (and God knows we have plenty in the 6500 square miles), which is why Seattle is shipping tiny houses to Tukwila to send Seattle’s homeless to (or as in the past start with congregate housing), and preserve existing older multi-family housing where most of the affordable housing is. This basically was Harrell’s campaign promise.
New market rate construction will never be “affordable”, and Seattle has a crisis of living alone that is driving its affordability crisis. The reality is we can zone the entire area to 100 stories and builders will not build enough housing because they never do, and they don’t want to build affordable housing unless publicly subsidized.
So let’s forget about the phony claims by builders and realtors that upzoning remote SFH zones (the main complaint by many cities is the reduction of parking minimums in 1110 because their cities like mine have no transit), or upzoning any area, will create affordable housing. That is not their goal.
Now let’s get down to creating a vibrant retail dense area, an urban CORE, although zoning is only a small part.
There is almost nothing a comp. plan can do about this, because look at downtown Seattle: the tallest buildings are in the deadest zone. WFH really hurt Seattle, and so have bad policies, no matter how you want to characterize them. Retail is a very fragile thing, and there just is not enough to cover this huge area. Great cities have population density and condensed retail and restaurants. Seattle to me is one of the least walkable “large” cities I know. Either there is no retail or there are huge dead zones, because of the bad zoning.
At this point I don’t think anything can be done. Housing is cooling because interest and mortgage rates are rising and job layoffs are occurring, most heavily in tech which will help housing costs in this area more than zoning, which is why building has ground to a halt. I don’t see how downtown Seattle, the one place that could have had some kind of worldclass urbanism, can recover. Bellevue is trying in a suburban way thanks to Seattle, and it is safe and walkable for a small area, but the plans for future office towers and “TOD” in class B and C areas like The Spring Dist. are IMO fantasy. If you think I will drive or take transit to Ballard or West Seattle or The Spring Dist. to shop or dine because you added a few stories to housing you are mistaken.
Once retail density and vibrancy are gone they are gone. No one will ever revitalize 3rd Ave, or Pioneer Square, or Westlake, or downtown Seattle, or Blue Ridge. So at best we will get little strip malls of retail in residential zones with no transit, maybe a U Village in a strange location with free parking, some malls in outer areas, new malls with new Nike stores in Factoria rather than downtown Seattle. What is wrong with that picture. You kind of fucked up your city if Factoria is eating your retail lunch.
All those areas thrive because they have free parking and are safe which sometimes creates retail density, which is the flower of urbanism. Why would anyone take transit to any one of these retail areas if they own a car, because none of them are urban unless you think Factoria is urban. It is one thing for transit to get blindsided by a pandemic that highlighted the dangers of sharing a bus or train and the loss of the fare paying commuter, but losing a vibrant downtown retail core was the nail in the coffin. If you don’t need to take transit to work, and don’t want to take it to shop in an urban core because the retail is dead, and everywhere else has free parking, guess what.
Really, the person who has the most intelligent zoning idea is A Joy. Start from the very epicenter of urban density and expand out from there. In the tenth century that was called the Pale, and the church was the epicenter. My only difference is rather than expanding simply based on each year (because zoning is not housing or retail, and “infill” development is the definition of bad zoning to begin with) I would not expand the urban boundaries until the urban core was exhausted. At least that way you get SOME retail and housing density. Instead transit advocates complain cars destroyed urban density, so let’s follow the cars with our zoning.
Unfortunately, that opportunity was lost a long time ago, and if Seattle isn’t going to be it where else in the region can it be? Everett, Lynnwood, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Northgate, Federal Way, Fife, Tacoma, Redmond, Issaquah, Bellevue, Kirkland, Laurelhurst, Blue Ridge, White Center? Some of those areas are safe, and some have pretty good retail vibrancy, but anyone who has lived in or visited a real urban city with a real urban core knows those are suburbia. There really is no urbanism in this area, in part due to bad zoning, and in part due to policies that killed the one area it could be: downtown Seattle. I think the future more and more will be a balkanization of cities.
You live in Seattle so it is up to you to figure out its vision and revitalization. You apparently got it wrong last time. I can’t imagine anyone who walks around the downtown core, or reads Nike is leaving downtown for FACTORIA, can think this is working. Einstein says doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
All I ask is the state not mandate for my city what has not worked in Seattle. https://mynorthwest.com/3561872/updated-housing-plan-seattle-city-council-new-rezoning-proposals/ This is just ideology, but it is your city.
You really can’t create affordable market rate housing with zoning, and you can’t create retail vibrancy, although you can try to create some kind of density if you understand zoning is like the walls of a swimming pool that condense housing and density. Seattle is 142 square miles with a population of 737,000. If you upzone all of it you end up with no housing or retail density. From what I can see Seattle and progressives are killing any urban density in their rage at SFH privilege. So I guess it will be dining or shopping in downtown Bellevue for my wife and me until I die, unless we want to go to the new Nike store in Factoria (the store in San Francisco is fabulous).
I would prefer a hip urban dense city core in Seattle, but that dream is dead. Ask who killed it and how when thinking about the 2024 Comp. Plan. I am afraid I won’t be joining you for a spot of shopping and dining in Blue Ridge.
“What this really means is the predicted regional jobs and population growth are unlikely, at least over the next decade.”
Daniel: that’s how transit ridership predictions have worked for some decades now. You can’t expect ridership to immediately happen, unless the line was built far too late. Typically ridership estimates given are for 20 years or so after opening, once development patterns along the line change. Just look at the development changes in the Rainier Valley in the past 10 years.
“when free parking and free roads are plentiful, driving becomes the superior form of personal transportation. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in opposition to that concept.”
Nathan: I think “most used” is probably a better term. What little driving I’ve done on King County’s 405, 169, 164. 410 and 520 struck me as being congested, miserable roads to have to use regularly to get anywhere. Based on statements by some here, there are apparently those who feel being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic crawling through the nowhere north of Enumclaw is The Best Transportation Method Ever, but “most used” isn’t necessarily the same as “superior” when all options given are bad.
“Who else is the audience for parking on such a short line?”
Basically, what this would be is the Tandy Center Subway, without the Tandy Center, only much longer and with far more expensive stations and presumably longer (more expensive to operate) trains.
You could probably generate more ridership by getting the two remaining Benson trolleys, putting static converters on them to drop the voltage to 600, and operate the thing as the world’s ugliest tourist railway line for a couple years.
There is an non-ridership reason to open East Link early: To make sure that most stations and tracks and signaling and electronic signs and vertical devices are in good working order before the crowds arrive. It doesn’t have to be 16 hour a day/ 7 days a week service. Maybe it’s done to feed South Bellevue to be a hub for stadium events. Maybe it’s for Snowflake Lane parades.
We are all unhappy with the East Link delay. Any early testing and last-minute corrective actions could delay the full opening day further. I would hate to see the pain be worse than it already is.
SF Muni only ran a Central Subway shuttle on weekends for over a month before the full T line opened last week, as an example. LA Metro is running 3/4 of the K Line now.
Actually, it is just the opposite, there are plenty of non-ridership reasons NOT to attempt an Eastside 2-Link starter line. These reasons are centered on scheduling, technical, and cost risks.
First, there is no advantage to a “soft open” for a LR line. The 2 month activation and verification phase followed by the 4 month demonstration phase are supposed to insure that the line is 100% ready to carry passengers. The demonstration phase in particular is essentially simulated service. Once that phase is passed the line is supposed to be ready to go at full service. No need to ramp in hours. Ready is ready.
Second, there is real technical and bureaucratic risk with an Eastside starter line. There are multiple systems that were designed to operate in conjunction with the rest of the system that will instead need to be validated as operational in a standalone fashion. The Feds will need to sign off on this every step of he way. And some of these systems potentially could be impacted by adjacent construction zones.
Third, if you go with a Eastside starter line ST would essentially be betting on the ability to open East Link and Lynnwood Link as a single unit. If this does not happen, then you have essentially added an additional 6 month verification and demonstration phase to the entire sequence. This would add additional cost and potentially flow time.
Fourth, it is fairly risky to tie the date for Lynnwood Link opening to the construction challenges related to the plinths. ST and the contractor already had to abandon their original recovery plan for East Link and instead go with the current replacement plan. Any additional surprises on East Link and BOTH East Link AND Lynnwood Link would be further delayed.
If the East Link delay in #4 above is bad enough, then we are right back to where we are today – asking ourselves if there is a way to open Lynnwood Link without access to OMF-E.
Given how the East Link contractor has already performed, are you willing to bet the opening of Lynnwood Link on their future, flawless performance? I wouldn’t, not for a minute.
Anyway you slice it, opening a starter Eastside East Link line is potentially a lot of risk, cost, or schedule impact.
The lower risk, earlier opening strategy is to open the segments as they become ready. If that means Lynnwood Link goes first, then so be it. But it also means finding a way around the storage issue. Problems don’t go away if you ignore them. ST needs to be working on this now.
Stated another way, adding another ball to the balls the juggler is already juggling doesn’t always work out well. ST needs to keep it simple.
First is wrong. The advantage of a “soft open” for a LR line isn’t about de-risking the line itself but de-risking the overall network if there are hiccups. The full East Link opening would involve a major bus restructure that makes the east King network fully reliant on Link operating 7 days a week. The starter line could have weekend or week long closures to fix issues without damaging the overall network.
Second is a good point.
Third and fourth are wrong. The staff’s proposed plan clearly has Lynnwood extension of Line 1 opening independent of Line 2. There is zero dependency between the plinths around Lake Washington and the opening of the Lynnwood extension. Further, there is zero dependency on a successful East Link start line and Lynnwood extension – the Lynnwood date shifts to accommodate staff bandwidth (your point #2), but if the bridge over 405 blows up the first weekend of the start line operations, Lynnwood Link extension still opens as planned.
