Following a Seattle Times article, the Seattle Bike Blog joins the discussion. (I think the buildings should wear more visible clothing, and stop talking on their phone.)
The Urbanist looks at Sound Transit adding retail to the stations.
There will be some late night work on the Link rails starting tonight. For a complete list of Sound Transit service alerts, check here.
Metro Transit looks to the future (Seattle Times article).
Streetsblog writes about the importance of transit to community colleges.
This is an open thread.
93 Replies to “News Roundup: Cars Running into Buildings”
Dan Strauss officially announced he’s going to defend his seat in the updated District 7, and so it will be interesting to see who the challengers are.
Now that D7 has half of Magnolia, it seems likely that a challenger to Strauss’ right will beat out any further-left challengers for the November ballot.
The most impactful issue that’s unique to D7, as I see it, is the potential for Ballard to be upzoned to an Urban Center (like the U-District) in 2024. With a train to Ballard being likely coming to fruition in ~15 years, it will be good to get the larger-scale upzones and subsequent construction moving now. But with half of Magnolia in D7 now, any land-use arguments during the election will likely revolve around whether SFH zones (now “neighborhood residential”) will be allowed to have multi-plex developments instead of hacked-together ADU/DADU lots.
I think Strauss will win easily. Despite rhetoric by the Seattle Times for a while now, it is difficult to defeat an incumbent city council member. I think the last time it happened was when Sawant beat Conlin ten years ago. She barely won, too. Every other city council member won an open seat. It is just very rare to beat an incumbent.
Oh, and this is another example of why I dislike districts. You only have one representative for your district. What if you have been working in the mayor’s office or for one of the council members for years. You have “cut your teeth” as they say. You’ve studied policy from around the world in your spare time, and know the ins and outs of the council. You are ready to run. There are a bunch of open seats this time, so now looks like a great time to run. But you live in the same district as Strauss. Not only will he be tough to beat, but you actually like the guy. You’ve worked with him on a number of occasions and he is easy to work with. You agree with him on most issues. What are you supposed to do, move?
Anyway, I see the “urban village” concept fading away. Even mayor Rice, who instituted it in the first place, doesn’t like it anymore. I’m not saying there won’t be neighborhoods with taller buildings (like Ballard) but the idea that we will grow in that manner (by adding tiny little circles here and there) is an outdated concept. The land-use argument will be where you say: whether the city will actually adopt a reasonable approach towards zoning. Set height limits (to be the same as allowed for houses) but allow more density. Get rid of parking mandates. Speed up the development process (to reduce blight). That is the idea, and that is where the fight will be (before and after the election). We know where the Seattle Time will land (it is funny how anti-business the editorial board is at times, while arguing that we should support business owners). The question is the Stranger. Will they support decent candidates in the primary (as they used to, in days gone by) or will they be drawn to ineffective, unqualified rabble-rousers, like moths to the light. Time will tell, I guess.
Aren’t we getting ranked choice voting? When does it kick in?
It will kick in by 2027. It is hard to see it making a difference in this, or most races. It only alters the primary, not the general election. Even then it only makes a difference if there are four (or more) candidates with a significant number of votes.
Strauss is District 6. Not sure why Ballard restaurants would want to crap on the council member who pushed for street cafes/saving restaurants. Unlike his predecessor, he hasn’t picked a fight with the business community that is behind the Missing Link.
Ugh, had downtown D7 on the brain when writing up my own district. Thanks for the correction.
There’s a not-insignificant population of “Old Ballard”-ites who apparently think their Councilmember should apologize to them in person for every bad experience with people in crisis on the street, and that their Councilmember is directly responsible for increased housing costs or traffic or their lost cat. Those are the folks who would make noise about kicking out Strauss, especially if they see an opportunity to replace the council with conservative reactionaries.
Eh, those folks were around last time and wanted Heidi Willis. She lost by double digits despite the Amazon spend (and a frequent poster here who thought she was a transit hero).
More newcomers have since moved into Ballard and the Missing Link contingent has no real O’Brienesque hatred towards Strauss.
I guess I never made it clear that I agree with Ross’ reply that it’s likely that Strauss will cruise to re-election.
I’m just curious what the tenor of the election is going to be, since the redistricting moved the boundaries around a fair bit.
Nathan D: Dan Strauss is in district six, not seven. Andrew Lewis is district seven. With the new lines, six will include part of Magnolia that had been in seven.
Yep, mdnative caught that already.
I am curious how many percentage points Andrew Lewis will be re-elected by. 10? 20? 30?
An article talking about the difficulties of being a transit worker in Toronto, post-pandemic. Not everything there applies to Metro and other agencies in the Seattle area, but I expect that a lot of it ties in with what people see here, too.
(The Toronto Star is paywalled but has a small number of free articles a month)
Looking into the future of Metro, but no talk about safety on Metro buses, like banning drug use on buses, kicking off disruptive passengers off the bus.
Urbanists don’t realize that that a true urbanist paradise requires basic safety and social decorum on our public transit.
Please write an article addressing how you would absolve this issue. Please cite examples of cities that have successfully solved this problem.
I’m not going to write an article, but a relatively simply solution is add more off-board payment. This saves money in some ways, but requires extra security. It is this security that makes buses safer. The tricky part is not being heavy-handed. Just kick people off the bus. Don’t run background checks, or arrest them unless they are being violent.
The reason bus drivers are lax about fare enforcement and kicking people off the bus is to minimize assaults on bus drivers. The police can’t be on every route all day. Assaults on drivers becomes a recruiting issue, when there’s already a shortage of drivers.
The stations and bus stops are as important for safety and cleanliness as the transit itself, especially in a transfer intensive system. When our firm was downtown and the buses were kicked out of DSTT1 it was the bus stops to and from the Eastside staff objected to. Riding the 550 home was fine; waiting for it on 2nd and Jackson was not.
Until shortly before the pandemic when peak Link ridership was high the stations in DSTT1 although open to the public and underground were acceptable to work commuters because of the volume of fellow work commuters, (eyes on the street) but only during peak times. If you asked staff to work past 6 you were paying for an Uber home and walking them to it.
Urbanism and transit and “walkability” put the citizen on the street. Ironically in suburbia which is usually safer a citizen can avoid the street altogether in their car.
Harrell finally gets this because the voters told him that. It isn’t the actual odds of getting assaulted, sexually threatened, or robbed but the perception. The constant articles in The Seattle Times and on ND are a constant affirmation of this risk for eastsiders, who generally have very low thresholds for personal risk, especially women. Someone smoking crack or in a tent by definition is a sign of risk to them.
Without the pandemic the steps Harrell is taking would help, but unfortunately so much retail is gone, the protests/riots of 2020 and CHOP were devastating, it would have been an upward slog.
With WFH and tech layoffs I just don’t see the customer for downtown Seattle returning even if Harrell can reverse years of a constant drumbeat in the press about how dangerous downtown and transit downtown are. 2022 was a record year for violent crime. I go out to see my son at the UW and it looks nothing like when I was there in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The Ave. is dead, and scary except to hardened urbanists.
Harrell has removed most of the tents (although more and more areas downtown are now chained off like the intersection on 4th S. by the exit from I-90 and Sodo) but he hasn’t done much to dispel the perception that downtown is dangerous. The Seattle Times and Nextdoor are huge megaphones that dwarf the Stranger or this blog. If I post a post on ND that mentions Seattle the replies are 100% negative and these are politically very progressive people (unless it comes to their kids’ education, just like Seattleites).
