Sound Transit:

There was a Citizens Accessibility Committee Meeting on August 1 (details), and on August 3, a public hearing on the 2023-2028 Transit Development Plan (details), an Executive Committee Meeting (details), and a Rider Experience & Operations Committee Meeting (details).

Community Oversight Panel Meeting: Wednesday, August 9, 5:30pm – 8:15pm. details

System Expansion Committee Meeting: Thursday, August 10, 1:30pm – 5:00pm. details

Board of Directors Meeting: Thursday, August 24, 1:30pm – 4:00pm. details

King County Metro:

Transit Advisory Commission Meeting: Tuesday, August 15, 6:00pm – 8:00pm. details

Regional Transit Committee Meeting: Wednesday, August 16, 3:00pm. details

Community Transit:

The monthly Board of Directors Meeting was on August 3. details

Pierce Transit:

Board of Commissioners Meeting: Monday, August 14, 4:00pm. details

Everett Transit:

Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting: Thursday, August 17, 8:00am. details

Puget Sound Regional Council:

No Transportation Policy Board Meeting this month. Last month’s details here.

Seattle City Council:

Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Meeting: Tuesday, August 15, 9:30am. details

King County Mobility Coalitions:

King County Mobility Coalition Quarterly Meeting: Tuesday, August 15, 9:30am. details and other events

Washington State Transportation Commission:

Monthly Meeting: Thursday, August 10, 9:00am – 11:00am. details

Other Events

Sound Transit is hosting some more informational sessions this month. There was a Ballard Link information booth at the Celebrate Little Saigon festival on August 5th. Upcoming, there will be a Ballard Link information booth at the CID Block Party on Saturday, August 26, 3:00pm – 9:00pm; also, a West Seattle Link information booth at the White Center Block Party, also on Saturday, August 26, 12:00pm – 6:00pm.

Move Redmond‘s 2023 Open Streets Festival is the third iteration of this annual event “celebrating movement, transportation, and play.” Saturday, August 26, 10:00am – 3:00am at Downtown Redmond Park. details.

Please add any relevant events we’ve missed in the comments below. This is an open thread.

36 Replies to “Transportation Events August 2023”

    1. Btw, I saw a Bellhop driver yesterday in a parking lot. I asked him what the most popular pickup and drop-off stops are. He said, The Bellevue Brewing Company Brewpub in the Spring District, Meydenbauer Bay Park, Bellevue Square, and the Bellevue Transit Center. Meydenbaurer Park has no bus service, and the brewpub has no bus service, with poor bus service nearby with the route 226 on Bel-Red road.

      1. Here’s an interesting thought exercise. How would you get bus service to Meydenbauer Bay Park?

        My only, very much imperfect, idea: run a small, infrequent bus down Lake Washington Boulevard towards Medina, maybe going up 84th before looping around on 92nd and getting back into Bellevue. Basically something like the tail of the 246 right now. But it would not get enough ridership to justify more than hourly service, I bet. The most you can realistically target is maybe half hourly on a very small (30 seat) bus. It seems pretty hopeless.

      2. @Sam,

        I have not been to the Bellevue Brewing Company, and I will not take a bus anywhere near there. Nor will I drive there.

        But once East Link opens I will definitely make a visit. Just to check it out of course.

        It’s amazing that the Spring District is so successful so soon. Congrats to WRI.

      3. Anonymouse, I would extend RapidRide B to the Old Bellevue area. That suggestion has been made by others too.

        I can’t say which streets and I don’t have an answer of where to reverse a bus, but it seems to me that since the parts of RapidRide B between Overlake and BTC are mostly residential that having the same route continue through non-residential areas of Downtown Bellevue would enhance ridership on this line.

        Metro routes several RapidRide routes (and other routes) through all of Downtown Seattle. Stopping one on the east side of the Downtown core of Bellevue seems like a missed opportunity.

      4. Yeah, I can definitely see the benefit, just worry about the logistics of getting all the way to Meydenbauer Park. I can imagine getting to the back side of the mall pretty easily, maybe even circle around Downtown Park or something like that. And that may suffice, without trying to get all the way to the water.

        Also, it’s not just about the street size – it’s about the amount of pedestrian traffic through Old Bellevue. A better plan might be to push for Main Street to be made pedestrian-only, of course that may not fly. But I would find it easier to advocate for that over sticking a 60 footer bus on it. And there’s still the issue of where to lay over. Right now the B lays over at BTC, as I mentioned. There is no good space to do it in Old Bellevue.

        I am still concerned about the service cost relative to the benefit, though. It would be neat if the numbers pan out.

      5. “Metro routes several RapidRide routes (and other routes) through all of Downtown Seattle. Stopping one on the east side of the Downtown core of Bellevue seems like a missed opportunity.”

        I think you mean the west side Al. Adding a stop at Main and Bellevue Way makes sense to me depending on the turn around and bus terminus (no way will a terminus be west of Old Main), but I still don’t see the demand for a bus or shuttle west of Old Main, and doubt the Chamber wants a bunch of buses going up and down Bellevue Way. There are a few apartment complexes just west of Old Main, but those folks can walk to Main pretty easily. After that you get into residential neighborhoods with very large lot sizes and a ban on DADU’s today and a very high AMI so most drive. Just the walk to a bus stop in those neighborhoods is too long.