Lazarus, on the second point, won’t there occasionally be the need to not run service across the I90 bridge because of some weather events? It sounds to me like bureaucratic and technical avoidance of thinking and knowing about how to deal with inevitable contingencies.
Which reminds me, has anyone seen any confirmation that the revised and expanded signal and platform electronic signs will be in good working order?
Finally ill not that SF Muni Central Subway just did a soft opening in November and the full line opening in January. That’s only two months of a gap. There weren’t reported FTA issues with that.
“Soft opens”, in the restaurant sense of the term, serve both as a stress test for the staff/facility and as a final training run, and do so with actual paying customers. The FTA does not allow this for rail systems. An operator simply is not allowed to test, train (mostly), or incur risk with general public passengers onboard. The system is either ready, or it isn’t ready. The FTA either signs it off for full service, or they don’t. This is the purpose of the 4 month period of simulated service – to prove the system is ready for full service.
As per the Central Subway in SF, it went through exactly the same test and verification process that the Link extensions will. When it opened it was 100% ready to operate at full capacity. The fact that SF decided to open it at partial capacity for a 1+ months was an operational decision and not a reflection of its testing status.
As per #3, this is exactly the unsaid part of delaying Lynnwood Link to accommodate an interim East Link starter line. Delay Lynnwood Link enough and the decision makes itself – the only option becomes to do a Big Bang open of East Link and Lynnwood Link together.
That is what happens with added delay on Lynnwood Link. The two subsequent openings become one.
And remember, ST still hasn’t come up with a storage solution that would allow Lynnwood Link to open as a stand-alone line before East Link opens. And apparently 6 min headways on a stand-alone line is not enough, so the standalone line option only gets worse.
This is why I proposed my previous idea of opening Lynnwood Link using a small segment of East Link (IDS to NGS) as an overlay. The intent was to reduce frequency on the bulk of the system (alleviates the storage issue) while adding capacity across the highest ridership part of the system (between UW Station and Cap Hill). No access to OMF-E required, and hopefully no dispersed storage of Westside LRV’s required either.
Detailed analysis required.
Oh, and to be clear, an interim starter East Link line on the Eastside would delay Lynnwood Link regardless of which path forward ST picks..
Such a starter line represents a universal delay of no less than 3 months, probably longer.
Lazarus I think we are equivocating on the meaning of “soft opening.” Yes, of course any segment will need to be fully tested & signed off by FTA before operating revenue service. But if there is an unexpected issue once in revenue service, there can be short term closures to resolve the issue. With the start line, these unplanned closures will be much less disruptive than a closure of the full line after a bus restructure; hence a ‘soft’ impact. I think the restaurant metaphor works fine – a restaurant still needs to follow health code during a soft opening.
A Lynnwood-ID overlay could make good sense & be the best way to alleviate capacity issues before Link is able to run across the Lake, but I don’t understand why you keep referring to it as a segment of East Link. ST could dynamite the entire East Link project and still run a 2nd line as an overlay through the DSTT.
#3 isn’t unsaid, it’s just not said. The Big Bang is opening East Link & Redmond Link’s segments together. No one is proposing opening East Link and Lynnwood Link within the same 4 month window.
No agency is going to spend billions to build a high capacity, high reliability transit system with the intent of shutting it down whenever there is a problem. It’s just not what you do with a high value, key asset.
Look to ST and the Apple Cup break down and self evacuation to see how it should work. ST had the line back in service almost as soon as they had the tunnels cleared.
Per Big Bang openings, combining Lynnwood Link and East Link into one opening is the so called Big Bang opening. And it is being actively discussed. Adding the Redmond Link opening into the mix doesn’t change things much. From an additional resources required POV, adding Redmond Link to any other opening is a mouse fart.
The issue with delaying Lynnwood Link until after an Eastside East Link starter line is that Lynnwood Link demonstration phase gets very close to East Link testing phase. At that point it makes perfect economic and scheduling sense to delay Lynnwood Link yet again and do a Big Bang opening along with East Link. That is the unspoken effect of a delay to allow for an interim East Link starter line. It makes additional delay and a Big Bang opening almost inevitable.
As per a Westside turnback line between NGS and IDS, it doesn’t really matter if you call it an East Link starter line or an overlay line, it functions in exactly the same manner as East Link eventually will, and it plays the same role as East Link in the urban core. The only difference is its geographic extent is limited until such time as East Link enters its demonstration phase.
And once East Link starts it’s demonstration phase, this little overlay line gets absorbed into East Link and becomes part of that system. No wasted effort.
Yes thank you – wholly agree on the last two paragraphs. Just call it a Westside overlay, it may be a nitpick but I think it’s a real difference and nitpick on jargon is what we do here. A NG-ID overlay line is not a ‘starter line’ because ST can run that operating pattern right now if it wanted to (stealing frequency from south of ID). Otherwise I think we agree?
Speaking of nitpicking, I googled “East Link Big Bang” and the only things I could find are this blog, nothing on ST’s website. So Big Bang is a term invented by the STB commentariat, I believe by me on Sept 1st (apologies if someone else used it first). On Dec 10th, PhillipG used it again, clearly referring to ID-Redmond downtown. On Dec 14th Lazarus used it to refer to Lynnwood-Redmond downtown, and great confusion reigned. I’m pretty sure Lazarus is the only one talking about Lynnwood-Redmond Downtown opening in the same month, which is a valid angle but should perhaps be the mega-big-bang? Mega-bang? The “kit and caboodle” opening?
Again, turning high-frequency trains in revenue service at Northgate is a hard or expensive thing to do. You simply can’t have operators “walking the train” every twelve minutes all day long. Taking an occasiinal train out of service in a short turn a couple of times a day is fine, but not every other train in al, kinds of weather. It takes time to shut the train down, deboard, walk the train, reboard, and boot the train up from the opposite end.
ST would have to double-seat the reversing trains, and do it pretty reliably, all day long. Since operators from KDM would be at about an hour and a half, it would make sense to double-seat the Line 1 trains and run the partial Line 2’s to Lynnwood. There will be a two’track stub reversal until the extension to the north is begun.
The easiest way to reverse the Line 2’s is yo use the outer loop at Forest Street which involves only a powered right-hand diversion southbound and a trailing merge northbound. The train doesn’t even need to stop at all, do it wouldn’t need to be cleared.
If someone doesn’t get off at SoDo, they have the opportunity to do so northbound. This removes the plinth issue entirely from a Lynnwood opening.
Center City Connector ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I look forward to the day the state legislature legalizes Portland-style proportional representation, and we can put an end to the era of politicians grandstanding against “downtown” from the distant safety of a gerrymandered district.
It is frustrating that the 130th Station will open so much later than the rest of the line, especially since the rest of the line was delayed. ST had every opportunity to build it that way (it would have saved money, too) but they dragged their feet.
And even after all that, it’s in a stupid location (north of 130th instead of straddling 130th, like well built SkyTrain stations do).
From the north end of the NB platform there should be a great view of the 2nd hole of the Jackson Park Golf Course. It should be a great place to watch golf, if you can stand the freeway noise.
But other than that, it probably doesn’t matter much if the station is north, south, or straddling 130th. As they say, “there is no there there”.
But other than that, it probably doesn’t matter much if the station is north, south, or straddling 130th. As they say, “there is no there there”.
So you are saying there is no “there” in Lake City? There is no “there” in Bitter Lake? Pinehurst and Ingraham High School just don’t exist?
I’m not saying those neighborhoods are Brooklyn, but there are people there. Anyway, Glen is right, it should have straddled 130th, but it really isn’t that far from the future bus stops. Riders coming from the west, or headed to the east will have to cross the street, but there are much worse stations (e. g. Mount Baker). It won’t be like the UW Station, where transfers require going across two intersections. Even compared to 145th it isn’t much worse. While at 148th you will have a very short walk, much of the time will be spent on the bus as it gets to and from the station. In contrast, at least buses on 130th will drop you off (and pick you up) quickly. So not ideal, but not bad, either.
“So you are saying there is no “there” in Lake City? There is no “there” in Bitter Lake? Pinehurst and Ingraham High School just don’t exist?”
Lazarus doesn’t believe in bus feeders, only in station-area TOD. Lake City is not right at the station, and is not as big as downtown Lynnwood, therefore it won’t generate enough ridership and doesn’t justify a station. I hope I got that right.
Bus enough riders in from outside the area and pretty soon the area will be a veritable New Dubai! Of course, if your plan is to just bus people to the station, those buses could just as well deliver those riders to 148th St Station or NGS, and serve more riders in the process, and follow a better routing.
As per TOD, love it! But a station that has a golf course to the NE, a ravine and wetland to the E, and a park to the SE, is not a good location for TOD.
And of course the SCC is crickets on changing the zoning. Not a peep.
Lazarus doesn’t believe in bus feeders, only in station-area TOD. Lake City is not right at the station, and is not as big as downtown Lynnwood, therefore it won’t generate enough ridership and doesn’t justify a station. I hope I got that right.
Is Lazarus talking about 130th or 145th (it seems like that argument would apply to both)? If you don’t believe in bus feeders, then there are going to be long list of failed stations (Mercer Island, 130th, 145th, Mountlake Terrace…).
Of course, if your plan is to just bus people to the station, those buses could just as well deliver those riders to 148th St Station or NGS, and serve more riders in the process, and follow a better routing.
OK, so now you are just arguing against Lynnwood Link. I get it. Lynnwood Link is very, very expensive. Most of the riders will arrive by bus. They could just take buses to the existing stops, like Northgate. That might be a better value, but at least Lynnwood Link will save some of those riders some time. Part of the problem is that Northgate is very difficult to reach from every direction. It isn’t too bad from the freeway, but bad from Lake City. It is horrible from Bitter Lake. Lynnwood Link — as primarily a bus-feeder extension — will help that.
But a station that has a golf course to the NE, a ravine and wetland to the E, and a park to the SE, is not a good location for TOD.
