News Roundup: Lots of Things

Sound Transit releases

WSBLE study results and new options (for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension). Public input until February 17.

ST2 Link openings scheduling. Staff are exploring the possibility of opening the East Link starter line without delaying Lynnwood Link’s opening, a partial ST Express restructure with the starter line (no specific routes yet), and a “Federal Way starter line” (opening Kent-Des Moines before Federal Way).

ST is seeking volunteers for its North King Community Oversight Panel. Seattle is seeking volunteers for its Move Seattle Levy Oversight panel.


Why it’s hard to build good and inexpensive transit in the US. Two people asked me to post this RMTransit video about what drives quality down and costs up in projects that are built. Link is the first example at 1:47. “Seattle’s experience with Link Light Rail that has the costs of a subway system but the capacity and service quality of a light rail system should be instructive here.” He says an automated system with smaller trains and higher frequency could have cost less, had higher reliability and better service, and attracted more riders. He goes on to list other US transit systems and issues. I hear a lot of diagnosing problems but not many concrete solutions, so that leaves me at a loss with what to do. Maybe I’m not understanding the video.

American cities with a combination of higher walkability and lower rents. (CityNerd)

Urban gondolas around the world. (RMTransit) The recent wave started with Mendellín’s metrocable in 2004. Reece discusses which situations gondolas work well in.

Other News

Metro’s Lynnwood Link restructure open house registration. Scroll down to “Community Engagement”. Dates are February 4 and 27.

Seattle Comprehensive Plan virtual open house January 30.

Free transit passes are now available for Seattle low-income housing residents ($) and Climate Pledge Arena events ($).

Bus Doggy Doggs in Alaska ($).

The Federal Transportation Administration has a new grant fund for equity transit projects ($).

Amtrak Cascades has a survey for its long-range plan update. (Urbanist)

SDOT pats itself on the back for its best accomplishments in 2022.

RapidRide G (Madison) construction is 40% complete.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread: North American Buses

KUOW’s Week in Review podcast today discusses several relevant topics: Kshama Sawant will leave the Seattle city council this term to form a national movement. The state legislature is considering a wealth tax, a basic income for low-income people, and raising the minimum zoning in single-family areas. Possible zoning alternatives are 2-plex, 4-plex, 6-plex, either within some distance of major transit stops, or everywhere. Tech layoffs. Two of the panelists are Eric C Barnett (former STB author) and David Kroman (a Seattle Times transportation reporter).

Reece Martin has a video on Why buses in the US and Canada are worse than buses in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Not the routes and frequency this time, but the vehicles themselves. The answer is that due to North American regulations, the rest of the world has more bus companies and more bus types to choose from. Bonus: He calls articulated buses “bendy boys”.

This is an open thread.

Downtown Retail Inventory

Here’s a list of the retail open in selected parts of the midtown retail district in downtown Seattle. I inventoried Westlake Mall, Pacific Place, Pine Street between 9th and 3rd Avenues, and the emptiest part of 3rd Avenue between Olive Way and Union Street. I also did a less-extensive look at Pike Street, and did Pine Street between 3rd and 1st from memory. I see these retail establishments every day, but others who don’t go downtown as much may be less familiar with what’s currently open. I’m also hoping that this will help people support downtown businesses during this difficult period.

Westlake Center

Asean Streat (1st Floor): A new section with several southeast Asian restaurants. Bani Tea, Cool Coco (coconut ice cream), Mimi (crepes), Crawfish Chef, Burgis Street (Chinese), Phanny Pho, Rolling Wok, Hi Fry, Zaab El. The tables were busy midafternoon. None of the restaurants take cash.

Bite on Pine (2nd Floor): Sushi Burrito, Xi’An Noodles, Zuba, Soupwich, Cali Burger. I’m not sure if Matcha is still open.

3rd Floor: Renovated monorail station. Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th (replacing former food court).

2nd Floor: Zara. One escalator was closed.