Portland truly is dead, but it always was weak economically so when the quirky charm of Portlandia turned dark Portland died. It isn’t coming back. San Francisco is such a major city it will survive but like many cities will need to reinvent itself. Shoppers and tourists with money won’t walk streets where someone in a tent is taking a dump or shooting up. A city gets one or the other: homeless and drug addicts on its streets, or shoppers and tourists who can stay in safer if more boring Suburbia when post pandemic the country has gone into a nesting mode, from Netflix to Prime to Doordash
Seattle is closer to Portland than San Francisco right now, but Seattle has been down so many times and recovered — usually because of a good mayor — who knows. But that was before the work commuter disappeared and the rise of the “urban village” concept on the Eastside from Issaquah to Redmond to Kirkland to Bellevue and areas in between that are safe, a little boring, but have basically everything a person needs.
When it comes to transit the urban villages (neighborhoods) in Seattle that have always been the crown jewel but progressives want to ruin now have to be realistic about downtown because so much of our transit system is based on downtown being the hub and transfer hub.
Many progressives in Seattle are contemptuous of eastsiders and suburbia, but don’t realize those folks don’t spend one second thinking about them. Now that the suburban work commuter has returned to their home Seattle progressives have Seattle all to themselves to see of the policies of the current council progressives elected are going to create another Portland. The Eastside is watching but doesn’t really care. This time it will be up to Seattle progressives to create the urban utopia they dream of, just without the money. We will find this out in 2023 when the council debates how to close a $250 million operating budget deficit, or another bridge fails, or Harrell gets his wish to hire another 500 police officers to replace those who left that will cost a fortune. Progressiveness and transit depend on other people’s money, and a lot of that money is gone althoug crazy unaffordable ideas like WSBLE soldier on.
“… the protests/riots of 2020 and CHOP were devastating,“
Have you been near Cal Anderson Pop ark lately ? Outside of a Pine Street mural, CHOP days are not really visible. The plate glass windows have mostly returned. There are still a few vacancies at 11th and Pine but the area is bustling as if nothing happened at this point. It’s not dead; perhaps the demographic there is just too young and diverse for you and that may make you uncomfortable. Oh parking is harder and the meter hours are longer so that may deter you. It actually feels like the homeless problem around there is even or slightly better than it was a few years ago.
The problem with Downtown retail has vertu little to do with CHOP and mostly to do with online shopping. Otherwise, chains would have only left Downtown Seattle. Macys, Bed Bath & Beyond and many others have closed dozens of stores in lots of settings.
Meanwhile, Capitol Hill now has more retail since the buildings above the Link station finally opened!
“Portland truly is dead, but it always was weak economically so when the quirky charm of Portlandia turned dark Portland died.”
There’s far more activity in the current “dead” Portland than there was during the typical 1980s Saturday.
One hotel downtown says guests regularly ask “How close are we to the riots?” so I assume your friends over at Fox News are still trying to kill of downtowns across the country?
There has always been a subset of suburbanites who think Seattle is dangerous no matter what Seattle is like. It’s been happening my entire lifetime. Now they’ve concentrated on Nextdoor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re representative of the community. The only other person I’ve heard of who’s on Nextdoor was a commentator in Madison Park.
Al, of course the demographic on Capitol Hill is too young for me. I lived there in the mid 1980’s. I don’t know how old you are but assume you don’t live on Capitol Hill either. Is it too young and diverse for you?
My son though who is a senior at the UW goes to the clubs and bars on Capitol Hill. Of course they use Uber because Link, especially at night, and The Ave. are too sketchy, especially the drug addicts and crazies.
Telling Eastsiders all the damage done during the occupation of CHOP and the tents have finally been removed from Cal Anderson. Park — which progressives opposed — and so hey, all is safe, hurry back isn’t going to work now that trips from the Eastside to Seattle are discretionary. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capitol Hill loses the bookstore, but that demographic isn’t the bookstore type anyway.
I am not surprised many on this blog don’t want to face reality, like last year had the most violent crime in the city. People on the Eastside read the Seattle Times, not STB, and just about every day there is a story about crime in Seattle, or empty retail. The despair among Seattle Times columnists who live downtown — they are too old to live on Capitol Hill too — is palpable, and they lived there for a long time and are very progressive. . If you think the demise of downtown Seattle had to do with online shopping you are mistaken. Take a trip to U Village or Bellevue Square, or any commercial area on the Eastside.
All I am saying is whether Seattle — especially the downtown core — rebounds or not it will have to do it without Eastside money, and a lot of Seattleites don’t like to work hard.
There is $3.5 billion in unfunded bridge repair and replacement, Harrell wants to hire 500 police officers to replace those who left, and beginning in 2023 the council is looking at very large budget deficits. But what does this blog worry about? WSBLE. That is just so Seattle progressive.
If Seattle can get crime down, hire 500 police officers, clean up streets like 3rd and The Ave., return retail vibrancy and anchor tenants like Nike and Macy’s, get transit riders to pay fares, and do this for five years straight maybe eastsiders will begin to trickle back. But you don’t replace the broken windows after CHOP and think others will think all is fixed.
Or Seattle can become Portland. According to Glenn Portland is bustling.
If Seattle progressives don’t see a problem or don’t want to address it and want to fight Harrell that is their prerogative. You get the city you want and deserve, and can afford. Money can always move if they don’t like it and my hope is Seattleites can fix their city. After working in downtown for 32 years — through all the ups and downs 40 hours/week, and living there until the early 1990’s — this time I have real doubts because I don’t think this group of Seattleites who basically broke the city can fix it because so many are anarchists, or dreamers without money, or the young idealists on The Urbanist living with mom and dad.
Let’s give it 5 years and see. The good news is unlike the past there are so many other places in this region to work (including WFH), shop, dine, and so on. As Seattle declines the urbanism and retail improves in these other areas.
If Seatttle can compete it will recover, but will never return to its heyday because the work commuter will never return. It might come back some but never all the way, and the declining tax revenue is going to be a slap of reality for many because too many think everything is other people’s money, unless it comes to their rent which the predictions I have seen will go up 20% over the two years due to inflation, utility costs, steep increases in propert tax statements that just came out, and the inability of renters to buy due to mortgage rates. But if Seattle begins to recover a 20% increase in rents is worth it. .
Like Tacomee stares, show me another city that approves billions in municipal bonds in I-135 to build subsidized housing for residents earning 120% of the AMI of $115,000 when it is broke, or plans to spend $120 billion on WSBLE. These just are not responsible adults IMO capable of rebuilding a city.
Heh for someone who says Eastside doesn’t ever think about Seattle or care what happens to Seattle, DT seems to have a lot of
words and opinion about Seattle, and strikes me as compensating a little too much. Nothing is black and white and Seattle still has a lot of redeeming characteristics and amenities that my family enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t live in Seattle. And if I don’t live in Seattle, I don’t think I would want to live on the Eastside either, and will prob just move out of the region entirely. So careful with the schadenfreude as the entire metro will suffer, not just the city proper.
I will also say this, several of my Eastside buddies are pretty envious of Seattle too despite all its problems. They like that my kids can walk to school, walk to groceries, brunch, friends and catch a 5 minute bus to Seattle Center for an IMAX movie or just chilling by the fountain or KEXP (we live in QA). I’m minutes from the zoo, aquarium, opera, ballet, Climate Pledge venues, and ferry terminal. My kids do very well in school and the public schools here are not any worse than the New England schools I grew up in. It’s less pressure cooker and less academically homogeneous than the Eastside schools, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Parental involvement is still key and more important than schools.
