“North of CID” station concept for the Ballard Link extension:

Portland transit network review (RMTransit) Mostly MAX, a bit on fares, buses, WES commuter rail, and bikeshare.

Are urban growth boundaries effective? (City Beautiful) With examples of Seattle and Portland.

Yes, there’s walking in L.A. ($) A meditation on Rosencrans Avenue. It’s not a walker’s paradise or pretty, but it spans several different parts of L.A. “the only other way I know how to encounter so much of Los Angeles, to see so many of its diverse communities coexisting, is to go to the beach.” Then there’s the song.

145 Replies to “News Roundup: Walking in LA”

  1. Who will pay the $400 million for Constantine’s Pioneer Sq station? And does this mean this will be the only station between 4th Ave S. and Westlake? I think an unsecured underground tunnel between 5th and 3rd on James as the main transfer point between DSTT1 and 2 is going to run into security fears, let alone the distance.

    I do think though we are beginning to see the a la carte approach we will see in the DEIS: $200 million to move a station from 14th to 15th in Ballard, $400 million for the Pioneer Square station, $700 million for a shallow station on 4th Ave. S….

    I am pretty sure WSBE will be estimated at $20 billion by the end, or should be.

  2. The proposed 2nd pioneer square station also misses transfers to Madison Rapidride, Seattle’s most promising transit project or recent years.

    1. There’s talk about modifying RapidRide G to serve the station. There’s been no specific routing proposal so far, but the possibilities I can think about are bad. (A) Extend the route from the 1st & Madison terminus would be roundablout and expose the route to several blocks that were not included in RapidRide speed upgrades. Turning on 3rd Avenue would delete the 1st & Madison stop for ferry and waterfront passengers. Turning at 4th Avenue would also delete the University Street Station stop for Lines 2 & 3 passengers.

    2. Good point Andrew. No rerouting of RapidRide G is going to compensate for losing direct connectivity to RapidRide C, D, E as well as the other Third Ave routes to the 1 Line and its direct SeaTac service today. The mega Pioneer Square proposal is awful for much of North Seattle connectivity.

      The proposal needs to be killed ASAP before Constantine and Harrell doom transit riders for 100 years.

      1. This is the first time Seattle has offered third-party money for a WSBLE option. There’s been talk ever since 2016 that a Ballard tunnel or West Seattle tunnel would require third-party funding, but neither Seattle nor a philanthropist stepped up to offer it or prepare a ballot measure, so they remained unfunded. Now suddenly Harrell is offering money for this Pioneer Square alternative. That suggests it will be approved. After all, they didn’t listen to us on why a 5th Avenue Shallow station would be best, both for passengers, and the least cost, and because it’s literally what voters approved. 4th Avenue Shallower is supported by a larger coalition than 5th, but it requires more money than either of these, and nobody is offering third-party funding for that.

  3. The great irony about DSTT2 is that the proposed solutions keep getting more and more difficult for the transit riders that need to transfer.

    And the 1 Line skipping the CID literally forces the Asian residents in the RV and South King to transfer or walk several more blocks to get there. It is a much worse path than what exists today.

    I don’t get why Dow thinks it is the better solution. However, I suspect there is backroom advocacy trying to use this DSTT2 option as a motivator for some redevelopment project downtown. Dow’s recent push to redevelop the County buildings this month is rather sudden as well, which makes me very suspicious about motives.

    Meanwhile, East Link riders would have to go one further station and walk an additional 2 blocks in a mole tunnel with several level changes just to get to SeaTac on Link. With every attempt to address the CID concern, the planned rider experience gets worse and worse.

    I really hate the way that wealthy Seattle developers and loud property owners get to have so much clout as “stakeholders” yet rider needs are not given hardly any consideration.

    1. Eastside riders will have Stride 1 to get to the airport. We were trying to convince them a train-to-train transfer Link would be a viable alternative, but we may have to give up on that. That would then depress Link’s ridership.

      1. Stride 1 does not go to SeaTac. It goes to TIBS — where another multiple level change hassle is proposed. Plus, the only East Link station served by Stride 1 is Downtown Bellevue so that the other 10 Eastside Link station riders would have to transfer twice to get to SeaTac.

        Don’t be deceived by ST’s little multi-colored diagram. It may look beautifully direct in that map diagram — but as these station designs play out it’s awful for actual riders.

    2. > I really hate the way that wealthy Seattle developers and loud property owners get to have so much clout as “stakeholders” yet rider needs are not given hardly any consideration.

      I agree, though Sound Transit has a lot of blame as well. This tunneled alignment just shouldn’t have been really proposed for ST3. Especially when it seems they ‘forgot’ about how SR-99 was in the way of shallower tunnels/stations. Also they hid the problems with these downtown deep stations and tunnels until way too late in 2020/2021 when it should have been surfaced much sooner in 2017 to fix them/reroute.

      1. “they hid the problems with these downtown deep stations and tunnels”

        They may not have known they would be so deep until further engineering studies were done. I don’t think anybody expected stations as deep as Beacon Hill or deeper, not even Sound Transit in 2016.

      2. @Mike Orr

        If Sound Transit should have had cursory knowledge of how deep these stations would be even before ST3. Especially given that they proposed this alignment

        > They may not have known they would be so deep until further engineering studies were done

        From 2015 to 2020 is five years it really shouldn’t have taken that long to figure it out. Either a) they weren’t really looking into it for a couple years which means idk what they were doing b) they were hiding the issues until it much later. Either way it should have surfaced up by 2017/2018 latest

      3. They may have been working on other projects in 2017 and 2018. ST2 is first priority, and the full resources for ST3 won’t be available until ST2 is finished. And DSTT2 is ordered after the West Seattle stub and Tacoma Dome.

      4. @Mike Orr

        > They may have been working on other projects in 2017 and 2018. ST2 is first priority, and the full resources for ST3 won’t be available until ST2 is finished. And DSTT2 is ordered after the West Seattle stub and Tacoma Dome.

        They had diagrams of West Seattle and Ballard by then, we shouldn’t excuse them too much. I doubt they didn’t know it was going to be at least 120+ feet underground after some cursory engineering. Or if they didn’t know it at all why was this route proposed then? Did they seriously not look into the station depths at all and just drew a line on the map?

      5. The DSTT2 segment was not included as a pre-study. The pre studies were Ballard to Westlake and West Seattle to SODO. Kubly and Murray just drew a line on the map with presumable help from ST, and the ST Board included it after laying out the operations plan in 2016.

        It’s important to understand that the pre-studies did not include DSTT2 south of Westlake.

      6. @Al S.

        > The DSTT2 segment was not included as a pre-study. The pre studies were Ballard to Westlake and West Seattle to SODO. Kubly and Murray just drew a line on the map with presumable help from ST, and the ST Board included it after laying out the operations plan in 2016.

        I’m not sure that is a good excuse? For 5~6 years or even sooner since they proposed it even before 2016, they were content to just draw a line on a map and not investigate it at all. Like this line goes underneath basically 3 tunnels the 99, existing DSTT and the great northern tunnel and the complexity was just ignored until half a decade later?

      7. Oh it’s no excuse! I’m merely noting the history.

        The final report for Ballard to Westlake is here:

        I can no longer find the final report for West Seattle Link early study (South King County HCT Study). References to it showing maps are here:

        And here:

        A treasure trove of ST planning documents is here (although it appears many have disappeared off the web link):

      8. Normally each ST# phase includes a set of preliminary studies for the next phase. ST2 included preliminary studies for Ballard-UW-Redmond, Ballard-downtown, WSJ-Burien-Renton, Renton-Bellevue, etc. Those studies were done, and the board selected some of those corridors for ST3.

        The second downtown tunnel (DSTT2) appeared for the first time in a list of ST3 candidate projects in December 2015. There had been no study for it that I’m aware of: it was just assumed it would be easy. I never saw any models of the transfer stations: ST just gave the impression the time for those was later, and it would all be like previous Link projects.

    3. Every salaried employee of Sound transit should be forbidden to own an automobile. And everyone in their household as well.
      Make them live the life they want to build.
      Maybe then we’d see some more useful and more effective ideas from that pack of “eaters”.

  4. There is a whole other operations strategy with DSTT2 that never gets discussed by ST: mixing and matching 1 Line RV trains and 3 Line WS trains with Ballard and Northgate. Sure that means a 10-minute extra wait for a direct train — but if transfers are going to be this tough to do (and take a few blocks of walking and multiple level changes possibly with broken escalators or elevators) and take as long as 8 additional minutes, waiting an extra 10 minutes for a direct train looks more appealing.

    Of course just forgoing DSTT2 is even better for billions of reasons. Put every line in the DSTT for rider convenience.

    1. The problem with this idea is that the “every other train” from Line 1 that you run through DSTT1 must travel at least to Lynnwood because there would be only two lines worth of trains entering the tunnel from the south. That’s pushing past two hours when the line reaches Tacoma Dome.

      It also means that only half the trains running north of Lynnwood would be from West Seattle Line 3; the other half would be short-running to Ballard. So, the other half of those continuing to Everett would have to be from Line 2 in Redmond. That also is pushing past two hours.

      No. West Seattle is always going to have “policy headways” not ones to meet non-existent demand. That best matches the Train Too Far to Everett which will also only ever have policy headways.

    2. “ The problem with this idea is that the “every other train” from Line 1 that you run through DSTT1 must travel at least to Lynnwood because there would be only two lines worth of trains entering the tunnel from the south.”

      Not exactly, Tom.

      The six lines at 12 minutes east could be:
      1. Tacoma Dome to Ballard.
      2. Redmond to Mariner.
      3. West Seattle to Everett.
      4. Tacoma Dome to Northgate.
      5. Redmond to Everett.
      6. West Seattle to Ballard.

      Redmond to Everett seems doable. ST estimates it at 105 minutes. If that is too long, it’s still not a problem as ridership north of Mariner is so low (11,800 daily boardings) that a train every 12 minutes would be enough service. A side benefit would be that if some trains start at Northgate then North Seattle residents would have less crowded trains at Roosevelt, U District, UW and Capitol Hill.

      The third siding at Northgate allows for turning back. If more track or siding is needed it could be built above I-5.

      Sure the trains would be at 8 minute intervals at some times, but is a 4 minute/8 minute spacing that much worse than a 6 minute/6 minute spacing?

      1. Six times twelve is 72, not 60. That means that each hour one of the patterns would not be run. The six line sequence would take twenty-four minutes to complete.

        That means it would be really weird between Northgate and Mariner with this — or any — mixing. There would be only three trains in a twenty-four minute cycle, ideally 8-8-8 of course, but that’s not possible because you only get half of the Line 1 and 3 trains. You’d end up in your example with 4-8-12 because Tacoma’s contribution would drop out at NG. South of NG you’d have your 4-8-4-8 through the heavy traffic zone. It doesn’t matter how you scramble the origins between Northgate and Mariner you will have unequal service. I don’t think Snohomish County would agree.

        If you terminate Redmond’s Everett contribution at Mariner, you would have ONE TRAIN per twenty-four minute cycle north of Mariner

        And in your example sequence, though you have even sequences south of CID, trains enter the new tunnel northbound bang-bang and then a four train gap ensues. Ballard would be 4-20!

        And what do then do southbound? You can’t practically speaking have varied layover times, so the same oddball gaps would be in the southbound schedule.

        You can’t square this circle by declaring the square curved.

      2. I don’t follow you Tom.

        If each line is operating at 12 minutes each there would be no 24 minute gap. Even if each line operated at 20 minutes each, the only stations getting 20 minute service would be those that don’t need high capacity like north of Mariner or perhaps south of Federal Way.

        There would be four train lines jn DSTT and two lines in DSTT2. Thus all six don’t have to be scheduled sequentially; only four in the DSTT would.

        It really isn’t much different than the current ST operation plan for 2040. It’s just that half of the Everett trains would go to SeaTac and half of Ballard trains would go to West Seattle. If may even be possible to have two lines all the way from Tacoma to Everett with a “seat slide” in the middle to switch drivers. It’s a pretty basic concept to understand.

        The big question is how will ST design the switches in SODO. Any normal rail system would put the northbound trains on one side and southbound on the other side with full switching capabilities between SODO and Stadium. However, this IS ST we are talking about. Their latest party line is that this can’t be done — because after spending $15B they can’t afford to acquire the back part of someSODO warehouse buildings to make it fit.

      3. > There is a whole other operations strategy with DSTT2 that never gets discussed by ST: mixing and matching 1 Line RV trains and 3 Line WS trains with Ballard and Northgate.

        This is kinda overcomplicating things. Just run 3 lines and then have turnbacks as necessary. It’s how Portland does it with their Blue/Red/Green lines and how DC does it with their Blue/Silver/Orange lines. Plus then you’ll have issues with crossovers around sodo.