1st Floor: Zara, Custom World (custom T-shirts), 1 toy store, 1 jewelry, 1 variety, Pressed Juicery.

Pacific Place

4th Floor: AMC movie theater, Johnny Rockets, Thai Ginger, Pike Place Chowder, Din Tai Fung (Chinese). 4 empty storefronts.

3rd Floor: 2 art galleries (one specializing in women’s culture), The Handmade Showroom, 2 clothing stores, Hai Dilao Hot Pot. 4 empty.

2nd Floor: Tiffany & Co, 1 women’s accessories store, 1 perfume & stuff. 9 empty.

1st Floor: 5 clothing stores, 1 perfume, 1 variety. 7 empty storefronts.

Basement: AT&T, Midnight Cookie Co, 1 clothing store. 2 empty storefronts (one being the large Barnes & Noble space). The empty storefronts on all floors tend to be concentrated on the east and south sides.

Pine Street

9th Avenue: Convention Center expansion (under construction), Paramount Theater, The Carlisle Room, Dough Zone (Chinese).

8th Avenue: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Paramount Hotel with cafe, Caffe Ladro, Chan Seattle (Korean).

7th Avenue: Club Monaco (clothes), Hotel Theodore (Roosevelt) with Rider restaurant, Cafe Yumm. 1 empty storefront (Timbuk2).

6th Avenue: Nordstrom with E-Bar, Pandora (jewelry), Seattle Eye (optometrist), Seattle Sun Co (sunglasses), Eileen Fisher, Pho Saigon (on 6th). 1 empty storefront (Forever 21).

5th Avenue: All Saints (clothing).

Westlake Park: Food trucks, Sephora, Arc’teryx, Bof A. 5 empty storefronts.

Century Square: Yard House, Van’s, Dr Martens. 2 empty storefronts (Abercrombie & Fitch).

Ex-Macy’s: Uniqlo (clothing), Victrola (coffee & tea).

2nd and 1st Avenues: Pike Place Market is full of open shops and thick with shoppers and tourists. BECU, H-Mart (Korean supermarket). The other shops around 1st and 2nd are mostly tourist-oriented.

Third Avenue

Pine Street: Victrola (in Macy’s building), McDonald’s, Money Tree, 2 tobacconists, Metro (cell phones). 5 empty storefronts.

Pike Street: Piroshky Piroshky (just reopened), Pho 25 (has good pho broth), Myano (spa), Chipotle), Walgreen’s, Ross. 6 empty storefronts.

Union Street: Subway, Gelatiamo, Post Office, Benaroya Hall. 8 empty storefronts (Wild Ginger).

Pike Street

The emptiness continues east on Pike Street from around 3rd to 6th. I didn’t inventory the open businesses on Pike.

Happy shopping!

This is a semi-open thread on downtown Seattle. Other topics belong in the open thread article after this one. [Ed: Changed comment scope.]

Open Thread: 130th in 2026

130th Station in Seattle is estimated to open in mid 2026. (Thanks to eddiew for the link.)

This would fit in with other openings thus:

  • 2023: RapidRide H (Delridge) in March. T Line MLK extension.
  • 2024: Lynnwood Link (Lynnwood – Angle Lake) -OR- East Link starter line (Redmond Tech – South Bellevue) in Spring. RapidRide G (Madison). Swift Orange (Edmonds College – Lynnwood – Mill Creek – McCollum P&R). If ELSL starts in Spring, Lynnwood will be delayed until Fall/Winter.
  • 2025 : Link Line 2 (Lynnwood – Redmond Downtown) in Spring. RapidRide I (Renton-Auburn).
  • 2026: 130th station (Seattle) in midyear. Stride 1 (Burien-Bellevue). Stride 3 (Shoreline-Bothell).
  • 2027: Stride 2 (Lynnwood-Bellevue).
  • ???: Federal Way Link (Lynnwood – Federal Way). Postponed for viaduct redesign.
  • 2032: Tacoma Dome Link (Lynnwood – Tacoma Dome). West Seattle starter line (Alaska Junction – SODO).

