Sound Transit:

Rider Experience & Operations Committee Meeting and Executive Committee Meeting (typically first Thursday of the month) are cancelled.

Community Oversight Panel Meeting: Wednesday, July 12, 5:30pm – 8:15pm. details

System Expansion Committee Meeting: Thursday, July 13, 1:30pm – 5:00pm. details

Board of Directors Meeting: Thursday, July 27, 1:30pm – 4:00pm. details

King County Metro:

Transit Advisory Commission Meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm. details

Regional Transit Committee Meeting: Wednesday, July 19, 3:00 PM. details

More below the fold.

Community Transit:

Board of Directors Meeting: Thursday, July 6, 3:00pm. details

Pierce Transit:

Board of Commissioners Meeting: Monday, July 10, 4:00 PM. details

Everett Transit:

Transportation Advisory Committee: Thursday, July 20, 8:00 AM. details

Puget Sound Regional Council:

Transportation Policy Board Meeting: Thursday, July 13, 9:30am – 11:30am. details

Seattle City Council:

Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 9:30 am. details

King County Mobility Coalitions:

South King County Mobility Coalition Bimonthly Meeting: Thursday, July 13: 10:30am – 12:00pm. details

Eastside Easy Rider Collaborative Bimonthly Meeting: Tuesday, July 25, 1:00pm – 2:30 pm. details

Washington State Transportation Commission:

Monthly Meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 9:00am – 5:00pm and Wednesday, July 19, 9:00am – 12:30pm. Items include updates on the Columbia River I-5 Bridge Replacement Project, Reconnecting South Park, WSDOT’s Toll Equity study, and King County’s Metro Flex on-demand transit service. details.

Other Events

Sound Transit is hosting a number of informational and outreach events this month for West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions. See their calendar for more details.

West Seattle Link information booth at West Seattle Summer Fest: Friday, July 14, 10:00am – 8:00pm; Saturday, July 15, 10:00am – 8:00pm; and Sunday, July 16, 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Ballard Link information booth at the Ballard Seafood Fest: Saturday, July 15, 11:00am – 8:00pm and Sunday, July 16, 11:00am – 7:00pm.

Ballard Link information booth at the CID Celebration: Saturday, July 22, 11:00am – 6:00pm.

Finally, Ballard Link: South Lake Union Stations webinars: Thursday, July 20, 12:00pm – 1:00pm and Tuesday, July 25, 5:30pm – 6:30pm.

Please add any relevant events we’ve missed in the comments below.

This is an open thread.

62 Replies to “Transportation Events July 2023”

  1. The Pierce Transit study session earlier in the day will cover in detail the BRT project along Pacific Avenue/SR7. It is at 3p on July 10.

    The project is in serious disarray.

    1. At this point I’d rather PT spend the money on improving transit frequency across the system than BRT. So that 15 minute headways is good on most routes and that service goes till 1 AM on core routes. That’d be a better investment than this BRT.

      1. Yeah I don’t live in Pierce County so I don’t have a strong feeling about the project.

        However from afar it looks like a “rapid bus envy” vanity project in a corridor that doesn’t have much pavement to work with in the Tacoma segments. I don’t see how much faster the project would make a bus trip.

      2. Zach B

        Pierce Transit is flat broke, but I think they do OK with the limited funds that have.

        The BRT line isn’t funded by Pierce Transit, Sound Transit is paying for this crap project. Couldn’t Sound Transit just give Pierce Transit the money? Couldn’t Sound Transit just make sure Metro has enough money for drivers and buses that actually work?

      3. No, tacomee, ST can’t do those things. It was explicitly created to fund regional transit and is limited to Link, Streetcars, BRT and Express Buses between “Regional Centers” as defined by PSCOG or whatever it’s called these days.

        The legislature ensured it wouldn’t just be a piggy-bank for POBS [“Plain Old Bus Service”]

      4. “Pierce Transit is flat broke, but I think they do OK with the limited funds that have.”
        Flat Broke or unwilling to actually get more funding for operations from the local, state, or federal, i see it as the latter. I have used PT in the past off and on for a decade and the service is just quite frankly lousy compared to its neighbors. At least KCM has service on core routes after 9 PM, PT nope basically a middle finger to you if you need to use the bus after 9 PM. Get home from either SeaTac or Seattle past 11 or midnight, screw you take an expensive Uber or taxi home. If PT wants to be taken seriously as an organization they need to either be putting forth a plan to actually improve service in the next few years or just hand over the service to someone who will actually do a better job in their stead.
        If I’m being annoyed about it, it’s because I’ve seen an organization that can do so much better but the organization is unwilling to get it’s head out of the sand and be proactive in fixing their funding shortfalls.

      5. Hey Zach B,

        Please join me in the “Let’s burn down Sound Transit Crusade “. There’s only so much money in world and the tax base is only so big. With housing and homeless issues what they are currently in Pierce County, there’s absolutely no way, and I mean no way, for Pierce Transit to pass another levy for more funding. I remember the day ST3 passed overall (it failed in Pierce County) and my Tacoma city Councilperson texted me and said something like, “Well, there goes Pierce Transit service”. You shouldn’t remain a political noob forever.

        Sound Transit is a bully that beats up on poorer areas and steals tax money from them to build tiny transit rich areas… “the core”as the transit geeks call it. This leads to high density gentrification. So if you’re low income out in sticks somewhere like Spanaway…. most of your tax money for transit is spent on the Hilltop train to nowhere and your future tax money will help build a second train tunnel in downtown Seattle. Bus service? You will get less every year.

        You can’t believe that “Seattle transit advocates” actually care about Pierce County, can you? Start looking out for your own.

      6. Tom Terrific,

        Trivia Question. How many cities does the #1 bus in Pierce Country travel though? How many miles is the route? If that’s not “regional transit” what is? You know what’s not regional transit. A subway to Ballard.

        Sound Transit is absolutely not about regional transit.

      7. Isn’t ST helping fund the capital improvements for turning Line 1 into pseudo-BRT? That it can do, and if Spanaway were some category of “regional center” ST could run its own buses as an “express” overlay or replace Line 1 as the BRT. But suburban legislators put handcuffs on ST’s ability to provide “local” service anywhere.

        If you look at the ST map, Spanaway is not shown, because it’s not an incorporated municipality. There is none in that part of the District, though it’s certainly booming.

        If you want ST funds to be used for POBS around Pierce County, the first step is to secede. The second is to get your local governments there to use the remitted surplus to use the funds for PT service.

        Neither would be easy.

    2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Stream designs do not include “taking” lanes. In other words, the areas that are two lanes each direction remain two lanes each direction. They don’t remove any parking. This means that every addition of transit right-of-way involves making the street wider. This is fundamentally expensive.