        “It’s amazing that the Spring District is so successful so soon. Congrats to WRI.”

        Lazarus, not sure when you were last in The Spring Dist., but “successful” is not what I would call it as far as light rail TOD goes, and pretty much everything there is planned to be replaced by much greater density. I just don’t know if the planned office towers in this Class B/C area make economic sense today with the vacancy rates in downtown Seattle and even along Bellevue Way which is Class A office space (including the Amazon towers). I have been to the brew pub. I don’t think it is something I would build a long light rail trip over because that is it; there is no retail density around it. Many, many better eastside areas for restaurants, bars and retail density. The Bellevue Brew Pub just opened and there are many others. I can’t imagine anyone except the one person in the Bel-Hop going from Bellevue Way to The Spring Dist., especially in a Bel-Hop that takes 22 or 27 minutes. The drive is around 4 minutes depending on the lights on NE 8th. East Link would not be helpful for a trip from Bellevue Way to The Spring Dist.

        “In the longer term, I think things are going to look rather bleak. I’m imagining everybody who rides the 554 today switching to driving to the train, to the point where there’s not enough riders left to sustain the 554 at its planned frequency. There’s enough ridership from Seattle residents that I don’t see the 554 going away completely, but it could end up dropping to once or twice per hour, while Sammamish loses its I-90 express entirely and ends up with an extended 554 rather than a 269.”

        The 554 will switch from going to Seattle or truncating on MI to going to Bellevue Way with a stop at S. Bellevue. I agree most folks from the Issaquah region who start their trip in a park and ride anyway will drive to the park and ride at S. Bellevue or on MI if taking East Link to Seattle to avoid the feeder bus. I doubt many will come from Seattle and transfer from East Link to the 554, but may to get to Bellevue Way. I imagine Issaquah and its surrounding cities (and Bellevue) will insist on good peak frequency on the 554 no matter how many riders are on it for those riders going to Bellevue Way. Bellevue wants those workers to go to Bellevue, not Seattle. Bellevue and Issaquah pretty much run ST on the eastside.

        I doubt many will transfer from the 554 to East Link if going east unless they work at Microsoft and don’t take the shuttle because East Link does not go to Bellevue Way and the 554 does. My guess is ridership is weak on the 554 no matter what although peak frequency will be at least every 15 minutes and probably 30 off peak, even weaker on East Link, and even weaker again on the few peak buses from Issaquah that will truncate on MI.

        “It’s a combination of equity focus leading to Eastside in general getting worse and worse service because we don’t have enough people or color, and also the cost per service hour itself marching to higher and higher levels each year, due to ever rising equipment and labor costs.”

        This is true when it comes to Metro. The eastside is not going to receive levels of service anywhere close to what it pays in Metro taxes. But as Ross likes to note, ridership on transit IS equity. Most folks don’t ride transit for the fun of it. If eastsiders are not riding transit you cut service. With subarea equity that is not the same for ST, and the eastside has too much ST revenue.

        I can understand Metro. It has a brutal job. Service should go where folks need and ride transit. Very few gold plated Metro projects (although the RR G is pretty close). When I look at WSBLE I have no qualms about subarea equity, and thank God it exists because that is wasteful transit from top to bottom. Unfortunately, subarea equity requires the eastside to build questionable transit projects as well.

      6. Mike knows that area well. I think west and northwest of Meydenbauer Bay Park is single family, and to the east and northeast is multifamily and commercial. Main Street through Old Bellevue is so narrow and congested, it would be hard to run a bus through there. Maybe a first/last mile service like Bellhop is enough for that area.

      7. Well, I think West of the park is the water :)

        The only realistic way to run a bus through there would be to remove all non-transit traffic, at which point you’d get more out of the street by making it a pedestrian mall. I honestly think that that would be pretty cool. It may, however, be infeasible because of parking garage entrances to some of those buildings – but it may be doable for a couple of blocks or something.

      8. I would agree that Route 550 as revised would give service to Bellevue Way. However, it’s important to route routes though entire high density districts like Downtown Bellevue similar to Downtown Seattle. We don’t expect RapidRide C, D and E riders to get off halfway through Downtown Seattle at Westlake, for example.

        Expecting everyone to transfer at BTC is reasonable if riders are coming from low density areas a mile or two away and transferring. However, there are quite a lot of large buildings along Main and 2nd St in Bellevue, as well as lots of retail — so there is a market that at first glance appears to be big enough to offer direct bus service between the areas along and just west of Bellevue Way and the RapidRide B corridor.

        I think there is a natural bias to begin/ end routes at BTC. It worked perfectly when Downtown was less dense.

        Part of the issue may be that City Hall is across the street so City staff and committees like having lots of routes available from there. It’s easy to overlook that there are more destinations of interest to Bellevue residents that are several blocks away that deserve direct bus service rather than make a rider transfer for that last little bit.