I couldn’t find a date for the Swift Green UW Bothell extension.

Sources: ELSL/Lynnwood proposal. ST3 realignment adopted Aug 2021. T line. RapidRide G. RapidRide H. RapidRide I. Community Transit 2024 restructure open house. Swift Orange. Swift Blue expansion.

This is an open thread.

What to call Sounder-type rail?

We usually call Sounder “regional rail” or “commuter rail”, but both terms are ambiguous. Other possible terms like “metropolitan rail”, “local rail”, “express rail”, or “rapid transit” are also ambiguous. That leaves me at a loss with what to call Sounder or RER that’s not ambiguous. The same problem exists with Cascades.

“Regional rail” implies an area with multiple political entities. Both Sounder and Cascades are called “regional rail” but are at different scales. Sounder goes out 50 miles like Caltrain, connecting suburbs and cities within a multipolar metropolitan area. Cascades is 500 miles long, connecting multiple nearby metropolitan areas. High-speed rail plays a similar role. So we need distinct words for Sounder-type networks and Cascades-type networks.

“Metropolitan rail” implies the city and suburbs within an metropolitan area. This sounds like Sounder, except the term “metropolitan” has been monopolized by subways. Subways are shorter, have closer stop spacing, and higher frequency. Paris has both RER and metro, making this distinction between them.

“Commuter rail” originally meant riding on a “communtation ticket”, or multi-trip discount ticket like a 10-pack. This has led to a bifurcation, with some commuter rails running full time and others peak-only Caltrain and PATH run full time bidirectionally, so they’re as good for a weekend trip to the museum as a weekday trip to the office. They’re intended to capture the bulk of trips in their area to minimize driving, both work trips and other trips. Other commuter rail network are peak only, serving only 9-5 downtown office workers, and there’s resistance to expanding them to other uses.

“Rapid transit” to me means faster than a regular bus, so grade-separated, wider stop spacing, and higher frequency. Others use the term specifically for third-rail or heavy-rail metros.

Some people use “S-Bahn” or “RER” generically to refer to this mid-level service, but most Americans have never heard of those and don’t know what they are.

So is there a unique and unambiguous way to refer to Sounder, RER, S-Bahn type rail? Something that gets at the four-way distinction between Link, Sounder, Cascades, and intercity lines? Because “regional” is too ambiguous.

New Year’s News Roundup: Sounder Faltering

Sounder’s ridership is still just a third of pre-pandemic levels ($), even as Link has surpassed its 2019 level and Metro buses have recovered more than half. The Seattle Times headline says “Sounder’s trains future in limbo”. The article goes on to say, “Julie Timm, Sound Transit’s new CEO, said it’s too early to make decisions concerning Sounder’s future. It may be less critical right now, but with population and density growth, she believes ridership will return, if more slowly than hoped.”

Sounder’s new Puyallup parking garage will open a year late, in January 2023. ($) If Sounder’s ridership is down to a third, who will use the new garage?

Sound Transit gets two grants early for Federal Way and Lynnwood. ($)

Now the lower West Seattle Bridge is closed. When it rains it pours. It was damaged in the ice storm a week ago, and needs two weeks of repairs.

SDOT has answers to your sidewalk closure questions.

Seattle’s zoning got tighter over the 20th century, as residential zones allowing middle housing were downgraded to single-family only. Many of those small apartments and duplexes still exist, but are illegal to build today in those neighborhoods. I especially like the courtyard apartments, with a garden in front, or two rows of sideways apartments surrounding a courtyard.

The PSRC’s 2050 regional transportation plan is not aligned with the PSRC’s own 2030 climate goals, says Ryan Packer of The Urbanist. (Side rant: The Urbanist’s ads are very intrusive and annoying. Please tone them down. And whenever there’s an embedded slideshow visible, the PageDown/PageUp buttons stop scrolling the page.)