        The real solution is to just have normal transfers at Chinatown/Westlake, not trying to fix the issue by routing trains down every combination.

      4. Oh, I see. You are proposing to run six lines each with a twelve minute headway, or one train every two minutes past that imaginary line just south of the CID platform. That is FAR more service than ST is planning to provide even at peaks.

        Six minute headways out of West Seattle? ROTFLMAO. Six minute headways down the RV all day long? Six minute headways across the bridge? None of those is proposed in any document I’ve seen or heard of.

        And it STILL doesn’t produce equal headways north of that imaginary line just south of the platforms at CID. It doesn’t matter if you move the West Seattle departure to slot five instead of slot six. That makes things better on for Ballard, for sure, but it then means that trains leave both Redmond and West Seattle irregularly.

        You simply cannot do this mixing and blending with consistent headways on the north end if you have consistent headways on the three south end portions. While it might sound good to “decouple” some south end line from the every two minutes overall headway, you then run into the problem that sometimes Lines 1 and 3 will get to SoDo at the same time and then have to cross-over each other’s paths just north of there. Redmond trains at least are free of that messiness. They all go at least to Mariner.

        Everywhere one looks doing your proposal means operational inconsistencies on the north end in both directions. It is NOT a good idea.

        And a slight correction to the first reply. The second sentence should have read “That means that each hour one half of the pattern would not be run”. It would be the second half in the first hour and the first half in the second and so on.

      5. As long as two lines or running, a rider would have a choice. They could catch the next train in 6 minutes peak or 10 minutes off peak and transfer if the line doesn’t go to where they want (taking up to 8 minutes at Puoneer Square) or they can just wait another 6 minutes peak or 10 minutes off peak and not have to transfer at all from Line 1 or Line 3.

        Lines 1 and 3 are not planned with level crossover tracks. They are planned as grade separated in all current ST options. In some, DSTT2 begins at Holgate, in others they swap sides north of CID, and in others West Seattle Line 3 trains would be aerial at SODO and would cross over Line 1 just north of the station. There is this no problem if the two lines run simultaneously.

      6. Al, the problem is that from all your former posts about having four tracks through SoDo that you would be proposing to connect West Seattle Line 3S up in the air to both tunnels and the Rainier Valley Line 1S on the surface to both tunnels. That requires cross-overs and fancy elevated work.

        It’s not hard to see how you get from northbound surface Line 1S from the RV to northbound Line 3S headed into the old tunnel. Just put in a left-hand turnout in the nb track where the curve into the new tunnel begins and a diamond across the adjacent southbound Line 1S track from the new tunnel. Merge with the nb Line 3S track just south of Stadium.

        And the same thing is true for a southbound Line 1S train that came from the old tunnel. Add a left hand turnout in the sb Line 3S track before it starts up the ramp just south of Stadium, add a diamond across the nb Line 3S track and a trailing turnout in the sb Line 1S track a few yards to the south.

        But how do you pass between the new tunnel south of its portal and the elevated trackway on which Line 3S is supposed to run? The portal is supposed to be south of where the ramp up to the elevated structure begins. Given sufficiently separated supports for the elevated section it might be possible to add a right-hand turnout to the sb Line 1S track just after the elevated structure reaches full height, wiggle the sb connection from the tunnel between adjacent supports over to the west side of the elevated and rise up to a merge before the SoDo station. I think Holgate would have to underpass this.

        Northbound is easier except for the City Light towers. Put a right-hand turnout immediately north of the new SoDo station, cross over the at-grade Line 1S trackway and descend to a merge sometime before the tunnel portal and connections between Line 1S and the old tunnel described above.

        But a MUCH BETTER SOLUTION that I have been suggesting to you for a couple of years is simply to forget the elevated and interline from Forest Street to the junction to the new tunnel as I described immediately above to Jonathan. That would make mixing and matching super easy.

        It would not however solve the unequal headways problem.

      7. Tom, believe me I would much prefer just having two tracks as a transferring rider than the four tracks in SODO that ST wants to build. A rider hops off one train and waits five minutes for another train at the same spot. No escalators or elevators are needed. It would be a profoundly easier and faster transfer than the proposed long walk with multiple level changes at Pioneer Square.

        The wrench however is this stupid idea to eliminate a transfer point at CID. That’s why I threw out the mix-match operations option as a way to counter the awful 2 Line transfers created by it. A rider from Redmond would have to slog through a multi-level underground corridor with bags to get to a train to SeaTac. A worker from Federal Way would have to face this too to get to a job in Overlake.

        I’m really amazed that North Seattle, Snohomish and Eastside riders — even infrequent ones — aren’t making a bigger stink about the proposed lousy transfer to get to SeaTac. Why should the Snohomish and East King subareas actually kick in money for a tunnel that makes them take longer to get to SeaTac via Link?

        The DSTT2 transfer directly affects SE Seattle and South King and Pierce (including Sounder riders) — but it affects these other subareas too.

        The irony is that Snohomish, East King, South King and Pierce board members need to not only vote on WSBLE but also must vote to partially fund it. Why should they? It’s only going to make things worse for their residents. The major regional benefit to them is SLU and Seattle Center access — and that could be provided without spending several billion on DSTT2 and instead build an automated Ballard stub (ending at Westlake or University St) with 3 minute headways or modernize the monorail corridor.

        If DSTT2 is supposed to be a regional benefit and crazy transfers are part of the DSTT2 portion of the project, they have more than enough reason to overrule this costly, no-benefit, rider-unfriendly Constatine-Harrell boondoggle.

      8. OK , thanks, Al. It is painfully obvious to all of us knowledgeable but non-professional posters here that interlining through DSTT1 is the proper solution. But ST claims that the stations are unsafe and inadequate to meet the ridership expected.

        Given that current ridership is less than 2/3 of ST’s fairly recent expectations, perhaps it makes sense for them to adjust those predictions. But they seem completely unwilling to do so.

        So we are stuck at an impasse, and the scales have the big thumbs of the County Executive. Mayor and the DSDA all pushing down hard on the scale marked “New Tunnel”. Interlining is a lost cause, unfortunately, and the City is going to be ruined financially because of it.

        You can’t talk sense to narcissistic fools. Trump proves it daily on the Right. Now Dow is proving it on the Left. Narcissistic foolishness subsumes party labels.

      9. Tom, you were very late to the interlining party. You are one of the few who still believes DSTT2 — even with a midtown station — will cost $2.2 billion, and the subareas have that $2.2 billion. You also feel the soil (at least under 5th) is so well known there is little contingent risk in tunneling under 5th Ave. so accept the 2016 $2.2 billion cost estimate without cost contingency.

        You also believed ST’s cost estimates for WSBLE of $6 billion, then $9, then $12, then $14, and now $15 billion.

        Those of of us who advocated early on for interlining did so because we don’t think DSTT2 — in any configuration and one proposal had no stations between Sodo and Westlake — will cost $2.2 billion, and question whether the subareas have their contribution. I still don’t believe the $15 billion cost estimate for WSBLE, and never believed the earlier estimates.

        Some on this blog were concerned about the original design for DSTT2 with a station at midtown but very deep stations and long transfers.

        When I look at the gymnastics Dow and Harrell are proposing to “capture” $400 million from redeveloping old and vacant buildings to fund a mega station in Pioneer Square of all areas but with no midtown station I am convinced DSTT2 — in any configuration — will cost more than $2.2 billion, and should include a 30% cost contingency. I also have grave doubts three subareas will have their contribution based on the 2021 subarea report.

        If you are correct DSTT2 will cost $2.2 billion all done and the subareas have their contribution I would much rather have something closer to the original configuration with a station at midtown and DSTT2 running under 5th. than the most recent proposal to sell or redevelop city and county buildings downtown for a mega station in Pioneer Square and have those workers WFH permanently (especially with a midtown station). If ST has the money for DSTT2 as originally designed I would focus on station design in the original route over the current mega station design or interlining. If ST has the money build DSTT2.

        But ST and the subareas don’t have the money for DSTT2 that will cost closer to $4.2 billion (more with a shallow(er) station on 4th and maybe a little less with no midtown station) which is why I have always thought interlining is the ONLY affordable option, and think the idea that in this market Harrell and Constantine can redevelop and fill new towers in downtown Seattle to replace city and county workers now working permanently from home is fantasy, although admittedly I am more skeptical of ST’s project cost estimates, ridership projections, and subarea funding estimates than you are.

  5. The DSTT2 is getting worse and worse… Even the original proposal for 2 billion dollars with the 5th avenue deep/shallow alternative never made much sense. To spend 2 billion dollars for 2 miles tunneled and create 3 new stations that basically are right next to westlake/university street/chinatown and then just have worse transfers for East Link and Rainier Valley travelers going northbound.

    The original curse was intending to breach subarea equity that Sound Transit made up the capacity concern falsehood* to route East Link trains to Ballard and Northgate trains to West Seattle. This is also why Sound Transit can’t take any proposals seriously about a West Seattle-Ballard only tunnel — because they won’t be able to use the other subarea’s funding.

    Seattle should reuse the existing tunnel, or if another line is really needed then construct it elevated or much shallower 2nd avenue, even if there is a sewer then reconstruct it. This deep tunnel for 2 miles costing literally more than half of East Link and providing nearly zero new stations doesn’t make much sense.

    * Let’s say at peak time it really is true, then just use the 3~4 billion dollars to fund nearly exponential express bus service as others have described

    1. “The DSTT2 is getting worse and worse…”

      Yes. It’s hard to believe Link could get so bad. Literally the #1 issue in a multi-line system — good train-to-train transfers — they’re treating as a minor factor, less important than moving the station away from CID NIMBYs, or tapping ST money to renovate a county building lot. Why are we spending billions of dollars on East Link and then handicapping transfers to other lines and the airport that would make the line the most useful and highest-ridership? Eastsiders go to the airport and to West Seattle and Ballard, and Link should facilitate all of that, because that’s why we’re building a three-line network, for trips from every station to every station.

      1. Exactly, Mike.

        It would be like eliminating all freeway to freeway ramps at major interchanges like 405 and 90 near Factoria. It’s truly ridiculous! It would be like forbidding pedestrian crossings on Pike St downtown! It’s more surreal than banning drag shows.

      2. One thing you see in cities with extensive multi-line subways like London, Moscow, or New York: the transfer stations have the most on/offs by far. More people transfer between lines than go in or out at the entrances. Literally crowds of people transferring. Because if one line has 10 stations, and the other line has 10 stations, then half the trip pairs require a train-to-train transfer.

        It’s easiest to visualize with a “+” shaped network; e,g., if there were a 45th line crossing the north-south line.. There would be trips in six directions: north-south, west-east, north-west, north-east, west-south, and east-south. Four of those would require a train-to-train transfer. Even if north-south trips are far larger than the others, and the most trips have one endpoint in downtown or at least in that direction, there are still a significant number of people going from Ballard to Roosevelt or Northgate or Lynnwood because of the unique things there, and some Children’s workers and visitors live in the north end.

      3. “The DSTT2 is getting worse and worse…”

        Yes. It’s hard to believe Link could get so bad.

        Yes, it is getting worse and worse. No, this isn’t surprising. Sorry, but none of this should surprise anyone who has followed the agency. Sound Transit has a history of making things worse. Sometimes by a little, sometimes a lot. Often this was OK, because what they were building (e. g. UW to downtown) was so fundamentally strong, it was bound to be successful. That is not the case with ST3. It wasn’t that good to begin with. It is like going on Tinder and thinking your ugly-looking date will look better in person. Sorry, no. It is the opposite.

        I don’t mean to be so negative, but this has happened before, many times. We vote for something, and then once they get to the details, it isn’t as good. This is nowhere near the worst change they’ve made (First Hill is).

        The sad part is, we are now fighting for things that aren’t that good. If I was more cynical, I would say this is the strategy:

        1) Have voters support something mediocre.
        2) Propose something worse.
        3) Compromise, and go back to mediocrity.
        4) Watch the transit advocates celebrate.

        Look at Ballard. From the very beginning everyone knew that going west (towards 20th) was ideal. But 15th was a compromise. It was cheaper, not that bad, and thus tolerable. But then, out of the blue, there is a proposal to build it at 14th. It is terrible. Folks rally, to fight it. But are they fighting for 20th? No, they are fighting for 15th. The worst part is that it isn’t about money anymore. Folks are pushing for a very expensive underground station to (you guessed it) 15th. We are willing to go underground, and yet 20th isn’t even being considered.