      In contrast, a lot of the improvements in Seattle involve converting a general-purpose lane to a BAT or bus lane. In the case of the RapidRide G (running on Madison) the buses run in the middle of the street, which means they need three lanes. The Stream designs are similar. In these cases, even if you take a lane, you probably need to widen the street, unless the street was extremely wide to begin with and/or you can take parking. But again, that isn’t the case here. From what I can tell, they will widen the road to by two lanes in some places, and three in others.

      This gets really expensive. This is not off-board payment stations and some paint (like RapidRide E). This is a lot of widening of the street, which involves moving utilities, which can really add up. The only way to save a lot of money is to rethink the basic assumptions behind the project, which means having fewer lanes of traffic on the highway.

      At this point I’d rather PT spend the money on improving transit frequency across the system than BRT.

      I can sympathize with that way of thinking, but it is worth noting that the 1 made up a very high portion of Pierce Transit ridership before the pandemic. The ratio probably hasn’t changed much. I also think a scaled down version can still offer much the benefit. Presumably, they are value-engineering at this point, and trying to see where they can get the biggest bang for the buck. The nice thing about BRT is that it is fairly easy to modify in the future. If they insist on widening the road everywhere then it will be expensive in the future, but it isn’t like tunneling, where a station like First Hill is extremely expensive to retrofit. It is also worth pointing out that this particular capital improvement saves service time, since a bus that runs faster costs less to run. Any improvement in the near team would help the agency deal with the driver shortage (of course it is possible that by the time they finish the project, the driver shortage isn’t an issue).

      One option worth considering is to skip the detour to the Tacoma Dome. Just follow the same basic route to downtown Tacoma as the 1. This would likely save a bit of money, and be popular with the vast majority of riders. During peak, you could run an express overlay that went to the Dome (if you get enough riders to justify it).

      Another alternative is to just shift money from Tacoma Dome Link. In terms of rider time saved per dollar spent, the project (in whatever form it takes) is most likely a better value.

      1. I want to add that “taking a lane” also makes value-engineering easier. Consider the RapidRide J project (which will replace the 70). This is taking way too long, but I think it will be a big improvement. The project always had issues because of the limited street space. I would say it is more important as a bike route than a bus route, even though it is still a very important bus route. So even after eliminating the parking and leaving the roadway with one general purpose lane of traffic each direction, there is only so much they can do. Theoretically they could widen the road, but that would be very expensive. So it is not ideal. If you look at the plans, there are various sections where the bus runs with the traffic. But the designs will reduce the number of cars that can actually get on those sections. Thus traffic along those shared sections should flow relatively well, while the (general-purpose lane) bottlenecks will occur elsewhere.

        This makes it similar to how metered lanes on the freeway are supposed to work. Single occupancy drivers get delayed getting on the freeway, but once there they move quickly. Buses (and carpools) get to bypass the initial delay. (Again, that is how it is supposed to work — it clearly doesn’t, although the meters probably still help.) It is the same basic idea with much of the RapidRide J.

        RapidRide J is also a good example of how things can be built in pieces. There are areas that don’t look nearly good enough, and I fear the buses will experience the same congestion they do today. They were never quite sure what to do at the north end, and it shows. On the other hand, other areas look very good. It is easy to see it getting better, bit by bit. I just wish they would build it faster.

      2. Ross, it may be possible for Pierce Transit to take lanes in other areas, but as this project would largely operate over a state highway, that prospect quickly became a non-starter. From the beginning, the planners here aimed for gold standard median buslanes that required an expansion of the WSDOT right-of-way and utility relocations. This was popularly supported in the subarea, even though the funding was never in place to provide for such infrastructure. That the original plans got well beyond 30% is incredible. They’ve been cutting the scope back ever since, with increasing agitation from the public each time.

        While the Route 1 is the busiest of the Pierce Transit system, the numbers are gained by virtue of the high route mileage and on the relative strength of its Downtown Pacific Avenue – 6th Avenue sections, both of which are eliminated from the upgraded service. Ridership numbers fall when you get south of Pacific Lutheran University, yet the project extends the line to a new park-and-ride at the southerly margins of exurban Spanaway. It suburbanizes what had been a core city busline dating to the 1930s, Tacoma’s first. Until the new alternative concepts appeared, showing an apparent express overlay option, the project was presumed to just cancel the historic Route 1, which today provides valuable through-service within the city and across its hills.

        Sound Transit funding stipulates that Tacoma Dome be served in order to receive its cash, a consequence of the Pierce County subarea not following through on the integration of Tacoma Link into the regional light rail network. That should all be fixed with better planning, but until then the local transportation advisory boards advised Pierce Transit to select only one terminus and stick with it. Recent planning documents suggest they were moving toward a dual termini service anyhow, with one bus every ten minutes going to Tacoma Dome or Downtown Tacoma. Nothing within the Pierce Transit system justifies such complex scheduling and operations when what we need are just more buses operating our corridors more reliably.

        I strongly agree that value engineering could deliver many of the same benefits as the original project. Any value engineered project probably reflects what should have actually been a first-phase improvement to the corridor. Stop consolidation and a truncation of Route 1 at Parkland Transit Center—or 72nd Street or the Mall, who knows—could have delivered many of the timing and reliability improvements alone. Throw in TSP, BAT lanes, level boarding and off-board payment and things start to look very promising indeed.

        But untangling the project scope from its earlier promises and agreements, and still meeting the stipulations of Sound Transit and the FTA, will be a tall hurdle. And, ultimately, one has to wonder: will the end product be better at serving the public than just operating the existing Route 1 at fifteen minutes or better?

        I don’t know anymore.

      3. They are leaving 4 general purpose lanes on Pacific Avenue. Inside of Tacoma, there is no justification for this, based on AADT, not getting much over 10K a day in each direction, and substantially lower volumes north of 38th.

        This has several negative effects. First, it makes it a much more expensive project, because you need to widen the road. 2nd, it creates pushback from locally business and residents, because they are losing parking and street buffers they currently enjoy. Third, it does nothing to make the road safer and slow cars down.

        This is an extremely dangerous road. It’s designed to go 60, and because of the low traffic volumes, people do go 60, and more. This road goes through some of the poorest and lowest-resourced residential neighborhoods in Pierce County. We are currently contracting out to do a health impact assessment for the corridor. It’s a safety project, but has little or no engagement with ST, WSDOT, or the BRT project. That’s unfortunate.

        With the right kind of collaboration, and willingness to narrow and remove general-purpose lanes, this could be a massive win for Pierce County’s vision zero goals, a huge boon to communities this urban highway rips through the heart of. It would also be hugely beneficial for the design of the project. Right now it’s weaving from curb to center to curb to center willy-nilly along the corridor. Give it a straight shot and make it easy and predictable and it will benefit both safety and ridership.