What’s wrong with an empty bus? (Human Transit)

Are my articles getting too long for the blog’s layout? I tend to write long sometimes.

This is an open thread.

Third Avenue Renovation

The Downtown Seattle Association released an update to its Third Avenue street reconfiguration vision. The DSA is a private organization of business leaders dedicated to promoting shopping and jobs downtown. Here’s our previous coverage in June, and a comment thread in September.

The vision describes Third Avenue as “a critical north-south transportation route in downtown Seattle.” It goes on to say, “For a variety of reasons, significant sections of the corridor feel unwelcoming and unsafe. Over the past decade, several planning efforts have yielded incremental improvements, but the underlying challenges remain the same.”

It cites a corridor study by Seattle and King County that identifies five problems downtown (including Belltown and Pioneer Square): insufficient open space, deferred maintenance, few middle-class people lingering (in spite of the large volume of people walking or waiting for buses), blank walls, too much concrete and too little color, and underused lobbies in office towers.

Continue reading “Third Avenue Renovation”

Fresh Open Thread

Snow is expected today, although it continues to be unpredictable as it was three weeks ago. Here’s a fresh open thread to discuss it and other topics. Wednesday and Thursday will be unusually cold in the low 20s. Beware of black ice.

Metro’s Snow Guide dashboard has a map of which subareas are on snow routes or the Emergency Snow Network. The page has a map of ESN routes, and links to the route-specific Service Advisories page and to subscribe to Alerts.

In East Seattle I’ve found Pine Street is the easiest way to get around in the snow, as it’s relatively flat from 1st Avenue to 14th Avenue. The worst part is crossing I-5 at Boren, where the bridge sidewalk can be icy.

ST2 Link Progress

Sound Transit is getting more serious about an East Link starter line until the defective plinths delaying the lake crossing can be replaced. We earlier covered Claudia Balducci’s original proposal and Sherwin Lee’s plea for good transfers. The delay of the lake crossing has cascading impacts on the Lynnwood extension, which will finish construction first but won’t have access to the Eastside train base (OMF East). Meanwhile, the Federal Way extension needs more time to design a “long-span bridge structure”. The System Expansion Committee proposed a new opening schedule:

  • Spring 2024: East Link Starter Line (Line 2: South Bellevue to Redmond Technology).
  • Fall/Winter 2024: Lynnwood (Line 1: Lynnwood to Angle Lake).
  • Spring 2025: East Link (Line 2: Lynnwood to Redmond Downtown).
  • TBD: Federal Way (Line 1: Lynnwood to Federal Way).

The ST board will meet in January to consider whether to pursue the starter line. If it doesn’t, Lynnwood would open a quarter earlier (Summer/Fall 2024) and East Link would open as above (Spring 2025).

The starter line’s frequency would be 10 minutes peak, midday, and weekends; and 15 minutes late evening/early morning.

ST Express routes would remain unchanged. The 550 would overlap the starter line between South Bellevue and Bellevue Downtown. The 542 and 545 would meet the line at one station, Redmond Technology. The 554 would continue going from Issaquah to Seattle with no direct access to the line.

A trip from Issaquah to downtown Bellevue would be the same as now: peak-only 556, slow 271, or 554+550 transfer at Mercer Island. Train enthusiasts could do a three-seat 554+550+Link trip transferring at Mercer Island and South Bellevue, or drive from Issaquah to the South Bellevue P&R and take the train from there.

ST’s presentation in the first link says opening Lynnwood before OMF East runs the risk of overcrowding on the 1 Line, and finding overnight storage for 16 trains along the Line 1 track. East Link trains are also arriving more slowly than expected. The testing window for new track, when trains will run without passengers before the opening, is four months.