        Same with this. Very early on, First Hill was rejected as a station. Likewise, interlining hasn’t been seriously considered. Instead, folks keep proposing things that are worse than what was originally proposed, which again, wasn’t that good. The new tunnel is bad, even if it had the stations where they proposed putting them. They manage to be just different enough to be worse, but not different enough to add value in some other way. If the new tunnel went to First Hill, folks on the existing line would transfer to get to the downtown stations (University Street and Pioneer Square). Other riders would transfer to get to First Hill. Yet this somehow just makes things worse. Not worth transferring to, and yet definitely worth transferring away from. That is bad enough, but the transfers will also be really bad. We knew we weren’t going to get anything out of the new tunnel and we knew that the Rainier Valley rider experience was going to be worse than it is now. We just didn’t know it was going to be this bad.

        Why are we spending billions of dollars on [crap]?

        OK, that is my wording. But still. I think it summarizes it. The short answer is that building a really good, cost effective transit system was never the goal. In contrast, building something that *sounds good* was. If you ignore the details, all of this sounds fine. West Seattle and Ballard have rail to downtown. As buses are truncated, those lines get decent ridership. It all looks fairly good, until you actually try to use it. Ridership is OK, just not nearly what it would be if you spent the same amount of money on a better system. Despite spending a fortune on transit, we barely move the needle when it comes to modal share, or the buses carry an increasing amount of the burden. I want to be clear here: I’m not talking about a transit network like Vancouver BC. They have very high bus ridership *and* train ridership. Their buses are very popular because they complement the train. We aren’t building that kind of system.

        For example, consider the “South Lake Union” stop. From a walk-up standpoint, it is about the worst possible place for a station in the area. But it was intended as a bus-intercept, a laudable goal. Except the buses are largely going the same direction. If you are are headed to downtown, there is no sense in making the transfer. Even if you are headed to the far end of downtown (CID) there is no sense in transferring now. Unless you are going to Rainier Valley or the airport, you don’t transfer at all.

        Now imagine the Ballard line goes to First Hill, Yesler Terrace and several other stops in what can generally be considered “downtown”. Of course you transfer there.

        That is just one example of the misguided mindset of this project. It has been a hodgepodge of ignorance. From Dow Constantine all the way down. They occasionally latch onto ideas (“Hey, let’s connect to the buses from Aurora”) while completely ignoring more important ones (“If you are going to build a second tunnel downtown, add coverage”). The people in charge really don’t know what they are doing. As a result, expecting this to be better — or even just good — is overly optimistic.

      4. Dow is a popular county executive on his 4th term who chairs the ST Board. He and Mayor Harrell have obviously been cooking up this plan for a while. It looks like the fix is in. This plan is where the energy has been. Not on building the best possible transit system. Who is going to champion some politically volatile alternate approach in Seattle? Is Bellevue going to lead the charge? Pierce County? Unlikely.

        The real estate development aspect of Dow’s “Civic Campus” plan is a fine idea. That area should be massively overhauled, but DSTT2 is not required in order to do that.

        There is an existing entrance to the existing Pioneer Square Station next to the giant hole at 4th/James. Just make the entrance to Pioneer Square a lot bigger and more appealing and accessible, integrate a lift up to 4th and 5th Ave. in the new development and call it done.

        DSTT2 is obviously politically expedient as a catalyst, but that political expediency comes with two extremely large costs: (1) Destroying value in the transit system we’ve already built, as described here (2) Blowing billions of dollars, some of which we don’t have, that we could have spent on something useful.

        If I ran the zoo, we would just cancel West Seattle Link and make the best possible all-electric BRT system that uses the West Seattle Bridge and SR 99, with a tunnel express to SLU. That is not going to happen with the ST3 the voters passed and Dow leading the charge.

        But if we insist on building West Seattle Link we would be far better off interlining into the existing DSTT as we keep writing here. It’s an order of magnitude cheaper, with lower impacts, and a better rider experience. The case for this is not esoteric; it can fit on a postcard.

        We should (but probably will not) build Ballard Link as an automated stub line that serves Westlake and carries on to serve First Hill.

        We should cancel DSTT2 and leave CID intact. But even if we did insist on building DSTT2, we should not do it in this way, sending trains from Rainier Valley and Sea-Tac into it, whether there is a Dow Constantine Station or not. We’d be better off making Ballard – West Seattle a separate automated line instead of building huge stations served by infrequent trains that are expensive to run in perpetuity.

        I’ve supported ST’s mission since day one, but at this point, I’d rather see see all of ST3 up in flames than to spend the next two decades building the asinine plan that is on the table now.

        I don’t feel I can do much about this but hopefully leave some trace for the next generation to realize that not everyone at in this era was dumb. [having issues posting though, so hopefully this will show up exactly once]

  6. “Why are we spending billions of dollars on East Link and then handicapping transfers to other lines and the airport that would make the line the most useful and highest-ridership? ”

    It’s not only East Link transfers, it’s every Third Ave route that doesn’t cross the 1 Line somewhere outside of Downtown — including many of Metro’s most important routes!

    There simply should be a 1 Line station under Third Ave no matter what.

  7. https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/ActiveDocuments/Presentation%20-%20WSBLE%20Modified%20Preferred%20Alternative%20%26%20M2023-18%2003-09-23.pdf

    Slide 36:
    “Through coordination with the City of Seattle Mayor’s office and King County Executive’s office, there is up to $400 million in potential funding through various sources including publicly owned property, value capture from increased development, and in-kind contributions. Anticipate receiving Letters of Intent before March board meeting.”

    Speculating here, but I think what Dow & friends are trying to do is by moving the station to “CID-North” (aka Pioneer Square) and placing the station on blocks owned by the county/city, they can fund the additional stuff they want in WS & Ballard by maxing out development on those parcels after construction (which hilariously is the exact opposite what ST is required to do under it’s affordable housing policy; the Board could kill the requirement for ST to surplus excess property below cost and monetize the same value capture)

    Aside from ruining the connection to Amtrak/Sounder … it’s not bad. If CID-North can have a strong transfer to Pioneer Sq, it’s really not that much different than the CID preferred options, and if it can connect well to Madison BRT, then it does everything the Midtown station was intended to do.

    But I don’t see the CID-North having transfers as good as 4th Shallow, and nor do I see CID-North not screwing up Madison BRT (which is good BRT because it is linear)

    1. More and more, I’m starting to think DSTT2 is a terrible proposal specifically so they have no choice but to redevelop these properties. They don’t want to consider a single tunnel because they specifically need DSTT2 for the redevelopment.

    2. Aside from ruining the connection to Amtrak/Sounder … it’s not bad.

      Well, it isn’t that much worse than other proposals, but it is definitely bad. Right now, riders from the south have the following downtown stations:

      CID, Pioneer Square, University Street, Westlake.

      They will essentially lose half their stations. They get nothing in return. They also lose their one-seat ride to Capitol Hill, UW, and places north. In exchange, they get Uptown and Ballard. That is also a degradation. Making matters worse is the really bad transfers. It is not a lot worse than previous plans, but it is definitely bad.

      1. The irony Ross is riders from the South — including Pierce, S. King and Seattle — are suppose to pay 25%+ of DSTT2.

        Usually people don’t fight over who has to use the new tunnel.

    3. Thanks for the link AJ. The language is a bunch of gobblygook. It is terrifying to think these folks are going to get into the development game to build DSTT2, especially when $400 million is about 1/5 of the additional revenue needed in order to complete DSTT2 with a likely price tag of $4.2 billion. Why weren’t these “savings” explored much earlier?

      I will be interested to see the specifics. Downtown development these days is a tough market. King Co could sell some closed properties but that is county wide money. I don’t think Dow can use those funds for DSTT2 in one subarea when King Co. has 3 subareas.

      I would not trust a “loan” from King Co. to be paid back. Not sure where Harrell thinks he will find $400 million when The Times is predicting Seattle will have a $250 million deficit in its operations budget.

      These are the same folks who estimated the cost of WSBLE at $6 billion in 2016, and claimed extending project completion concurrently with extending taxes in a high inflation market solved a $12 billion deficit.

  8. Do any of you have a good feel as to where the current tunnel sits under the convention center?

    I was thinking that one option might be to bring the Ballard stub into the existing tunnel using the old tunnel portal to Convention Place station, You’d have to widen the tunnel by one track and a platform in width on the north side, and have the platform for it be an extension of the southbound platform. If it’s automated it could just be a single track single platform where trains reverse direction. A crossover used for out of service trains is all that would be needed for getting them to storage and maintenance.

    If the tunnel is up against large building foundations on the north side, you couldn’t do that though.

    No, it’s not ideal at all, but it prevents any cross-mainline train moves and prevents 9 floors of mezzanines and escalators
    (See Escalatorpalooza, or 10th untitled illustration in the article “Notes from a Vancouverite Revisited”).

    1. The Convention Place tunnel was filled in during the Convention Center expansion. Several of us had wanted Ballard to branch out through Convention Place to SLU and Ballard, but it was too late. And now there’s the Convention Center foundations.

    2. I think the reversing stub still exists under Pine jutting east from the curve into the TBM vault next to The Paramount. As Mike said, the wiggle under the Camlin runs into the Convention Center foundation at the east edge of Ninth Avenue. Ninth is way too narrow to have Link curve north there. It’s a right angle intersection.

      BUT, the reversing stub could be extended to the edge of the freeway and a single track curved to run underneath the Pike-Pine Express Lane ramp and then curve into Minor for a Ballard Stub. However, you can’t fit three tracks under Pine Street east of Sixth by putting one entirely on the north side. The street is too narrow unless you widen the tunnel on both sides, and that means shutting down Link for at least two and probably three years. There would be “nowhere to run”.

      Jonathan’s “Dogbone” idea, though could work. Trains from Denny southbound would veer east to Minor, curve into the Minor ROW, under the ramp and merge with the southbound track. Maybe the southbound platform for Denny Way would be oriented east-west and it would have to be reverse running or at a different elevation than the northbound platform.

      Stub trains would stop at Westlake with a center platform for reversing transfers then continue west through a new hole punched in the west wall of the Westlake Station box at the Third Avenue curve.

      They could then just barely curve into Second northbound by bellying under the south edge of the Pine ROW and the west edge of Second’s. Then the TBM can take advantage of Stewart being oblique to both Second and Westlake to get back to Westlake northbound.

      The holing through at Third and Pine would mandate closing Link for a couple to a few months because it would be a mess! But it would be brief.

      I know this is completely out of the ordinary, but it produces fantastic transfers and is fairly cheap to dig. And it would mean that for those six blocks and at that one platform there would be four lines in the southbound direction. A true stub ay the level of the existing platforms and just to the north would be easier operationally and have super south from Ballard to south and south from UW to north transfers. The other directions would require level changes.

      But the fix is obviously in on New Pioneer Square. Dow wants to be governor or Senator and sees this as his “I’m A Decisive Leader” Get Out of Jail card.

      1. Eddie, the only people who’ll know it was a bad decision are the ten percent of people who ever use transit in the state.

  9. How much do non-US cities base alignment decisions on temporary construction impacts rather than on the best long-term station locations?

    1. How much do non-US cities base system planning on lines on a map rather than well planned station locations in the first place? I’d like to dream that somewhere, someone says “where does it make sense to have a transit station” and then looks at where service should go. We draw lines on a map and then try to figure out where the stations fit.

  10. The Seattle Process Strikes Again. At this point, the DSTT2 project needs to go back to the drawing board or admit it needs to be trunked for awhile. All we’re doing is degrading the ride because NIMBYS threw out the baby with the bathwater with a short term outlook that didn’t bother looking at the longer term benefits other than a passing glance. Should a City Hall Stop exist, sure. But it really doesn’t replace a Midtown or CID station 1 to 1.

    1. You aren’t the first person to talk about this being “the Seattle Process”. I wouldn’t call it that. The Seattle Process is when you are too busy listening to contradictory demands to actually do anything useful. A good example is the city council and their reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests. They shifted parking enforcement out of the police department. This was purely symbolic, and ended up costing the city money. They never made the type of reforms necessary to actually address the problem (e. g. hire a bunch more counselors, reduce armed police staff, etc.).

      This is more “The Sound Transit process”. Completely ignore transit fundamentals when pursuing a goal. Make arbitrary decisions, while ignoring expert advice (if it is even sought). Avoid controversy, except when it effects the transit community.

      There are numerous examples. First Hill is a big one. It got cancelled because of concerns about the soil. Other agencies would have just kept going, but ST didn’t want the bad press. The UW station ends up in a really bad location to avoid confrontation with the university. BRT on the CKC. Even choosing West Seattle Link in the first place — this was completely arbitrary. With Ballard Link they ignored the more cost effective option (Ballard to UW) just because.

      This is quite similar. Like First Hill, it is late in the game. Like the CKC, this seems to solve a non-transit related issue (disruption in the CID) which is what he has been focused on. At the same time, he retains the second tunnel, now looking worse than ever. This means he doesn’t have to revisit the funding for it (that comes in part from other subareas). He never consulted with transit experts about any of this. There are no ridership-time estimates with anything in ST3. That just isn’t how they roll.