      4. I don’t know if it makes any difference that the street is a state highway. I doubt there would be any push-back from WSDOT. Not with the current administration. Look at Aurora. Not only have they added bus lanes, but they just took a lane to add a secure bike lane. I would expect Seattle to eventually do more of that.

        The push-back is all local. It is the nature of the beast, unfortunately. Lots of people drive the street. Like Aurora, people view it as a street for driving, not a street for anything else. Only recently did people start looking at Aurora differently — thus the interest in shrinking the number of lanes.

      5. Ross, I believe that BAT lanes are workable along SR7, as they are on other WSDOT corridors. The median transit-exclusive lanes here did receive pushback/mitigation requests from key stakeholders.

        Doesn’t the Aurora Avenue buslane still accomodate two general purpose lanes in both directions? That’s key.

      6. @Cam — Thanks. That makes a lot of sense, and I hadn’t thought about the impact on local parking. I could easily see the thing being a big mess, which is what Troy is getting at. Even a half-assed BRT project usually yields many benefits. Buses cruise past cars stuck in traffic. That should happen to some extent, but not a lot, as the bus is forced to weave. Off-board payment and stop consolidation will help, so there is that. But it may have too much negative for the positive.

        With the right kind of collaboration, and willingness to narrow and remove general-purpose lanes, this could be a massive win for Pierce County’s vision zero goals, a huge boon to communities this urban highway rips through the heart of. It would also be hugely beneficial for the design of the project.

        Agreed. It also makes sense from a long-term standpoint. Imagine it has one lane each direction, a center turn lane, and BAT lanes on the outside. This works, but BAT lanes are not ideal, assuming traffic increases. At that point, going with center-running buses is much easier. It still isn’t cheap and easy, but it is a much smaller leap.

        The worst part is the widening of the road makes it less attractive. This approach (adding a transit or transit-ish lane instead of just taking one) is rather common and is expensive. It happens all the time with freeways. But people don’t interact with freeways the way they do a surface street. Now this street will become even less attractive (with yet another way for cars to speed). It may offer some transit benefit, but otherwise it is will actually make things worse.

      7. Cam, you’re not wrong about total traffic volumes. You’re also focusing on a different metric than the project designers and stakeholders. Right or wrong, they are concerned with peak traffic flows and how to mitigate the impacts of their disruption by the addition of buslanes.

      8. Thanks, Troy. That’s helpful.

        Are they using peak flow from before or after the rise of work-from-home?

      9. re the E Line, in Shoreline, the city had to add ROW for the sidewalks and BAT lane; they did great; they found grants.

        re the J Line, yes, it is also a bike project; they are eliminating parallel parking. On Eastlake Avenue East, the potential conflicts will be between fast cyclists and pedestrians at the bus stops; the sidewalks behind the bus humps will be narrowed. The largest flaw for the J Line is the change to the alignment in the U District; the Route 70 pathway is better for Eastlake riders; they are better connected with NE Campus Parkway, the UW campus, the business district, Link, and the bus routes; the SDOT use of the Roosevelt couplet places the route in that congestion and forces northbound riders to walk further to Link, bus transfers, the business district and the campus. So, overall travel times will increase. They are spending federal funds to degrade network connectivity.

        re PT Route 1 and SR-7, note that south of about 100th, the sidewalks are intermittent or absent.

  2. An observation and question for the gang here…

    Over the last few months I’ve been paying closer attention to the progress on the infill station at 130th for Lynnwood Link. I’ve noted how close that station is to the shoulder of I-5 and have wondered about what the noise level will be like up on the platform. Does anyone know what mitigation measures ST will employ to dampen the inevitable freeway noise for this station (or other stations that are similarly sited)? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    1. I’ve been concerned about this. I only have to point to the sound over the pedestrian bridge just south of there at Northgate (John Lewis Memorial Bridge) as a similar noisy location.

      There are mitigations like sound walls, special pavement and such. With the tracks opened at the ends some sound will however reach the platforms.

      The preliminary drawings show an entire glass wall for the length of the station and an entire metal awning for the length of the station on each side (scroll through the diagrams at the bottom):

      Of course, we are all familiar with how ST changes designs without letting the public know. They removed escalators at Lynnwood Link stations after presenting them in public meeting diagrams and the FEIS. I won’t believe the station has an appropriate mitigation until a final installation contract has begun.

      1. Thanks Al. Years ago I would have to go down to the LA area for work purposes fairly often and would use the Green/C Line at times to get back and forth between LAX and Norfolk. Norfolk was ok but those stations sitting on the 105 were loud, loud, loud. I think LA Metro has made some sound modifications since at some of the stations, like at Harbor Freeway for example, but I’m not sure how successful that turned out to be and I haven’t ridden that line since those days.

      2. The bridge is a different beast. The bridge was very expensive. Original plans were to build something even more elaborate. They ran into issues with the college, and frankly, did a very poor job in working with the college. I can dig out the article if anyone is interested. Anyway, it was a mess. They ended up scaling down the bridge, and thus making it skinnier (and noisier for people crossing). That being said, it is still a hugely successful bridge — I always see people crossing it.

        Northgate Station itself does not seem especially noisy, and I’ve been there several times (and had to wait a considerable amount of time on occasion). TIBS is one of the few stations I’ve never been to — maybe someone can comment on how noisy it is.

    2. The best mitigation is short headway and short waits so the time in the noise is short. We would have been better off with Link in the SR-99 envelope, but that choice was made in 2007-2008, now long ago.

    3. As a former regular user of the Eastgate freeway station, I would say there is no need for mitigation. The station platform will be loud but most passengers will wait no more than a few minutes.

      1. As an occasional user of the Mountlake Terrace one, I would hope that they do mitigate noise concerns if it’s anywhere close to as loud :)

        Both anecdotes, of course, but in general I would err on the side of making accommodations to noise concerns if at all possible (e.g. I would rather see the money spent on that, than beautification projects of the station itself, artwork projects, etc.)

      2. Mountlake Terrace is especially bad since the bus stop is at freeway level. In contrast, with Eastgate you are at least above the freeway (albeit not by much).

      3. Every station platform has different factors that influence noise levels. Anecdotal comparisons are appropriate to highlight the issue — but there are localized factors such as vegetation, pavement type and condition, and weather that can play a role. Monitoring at platforms is what’s needed — and ST should have a team with a budget to measure and mitigate platform noise. Do they?

        It’s notable that the Sound Transit reporting on noise that I can find has been all about adjacent land uses and not the platforms. It’s just one more incidence of riders treated as second class citizens by ignoring the issue in studies. It’s okay to harm the ears of Link riders I guess.

        I also found what appears to be a graduate student’s research on the platform noise topic. It appears that the fixtures on the platform can make noise worse — including the awnings! The topic seems to need lots more study generally.

        Here is the only other study that showed up in my Google search — again from LA.

