- Mini transit report card: Ireland
- Via transit pilot (2:30)
- Free transit on snow days? (24:14)
- West Seattle and ST3 (29:33)
- Why doesn’t Seattle have scooters? (38:12)
- Speculation on the delayed congestion pricing report (45:33)
This is an open thread
The City of Shoreline has been busy developing the preliminary design to update 145th Street (SR-523) from Aurora Avenue North to I-5. This new design will improve safety and ensure that this critical corridor can effectively serve Shoreline and the growing number of travelers who rely on it every day.
The timing is planned to coincide with the opening of the Jackson Park Link station in 2024. Don’t let the word “multimodal” get you too excited. Bike lanes will be “off-corridor” (e.g. greenways), and there won’t be much in the way of bus priority (there’s only one, peak-only bus, the 304, on this section of 145th). Also the sidewalk will still be right up against the street, at least in one direction.
Note that this project is separate from the Sound Transit 522 BRT project, which will also use 145th east of I-5 and which will have dedicated bus lanes.
It will take nine years to plan, design and build the 1-mile Aurora-to-I-5 corridor, over three phases, at a cost of $63M. You can comment online by May 1.
- Amazon going big in Bellevue
- Relatedly, East Link is “50% complete” which is I guess an important milestone? Video
- Overview of PSRC’s latest long-range plan
- TriMet (Portland) eliminating paper tickets next year
- Transpo budget clears the state senate, still has lots of highway widening
- Rashomon in Wedgwood – a great piece of writing
- Cool transit maps you can hang on your wall
- SR-99 tunnel traffic creeping up, still below projections
- Double deckers on the Eastside
- What it’s like to get around Seattle in a wheelchair
- Metro’s information kiosk is becoming a Sound Transit security station
- Federal Way Link extension clears another hurdle for federal funding
- The excellent Spokane Central City BRT gets federal funds as well
- Councilmember Deborah Juarez will replace Rob Johnson on the Sound Transit board
- Bike riding is up in Seattle
- What’s vanished from the bike master plan
This is an open thread
I am totally tempting fate here by posting this, so sorry if I anger the gods, but I wanted to take a moment to recognize that there were no mudslide-induced cancellations on Sounder North this year. Sound Transit’s Bonnie Todd noted it at the last ST ops committee meeting (video – skip to the ~13 minute mark).
Todd noted the stark change from the winter of 2012-13, when 27.5 days of service were cancelled. Another 1500-foot catchment wall was added in the Everett area this year, further improving reliability. Some dry months may have helped as well.
More reliability is great news for both Sounder North and Amtrak Cascades.
The free WiFi in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is no more. Readers asked us what happened, so I followed up with Metro and Sound Transit to find out.
“Our networking team reported that the equipment was past its end-of-life and was expected to be taken down after March 23rd when Metro exited the tunnel,” said Metro’s Jeff Switzer. “Unfortunately, an equipment failure on March 15th escalated the timeline by a week.”
Sound Transit is running the show now, but don’t expect the wifi to get switched back on. “The establishment of cellular and broadband data service throughout all our tunnels made it obsolete,” according to Sound Transit’s Geoff Patrick.Continue reading “Wifi Exits the Tunnel Along With the Buses”
While West Seattle and Ballard (and Eastside BRT!) have been getting all the media attention, Sound Transit continues to refine Tacoma Dome Link extension, a 4 station, ~10 mile connection that will complete the southern end of the light rail spine by 2030.
The Tacoma Dome Link extension is not to be confused with the extension of Tacoma Links, the streetcar operated by Sound Transit through Downtown Tacoma. ST even includes a little diagram in case you get confused:
Sound Transit has provided a wide array of options, which as always carry a similar set of tradeoffs: car access vs. bus transfers, TOD opportunities vs. business impacts, ridership vs. capital costs. Sometimes the geography presents a win-win, other times hard decisions must be made.Continue reading “New Alternatives for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension”
Re-timed video with added sounds.
- Mayor Durkan kills the permitted and planned bike lane on 35th Ave NE
- Good account from the folks who spent the last decade planning for the future of 35th Ave
- On a related note, sometimes it feels like articles written about Seattle are describing an entirely different city
- The Times recaps the first week of buses on the surface
- More HSR study money in the WA house dems’ budget proposal
- Congestion pricing is getting more likely in New York … and Portland?
- Related: Uber/Lyft tax in Seattle?
- “It’s a car in a very small tunnel.” Indeed.