As opposed to a station that has a golf course to the SE, a ravine and wetland to the east, various parks nearby and is adjacent to a major freeway interchange. Yeah, so different. Look, 145th and 130th are almost exactly the same. Neither will ever have a huge number of people nearby. Never mind the zoning — there is just too much space taken up by areas that can’t be developed. Walk-up ridership to both stations will be small. This is why Sound Transit is spending big bucks running buses from Kenmore and Bothell. Otherwise, that station would be the lowest performing station in our entire system.
As for zoning, Shoreline knew the station was going to be added a long time ago. Even so, they dragged their feet when it came to upzoning around the 148th station, focusing their efforts on 185th (https://www.theurbanist.org/2015/03/27/shoreline-rezones-185th-street-but-holds-off-on-145th-street/). It has been upzoned now, but there is relatively little land to work with, which means the area that allows six story apartments is relatively small.
Unfortunately, because ST dragged their feet on the 130th station, Seattle has done the same. It will upzone the area, it is just a matter of time (just like Shoreline and 145th). When all is said and done the area around 130th may have more apartments than 145th, but in both cases it isn’t as important as the bus intercept. It is like Mercer Island. There are some apartments nearby, but overall, just not that many. In the case of Mercer Island, ridership will come from all of the folks transferring from Issaquah/Eastgate.
Ross, if you don’t think 130th station is an unnecessary station, or even a poorly placed station, which Link stations, current and future, do you consider to be Link’s worst stations? Or, do you believe there is no such thing as a poorly placed Link station, as long as it has a feeder bus serving it?
The center of Lake City is 125th & Lake City Way. 125th/130th is the most direct and fastest way to get to Link. 148th requires an L shape to get to it, density is lower before the turn (but high after it), and 145th has traffic congestion because it’s a freeway entrance. Getting to Northgate is slow and meandering, and Northgate Way near the mall has congestion. Lake City is Seattle’s fifth-largest urban village, so we should put the fifth-most resources into its Link access. With demand for walkable neighborhoods with good transit access far exceeding supply, we can’t ignore low-hanging fruit like Seattle’s fifth-largest village, which brings tens of thousands of people online at little incremental cost. On top of that is Bitter Lake, and the upzone around the station. There may be a golf course at one corner, but there’s apartments within three blocks at another, and houses that would be densified in the upzone.
“which Link stations, current and future, do you consider to be Link’s worst stations?”
We can discuss this in a top-level thread.
For me, “worst” station would come down to five factors:
1. Cost to build.
2. Future ridership, which affects farebox recovery, and whether the ridership just steals riders from another station. This includes the cost to get riders there (bus intercepts and park and rides).
3. Station convenience and aesthetics (noise etc.).
4. Whether the station(s) in a long regional spine has a counterproductive effect by making trips so long with so many station stops folks take another mode.
5. The location the station should have been located which is a missed opportunity forever.
Just concentrating on East Link, although it won’t open for some time, which is much shorter than the spine from Everett to Tacoma Dome, and to be fair to ST the pandemic changed everything on the eastside:
1. Mercer Island: low cost because it was already 35′ below grade between the east/west lanes of I-90, and East Link had to pass through MI anyway. Ridership will be very weak. The bus intercept will be a bust because riders going to Seattle will drive to a park and ride rather than a park and ride to catch a feeder bus, although the park and ride will be popular for anyone still going to Seattle. The bus feeder system will be expensive, especailly per rider (at least until Issauquah to S. Kirkland opens), but my guess is Metro will make changes to frequency after East Link opens and the buses have very few riders. Within walking distance of the town center and multi-family zones with a 453-stall park and ride so low cost to get riders there. Very loud, needed a noise variance, and narrow between 8 lanes of I-90 that has not received the new low noise concrete and won’t until 2037, so worst for convenience in a system with no deep underground stations. No other location was feasible or better. So not the worst, but low ridership and unpleasant experience in a non-destination.
2. South Bellevue. Expensive to build but in a greenbelt due to park and ride and massive scale. Ridership should be high for the eastside because of the 1500 stall park and ride which will siphon off most riders from MI intercept. Station appears pleasant if huge. Does not add much time to the trip. No other possible location. Not the worst because of the park and ride although nothing is around, and it has zero walkshed, but great park and ride access and capacity.
3. East Main. Cost was reasonable, ridership will be very weak, no walkshed, station convenience is ok with almost no walkup riders, doesn’t really add too much time to the trip because East Link has pretty long station spacing. Along with Downtown Bellevue station the worst location and the worst compared to a station near Bellevue Way. First or second worst station due to better location and small walkshed and few feeder buses. Almost an unnecessary station unless you think development to the north between 405 and 112th with no retail will be popular.
4. Bellevue Downtown. Will be a hub for buses coming from south and north on 405. Otherwise same issues as East Main, although Bellevue could run a shuttle pretty easily to Bellevue Way if it wants. Maybe the worst station because what it could have been if run along Bellevue Way or 102nd. This station if near NE 4th and Bellevue Way could have been the best and most vibrant station in all of Link, especially with downtown Seattle declining.
5. Wilburton. Middle of the pack, like Wilburton. Nothing great although the hospital is nearby, and I guess the Lake, if you like to take transit to the hospital. I think many urbanists are too optimistic about how far eastsiders will walk from a transit station to the destination when parking is mostly free. Wilburton today is kind of a no man’s land for transit, or anyone. You see very few folks walking around Wilburton.
6. The Spring Dist. Very low ridership. I really doubt it will see the development many see, will have very little retail density or vibrancy, and not many will take transit to the offices there, especially with WFH. Just look at it today. Maybe second worst. It is based on a vision of build it and they will come, and they will come by transit, and personally I have my doubts, especially in the current market. I always like the approach build it where they are. There will be little retail or anything to get someone to get off the train here, except maybe some future offices when office occupancy is declining rapidly. A station designed in the past.
6. Bel-Red and 130th. Again based on visions of upzoning. Hard to say. Middle of the pack for worst station. I am not really sure what Bel-Red is supposed to be in the future that The Spring Dist. is not supposed to be. Again like Wilburton the distance an eastsider is willing to walk to and from transit will have a big impact on this station. Where will these folks be going on Link?
7. Overlake. Overlake scores near the top (by default) although the retail is not walkable. At least the retail and some housing exist. Located along a highway so the walkshed is questionable and not what I would call convenient. Maybe the demographic is more transit oriented compared to the rest of the eastside, and since there is little there they will want to go to Bellevue or Redmond. Kind of like Judkins Park of the eastside.
8. Redmond Technology Center. The good news is the 300-car park and ride. The bad news is in-office work at Microsoft looks like it will never return and Microsoft is building a 3 million sf garage, and the campus consumes any walkshed or other development. Again another station along a highway. I don’t know if this will be the worst station but probably the most disappointing, especially since running East Link this far east was because of Microsoft. Again a station designed in the past: thousands of urban techies getting off the train in a wasteland next to 520 and crossing a bridge to a lush and quiet and undense campus, except now they WFH.
I attended the Ballard workshop and submitted a review, can somebody review and publish it?
Very disappointed to see Lynnwood to Bellevue Stride pushed back to 2027. For a mode that is touted for being quicker and easier to implement, especially given most or the ROW is existing highway express lanes, it often doesn’t seem to be quick and easy.
(Granted, the ST3 light rail projects are opening much later, but part of that is due to the ST2 stuff having to get done first, which is not the case with Stride.)
On a separate note 3 interesting articles in todays Seattle Times.
1. Amtrak will add a second round trip to Vancouver in March, and in 2026 will roll out PNW themed trains with the $66 billion in infrastructure funding.
2. The lower WS bridge is reopening, but will open and close slower than usual for a few months as repairs are made.
3. Yesterday passengers on Link had to walk out of DSTT1 near Westlake when their train stopped. ST noted “mechanical failure” and noted it recently rewired the power supply lines to make it easier for trains to detour around each other in a program called “Future Ready”. The stall caused delays in and around the downtown corridor. Lindbloom noted the the 2021 stall but didn’t note if this time the passengers walked out on their own or were escorted.
Let’s see, was there a football game? Nope, Seahawks were out of town.
Was alcohol involved?
It is possible the train was actually at a station (i.e. Westlake), and it was an orderly exit.
Maybe it is all the practice Jim.
I suppose, …
Like a good vaudeville act,…
Drunk and Disorderly must be refined with constant rehearsals.
Although, I don’t think that act was on stage this time.
Very disappointed to see Lynnwood to Bellevue Stride pushed back to 2027.
Anyone know why it has been pushed back?
BRT projects have two pieces: infrastructure and service. It seems to me that even if you are failing with the infrastructure part, you can at least add service. The only thing that could delay that are buses and people to drive them. At worst you run a little less often (because the buses run slower). These projects include off-board payment, so that does mean adding readers (along with fancy bus stops) but I can’t imagine that is slowing things up. At worst they should simply run ST Express buses (instead of Stride) along those corridors.
“At worst they should simply run ST Express buses (instead of Stride) along those corridors.”
They do (the 535). But, they only run it once every half hour weekdays, once every hour Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays.
This is one of those cases where “value engineering” could permanently disappoint more than timeline. For every major capital improvement project that allows the Stride to run in a straightish line rather than loop around a series of park & rides, the line will have added value and ridership. Also, vertical conveyance redundancy from non-at-grade stop/station platforms, please. Pedestrian bridges to the other side of the freeway, yes please.
The era of painting buses a different color, removing a handful of stops, and calling it “BRT”, is over.
I believe delay is waiting on WSDOT’s SR522-405 interchange rebuild. By waiting for this project, ST is able to serve Brickyard, UW Bothell, and Canyon Park stations with freeway stations within the HOT lanes; the original project was to have Stride operate on the outside shoulder north of Totem Lake.