      9. For whatever it’s worth, the 550 and 535 do go past BTC and lay over elsewhere. I think that a route B extension could be made to reach the Downtown Park area, at least. I just don’t see any convenient way to extend it to Meydenbauer Park without going all the way to Medina, and then people will complain that it’s wasting hours that could be put to good use somewhere else. The B runs what, every 10-15 minutes pretty much the whole day? Even a 10-minute extension to the route is pretty significant at that scale. This isn’t just rerouting the 249 which runs hourly. So I would just advocate for something like – Westbound into BTC, left on 108th, right on 4th, right on 100th (behind Bellevue Square), right on 8th, right on 108th – Eastbound into BTC. That gives people access to Bellevue Square and the Mall and a few blocks’ walk to Old Bellevue. I just don’t see how to get any closer than that without dealing with a lot of congestion on Main Street.

      10. Bellevue is clearly trying to position Meydenbauer Park and the Bellevue Botanical Gardens as tourist/recreational destinations. By extending the shuttle to them (oh dear, am I backing into using the word shuttle?), guidebooks will say, “Bellevue has three central parks that are easy to get to on the downtown shuttle, one on the Lake Washington shore.”

        I loved Meydenbauer Park in high school in the early 80s, when it was like a mini Ravenna Park. The hillside was woodsy and quiet; the only sign of civilization was a glimpse of the viaduct far above (Lake Washington Blvd).

        A few years ago I went back to see the neighbrhood. Meydenbauer Park is RUINED with with a wide concrete bike trail in the middle that takes up a third of the park. Main Street is beautiful with a brick renovation; the most aesthetic neighborhood in the Eastside. 102nd SE has new apartment/condo towers. I tried to find the townhouse-style apartment I lived in but couldn’t, so maybe it was replaced. West of 100th Street the houses and yards are HUGE like Medina. I did see a few school-age kids walking on the sidewalk.

        A bus going to Meydenbauer Park would have to use the shore entrance because the Lk Wash Blvd entrance is inccessible to the mobility-impaired. The shore entrance requires going down a narrow street down a hill, so I don’t think a full-sized bus would be feasible. I also don’t think RapidRide needs to go the park. It should go down Bellevue Way to South Bellevue Station, because there are apartments all along that way down to 112th.

        The transit need in downtown Bellevue is an X shape. That would connect the furthest ends: Spring District to south Bellevue Way, and north Bellevue Way to Surrey Downs. That wouldn’t address south Bellevue Way to north Bellevue Way (like I did to work at Wendy’s), or Surrey Downs to the Spring District. But if the routes made kind of a staggered shape in the middle to serve the transit center, they might get close enough to Bellevue Square and mid 112th that they could still partly serve straight north-south trips.

        The easiest to address is northeast to southwest. The 226 serves the northeast quarter and terminates at the transit center. So it could be extended to Main & Bellevue Way, and I would extend it further to South Bellevue Station. That would go through all of downtown Bellevue like the D and E and 28/131/132 go through all of downtown Seattle. It would also be a “diagonal” route like the 45, which goes around Greenlake like a 226 extension would go around the transit center. I’d raise the 226 to 15 minutes anyway, at least west of 164th. (The eastern part I might split to another route.)

        A B extension would also get more buses to Main & Bellevue Way. But it wouldn’t connect Old Main to the hospitals, library, or the Spring District, which is probably a good idea in itself.

        Using Link for trips within downtown Bellevue has the same problem that any short-distance trip does: walking to/from the station and waiting for the train is a large percent of the trip. At that point people will consider walking, bus, taxi, or scooter. Still, that’s no problem, any more than it’s a problem to take the 49 or 67 if you’re only going one station or to somewhere between stations. If I lived on Bellevue Way now, I’d take a bus for short trips within downtown Bellevue, and Link for longer trips like to Seattle or Overlake.

        Those Bel-Hop experiences of a 22-minute trip to go twelve or eighteen blocks sounds like it won’t be successful unless they get more cars. How can it possibly take 22 minutes even with a couple passenger pickups? Is there only one car for all of downtown Bellevue? The Rainier Valley Metro Flex has at least three cars: I saw them waiting for a call south of Rainier Beach Station.

        So maybe downtown Bellevue needs both circulator routes (serving Bellevue Way, 112th, and Main Street) and a demand-response taxi (serving Meydenbauer Park and the Botanical Garden and any other gaps in the bus network).

      11. “I think West of the park is the water :)”

        I’m thinking of Lake Washington Blvd. It’s apartments west to 99th, then becomes McMansions with huge yard. I don’t remember the houses being so big (either there or in Medina), so either I didn’t comprehend their size in the 80s or they’ve been replaced by larger houses.

      12. I agree Mike that Meydenbauer Park turned out very disappointing considering the waterfront location and money spent. Downtown Park turned out very nice.

        Your post raises some interesting issues.

        First you raise the idea of extending a bus serving Bellevue Way to S. Bellevue Park and Ride (when the 550 is ended). That only highlights the fact East Link does not go to Bellevue Way, but my guess is Bellevue and ST will want to try and bridge that gap closer to Bellevue. The simplest way is to run a shuttle from the transit center/Main station to Bellevue Way and back.