      This is the Sound Transit process.

      1. Eh, it’s still the Seattle Process no matter how you try to angle it as being distinct from it. It still puts an emphasis on consensus through exhaustion. We basically only come to a decision when main stakeholders are like done with debating and tire of other stakeholders taking up the oxygen in the room. Which is cynical but not far off from reality.

        We also still put a lot of value into having too many cooks dictate policy instead of guided by one or a few leaders who take into consideration other people’s viewpoints but still guide the ship from going way off track into tangents that will likely go nowhere. See the CID and Midtown debacle as a perfect storm of that. Both stations losing focus from the original vision and going sideways from stakeholders who basically threw both stations into the deep end for no real reason. Like I’m fine if say we wanted to have an additional station at City Hall alongside Midtown and CID, but the conversation turned to making that the new Midtown and in my opinion they clearly lost the plot in floating such an idea.

        At the end of the day, the Seattle Process still touches many aspects of Sound Transit’s own breauacracy even if they still add their own flavors to the mix with many of their policy decisions as an agency.

      2. Using that logic, anything is the “Seattle Process”. The fact that your other examples are Sound Transit (not Seattle) just shows the difference. Look, here is another example of the Seattle process: HALA. The mayor put together a focus group to try and come up with a solution. For months they debated, and it looked like they wouldn’t be able to come up with a solution. It took way longer than it should have. Ultimately though, the committee really did come up with a compromise. Then the mayor (who put together the committee in the first place) ignored their recommendations, and did nothing. The whole process was pointless, and took a really long time, with various interest groups arguing for this or that. We were back to where we started. Since then, we’ve had further studies, and again, nothing. Expect the new mayor to form another committee at some point to look at the issue. The Seattle Process is rooted in inaction.

        Say what you want about Dow’s proposal, but it is definitely *not* that. He doesn’t want to further debate. He doesn’t want to revisit the question. He wants to make a decision, now. This is an idea that came out of the blue, and had no support (outside the county executive’s office) at all. There was no committee, no focus group making a compromise — none of that. This is from the top, and only the top. This is a major power grab, of the sort that would make an old-time Chicago mayor proud. He is grabbing the bull by the horns and pushing through his idea. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. In a way, it is refreshing.

        The problem is, he is completely wrong. The other problem is, the mistakes are not reversible. This is not like a bureaucracy. You can rearrange an organization over and over until you get it right. It is not like bus restructures (e. g. Metro screwed up with the 20; no big deal, they will fix it with the 61). Major infrastructure projects like this really are “measure twice, cut once”. This is probably the last major investment in transit for this region, and they are simply doing it wrong.

        One of the big problems is that it is too big. They ignore one of the fundamental approaches to transit: address your biggest problem next. I can’t do the quote justice, but a transit writer recently said “If you are spending money on a transit project that you think might be needed in thirty years, you aren’t spending money on what is needed now”. That pretty much sums up the new downtown tunnel, and really, just about all of ST3. This does not address the biggest transit needs in the region; it certainly doesn’t get the most bang for the buck. It is just a set of arbitrary projects (the spine, West Seattle Link, Issaquah Link) with foolish assumptions (the existing tunnel can’t handle the load).

  11. 4th and James *in addition to* 4th and King/Union St. would be good. Midtown station could be effectively shifted to James. In fact, James might even be better for ferry riders going to West Seattle, Uptown, Ballard. But there still needs to be a *direct* connection to Sounder and Amtrak!

    The construction impact argument is a moot point, really. Either case will involve traffic impacts on 4th Ave. Additionally, the 4th Ave. viaduct at the edge of Chinatown WILL still need to be rebuilt at some point. And neither option involves digging up streets *in* Chinatown itself! It’s not like Chinatown is “dodging a bullet” by putting the station a couple blocks up 4th Ave. That bullet was already dodged by moving the station from 5th to 4th, which the consensus was coalescing around.

    So I would counter with this proposal: Replace Midtown with 4th and James, and build it IN ADDITION to the King St/Union Station.

    1. Yeah, what Dow is basically saying is “hey, we’ve got two whole city blocks downtown that need to get demolished during the ST3 time frame anyways, so let’s leverage that as a good place for a downtown station. ST saves money by having 2 full blocks it can have complete control over several years for construction, and the county benefits from high-value redevelopment after the station is open.” Which in isolation is solid thinking.

      I think what is happening here is a Dow two-step. 1. pitch the 4th & James (CID-North) an as alternative to Midtown & create $$s to spend on enhancements elsewhere, 2. leverage the Pioneer Square-CID North transfer as the primary L1/L2 transfer on the south side of downtown to then allow for the CID-Union station to be ditched in favor of CID-South.

      1. But the county blocks would market themselves and are next to the DSTT PSS; marketing does not require DSTT2. This is a stinker. Transfers would be better without DSTT2. The east, south, and west lines in the DSTT; the Ballard line to Westlake only under 6th Avenue.

        The line-to-line transfers will add unnecessary minutes to many transit trips. East-south and south-east and west-south and south-west transfers at the new station could take nine minute longer: six minutes more in Link (three plus three) and three minutes to shift between the stations if a good design is provided.

      2. @AJ

        > and they don’t think they can do that for 4th Ave.

        For the shallower construction on 4th avenue, they are practically ‘almost’ closing off 4th Avenue. It’d only have one lane open during most periods when they are rebuilding the viaduct.

        I guess it’s not quite the same as completely closed off, though I’m not sure if totally closing it off would save that much more money since it is involving rebuilding the viaduct?

      3. SDOT seems to really oppose rebuilding 4th Ave viaduct, but I don’t know why. I thought the city would jump at ST rebuilding it, but the staff talking points are, “sure it’s old but each time we look it seems fine, so therefore we can project it will be fine forever and there is no value in a replacement” which … is odd.

        eddiew – mostly agree. The primary value is ST being able to use the full blocks for several years for negligible cost.

      4. It is quite possible that the county would come out ahead by redeveloping the property. But it is highly unlikely that translates into better ST3 projects elsewhere. That is more fantasy thinking. It is the fundamental problem that got us into this mess in the first place. We looked at the plans and thought “With a little bit of work, this could be decent”. Except it doesn’t go that way. Things have clearly degraded, and will continue to degrade throughout the system. There is simply no way they will go with a station at 20th NW. At *best* they have what they originally proposed (an elevated station at 15th NW). It is quite possible they will have things that are a lot worse (like 14th).

        What is true in Ballard is true everywhere else. Look at the plans for West Seattle. Most of them have moved *away* from the cultural center of the peninsula (the Junction). At best it is similar to the original plans. Avalon may be eliminated. The Interbay Station (which should have been called “Dravus”) may move half a mile from Dravus. At *best*, things are the same.

        Or look at Everett. The Urbanist had a good rundown: https://www.theurbanist.org/2023/03/06/everett-link-must-think-out-of-the-box-to-avoid-generational-errors/. The plans look increasing bad.

        At the end of the day, Dow Constantine is in charge of King County. That is his primary responsibility. This may very well be good for the budget of King County, but this will not make any aspect of ST3 better.

    2. Please do remember that Line 1 will have a “direct connection to Amtrak and Sounder” assuming that a heavy rail platform is built at BAR. There is absolutely no other justification for putting the station where it is p,anned except transfers between Link and Amtrak/Sounder.

      Grant that folks from SLU and Ballard would have to ride all the way through the slow RV to make their connection, it will exist if the long-term plan is completed.

      Otherwise the better design for BAR Station is an added-side platforms structure along East Marginal south of BAR. Bus access would be much better there.

      1. The ST Board did not include and fund Sounder platforms at BAR within the ST3 project list. It only added the Link station at BAR.

        I’m not so sure that a BAR terminus + transfer would be convenient for riders. The surge of 1,000 Sounder riders running to one or two escalators and then trying to hop on trains already crowded with other Link riders (say 200-400 available capacity on Link trains) in the morning would be overwhelming. The reverse would be true in the afternoon.

        It’s a good point though — in terms of how ST could terminate Sounder elsewhere.

        The tragedy of it all is that DSTT2 could be more strategic if it was used for electrified Sounder/ Amtrak/ future HSR lines. Then a new mega Pioneer Square transfer station would make much more sense. Given the denialism of ST to take a three line DSTT option seriously, I can’t see them thinking this far out of the box.

      2. There’s no BAR heavy rail platform in ST3; the candidate project wasn’t selected. Tukwila advocated heavily for BAR Link station for other reasons:
        * to extend RapidRide A to BAR and serve a new urban village at 144th
        * to improve trips to the Museum of Flight and Aviation High School on the 124
        * as a potential bus intercept for routes like the 150

      3. If Tukwila wanted BAR, they wanted BAR on East Marginal, not in the no-man’s land between the freeway and BNSF.

        I didn’t propose terminating Sounder at BAR. I specifically said “folks from SLU and Ballard would have to ride ….” Doesn’t that sound like folks in DSTT1 would still get the train at King Street? That’s what it was meant to say.

        And yes, Mike, I know that no Heavy Rail platform is included in ST3. But there is exactly zero reason to place the station where it is other than to create a connection to Sounder and Amtrak. None. Zip. Zilch. It’s between a freight yard and a freeway. NOBODY will walk there.

        Perhaps some buses will be terminated there, but that could be done exactly as easily along East Marginal and a few people will walk there.

      4. Who would transfer between Sounder and Link at BAR? If they remain on Sounder they’ll be at King Street in five minutes. If they transfer to Link they’ll spend twenty minutes going through Rainier Valley and SODO. If they’re going to UW they can transfer at Intl Dist as easily as BAR. That leaves only people going to somewhere between BAR and Stadium, which are not major destinations. If they’re going to a ballgame, they can take the Sounder special to King Street like they do now.

        Some people have said a BAR Sounder-Link transfer would be useful to get to the airport, but I don’t see it very much. Especially if you’re going from the airport to Kent, Auburn, or Puyallup, you run the risk of missing Sounder and having to wait half an hour or several hours for the next one. And Kent, Auburn, and Puyallup will have alternatives involving Federal Way Link.

      5. Mike, I agree. I want BAR to be above East Marginal just north of 112th not between the devil (the freeway) and the deep blue sea (BNSF).

        All I said was that “there will be a connection between Line 1 and Sounder if BAR as it’s planned to be ever gets its heavy rail platform” and that “there’s no reason to put BAR between the freeway and the railroad except if you want to have a Sounder stop there”. None. It is a CRAPPY place for a bus intercept. So ST must plan to put a heavy rail platform there sometime.

        Assume you want to have a “cross-town” between the north end of Burien somewhere like 128th and Ambaum over to Rainier Village. The obvious route is to have it run across Boeing-Access Road and up Ryan Way to 51st and head west from somewhere along Des Moines Way. You can have it turn into the bus loop at the proposed BAR station and loop back out to B-A Road. Eastbound isn’t too bad. But westbound it has to turn left across traffic twice to make the loop. It’s not a nice thing to do thirty times a day. Everyone here on the blog lamented the 36 doing that sort of thing at Veterans’ Hospital and eventually it didn’t.

        OR… you can put the station above East Marginal just north of 112th and have the bus stop IN DIRECTION (both ways) and people climb the stairs to a side-platform “add-on” station. Use 112th to get over to TI Boulevard to cross the Duwamish to 116th Way. Yes, the northbound platform might be a little bit more expensive than the same platform at the “Imprimatured” location because its supports would have to span East Marginal. But really, maybe five million more tops for a MUCH better transfer experience. There would be a bus-priority ONLY flashing red at the intersection which would turn green when the bus left the stop. The driver could “request” like the LRT’s do when they are ready to leave a station.

        NOTE: They’re going to have to climb up to cantilevered side-platform station at BAR, because ST is not going to rebuild the trackway for a center platform station. Bet on it. The station will be essentially identical in either spot, except possibly for the northbound platform supports on East Marginal.

        If you want to intercept the 150 just keep the damn thing going west on Interurban Avenue to where it becomes…..wait for it… East Marginal and the station at 112th.

        Doing this you avoid two left turns northbound, one at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and B-A Road and the other at the bus turn-in.

        Contrary to popular opinion, I am not stupid.

      6. Oh, and don’t forget the potential for an Amtrak stop there, instead of Tukwila. Tukwila is supposed to be for Amtrak-airport connections, but who wants to lug suitcases onto two different buses? Not many folks.

        But with Amtrak to Link it would be one transfer to a low-floor vehicle going straight to the airport. Much better.

        Yes, the “missed the train” penalty is severe, so plan to catch Link at the airport at least 45 minutes before your Amtrak is due at BAR. To the airport obviously is not big deal.

      7. While it seems great to have an Amtrak at BAR, the connections at the CID and Tacoma Dome can serve Amtrak riders fairly effectively. It would be nice but it’s not critical to provide the connectivity.