There’s a lot to love about Seattle and a lot to be frustrated about (especially when the problem seems so obvious). I do think a lot of Seattle’s problems can be solved with more attention to safety and getting the crazies and addicts off the highly trafficked parts of the city. Start with cleaning up 3rd Ave and moving some of the buses off 3rd. But it starts with people in Seattle demanding this of their politicians. Downtown is already vastly better than it was just one year ago. It can be way better still and I’m glad there are hundreds of thousands of people still sticking around in this city who hope to see it get better.
The Eastside is still vastly overrated. I’m glad you love it.
“There has always been a subset of suburbanites who think Seattle is dangerous no matter what Seattle is like.”
I’m currently in Malmö, Sweden for a conference there, and the city has a similar issue in regards to perception amongst the Swedish public in speaking to locals here. Malmö is sorta seen as fairly dangerous by Swedish standards. But the reality is more of that one or two neighborhoods get all the attention, mainly Rosengård as it’s basically where most of Malmö’s poverty is and where gangs and drug trafficking are. In general, from what locals have said is they keep to themselves, but problems arise when innocent bystanders are caught in the crossheirs by accident over turf wars.
Other cities and towns in Sweden have similar flavors of problems, its just that Malmö’s problems are more talked about in the media despite there not being much bigger fish than other cities or towns.
Can anyone tell me where Bellevue’s “3rd & Pine” is? Where is the block or corner that is notorious for crime and violence in Bellevue? I’m not looking for someone to look up crime stats showing where the most crime occurs. This should be based purely on reputation and unflattering news stories. Granted, Bellevue is about 5 times smaller than Seattle, so Bellevue’s notorious area won’t be equal in size to Seattle’s. So, where is it? I’m drawing a blank.
Zach, are the neighborhoods in Malmo that get all the attention the one’s where there tends to be a lot of public housing?
Have there been any updates (or even rumors) about progress with next gen Orca? I’m really looking forward to being able to virtually store my card on my phone.
Supposedly it should be ‘sometime’ this year 2023. https://info.myorca.com/news/can-i-use-my-phone-to-pay-for-a-ride/
> Throughout 2022, as we launch the myORCA app and website and expand the retail network, we will continue to make hardware and software improvements across the ORCA system. This includes implementing the technical building blocks for payment via virtual card, also known as tap-to-pay. Beginning next year, you will be able to pay for rides using your smartphone.
But I have checked their page and meeting notes and don’t see anything about tap to pay actually. https://info.myorca.com/about-orca/news/ and browsed some public pdfs https://info.myorca.com/#publicinformation. I guess we’ll need to make a public comment at the board meetings to get some real information. My best guess is that it is quite delayed otherwise they would have posted something by now.
Found some more information, so it was approved with INIT for 1 million dollars 2022 May https://info.myorca.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-05-09-Approve-ORCA-Virtual-Card-Change-Order-with-INIT-Tap-to-Pay-Development.-1.pdf.
It seems most recently as of 2022 October they are only just starting
> Tim congratulated the RPT on the retail launch and equipment transition. He asked if virtual card functionality will be under Phase II. Scott said virtual card development was included in Phase 1 scope but was delayed. After full system acceptance and SAT later this year, they will work with INIT to develop solutions and get back on track.
[Moving a conversation to here]
Calculating ridership for West Seattle should be fairly easy. Just look at the buses. It doesn’t mean it will be exact. There are a significant number of people who get on and off a bus downtown, and that really doesn’t count. Likewise, there are plenty of people who never leave West Seattle (especially on the 120). But this gives us an upper limit, if you will. So the routes and the ridership are:
C (13,900), 21 (4,900), 37 (200), 55 (900), 56 (700), 57 (500), 116 (600), 118 (200), 119 ( 100), 120 (8,400), 125 (1,400)
That works out to 31,800 boardings. You can throw in the 50, for another 2,000. That is pre-pandemic (when ridership was considerably higher). That is probably too high, for the reasons I mentioned (not everyone is going downtown). But it is in the ballpark, and quite similar to what ST came up with. If I had to make a guess, I would say somewhere around 25,000 boardings a day for West Seattle Link. That seems low, but again, I think those bus numbers are counting riders that don’t cross the bridge.
It is worth noting that overall, Link ridership has been quite similar to the old bus ridership. When Link got to the UW, there was a huge ridership bump — this matched the ridership on the old 71, 72 and 73 (which were truncated). The most recent expansion is similar, as the 41 used to carry a lot of riders (and buses like the 512 and 821 add some as well). There are some new riders — attracted to the frequency and speed of Link — but those tend to be for trips that were very slow before (e. g. Northgate to Capitol Hill). That won’t be the case here. The speed difference is minimal — in fact, it will take a lot of riders more time to get to their destination than it does now. The exception will be people walking to and from the Avalon and the Junction. But that is a relatively small area (only two stops).
Then there are park and rider users. It will be interesting to see how West Seattle handles this. As much as it pains me to write this, I think a significant number of riders from Northgate are parking and riding. The place is basically one giant parking lot right now. Not only is there a ton of legal parking, it is very difficult for the mall to regulate those parking there and walking to the station. West Seattle will have to deal with de-facto park and riders, which basically means more two hour limits in the various neighborhood, extending much further than before. That means not a lot of additional people parking and riding, which means we are back to the existing (pre-pandemic) bus ridership.
[Edit: Changed “riders” to “boardings”]
“I think a significant number of riders from Northgate are parking and riding. The place is basically one giant parking lot right now. Not only is there a ton of legal parking, it is very difficult for the mall to regulate those parking there and walking to the station.”
Metro surveyed the cars in the P&R at the beginning of station planning. Most of them came from east and west of the station, not north. ST asked the community whether it wanted a larger P&R or better bus/bike/ped access. Three-quarters said the latter, and the only reason they drove to the P&R was it was so difficult to get to the transit center any other way. East-west buses were infrequent, there were no good bike routes and some areas lacked sidewalks. Now there’s the pedestrian bridge to the west. I’m not sure about the east but ST was going to do some last-mile access work. The one person I know who takes Link from Northgate transfers from the 512. Even if a lot of riders are parking there, you’d have to compare it to the previous usage to see if it’s worse. The main thing in my mind is that the community didn’t ask for an expansion, unlike most other P&Rs. That’s a sign of hope.
The Northgate bike infrastructure is bad as it is surrounded by large roads. The bridge helps to get to the College, but not much else, I don’t think SDOT looked very much at the larger walk/bike network. Yes, more frequent bus connections may help, but it would also be interesting to study whether a (high frequency) gondola connection to Lake City (may be better to NE 130th) or NWHospital or Aurora may help if we would make sure those destinations have good sidewalks in place.
It is true that the community didn’t want it. That is good news. My understanding though, is that it is very hard to get rid of. There is some legal thing (I forget what it is).
As it is, there is a lot of it. There are five lots, shown on the map on this page: https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/parking/seattle-north-king-county/northgate-station-garage. Some of the parking lots have their own page listing the number of stops, others don’t. Here are the numbers:
Northgate Station Garage: 443
Northgate Mall Garage: 280
Northgate Transit Center East: 448
Thornton Place Garage: ? Two floors of a pretty big garage
North Seattle: ? Outside parking lot (I estimate around 100 spaces).
So that is at least 1,000 — maybe closer to 2,000 stops. That is a lot. From what I can tell, the lots are well used. I’ll admit, much of my information is based on anecdotes. I know a lot of people who drive there. I also see a lot of people get off the train and walk towards the closest parking garage (Northgate Station Garage). Both of the outside parking lots seem to be pretty full. I’m sure lots of people arrive by bus (as I do) and quite a few walk there (especially over the bridge). But I also think a significant number drive.