        Second I think running buses or a bus terminal would not be popular west of Bellevue Way, and I don’t see a lot of ridership from there.

        Third, so far Freeman and the Chamber have not been keen on Bellevue Way being any kind of bus mall, so buses are shunted to other streets to the east.

        Fourth, I think Freeman hopes developing NE 4th and Bellevue Way to basically extend Bell. Square and Lincoln Sq. south toward the park will work as a kind of bridge, probably with huge parking.

        Fifth, the people on Bellevue Way are probably the most non-transit folks in the region. They won’t get on a bus, but they may take a dedicated “shuttle” if it is direct and frequent, mostly from NE 8th to Main (or to Freeman’s development on 4th). I don’t think Freeman sees his customer base coming on East Link and won’t be interested in getting those folks to Bellevue Way. Amazon might, if it ever begins to move Seattle workers to its Bellevue offices and those workers take East Link rather than drive or an Amazon shuttle.

      13. I can’t speak for Meydenbauer residential area since I’ve never really walked through there and there is no bus (as aforementioned). However, even just riding the 271 through Medina I have noticed a number of older single story homes being replaced by larger multi-story ones, so I think that your memory of what things were like in the 80s is correct, and today’s houses are just much bigger.

        FWIW, I think that different people are looking for different things in a park. I also am not a huge fan of what Meydenbauer park looks like but I can see people enjoying it. To me it feels a lot like that open area along the water in Madison Park or Gasworks. I much prefer wooded parks like Ravenna (which I’ve walked through many many times) but the open ones are great for having picnics, hanging out with friends, etc. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Downtown Park in Bellevue either for the same reason, and never really spent time in it even when I was working nearby.

      14. Agreed as it is now there is no good place to turn around or layover a bus near Meydenbauer Bay Park however the park is planned to be expanded on several adjacent parcels purchased by Bellevue so potentially a layover could be planned as part if that.

        I could get onboard with the B going to South Bellevue TC, essentially taking the old 550 route between BTC and SBTC… that would cover most of the missing portion of Downtown Bellevue. Very much agree about the craziness of not running routes through Downtown Bellevue, agreed we don’t do this in Downtown Seattle and shouldn’t do it in Downtown Bellevue.

        Despite most of us on here not being big Kemper fans, the fact is Bellevue Square is the main shopping area in the region now that Downtown Seattle retail district is practically dead. Bellevue Square is a huge destination to begin with and all the Seattle people and transit-riding shoppers who would have gone shopping in Downtown Seattle will be going to Bellevue Square. 4 Bellevue blocks are like 10 normal blocks, this is a long walk for many plus the idea is just to extend a major route or two from BTC to serve more of the Downtown Bellevue core.

        As for equity on the Eastside, despite Bellevue being majority minority and very diverse, moreso that Seattle, I guess according to the DEI crowd Asians and Asian-Americans arent adequately “diverse” for their liking. It would be nice if we went back to designing our transit system based simply on serving high ridership groups and not based on certain skin colors.

        Ideas Bellevue would get away from a single point transit center and switch to a grid transfer system Downtown with routes doing straight shots down NE 8th, NE 4th, Bellevue Way, Main Street and transfers occurring at these route crossings… Especially when the routes hit at least one Link station enroute.

      15. Poncho, I agree with everything you write.

        IMO what I would do is:

        1. Run a continuous shuttle from the East Link Main station to Bellevue Way. Fast, simple, easy, inexpensive. The key is frequency. Basically NE 4th is two blocks south of where Lincoln Sq begins. Even eastsiders like me can walk two blocks. The problem with a shuttle from Main along 112th to NE 8th is no one wants to go to 112th. East Link gets you to NE4th and 110th but as you note Bellevue blocks are loooong and bleak east of Bellevue Way. Folks just need to get to Bellevue Way and today NE 4th or north. No one is going to spend 27 minutes to get to The Soring Dist. on Bel-Hop because no one wants to go from Bellevue Way to “Spring Dist.”

        2. Once Freeman develops NE 4th and Bellevue Way this might be a rare case for a center roadway “street car”, along the lines of the San Francisco trolled, not the zillion dollar CCC stuff. Make it part of the experience, take no car lanes, and like San Francisco make them historic looking without ugly overhead wires. NOT like a bus on steel wheels. Run it from NE 10th because that area will become much more vibrant when the performing arts center is finally built (on land Freeman donated) to Main St. And make it free. It can’t in any way resemble a “bus”. Think Disneyland.

        Something I have raised before is retail must be dense. The Eastside barely has the population for truly dense retail from NE 4th to NE 8th on Bellevue Way, but I think going forward NE 10th and Main need to be connected, especially if Freeman develops NE 4th. So some kind of shuttle — but more touristy like a SF trolley — is necessary to allow folks after they have parked to go from NE 10th to Main. That would be one killer retail/restaurant district accessible from Link or by driving.