        BAR station area is limited on what it can do because it’s at the end of a runway.

      8. I don’t think an Amtrak-airport connection is really all that useful to begin with. There’s just not that many trips where it makes sense over simply booking a different flight from a different airport. I could maybe see someone who lives in Centralia or Kelso doing it, but that’s about it. This is not a connection worth spending lots of time and money trying to optimize. The connection between Sounder and Link at King St. Station is many orders of magnitude more important.

      9. Oh for Heaven’s sake, what is wrong with moving the Amtrak stop at Tukwila to BAR, even if it only gets ten people a day who ride from Oly, Centralia or Kelso to the airport or back?

        Of course it would be great if the trains had platforms under the terminal like in Amsterdam, but that isn’t going to happen.

        However, if Amtrak gets to 110 as proposed long term, folks in those towns might prefer it to “airporters” pretty regularly

        It’s just recognizing possibilities for using an otherwise pretty useless station site.

      10. I don’t know where ST is planning to put BAR Link station. Has it said yet? I want it adjacent to 99 for the shortest walk to north-south destinations.

        Metro Connects vision in 2016-2020 had some bus routes going on Boeing Access Road past the Link station and terminating at Rainier Beach. That may have been the A and 150; I don’t remember precisely.

  12. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/has-seattle-found-the-missing-link-to-complete-the-burke-gilman-trail/

    There’s a new proposal by Dan Strauss to move the missing link onto Leary rather than Shilshore avenue. More specifically as a walk-bike corridor (similar to in front of Nordic museum) https://goo.gl/maps/YVxDGkKgS4PEX7PY6.

    I don’t know the entire history behind why Shilshole was chosen over Leary in the past, but it seems placing it on Leary seems to have more support now. Though to be exact, this Leary routing stays west of 15th Avenue and still uses Shilshole starting east of 17th Avenue.

    1. It says it’s a new alternative, but how is it different from the Leary corridor the non-Shilshole proponents have been pushing for the past three years?

      1. Sorry I didn’t make it clear enough.

        Basically the old alternative went on Leary from 22nd to 11th Ave.

        The new proposal only goes on Leary from 22nd to 17th then continues on Shilshole/45th. It also means the travel/time differences are minimal compared to a Shilshole only route

      2. It’s not you, it’s the Times article. That was the question I had when I read the article yesterday.

    2. The Seattle Bike Blog has a good rundown of the history: https://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2023/03/10/cm-strauss-asks-mayor-to-study-market-and-leary-for-missing-link/. By the way, the bike blog is very good.

      As a summary: the local business interests have not been bargaining in good faith. The sensible approach is to just follow the pathway of the old railroad (which is what the rest of the Burke-Gilman does). That avoids the most conflicts with cars. It is what most people want. But a handful of business owners along that area don’t want that. So they have successfully tied this thing up in the courts for years. It is quite possible that the city will lose this next round, which means building elsewhere might actually be a way to get something.

      1. It’s incredible to me that the Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, CSR Maritime, and the other smaller operators along Shilshole, are getting away with the rationale that “our drivers will inevitably hit someone, and that will make insuring our drivers extremely expensive, so if you put a trail across our driveways, we’re going to have to shut down”

        Maybe your drivers should look both ways and wear high vis?

    3. Is it really new? It seems quite similar to that suggested by industry interests during the Nickels terms. It has the same flaws; there is too much transit service on NW Market Street and Leary Way NW; there is too little ROW on NW Market Street between Leary and 24th Avenue NW. Of course, the SDOT project on Shilshole also has issues. A traffic signal or all-way stop at 17th Avenue NW is decades over due. The SDOT mixed use path is too narrow for all the many users of different modes with different speeds that will be attracted.

      1. > there is too little ROW on NW Market Street between Leary and 24th Avenue NW.

        There’s 5 travel lanes and a south side parking lane. Spot counting it’s around like 9~11 parking spots to remove

        > there is too much transit service on NW Market Street and Leary Way NW
        Assuming you’re talking about sharing the bike way/bus stop has too much transit traffic or about how taking away a car lane would slow down the busses?

      2. WL. there are five lanes only at the west end. at the two bus bulbs, there are two lanes in each direction; buses stop in-lane at the bulbs. west of the bulbs, I suppose Strauss proposes to sacrifice the west to south left turn pocket and the eastbound parallel parking. east of the pedestrian crossing at Ballard Avenue NW, there is westbound parallel parking to sacrifice but still only four lanes. There is much less traffic and transit west of 24th Avenue NW; SDOT went to three lanes and converted arterial ROW to BGT.

    4. It sounds to me like there’s been a longstanding impasse between Shilshole Avenue supporters and Leary Way supporters, with active transportation fans wanting Shilshole Avenue and the Shilshole industries wanting Leary Way. And now suddenly the Shilshole Avenue side has weakened.

      I don’t understand why, if it was possible to continue on Shilshole to 17th without objections from the Shilshole industries, this shorter Leary Way routing wasn’t proposed earlier.

      I don’t care that much either way. I used to bike from the U-District to Ballard for work, and the trail then ended at Fred Meyer, but the best exit for me was at 8th, so I switched to Leary Way there. I found the whole trail west of Aurora inferior to the part east of it (the detour through a private office park, stop signs after that, not as much views), so Leary Way was just one more inferiority. It wasn’t particularly hard to bike on Leary Way; there wasn’t much traffic. And when I accidentally encountered the wide Seaview Avenue sidewalk trail when I was walking to a retreat at a yacht club once, I was impressed with it. And I later saw the wide sidewalk trail at the Nordic Museum. So I wouldn’t object to more of that.

      1. > I don’t understand why, if it was possible to continue on Shilshole to 17th without objections from the Shilshole industries, this shorter Leary Way routing wasn’t proposed earlier.

        Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel is west of 20th so routing to Leary on 17th avoids them. (Assuming they were/are the main blocker, there’s like 30 years of history that I’m not going to read through)

      2. The issue is 11th to 17th. If all the objections were west of 17th, then a routing on 17th could have been acceptable earlier, but apparently nobody proposed it. Or was there an objector east of 17th that’s gone now?

      3. @Mike Orr

        > The issue is 11th to 17th. If all the objections were west of 17th, then a routing on 17th could have been acceptable earlier, but apparently nobody proposed it. Or was there an objector east of 17th that’s gone now?

        The section from 17th to 11th already has a kinda protected bike lane on the north side of the road. I see there were plans to move it to the south side but that is if it connects to Shilshole past 17th.

  13. TOD

    It’s a hella of a drug.

    The real problem with Sound Transit is that area pols and pundits always believed these crazy growth projections for Greater Seattle and Sound Transit looked like a swell way to not only move people…. but use transit projects as a re-development tool. Dow and Bruce have great redevelopment project… and isn’t that really what it’s always been about?

    The truth is there’s really no way Puget Sound can grow at the same rate it has for the past 30 years and the need for a second bus tunnel is another 30 years off. But guys like Dow and Bruce aren’t likely to stop being pro-growth cheerleaders … they need ST to keep the party going.

    I drop by this blog from time to time, and I’m always disappointed on how wonky and future focused many posters are. Who cares about gondolas? Self driving buses? 200 foot deep tunnels? Most of it is crap. How about focusing on the dysfunctional transit system of the present?

    1. Disagree with most of your points though

      > How about focusing on the dysfunctional transit system of the present?

      It would be nice to have more posts about the current rapid rides/bike installations. Though at the same time this is a transit blog, if people arent going to discuss future transit projects here. where else then?

      1. I absolutely believe in Rapid Ride and upgrades for walking and bikes. But keep it in a 2-10 year time frame. Getting the most out of what we already have is best idea.

        Mayor Harrell is trying to sink (literally) another $400 million? into the second tunnel? That money is needed for Metro.

      2. Tacomee, did you miss all the posts about the bus restructures around Lynnwood link?

        What about Saturday’s post about the Spring Service changes?

        Or Friday’s post about the operator deficit?

        Last weeks’ open thread kicking off with “Metro Flex”?

        Scroll through the posts on the blog, and for transit posts, it’s maybe 50/50 bus stuff (all near-term changes) and ST stuff (10- to 15-year construction).

        Why not write a Page 2 letter on your opinions re: Pierce Transit?

    2. The real problem with Sound Transit is that area pols and pundits always believed these crazy growth projections for Greater Seattle

      It is worse than that. Even if you believe that the region will grow, the plans are poor. TOD by the freeway never works. Mass transit works best in tight, urban areas. We are building a huge system that is not very thorough. It extends farther beyond the urban core than the New York Subway, the London Underground, or the Paris Metro. More importantly, it skips over the key urban destinations, making it worse for *everyone*.

      Consider this example: Someone in Lynnwood has to get to their job in Fremont. I actually knew someone who did this, so it isn’t that arbitrary. For years their commute was challenging. They would drive to a park and ride, take a bus to the U-District, then take another bus to Fremont. The worst part was this last step. Of course it is. That is the nature of almost all cities: travel within the city is by far the slowest. As Link has expanded further north, things haven’t changed much. As the train gets to Lynnwood it doesn’t change. Sure, they ride the train more, but still, the worst part is that last section — within the city — from the UW to Fremont. Nothing is being done about that.

      This idea permeates the entire expansion. It largely just follows the freeway, making it not significantly faster than a bus, and rarely faster than driving. In contrast, the trips that are very slow will continue to be very slow. These are trips that lots of people make. Like trips to the Central Area, First Hill, Fremont, Greenwood, even Ballard. Yes, getting to Uptown and downtown will be faster — but getting to the UW, Fremont, Greenwood, Wallingford, or even Northgate won’t be. It will be up to Metro and SDOT to make those trips faster (and they will have a lot less money to spend).

      I think the basic problem is that the folks in charge don’t know how mass transit works (but they think they do). They have a freeway mindset. If you were to build a new freeway for the area (and didn’t care about any of the downsides) then ST3 is exactly what you would build. It extends out very far from the city. It has very few on-ramps and exits, because you can always just drive that extra mile. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what you can walk to from those ramps. The longer it goes the better — it doesn’t matter if there is very little for miles, because you won’t be stopping there. This mindset explains pretty much all of ST3, even the sections in the city. West Seattle especially, but even a large segment of Ballard Link is not much faster than an existing bus (or driving).

      This is really the fundamental problem with ST3. There is a freeway mindset, not a mass transit mindset. There was no attempt to address the biggest transit problems for the area — it was more about building a new system that would cover the far reaches of the region. That is just the wrong approach.

      1. It’s not a freeway mindset as much as a suburb mindset. A 45th Link line may serve more riders and make carfree living more viable in Seattle, but it doesn’t serve Everett or Tacoma or those counties. It’s not the freeways, it’s the location of those cities.

        And it’s the power structure that gives the suburbs so much leverage in decisions. Naturally they want to spread out the resources to all of them. There’s no countervailing force saying, “Hey, we need to follow transit best practices, and put these resources where people are already driving less and where more people’s trips are.” There’s transit advocates saying that, but no level of government who has the power to make it happen. Unlike in Vancouver and Germany and other countries where the government focuses on transit best practices, and the suburbs can’t override it. And just having good urban transit and more missing-middle housing makes people realize it’s not that bad, so there’s less pushback on it.

      2. “It’s not a freeway mindset as much as a suburb mindset. A 45th Link line may serve more riders and make car free living more viable in Seattle, but it doesn’t serve Everett or Tacoma or those counties. It’s not the freeways, it’s the location of those cities.”

        You miss a critical point of subarea equity Mike. SnoCo, Pierce and S. King are paying for their transit themselves, and they are much poorer than N. KC.

        Do I think they (and N KC) were foolish to run light rail such long distances to connect “urban” areas? Yes, but they paid for their modest rail line (if they have the money). It really had nothing to do with making a car free life easier. Many of us think it is stupid to live without a car. It was about downtown Seattle getting all those commuters to downtown to spend money. It IS and always WAS commuter rail. Where did people commute to? Downtown Seattle.

        East King Co. built Link from Judkins Park to Redmond with more stations per capita than Seattle for $5.5 billion. We basically gifted Seattle $1 billion in east/west/east express bus service over the last decade, will pay the full cost to run Link across the bridge, and our trains will double frequency to Lynnwood, when none of us go to Lynnwood or Northgate. We are not responsible for bad Link in Seattle.

        The terrible Link in Seattle is not due to the suburbs. It is due to Seattle. Gold plated north of Sodo, crap south of Sodo, a $20 billion WSBLE when Ballard and West Seattle have much lower populations than Redmond, Kirkland, and the Issaquah region. All underground of course.

        There was and is the ST funding in N. King Co. for a subway from UW to Ballard. And probably something to First Hill and SLU. And Graham St. and 130th. And grade separated Link in S. Seattle. And lots and lots of buses, except of course it has to cost many times what it costs everywhere else in the world. Those are decisions Seattleites made.