- Programs for the poor are poor programs, Michigan edition
- Future housing fights
- “Very” light rail prototype looks cool
- Transit Riders Union is conducting a survey for commuters & workers
This is an open thread
So much good stuff in this Mike Lindblom piece on First Avenue buses (including the title!) in the Times:
The C Line is the busiest of 12 former Alaskan Way Viaduct routes that serve nearly 30,000 passengers from West Seattle, White Center or Burien. They moved last month to the Highway 99 tunnel’s new stadium-area interchange when the viaduct closed for good.
The buses eventually will get bus lanes on waterfront Alaskan Way, but this year they’re detouring on First Avenue through the historic Pioneer Square district.
Read the whole thing. It’s gonna be a tough year for buses using the interim 1st Avenue pathway until Alaskan Way opens. Lindblom explains the ins and outs and alternatives incredibly well.
However, I would suggest to Mayor Durkan that this framing is, er… not helpful:
“Big events are nothing new, and they’re nothing new for big cities anywhere in America,” [Durkan] said. When there’s a game during rush hour, that’s the time to stay downtown, have dinner and not be in a hurry to go home, she said.
I love me a good happy hour, but as the mayor surely knows, many bus riders have to pick a kid up from day care or head out to a second job or any number of things that make it hard to just chill out downtown until 7pm or later.
Two people were killed when a gunman opened fire in NE Seattle tonight. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families. Thanks to the quick-thinking bus driver who managed to drive passengers to safety.
How’s the first PM commute with buses on surface streets?
- Whole lot of construction going on (source)
- The state of congestion pricing in U.S. cities
- Sound Transit is looking for feedback on upgrades to Edmonds Sounder station
- MHA finally crosses the finish line. Good recaps from Crosscut and Erica C. Barnett and a nice op-ed from the Sierra Club
- What’s next on the housing agenda?
- City council race fundraising update
- Nice profile of Cathy Tuttle of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, running in D4
- Rob Johnson to resign from City Council next month to work for the NHL
- The Times is doing a Facebook Q&A with Sam Zimbabwe
- Will Mayor Durkan meet the council’s 2019 bike lane deadline?
- U-Link turns three. Seems like yesterday.
- Big plans for SeaTac expansion
- Pothole crews working hard
- North Seattle light rail station planning meeting highlights
- Federal funds for the streetcar move forward
- The Urbanist looks at impact fees: what they look like statewide, and what they might look like in Seattle
- The most dangerous intersections in Seattle
- The Missing Link is under construction in Ballard!
This is an open thread.
On Saturday, buses will permanently move out of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) leading to 830 new bus trips on already crowded surface streets in Downtown Seattle. The city has made important improvements with the new 5th/6th Avenue bus lanes and implementation of all door boarding on 3rd Avenue. But given the need to further prioritize transit, today the MASS Coalition is calling on the City to extend bus priority on 3rd Avenue from Stewart Street to Denny Way. It works well south of Stewart, and should be extended the length of downtown.
We called for bus lanes on 3rd last fall and with the buses coming out of the tunnel it’s a great time to make another push. 3rd Avenue is an intensely busy bus corridor. The city would deem it unacceptable if tens of thousands of train riders were slowed by cars every day. The same reasoning ought to apply to bus riders.
Great scoop from Mike Lindblom and Daniel Beekman in the Times:
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff is considering hiring private contractors to drive four Sound Transit Express routes between the Eastside and Seattle, prompting quick outrage from labor leaders who called the move a threat to existing union jobs.
A few quick thoughts. First, it’s amazing that once-beleaguered Metro is now the belle of the ball: everyone wants to buy bus service these days. Unfortunately for the agency their base capacity planning has not kept up. The proposal to haul coaches up to Kirkland every morning from a far-flung base doesn’t seem like a great idea, but Metro has limited supply and two customers (Sound Transit and SDOT) showing up with bags of cash so it’s not surprising they’re setting the terms and charging full price.
Second, I’ve seen people conflate this at times, but “private” does not automatically equal “nonunion.” As the Times article notes, Sound Transit contracts to Community Transit for some service, and CT in turn subcontracts to First Transit (using union drivers) for some routes. The City of Seattle proposed using private shuttles recently, but the city council shot down the idea.
Third, it would be a surprise if the winning bid ended up being a nonunion private company, as the ST board is full of elected officials who need union support. That said, the agency is always under the gun to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, so a little due diligence, even if it comes to nothing, might help on the political front.
Finally, if Sound Transit does indeed have cash to throw around at buses, how about increasing the frequency of the 550, which currently goes to a sad 30 minutes after 7:30pm every day (and all day Sunday). Trains with 10-minute (or better) headways will start running that route in just a couple of years, doesn’t it warrant more than half-hourly service today? Or consider the 512, which will (eventually) become a train as well? Is half-hourly on Sundays really the best we can do?