On-topic comments for this article are the proposed Link changes, and riding transit in the 2023-2029 timeframe. Other restructures will be happening around the same time: the East Link bus restructure (now in 2025), Stride 1 (Burien-Bellevue), Stride 2 (Lynnwood-Bellevue), Stride 3 (Shoreline-Bothell), RapidRide G (Madison), H (Delridge), I (Renton-Kent-Auburn), J (Eastlake), T Line (Tacoma Link MLK extension).

News Roundup

Link public art: history and review ($).

Jarrett Walker is writing a second edition of his book “Human Transit”, and is asking for input on what to include.

Population-weighted density, or, is Los Angeles denser than New York City? (Pedestrian Observations)

Video of San Francisco’s new Central Subway. (Stroll With Me)

The most important rail line in the world, Tokyo’s Yamamote ring line. (RMTransit)

Whistler is a walkable small town. (RMTransit)

Seattle is still seeking input on its comprehensive plan update. I still need to get my comments in. Public hearings are December 12 and January 10.

This is an open thread.

Metro Cancellations

Metro sent an email alert today: “After two Metro operators identified a manufacturing issue in the steering system in some vehicles, Metro proactively removed 126 buses from service out of its 1,500-vehicle fleet. The identified problem did not lead to any accidents or injuries. Metro inspected all its buses to ensure all vehicles in service continue to perform safely and within specifications. The defect does not extend to all New Flyer buses and many remain in service.”

Metro recommends checking whether your trip is affected:

  • Text your bus stop number to 62550.
  • Sign up for text or email Transit Alerts.
  • Follow Twitter @kcmetroalerts.
  • Use Metro’s Trip Planner, One Bus Away, Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc.
  • Call Metro Customer Service at 206-553-3000 weekdays between 6am and 6pm.

We’ve been on a roller coaster of transit expansions and contractions almost every year for a decade:

In 2012 the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle ended due to cost pressure from the 2008 recession.

In 2014 Metro had major cuts and laid off most of its non-operations staff as a 2-year recession tax surcharge expired.

Sometime around then Rapid Ride C, D and E opened, and Link went from 8-minute to 6-minute peak frequency.

In 2015 the economic recovery allowed the next three rounds of cuts to be canceled.

In 2016 University Link opened, ST3 passed, and the Seattle Transit Benefit District started funding additional Metro service in Seattle, starting with splitting the C and D and extending the C to South Lake Union.

In 2019 buses were kicked out of the downtown tunnel.

In 2020, COVID and lockdowns led to another major round of cuts, capping bus capacity at 25%, limiting transit to “Essential Trips Only”, half-hourly frequency on Link, and a reduced renewal of Seattle’s Transit Benefit District.

In 2021 most of the all-day service recovered but is still lower than 2019 levels, and Northgate Link opened. Metro and ST Express planned increases and has the money for them but new problem arose: a driver shortage prevents them from expanding or running all their intended service. Link and RapidRide expansions were delayed by the concrete strike, and Link by track plinths in the Eastside and other factors.

It feels like we’ve been a transit recession since 2020 with no end in sight. And now defective buses have caused even more cancellations. I just wish we could get closer to 2019 levels and at least remain stable there.

To top it off, Metro bus reliability is lower than in 2021. (Urbanist) The first 24,750 additional service hours Metro gets will have to go to “the 40 routes where 20% or more of trips are running late” before it can add additional frequency or coverage. This also feels like déjà vu since it happened before in the past fifteen years: Metro had to add buses just to maintain reliability amidst worsening traffic congestion before it could add frequency.

On-topic comments for this article are trip cancellations, transit reliability, and the roller coaster of expansions and contractions. Please keep current cancellations in separate threads from longer-term issues so that people can find urgent information quickly.

Open Thread: Snow Time

Snow started to fall this morning in central Seattle. The National Weather Service expects snow and rain/snow and snow through Thursday, although with little ground accumulation. Enter your zip code for a neighborhood-specific forecast, and scroll down to “Additional Forecasts” and click “Forecast Discussion” for a detailed analysis.