        Instead those of us in the suburbs see Harrell and Constantine claiming they are going to get into the commercial development game in downtown Seattle in 2023 and make a profit of $400 million to build a mega station in a marginal neighborhood like Pioneer Sq. with no midtown station (which is still around $1.8 billion short for DSTT2) and think there is zero common sense in Seattle, especially post pandemic when money does not grow on trees.

        Stop blaming others for Link and transit in Seattle. If we can build East Link for $5.5 billion you can build WSBLE for $5.5 billion, or all the other Link you want. It might not all be underground, but neither is our Link, and downtown Seattle has less commercial activity and vibrancy than some other subareas.

        The very first thing Seattle and N KC (and you) need to do is accept responsibility for the transit you have. On the eastside we don’t even care about our own transit. Do you really think we care what you do in Seattle, even with our money? It is obscene this region will spend over $150 billion on ST, but each subarea is responsible for that tragic decision. Each subarea is also responsible for their transit decisions. Yes, the route of East Link has holes, but that was designed because the stakeholders don’t like transit of Link, so like the CID wanted it someplace else. We don’t blame Seattle for those decisions, or the route East Link takes.

      3. @Daniel Thompson

        Agree with all of your points. I don’t approve of the freeway link alignments, but if that’s what the subarea county wants then who am I to deny them.

        > The terrible Link in Seattle is not due to the suburbs. It is due to Seattle. Gold plated north of Sodo, crap south of Sodo, a $20 billion WSBLE when Ballard and West Seattle have much lower populations than Redmond, Kirkland, and the Issaquah region. All underground of course.

        Yeah, Seattle really should have chosen the cheaper candidate alternatives. https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/ST3_Ballard_DtwnSeattle_11252015_11x17.pdf rather than the all expensive super tunneled route.

        Sure being at grade with a travel time of 23 minutes is worse than 19 minutes, but more importantly it can actually be built with just Seattle’s funding.

      4. It’s not a freeway mindset as much as a suburb mindset. A 45th Link line may serve more riders and make carfree living more viable in Seattle, but it doesn’t serve Everett or Tacoma or those counties. It’s not the freeways, it’s the location of those cities.

        But the idea that those cities get great value from ST3 is a freeway mindset. Again, it equates miles of a long distance subway as being roughly the same as miles of a freeway. They simply aren’t. A freeway to Everett would be a huge improvement for those driving (if one didn’t exist already). But a light rail expansion that far north won’t. It doesn’t solve the biggest transit problems for those riders.

        Imagine instead of building the spine they build a very extensive rail system *within* Seattle. Along with it comes a very extensive regional bus system, and, where affordable an extensive regional rail system (using existing tracks). Now go back to that example I mentioned before (Lynnwood to Fremont). It starts out much like it does today. Getting to the UW is fairly easy. At worst they drive to the park and ride and take a bus there. They then catch an express from somewhere in the neighborhood to the farthest north station (e. g. 185th in Shoreline). Then they ride the train from there to the U-District. But here is where things change dramatically. They ride a train to Fremont. Suddenly what was the worst part of their journey becomes quite tolerable. The train runs frequently all-day (because it picks up lots of riders) and it gets the rider between the UW and Fremont quite quickly (because it runs underground).

        What is true of Lynnwood is definitely true of every destination north of there. What is true of Fremont is true of numerous destinations in Seattle. Meanwhile, travel *within* cities like Everett and Tacoma — places where trips to Seattle or even trips along the way make up a small subset of overall trips — is poor. They don’t have the money to spend on decent bus service. This massive expenditure — more than any other region is spending per capita — will do very little for them, just as it will do very little for Fremont, Greenwood, the Central Area and even places it is supposed to serve, like West Seattle. It isn’t because the places that ST3 serves are suburban, it is because they will be served with the wrong tools.

        With freeways, generally speaking, the more miles the better. That is because driving is essentially seamless. You don’t need to have the destination be right next to the freeway — there is no last mile problem. You just keep driving. This is not the case with mass transit.

        More fundamentally, they failed to approach the problem in the right order. If you want to spend a bunch of money on transit — even regional transit — you first ask how to spend it most efficiently. You don’t start with the assumption that it will be rail. It may be improvements to the bus infrastructure, or just additional service. They just assumed that the longer the light rail line, the better.

      5. Daniel, for the nine thousand, three hundred and eighty-fifth time, Link is not “gold plated north of Sodo”. There is absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt no way to run on the surface between downtown Seattle and somewhere north of the U-District. Where that “somewhere” is is open to dispute.

        The only possible right of way acceptable for “The Spine” — remember all those people up in Shoreline and Snohomish County? — that is not a tunnel between somewhere around 60th and downtown Seattle is the express lanes on I-5. What kind of an effyouseeking bastard rail system did you want us to build, O Transit Guru?

        It wouldn’t have served your thrill-seeking kid and his buddies on Frathouse Row or any of the 10,000 other students on and around campus. It wouldn’t have served the UW Hospital, one of the most important health care facilities on the West Coast. It wouldn’t have served the burgeoning employment and residential center in the U-District — well yes, it would have served the western edge of it by putting people in the middle of eight roaring lanes of traffic, in a trench. Much like your the MI Link Station you so often bemoan.

        And it would have reduced the auto capacity of I-5 by 3/11th or 27%.

        So let’s be very clear that If there was going to be a “Spine” it was going to be in a tunnel between the end of the existing bus tunnel and somewhere around Roosevelt!

        Now, it’s true that the original plan was to surface at about 62nd in the east side freeway verge, rise up to cross Ravenna Boulevard and NE 65th Street and then duck under NE 70th and the Lake City Way off ramp. Well, the highway engineers saw the plans and said “Whoa up! Those supports were never designed to be disturbed by someone digging a trench five feet from them. If you do this we have to rebuild the entire interchange.”

        When they totted up the cost to do that and asked the tunneling company, “how much would it cost to add three-quarters of a mile with a station at Roosevelt”, the clear answer was close enough to say “Keep on drillin’, buckos!”

        So, “gold plated”? Nope; that’s nothing more than a lie.

  14. The fix is in, folks. If the County Executive and Mr. Mayor are agreed on spending $400 million of OPM, who’s going to stop them?

    What a fuster-cluck Line 1 is going to be. This certainly means that Mordor South of Pine will be dug with its five folded level changes just to reach the existing northbound platform, and eight to the mezzanine. That’s assuming that the dashed box labeled “Underground tunnel beyond connecting to existing station platform
    (2 Line and 3 Line)” refers to the southbound platform. Otherwise three back down from the mezzanine to go south.

    And what are all those wandering souls doing on the intermediate levels?

    Truly, Mordor South of Pine.

    When Atlanta and DC dig deep stations, they connect them to the mezzanine with long diagonal single-slope escalators. Mordor is going to make people ape the path between the Street and Fifth floors in the old Bon Marche (Macy’s). Ay-yi-yi!

    But there was a train up there, too, so I guess that makes it OK.

    1. Tom. Not necessarily. In 1999, in the face of a similar set of fiscal issues, Mayor Schell and Executive Sims proposed a great concept that was rejected by the ST Board, led by Nickels and suburban members dreaming of the Link spine. They proposed to focus the North King County subarea funds on Link between NE 45th Street and Mt. Baker and make bus improvement to the south and Rainier Valley corridors. ST stewed for two years, tossed management, and in 2001, opted for a south-first initial Link segment, opened in 2009. The Executive led us to sell CPS to the Convention Center and end bus operation in the DSTT prematurely; downtown was a mess in 2019; transit ridership fell significantly; the Exec led us to ST3; will folks take notice? The ST3 crisis seems as large. Will the other ST boardmembers go along with this proposal after they analyze it?

      1. The suburban members will like this, because it lowers the cost of DSTT2 by one station. They don’t care about transfers; they drive. Maybe some City Councul members will squawk, but most are not on the ST Board.

        The fix is in. It’s going to give urban transit development in the US a black eye for half a century.

      2. “It’s going to give urban transit development in the US a black eye for half a century.”

        It won’t be noticed among the even worse transit in 85% of the US.

      3. “The suburban members will like this, because it lowers the cost of DSTT2 by one station. They don’t care about transfers; they drive. Maybe some City Councul members will squawk, but most are not on the ST Board.

        “The fix is in. It’s going to give urban transit development in the US a black eye for half a century.”

        Tom, if the suburban subareas (which are basically the other four) are on the hook for 12.5% of $2.2 billion and my cost estimates are even remotely correct and well above $2.2 billion reducing stations and the cost of DSTT2 really won’t save the other subareas any money. After $2.2 billion the tab is all N. King Co. Otherwise Harrell and Constantine would not be doing these gymnastics to raise a measly $400 million (in ST and WSBLE terms).

        East King Co. can afford its contribution. I don’t think the three other subareas can, so talk about a perfect defense for them. Pierce has $1,2 billion in the bank if it walks away from ST, and Sounder S. ridership is down big. East King Co. trains will double frequency in one of the tunnels, even though you are correct eastsiders won’t be on those trains to Seattle, so I guess Seattleites and the other subareas will have to figure out who gets which tunnel.

        Al has been right about this from the beginning. We all know who will get the screw job. The folks with non-segregated outdoor surface stations in S. Seattle, Pierce and S. King Co. East Link will use DSTT1 because north Seattle wants the extra frequencies, and Dow would prefer to ride with those folks.

        Yes, the fix is in, but not really. Dow and Harrell got blindsided by the effective campaign from the CID using racism, and I am sure (after the editorial in today’s Seattle Times noting a poll by the DSA and Chamber found Harrell around 50 points more popular than the Seattle Council which is a point or two more popular than Pol Pot with Seattle voters) the business interests downtown and in SLU have been driving the DSTT2 train from the beginning, anywhere else but near them.

        A long time ago I pointed out downtown Seattle used to bring in 2/3 of Seattle’s tax revenue (and a ton for King Co.), which of course reduced the tax burden, including property taxes, for all the other Seattle residents, and that cash is existential for Harrell. Progressives sometimes think money just grows on trees.

        Seattle is just not in a position right now where it can close down streets in the downtown core for 5-10 years. Somehow Seattle HAS to figure out how to get folks back to downtown, work and shop, and those folks mainly drive and have gotten awfully use to not going to Seattle but somewhere else. Those habits are not easy to reverse, especially with the endless bad publicity about downtown Seattle.

        If anyone on this blog thinks Dow and Harrell and the ST and King Co. Boards can get into the development game in downtown Seattle in 2023-2033 and make a net $400 million with publicly built buildings they are crazy. I just got back from skiing with a couple of commercial developers in downtown, and although long term they are still hopeful right now things are dead. There is zero financing.

        Look at Link, and look at the Convention Center (that King Co. had to loan $100 million to complete), exploding costs for the station at 130th, and the huge cost overruns all funded by more taxes. All that first-year, business municipal 101 gobbleygook about “capturing value” and “leverage” sounds like Balducci. You really think Balducci is going to survive in the development game in one of the worst rebounding downtowns in the U.S. after her stint on the ST Board?

        King Co. could sell its downtown properties, and so could Seattle, but those buildings will not be cheap to tear down and replace. Hence the hole in the ground across from city hall that has been there for ten years in one of the best economies for urban development. It isn’t the land that is valuable so much.

        But then that means county and city workers are not coming back downtown, but Dow is banking on others to return? The properties alone are not worth a fraction of $400 million, especially in this market, and that is all of KC’s money, not ST’s or Seattle’s. You would think even Dow would understand that if he can sell King Co. buildings in downtown Seattle because they are permanently shut down, including a courthouse they just spent $100 million on, maybe the value of those properties isn’t so great, and Harrell should (and I think does) that is a much bigger problem than a train tunnel no one wants near them).

        What this debacle highlights is the risk of having the county exec. and Seattle mayor both on the ST Board. There are no checks and balances. An independent county exec. would never agree to start a fire sale for downtown properties to fund WSBLE or DSTT2, and all I can hope is the rest of King Co. objects.

        Seattle can do whatever it wants with WSBLE on its dime, and ironically the suburbanites you really are referring to (accurately) on the eastside will get the better tunnel (DSTT1) because of our trains but won’t be using them.

        Let’s see the details on projects, funding, costs, and profit in Constantine’s and Harrell’s plan when it comes out. My guess is a bank wouldn’t touch a project with those phony assumptions in a million years, and I think Dow will have to structure any King Co. contribution as a loan, like the Convention Center.

        Seattle apparently according to the Times will have a $250 budget deficit next budget, Harrell wants to hire 500 new cops, and the bridges are a ticking time bomb, so the only place I see the $400 million is in the 2024 renewal of Move Seattle. As I predicted a long time ago, for WSBLE to have any chance, renewal of Move Seattle will have to go 100% to WSBLE, and be a whole lot bigger than the current levy. Maybe then Seattle voters will finally take a hard look at levies and realize it isn’t all free money, and if you waste a dollar on a bad project (and Move Seattle only funded 50% of the promised projects because that is government construction) then you lose a dollar for a good project.