I think that a lot of people in West Seattle imagine using the train in that manner. Maybe, like trips to the airport, it really doesn’t add up to many riders. But I could see people using it in that way. For example, a trip to Capitol Hill becomes easy. Just drive close to the station, walk a few blocks, and there you go. Except I don’t think it will be that easy. That’s my point. There is no big parking lot for West Seattle, even though I think it is more appropriate there than Northgate. It is the end of the line, and there are huge swaths of low density housing to the south. In contrast, unless you are approaching from the freeway, it isn’t that handy to get to. I think the main reason so many drive is because there is so much parking. (Just so we are clear — I don’t want park and ride lots anywhere in the city; I’m just saying they make more sense in West Seattle than Northgate.)
The main reason I bring all this up is that I don’t see West Seattle gaining a lot of park-and-ride ridership. Most of the folks who would do that sort of thing (e. g. park in the neighborhood) probably do so already. For example, I could see someone from south of Alki (e. g. 55th and Genesee) driving up the hill to get close to the C to make their commute downtown a lot easier. Outside commute hours, you either do that, or walk a really long ways. I think those same people imagine doing that with the train. The problem is, I don’t see the neighborhood allowing that in a way that would scale. Will they accept a more frequent 37 (that doesn’t go downtown) instead? Maybe — what if it runs every half hour?
Now I’m drifting well away from my original point. When you look at Northgate, for example, it probably only has around 1,000 park and rider users every day (if that). That adds up to 2,000 boardings. Even if West Seattle matched it, that is still not a lot.
The Northgate bike infrastructure is bad as it is surrounded by large roads. The bridge helps to get to the College, but not much else, I don’t think SDOT looked very much at the larger walk/bike network.
I disagree. I think it has completely changed the neighborhood. There is a very good path to the west. I walk it, but I’m sure plenty of people bike it. This connects to very good crossings of Aurora (which used to be extremely challenging) which means you can get from Northgate to Greenwood without a problem.
The issues are all around Northgate. Hopefully the streets for the mall will help with that. I think 3rd Avenue should have bike/pedestrian access, if nothing else. If they decide to put cars there, then they should be totally protected from the bikes/pedestrians. Ideally the cars are on a different part of the mall. To be clear, the road doesn’t have to go straight on 3rd. It can wander a bit back and forth (as is typical of such mall-type things). But access from 3rd across Northgate Way is crucial, as is access from the south to the overpass. Crazy to think it is easy to access the pedestrian/bike path from a parking garage than it is from a bike path.
Of course other streets should hopefully, over time, see improvements. There is a “missing Link” of sorts from there, but that is nothing new for Seattle. There is a very long list of uncontroversial bike improvements; the ones that might cause some controversy (e. g. by taking lanes, or parking) will take even longer.
The times I ride the light rail from Northgate I drive there and park at the transit center.
To get there by bus would require 2 buses before transferring to the light rail so not convenient. And I have no desire to ride a bike to Northgate as from where I live there would be too many hills and would not be direct either.
“My understanding though, is that [Northgate P&R] is very hard to get rid of. There is some legal thing (I forget what it is)”
The mall owns part of the garage and those spaces were contractually obligated to mall tenants. ST had to rebuild them after construction or the tenants would sue the mall and the mall would sue ST.
“I don’t see West Seattle gaining a lot of park-and-ride ridership.”
What does that mean? West Seattle doesn’t have P&Rs. It won’t get any because the city has a policy of no new P&Rs. If you mean people would park at Northgate and take Link to West Seattle, that would get lost in the noise of everybody else going to West Seattle from other stations and via different modes.
The no new P&Rs issue came up when some people in Rainier Valley wanted a P&R so they could drive to the station. The city policy prevented it. STB pointed out there were several private parking lots near the stations where they could park. But they didn’t want to pay the fee.
“The bridge helps to get to the College, but not much else”
I used to work at an office building at 107th & Meridian, and another time I had a friend who lived across the street from the college. We would have used the bridge and Link if they had existed. The buildings are still there, so I imagine some people around there are taking advantage of the new access.
RossB: re parking at Northgate. Yes, it is tangled. ST relied on the FTA record of decision from before the delay to north Link; it included some P&R. The Seattle comp plan says no P&R. No boardmember or councilmember attempted to change the ROD, so ST built the obscenely costly garage at the northeast corner of NE 103rd Street and 1st Avenue NE. King County had intended to convert the 500-stall lot east of the new station to housing, but that seems to have been delayed (city role?). the former NTC is being used for layover. Executive Sims led the the south lot parking increase in 2002. Seattle wanted to convert the Northgate lot at NE 112th Street to a park, so the county used those funds to lease stalls from Simon and Lorig. So, today, there is more parking than there was before. But parking does not make fiscal sense; the land would be better used for housing; the transit funds would be better used for service. As land and housing grow more costly, the tradeoff is worse for parking. There is and has been pretty good service connecting with Route 41 and Link.
As I mentioned in the other thread that you moved, the DEIS says that the three stations will create 13,400 boardings in West Seattle stations in 2040. I’m assuming that your 25,000 boardings includes people going both ways (boarding at all the stations that aren’t in West Seattle), right?
Various documents talk about either 13,400 or 26,800. I assume that is because some talk about riders: 13,000 or boardings: 26,800 for West Seattle. Either way, not enough to justify a huge bridge of the West Seattle bridge and the Duwamish and Pigeon Point and a tunnel under the Junction. That’s another 614,000 tons of carbon in the air, mostly by the concrete plant in South Park which already has one of the worst air quality in the city. And the rider experience will suffer due to transfer as the Junction station will be deep (80 feet) and the Delridge station high in the air with multiple escalators which might be out of service.
I remember Dan Ryan posted data that showed pre-pandemic 100,000 cars crossed the West Seattle Bridge and 25,000 transit riders. Dan’s data is usually very good.
Martin’s research of the DEIS revealed ST estimates 660 car drivers will switch to WSBLE. But I think that will be offset by difficult transfers (are there any other kind) and first/last mile access issues in a suburban neighborhood, let alone WFH, not unlike Northgate that at least has 1000 (full) stalls.
Another STB article had the conservative estimate at $180,000/ per ride on WSBLE, which with current ACTUAL transit ridership I put at $360,000 per ride.
I doubt the numbers are any better for Ballard.
We shouldn’t be talking about any rail to either area. The cost — other people’s money although this time it is N. King Co.’s — is obscene and will be needed for other transit when budget deficits hit. I don’t know how many times I have to t repeat it, but N. King does not have $20 billion, and DSTT2 won’t cost $2.2 billion (sorry Tom and Lazarus).
And for the class warfare set, yes spending $5.5 billion to run light rail to Redmond, but not downtown Bellevue, was a waste of money only because excellent express bus service in dedicated lanes was kicked out of the transit tunnel and downtown Seattle streets became too dangerous to wait on.
Ballard has a pretty good mix of residential and commercial in it. Sometime in 2013 or so I took the 15 to downtown Seattle in the evening, and had a lot of trouble getting off because there were that many people going in the reverse direction of the commuter traffic.
If ST can be moved to actually get Link into Ballard proper, transit actually gets better than the current state for a lot of people. Yes, it all depends on how it is designed, but there is some decent potential there.
With West Seattle, stuff is scattered over a large area. Their equivalent of the 44 is the 50, and it doesn’t carry many people compared to the 44 because for some 2 miles of the route there isn’t anything for people to go to.