Fair enough. I guess there isn’t much difference between the 535 and Lynnwood to Bellevue Stride other than the piece(s) that WSDOT will build. I could see them increasing frequency though — it is pretty weak.
ST was going to add Sunday service to the 535 last year but it got swallowed by the driver shortage.
Yeah investing in the 535 does seem like a good intermediate step; after Link restructures free up bus/driver capacity or alongside the launch of S1 & S3 would be good. One the explicit purposes of STX routes is to build ridership prior to the opening of HCT lines.
Maybe staff think that until the WSDOT improvements, the 535 will spend too much time sitting in freeway traffic the juice isn’t worth the squeeze?
Maybe staff think that until the WSDOT improvements, the 535 will spend too much time sitting in freeway traffic the juice isn’t worth the squeeze?
I think low ridership overall, and a general budget crunch is to blame. It is much easier to just point the finger at WSDOT. The biggest weakness to the 535 is poor midday frequency. During peak the combination 532 and 535 run every 10 to 15 minutes. I suppose if you are starting from Lynnwood that doesn’t do you much good, but running more buses (stuck in traffic) wouldn’t cost that much. What would be expensive is running them in the middle of the day, simply because you need more of them. Running every 15 minutes would be a huge improvement. The problem is, it wouldn’t get that many riders, since ridership on the longer distance buses (and trains) is way down. ST — facing a budget crunch — has little incentive to improve the corridor in the meantime.
Fair. Hopefully come 2025-ish the budget/driver shortage will be alleviated and ST will start to ramp up the corridor, but makes sense it’s not a focus right now.
” I suppose if you are starting from Lynnwood that doesn’t do you much good,” true, but like how Ballard Link is more about the SLU/QA stations and Issaquah Link is more about the Bellevue I90 stations, “Lynnwood” Stride is more about the Bothell & Kirkland stations, so expanding the span of service of the 532 is a good way for Canyon Park & south to have that 15 minute overlaid frequency more of the day. But the 532 is so peak oriented, I think you are right the next step is just get another bus or two running midday/weekend for the 535 so the non-peak frequency isn’t so mediocre.
Yeah, good point. If you live in Totem Lake, the delay is annoying. It is unlikely you are headed to Lynnwood. Simply running buses from UW Bothell to downtown Bellevue (a partial 535 if you will) would be a huge improvement, let alone just running more 535s.
Yeah I could see a Bothell-Bellevue all day route (pick another 53X number). Boosting UW Bothell to Bellevue will make good sense once Stride 522. Maybe this 53X route could also serve the Woodinville tail (did they decide if Woodinville will be served by STX or Stride directly?)
I could see that route also serve Canyon Park; would still the stations in the outside exit ramps, so turning around at Canyon Park would be straightforward, but they could also open the CP inline freeway station early to be served by the 532 (but not the 535).
Yeah I could see a Bothell-Bellevue all day route (pick another 53X number).
I think that is what Stride S2 is all about. It won’t quite connect to downtown Bothell, but it gets very close to the campus.
I think the one piece that is missing is a bus from UW Bothell to UW Seattle. That should stop at all the freeway stations (including Totem Lake). That gives plenty of people a nice one-seat ride to the UW campus, but it also connects Canyon Park indirectly to the UW. Then I could see a bus connecting Woodinville to Bothell. That way, someone in either city could take a bus to the 522/405 transit hub, and quickly get to either the UW or downtown Bellevue.
You think after Stride 522 is running there should be a UW to UW route? Wouldn’t that duplicate S3 to Link to UW? You’ve made the point elsewhere that we should build a frequent grid, and S3+Link should fit that to a tee.
And from Canyon Park, I’d just take the first bus to Bellevue TC to transfer to Link and then UW. I’m not sure it makes sense to run a 405-520 route (are there any currently?), as that route would get destroyed during rush hour at the 520-405 interchange. If you aren’t on 405 (Kirkland downtown, Redmond downtown), then sure there’s a case for a bus that heads to 520 and then across the lake to UW, but if a bus is already on the 405 toll lanes, those buses should always head to Bellevue TC, right?
Link from Bellevue transit center to UW is projected at something like 45 minutes. With the I-90 route, it’s not fast. Including the time to ride the other bus to Bellevue and wait for the transfer, total trip starts to approach an hour and a half.
For a trip like Totem Lake to UW, a direct bus down 405 and 520 would save considerable time. Yes, congestion at the 405/520 interchange would cut into the savings, but it would still easily beat other options. The problem with such a route, of course, is whether it would have enough riders to compete against other routes for limited service hours. I suspect it wouldn’t, at least not outside of rush hour.
Re: UW Bothell to UW Seattle – Link doesn’t entirely replace this corridor. Using Google Maps:
UW Bothell (Founders Hall) to UW Seattle (HUB) via the 372: 51 minutes
UW Bothell (Founders Hall) to UW Seattle (HUB) via the 522 to Link at Roosevelt: 72 minutes
So connecting to Link is already 20 minutes slower than a one seat ride. A quick estimate is that the 522/S3 line will be roughly 8 minutes faster to 148th than Roosevelt. But the train itself will add 4 minutes from 148th to Roosevelt. So S3 + Link will be a net gain of 4 minutes over the 522 + Link. But that still means that losing the 372 would add 15 minutes to people commuting from UW Bothell to UW Seattle. And the increase in frequency would be minor – from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes.
A 405-520 express is useful for the same reason the 542 is useful: to connect Eastside cities to the U-District and to the entire north Seattle, and in the case of 405, to each other. It’s needed just to make transit access reasonable from the northwest Eastside. As for overlapping with Stride 2, that may be an argument if the 405-520 interchange allowed a bus transfer, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to do that. The long travel time of any alternative is excessive. So faced with a choice between underservice or overlap, I’d go with overlap. I’m also inclined to think this would be a daytime route rather than a full-time route, so that would lower the cost.
You think after Stride 522 is running there should be a UW to UW route? Wouldn’t that duplicate S3 to Link to UW?
It would save a considerable amount of time, as well as a transfer. Via SR 522, I get 22 minutes (UW Bothell to 145th Station) + 8 minutes (145th Station to UW) + 5 minutes (transfer and wait time). So that works out to around 35 minutes. Not terrible, and an improvement over the 272, but still not nearly as fast as going on the freeway. Not counting stops, it take about 20 minutes. Riders going between campuses save somewhere around 10 minutes (as well as a transfer).
Totem Lake wins as well. It takes an extra half hour to take the 255. Riders could also take Link from the UW to downtown Bellevue, but that would cost about a half hour as well. The second fastest route would be the 270 followed by Stride, but that would still cost you around 15 minutes (10 minutes on the bus, plus the transfer). So basically 15 minutes and a transfer.
There are all sorts of potential transfers. Totem Lake is a hub. 85th will be a hub. The Bothell stop will get riders from Woodinville. Canyon Lake will be the terminus for the Swift Green Line. Yes, that would mean a three-seat ride (Swift to Canyon Lake, Stride to Totem Lake, Metro to UW) but that beats any other combination by at least ten minutes (and a transfer). Some may just drive to the park-and-ride at Canyon Park, where it would be a two-seat ride. Or they drive to Brickyard, where it would be a straight shot (not much slower than driving). When you consider the hassles with parking at the UW, that means it would quite possibly be faster than driving. At noon.
Then there are the 520 freeway stations. It would require backtracking, but I could easily see how transferring at a 520 station would save time. For example you could ride the 542 from Redmond and get off at Yarrow Point and take the bus going the other way to Totem Lake or Bothell. There are alternatives, obviously, but unless you are next to link station, they would not be as frequent or as fast. There are also buses that intersect these stations. Basically if you are close to 520, you ride towards Seattle and then backtrack. This includes Bellevue Way and parts of Kirkland. You would backtrack on 520, but not that far (less than two miles each way). The buses are fast, and if nothing else, it gives riders another option.
But the main thing this does is connect the two campuses. The UW — which still has plenty of people driving to both campuses — should help pay for this. That basically means the state should pay, instead of just Metro (and/or ST).
Do people take classes at both campuses? My understanding is UW Seattle and UW Bothell are really different *schools* both under the umbrella of UW and a student is pursuing a degree at a single campus. People don’t need to travel between the two campuses any more than people would need to travel between, for example, Bellevue College and Cascadia College? This isn’t like tech workers shuttling between Seattle & east side campuses.
Yes, traveling from any of the 405N transit hubs (Canyon Park, UWB, Totem Lake, and Rose Hill/84th) to anywhere is Seattle will require a transfer (not unique to UW as the destination) – but is that any different than our other major north-south corridors? If you are on 15th or Greenwood or Aurora in Seattle, you have a great N/S bus that feeds into downtown, but you are always a 2-seat ride to UW (unless you are already at the 44), right? The D, 5, and E are dependent on the 44 to get riders to the UW, just like 405 routes are dependent on S3 or East Link to get riders to the UW.
Do people take classes at both campuses?
Yes, absolutely. Just like people take classes at various community colleges. I even know someone who will be taking most of his classes at UW Bothell, but will be living in a fraternity close to the Seattle campus.
Yes, traveling from any of the 405N transit hubs (Canyon Park, UWB, Totem Lake, and Rose Hill/84th) to anywhere is Seattle will require a transfer (not unique to UW as the destination) – but is that any different than our other major north-south corridors?
The problem isn’t the transfer, it is the additional time and and additional transfer. If anything the fact that people are willing to transfer makes the case for this stronger.
For example, consider Totem Lake. Right now getting from Totem Lake to the UW takes forever. With no traffic, it takes about 45 minutes. When East Link opens, it will take roughly the same amount of time to go via Link (ten minutes to ride to Downtown Bellevue, followed by a transfer and then a half hour on the train from to the UW). Going the other way is similar (bus/bus/train). The best option will be to take Stride to downtown Bellevue and then backtrack on the 270. That will take 35 to 40 minutes (10 minutes to Downtown Bellevue, wait for 5 to 10 minutes, 20 minutes to the UW). A direct connection would take somewhere around 20 minutes, saving at least 15 minutes (along with the discomfort of an additional transfer).
