Open Thread 18: Rethink the Link

“Rethink the Link“: A West Seattle movement advocates the “No Build” EIS alternative for West Seattle Link. This one seems to be not just nimbys but people concerned about effective transit. As this blog has discussed, existing bus routes fan out from the West Seattle Bridge in a stick-shift pattern, connecting West Seattle neighborhoods to each other as well as short one-seat rides to downtown. Link will serve only the middle horizontal bar of the stick shift, serving only a small area directly while the vast majority of neighborhoods require a transfer. And RapidRide H (Delridge) will probably continue running downtown in parallel. All this gives a reason to stop West Seattle Link. Ideally multi-line BRT fanning out from the bridge would replace the existing bus routes. But even lesser bus improvements might be better than an ineffective and expensive Link route. Here’s a manifesto of sorts.

This could be a model for advocacy on the problematic Ballard/DSTT2 project with horrible transfers, and the arguably-unnecessary Tacoma Dome and Everett extensions and the Issaquah line. ST2 Link and the short exensions to Lynnwood, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond are critical for the region’s transit mobility. But the further extensions have diminishing returns, and the proposed bad transfers downtown would cripple the network. A “No Build” alternative is required in every EIS, and people can argue for it. Most no-build alternatives assume incremental bus improvements, and it may be possible to divert some of the project money to them. Of course, it would be a long shot to convince the ST board and subarea politicians and local politicians to cancel the Link projects.

Chile builds metros for $100 million per mile, fully underground and with platform screen doors. Sound Transit spends $1 billion for a mostly-elevated line to West Seattle. A video on Santiago’s network and how it keeps costs low (RMTransit). And Santiago is building a gondola too.

Are turnstyles or proof of payment better? RMTransit weighs in.

Singapore seeks to eliminate the urban heat island effect ($). A V-shaped hospital campus next to a pond with a wooded “courtyard”. Plants on skyscrapers. White buildings like Greece. Trees and wind corridors throughout the city. Rail transit. All to counteract the 10 degrees Fahrenheit urban heat island to protect residents’ health.

Seattle and the Eastside continue to bifurcate into rich and poor with little in the middle. ($) San Francisco went through this twenty years earlier.

Are Link’s next-arrival displays on again? Are they accurate this time? Sound Transit turned them on for a few weeks this summer to quantify the errors and see where they’re coming from. One commentator saw one on this week and it was accurate. Has ST finally made some headway, or is it still as far off as ever?

This is an open thread. Thanks to Martin Pagel for the West Seattle and Chile topics.

Open Thread 17: T Line MLK Opens

The T line phase 2 in Tacoma opened today, with tour guides and festivities until 5pm. The original T line runs north from Tacoma Dome station on Pacific Avenue and through downtown Tacoma on Commerce Street. The extension turns west on 6th Avenue Division Street and south on MLK Way. This is Tacoma’s “First Hill”, the hospital district and historically lower-income Hilltop neighborhood. It ends at South 19th Street. A third phase in the 2040s will go west on 19th to Tacoma Community College. Trains run every 12 minutes until 8pm weekdays and Saturdays, and every 20 minutes 8-10pm. On Sundays trains run every 20 minutes until 6pm. The last inbound train (to Tacoma Dome) leaves 32 minutes later. [Update: Corrected the frequency.] The fare is a flat $2. A day pass costs twice that. If you get a chance to try the current T line, let us know. I’ll go down sometime in the next few weeks.

I’m also thinking of a bus trip on CT 271, the route on Highway 2 that goes through Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan, and Gold Bar in Snohomish County. A commentator recently took this route to Gold Bar for a hike. I’m thinking about visiting the towns. Do you have any recommendations for things to see in there, or whether to go end to end first, or which town to spent time in and turn around? Everett to Snohomish is 15 minutes on Saturdays, Everett to Monroe 28 minutes, and Everett to Gold Bar 59 minutes. On weekdays it’s several minutes longer. The bus is hourly until around 8pm every day. A total end-to-end round trip from Seattle on Link, ST 512, and CT 271 would be 4 hours of riding and 2-3 hours of transferring (aka forced layovers). Turning around at Monroe would shave an hour off that. What would you do?