        Then have Bellevue pressure Amazon to allow workers to work in Bellevue if they want. Where would you rather work? That could be 20,000 highly compensated Amazon workers spilling out into a great retail experience.

        Combined with Northgate Mall if it is anything like U Village downtown Seattle retail is never going to recover. The reality urbanists never understand is there only so much retail a certain population can support. You can condense it like Bellevue Way, U Village, or Northgate Mall, or you can disperse it into tiny pockets of neighborhood retail.

      16. There is an existing bus stop on the 550 at Bellevue and Main. Getting any closer with a bus is probably not practical.

      17. “First you raise the idea of extending a bus serving Bellevue Way to S. Bellevue Park and Ride (when the 550 is ended). That only highlights the fact East Link does not go to Bellevue Way,”

        It also highlights that the 550 doesn’t go to the Spring District. Alon Levy has been on this for a while, that some European cities have regional/commuter trains that terminate in the city center. He wants them to be through-routed with lines on the opposite side so that they go all the way through the inner city. Some cities have started doing this, maybe Paris and Berlin. The concept is the same as the 28/131/132 running all they way through downtown or the 75/45 running through the U-District. It allows trips from the north (Fremont) to the south end of downtown (Pioneer Square), trips from the south (SODO) to the north end of downtown (Seattle Center), and trips from one end of downtown to the other (Belltown to the library) — all simultaneously and with the most efficient use of resources. Link will do this by coming from Seattle to downtown Bellevue and continuing to the Spring District and Redmond, although as has been said it doesn’t cover the western half of downtown Bellevue very well.

        So Metro should generally have routes going all the way through downtown Bellevue. This has not been noticed enough before.

      18. Mike, ST could easily continue the 550 to “The Spring Dist.” except the ridership isn’t there. (In fact today there is hardly ridership on the 550 at all).

        The Spring Dist. is predicated on some massive TOD — mostly commercial office space — decades in the future. But today there is little in The Spring Dist. — let alone retail density — even if driving. So none of ST’s ridership models support running the 550 to The Spring Dist.

        East Link does not go to downtown Bellevue. 112th and 405 are not downtown Bellevue. Neither are East Main, or Wilburton. Bellevue would not be experimenting with shuttles and folks on this blog would not be talking about bus routes from S Bellevue to Bellevue Way after East Link opens if East Link had stations within walking distance of Bellevue Way, especially long up hill Bellevue blocks when there is massive amounts of free parking among Bell Sq, and Lincoln Sq N and S.

        It is what it is. So Bellevue needs to figure out how to get folks from East Link to Bellevue Way, although transit riders are not Freeman’s favored customers. But a simple shuttle from the main Link station straight up to Bellevue Way (and not along 112th because that takes too long to get to where folks want to go — Bellevue Way).

        My guess is there will be more interest in some kind of shuttle or trolley from NE 10th to Main once Freeman develops NE 4th. I am more interested in that than a shuttle from East Link to Bellevue Way. Let those folks walk if East Link goes to downtown Bellevue as you say. No need for any shuttle for East Link riders. Or they can shop, dine and party in The Spring Dist.

      19. “Freeman and the Chamber have not been keen on Bellevue Way being any kind of bus mall,”

        Freeman and the Chamber aren’t kings or the majority of Bellevue residents. Bellevue needs to do what’s best for the mobility of its residents and visitors overall, not just what Kemper wants or what allows him to expand his retail empire and sales.

        Kemper is famous for being anti-transit for decades. When rail is being planned he argues BRT would be better. When BRT is being planned he argues nothing would be better. He cares most about drivers coming to his mall being unimpeded by transit lanes, but the city as a whole needs to think bigger than that, and not leave a lot of people out, or leave them in buses impeded by traffic congestion.

        “the people on Bellevue Way are probably the most non-transit folks in the region. They won’t get on a bus, but they may take a dedicated “shuttle” if it is direct and frequent,”

        I lived on Bellevue Way. My family in a total of three locations on Bellevue Way (5th SE, 17th NE, 29th NE) and one off it (102nd & 4th-6th SE). I obviously rode Metro. My parents sometimes commuted by Metro. My classmates rode Metro. With tens of thousands of people in the apartments, some of them doubtless ride Metro too. Somebody gets on at Main Street and the P&R now now because I see them.

        Last month on the 550 eastbound in the early weekday afternoon, I saw fifteen high schoolers get on at the Bellevue High School stop going toward the Belleuve Transit Center. It reminded me of myself and my classmates doing that in the 80s, although later in the afternoon.

        Your attitude applies to only a subset of residents who thumb their noses at buses. A lot of people in Bellevue don’t have that attitude. More of them would ride transit if transit were more usable for their trips.

      20. “The Spring Dist. is predicated on some massive TOD — mostly commercial office space — decades in the future.”