      4. “Monitoring at platforms is what’s needed — and ST should have a team with a budget to measure and mitigate platform noise. Do they?”

        Al, the solution on MI was a noise variance to allow platform noise levels above federal threshold levels. Much cheaper than mitigation. I am not sure what more can be done for the MI station because it is 35′ below grade surrounded by concrete walls with 8 lanes of freeway travel at full speed literally a few feet away. The noise levels are VERY high from the cars and trucks. Like deafening, according to federal standards.

        “I also found what appears to be a graduate student’s research on the platform noise topic. It appears that the fixtures on the platform can make noise worse — including the awnings! The topic seems to need lots more study generally”.

        This is interesting. One of the odd things about the platforms on MI (which are very narrow) is only half are covered. Maybe it was the noise levels. I guess the choice was get wet from the rain or go deaf.

        Islanders requested solid fencing around the street level which included I-90 to lower admittedly mostly car noise reaching the street but ST said that was WSDOT’s issue, and newer quiet concrete for I-90 but WSDOT so far is still scheduled for 2037 for that (which may be when East Link opens), and also suggested a lid over I-90 and the platforms (which could double as parking), but so far the “mitigation” has been a noise variance.

        Moral of the story? Don’t sign off on the SEPA permits if you are an Island in the middle of a lake East Link must pass through without a written mitigation agreement, which for MI could have been the moon like the ultimate design for I-90. The positive side is I think the MI station will be so unpleasant that folks will use S. Bellevue if there is park and ride space. Much more pleasant, more parking, more space, better bus service (the 554), just a much better station all around.

    4. I’ve walked by there a few times. It is loud, but not especially so. The freeway is in a bit of ditch, while the station will be above the ground. This makes it similar to Northgate, as well as a few of the freeway bus stations. My guess is they will do whatever it is they did there.

    5. I’ll add that ST is building a lot of similar stations. Judkins Park and Mercer Island Station are literally in the middle of the freeway. TIBs, Northgate, 130th, 145th, Overlake Village and a lot of other stations are next to it. There has been some work to mitigate the noise — whether it is enough is debatable. That being said, it would not surprise me if there is some standard that has to be met. One nice thing about noise reduction is that it isn’t that difficult to add after the fact. This makes it different than station location.

      In a few years, when Federal Way, Lynnwood and East Link are complete, it would be interesting to go around with noise meters and check out each station (that is close to the freeway).

  3. Mercer Island’s station platform sits between 8 lanes of I-90. It is 35′ below grade with concrete walls on each side of I-90. It needed a noise variance to comply. The station platform is very narrow. ST installed angled sound “panels” between I-90 and the station platform but there are gaps. MI had hoped WSDOT would accelerate this part of I-90 for the new quieter concrete like 520 got but WSDOT is sticking with the 2037 resurfacing date.

    I haven’t viewed the station platform, but ST gave the MI Council a tour. From what I am told it is very loud — especially with any kind of truck or certain motorcycles — and very narrow, and for some reason only half the platform is covered from rain or the elements.

    The stairs down are quite steep on each entrance, and narrow (maybe because there are two entrances), and there is an escalator for the up stairs. Otherwise it is too steep for many to walk up the stairs. I am not sure if there is an elevator.
    According to the councilmembers I spoke to it was not a pleasant or welcoming station platform, and was clearly designed before ST decided to make MI a bus intercept (which the pandemic and Issaquah changed), and the ST rep giving the tour was a jerk (although the ST rep. who gave tours of the roundabout and different planting plans was very nice).

    1. Here is the 2016 presentation on the final MI Station design:

      The Google street views and serials look consistent with it.

      The “main” entrance and closest to shopping is the east one at 80th Ave. It has escalators in both directions as well as an elevator. Note that Mercer Island is privileged to get a down escalator, as many Link stations don’t have one going down. An additional elevator and one escalator (probably going up) are shown at 77th Ave. Again Mercer Island will have two elevators available to the center platform which is more than lots of other stations.

      I don’t get the faux awning at the western end of the platform. It’s framed but open air. Hello pigeons and other birds! There is a skill to design station fixtures to discourage birds and it’s a common problem around the world. There are dozens of pretty rail stations around the world defaced by either pigeon spikes or pigeons.

      The heavy use of glass adds to noise. I’m rather surprised that I don’t see other materials that are more sound absorbing used. Plus the walls of glass will get to looking dirty over time — and considering that rubber tires and brakes from vehicles on high speed highways produce particulates it looks quite likely.

      I’ll be curious if the station will get color changing LED lighting. I’ve not read anything about the use of lighting for aesthetics there. With all those glass walls it could look cool!

      1. The lighting has been an issue in the past, including at the park and ride. MI asked ST to tone down the brightness and use warmer lighting and avoid light pollution and I think ST has implemented that or is. The lighting is pretty subdued, but the MI town center is a pretty dark TC by design. Any kind of neon signage is discouraged. These station entrances are next to a park to the south and residential neighborhood to the north. Neon is not in the code.

        The color, design and scale of the two station entrances never made sense and does not fit in with the rest of the TC which was subject to a pretty intense design commission review under the old chair which is why it all looks the same, especially for an underground station. I was watching a show in London the other night and their tube stations are a pole in a sidewalk that says “Underground” and either a set of steps or escalator going down. But for ST the station is all about ST. Who builds two orange 35′ facades for an underground station?

        I think there would be some blowback if ST thought the station lighting would be changing neon colors lighting up the glass when most don’t like the station design anyway. Cool for Capitol Hill though. MI does not like “cool”. Today there is a kind of calmness between ST and MI. The landscaping turned out well, so did the roundabout, and the park where two houses were for the underground storm water vault, and the future bus intercept will be less than today and less than MI agreed to in 2017 (maybe way less). Meanwhile ST has bigger problems than MI, and at night prays East Link can run across the bridge when the subarea doesn’t really care.

        It is mind boggling to think of the years and money spent on litigation over this insignificant station, and that East Link is now four years delayed and actual ridership will be sliver of what was estimated on the eastside.

      2. Yes, it is mind boggling that MI city leadership spent time and money to prevent the county transit agency from providing better transit connections to neighboring cities.

      3. AJ, how does routing the 554 to S. Bellevue and downtown Bellevue rather than MI “prevent the county transit agency from providing better transit connections to neighboring cities”?

        You do realize Issaquah and Bellevue made the decision to reroute the 554 to Bellevue don’t you? And you do realize that not a single “county transit agency” (Metro) bus that was to intercept on MI will not under the Eastside transit restructure, don’t you?

        So name a single county bus that was prevented from intercepting on MI.

        Your comment is absurd on its face.

        Did the UW worry it was preventing the county transit agency from providing better transit connections to neighboring cities when it denied a station on campus? How about the DSA and no midtown station. Or Harrell and Constantine bypassing a station at CID in part for the development revenue. Or Bellevue shunting East Link to 112th. Or Amazon rejecting a SLU station?