The really bad part is there is no scenario in which Link makes transit better for West Seattle. Almost everyone taking transit on the peninsula will have to transfer just to get out of West Seattle. Unlike Ballard, there just isn’t a line you can draw on a map that puts all of the best West Seattle spots on a single line.
$360,000 per ride over 30 years.
It’s not widely discussed, but ST has been steadily reducing the West à Seattle ridership forecasts.
ST3 said that the awest Seattle branch would have 10m annual trips or 5m one way. That works out to be about 15-18k boardings at the three stations.
The data they gave to STB for 2040 (in 2020) was 16,700 boardings here:
Now the DEIS boardings are down to 13,400.
Note that these are ST sources. This isn’t me speculating; it’s what ST is publishing about a project that they want to happen!
Does anyone on the ST Board care about its increasingly bad cost-benefit? No one dares to mention it.
And from what I’ve been reading on transfer penalties, the only care about how long it takes to walk in 2D. Only when the vertical distance is over 100 feet is when they add time for changing levels (if I remember reading the cumbersome technical report correctly).
“Another STB article had the conservative estimate at $180,000/ per ride on WSBLE, which with current ACTUAL transit ridership I put at $360,000 per ride.
I doubt the numbers are any better for Ballard.”
What construction costs are you assigning to West Seattle alone, and what is your ridership assumption per weekend day? More importantly, what is your assumption for numbers of days per year?
If I take your $360,000 per rider number, multiply by 13,400 riders per weekday, multiply by 51.5 typical weeks in a year, multiply by 5 typical weekdays, for 30 years that gives me your assumption of building West Seattle Link to be $37.2 trillion.
Granted, my calculator has issues dealing with numbers over about 999 million. Obviously, you should check my math here, but it seems like you might be neglecting the impact of having multiple workdays per week, or assuming everyone switches to a 2 workday per week model, or something.
It’s not really worth trying to figure out what DT is doing, but he is doing some variation of what transit haters always do to generate an eye popping number.
The game goes sort of like this:
A) a rider is a rider no matter if the rider makes a one-way trip, a round trip, or a multi stop trip. That rider counts as “1”.
B). A rider is a rider no matter how many times per year that rider takes transit. That rider counts as “1”.
C). A rider is a rider no matter how many years that rider uses the system. That rider counts as “1”
D). Add up all the riders and divide the cost of the system by the number of riders,
It’s sort of like assuming all the riders use the system exactly once and then the system gets thrown away.
You get the same sort of silly numbers with cars by assuming the driver buys a new car every time they go to the store. Very expensive!
This is why transit agencies count boardings and not riders. It actually tells you the cost per trip.
My advice? Just ignore him.
I’m assuming that your 25,000 boardings includes people going both ways (boarding at all the stations that aren’t in West Seattle), right?
Yes. Basically boardings that involve West Seattle (either direction). Most of this would be reflected in an overall increase in boardings for Link, but not all of it, since I’m sure many riders transfer to Link right now.
DT is slightly exaggerating, but the general idea is right. The capital cost per rider currently is too high.
Generally overseas they aim for like 20/30k capital cost per rider and maybe maxing out at 50k. The current numbers of 25k boardings or ~13k riders is pretty low for spending 3 billion dollars or around $200k per rider.
Even most generously in the future
> 27,000 riders are forecasted to use the West Seattle Link Extension
each day by year 2042
That is still over $100k per rider way too high.
For ballard it’s
> Ballard Link has 34,000 riders on the segment west of Seattle Center…
Even defining the Ballard Line to include the South Lake Union station, 52 thousand are expected
For 9 billion dollars on the Ballard section that’s $170k per rider (including SLU). Honestly too much of the ridership numbers have been inflated by including the downtown stations and Sound Transit isn’t even planning on using the additional space in the second tunnel for more frequency.
“Generally overseas they aim for like 20/30k capital cost per rider and maybe maxing out at 50k.”
Ok, so the measurement here is per annual rider, not over the 30 years of service DT was discussing
That would definitely make a difference.
A recent article comments on the commercial real estate market in Seattle.
Regarding the cars running into buildings story, let me borrow an argument a fellow commenter uses when downplaying Seattle crime … For every car that is running into a building in Seattle, there are a hundreds of thousands of cars that aren’t running into buildings.
SDOT released their 90-day Vision Zero review (after ~150 days):
Main takeaway: SDOT will begin structurally prioritizing safety rather than vehicle throughput on new projects.
Folks who are more interested in fast, bold action will be disappointed. Folks who want throughout won’t notice until lanes start getting skinnier, but then SDOT will have this document to point to as their justification for ignoring “Level of Service” (LOS) guidelines.
Overall, I see this as late and underwhelming, but that’s to be expected when trying to overturn nearly a century of car-oriented road design culture. Sort of like studies that seem to confirm the obvious: from now on, SDOT and project critics will have this Vision Zero review to point at when justifying project features.
So today’s asT Board Meeting was classic.
1. A parade of people saying leave CID alone.
2. A parade of people complaining about long station vault disruption .
And that followed by a staff summary that was silent on using DSTT and automating the Ballard Line to get shorter vaults and more frequent all-day service. This after getting hundreds of written comments to study doing this very thing! Even after several posts and articles in multiple places about asking ST to look into it!
It’s like living in the Twilight Zone of ST censorship! This unfortunately isn’t new.
Of course, staff will continue to say “it can’t be done” rather than to answer “how much cost and effort does it require to change the alternative to this”.
Yeah I’m ranting still! It’s just so surreal to see the topic not only be flippantly dismissed, but to completely ignore all the comments asking to study it! It’s worthy of ranting!
That’s why I wish in the Automated Ballard Line post less comments were about what it could do and where it could go, and more comments about how to turn the idea into a reality. What needs to happen to get the ball rolling? In my opinion, I think it needs a very powerful person or organization who pushes for it. Like Paul Allen did with the streetcar. At least I think he pushed for it. Anyway, something like that.
Oh I agree, Sam! I like how the blog tends to focus in on technical things but the Board doesn’t care and the top staff are too busy defending their work to step back and see things differently.
Of course, the genesis of DSTT2 was a line drawn by Kubly and Murray on a map. It was never studied. Had it been, the CID problem would have been flushed out before the ST3 vote.
I agree that advocacy is the only way to affect change. Written comments and one minute Board speeches do nothing. Who wants to ctreate the advocacy group for a triple line DSTT + automated Ballard? Let’s meet up this next week!
Topic A: a name for the group
> more comments about how to turn the idea into a reality.
This is why I would keep the tunnel but keep it to West Seattle and Ballard only.
> organization who pushes for it
I’d say to outline the benefits and then promote it to each group as in:
a) smaller stations == smaller disruption –> West Seattle/Ballard advocacy groups
b) automation == faster frequency for –> West Seattle / Ballard again
c) (possibly?) remove 2nd chinatown station -> appeal to chinatown constitutents
d) lower cost potentially don’t need to breach subarea equity –> might appeal to rest of the non-North King ST board members*
Most of this applies whether there is a tunnel or not, though I guess in the case where there isn’t a tunnel will need to outline capacity concerns. Probably with a 10TPH (seatac), 8 TPH eastside, and 6TPH west seattle arrangement as you described. Additionally if there isn’t a tunnel you’ll need to find a place for the OMF.
Actually what if you just rebranded it as delaying the 2nd tunnel instead? Still tunnel the stub as in https://seattletransitblog.com/2013/12/06/sound-transit-refines-ballard-options/ Corridor B or the current path with SLU and either way end at Westlake and just make sure to include some tail tracks (and I guess just bury the TBM off to the side).