The only issue is whether Totem Lake is that important. There is a nearby hospital, lots of apartments and retail, but it isn’t Capitol Hill, let alone the UW. But Totem Lake also has nearby destinations, like Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Too far to comfortably walk, but there are feeder buses. So, with a transfer the value of that connection grows dramatically. Instead of an hour long one-seat ride, riders could save a good 20 minutes, even with the extra wait for the transfer.
One possibility is to only go as far as Totem Lake, or to go Totem Lake, and then go further into the neighborhood (much as the 41 used to go from downtown to Northgate and beyond). This solves the biggest issue, which is the direction connection between the 405 corridor and the UW, although it would mean an additional transfer for those headed to UW Bothell (and the stops between Totem Lake and Bothell). It really isn’t that far to just keep going, even if it means redundant service between Totem Lake and Bothell. I think there are enough people going between the two campuses to justify the service. It isn’t just students either — the UW area is a major destination for the greater region, and a major transit hub for a lot of trips. It is top three in both respects.
I suppose, …
Like a good vaudeville act,…
Drunk and Disorderly must be refined with constant rehearsals.
Although, I don’t think that act was on stage this time.
Shoreline-Bothell is S3, not S2.
Bloomingdale’s announced it will be opening one of its high end 15,000 to 20,000 sf boutique stores called “Bloomies” in Seattle.
At U Village.
I could understand making The Ave. pedestrian only, if the retail density and vibrancy made that a worthwhile exercise. It would need to be cleaned up (and rumor has it the UW has been secretly buying properties along The Ave.). Otherwise don’t waste the time and effort.
But I would also move buses off The Ave. if cars were removed. Otherwise the risk is a “transit mall” on The Ave. results in another 3rd Ave. with another hopeless “revitalization” process.
When the old Nordstrom Place Two building on the corner of 45th and The Ave. that has been vacant for so years leases out I will believe. Until there are some green retail shoots along The Ave. I wouldn’t do anything. Maybe the UW will end up owning enough of The Ave. it could force change.
Bloomie’s is an urban-format store, so smaller than a full-sized department store like the name Bloomingdale’s would suggest.
Many people don’t want national chains or boutiques taking over the Ave. That’s why they DON’T shop in U-Village or suburban malls. There’s room for both kinds of retail. The Ave also has a primary purpose serving college students and punks and backpacker tourists. They want small ethnic restaurants, bookstores, record shops, movie theaters, hardware stores, and independent businesses, not Bloomie’s and Williams-Sonoma and designer clothes.
The contradiction just amazes me, where the Ave. likes buses stopping right in front of the store, while West Seattle junction doesn’t, and forces all bus riders to do a one-block detour so that bus zones in California don’t displace a whopping 6’ish parking spaces. Similar in White Center. Instead of bus stops right in the heart of the business district, the bus drops people off on a dark, deserted street a block away, in spite of the fact that stopping right in front of the stores would allow the bus to run in a straight line, and bus has to actually detour *away* from the activity center, delaying every passenger on the bus, in order to stop one block over instead. The 120’s routing in White Center makes every bus rider feel like a 2nd class citizen.
The twists and turns close to The Junction are bizarre. I can’t make sense of it really. The buses actually do run on the main commercial corridor (California) most of the way. Then, instead of directly turning onto the secondary corridor (Alaska) they first deviate to 44th. It seems so nonsensical. Was it an attempt to create a “transit center” on 44th? Is it so that it can extend coverage one block? Anyone have any idea why it does that?
Same goes for the 120. I don’t get it. It looks like the H Line will continue this nonsensical dogleg, which is even worse. I get why it takes some effort to change routes, but that would be the time to change it.
Yeah, I walked by a new “station” for the RR H this summer along 15th, and was scratching my head on why they were routing it there.
In their defense, 15th is getting some development and 16th does get backed up and can become a bit of a cluster near Roxbury with those blocks of back-angle parking, but just put the bus where the people want to go. Certainly don’t deviate around it.
… and all the way to 26th? Really? That’s just absurd.
Tiny houses stack up with no place to deploy them. ($) Seattle’s unused homeless houses are about to go to Tukwila and Spanaway to house homeless there. Meanwhile some unsheltered in Seattle really want one.
I’m guessing the problem is everybody wants the homeless housed somewhere, but nobody wants them in their neighborhood. Pierce County has an easier time because there’s more land available with no neighbors to complain.
The good news, I’m sure homeless people in Seattle would happily accept a bus ride to Tukwila or Spanaway in exchange for getting a tiny house once they get there. And, moving the homeless population out of the city center altogether, I would argue is generally a good thing for the city as well.
Tukwila and Pierce County have their own homeless to house, otherwise they wouldn’t be taking the houses.
Yes. Yes, we do. And oddly little land to put tiny homes on. We are running up against one of the main problems with tiny home villages. They take up a lot of space, and just don’t house that many people. You have to build up. Land is expensive, even in the boonies. Ask Dammeier. His weird pet project, building a massive tiny house village in a wetland has become a complete nightmare. Expensive and maybe unworkable, due to drainage issues. All the quality, buildable lots have already been snapped up by commercial developers for tract housing.
If the most powerful politician in the county can’t get a village in the middle of nowhere built, maybe it’s not that great a model for housing folks at scale.
NIMBYism plays a part, but in this case, that isn’t the biggest problem. You have to have land to put them on. Land is expensive in Seattle. It certainly doesn’t make sense to bulldoze a large lot and put up tiny houses. It only makes sense in areas where they can’t develop much else, or are they are planning on developing something later. A good example is this lot here: https://goo.gl/maps/RhVq62z8GasxbqcX7. This is a nice big lot in a busy area that has seen a lot of development lately. I’m pretty sure it used to be a gas station, and I think they don’t develop it because the soil is contaminated. So they paved it, and now occasionally sell seasonal items there (e. g. Christmas trees). The spot is on several bus lines, across the street from a grocery and drug store. It would be a great place for a small tiny-house village.
But it isn’t as easy as just plopping them down. You need access to water and sewage. That is where it gets tricky. The city is managing this (along with everything else involving the homeless) but they are overwhelmed. Rent prices skyrocketed when Amazon added a lot of jobs, but the city wouldn’t allow developers to add a lot of housing. It means that it is difficult to manage these and lots of other projects.
There are a lot of service providers for people experiencing homelessness in the downtown area, along with bus routes to get to places all over the region. There is no such support network I’m aware of in Tukwila or Spanaway, not even much of a bus network.
“which Link stations, current and future, do you consider to be Link’s worst stations? Or, do you believe there is no such thing as a poorly placed Link station, as long as it has a feeder bus serving it?”
The worst stations are ones that have little walk-up potential, no major feeders, and aren’t the primary P&R for a large area. Redondo seems to be the worst. It’s five blocks away from the smallest “village” on 99. There will be no major feeders to it: Auburn’s feeder will go to Federal Way, and Kent’s to KDM. The P&R is surrounded by larger P&Rs at Federal Way, KDM, Angle Lake, and TIB.
Looking at some other possible contenders:
Fife: Upzone promised.
South Federal Way: I don’t know enough about this area to evaluate it.
Mercer Island: Island feeders will never be major because there are no villages to come from. But it’s on the way, adjacent to the city center, within walking distance of Luther Burbank Park and the community center, and is one of the only ways onto/off of the island.
South Bellevue: the primary P&R for East King.
East Main: Density on 3/4 of the lots, serves downtown Bellevue, potential feeder from Bellevue Way.
Bel-Red: future density expected. Surface P&R explicitly a temporary use, to be converted to buildings when Spring District growth spreads to it.
Overlake Village: poor location next to 520, excessively far from the Safeway/Sears block. BUT Overlake Village needs a station. It’s in the equity corridor of south Redmond, Crossroads, Lake Hills, and Eastage. (“Lake Hills?” you say incredulously. There are several elderly-care homes there.)
Beacon Hill: it’s a small village but iconic, has lots of ridership, and the station is right at the center.
130th: Strategic feeder for Lake City and Bitter Lake.
Shoreline South/148th: This may be the third-worst station, if Fife is second. Its main purpose is as the Stride intercept. We would have put the Stride intercept elsewhere, at 130th or Roosevelt. 145th is at the periphery of all the surrounding villages. A straight east-west route doesn’t go to any of them.
Mountlake Terrace: A 10-minute walk to the city center, on uneven dirt trails in a woods. But it has bus feeders from Edmonds and maybe others.
Between Ash Way and Everett: I don’t know enough about this area to say. I don’t know how much of the growth potential to believe. The Paine Field businesses are so spread out I doubt feeders will make much of a dent.
I tend to look at the potential of a station, as opposed to whether it is “good” or not. There are few, if any, stations I would skip. SoDo has the lowest ridership (or it least it did) but I would still include it. Train travel works best when you have a combination of lots of trips. Skip a stop and you lose a lot of combinations. When I mock stations like Fife it isn’t because I think we should skip it — it is because it’s relative weakness reflects poorly on the rest of the network. Tacoma Dome Link will be weak because Fife will be weak (e. g. very few will ride from the Tacoma Dome to Fife).
The worst stations are the ones we didn’t build (with First Hill being at the top of the list). But there are also plenty of stations that could have been much better, but failed for various reasons. Such as (in no particular order):
1) Mount Baker Station (as Martin wrote).
2) UW Station. If nothing else, it should have been in the triangle. This would have made travel to the hospital and the campus much better. It would have made connecting to the buses better as well.
3) SeaTac. Why so far from the airport?