This would complement my Snoqualmie Valley bus trip in 2014. I repeated the trip last year. I didn’t have enough new things to say for an article, but I traveled with a friend this time, got another look at Issaquah’s route area, stopped in a cafe in Snoqualmie and Duvall, and checked ridership in the New Urbanist developments of Snoqualmie Ridge and Redmond Ridge. The Snoqualmie Valley Shuttle had around twenty passengers getting on and off at various stops. To get the shortest transfer waits and finish in the early afternoon, I really had only one schedule choice, that left Seattle around 7am and Snoqualmie at 8:44am. The 208 made about four stops inside inside Snoqualmie Ridge. I don’t remember it doing that before; I thought it just stopped at the parkway entrances. On/offs were in the 0-2 range. Redmond Ridge was a contrast. The 224 makes several stops inside the neighborhood, and ten or fifteen people got on/off, more than I expected. The sidewalks in Redmond Ridge had several pedestrians walking around too, making the most of their walkable environment.

If anyone else has other transit tours to describe, put then in the comments or email a paragraph to the contact address for a future open thread.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread 16: Normal Transit

Warsaw shows what should be “normal” transit in cities. (RMTransit)

There is a new grass roots movement to fix the often delayed Metro 8.

Jarrett Walker shares his thoughts on an automated bus pilot in Scotland. (Human Transit)

SDOT is planning around the future 130th Station. (SDOT)

Ryan Packer writes about potential Link overcrowding and changes to the 5. (Urbanist)

Sound Transit delays the Real-Time-Arrival system for Link.

Checking in on the BellHop ($), downtown Bellevue’s demand-response circulator. It’s called BellHop, not Bel-Hop like previous circulators in the 80s.

Do flashing pedestrian beacons (RRFBs) make streets safe to walk across? (CityNerd video) I say they help. I looked at two adult family homes for a relative. One was in Burien and required crossing six-lane high-speed 1st Avenue South without a crosswalk to get to the 131 northbound bus stop. I saw people with walkers or walking their dog doing it between 40 mph traffic. But I was afraid that if I went there monthly I’d inevitably get hit by a car someday. Another home in Bellevue had RRFBs on 156th at three residential intersections, so that was one of the reasons we chose that home. I assume the difference is that Bellevue is rich enough to afford RRFBs and Burien isn’t. Still, I’d call 1st Avenue South dangerous like the stroads in the video, and something needs to be done.

Art deco wonders in downtown Seattle. ($)

Downtowns find creative uses for underused office buildings. ($) Breweries, farms, spas…

Homeless people in programs that give cash use it for basic needs ($) such as “housing, furniture and transportation”, and not on “temptation goods” (defined as alcohol, drugs, or cigarette).

Urban planning in communist countries. (Wikipedia) Where did all those commie block highrises came from?

Cars are making our lives worse. A Puerto Rico perspective. (Bianca Graulau video)

This is an open thread.

September Service Cuts

Metro’s service cuts announced in May go into effect tomorrow, September 2nd. These are due to the driver shortage, mechanic shortage, and supply-chain bottlenecks for bus parts. Metro is shrinking the schedule to fit the available resources to minimize mid-term or last-minute cancellations. Normally new schedules are available a week ahead, but I just saw the Rider Alert yesterday. Sound Transit and Community Transit also have their semi-annual service changes at the same time. Everett Transit had a change in June. Kitsap Transit doesn’t appear to have changes.

Quick links to changes: Metro | Sound Transit | Community Transit

Metro

On September 2nd the following routes will be suspended (no service): 15, 16, 18, 29, 55, 64, 114, 121, 167, 190, 214, 216, 217, 232, 237, 268, 301, 304, 320, 342. The link above has an extensive list of alternatives for each route. These are all peak expresses I believe. With the loss of the 15 and 214/216/217, anecdotal reports predict overcrowding on the D and 218 peak hours.