        The Spring District is so that Bellevue can have more jobs and residents. It should be evenly balanced between the two, but apparently it allowed too many jobs and not enough residents, which means more people will have to commute to it from elsewhere (oops). TOD is the land-use style because it’s the most practical and efficient, even if you don’t believe it. There are already several towers in the Spring District, so it’s not like there hasn’t been massive growth already. There’s a dearth of retail — the brewery is in the middle of nowhere in a sea of housing — but that just means the village wasn’t designed as well as it could be. Which we already predicted, due to the high parking minimums and jobs/housing imbalance. Almost no American village is designed as well as Vancouver’s Metrotown for instance.

      21. In Bellevue Freeman and the Chamber are kings (and so is the DSA if smaller kings). Freeman has made everyone a ton of money.

        Freeman and Bellevue do care about the mobility of their customers and residents. Bellevue Way has 8 lanes and NE 4th and 8th 6 lanes each. Bell Sq., Lincoln Sq. N and S have massive amounts of free parking, including above ground because women prefer above grade parking. Bellevue requires massive amounts of 100% below grade parking in new developments, including 1100 parking stalls at the Amazon buildings (and bike parking). And Bellevue is subsidizing a free shuttle called Bel-Hop although I think its route and radius are too large so it is too slow.

        The shuttle simply needs to cover the main Link station to 110th to Main on Bellevue Way (although if up to Freeman the shuttle would not serve the Link station on his nickel). But it can’t look like a bus. It needs to look like a SF trolley car.

        That is where the action is, which not coincidentally is where all the parking is. Eastsiders are not great walkers. At Lincoln Square the elevator takes you from the garage to the lobby. No walking. At Bell Sq the walk is a little longer but above grade and women prefer above grade over a shorter walk.

        I don’t even know why Mike is upset that Freeman and the Chamber don’t want Bellevue Way a bus mall like 3rd Ave. if as Mike says East Link goes to downtown Bellevue which is Bellevue Way. I thought Link was supposed to get rid of smelly buses.

      22. Mike, as you know, almost every street surrounding Bellevue Square used to have Metro service where now none exists. On Main street from Bellevue Way to 100th. On NE 4th street from Bellevue Way to 100th. On 100th from Main Street to NE 8th, and even through Bellevue Square itself! The route 921 used to travel the north/south roadway that separates the mall from the parking garage to the west. I believe that roadway might even be private, not public, meaning Kemper Freeman most likely allowed a Metro bus route to access to his private property. You can see those former routes in the below 1988 route map link in the magnified box in the lower right corner.

        Mike, in your honest opinion (try to set aside what biases you have against Kemper Freeman) do you believe those routes were cancelled because of Kemper Freeman, or because of Metro cost-cutting or route underperformance?

      23. Sam, the routes are too close together. Infrequent routes on 100th, 102nd, 104th, 106th, 108th, 112th. That was typical of Metro in the 80s. It’s the opposite of consolidated frequent corridors. It’s not really coverage, it’s pseudo-coverage.

        I never spent enough time on 100th or in Bellevue Square to notice a bus in them. I knew one end of the 240 went to Clyde Hill, but I always took the other side of it, from the transit center to Factoria, Newport Hills, or Renton.

        I moved to Seattle in 1985, three years before this map. So maybe the 921 didn’t go into Bellevue Square yet. The other end of the 921 goes to Somerset, and there was no route there when I lived on Somerset or I would have taken it. The only routes were the the 210 (Newport Way), 252 (westbound from Newport Way, eastbound to only the bottom of the hill), and 252X (like the 272). The 230 on north Bellevue Way was part of the 235, and the 231 on NE 8th Street was part of the 226. My primary routes were the 226, 235, 252, and 210.

        I don’t know why the 921 left Bellevue Square. When was it deleted or restructured? I can’t imagine Kemper objecting to one little VAN that didn’t look like bus. It’s possible that when the garage was built or the mall expanded, there was too much car/pedestrian congestion on 102nd for a bus. I don’t remember whether the garage was there in the early 80s, but the mall certainly expanded after that. The front with the current Macy’s entrance and Turkish stand and Cheesecake Factory came after that, as did the expansion at 8th & Bellevue Way, and the whole Lincoln Center complex.

  1. I’ll continue my attempt to drag people into a new open thread…

    Regarding tree cover, people often provide Barcelona as a great example of urbanism. It is worth noting that Barcelona is currently sitting at about 25% tree cover, with plans to increase that by 5% (so to 30%):

    Relevant quote: “Barcelona, Spain, a city with one of Europe’s highest populations and traffic densities, has implemented the 2017- 2037 Master Plan for Barcelona’s Tree. The city will increase urban tree cover, improving the city’s environmental quality and citizens’ health and well-being. By 2037, the city will increase the overall tree cover by 5% so that trees cover 30% of the city’s surface area.”

    In comparison, Seattle is at around 28%, also with plans to increase to 30% by 2037:

    Bellevue considers itself at being at around 39%:

  2. Link sets a huge ridership record. Over a 136,000 daily riders on just their one 24 mile long starter line. Impressive productivity.

    However, I didn’t really understand this comment from Mike:

    “ In recent weeks, several RapidRide trips from West Seattle served 75 riders at peak times, slowed by growing car traffic. Light rail is typically standing room only from Northgate Station to U District Station, Gallagher said.”