4) 145th. Seems lost between worlds. If it was on 145th you could extend bus service along the main corridor. Yes, that is problematic, but possible. If it is at 155th you dogleg up to 155th using 15th. This makes the bus connection much cheaper. So instead we will have buses doing the dogleg anyway, but via 145th, which is more problematic and has very few potential riders. Oops.
5) East Main. Should be on Bellevue Way instead of close to the freeway (and close to the other station).
6) 130th. Should have straddled 130th.
7) U-District. Should have an entrance from the other side of 45th.
6 and 7 are just nitpicking, really. U-District may be the best station that ST ever built (I don’t count the ones in old transit tunnel). It isn’t that big of a deal to cross the street.
A lot of these assume the same basic routing. If we are looking at the big picture, then things get a lot more complicated. One of the key things I keep emphasizing is that we really only have a handful of very popular destinations, only a few of which will be covered by Link. This is common in cities our size. For example, the Canada Line does not cover a lot of major destinations. There has been relatively little TOD along it, yet ridership is booming. What it does really well is integrate with the bus network. Before the pandemic, SkyTrain carried a whopping 475,000 riders. It is quite likely we’ll never reach that level (even though we are generally considered a bigger city, and our rail system will be much bigger). But even though that is impressive, there are 775,000 that ride the bus. Even with the most popular rail system in the Northwest and arguably the best for a city that size in North America, more people ride the bus. These go together. They have what Jarrett Walker called “an almost perfect grid“, and a big part of that is SkyTrain. The trains would simply not be as popular without the buses, and vice versa. The buses feed the trains, the trains feed the buses.
“3) SeaTac. Why so far from the airport?”
Combination of the Port of Seattle getting antsy about a light rail stop post 9/11 and really overconfident about getting a flagship hotel to be built on the current cruise ship charter bus area that overlooks the station.
In my opinion, it’s not too bad of a walk from the terminal to station. Like the walk is no different from walking at CDG from the terminal 2E or 2F to SNCF station from my experience or Frankfurt for that matter.
The Port is looking at possibly remdying this with a people mover to connect the main terminal to the light rail and off-site car rental facility in the future and build it with a future stop to a possible new terminal 2 in mind.
The Port’s current plan includes an elevated roadway for buses and a people mover between the old terminal, the new terminal, and the rental car facility but does not include a connection to the LR station. I hope this changes before the plan gets ratified.
Do you have a map or link for the proposal that would connect the people mover to the car rental facility?
The dotted line is what the Port proposes, the red line is my proposal:
“3) SeaTac. Why so far from the airport?”
Combination of the Port of Seattle getting antsy about a light rail stop post 9/11 and really overconfident about getting a flagship hotel to be built on the current cruise ship charter bus area that overlooks the station.
Yeah, I really wasn’t asking why (it was rhetorical). Poor wording on my part. I know each and every decision has its own history, but it works out to poor station placement. And you are right, the flaws with the SeaTac Station aren’t as bad as some of the other ones. Still less than ideal though. Still feels like you are prioritizing drivers — even those who park — over transit.
Question: If the light rail had a more direct connection to the rental car facility, would people take transit there to pick up a rental car? Or do people who live along Link stations (particularly south end stations) generally have better options.
This stuff matters, as the the lower the hassle factor becomes in picking up and returning a rental car when you need one, the easier it is to forego owning the car.
If the new people mover would not only connect the new/old terminal and rental facility but also the Link station, then at least it would get easier.
The new Stride station next to TIBS will also include a pedestrian bridge across the highway which will make a walk to the rental facility much shorter, too.
The People Mover lets arriving passengers off near the baggage claims areas, but has to remain inaccessible to people who have not gone through the security checkpoint. If baggage claims eventually expands along the north side of the car garage, a (pricey) future extension could be in the cards.
I’m not aware of a way to walk into the SeaTac car rental garage. Regardless, it is still a decently long walk from the other side of the freeway from TIBS to the rental facility.
It is easier to just catch the train to Westlake Station, and walk a block or so to the various car rental garages downtown.
Check out how to get between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Minneapolis Airport. You take the Metro Blue Line between the two. Trains run every 10 to 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Service between the two terminals is free to the passenger.
Will the transit network be ready for the World Cup, coming to Lumen Field in 2026? There are lots of hotels along the A Line. If Federal Way Link can’t open by then, getting Highline College Station open by then would reduce some of the pain getting between the southerly hotels along Pacific Highway and Link.
But for more serious reasons to move up Highline College Station opening, consider that it would be ca. 20 minutes from Rainier Beach Station, compared to 27 minutes to get from Rainier Beach to Seattle Central College.
That’s a good point about the World Cup generally in 2026. Maybe it could be used to light a fire under ST to get serious about opening its many projects by then,
I hope Board members start stating that it’s unacceptable to not have the 2024 projects unopened by summer 2026 and the World Cup. Without pressure on a target date, the staff will keep buying into pressure to keep postponing things any time an issue arises. As long as the projects don’t open, they and their contractors still have jobs and the public won’t be complaining about all the escalators and elevators at the ilupcoming stations.
I’m really frustrated by the East Link issue especially. The problem areas are not short segments. They should have been revealed earlier. The delay should not take two years and the problem should have been identified much earlier.
I’m also surprised at how calmly the reaction to the delay was. Riders and elected officials should be more outraged. As long as no one important isn’t putting the fear of termination on the staff, they will continue to merely coast along and not get serious about finishing their work. Any little excuse will be rolled out to keep delaying openings.
We also need upgrades to Vancouver-Seattle rail transit by then. Vancouver will also host matches, and FIFA is probably looking at having the same teams play group matches in both cities to expedite travel for teams and fans. Multiple Amtrak Cascades routes each day would be quite popular with fans, particularly those from countries with strong rail infrastructure.
I wonder if BNSF can be convinced to allow extra daily runs during the tournament, and whether they’ll be reasonable about charging for right-of-way.
Borrowing Sounder livery would probably be the best option to add capacity. It’s not as if the trains are close to full now.
I think so. Sounder is used for special sporting events: https://www.soundtransit.org/get-to-know-us/news-events/news-releases/sounder-trains-available-weekend-sports-events
What I’m suggesting is that Sounder trains be used to top up Vancouver-Seattle transport needs for fan groups that will be following their team between the two cities, assuming that is how the matches are scheduled. It would be nice to know the group structure and cities well ahead of time to plan transport needs around the continent. Sounder trains would still be available for their regular pre- and post-match runs, so long as they aren’t laying over in Vancouver.
It might be more of a stretch, but the same plan might work for getting fan groups to and from San Francisco and/or LA, but with less room to have trains make multiple runs back and forth between matches. But definitely have a crew trained on that route. You’d think that would be the rule, but dumber things have happened.
All that said, if they go through with this heretical three-team group plan, each group could end up playing in just one stadium, and each stadium would host just one group, especially if they want to keep Team Canada on home grass for the group stage.
If they go back to the traditional four-team group (likely), that will mean some cities hosting matches within a couple groups, or adding 8 more host cities. I prefer the last approach, as that would show the tournament can be done without a host country needing to build several new stadia just to host a one-time sporting festival. Indeed, the whole idea of a country, rather than a continent hosting the World Cup ought to go away. That process is already starting this summer with Australia and Autearoa jointly hosting the Womens World Cup, and next year the US and Bahamas jointly hosting the (Men’s) Club World Cup.
Seems like the private market will be more flexible and there will be oodles of planes & charter buses moving people between cities. I’d wager most people will travel between Vancouver and Seattle on I5, like they always do, but perhaps more bus and less personal auto than normal.
If Amtrak can have a few special runs of Cascades on days between game to capture some extra demand great, but nothing that requires upgrades?
I think it is important to keep perspective for this. We will be one of 16 host cities for the first round, which at this point is supposed to be 16 groups with three teams (and three games) in each group. So that means three games for sure. Then you have 32 teams, and it stands to reason that Seattle gets another game. After that, we maybe get one more game, but it is also possible we don’t. So we are looking at three to five games. The games will be held in Lumen Field, which is basically downtown. That is not much different than a Seahawk game (and there are a lot more of those). There will be a mix of tourists and locals attending the game. One reason we were chosen is because lots of people attend Sounder games. I don’t see this overwhelming the tourist industry or our transportation system the way that hosting the Summer Olympics would.
Tourists will get almost all of the World Cup tickets, not the locals; I believe Sounders season ticket holders are getting shut out of Seattle WC ticket access in favor of fans / federations from the countries playing here, and of course FIFA corporate sponsors. So we’ll still have to beef up the transportation system for the visitors, as well as hotel/dining/tourism infrastructure.
I’m also sure fan pressure will force FIFA to keep the four-team-per-group format, instead of the proposed three teams. In similar tournaments, the group’s teams would play their first two games in the same city / area, and then go to different cities for the third games, as they have to kick off simultaneously. (E.G., when I attended the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada, the USA played its first two games in Montreal, the base city for their group, and then went to Ottawa for their final group game.) FIFA would likely have Seattle and Vancouver share a group or two for their first games before those teams dispersed for the final group games. After that, Seattle is a virtual lock to host a knockout (playoff) match or two.
Agree. This will be like if the city hosted 3~5 Seahawks games over 10 days. Yes, all the transit agencies will need to run special service, but they probably can just use the same playbook as Seahawks games. If the city can handle weekday (MNF, TNF) Seahawks games, it can handle World Cup games.
The impact on hotels/Airbnb will be much different; depending on the teams there will be tens of thousands of tourists. But I don’t think gameday crowd flow will be much different.
There’s an interesting Street View tool to see how a … bus stop, transit center, road, neighborhood, etc., has progressed, or how it looked in years past, going back to about 2007. I wasn’t sure if everyone was aware of the wayback feature. If you go to a current Street View image, in the upper left hand corner, there’s a small clock-like circle with two backwards arrows. Click that, select what year you want to see the current image in, and voila! The Amazon Spheres used to be an Impark parking lot, and the now empty Bear Creek P&R lot used to be full.