        More importantly, do you think any of these cities or agencies or politicians gives a shit?

        The root of the problem began with ST’s dishonest future ridership estimates on East Link. ST is fundamentally a dishonest agency, which MI simply found out before everyone else did.

        Had ST been even plausibly honest in its ridership estimates none of the litigation would have been necessary because 20 articulated buses were never needed except ST refused to admit its ridership estimates were dishonest. It took Metro to point that out in the Eastside transit restructure.

    2. the best mitigation is short headway and waits; that provides short times in the noise.

      1. Clearly a straw argument but I will run with it. Let’s assume that the noise is loud enough such that it will cause hearing damage within 15 minutes of constant exposure. Your argument is that as long as scheduled headways are shorter than 15 minutes, there is no additional mitigation needed.

        Is that correct?

      2. of course not. add protection on top of short headway. treat intending riders well.

      3. You can always bring your own sound mitigation, also known as noise cancelling headphones.

        Or, if you’re driving to the train from Bellevue, you can use South Bellevue station instead, where the sound is less bad.

      4. Okay, so maybe I’m playing semantic games here, but it’s important to define terms.

        I don’t think that we can call short headways a “mitigation” for noise, because short headways are aspirational, not guaranteed. One accident, one power outage, one crime is all it takes for that mitigation measure to be unavailable.

        I get what you are trying to suggest – of course short headways will help minimize the impact of noise, but they are not a mitigation. So we need mitigation separately from all that, and if it comes to “one or the other”, we’re in trouble.

    3. It was never a ST decision about using MI as a bus intercept or not; it was and is a Metro decision. The one ST network choice was about Route 554; early on, the plan was for it to terminate on MI. Later, and in ELC, the notion is for the revised Route 554 to serve four centers: Highlands, Issaquah TC, South Bellevue, and BTC. The bilateral agreement between ST and MI preventing off-island routes from using arterials south of I-90 makes the transfers worse. The transit operator was not at the table. It would never had made sense for routes to duplicate Link.

      1. I will have to disagree with you Eddie.

        Metro was never a party to any of the the litigation. As you note ST runs the 554.

        All Metro did was state that if ST’s ridership estimates east-west were remotely accurate it would need 20 articulated buses/hour including the 554, and that would require drop offs on the north side of North Mercer Way if MI was the intercept.

        At its core the issue was Bellevue. Originally S. Bellevue was to serve as the major intercept for folks from the Issaquah area going to Seattle (and Bellevue). But for some reason Bellevue thought the intercept would serve Renton and areas south of I-90 (so did MI originally). Bellevue told ST it did not want to serve as the intercept. So ST pivoted to MI.

        As usual Issaquah did not pay attention until the last second, actually the third phase, and decided more of its workers post pandemic would go to downtown Bellevue and didn’t want to transfer at S Bellevue to then get off on 112th two stops later. Bellevue realized these were Issaquah/Sammamish/Snoqualmie/ North Bend workers and had zillions of sf of office space planned for Wilburton, The Spring Dist. and along 112th so changed its mind. No one cared what MI thought.

        So the 554 was switched from MI to Bellevue Way, and then all the office space planned for Bellevue got put on pause. Meanwhile Metro realized east-west ridership would be weak but feels 15 minute frequency is the minimum for peak feeder runs so will run 1/2 filled buses to MI until the money runs out (90 minutes to North Bend).

        In one weekend in the third phase Issaquah changed its mind so Bellevue changed its mind. ST did what it was told to do, and four years of litigation were totally pointless.

        We on MI look around at a beautiful roundabout that is total overkill, empty stations that won’t open for years, beautifully landscaped station entrances and a mini park because each of the two lots for the storm water vault were slightly too small to build on and shake our heads and think WTF.

        Now we just have to hope East Link can run across the lake so ST doesn’t start to look around for a “bus bridge” on MI.

      2. I think eddie’s point is the station platform & vertical conveyance design would be unchanged whether KCM planned on using MI as a bus intercept or not. The station platform & conveyance is as big as possible given the tight envelope.

        Daniel, the 554 is on Bellevue Way to serve Bellevue Way, taking over for the 550, not because there is a preference for 554 transferring to Link station vs another.

      3. Daniel is making a lot of unproven assumptions about Bellevue’s, Issaquah’s, and Metro’s intentions. I’ve refuted them many times so I’m not going to do so again.

      4. Mike, I lived it for six years through two lawsuits, and was involved in phase 3 of the transit restructure as an observer. You didn’t even know it was phase 3 of the Eastside transit restructure. Your refutations were claiming it was phase 1 and further changes would occur in phases 2 and 3, except phase 3 was over.

        Do you really think it was ST that decided on its own in the middle of years of litigation with MI — which it had won at every stage — to reroute the 554 from MI to Bellevue making the litigation moot? Or that ST would reroute the 554 without the consent of Bellevue and Issaquah? You simply don’t understand who makes the rules whether it is CID, midtown, SLU, or running East Link along 112th and not Bellevue Way, or the 554.

        I wish it had been MI and the litigation that forced ST to reroute the 554 but of course it wasn’t, and it wasn’t what ST has planned since late 2017 either.

      5. “Do you really think it was ST that decided on its own in the middle of years of litigation with MI — which it had won at every stage — to reroute the 554 from MI to Bellevue making the litigation moot?”

        We don’t know why ST decided to reroute the 554.

        “Or that ST would reroute the 554 without the consent of Bellevue and Issaquah?”

        Consenting is different from asking for.

      6. It was never a ST decision about using MI as a bus intercept or not; it was and is a Metro decision.

        Good point. ST, in fact, is not using the station as an intercept. They are sending their buses to South Bellevue (and Downtown Bellevue). In any event, it is absurd to suggest that it was “clearly designed before ST decided to make MI a bus intercept”. Anyone with any sense knows that Mercer Island was going to be the main bus intercept. It is just basic geography. It is like the 130th Station. Sure, you can do studies that completely ignore the station from a bus intercept standpoint, but Good God, look at a map! Clearly it is a major bus intercept. The Mercer Island Station is literally in I-90, and the easternmost station in I-90, and you don’t think it will be used as a bus intercept? Get real!

        If an ST rep is using this as excuse, they are full of it. They knew all along what the main point of this station was, and it wasn’t to serve riders from Mercer Island. No offense to the people on the island, but they will makeup a small portion of the ridership. It all about the buses that come from the east. If the station is poorly designed and way too noisy, it has nothing to do with the buses that serve it. That was a given.

  4. “If anyone ever thought the lawsuits would result in Metro not sending buses there, they were ridiculously naive. The suits were basically a shakedown — relatively common when it comes to building mass transit unfortunately.”

    This is a common misperception, one I have tried to correct many times.