Reductions:

  • 10: 30 minutes after 8pm weekdays, after 6pm Saturdays, after 8pm Sundays.
  • 20: Half-hourly off-peak, hourly at night.
  • 28: Hourly off-peak.
  • 73: Half-hourly peak hours, hourly otherwise.
  • 79: Hourly.
  • 225: Hourly.
  • 230, 231: Each hourly. Combined half-hourly between Juanita and Kirkland.
  • 255: Half-hourly after 7pm.
  • 345: Hourly. Delete three northbound and three southbound trips after 6:35pm.

“Route 10 will have a decrease in service due to a reduction of the Seattle Transit Measure investment in the route…. To reduce the impact of reductions to Route 36, the City of Seattle is providing additional funding on this route in the PM Peak period through the Seattle Transit Measure.”

Routes with timing adjustments: 3, 4, 7, 8, 31, 32, 36, 44, 249.

Routes with stop location changes: 22, 208, 225, 249.

Other changes:

  • F and 153: Continue long-term reroute due to I-405 overpass closure.
  • 22: Extend last trip at 9:09pm to two additional stops.
  • 107: Add two afternoon trips for Mercer International Middle School.
  • 208: Add one trip westbound at 5:09am.

More below the fold.

Continue reading “September Service Cuts”

Open Thread 15: Steps to Transit

A step-by-step guide to incrementally improving your city’s transit. (RMTransit)

This was in the last open thread but deserves a feature position. Glimpses of Link in a few places.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread 14: Rural Transit

Thoughts on car dependency from rural America. (InDefenseOfToucans)

Link remains at 15-minute service with single-tracking at Othello and Rainier Beach stations through September 17.

Phase 2 of the T Line opens September 16. This extends Tacoma Link to what we might call Tacoma’s First Hill.

Page 2 has an article on a Jefferson Street funicular in Seattle’s First Hill.

King County explores redeveloping a 9-block government district downtown. This includes the North of CID Link station alternative.

A step by step guide to improving a city’s transit. (RMTransit video)

Trolleybuses vs battery buses. (City for All video)

Montreal transit and urbanism. (CityNerd video)

Non-transit interlude: Why Shakespeare plays can’t be presented the original way. (J Draper video)

This is an open thread.

Open Thread 13: Hope

Hope for American transit: things are getting better. (RMTransit video)

Top 10 US metros with the highest bus ridership per capita. Seattle is #4. (CityNerd video)

Washington congressional delegation asks FTA to fund Cascadia high-speed rail study. ($)

Trolleybuses vs battery buses. (City for All video)

The advantages of green tram tracks; i.e., grass between the rails. (City for All video)

A Taylor Swift fan from Canada vlogs her Seattle light rail weekend. (Keri Pratt video)

This is an open thread.

Link Month of Reductions

August is the month ot Link maintenance. Service will be reduced for five weeks from August 12th to September 16th to replace sagging tracks over weak soil at Royal Brougham Way, to replace platform tiles at Othello and Rainier Beach, to inspect high-voltage power equipment, to build track ties for East Link near International District, to replace aging rails in the downtown tunnel, and probably other things. This was the best time they could find during the short dry season between major public events, although there will still be a couple ballgames during it. Service levels will be like this:

  • Phase 1: August 12-13: The downtown tunnel is closed. A bus replacement operates between Capitol Hill and SODO Stations. Trains run every 15 minutes (instead of 10). The bus shuttle runs every 10 minutes.
  • Phase 2 & 3: August 14-20: Like the April reduction was. Link is single-tracked between Westlake and Stadium (meaning both directions use the same platform). Trains run every 15 20 minutes. All trains terminate at Pioneer Square, and all passengers transfer to the other platform to continue north or south. This time the transfer isn’t timed, so you could be waiting a long or short time. Royal Brougham Way will be open for pedestrians and bicycles but not cars.
  • Phases 4 & 5: August 21-September 3: Othello and Rainier Beach stations are single-tracked. Trains run every 12 minutes.

Update 8/15/2023: Phase 2 & 3 frequency is now 20 minutes.

Details on phases 1-3 | Seattle Times coverage ($) | Announcement on phases 1-3 | Announcement on phases 4-5 | More details on phases 1-5 (click “Link Light Rail” and read the whole section).

More below the fold.