Metro’s Snow Guide dashboard has a map of which subareas are on snow routes or the Emergency Snow Network. The page has a map of ESN routes, and links to the route-specific Service Advisories page and to subscribe to Alerts.

A KUOW report says Seattle has readied its snow plows and has a new map of plowed streets. All the bus streets appear to be on it. This year the city will also start clearing pedestrian access to bus stops. It says Link and Sounder will continue to operate normally during snow.

If you get stuck inside, here are some transit videos to watch:

This is an open thread

(The next open thread will be whenever this one approaches 150 comments)

Snohomish County Transit

This is a semi-open thread on transit in Snohomish County. I’m trying this as a new idea to group topics by broad areas. The next one will be on Pierce County in a week or so. If you have any Pierce-related links, or ideas for other semi-open threads, you can email them to contact at seattletransitblog com.

Everett Transit has a restructure planned for next March and is asking for public feedback. Thanks to Jordan for bringing this to our attention. One potential flaw is a loop in the middle of Route 2, which would add coverage but make trips between the outer thirds of the route longer. Does this make the route overall better or worse compared to the existing 2? The alternative may be no service northwest of 112th and 4th.

This gets into many other issues regarding how well the overall transit network works for passengers in Everett and Snohomish County. How well does Everett Transit’s proposed network meet Everett’s residents needs and trip patterns? What about the surrounding Community Transit and Sound Transit networks?

Everett opted out of Community Transit to avoid a higher sales tax and loss of local control over its routes. So Community Transit’s routes bypass the county’s largest city in the middle of the network. CT routes 201 and 202 run local north and south of Everett but express through Everett, with only three stops in the city. The Swift Blue line is a joint endeavor, so Everett Transit pays Community Transit for the Everett segment. The City of Everett was adamant from the 1970s through the 2000s that Everett Transit should not merge with Community Transit. With the 2008 recession and 2020 pandemic it has started to reconsider, although there’s nothing definitive at this point. Would a merger improve Everett’s service and Everett’s connectivity with the surrounding area and region? Would it lose important Everett-specific corridors that would be low priority for Community Transit’s countywide focus?

What would an ideal network for Everett look like? And for Snohomish County in general? What is the current multi-agency network doing well for passengers? Which trip patterns (origin-destination pairs) is it still missing?

On-topic comments for this article are all of the above and other issues regarding transit in Snohomish County or to/from Snohomish County. Other comments belong in an open thread.

Transit in North America

Not Just Bikes and Strong Towns discuss transit in North America.

Includes comparisons to Europe (of course). The video is an hour long but has several topics of interest to transit fans.

This is an open thread.

Open Thread: Slow News Day

The Urbanist has a news roundup on Sound Transit and Community Transit activities. Stride 3 (Shoreline-Bothell) is at 60% design. Community Transit is starting to write a new long-range plan. Sound Transit is asking the public about access alternatives at the South Tacoma Sounder station.

Other than that there’s been little news, so it’s up to the comments to launch discussions.

Update: A very interesting discussion of Link stations’ walk scores is in the comments.

Election Open Thread

Initial election results will be posted at 8:15 pm, then on subsequent days by 4 pm. I assume there will be one or two comments about it.

Link will be closed between SODO and Capitol Hill November 11-13. Replacement buses will fill the gap. Trains will continue running north of Capitol Hill and south of SODO. The alert says replacement buses will run every 15 minutes, while a sign at Stadium says they’ll run every 10-15 minutes. In my experience they’re often more frequent than that. So the buses will be either less frequent, the same, or more frequent than Link.

This is an open thread.

Beacon Hill Bike Lanes and Trails

SDOT is planning a north-south cycletrack on Beacon Hill as part of Safe Streets. Separately, a set of recreational trails recently opened in Cheasty Park on the eastern side of the hill.