Whenever the capacity in insufficient in the existing DSTT, then one can tunnel again up 1st/4th avenue for a West Seattle/Ballard dedicated line. The Alaska Junction/Avalon stations will be overbuilt when switched to 2-car trains but besides that seems to work. This removes the capacity concerns people might have.
Automated Ballard Link Extension + Triple Operations Build Alternative?
ABLE + TO + Build!
for short: Able2B
New bill in Olympia to fund affordable housing via high-level real-estate taxes: https://www.postalley.org/2023/02/23/big-fight-raising-taxes-to-fund-affordable-housing/
This bill is awful because taxing commercial and residential rental property acts as “pass though” tax that hurts renters and lower income wage earners. Washington State already has a ton of regressive (pass though) taxes (like the B&O tax) that end up driving the price of rent or pizza or everything-you-buy higher.
Chopp should know better…. Adding on more regressive taxes isn’t part of the solution.
Due to low utilization, Houghton P&R will close March 18th, 2023.
Houghton (and Woodinville) are owned by WSDOT. Metro manages their use for P&R. At its peak, utilization was about 40 percent. P&R attract auto-access riders to markets with paid parking (e.g., downtown Seattle, U District). Since 2000, Houghton was served by routes 265 and 277 that served the lot directly. Local arterial service, like Route 245, do not attract auto-access riders. Routes that did not deviate into the lot, required a very long walk across the freeway by riders alighting from northbound buses. In the early aughts, the Kingsgate routes no longer stopped at the latitude of Houghton; those routes stayed in the center HOV lanes, now HOT lanes. Route 265 was deleted in fall 2014; Route 277 was deleted in March 2020. Without service, there is no use; two hands are needed for a clap. Concepts to serve Houghton were floated but not taken to the public. Some say there has been a shortage of parking supply; there has been a larger shortage of service. But today, the demand for commutes to offices is down; the future is uncertain. WSDOT should be able to make money selling the land.
My litmus test for a park and ride is less ideological: is it full or empty.
If it is empty that should tell us something. Eddie gives a good explanation why the Houghton park and ride is empty, and was only 40% full pre-pandemic. The bigger picture is the collapse of the downtown office market, especially with the reallocation of tax revenue to other cities or areas.
On the other hand Jeff gives a good explanation why he uses the park and ride at Northgate and those lots are full even post pandemic. Otherwise he has a two bus trip to access Link.
Sometimes I think this discussion is backwards due to ideology: artificially increased parking costs in downtown Seattle because commuters were forced to commute that leads to transit that led to Link due to capacity and grade separation but then restrict first/last mile access so build TOD along freeways because that is where Link and cheap land are. All because some think cars are inherently are evil, especially in progressive Seattle.
Today post pandemic you would ideally have lower cost parking downtown because that area is desperate for any kind of visitor. Instead we kill downtown because other areas have free parking.
The park and rides on the Eastside are interesting. Today they are empty, and all indications are they will stay empty (unless like MI shoppers and local employees use it because the park and ride is next to a commercial zone) but ST still claims East Link will have 42.000 to 53,000 riders/day whenever it opens. So it has to maintain the empty park and rides although empty to keep this dream alive because if ridership and commuting returned to the one area with expensive parking — downtown — you would see it first in the park and rides. Although new park and rides have been put on hold, but what hasn’t when it comes to Link.
So in the end what do you get? No park and rides so for many first/last mile access to transit is not worth it so they drive to someplace with free parking, which is what we are seeing in work and retail shifts post pandemic. This is why the CID wants more parking rather than another transit line/station.
In the long run the best solution is someone does not have to use a park and ride, which post pandemic often means not needing to use transit. Fair enough if you own a car like most do. Then you choose the mode and location that works best for you, but the results are not quite what those who eliminated park and rides hoped for.
Trying to build that amount of ‘parking’ downtown that suburbanites desire just isn’t feasible without razing entire city blocks. It’s already tried in the past in LA, Houston, Atlanta etc…
https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/26/parking-madness-houston-vs-boston/ if you want to view what Houston/ other downtown’s tried in the past.
> artificially increased parking costs in downtown Seattle
Not sure what exactly you are talking about, the law that decoupled parking from residents/office workers?
> The park and rides on the Eastside are interesting. Today they are empty, and all indications are they will stay empty …
> So in the end what do you get? No park and rides so for many first/last mile access to transit is not worth it so they drive to someplace with free parking, which is what we are seeing in work and retail shifts post pandemic. This is why the CID wants more parking rather than another transit line/station.
I don’t quite follow, are you supportive of more park and rides or not? But either way I’m sure you’ve already read the past blog posts about how expensive it is for each parking spot. Park and rides are an alright stop gap but really aren’t a scaleable solution.
> In the long run the best solution is someone does not have to use a park and ride, which post pandemic often means not needing to use transit.
Your original premise is flawed, a transit system can’t really be centered solely around park and rides. The best solution would be to zone and build apartments next to the stations.
> Sometimes I think this discussion is backwards due to ideology: artificially increased parking costs in downtown Seattle because commuters were forced to commute that leads to transit that led to Link due to capacity and grade separation but then restrict first/last mile access so build TOD along freeways because that is where Link and cheap land are.
I agree here, the original and future idea of link is still too centered around commuting versus all day travel. Though that is part of the problem of link, in order to get voter support they need to appeal to the other suburban commuters/counties. This is getting a bit more off topic though so I’ll leave it at here.
WL, If you want folks to ride transit especially Link you need first/last mile access, which means transfers, which alone often make it not worth it.
Seattle and the state combined tax parking 25% in downtown Seattle. Yes I felt park and rides were the one solution to first/last mile access in East KC IF the transit was a one seat ride, like the 554 will be when East Link opens.
Today the park and rides are not necessary at least on the Eastside except ST can’t admit that because of its ridership estimates on East Link. In the end everyone will get what they want: eastsiders don’t want to ride transit and transit urbanists don’t want park and rides even the subarea has more revenue than it knows what to do with and they were promised in the levies.
It just comes down to whether you want people with cars to ride transit. If not, probably the best way to keep them from riding transit is abusive and crummy first/last mile access. As long as folks have option like WFH or driving I think transit can do what it wants, but if ridership declines enough levels of service need to be cut. You don’t give agencies doing a bad job more money.
Park and ride lots have their place. Their big weakness is that they don’t scale. They are the opposite of other forms of transit infrastructure in that way. For example, consider a park and ride lot next to a church. The church only needs it on Sunday, so they work out a deal to lease it to the county. It serves the neighborhood, with about 100 parking spaces.
But now the lot has become really popular. It is overflowing. Neighbors complain as people park in their neighborhood. The county looks around, and there are no churches, or empty lots that can easily add parking along the route. This leaves them with two choices:
1) Run a new route through nearby neighborhoods; it can include new, cheap parking lot(s).
2) Build an expensive parking garage.
The first means that some people don’t need to drive to that parking lot anymore. For some, it means they don’t need a car (or a second car). It creates a better network. Someone visiting somebody (or working in the neighborhood) served by the new route can now do so via transit. Clearly this is better.
Park and ride lots should be small and cheap. Once you consider building something big, it is time to rethink the problem.
I used that park-and-ride lot regularly in my late-’80s college years (Seattle University). As I lived in Bridle Trails, it worked great as a nearby alternative to South Kirkland. I’d either catch the 251 or 254 to downtown, or I’d walk across the bridge to the freeway station and catch the next express bus to downtown. I would also use it for work on the rare occasions when I was assigned to a downtown location for the day.
I also used it in the late ’90s when I had Seahawks tickets, it was one of the park-and-rides used in their gameday shuttle system.