Continue reading “Link Month of Reductions”

Open Thread 12

Link will have another split-spine repair period August 12-19 similar to the reduction in April. This time it’s to repair a section of track that has settled at Royal Brougham Way. For the first two days the downtown tunnel will simply be closed, with a bus replacement between Capitol Hill and SODO. Then for six days all trains will terminate at Pioneer Square, and you’ll have to transfer to the other platform to continue north or south. Pedestrian access from Stadium Station to the Greyhound terminal or the stadiums will be blocked. We’ll have an article on this when it starts.

While you’re transferring at Pioneer Square you can contemplate how a center platform would make transferring faster, how this is now a regular problem, and how future transfers to the second tunnel will be several times worse.

The Free Waterfront Shuttle bus is running again for the summer. It runs in two loops from Pier 56 (the Great Wheel). The south loop goes to Pioneer Square and King Street Station. The north loop goes to the Space Needle. Buses run every 15 minutes (subject to traffic) from 10am to 8pm until September 24. Ferry passengers should use the stop at Pier 56 because of construction at Pier 52.

The perfect transit system. (RMTransit video)

What I would build in Vancouver. (RMTransit video)

How feasible is a wholesale switch to electric cars? (Sabine Hossenfelder video)

Amtrak’s endless ridership vs coverage problem. (Human Transit)

This is an open thread.

Open Thread 11

Carmageddon comes this weekend. ($) Taylor Swift has concerts Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm ending near midnight. There are also Mariners games, a Storm game, the Bite of Seattle, the Capitol Hill Block Party, the Chinatown Seafair parade, a 520 bridge closure, and partial closure of I-5 northbound. Pike Street will be closed between Broadway and 12th. The Chinatown parade is Sunday at 7pm. Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times reports on extra transit service downtown:

  • Link will have extra runs late night Saturday and Sunday until 2am.
  • Sounder North and South will have Taylor Swift runs Saturday. There will be NO baseball run Sunday due to staffing limitations.
  • ST Express will have extra runs on the 545, 550, and 554.
  • Metro will have extra runs on the C, D, and H. A downtown bus shuttle Friday and Saturday after the concerts will run in a one-way loop between Lumen Field and 4th & Lenora.
  • King County Water Taxi to Alki will have two late night runs each on Saturday and Sunday.

In other news:

The ST board meets July 27. Seattle Subway is asking people to attend to advocate not to move or delete Denny, SLU, Midtown, or CID stations from their original ST3 locations or to delay the Ballard EIS further, and has a guest article in The Stranger about it. There will be a webinar on Denny and SLU stations on July 25. Another webinar on these stations is in progress as this article is published; the result will be online later. Several STB authors would rather eliminate the second downtown tunnel and put all trains in the existing tunnel, but the ST board has been opposed to that.

Lynnwood Link bus restructure online open houses will be July 24, August 15, and August 19.

More workers and visitors return downtown. ($)

What American transit could learn from Canada. (RMTransit video)

The Honolulu SkyLine is open. (RMTransit video)

The 10 US cities with the least vehicle miles traveled. (CityNerd video) The underlying data lumps cars, freight and buses together, so so it’s not the same as cities with the least car use.

This is an open thread.

RapidRide J Update

SDOT published a long RapidRide J FAQ in March discussing the alignment details and responses to community concerns. Here’s the project page and a map. Construction will start in 2024 and it will open in 2027. The J will replace Route 70 between the U-District and downtown, running on Eastlake Avenue East and Fairview Avenue North. South of the Ship Canal the routing will be the same but with fewer stops. North of the Ship Canal it will move slightly. The 70 stops on Campus Parkway and 15th Ave NE next to the University of Washington Campus. Northbound the J will remain on 11th with a stop at 41st, then turn east on 43rd and make their last stop at 12th, one block west of the Link station and three blocks west of campus. It will make a non-revenue turn left and lay over on 12th. Southbound it will stop first at 45th & University Way eastbound, then make a U shape to the second stop at 43rd & Brooklyn westbound, at the Link station and two blocks west of campus. Then it will turn left at Roosevelt Way and stop at 41st.

Two activist groups are targeting the J. One is a RapidRide J survey by the Eastlake Community Council. This group has been described to me as “anti-transit and pro-street-parking”. Action: Fill out the survey and check “More rapid bus service” as the highest community priority.