    MI never objected to serve as a bus intercept. In fact, MI has hosted buses going east and west for years. The issue was over the “intensity” of the bus intercept, or number of buses/riders per hour. Basically the parties’ agreement in 2017 to 12 buses per peak hour or 20 articulated buses/peak hour (lor as ST termed it, the “original” configuration vs. the “optimal” configuration).

    The first litigation was over mitigation. MI’s naive mayor had signed off on the SEPA permits every other city or agency like UW has used to “shakedown” ST — to use Ross’s term (others call it SEPA or mitigation not quite understanding whose money it is) — without a written mitigation agreement (which is why there is no CID station — there was no shakedown). Without these permit approvals MI obtained much less in mitigation than just about every other place a station or Link was installed, almost 1/7th what the UW obtained without a station on campus.

    The settlement of the first litigation was in Nov. 2017. Part of the settlement was buses would not drop off passengers on the north side of N. Mercer Way because: 1. it was dangerous (according to Metro) to have those riders rush across N. Mercer Way to catch a bus; and 2. with the anticipated 12 buses per peak hour the south side could handle drop offs and pickups.

    It is important to remember folks still believed ST’s ridership estimates at this time, especially cross lake. The biggest concern on MI in 2017 was the trains going west would arrive full in the am. if the estimates were remotely correct.

    ST never changed its ridership estimates (even today). What changed is Bellevue did not want S. Bellevue to serve as a bus intercept for buses not originating in Bellevue (also relying on ST’s inflated ridership/bus estimates). So ST rerouted buses originally designed for S. Bellevue to MI. That meant using N. Mercer Way for drop offs because at 20 articulated buses/hour the south side of NMW could not handle drop offs and pickups alone.

    ST originally estimated Islanders would make up around 3000 boardings on East Link. With the new “optimal service configuration” an additional 10,000 to 14,000 off-Island boardings (including the park and ride) were anticipated on weekdays, overwhelming both the narrow platform and the town center. So MI sued to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement in 2017 that basically limited the number of buses accessing MI to around 12 per peak hour, which was the agreement in 2017.

    The rest I have described in my post above. MI always agreed to the roundabout to allow buses to not travel into Seattle to turn around and this was the configuration ST preferred over running buses through the TC on 27th back to I-90 eastbound (and originally, before the rails had to be lifted from the center roadway due to vibrations, buses were anticipated to use the center roadway across the lake on occasion — this was before RA-8 which widened I-90 to four lanes in each direction and installed a HOV lane on the outer roadways).

    Issaquah and Bellevue then decided in phase 3 of the eastside transit restructure to reroute the 554 — the work horse of the eastside and most frequent bus that was to intercept on MI — to Bellevue Way (its original course), not S. Bellevue, and Metro and the parties realized ST’s ridership estimates were way too high, especially post pandemic. Issaquah did not want its residents to have to transfer to get to downtown Bellevue, many fewer were going to Seattle post pandemic, and Bellevue also wanted to make it easier for those workers to get to Bellevue Way after shunting East Link to 112th, especially eastside Amazon workers.

    So MI always agreed to serve as the intercept for 12 full buses per peak hour. Today the number of buses will be around 12 per peak hour when/if East Link opens over the bridge, but it is expected they will be half full. Non-peak frequency drops off dramatically (many don’t understand a bus from MI going to a park and ride in Issaquah you are not parked in is not first/last mile access and you have to wait for the bus going to your park and ride). According to Metro at phase 3 of the transit restructure it believes peak commuter buses must run at least every 15 minutes, full or not. Whether Metro can afford to do that long term time will tell. Based on ridership across the lake on buses today I doubt Metro can afford to run half full buses every 15 minutes unless it takes service from other areas of the county.

    Because it was Mercer Island, and so many on this blog see everything in terms of class warfare, the facts of the litigation and resolution are not understood, even though MI probably received the least in mitigation from ST although arguably is the most important station because it is in the middle of the lake, although few Islanders will use it today.

    In the end it all worked out. Access to East Link was not reduced at all by Issaquah’s and Bellevue’s decision to reroute the 554 to Bellevue and S. Bellevue. The 554 should be a one seat ride from Issaquah Park and rides to downtown Bellevue, fewer and fewer eastsiders are commuting or travelling to Seattle, my guess is most eastsiders will use a station that serves East Link if going into Seattle rather than a park and ride that serves a feeder bus, and I think we will see more one seat buses like the 630 when East Link does open.

    Much of the lititgation could have been avoided if: 1. MI’s mayor had not signed off on the SEPA permits without a written mitigation agreement; 2. ST had been honest in its ridership estimates which has driven much of the litigation and confusion over the intercept; and 3. Issaquah and Bellevue had paid attention earlier and understood what MI had been telling them for years: the 554 should run to Bellevue Way, not Seattle, because that is where Issaquah workers are going today and tomorrow, and you know Issaquah will probably demand a one seat express bus to Seattle for commuters, especially to SLU, even after East Link opens. It just won’t pay attention until East Link does open and folks from the Issaquah area complain about a transfer to Link, or that it doesn’t go where they are going (First Hill, SLU), or Seattle is too dangerous to transfer in.

    As I said it all worked out. There was virtually no change to transit or connections by rerouting the 554 to Bellevue from MI, and in fact it made life much easier for those in Issaquah. MI was right all along.

    1. A different persoective:

      If MI didn’t want buses there, why didn’t they ask WSDOT and Sound Transit to simply remove the HOV ramps? Why didn’t they lobby for a lid above the station so no bus would ever leave WSDOT right of way? Why didn’t MI simply ask to eliminate ever having a Link station? Why doesn’t MI limit retail because delivery trucks are a nuisance?

      Expecting all the benefits of having a light rail station in the middle of of a freeway right of way with HOV ramps that already exists — but being outraged at having a more buses with riders arriving from other rather upscale cities appears pretty elitist to me.

      1. “If MI didn’t want buses there, why didn’t they ask WSDOT and Sound Transit to simply remove the HOV ramps? Why didn’t they lobby for a lid above the station so no bus would ever leave WSDOT right of way? Why didn’t MI simply ask to eliminate ever having a Link station? Why doesn’t MI limit retail because delivery trucks are a nuisance?

        “Expecting all the benefits of having a light rail station in the middle of of a freeway right of way with HOV ramps that already exists — but being outraged at having a more buses with riders arriving from other rather upscale cities appears pretty elitist to me.”

        Sorry Al, I missed this comment.

        MI did request a lid over the Link station (and I-90). ST said that was WSDOT’s responsibility, and WSDOT said no. Of course, the problem with routing buses away from MI is they then have to turn around somewhere in Seattle to return to the eastside. One of the early major requests by MI was continuing all buses into Seattle, rather than an intercept and roundabout. Ending all buses into Seattle was never part of the 2011 EIS.