        Like the “realignment”, we are talking about political smoke and mirrors, like reducing carbon emissions to zero, but in 2050. There isn’t the ST funding in N. KC for WSBLE or DSTT2. Never was, before the pandemic.
        That is the reality. Cities and counties don’t have $400 million in “uncaptured value” lying around. DSTT2 is very bad transit, especially with no midtown station, but basically the subarea (and three other subareas) can’t afford either. Maybe that will be the salvation in the end, but all Dow is worried about is running for governor.

      4. “East Link will use DSTT1 because north Seattle wants the extra frequencies”

        It doesn’t just “want” the extra frequencies: it has the highest ridership and density of non-downtown areas. And because of a quirk of geography, it has relatively flst east-west topography, so it has more opportunities for people to make crosstown trips and take feeders to Link — AND THEY DO. So it needs double frequency for capacity. It’s also a fitting reward because middle-class people are more likely to take transit there.

        Higher ridership continues with Lynnwood, but this must be compared with the other suburbs than with North Seattle. The north end is more geographically constrained and has fewer north-south highways west of Lake Washington, so people funnel into a few straight roads and experience more congestion than people in the east and south. This also translates into higher transit ridership, to escape the bottlenecks. And its income is in between South King County and the Eastside, so it has higher ridership than the Eastside.

        But wait, there’s more. North Seattle has multiple urban centers and a lot of jobs and businesses that Snohomish residents go to. There’s nothing comparable in the south end. In the Eastside the only comparison is Bellevue is between Issaquah and Seattle. But there’s nothing around Issaquah except exurban Sammamish and the rural Snoqualmie Valley towns. North of Lynnwood is Everett and Marysville.

        So for all those reasons, it makes sense to have double frequency in Capitol Hill, North Seattle, Shoreline, and Lynnwood, than on other extensions. It’s less clear where to end double-frequency. I’d say Lynnwood or Ash Way. ST thinks Mariner. Both of those are south of Everett.

      5. “You really think Balducci is going to survive in the development game in one of the worst rebounding downtowns in the U.S. after her stint on the ST Board?”

        Balducci is mostly a suburban representative. She was Bellevue mayor and city councilmember before she went to the county council. You keep saying Bellevue is doing things right and eating Seattle’s lunch. Many Eastsiders still think Balducci is one of the best politicians they have. So no, I don’t think she’ll get especially blamed for downtown Seattle’s problems or ST’s problems.

      6. Daniel, you said Seattle has to figure out a way to get people back to downtown to work and shop. If you were mayor of Seattle, what are some things you would do to try to achieve that goal?

      7. Mike, the point I was trying to make is there is a big difference between King Co. and/or Seattle selling closed and unused buildings and properties in downtown Seattle vs. developing them, which is a very difficult business even in good times. Especially today. Balducci’s tenure on the KC and ST Boards has not been successful IMO, and she is my KC rep. I have followed her career and don’t believe she has the sophistication sitting on the KC Council and ST Board to get into the development game, and ST projects prove that.

        We will have to see the details and assumptions Dow and Bruce are making to “capture” $400 million” in untapped and unrealized revenue downtown. If the goal is to simply accept county and municipal workers won’t ever be returning to work in offices downtown so those buildings can be sold, the amount realized for old, vacant buildings will be low, a fraction of $400 million.

        What is scarier to me is seeing Dow and Harrell basically acknowledging county and municipal workers will never return to offices in downtown Seattle so those properties can be sold. In that case why are building a second transit tunnel in downtown Seattle? I have been saying for a long time the region is deurbanizing, but now Constantine and Harrell are acknowledging the same. They should have sold those city and county buildings pre-pandemic.

        If the goal somehow is the county or city will transform those old buildings into gleaming brand-new buildings and fill them with non-county and non-city workers and make $400 million, I don’t see it. They could never get private financing for such projects with the vacancy and occupancy rates in downtown Seattle today. Even if they did, the revenue from King Co.’s properties belongs to all of King Co., not Seattle or DSTT2.

        That is why I think the most Dow can do is a loan, like the convention center, at market rates, which for the convention center was low but is much higher today. But I don’t see the KC Board approving that. These loans are not gifts. Seattle will have to raise the $400 million (or whatever DSTT2 costs above $2.2 billion) either to fund this new station or pay back the loans to fund the new station.

        I just think the idea that King Co. and Seattle will have to redevelop their old buildings in order to “recapture” $400 million in revenue to build a mega Pioneer Sq. station (but not a midtown station) is so outside the lines of what was promised in ST 3 or any kind of normal transit funding paradigm, I think it borders on being silly.

        Figure out how much the N. KC subarea has and will have in ST revenue (and be honest about the ability of other subareas to contribute to DSTT2), honestly price projects which based on the 130th station means about double any past project cost estimates (like DSTT2), and then approve transit projects within that budget that the stakeholders will accept, including doing nothing. Stop with the “realignments” and development schemes when the region as a whole is now over $150 billion for the ST boondoggle.

      8. Double frequency makes sense going north for the reasons you mentioned. The core of our system is really from the south end of downtown to the U-District. As you go farther north, you get diminishing returns. You still get more riders, but it costs more. Ridership per mile is essentially the same as ridership per hour of service. From that standpoint, the logical endpoints are U-District, 145th, and Lynnwood. In each case, the ridership per mile goes down after that. Unfortunately, we don’t have turnbacks at all those stops. UW has one, but it is nowhere near as good as the U-District. That pretty much leaves Northgate and Lynnwood as the logical endpoints. You could potentially have both, which is a big possibility if we run short on money.

        For example, let’s say in the middle of the day the trains are running every ten minutes to the East Side. As they go up north, they are running every five minutes. This continues to Northgate, where one train ends. Then you have one train going north to Lynnwood. Half the time the train keeps going, half the time it stops there. That means 20 minutes service from Everett. You might be thinking “But Ross, that is worse than the buses now!”.

        Yep. It is sad, but all too common. It takes a lot of money to run trains. If you don’t have many riders, you have trouble running them often. I’m not saying this will happen; I’m saying it is a very good possibility.

      9. The initial operational model for East Link was to have trains go to Lynnwood peak hours and Northgate off-peak. Later all trains were extended to Lynnwood believing it would need the capacity. It’s a judgment call where to end the double frequency, and it’s hard to say because ridership attenuates gradually, and different people have different values on how full trains should get. There’s also an argument that if you can afford to run frequent service further, you should, because reducing wait times is good in itself.

        Ending double-frequency at UW would be bad: then nobody in North Seattle would have access to it. When Link only went to UW in the interim, it meant that everybody was short of where the businesses and apartments and transfers were.

  15. having issues posting anything to the blog right now… nothing is appearing…

    1. This comment was intended to be a response to the discussion above about DSTT2 but it won’t show up there.

      Dow is a popular county executive on his 4th term who chairs the ST Board. He and Mayor Harrell have obviously been cooking up this plan for a while. It looks like the fix is in. This plan is where the energy has been. Not on building the best possible transit system. Who is going to champion some politically volatile alternate approach in Seattle? Is Bellevue going to lead the charge? Pierce County? Unlikely.

      The real estate development aspect of Dow’s “Civic Campus” plan is a fine idea. That area should be massively overhauled, but DSTT2 is not required in order to do that.

      There is an existing entrance to the existing Pioneer Square Station next to the giant hole at 4th/James. Just make the entrance to Pioneer Square a lot bigger and more appealing and accessible, integrate a lift up to 4th and 5th Ave. in the new development and call it done.

      DSTT2 is obviously politically expedient as a catalyst, but that political expediency comes with two extremely large costs: (1) Destroying value in the transit system we’ve already built, as described here (2) Blowing billions of dollars, some of which we don’t have, that we could have spent on something useful.

      If I ran the zoo, we would just cancel West Seattle Link and make the best possible all-electric BRT system that uses the West Seattle Bridge and SR 99, with a tunnel express to SLU. That is not going to happen with the ST3 the voters passed and Dow leading the charge.

      But if we insist on building West Seattle Link we would be far better off interlining into the existing DSTT as we keep writing here. It’s an order of magnitude cheaper, with lower impacts, and a better rider experience. The case for this is not esoteric; it can fit on a postcard.

      We should (but probably will not) build Ballard Link as an automated stub line that serves Westlake and carries on to serve First Hill.

      We should cancel DSTT2 and leave CID intact. But even if we did insist on building DSTT2, we should not do it in this way, sending trains from Rainier Valley and Sea-Tac into it, whether there is a Dow Constantine Station or not. We’d be better off making Ballard – West Seattle a separate automated line instead of building huge stations served by infrequent trains that are expensive to run in perpetuity.

      I’ve supported ST’s mission since day one, but at this point, I’d rather see see all of ST3 up in flames than to spend the next two decades building the asinine plan that is on the table now.

      I don’t feel I can do much about this but hopefully leave some trace for the next generation to realize that not everyone at in this era was dumb.

      1. Yes in all details, except that the current plan is already that West Seattle trains will use the existing tunnel. You don’t have to advocate for that.

        Better to advocate — as you do — trashing the West Seattle spur entirely, though then where do far-north trains turn around? Trains all the way from Everett can’t go very far south.

      2. I pretty much agree with you, Mr Dubman. I think many other regulars rationally also feel this way.

        I think the systemic change that is needed is the structure of ST oversight generally. Even if the Pioneer Square deep tunnel mega maze moves forward, there are many more extra funding and design decisions ahead. Plus, it is a significant change in how riders transfer which means that the DEIS will have to be reopened or some powerful entity could successfully litigate the DEIS.

        So perhaps these structural changes are needed:
        1. Create a respected Riders Experience Committee to recommend station circulation in addition to a Stakeholders Committee. Nothing should go to the Board without the rider experience being made clear. Include wheelchair, blind and deaf members as well as those with children, arthritis, and those with enhanced fears of being safe while riding.
        2. Change the composition of the ST Board. There have been many discussions of how to do it but no elected official openly wants to abdicate their spot. So, the next obvious solution is to determine how to add or change the Board composition to include members that know how to both plan and operate an effective rail transit system.

        A legacy problem is that Link is still a “fabulous dream” that is somewhere in an idealized future to many Board members and the public. Many that post here are gradually visioning the awful reality of how the public will use Link in 2040. It may take until 2026 or after (excepting no more further delays) for the excitement of ribbon cutting delays to give way to the ugly day-to-day reality of running a rail transit system like those in NYC or Chicago. In fact, the longer it takes to open extensions, the longer the Board can keep the vibe in the “fabulous dream” mode.

      3. That’s right… West Seattle trains are intended to use DSTT2. It’s the Rainier Valley trains that get booted out (for no good reason!)

        But the existing connection from Rainier Valley to the existing DSTT is proposed to remain, right? Would the current plans physically prevent us from interlining the 3 lines in DSTT1 in the distant future like we could have done from the start, once we realize how badly we screwed up the transfers and want to make the best of it years hence?

        Trains from Everett are slated to turn around in West Seattle. They could turn around at Stadium, SODO, somewhere in there.

      4. Above, I meant to agree with Tom that West Seattle trains would use the *existing* DSTT (not DSTT2).

        Which seems to retain the physical possibility of having Eastside and RV lines stay in existing DSTT to have 3 lines in one tunnel, with or without DSTT2, if we decided to do that down the line, as it were.

      5. @Tom Terrific

        Trains from Everett could turn around at sodo if need be. I mean it’s probably what they’ll do before the West Seattle/Ballard tunnel opens anyways.

      6. Daniel at least half of the redevelopment is going to be housing! That’s exactly what downtown Seattle needs. Smoke some of that.

        So far as how the other subareas will vote, since indeed it won’t matter to them economically, of course they’ll vote with the County Executive. How obvious is that?

        And Dow isn’t going to be riding with any folks. He only gets on Link for photo-ops, so just drop the race baiting. It doesn’t grok from a five attorneys Hibernian family unless directed at Cromwell.

        Mike, the “other 85%” of transit in the US doesn’t cost $100 billion dollars. It will be “noticed”, and it will be a punching bag for flatulent windbags across the Nation.

      7. WL, yes, I have been advocating use of the outer loop at Forest Street for a decade. However, nobody before you and I think Martin has actually read and understood how good an opportunity it is. There are (obviously) crew facilities there, and it’s all signaled with power operated turnouts.

        So the train exits SoDo after clearing, goes up the ramp and takes the right-hand turnout from the elevated structure to the MF, goes down the ramp and is routed into the outer loop which is very rarely used. It continues around to the crew stand and stops for a break. The driver re-boards and activates the train straight ahead, it goes under the main line and up the northbound exit ramp to merge with the main line just before SoDo station.