    75 riders on RapidRide at peak times? Does he mean per bus? Or does he mean that the buses were so slowed by congestion that RapidRide only carried 75 riders per hour on that route? Because I find that hard to believe.

    Very confusing. Very unclear.

    1. Well Mike did note in his cheerleading piece buses carried a post pandemic record of 498,000 riders in the same time period. June had an average 80,000 plus Link riders during June despite tourist season and Northgate Link. That is about 40% below pre-pandemic estimates. Also interesting Lindblom specifically noted fare paying percentages were not revealed.

      What I would like to see is Uber ridership during the same time period.

      Lindblom also writes ST to date has cost $5 to $6 billion in federal and local funding. . That can’t be correct. ST 1 alone was 84% over budget. Did Northgate to Angle Lake really cost $5 billion?

      No doubt July was historic. If only the All Star game and two TS concerts could happen every year, although they would need to happen every month to come close to ST’s pre pandemic ridership estimates, or double farebox recovery to get close to original estimates of 40% — before future O&M cost estimates were increased by $1.2 billion.

      That is the future for urban centers like the CBD: entertainment, which generates a tiny fraction of business taxes. Seattle is unique with its temperate summer weather, which lasts 3 months.

    2. Lazarus, I believe the use of “trip” indicates he is talking about a load on a single bus. Trip = 1 bus, 1 way.

      1. @Andrew,

        So that is what is so confusing. Why would Mike see the need to compare a Link train (which typically carries 800-1000 people when SRO) to a bus carrying just 75 people? And then assert that that bus is actually stuck in traffic? It’s an odd comparison.

        But there might be some other issues with his numbers. Here is a better report on Metro and Link ridership during these events:'s%20two%2Dday%20total,%2C%202019%2C%20with%20108%2C500%20riders.

        What is really interesting is that for the Swift concerts 1-Link carried 262,800 riders. Metro’s bus component carried 318,500 people.

        That means that 1-Link carried 82.5% of what the entire Metro bus system carried on those same days. 1-Link would have easily exceeded Metro ridership if Lynnwood Link or East Link had been operational.

        Congrats to Sound Transit. That is some really impressive ridership for such a short line. Can’t wait for the extensions to start opening.

      2. Lazarus, I just don’t get your point.

        A four car Link train can carry 596 riders SRO according to ST. Link’s two main advantages are capacity (including better frequency if needed) and grade separation except through the RV. It is why Link was built for the peak commute with all lines running to downtown Seattle. Otherwise that capacity is very rarely needed (despite some crazy predictions for future population growth that 5 years later look crazy).

        I would expect Link to excel during the few events like TS and the All Star game. I certainly expect Link ridership to increase when East and Lynnwood Link open because many bus routes will be eliminated or truncated, but not nearly as much as ST estimated because of the steep decline in suburban peak work commuters.

        If there is one key point it is TOTAL transit ridership whether Link, Sounder or bus is way down when it was estimated to be way up. Otherwise we would have never voted yes to spend $100 billion on Link.

        I see Metro and Link on the same team when the score is total time of trip and ratio of trips. If the feeder bus OR Link is slow or infrequent total time of trip goes up and folks stop riding transit, and Link unless they live within walking distance, and not many potential suburban riders do or will live within walking distance of Link although they will use park and rides, but park and ride capacity isn’t close to ST ridership estimates, and today they are empty. ST can’t get rid of them because ST needs those park and rides full at some point in the future or Link is screwed. Suburbanites didn’t move to suburbia to be within walking distance of Link, or “TOD” . Just the opposite. We want Link “over there”, just like we want park and rides over there.

        The real opponent for the the Link—Metro team is sitting in the garage with zero first/last mile access: the car. So far the car has been a brutal opponent no matter how much cities (Seattle) and transit try to disadvantage or tax cars and the lanes they run in (and ironically cars pay for transit when you include sales tax on cars). That is why total trips by cars have stubbornly remained at 95%. WFH reduced total trips on transit and in cars, but not the ratio.

        You can’t blame ST for a pandemic and WFH phenomenon. Or the decline of downtown Seattle as both a work and retail hub (although you can blame ST for unsecured stations although it didn’t build DSTT1). But ridership in the suburbs was always going to be tricky because of first/mile access, the demographic (kids, women and families),, the routes that are so commuter oriented along freeways with huge stop spacing, and just the pro car mindset which means wide freeways and free parking. It is why wise folks build subways in very urban areas.

        None of this would be a big deal for Link or Metro — in fact riders like more room and generally hate SRO — except that farebox recovery assumptions are so critical for every transit agency when it comes to O&M. Metro’s is a reasonable 20% and yet it is struggling, especially with suburban and peak routes. Plus truncation with Link has not resulted in the predicted savings. So Metro is beginning structural cuts, which will have to include frequency on feeder buses. For Link it is like being pitched the football on a sweep and your blocker falls down

        ST’s farebox recovery assumption is 40%, a very “optimistic” goal for any transit system. Loss of ridership and an anemic fare enforcement policy have reduced farebox recovery to closer to 20%, BEFORE Link reaches the same suburbs that have stopped riding one seat buses. Meanwhile ST has already raised its estimates for future O&M by $1.2 billion.