        Today all buses leaving MI for Seattle don’t use an HOV entrance; they use the regular westbound entrance at 76th. They also use the regular exit onto MI at 77th. ST abolished the HOV entrance and exit westbound because East Link was supposed to open in 2021 and buses would no longer cross the lake. So no need to ask WSDOT. The HOV entrance and exit are gone. Still bus access is excellent. I don’t think MI has ever objected to HOV lanes.

        BTW MI like most cities does limit many retail deliveries to late at night. The businesses prefer that.

        One big problem I think you and many on this blog make is you continuously misunderstand that the vast majority of local residents and stakeholders DON’T SEE ANY BENEFIT FROM LINK, let alone a narrow platform 35′ below grade that doesn’t go anywhere in east KC folks want to go to. That is why many on this blog are SHOCKED and confused when the CID, DSA, UW, Amazon, Bellevue, and so on don’t want Link near them. Are they all elitist?

        The 550 and 554 are much better transit, much more flexible, and the 550 accesses Bellevue Way and so will the 554 when East Link opens. Maybe 3% of Islanders will use East Link, all by the park and ride, which is why we have almost no intra-Island transit.

        Having more riders arrive from other eastside cities originally had to do with capacity on the platform. ST’s ridership estimates were fantastical, but foolishly we believed them back then (and that DSTT2 would cost $2.2 billion).

        MI always agreed to 12 buses per peak hour, which disgorge all their passengers at once and then turn around on MI, and that is what will arrive when East Link opens. MI is the last stop going west. The platforms were never designed for a major intercept at 20 articulated buses/hour. Not only would there not be room on the trains when they arrived in the morning (and few eastsiders will ever ride East Link during off peak hours) the platforms would be over filled with maximum 8-minute frequencies (if that) on East Link. And then the concern was the entire area on N. Mercer Way was never designed for this kind of volume of commuters and riders, all crossing N. Mercer Way rushing to get to the train, during a few peak hours. Even Metro said it was a dangerous design, but ST refused to build a pedestrian bridge over the busiest arterial on MI. Maybe after a rider is killed they will.

        I think you moralize something that really isn’t a moral question: whether to run the 554 to Bellevue Way or MI. That was the question among MI, Bellevue and Issaquah.

        Current ridership and work patterns support the 554 on Bellevue Way, and that is what Bellevue and Issaquah wanted in the end, and was the original plan. Whether that is elitist or not is up to you. MI never made the call; Bellevue and Issaquah did. And the pandemic. And the demise of downtown Seattle. MI was basically just a spectator whose litigation was correct but not very effective.

      2. “ One big problem I think you and many on this blog make is you continuously misunderstand that the vast majority of local residents and stakeholders DON’T SEE ANY BENEFIT FROM LINK, …”

        So that’s why the MI park-and-ride has been totally empty for awhile, right? So that’s why MI City Council has asked for that lot to be declared surplus? Obviously this is not the MI universal reality.

        There’s a word for when a person thinks that his personal opinion is universally shared by everyone else: narcissism.

      3. I don’t get it Al: MI’s and other Eastside park and rides are mostly empty and that refutes my comment that most stakeholders and residents — certainly on the Eastside —no longer think of transit because they don’t need it?

        You and some on this blog take this personally, like it is a personal insult or a slight against transit users. It isn’t. It is just that they don’t need transit — and when they did they found it horribly unpleasant — so they don’t think about transit, or consider it in their planning.

        You of all people can’t identify a real benefit to eastsiders from East Link. It adds a seat and goes to undeveloped areas when folks no longer need transit even to developed areas like downtown Seattle.

        Do they think less of those who still need transit? No. Are they elitist? Of course not. Wealthy eastsiders NEVER used transit. You are dumping on the middle class Eastside workers who had to spend two uncompensated hours of their lives each work day on transit to commute to work. Even then they made up a small percentage of trips on the Eastside. Now they make up a tiny percentage. Don’t begrudge them their freedom, or act surprised when Eastside politicians don’t mention transit in their campaigns.

        After all, Harrell didn’t mention transit in his campaign, and I don’t think he is elitist. He just understands those who voted for him rank transit near the bottom of their priorities, mostly because crime, public safety, and economic vibrancy — and zoning — dwarf transit.

      4. “You and some on this blog take this personally, like it is a personal insult or a slight against transit users. It isn’t. It is just that they don’t need transit — and when they did they found it horribly unpleasant — so they don’t think about transit, or consider it in their planning.”
        Because you have a tendency to use confirmation bias and hasty generalizations to use as the basis for many of your arguments despite people poking many holes in said arguments. If you want to debate, maybe don’t use multiple different types of fallacious arguments to make your point because It destroys the credibility of your arguments.

      5. Zach, I was responding to two comments:

        1. Mercer Island — and Bellevue and Issaquah since they made the decision — are “elitist” because they wanted to and eventually decided to return the 554 to its original route along Bellevue Way when East Link opens.

        2. MI’s litigation — and Bellevue’s and Issaquah’s decision — to route the 554 to Bellevue and not MI somehow prevented Metro from maximizing regional connections or somehow degraded transit when post pandemic fewer eastsiders are taking transit to Seattle.

        Each comment came from someone I find quite intelligent on this blog, and each comment was more of a throw away comment about MI and not one of their serious posts.

        I simply don’t see how routing the 554 along Bellevue Way rather than MI — no matter who made the decision — is elitist or degrades transit on the Eastside it throughout the region in any way. So I wondered why intelligent transit posters would say that. (These cities could be seen as “elitist” although like many cities they have residents of all income levels, but the route of the 554 based on changing travel patterns isn’t a basis for elitism).

        So many times on this blog posters are surprised, angry, or just confused at transit decisions that blatantly are not the best “transit” decisions. Even I can see that. Rerouting the 554 to Bellevue is actually the better transit decision, whereas routing East Link along 112th was not.

        I think some on this blog see transit as part of a bigger societal equity issue. That transit — if just more people had to or wanted to ride it — could transform housing, retail, urbanism, wealth distribution. So transit to them (you) is the highest societal good and they don’t understand why the other 95% who don’t ride transit see that.

        The reality is on the Eastside fewer are riding transit post pandemic. Pre-pandemic this area countered national trends and transit ridership was actually increasing. But these missing riders did not ride transit because they wanted to:— they rode it because they had to, and that left a negative impression when they no longer had to ride transit. Plus some of these areas are very hard to serve with transit because transit needs a certain level of density on both ends of the trip.

        When one understands the vast majority of the eastside and most suburban areas — including places like West Seattle — don’t ride transit and so don’t prioritize it, certainly decades out — it makes it easier to understand why communities and stakeholders make transit decisions that are not the best for transit. As Al has pointed out, rarely are transit riders at the table when these decisions are made. He thinks transit riders should be a stakeholder even though they may not live in that community.