As my work commutes since haven’t required or preclude the bus, I don’t know when Houghton routes stopped receiving downtown Seattle lines. I recall someone on Twitter (Mike Lindblom?) saying that Houghton residents were able to suppress Seattle routes there, as their charter or whatever guarantees them a greater say in infrastructure matters than the rest of Kirkland; not sure how true that is. Either way, it’s a shame that the once-useful park-and-ride for that area is going away.
This should be a no brainer, as it does not make sense to keep the park and ride open in a zombie state if no bus routes (other than the milk run 245) serve it. Sell it to the highest bidder, build affordable housing on it, anything but an empty parking lot.
One side benefit of this: the 245, as it stands today, detours into the park and ride in the westbound direction, delaying all riders between Microsoft and Kirkland, while picking up no one. This detour needs to go, and I presume, with the park and ride closed, it will finally go. Good riddance.
I mentioned on an open thread recently that ST CEO Julie Timm was going to appear on an upcoming episode of KBTC’s “Northwest Now” program. Well, I finally made some time to watch the interview and I have to say I was pretty underwhelmed by Ms. Timm’s responses to what I would call a pretty softball Q&A. With all due respect to the agency’s current CEO, I don’t think her tenure here is going to be very long.
Anyone else catch this? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Trimm was fine. Note the introduction shows some of the flaws in ST; ST2 is building Link in freeway envelopes; ST3 is putting frequent bus service in the middle of I-405. Trimm omitted the two failed measures in 1995 and 2007; the three affirmative votes were in 1996, 2008, and 2016. Note the film intro coverage of the Hilltop extension of the Tacoma streetcar to the Hilltop: another bobby-pinned shape line.
I’d guess Timm will be around for a longer spell…. she’s the prefect low key person to just say no to any changes in the plans the ST staff and board or dead set on doing. She’s not a leader, she’s a shield.
Right now I think ST is 100% locked in to the second tunnel and ripping CID…. there will be some public meetings (like the one today!) and great many smart people will ask for ST to change it’s plans…. but nope. The Sound Transit staff isn’t going to change for hell or high water. Because the Sound Transit board is made up of elected officials who are 100% sick and tired of dealing with the Sound Transit staff, they’ll just rubber stamp the B.S. and get back to their regular jobs.
I’ve been involved in local government for much of my life….. talking shit to death with endless meetings until the other side just gives up is the way it works.
I don’t know why people keep lauding Timm’s Nashville quals. The 2018 vote went down 2 to 1 in a fairly urban setting.
That criticism aside, I am heartened that she realizes that the agency needs to think more about daily operations. As the new stations open — and I think all but three of the new stations will have critical vertical level changes — the agency’s reputation is going to be mostly colored by daily rider experiences. Big pretty stations with art look nice, but if the escalators don’t work or riders get robbed or things are not kept clean (including elevators the end up as toilets) the public will increasingly make a ruckus because tens of thousands more riders will be using the system.
That reminds me: Timm’s Nashville plan had as its central concept a Downtown tunnel with three lines running through it! That’s just like how many here are saying that a third line should be running through the DSTT rather than DSTT2 — but ST staff and board won’t revisit it.
If the board wanted to rubber-stamp the staff it could have done so last year and chosen the 5th Avenue Shallow CID station as the preferred alignment, since that was the representative alignment in the ballot measure. It didn’t because CID members complained and politicians listened to them. I can’t think of another case where the board chose most of an alignment but left a station out, and demanded studies north and south outside the served neighborhood. This suggests to me that ST will likely move the station, more likely than other ST decisions. It may settle on 4th Avenue as a middle choice (not 5th and not so far), but it could have done that last year.
“Because the Sound Transit board is made up of elected officials who are 100% sick and tired of dealing with the Sound Transit staff, they’ll just rubber stamp the B.S. and get back to their regular jobs.”
It works the other way: elected officials are most concerned about reelection. Opposition from CID activists is the kind of thing that could most endanger reelection. In contrast, few voters understand how frequency makes transit more usable, or the benefits of automated lines, or how a longer walk from a station to a pedestrian center adds up over the years, or what $5 billion vs $1 billion means, so they are less likely to be reelection issues, and thus the board won’t question the staff as much on those.
Hello Mike Orr,
I know it might come as a shock to many of us here… but the general public outside of Seattle doesn’t care that much about transit. I’d guess the majority of voters in South King and Pierce Counties have already written Sound Transit off as a loss and are thinking about more pressing issues (housing). Sound Transit plans in Tacoma are going from bad to worse and it’s tough to keep pushing against Sound Transit. So the Link to nowhere just keeps moving on.
It took moving heaven and earth to move Sound Transit on the CID (I’m personally glad) and yet still there’s a good chance Sound Transit builds some wacky deep tunnel that isn’t user friendly. Wouldn’t call that a win actually.
I think automated shorter trains would be a great idea…. but looking at the fight it took to stop something bad from the CID….. and automated trains are a whole new idea…. no way the Sound Transit staff chucks the crap they’ve already designed (badly).
I have to agree with Tacomee. ST won’t change technology. An automated train to Ballard with a surface station/line along Interbay probably makes the most sense (if rail is mandatory) because Ballard is Pluto in the local solar system (which is how the pre-Yuppie original Ballardites you find on Reddit hoped would save Ballard from gentrification) and ST needs to serve SLU. I think that would max out the budget for N.King and everyone else uses DSTT1. Folks in West Seattle have a great bridge for access so buses and cars are their way to go.
Instead we will get a stub from WS so Constantine can run for Governor with promises of tunnels and Ballard in the future. Around 2050. CID is too politically toxic for the board at this time although the entire design for WSBLE and DSTT2 depended on a major transfer station at CID. Poor ST: no one wants WSBLE or DSTT2 near them. So the jail gets it.
Someone mentioned TDLE got another two year extension but didn’t say why (Federal Way Link)? I think it is 50/50 Link ever gets to Tacoma Dome after stopping in Fife and it’s 10,000 residents (and not much of a loss if it doesn’t — only Pierce wouldn’t run Link to its “downtown” — and 20% Link gets to Everett, just based off subarea revenue. It was stupid for poor huge rural counties to spend their wad on Link and a single station in their “major” cities as though suddenly residents were going to put on their Sunday suit and head to the big city on the train for an hour for a big city job, and city folks with money would flock to TOD along I-5 in SnoCo. I mean, who could make this stuff up?
Unfortunately if they ever get to the “big city” they will wonder where all the city folks went, when they went home to suburbia.
So I think Lazarus is correct: WS stub link to Sodo will use the current technology, very few will ride it, and that will be the swan song for Link after Lynnwood and Federal Way because sane eastsiders won’t build Issaquah Link post pandemic when so few will be riding East Link, if it ever crosses the bridge. Which means the Eastside subarea will have $600 million/year in revenue through 2046 with no place to spend it because like the CID no area wants it. They want car shoppers.
Think of it as almost regional rail. No stations in Tacoma and Everett, none in downtown Bellevue, and too few in Seattle. But if you want to go from Federal Way to Lynnwood and don’t mind a transfer or two at each end and time of trip is irrelevant you are in luck. Or you could drive.
How can you judge her after only about a half a year on the job? And how can you judge a CEO by an interview? At least she’s out there riding her product regularly.
I think it depends on how you view ST3. If you think it is largely OK, and needs a few small changes here and there (e. g. 4th Avenue Shallow) then you think she is doing fine. If, on the other hand, you think the entire project is a mess, and destined to leave us with a very expensive but substandard system, then things are different. Either she is working hard behind the scenes to fix it (but not telling anyone about it) or, more likely, she is oblivious to the problem.