Tomorrow is Transit Operators Appreciation Day.
This is an open thread.
- The Seattle Times has a spreadsheet tracking every Transportation-related bill in Olympia
- A good chunk of the latest proposed highway bill pays for fish culverts. Here’s why
- WSB has detailed notes from a Sound Transit open house in West Seattle
- Why Portland shouldn’t be widening freeways
- Provocative research paper looks at Seattle and contends that gentrification of dense areas paradoxically increases emissions. Upshot seems to be that rich people just consume more stuff.
- SDOT blog covers the new 5th/6th Avenue busway
- Updated downtown accessibility map (PDF) now includes elevators in addition to wheelchair routes
- Europe-Asia long-distance rail networks now connected
- Pierce Transit’s first BRT line running into opposition from the usual suspects
- An overview of Lisa Herbold’s anti-displacement bill from SCC Insight
- BoltBus adds stops in Everett and Tacoma
- The Interbay Armory site could host a ton of transit-oriented development
- Boom times for Viaduct-adjacent property
- Good piece on fares: “I don’t think there’s a magic number [for fares]…Ultimately, building ridership is about more than fares.”
- The Times ($) looks at upzones coming to Rainier Beach.
This is an open thread.
- Car tabs in the legislature
- Transportation bill in the legislature (5:05)
- ST3 costs (22:39) Note: after recording, Sound Transit verified that the cost estimate applies to the representative alignment.
- Next steps for housing affordability (30:50)
- Delridge, Rainier, and the state of RapidRide (37:23)
Sound Transit says the estimate in ST3 was $5.8 billion in 2014 dollars, which the agency considers equivalent to $6.8 billion in 2018 dollars. The newest estimate is $7.5 billion in 2018 dollars.
That could rise even more, between about $500 million and $2 billion, if Sound Transit decides to enhance the routes beyond the basic alignment approved by voters.
“Tunnels are really more expensive, said Cathal Ridge, Sound Transit’s Executive Corridor Director for West Seattle and Ballard.
The costs of the representative alignment are creeping up.
The accompanying video segment is excellent as well. The content won’t be surprising to anyone who reads this blog, but it’s really well put together and does a good job of explaining the high-level tradeoffs.
Watching it I was struck by how far we’ve come as a region: zero minutes of airtime are given to light rail opponents. Everyone interviewed supports the project. 10 years ago this same piece would have had at least one person talking about how buses are better and light rail is a waste of money.
See also: Seattle Magazine touting the best neighborhoods near light rail. Remember when the Freeman-backed Bellevue City Council fought like hell to keep Link away? You don’t hear much about that anymore.
SDOT and Metro are still hoping for a 2021 opening date for RapidRide H in Delridge, but some potential utility work could delay things until 2022, according to a presentation (PDF, video) to the city’s Sustainability Transportation Committee on Tuesday.
Staff seemed hopeful, however, that an agreement with Seattle Public Utilities to move the stormwater facilities off of Delridge Way could let the project proceed as planned.
Otherwise, the 30% design is looking good for transit, though not much has changed from the 10% design in December. Proposed improvements include:
- 1.5 miles of 24/7 bus lanes
- 1.2 miles of peak-only bus lanes
- 13 station pairs being updated with RapidRide branding as well as bus bulbs
- Signal priority and two queue jumps
(Since this was a City of Seattle presentation, it was focused on the city’s side of the route. Burien will be seeing improvements as well.)
As usual, the messy tradeoff between bikes, buses, and on-street parking leads to some compromises. Parking will be removed in some areas, especially where SDOT is adding both bus and bike lanes. There will be some protected bike lanes and some diversion to neighborhood greenways on either side of Delridge. The (generally high quality) greenways themselves will be improved.
SDOT is responding to the community’s desire to extend the northbound bus lane further south, to reduce delays in the AM peak. We’ll know more at 60% design (this would be a good thing to advocate for if you go to one of the spring design presentations).
Finally, SDOT is interested in working with Sound Transit to coordinate capital improvements with a future Delridge link station, though it’s still very early in the ST planning process.
The long, narrow nature of the corridor and lack of major cross-streets means that there’s real potential for speed and reliability improvements with dedicated lanes, in-lane stops, and queue jumps.
The next round of outreach will happen this spring, with a goal of construction in 2020 and opening in 2021. Route 120 is the 10th busiest in the system, with 9,000 daily riders. The $70M project budget includes paving and stormwater as well as the bus & bike infrastructure.