There won’t be any bus rerouting changes for a starter line.
Pulling this from the overlong thread above. Here’s what Sound Transit staff had to say to the Board just last week.
“Could the agency truncate ST Express Route 550 at the South Bellevue garage and redirect those resources to address operator shortages in other parts of the system? (Claudia Balducci) We are reviewing opportunities to partially restructure ST Express bus service to complement the East Link Starter Line. Decisions about changes to bus service in response to the Starter Line, such as Route 550 truncation, would be made by the Board as part of the 2024 Service Plan they will consider in Fall 2023.”
I agree it wouldn’t make sense. Doesn’t mean they won’t do it.
Interesting Dan. If ST truncated the 550 at S. Bellevue wouldn’t that mean there would be no transit service to Bellevue Way between Main and NE 8th? How would riders who live east of S. Bellevue get to S. Bellevue if the 550 truncated at S. Bellevue?
I could see ST doing this to goose ridership on a limited segment East Link, but it could get a lot of blowback. Adding a transfer from the 550 so close to the destination (Bellevue) at S. Bellevue would probably irk a lot of riders, especially if they were going to Bellevue Way and now have a 10-block slog up hill. It is one thing to waste a lot of money on a limited segment of East Link few will ride, but another to then disadvantage the few people on the eastside today still riding transit. Most of these folks have cars sitting in the garage.
During the eastside transit restructure I got the idea Bellevue wanted to make getting to Bellevue (including running the 554 to Bellevue Way) easier than getting to downtown Seattle, and this plan would do the opposite.
I would want to know how many folks today use the S. Bellevue Park and Ride to transfer to the 550 to go to downtown Bellevue, although ridership on the 550 is very weak overall.
What is the 2024 Service Plan? I thought the eastside transit restructure for when East Link opens was completed, but is simply delayed until East Link fully opens which is now estimated to be sometime in the first half of 2025. So what is a “2024 service plan”, or is that system wide? From what I can gather from this blog Metro is already in the process of a restructure for the opening of Lynnwood Link.
This would make it a three-seat ride for me to Lake Hills, which is already pushing on 1.5 hours: 550 + Link + B + 25 minute walk, or 550 + Link to Redmond Tech + 245 + 15 minute walk.
“I thought the eastside transit restructure for when East Link opens was completed,”
It’s only through round 2. Metro still has to make a final proposal and submit it to the county council for approval.
If the 550 is truncated at S. Bellevue as part of opening a limited segment East Link would that mean the 554 would have to be routed to Bellevue Way and not Seattle as planned in the restructure? I guess the irony is for those coming from Seattle to Bellevue Way they would take the 550 to S. Bellevue and then transfer to the 554 to get to Bellevue Way, which would annoy the hell out of me.
I don’t see ST doing that because the ridership on the limited segment East Link would be terrible. Folks coming from Seattle on the 550 would transfer to the 554 at S. Bellevue, folks from the Issaquah area would just stay on the 554 until Bellevue Way (unless they want to go to East Main or The Spring Dist. and buy a car), when most of Microsoft is working from home, and folks going to Seattle would take the 554 to S. Bellevue and transfer to the 550.
Now what would really happen if riders returned to eastside transit is folks would drive to the MI park and ride to catch the 550 to downtown Seattle, folks from Seattle would drive to S. Bellevue to catch the 554 to Bellevue Way, and folks from Issaquah would either drive to the S. Bellevue Park and ride to catch the 554 to Bellevue Way or 550 to Seattle.
But what they will really do is WFH like now or drive straight to work in Seattle or Bellevue Way or Microsoft and ask for subsidized parking (except at Microsoft where parking is free).
That is why I don’t think Balducci is the sharpest knife in the drawer.
“If the 550 is truncated at S. Bellevue as part of opening a limited segment East Link would that mean the 554 would have to be routed to Bellevue Way and not Seattle as planned in the restructure?”
I think Balducci just made an idle inquiry, not a full-fledged proposal. There’s nothing in the quote to suggest Balducci was even thinking about the 554-Bellevue alternative or the Bellevue Way riders.
The 550 spends 15 minutes in Bellevue, and there’s four buses per hour weekday and Saturday daytime. So if you truncate it for a 12-hour 7am-7pm span, that’s 12 hours that could be deployed elsewhere.
There are two Metro coverage routes on Bellevue Way, but neither of them serve all of it. The 249 is on Bellevue Way between Main Street and SE 10th Street, and and then detours to Beaux Arts and Enatai and comes back to South Bellevue P&R. The 241 is on Bellevue Way south of 108th, but that’s where the nothingness is. Both routes serve 108th between NE 4th Street and Main Street, and that’s four blocks east of Bellevue Way.
A 550 truncation would turn my Lake Hills trips into a 3-seat ride that’s already pushing 1.5 hours. It would be 550 + Link + B + 30 minute walk, or maybe 550 + Link to Redmond Tech + 245 + 15 minute walk.
The anecdote of the three step ride slowdown is unfortunate, but isn’t the general belief on this blog that in any restructure there are winners and losers? There was no sympathy on this blog when the U link restructure removed one-seat rides to downtown on the 41, because there were plenty of new, easier trips being generated instead. So, rather than mentioning single trips that get slower, in isolation, do we have a sense of the more specific trade-offs generated as a result of Eastside Link-only + truncations?
“The anecdote of the three step ride slowdown is unfortunate, but isn’t the general belief on this blog that in any restructure there are winners and losers?”
Define “any” please.
There are plausible restructures in which there are no winners. A restructure around this truncated Eastside line likely falls into that category.
You *might* be able to create a few winners if the line ran to Mercer Island, and a restructure was created around a more frequent Issaquah to Seattle express or something, but with this proposal I see no advantage to anyone, except a few who might want a Tandy Center Subway parking lot shuttle for Bellevue Transit Center.
“isn’t the general belief on this blog that in any restructure there are winners and losers?”
That’s the question: are there a massive number of winners to make up for a few losers? Is it operationally more efficient or less expensive? Does it replace most of a bus route and the highest-ridership part?
In the 41’s case, Link replaced most of the route and the highest-ridership part. It’s a vast improvement for trips from Snohomish County to Northgate, Roosevelt, the U-District, Capitol Hill, SODO, Rainier Valley, and SeaTac. A massive improvement for trips from Roosevelt and U-District to Capitol Hill, downtown, and all the southern parts. The losers are the people on the 41’s tail going from downtown to 125th or Lake City, those on the 512 with a longer trip to downtown, and those on the 522 with a longer trip to downtown (but the 522 is more frequent now).
The Eastside stub line breaks up the largest and most full-time trip generator in the Eastside (downtown Bellevue to Seattle). In return it adds connections between downtown Bellevue, the Spring District, Overlake Village, and Redmond Tech. Downtown Bellevue to Wilburton or the Spring District is so short it doesn’t matter that much. Overlake Village is a secondary node. There might be a few people taking it between the two Microsofts. It doesn’t reach downtown Redmond so it doesn’t help with that. The main benefit with East Link comes when it fully connects downtown Redmond to Seattle, and those small number of trips on the stub line are combined with the larger number of trips with one or both ends of the trip beyond the stub line.
Maybe the advantages of the stub line are more important than unusual trips like mine. But it’s hard to see how they’re as important as trips between downtown Bellevue and Seattle, the highest-ridership all-day corridor in the Eastside.
It’s hard to find a west side comparison to the East Link starter line, but truncating the 550 at South Bellevue would be something like truncating the 1 line at a P&R at 85th, a mile short of Northgate and not near a village. The starter line itself would be something like if Link didn’t exist north of Westlake, and a separate starter line were built between UW and Northgate, and UW Bothell were at Northgte (to represent Microsoft). Or a closer comparison might be a 372 line from UW to Lake City, to represent the less walkable and lower density area it would serve.
Somehow, this whole thing reminds me of a huge mess from the early days of the Portland Traction Company.
A new owner came in and promised things would get better. As is normal practice, they got much worse fast. The new owner hired a crony to serve as the new dispatcher, who managed to schedule head-on collisions throughout the entire system.
Eventually they cut back service to only be a single car, operated by the crony dispatcher. The Oregonian was moved to comment “so far they’ve kept him from running into himself.”
They then put a second car on the network, operated by the new owner himself. Supposedly, one was to operate the narrow gauge lines and the other the standard gauge lines. Naturally, they nearly immediately had a collision.
Eventually the decision was made for the company to hire competent people, and the city got back to being able to move again, after some months of disastrous service from the company.
What brings this to mind?
For starters, what level of service is really realistic on this starter line? It basically serves as a parking shuttle for downtown Bellevue.
Even at the Federal Railroad Administration level, it is recognized that a single train operating on a single track represents no collision hazard, and thus no dispatcher or signal system is required.
Even the most incompetent dispatcher in railroad history couldn’t collide with himself under those circumstances.
Thus, if this thing must operate (for political expediency) it seems to me that it should be operated as a single car going back and forth, peak periods only. This prevents the expense of having a dispatcher and a host of all the other operational staff. It basically becomes like the monorail: a simple low staff and low budget operation, fitting the expense to the number of passengers carried.
This also means that the signal system doesn’t have to be fully operational. It’s only one train. So, you would be able to operate the train before all of that gets installed. This would allow the “starter line” to start service months before the Lynnwood extension.
Obviously none of this should actually happen. The line doesn’t really go anywhere. However, it is merely a suggestion what could happen, if the “need” arose to operate the starter line without interrupting Lynnwood.
Sure the S Bellevue to Main street station may be just a parking shuttle, but there’s the other 5 stations on the line. You know, like the rest of Bellevue and that other city, Redmond. There’s stuff there to. Like apartments blocks. Shops. Restaurants. There’s this really big company, Microsoft, with a giant campus around one station (in Redmond) and then a few office towers of employees around another station (in Bellevue).