The other thing is a misleading “Save Route 70” flyer on Campus Parkway at the westbound bus stop. I don’t know if it’s the same activist group or a different one. The flyer says “the 70” will move from 15th to Roosevelt. The flyer ominously warns there will no longer be any transit from UW to downtown except for Link, and no transit from UW to SLU. It implies students will have to walk 5 blocks from 15th to Roosevelt, and that that’s so far it’s like losing bus service. In reality, students will walk 2-3 blocks. Students walk more than 5 blocks between classes anyway. If you’re going downtown Link will be faster than the J, and it will run every 4-5 minutes when Line 2 starts in 2025.

Another twist is that some people travel north-south along the entire Roosevelt-Eastlake corridor. They will transfer between the J and 67. From the map in the FAQ and the close-up of 41st Street, it appears that riders both directions will have a one-block walk between the J stations at 41st and the 67 stops at 42nd. Ideally the stops would be consolidated for a same-stop transfer. That may be infeasible since the southbound 67 turrns left at Campus Parkway, the southbound J turns left at 43rd, and the complicated Eastlake-11th-41st triangle northbound.

I used to live on 56th and saw firsthand the many overlapping trips in the Roosevelt-Eastlake-Fairview corridor. 65th has the Roosevelt neighborhood. 55th was my stop and the Friendly Foam Shop (since moved to Pinehurst). 50th-52nd has a library, church, Scarecrow Video, and the Monkey Pub. 47th is Trader Joe’s. 45th has the transfer to the 44. 42nd has UW medical. Eastlake has two physical therapy clinics, retail, entertainment, and my dad’s former office and apartment. SLU has jobs and retail. The entire corridor has tons more retail and apartments beyond those. This is a successful urban corridor that must have good north-south transfers. There’s an unfortunate tradeoff between serving north-south trips on Roosevelt, students going to campus, shoppers going to the Ave, and people transferring to/from Link — because a bus would have to go different ways simultaneously. What we don’t want is the current 67/70 situation, where you have to detour east to Campus Parkway, cross the street, walk another block to the other bus stop, and then backtrack back to Roosevelt/11th. I’ve had to do that.

You might want to mention in the survey — and tell SDOT — to keep the J station at the Link station, and to ensure good north-south transfers between the J and 67.

On-topic comments for this article are about the J, 70, and 67 corridors and their neighborhoods.

Getting Value in Transit

Why the US gets less transit for more money. (RMTransit)

(Link photo at 4:00.)

Just coincidentally, several Link and Metro decisions are being made:

Sound Transit’s 2024 service plan is published. Provide feedback by August 6th. Virtual information sessions are July 17 and 26. There are separate pages for North, East, and South. STB commentators have already started talking about it. Read the links for information on Lynnwood Link (Summer/Fall 2024 with Line 1 only), the East Link starter line (possibly Spring 2024 if the ST board decides to), and the full Line 2 (2025). The gap between Lynnwood opening and Line 2 opening could cause crowding between Northgate and downtown. ST proposes to restructure the 510/511/512/513 when the Lynnwood extension opens. Routes 522, 542, 545, 550, 554, 556 will remain as is until the full Line 2 opens. There are no changes in 2024 in South King County or Pierce County.

Metro’s Lynnwood Link restructure is in phase 3. There will be an article about it tomorrow. On Tuesday there will be an article on RapidRide J.

Sound Transit is reconsidering the SLU and Denny stations on Ballard Link. Provide feedback before July 27. Webinars will be on July 20 and 25. ST is considering moving Denny Station and deleting SLU Station. More information on Ballard and West Seattle EIS schedules.

The “South of CID” ($) station alternative has an article by Daniel Beekman in the Seattle Times. Developer Urban Visions owns 7 acres around the site and proposes a joint station/office/lab/apartment development. There’s a map of the platform location; it’s over a block south of the Uwajimaya parking lot. “There would be no direct transfers to other lines; riders would walk five to 10 minutes above ground to other stations, a Sound Transit memo said in January.” Needless to say, this is bad. Good train-to-train transfers should be the #1 factor in a multi-line subway network, because half or more of the destinations require a transfer.