        The CID is not elitist. Neither is Tacoma or S. King Co., Everett, the DSA, Ballard, WS, Amazon, or even ST. They just don’t prioritize transit like you and some on this blog do.

        Most folks, certainly if they observed the Eastside transit restructure, would say yes, moving the 554 to downtown Bellevue after East Link opens IMPROVES Eastside and regional transit, and ST was blind to this because so often ST is blind. But in the end the stakeholders actually got it right and folks should applaud that, not insult the decision makers for non-transit reasons.

        It is true the decision does not reflect well on downtown Seattle, or maybe urbanism, and there will be a lot fewer eastsiders riding any transit in the future, and routing the 554 to Bellevue highlights that, but they are not riding the 554 to Bellevue or not riding transit because they are elitist, because after all they are or once were on transit. The decision Re the 554 simply reflects … drum roll … transit ridership patterns.

        Either they don’t want to transfer from the 554 at MI and backtrack to Bellevue on East Link (a stupid plan by ST), they want a one seat ride, more want to go to Bellevue rather than Seattle (another blind spot by ST), or they no longer have to take transit to work.

        None of that is elitism. Transit follows travel patterns; it doesn’t create them. Running the 554 to Bellevue rather than Seattle when East Link opens is clearly the better TRANSIT decision, a fact some on this blog don’t see that is indicative of what I am saying. Their animus toward MI or the Eastside blinded them to the real question: after East Link opens is the better transit decision —/by admittedly transit agnostic cities — to run the 554 to MI, or to S. Bellevue and then Bellevue Way?

        Because I note none of the posts including yours argued continuing the 554 to MI when East Link opens based on post pandemic ridership patterns and having those riders then backtrack on East Link to Bellevue’s main station on 110th/112th is the better transit decision, which is ironic because so many times you guys complain about transit agencies and stakeholders making the wrong transit decision.

      6. “The 550 and 554 are much better transit, much more flexible, and the 550 accesses Bellevue Way and so will the 554 when East Link opens.”

        I’d like to see you sell your car, foreswear using Uber, and get around mostly on transit/bus/bike for five years, and then see if you still think this.

      7. Mike, I walk to work. If I want to get a drink or go to a restaurant I usually walk to the Roanoke or Town Center. The only time I drive these days is to go someplace like Whidbey Island which is not practical on transit or if I have to pick up something heavy like potting soil (a 1 minute drive on MI to True Value or QFC). I live in a 15 minute city b

        Why would I give up Uber, or the option of a car? If I wanted to take transit several buses access the MI park and ride I can walk to. I don’t go past downtown Seattle (or really to downtown Seattle these days) but if I did all the buses go there. If I want to go to Issaquah there are one seat buses, and same to the one place in Bellevue I would take transit to: Bellevue Way, which East Link will not access. If I worked at Microsoft I would be working at home. I have as much desire to take East Link to Redmond as I do Lynnwood.

        Your friend in North Lynnwood spends half her life getting to transit, on transit, to her destination, and back again. I don’t want to do that. Sometimes a car is the best mode, sometimes waking, sometimes a bus, sometimes Link, and it is different for each person. For my wife a car is the only mode because it is safe, door to door, fastest, and she can haul stuff.

        I am not a mode fetishist. I think that is ST’s biggest flaw. Like you ST and Lazarus think Link — even with multiple transfers and along freeways — is automatically better than buses (although ironically folks are suppose to get to Link on a bus). Maybe because I live is a more suburban area, like 80% of the three county region, I can see both the benefits and flaws in Link, especially now that it is reaching suburbia. I think when East Link the same number of eastsiders will ride it as ride Eastside buses it will replace today. I think normal people don’t ride transit because they hate cars are have a mode fetish. Transit is just transportation for us. It will never change the world unless a better mode is invented.

      8. “Why would I give up Uber, or the option of a car?”

        The point is you have limited experience with the 550, 554, and other routes, They work for you peak hours or going to Bellevue Way, so they work for everybody going everywhere at every time. You encounter minimal post-covid congestion (which Link can bypass), so nobody does. You’d have to try living without a car or Uber — and, it looks like, doing more activities in more places — to tell whether they’re really better than Link, or as good as Link, for the most trips the most people take.

    2. “Much of the lititgation could have been avoided if: …”

      As far as the litigation part goes, for the most part I concur. While I haven’t followed the matter(s) as closely as you have undoubtedly, I have been following the developments over the last several years from reading various public sources as well as the court documents themselves (the old lawyer in me I guess). The only thing I have to add to your list is ST’s biggest mistake of not getting Metro’s concurrence BEFORE entering into the 2017 agreement. That to me was a colossal unforced error on ST’s part.

      Imho, the real “shakedowns” come from the vendors during the post-contract and procurement phases of construction. You know the routine. Bid low, get the contract, and then have it modified later on once construction is well under way.

      1. Tisgwm, there was always a question or suspicion whether ST knew in Nov. 2017 when it entered the settlement agreement that it would shift feeder buses from S. Bellevue to MI, or whether Bellevue changed its mind after Nov. 2017.

        Based on some exhibits to the Nov. 2017 agreement, I think ST probably knew the switch would come, and strangely MI’s former mayor and city manager refused to cooperate in the second round of litigation, and internal documents suggest there was some kind of oral promise made to ST as part of the settlement agreement the mayor and council did not want to disclose because the terms of the settlement agreement were so unpopular with the citizens anyway (including losing I-90 access westbound from Island Crest Way for SOV’s).

        Of course, many of us also wondered why ST would not consult with Metro when entering the settlement agreement considering ST argued successfully that since Metro was not part of the settlement agreement it was not bound by the terms. It was Metro who came up with the 20 articulated buses per peak hour on MI based on ST’s ridership estimates.

        Metro was the much more realistic agency during the eastside transit restructure. ST would not budge from its pre-pandemic ridership estimates, or cross lake rider estimates, and apparently thinks money grows on trees (which it does in the E KC subarea), but it was Metro who said coverage and frequency had to match likely ridership in a very large county with a lot less folks taking peak transit because Metro has only so much money and needs to allocate it where most needed.

        In the end the right intercept configuration was chosen for everyone, including eastside riders, although I think the two big unknowns are how many eastsiders drive to a park and ride to catch a feeder bus to Link rather than drive to a station that serves East Link when there is plenty of parking space (unlike Lazarus I don’t think mode increases ridership when eastside buses are very good today but sparsely used) because I don’t think eastsiders will transfer twice, and how many direct one seat buses from the eastside to Seattle continue after East Link opens. ST says none (except maybe the 630), but what ST says on the eastside to Bellevue and Issaquah has carried very little weight. Those two cities feel very strongly that all that eastside ST revenue is their money, even if they often can’t make up their mind.

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