        No reversing, no walking, no double seating.

        Maybe it’s too obvious???

        So far as trains from the north turning back there, West Seattle is scheduled to come online as a stub four years before Everett trains start running. There will be only two lines during the period that Link ends at Lynnwood, Line 1 from Federal Way — now expected to be Angle Lake or perhaps Midway because of the Not So Grand Canyon — to Lynnwood and Line 2 from Redmond to Lynnwood.

        IF DSTT2 is built, when it opens Line 1 will be diverted into it. If West Seattle has been completed by then Line 3 trains will start running from Lynnwood or farther north to West Seattle. If West Seattle is not built, they can turn at Forest Street.

      8. Jonathan,

        It’s a good question. The current plans have the West Seattle line on its own elevated structure down the middle of and pre-empting the busway. Would there be some sort of ramp between the at-grade Line 1 and the elevated Line 3? Maybe not. Line 1 is supposed to portal into DSTT2 about Massachusetts Street, and Line 3 is supposed to “step down” about the same place. The diagrams show the tunnel portal a bit south of where the elevated will end.

        Of course it is absolute folly to build an elevated structure for Line 3 which will never have trains more often than once every ten minutes any time before the heat death of the Universe. It would be simple to interline Line 1 and Line 3 between Forest and a diversion to the tunnel portal. The RV is never going to have trains more often than every six minutes so they can be merged easily.

        The obvious thing is just to have a level junction at the top of the ramp south of Lander. The trackway flattens out just before it curves into Forest, so just cut a turnout into both tracks and a diamond across the southbound track to the RV. Yes, occasionally a train from West Seattle will have to wait for a southbound inbound from the Rainier Valley.

        If that’s a “bridge too far” for ST, there is room between the structure and the Franz factory to run on the surface if that block of the bikeway is sacrificed.

        Either way Lander and Holgate would have to overpass the now busier trackway, and Lower Royal Brougham would have to be closed if both lines used DSTT1.

        But it’s not impossible to see a future in which they interline down the busway into DSTT1.

  16. the sub heading of the Urbanist piece analyzing the Constantine-Harrell suggestion uses the term “unvetted”. it reminded me of 2009. the Urbanist adds some estimated transfer times. In 2009, this was done for the SR-99 deep bore; it had been unvetted. Sims and Nickels did not want the elevated; Gregoire did not want surface and transit. So, all three went with the unvetted deep bore. Sims got a Metro local option included of a one percent MVET included in the agreement; but Gregoire backed out of that mid way through the 2009 legislative session. Metro still has not gotten its local option. In 2015, as the statewide freeway package was assembled, the ask from Executive Constantine shifted to ST3 from Metro local option.

  17. Let me just put in a plug for actually walking in LA. Los Angeles gets a bad rap for walking, and much of Southern California is heavily car dominated. But there are immense areas, starting with the core of the city from downtown past UCLA all the way to Santa Monica beach that range from good to great for exploration on foot. The weather is usually nice.. The average density in Los Angeles is considerably greater than Seattle, even today, by far, and there are a lot of businesses spread around, at least below the ritzy hills. The rail system provides a lot of geographic coverage now and continues to expand. What LA could really use is more public parks near where most people live.

    1. Even as a tourist, LA is much more interesting in foot. I mean what’s the use of just driving around Rodeo Drive or Hollywood Blvd or Venice or Pasadena?

      I’m really looking forward to how the Wilshire/ Fairfax Station area matures once opened next year. There is so much to see around there!

      1. Well, if it’s anything like how our Othello and Columbia City station areas have matured, the Wilshire/Fairfax station area will get micro-transit so neighborhood residents don’t have to walk.

      2. Wilshire/ Fairfax is where some of the best LA museums are — La Brea Tar Pits, LA County Museum of Art (a huge collection), the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum and the Peterson Auto museum. It’s also just a few blocks to Farmer’s Market and The Grove (an upscale shopping center with Nordstrom).

        It’s also very close to Park La Brea. Park La Brea is a giant multi family development built in the 1940’s. With 4,255 units located in eighteen 13-story towers and thirty-one two-story “garden apartment buildings”, it is the largest housing development in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River.

      3. In 15 years, from 1990 to 2005, LA Metro Rail built the Blue Line, Red Line, Green Line, Gold Line, and Orange Line. In 14 years, Sound Transit built Line 1.

      4. Sam, all of those were built in linear ROW that LA Metro was able to acquire wholesale, correct?

      5. @Sam

        Los Angeles population is much larger I’d be shocked if they didn’t build more rail lines given the same start

      6. Speaking of LA Metro, I just read Ed Begley Jr and his daughter took a public bus+Metro Rail to the Oscars. How cool. Locally, in all my years of taking transit, I have never seen a single politician, transit official, or local celebrity on any bus or train I was riding on. However, I once saw a local tv weatherman waiting for a bus. It might have been Jeff Renner, but I forget.


    2. We never visited LA but now we have family and employment connections there, so have been going every few months for the past year. LA itself certainly is not the car hellscape that I was expecting, and has plenty of bike lanes even. On top of that, their bus network is able to follow a grid much better than Seattle’s, which enables easy transfers outside of major destinations like transit centers and downtown. They have bus routes miles from downtown that are running every 8-10 minutes off-peak, and you can transfer to other routes that have similar frequency – the way grids and frequency and transfers are supposed to work! Even a year ago, those buses were packed, and I hope they’re even better-used now.

      There are problems, of course: many neighborhoods are cul-de-sacs so walkability is an issue depending on where you want to go; in many places even those frequent buses don’t seem to have single priority or BAT lanes; and the surrounding communities, especially Orange County, don’t have the same progressive attitude as LA proper does. None of that caused us to regret our all-transit/walking transportation approach, though.

  18. Twin Transit in Centralia decided to extend a route into Kelso. This caught Three Rivers Transit by surprise and they are now planning to discontinue their route north to Castle Rock to avoid unnecessary duplicate service. There is talk of extending a route over to Lexington, in the far northwest of the Kelso-Longview community.

    1. Great news, Glenn. Thanks!

      With the van that runs from Salmon Creek to Longview and this to get on to Centralia, it’s now possible to take transit all the way from Portland to Anacortes. It’ll take more than a day unless the train is used from Centralia to Olympia, but it can be done.

      1. It’s a bit annoying places like La Center and downtown Ridgefield remain without even occasional express buses though. Maybe someday.

  19. Another month goes by, and another month of YOY double digit home price drops in Mercer Island, while prices in the city of Seattle mostly holds steady with 1-2% changes.

  20. https://www.redfin.com/city/16163/WA/Seattle/housing-market



    There definitely is a price reduction in Bellevue and on Mercer Island for homes sold, as opposed to all homes, where prices had gotten really out of control.

    “In February 2023, the median listing home price in Mercer Island, WA was $2.5M, trending up 24.8% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $775. The median home sold price was $1.6M.” (The Redfin link has the average sales price on MI at $1.84 million https://www.redfin.com/city/11460/WA/Mercer-Island/housing-market

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Mercer-Island_WA/overview (Also noted the sales to listing price ratio on MI was 100%, which means houses sold for the asking price or more). At one point on MI the average SFH sales price had gotten to over $4 million.

    The average home price in Seattle is $834,536, down 2.2%. https://www.zillow.com/home-values/16037/seattle-wa/ compared to an average sales price around $770,000. With such a low number of houses being sold or listed the average sales price is easily influenced, month by month, especially if it includes condos.

    Even more interesting is the huge drop in permit applications on Mercer Island for new housing. Builders are not building, SFH or multi-family, and that is happening throughout the region.

    There are a lot of reasons. But if you look at the data the most concerning metric in the three links above is the steep drop in homes sold and listed across the board. There are many reasons for this.

    1. Many of us are sitting on 3% or lower mortgages, and to move or move up would require a 7% mortgage so you get less house. So few are selling. That means renters who normally move to home ownership are continuing to rent, putting pressure on the rental market.

    2. Tech stock valuations are way down, which is often the down payment.

    3. High construction loan rates, and high mortgage interest rates.

    4. Much lower population growth than estimated.

    5. Layoffs in the tech sector which makes people wary of buying a house in this area.

    6. A lot of construction workers have moved to areas with more work.

    7. People are moving to less expensive areas of the country, and just about every area is lower cost across the board because of the high AMI in this area.

    I have been predicting a drop in home prices and sales prices for some time, just from rising mortgage rates, so am not surprised. The bigger drop on the eastside is due to the crazy increases over the last few years, and the houses are more expensive so stock price declines and the layoffs in the tech industry have a bigger effect.

    Declining housing prices are usually good for renters and buyers, unless the lower sales price is offset by higher mortgage interest rates in the monthly payment, or buyers cannot migrate out of renting putting pressure on the rental market. Lower priced house, still higher monthly mortgage payment. However the predictions on rents in Seattle is they will increase 20% over the next two years due to rising costs for property owners.

    Since my wife has no intent of selling our house on MI I take increases and decreases in housing prices with a grain of salt. Those are mostly for investors and builders (and banks). We bought our current house in 2009 and it took until around 2015 for the value to return to the price we paid. Then prices went crazy, and now they are hopefully returning to normal. The reality is all the zoning bills are just smoke and mirrors and have nothing to do with creating affordable housing prices.

    The key for me is our very low mortgage interest rate, unlikely to be seen for at least another decade. Of course, rising property taxes basically consume any savings we got from a lower interest rate.

  21. The Conversation bus piece is short and pretty good. It is odd for it to praise Sound Transit. In Sound Move, ST began it bus network and added some very promising center access ramps and stations (e.g., Mountlake Terrace, NE 128th Street, NE 6th Street, 142nd Place SE, South 317th Street; WSDOT added and expanded center HOV lanes, SR-522 BAT lanes, and a network of HOV lanes. But overall, ST has been a disappointing operator with long headways. It has a simple fare structure and is within ORCA. The promise of Route 522 has been followed by long off peak headway and degraded span and access. They seem to have been starving operations to favor capital construction that is slow any way. ST was reluctant to use the MT station. The evening spans of routes 522, 545, and 554 disappoint. Federal Way service was not restructured around the center access ramp and FWTC. Route 574 headways are long. Route 545 has not been truncated at UW Link and continues its odd a.m. deviation to Bellevue Avenue. It is awaiting the big splash of Stride to use faster fare collection. The MCI over the road coaches have loooong dwell times.

    1. In a national comparison, ST Express is impressive, as is a multi-agency regional pass. Not many metros have half-hourly express buses day and evening between many of their cities. Those that do have that level of transit usually have much more extensive subway and commuter rail networks, and that’s only a handful of cities. Chicago I’m told, while the El reaches a few suburbs and Metra reaches more, the suburban bus network is all geared toward going to Chicago, so it’s difficult to get from one suburb to another.

      Non-local observers don’t tend to understand all the details about Link projects and regional transit service, so I’m not surprised of they missed some of the flaws in it over the past decade. Even RMTransit missed something when he was critiquing Link at Westlake. He rightly pointed out that Link is lower-capacity and more expensive and less frequent than it could have been, but he said it could never go more than every 8 minutes, when it will go every 4 minutes when Line 2 is complete. Other outside observers make similar mistakes or don’t notice all the flaws.

      And then, while our transit network has a lot of flaws, it’s still more effective mobility than what 80% of the country has, where you can’t just get a bus every 15 minutes between a lot of villages, or every 30 minutes to a suburb after 7pm, or even to a suburb at all.

      1. Metro buses in Seattle could also do more with inter-neighborhood travel, like Sound Transit does with inter-suburb travel. It’s kind of ridiculous that there is no Metro bus connection between say Fremont and anywhere on Queen Anne Hill even though both neighborhoods have many bus routes themselves. Many of the Seattle bus routes still all go to Downtown and 3rd Ave before transferring elsewhere, to the detriment of the entire system since the pandemic. I think a rerouting of the entire system that allows for more neighborhood to neighborhood travel without going through downtown arterials would be nice.

    1. Martin is preparing an article on this, so please hold further comments until then. I noticed the hub video but didn’t realize it was the same video as the Link one.

  22. The urbanist… I love how they all present themselves as experts and professionals in burban planning. They all seem to be long on passion and short on like you know a job…

    1. The author of one of the linked Urbanist articles is an actual urban planner in the region. The other has master’s degree in public administration. Sounds to me like they are, in fact, experts and professionals.

    2. The two authors I’ve met were planners.

      But I try to judge people’s arguments but what they say and how well reasoned it is, not who they are. I recommend it.

  23. Well, State v. Meredith was just decided in favor of Meredith. While no specific directives were given, reading the decision makes it pretty clear that the present method of ORCA/LINK fare enforcement is indeed unconstitutional, as I suspected.

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