This is an open thread.

Everett Link Again

Everett Link planning has expanded to two dozen alternatives for the six stations, one provisional station, and the maintenance base (“OMF North”) in the extension north of Lynnwood Station, according to Stephen Fesler in The Urbanist. (Thanks to Anonymouse for the link.) We just covered this extension two weeks ago, but the opinions continue to multiply. The linked article has a chart of the alternatives and some diagrams of the potential station areas. Fesler is especially concerned about the number of property takings.

Take it away, commentators. On-topic comments for this article are on Everett Link or the area north of Lynnwood Station. Other topics belong in the previous article (“Transit Fare Holiday”) or a future open thread.

Transit Fare Holiday

Metro, Sound Transit, Kitsap Transit, and the Seattle Streetcars will be free July 11-12 (Monday and Tuesday) fo the All-Star Week baseball tournament. This includes Link, Sounder, buses, streetcars, the King County Water Taxi, and the Kitsap Fast Ferry. Other agencies are not participating (i.e., not Community Transit, Pierce Transit, the Monorail, or Washington State Ferries). The linked announcement page has a short video message by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Link will run every 8 minutes all day July 8 (Saturday), 10 (Monday), and 11 (Tuesday). Enjoy a taste of more-frequent service. Sounder will have extra runs on the 10th and 11th. Metro’s fareboxes and ORCA readers will be covered. Sound Transit’s readers will be adjusted to charge zero if you tap.

Update: Metro has a downtown map with more information. Metro has extra service July 7-11 on routes C, D, E, H, 7, 36, 101, 150, and 255. ST Express has extra service on routes 522, 545, 550, and 554. Route 21 will be rerouted to 4th Ave S after events on July 8, 10, and 11.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread 10

On Thursday northern Link at noon was standing room only with half the aisles filled. And I regularly see a dozen or more people getting on each train and another dozen getting off at Capitol Hill in the afternoons. This made me think Link has quietly reached a European level of ridership in the northern half in the daytime at least.

ST has been testing the next-train displays the past few weeks . They’ve been accurate for me except in two cases. In the PM peak at Roosevelt Wednesday and Thursday, it said the next southbound train was over 20 minutes away, at a time when they’re supposed to be running every 8 minutes. On Thursday I checked the display, then went to Whole Foods and came back, and the display again said the next train was in 22 minutes. Sometimes when this happens a train shows up in a few minutes anyway, and other times it doesn’t. I didn’t wait to see whether it would; I took a bus instead. So I don’t know whether the display has an afternoon fever or there’s really a gap in the trains.

The Westlake station platforms have two new video screens showing the weather, Husky sports ads, and the baseball tournament schedule.

Seattle Subway has a commentary in the Stranger arguing not to move or delete CID, Midtown, or SLU stations.

Future-proofing a transit system. (RMTransit video) The UW station stub is featured at 4:07.

This is an open thread.

Everett Link Station Moves Downtown

The Sound Transit board on Thursday refined the Everett Link plan ($). Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times reports that the main Everett Link station is moved to the downtown arena. This puts it right in the middle of Everett’s most walkable streets like Broadway, Hewitt Avenue, and Colby Avenue. The arena is where the Everett Silvertips hockey team plays, and is called the Angel of the Winds Arena or the Snohomish County Civic Center. Until now the station had been expected to be three blocks southeast of the arena, at a combined transit center/Amtrak station/P&R at the edge of downtown with a limited walkshed. I don’t know how they’ll reconcile having two “Everett Stations”, whether some bus routes will serve both stations, or how P&R drivers from the north would get to Link.

The board also prefers a western alternative for Alderwood station, now called West Alderwood, closer to buses and apartments. It wants the Southwest Everett Industrial Center station on on Highway 526 outside Boeing and Paine Field property, to avoid impacting industrial job capacity. It decided to wait on choosing an alternative for the Casino Road/Evergreen Way station location.

The opening date is now 2041. A first phase may open in 2037 to Mariner or the Paine Field area. (I assume it’s Mariner. The article says the Paine Field area but that may be an approximation.

Staff have started telling the board which locations they prefer rather than waiting for the politicians to tell them. This implements one of the recommendations made by an external technical advisory group.