I should mention that a lot of people are in that second camp when it comes to ST3. A lot of people who know a lot about transit are not happy with the way things are trending. Bad stations, bad transfers, very expensive; that is a combination that spells prolonged doom. I wouldn’t blame the CEO, but at this point, I see no reason to believe she even recognizes the problem, let alone will have the leadership skills to fix it.
An interesting article about current Amtrak experiences. (Seattle Times, so paywalled unless using one of the few free articles for the month)
We took Cascades on Portland round-trip back in December, and were actually even later, though didn’t make the news… The roads were icy, and a driver on one of the overpasses on Fort Lewis managed to launch their car off the overpass about 70′ and flip over on the tracks. It took over three hours to extract whoever was in the car, and then for BNSF to negotiate with the military the terms to get their track inspector onto the base. We ended up being about 3.5 hours late on a 3.5 hour trip.
The moral of the story might be, transit delays are newsworthy, but only if the cause isn’t a car. Another moral might be, grade separation looks great, but never underestimate the ability of a driver to find a way to be stupid and remove that separation.
At least we’re used to long-haul Amtrak routes as well, where delays of 8+ hours are common (though these are generally 1-2 day trips).
On the topic of park and rides, to the extent that they’re necessary, it would be nice if more of them had EV charging stations. For people that live in apartments and at least occasionally ride transit, the ability to charge the car at a park and ride once a week could factor into a decision to get an EV in the first place, vs. drive everywhere on gas. But, if finding a park and ride with a charger requires driving miles out of the way, or to a park and ride with poorer transit service, it’s not worth it anymore.
To be clear, this is something that should be paid for out of the county or state’s “EV charging” funds, not transit dollars. And it should definitely not be paid for by reducing bus service for people that don’t even have cars, let alone electric ones. But, it still seems like a logical thing that should happen, as there are far more options for things to do while the car is slowly charging all day if you can hop on a bus or train into the city vs. if you’re stuck at some random suburban shopping center. Ideally, every EV driver would be able to charge at home, but the fact is, most landlords don’t allow it, and park and rides could be a convenient alternative option for those who are already riding transit once or twice per week.
That is a really good idea. Who runs most of the park and rides, anyway, the county? The state? I guess I would start with my county representative — you might email them, see what they say.
[Moving to the appropriate thread]
I concur. The combination of the delays in East Link and potentially Lynnwood Link, and the additional chaos coming from the Revive I-5 project, have the potential to create chaos across this entire restructure process.
I don’t think delaying the CT restructure proposal would be very effective for a variety of reasons. Delaying the Metro restructure might make more sense, but it still isn’t a good solution.
The best solution would be to open Lynnwood Link when it is ready and with the required capacity to satisfy rider demand at the key chock points.
Doing so might involve a short 2-Link overlay between IDS and NGS to provide extra capacity across the choke point, but doing so would allow Lynnwood Link and all the associated Lynnwood Link partner restructures to progress on schedule and as planned.
This would be a good thing.
Community Transit is looking for feedback on their bus restructure: https://www.communitytransit.org/transitchanges. I haven’t had time to look at it, but it looks OK to me. Thoughts?
Oh, I should add that I did submit a comment that Swift be sent down Aurora until 185th, and that they add a stop or two along the way. My comment was added a while ago. Other than that, though, I didn’t have anything to add.
I’m thinking of putting together a post that focus on cross-agency projects. This includes transit agencies, but also cities. I break it down into short and long term:
1) Have Swift run down Aurora until 185th. Add a stop or two along the way. Metro would pay for the stops (capital money) and might also pay for the service (although I think it would actually pay for itself in fare revenue).
2) Have ST convert the Metro bus stop at NE Bothell Way & 83rd Pl NE to an S3 stop. That way, Metro doesn’t need to have service on SR 522 (ST does all the work). As with the previous idea, Metro could pay for the bus stop (since it is fancy). Kenmore could chip in too (I think it is just barely in Kenmore).
3) Have SDOT fix the road so that the 62 can follow the faster, better route through Tangletown.
4) Have SDOT look into running buses in the loop I suggested for option 2. This would include adding layover space there (along 30th, just before 145th). There are a lot of issues involved with this. A new pathway for buses (northbound turning left onto 30th from Lake City Way) as well as lots more buses on 30th (and a new layover).
5) Have ST extend the S3 to Shoreline Community College. This makes for a better network (e. g. Licton Springs to Kenmore would be a fast, frequent, two-seat ride). Metro would have to pick up the tab by adding stops and service.
Some of these might not seem worth it, but we can discuss that later. Any other ideas people can think of?
> Have Swift run down Aurora until 185th. Add a stop or two along the way. Metro would pay for the stops (capital money) and might also pay for the service (although I think it would actually pay for itself in fare revenue).
Aren’t they already planning on extending Swift Blue to the Shoreline Link Station? https://www.communitytransit.org/swift-blue-extension
Both 4 and 5 make sense.
Yes, it will be extended to 185th. But it will be going via Aurora Village and then Meridian. In contrast, I would like to see it continue down Aurora until 185th, with a couple stops on Aurora, and maybe one on 185th. This would due several things:
1) Keep the bus out of traffic. There are BAT lanes on 185th, but not Meridian.
2) Serve more of Aurora (which is why Metro should help pay).
3) Make same direction transfers on SR 99 much easier. For example, 175th & Aurora to Swedish Medical Center. Right now (and with the current plans) you detour to Aurora Village TC on the RapidRide E, and detour back on Swift. If Swift had even one stop on Aurora, the transfer would be trivial, and you save time.
This proposal was the one that got the most discussion here: https://seattletransitblog.com/2022/01/18/intercounty-routes-for-lynnwood-link/. I would say it is the only proposal that is still relevant. It is the only one I’m still pushing for, that’s for sure. I’m not alone, either.
5) Why S3 rather than the 72?
By extending the S3 all the way across you connect the north-lake suburbs (Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell) to the north-south corridors (the E, 5 and whatever bus runs on Meridian). The E is very fast and very frequent — as frequent as Link right now. It should be treated with almost as much importance as Link. By extending the S3, you do that. A trip like Licton Springs to Bothell becomes much faster (there is no middle bus). What is true of the E is true of the 5. Phinney Ride to Kenmore becomes a lot more straightforward. The number of places that you can get to with a minimum amount of waiting (either direction) increases dramatically.
It extends to the north as well as the south. To get from the north end of Aurora to Kenmore is always challenging, even in a car. You either go north, via Ballinger Way, or you go south, via 145th. But with transit, going north is even worse. The bus is a lot less frequent, and requires going all the way up to Mountlake Terrace. It makes a lot more sense to ride the E south to 155th, then get on the S3 there.
Once the S3 is extended to Shoreline CC, sending the 72 there is less important. There is still value, just less. The 65 already makes for a good two-seat ride to (the south end) of Lake City. The S3 would connect to 145th. So the 72 would basically avoid a transfer for folks in between there (or further south on Lake City Way, 25th). If there were lots of buses going along Lake City Way between 145th and 125th, it wouldn’t be that bad to see the 72 end at 145th.
Oh, related to the Community Transit changes I mentioned above: Years ago I had ideas for redoing the ST network after Lynnwood Link. I don’t really see that happening. Anyone heard anything about what ST express buses will look like after Lynnwood Link? Is it just truncations?
I haven’t seen anything from ST on that.
SoundTransit’s new Esher-lators already broken in several dimensions.
Parody from The Needling.
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