There’s a good discussion to be had on how to serve Bellevue Way with buses when the starter line is in service … but for the starter line itself, East Main to South Bellevue is the least important part of the line for all day transit. Most of the people parking at the S Bellevue parking garage may never take Link and instead ride the 550 into Seattle, as that was where S Bellevue P&Riders headed before Link.
There are big companies there, but how much travel is there between them?
I can see maybe a few from those companies going to Bellevue for lunch or something, but I just don’t see anything significant that would generate ridership on the line. How much ridership potential can there be from one large tech company to another?
If the East Link starter were to open, the ridership by station would range from almost none to low. Redmond Technology station would have low ridership, due to MS employees, local apts, and B Line riders transferring. Overlake Village, also low ridership because of large apt village nearby. Next station is Bel-Red/130th, and that would see almost no activity. Spring District/120th station would have a little bit more ridership due to some apts and offices. Wilburton station would have a little bit above almost no ridership. Downtown Bellevue station would have the highest ridership out of all the stations, but it would still be low. East Main would have almost no ridership. And South Bellevue would would have very low ridership.
Why do people who post on a transit blog not understand East Link — let alone a limited segment — does not go to downtown Redmond? That East Link and Redmond Link are two entirely different projects and levies?
Or that Microsoft has limited in office work, pre-pandemic ran its own one seat direct shuttles, and has a 3 million sf garage? Is a Microsoft worker really going to take Link from S. Bellevue that has so surrounding retail to Redmond Tech that has no surrounding retail and back? No they are going to drive to the campus, (or WFH), and drive someplace vibrant after work.
Is any Eastsider — especially from Issaquah or MI — really going to park at the S. Bellevue park and ride to take Link to Overlake? Or “The Spring Dist.” which is just a made up name? 130th? Or Wilburton? Have these posters even been to the Eastside?
Why would someone coming from Seattle on the 550 transfer at S. Bellevue to go to East Main or Bellevue “Downtown” that at best is 110th? Why not just stay on the 550?
Before claiming in a snarky way a limited segment East Link from S. Bellevue to Redmond Tech. will have strong ridership ask yourself three questions:
1. Despite pretty good bus service on the 550, 554 and other buses serving the main Eastside areas with one seat rides, why is ridership so low?
2. How are eastsiders getting around today if bus ridership is so low?
3. If buses today on the Eastside are more convenient and faster and don’t require a transfer and eastsiders are still not riding them what makes anyone think they will ride a limited segment East Link that is slower, less convenient, doesn’t go to the major destinations, and requires a transfer?
The reality is ST could eliminate all buses on the Eastside and eastsiders still wouldn’t ride a limited segment East Link BECAUSE THEY HAVE A CAR AND PARKING IS FREE ON THE EASTSIDE AND THEY WON’T GO TO SEATTLE.
“Why do people who post on a transit blog not understand East Link — let alone a limited segment — does not go to downtown Redmond?”
I sometimes forget that because East Link is described as going to “Redmond”, so people forget the main part of Redmond is in a second phase. AJ McGauley is a new commentator and may not have the knowledge some long-time commentators have. And s/he may be referring to the apartments between Overlake Village and Redmond Tech.
I agree the starter line ridership will be low. I don’t think anybody is saying it will be high, or approaching the existing bus route levels or the full East Link. It’s a minor addition that would have a minor benefit. Some people see that as more worthwhile than others do. That’s what the decision revolves around, and what the Board and public are debating, and why we’re discussing it.
Overlake Village station has three disadvantages. The station is so far northwest next to the freeway that it’s a longish walk from the retail core (roughly between Safeway and ex-Sears). The freeway eliminates half the walkshed. The B and 245 would have to detour further west than the current routes to reach the station. The Sears redevelopment and the apartments between the station and Safeway aren’t built yet. So long-term it will reach only part of the potential of an ideal station, and short-term most of the trip generators won’t be there for a few years.
“Despite pretty good bus service on the 550, 554 and other buses serving the main Eastside areas with one seat rides, why is ridership so low?”
It’s not “pretty good”. The only route in the entire Eastside that’s 15-minute frequent evenings and Sundays is the B. A handful of other routes are 15-minute frequent weekday and Saturday daytime. That includes the 550 but not the 554. The 550 gets bogged down in traffic peak hours. Its reliability is OK but not stellar.
The one-seat rides that the full East Link will break are mainly the 554 (Issaquah-Seattle). [Edit: not the 550 except the Bellevue Way segment.] In return the full East Link will provide a much longer one-seat ride between Seattle and Overlake Village, AND will be faster than the 550 or 554, AND more frequent. AND the 554 will be 15-minute frequent and provide new service to downtown Bellevue.
The starter line will, depending on the alternative, break the 550 — the highest-volume segment on the highest-volume route. The additional service east of downtown Bellevue noted above, will be diminished by the unanticipated transfer. “Unanticipated” because it wasn’t intended before the vote, or even just three months ago, and it’s in the middle of nowhere.
A transfer at Lynnwood, Ash Way, Mariner, or KDM is more justified than a transfer at South Bellevue. Because Lynnwood and SeaTac will already be in the central core from downtown Seattle, while downtown Bellevue will not. And Everett and Federal Way are much further from the above theoretical transfers than downtown Bellevue is from South Bellevue.
Also there’s the equity, ridership, and (good) bus-truncation arguments for opening Lynnwood as soon as possible and not delaying it for a starter line.
The “why” seems pretty obvious to me: they’re right in that there is a lot of stuff around the stations.
What’s not obvious on the first pass is the lack of diversity of that stuff.
On the E, you have thousands of businesses and a wide variety of them. Dental appointments, doctor visits, animal hospital visits, grocery shopping, restaurants, several cheap hotels, and even buying plants at a nursery are all things that can be done on the E.
As best as I can tell, very little of that type of diversity exists along the Eastside starter line. To determine that, you have to really look at the map detail.
I don’t think “AJ McGauley” is new to the blog. He has the same picture as “AJ”.
As to how he might get confused, it is easy. Too many stations with the term “Redmond” in them, namely Redmond Tech Center and Redmond Downtown. Originally the Marymoor Village Station also used the term “Redmond”, but they changed it.
So, we have two stations with “Redmond”, two stations with “Shoreline”, and two stations with “University”, although one of those is changing. Clear as mud?
I get how a city might want to put their name on things for marketing reasons, but someone should hold the line. It is just way to confusing for the occasional rider or for someone who is not proficient in English.
Also, another reason not to delay Lynnwood Link is the upcoming resurfacing of I-5 north of NGS. It is going to be a disaster when WSDOT starts shifting lanes around and staging equipment everywhere. Having Lynnwood Link operating gives at least some relief, both to those willing to try transit and for those stuck on the freeway.
And keep in mind, if Lynnwood Link is delayed the bus restructures get delayed. That means express buses using I-5 get stuck in the WSDOT resurfacing Cluster F*** too. This has real world consequences, both for the riders and for the agencies. Budgets will take a real hit.
I’m not confused. I was referring to Redmond Overlake, where there is Microsoft, and apartments, and retail. Because it is an actual midrise neighborhood, not an office park.
“Is a Microsoft worker really going to take Link from S. Bellevue that has so surrounding retail to Redmond Tech that has no surrounding retail and back.” No, which is why S Bellevue is not important. I’d wager most S Bellevue parkers will commute west, not north.
But there are plenty of people who work at the Msft campus would benefit from a bus-rail transfer at Bellevue TC as an improvement over the B. These riders probably don’t live on the Eastside but are taking the bus in from elsewhere, or they are currently driving from outside of the Eastside because while they might have a good bus to Bellevue, the transfer to Overlake is terrible. They are probably also workers who aren’t eligible for Msft’s private shuttles.
As to the shuttles, Msft already runs a shuttle to/from Bellevue and Redmond (Overlake, since I guess I need to be specific) throughout the work day, so there is clearly latent demand for workers to travel between offices. And is it really that difficult to imagine someone might now want to deal with 520 traffic to meet a friend for happy hour in Bellevue, even if he/she needs to circle back to their car in Overlake to head home in the evening.
Mike puts it well – there will be minor ridership, which may or may not be worth it. My initial point was simply that the modest ridership will mostly come from travel within and between Bellevue & Overlake, not from S Bellevue to Bellevue. My snark was directed at the idea that there is nothing in between Bellevue TC & Redmond aside from a few Msft buildings, as people who are convinced Link is solely for commuting into Seattle can forget that it will be very useful for traveling within the Eastside.
I’m reading the Rover Boys series. The first book was written in 1899, and people travel around New York State in horse carriages and trains. The second series starts in 1917, and by that time there are automobiles and subways. When the second generation of boys go to a military academy school, they take something called an “auto-stage” from the train station to the school. I guess it’s short for “automobile stagecoach”. It sounds like a bus. I’ve never heard the term before.
Also I read something from around that time in San Francisco, and people took a car to Golden Gate Park. At first I thought it was a personal car, but after more context I think they meant a streetcar.
That reminds me the original flyer for the Carolina Court, a courtyard apartment building on Eastlake built in 1915. The flyer said the building was on a “car line” (streetcar), and also promoted it as one of the first buildings with “parking for your private automobile”.
So it seems like “car” in that era meant collective transportation (streetcar or cable car), and private cars were called “automobiles”. And buses were sometimes called “auto-stages”.
Auto stages were typically stretched autos with a few extra rows of seats added for more passengers and more sets of doors. Today we’d probably use vans. Similar seating capacity but taller and only one side door.
When TriMet was building the west hills tunnel, they did a full emergency evacuation simulation some two years before the line opened. This involved finding about 200 people, assigning them each injuries, and evacuating them from a train located in the most difficult to access location in the tunnel.
So, there were many things left to complete before opening.
I’m just wondering if ST does this level of testing on a similar timeline, or if it gets put into that 6 month pre-opening window?
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