There’s disagreement on whether to put Link stanchions in the middle of streets.

Update: ST announcement and links to documents.

This is an open thread.

More Yellow Stripes

A few more changes in the downtown Link tunnel.

At Westlake Station, the eastern escalator/stairs to the platforms are in alcoves. A few months ago ST moved the ticket machines (TVMs) from the back walls to the front of the alcoves. Now ST has added a yellow stripe on the floor in front of the alcoves, to make a psychological doorway. The ORCA readers stand on the stripe.So at each alcove, the TVMs are in the middle. The stripe goes left and right from the TVMs to the ORCA readers on the side walls. The elevator is on the left wall next to the reader. A “fare paid zone” sign is in front of the stripe. This makes the readers and fare-paid zone more visible, and is part of an upcoming fare-checking revival. The arrangement is especially prominent at the northeast alcove (southbound), because there’s a second elevator up to the monorail, and another yellow stripe and reader goes at right angles around it.

ST’s email update says University Street and Pioneer Square stations have been retrofitted too, and International District is in progress. When I was at Intl Dist, half the surface readers were gone, presumably for relocation. ST says to tap at the platform readers if the surface readers aren’t in place yet.

The train arrival announcements in the downtown tunnel have a new voice and wording. It sounds like the BART voice but female. Do we call it “Mrs Bart”?

The next-train displays are on. ST has them on temporarily to test how accurate they are and where the errors are coming from. They were accurate for four trains I took. The numbers in the downtown stations are nicely large. The northern stations have their own characteristic displays and the old voice.

This is an open thread.

Video Roundup

Why you shouldn’t put light rail in tunnels. (RMTransit)

In the video Reese argues that German U-Stadtbahn trams work well because they only have a short tunnel in the city center. Beyond that you should either have surface light rail or tunneled high-capacity metro, but not light rail with extensive tunnels. He mentions Link and a few other cities as what not to do.

Salt Lake City’s transit is surprisingly good. It’s a model for other medium-sized American cities. (RMTransit)

A London Overground overview. (RMTransit)

More below the fold….

Continue reading “Video Roundup”

Open Thread 9

NE 130th construction update: “Current construction at NE 130th St Infill Station is focused on the concrete platform and canopy structural steel. This work will be completed prior to electrification of the Lynnwood Link Extension overhead traction power, which allows operational testing prior to Lynnwood Link’s projected opening in July 2024…. The station finishes contract was issued for bid this spring and includes construction of station finishes and plaza and roadway improvements. This final station construction work is anticipated to begin in October 2023. The final station contract is pending Q2/Q3 board action from the Sound Transit Board…. Construction of station finishes, streetscape, and roadway improvements is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete, with the NE 130th Infill Station opening in Q2 2026.” This is from a Sound Transit email announcement. More about the design.

The Urbanist worries that new Denny station alternatives could delay Ballard Link.

Everett Link is about to start environmental review. ST’s System Expansion Committee will meet June 8 to consider alternatives to study.

Aurora Avenue has rechannelization workshops through June 15. (Urbanist)

Phoenix halts housing construction due to water limits. ($) New subdivisions will require a 100-year water supply from a non-groundwater, non-well source. This is an Arizona state mandate on parts of Maricopa County. “The decision means cities and developers must look for alternative sources of water to support future development — for example, by trying to buy access to river water from farmers or Native American tribes, many of whom are facing their own shortages. That rush to buy water is likely to rattle the real estate market in Arizona, making homes more expensive and threatening the relatively low housing costs that had made the region a magnet for people from across the country.”

A journey on the Elizabeth Line ($) in London. A photo tour of four station areas along the line. The Elizabeth Line, aka Crossrail, opened a year ago.

What if the US never built the Intestate highway system? (Geography by Geoff podcast) This 1.5 hour podcast is mostly about the creation of the Interstate program. The last third gets into what if that hadn’t happened. Co-host Hunter Shobe is a geography professor at Portland State University, and the author of “Upper Left Cities: a cultural atlas of San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle”. (I haven’t read the book.)

This is an open thread. If you know of any projects looking for feedback now, leave them in the comments.