        The problem for ST is it can’t increase revenue, or reallocate revenue among subareas. One subarea has way too much revenue but is very transit agnostic, and four subareas have too little revenue JUST FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS. The Board can extend taxes (according to the Board) but it can’t raise rates to cover bad cost estimates or increased inflation. In fact, each year of project delay costs more than a year of extending taxes from 2041 to 2046, and like every single transit agency ST badly understated future O&M costs (I think MTA’s deficit is currently $25 billion). Fortunately ST is a younger agency, but everything ages.

        Link’s enemy isn’t Metro. They are on the same team, and right now Metro’s problems are Link’s future. According to Lindblom’s piece Link averaged 80,000 riders in June, including the addition of Northgate Link, the highest ridership part of Link. That figure is at least 1/3 below estimates, when downtown Seattle is bursting with tourists who will leave when school starts in their home states.

      3. “Why would Mike see the need to compare a Link train (which typically carries 800-1000 people when SRO) to a bus carrying just 75 people?”

        He’s not comparing it; he’s saying the bus is full on a typical weekday. That’s an increase from the pandemic lows.

        What would you do if you lived in West Seattle before Link gets there. Would you take the C (a bus), or would you stay home or drive? That’s the decision of tens of thousands of West Seattlites, who don’t have the luxury of a Link station in their neighborhood. If you took the bus, you’d be one of those 75 people.

      4. @DT,

        “ A four car Link train can carry 596 riders SRO according to ST. ”

        I don’t know if you actually believe that, or if you are intentionally trying to confuse people, but that is a highly inaccurate and misleading statement.

        According to the ST Design Criteria Manual (May 2021) one Link LRV is designed to carry 74 passengers at Seated Load, 194 passengers at Standing Load, and 254 passengers at Crush Load. That is approximately 800 pax standing for a 4 car train, 1000 at crush load. These values are consistent with industry standards across multiple agencies and institutions and have the full buy-in of Sound Transit, the FTA, and WSDOT.

        However, where you might be getting confused is in operations. The operations guys have other concerns that go beyond must pure design, such things as system reliability and resiliency.

        A system operating at its design limit of 100% capacity doesn’t have a lot of resiliency, so the ops guys typically build in a small pad between their operating target and full design capacity. It’s typically called something like “Peak Hour Factor” (see TRB TCRP report 165) and is usually around 0.75 for LR systems.

        Basically they take the design capacity of the system and knock it down by 25% to build resiliency into the system. Take the design values from the ST Design Criteria Manual and multiply them by 0.75 and you will see that they align very closely with the operations targets and the number you quote.

        But operational targets are not absolute design capacity. Link can, and does, operate at and near the unfactored design limits. Just reference the scatter plot data that someone on this blog (IIRC) recently referenced. It showed that Link can, and has, operated well above the supposed “limit” you misquote.

        And if you are still confused, think of this analogy:

        Say I go buy a sports car, say a 1965 Austin Healey 3000 BJ8. It has 4 seats. But the back seats are sort of cramped, and I don’t like the way it looks with 4 people in it. So I decide I’d rather just drive it with 2 people in it, or maybe 3 on rare occasions.

        But does the fact that I’ve decided to only drive my Healey with up to 3 people in it mean that my 4-seat sports car suddenly lost a seat and now only actually has 3 seats? Did that 4th seat just magically disappear because my plan was not to plan on using it in routine operation?

        No, that 4th seat is still there. If I drive home someday and the neighbor boy is having a birthday part, and his father asks me directly in front of him me to give him a birthday ride, I’m not going to crush the kid for life by saying “no”. I’m going to give him, and two of his friends, a ride around the neighborhood. And I’ll keep doing that until all the kids get a ride. Four seats available, four seats occupied. An unusual circumstance.

        The same goes for Link. The ops guys might target having a 25% capacity pad for resiliency reasons, but that capacity is still there. And it still gets used when it is needed. Witness the Swift concert weekend.

        Approx 800 Standing Capacity, 1000 Crush. Those are the Link design limits. Operational targets are about 75% of those values.

      5. The capacity is affected by how long it takes for riders to get on and off a train if there are lots of standing passengers. There is a point at which trains would have to idle longer at each station to get everyone on or off. It would be interesting to find out what that number is.

        Many local residents also are untrained to what to do on a crowded train. They will block doors — making it almost impossible to get in or out of a train car — as well as not step into the train further. ST needs to start making and running videos on how to ride a crowded train to educate more of our riders.

        Modern systems are now assigning crowding indicators on platforms. ST is of course allergic to providing more passenger jnfo (or train lengths).

        WMATA shows one way how it’s done here:

        London has developed real-time signage on specific train car overcrowding shown here:

      6. If Link would have walk-through cars, it could get a lot closer to 1000 per car, but without such it will challenging to every reach such level as riders don’t know where they can still squeeze in unless – may be when the whole platform is full after a game or concert, but not in regular operation.

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