The cycletrack will run along 15th Avenue South and Beacon Avenue South from the José Rizal Bridge to South Spokane Street. This will connect Little Saigon, the apartment-filled northern part of Beacon Hill, the Link station, the retail village, the library, and Jefferson Park.

This is just phase 1 of the project (or “Segment 1” as SDOT calls it). This phase is funded by Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District. Phases 2 and 3 are not yet funded. Phase 2 would extend the cycletrack south along Beacon Avenue to South Myrtle Street. Phase 3 would continue south to where Beacon Avenue ends at South 39th Street. If all these phases are completed, the cycletrack would run the entire length of Beacon Hill, from the 12th Avenue Bridge to where the 107 makes a U shape to get to Rainier Beach.

At this point SDOT is just introducing the project and collecting email addresses to send announcements to. You can email feedback now or wait for a survey later this month. One question the city is asking about is whether it should be a two-way cycletrack on one side of the street, or two one-way cycletracks on either side.

The Cheasty Park trail opened in October. I walked it last week. From Columbia City Link station, I went out the northern exit to the north side of Alaska Street, and turned left and walked a half mile to the entrance. Alaska Street merges into Columbian Way, and the entrance is a little further on the right, with a sign for “Strawberry Trail”, and a request for user feedback. Cheasty Park is an old-growth woods stretching north and south. The dirt trail runs across it, and is entirely switchbacks up the side of the hill to Cheasty Boulevard. I encountered five mountain bikers going the other way downhill, one or two at a time. At Cheasty Boulevard you can turn right and walk along the 2-lane parkway street to Mt Baker Station. I turned left instead, and walked along the south end of Jefferson Park Golf Course to Beacon Avenue. I turned north and walked along Beacon Avenue past the VA hospital, Jefferson Park (the non-golf park), and the village to Beacon Hill Station. Walking time was around thirty minutes from Columbia City Station to Cheasty Boulevard, and forty minutes from Cheasty Boulevard to Beacon Hill Station.

Partway along the trail there’s a connection to a mountain-bike-only loop that’s not open yet. Another multi-use trail and a mountain bike loop are proposed in the northern part of the park, closer to Mt Baker Station. A third mountain-bike-only [Correction: 2-way hiking only] loop is on the south side of Columbian Way. I’m not sure if it’s open; I saw a park sign but no obvious entrance.

I also walked the Westlake path from Fremont to Denny Way, for the first time since the cycletrack was installed. It is a full cycletrack next the sidewalk, between the continuous parking lot and the business entrances. The cycletrack was well marked, and I saw people walking across it with no conflicts.

On-topic comments for this article are on bike lanes (potential or current), transit lanes, pedestrian infrastructure (including pedestrian bridges), walking tours, and bike tours in the region. Other topics belong in an Open Thread.

News Roundup: Pedestrianizing Pike Street

A proposed pedestrian superblock on East Pike Street, bounded by Broadway, 12th Avenue, East Pine Street, and East Union Street. This looks intriguing. 10th and 11th Avenues already feel almost pedestrian between Pine and Pike Streets, which is pleasant when shopping or attending a nightclub. Having a 3 x 2 block fully pedestrianized area would give Seattle something it doesn’t have, and pedestrians would flock to it. I’m not 100% sure about closing the street, but the arterial ends two blocks east at Madison Street anyway. Buses use adjacent Pine and Union Streets, and cars coming from east Madison can easily choose them instead of Pike.

Animated map of the Chicago L’s evolution from 1892 to 2029. 1900-1910 had a huge wave of expansions. 1948-1958 had a wave of contractions.

This is an open thread.

Lynnwood Link 60% Design

Aerial view of NE 145th Street Station (Sound Transit)

Lynnwood Link, which we last saw in 30% design last November, has now reached 60% design. An open house for 145th and 185th Stations was held on May 24. Mountlake Terrace Station will have an open house June 28th, and Lynnwood Station sometime in the fall.  Travel times from Lynnwood are featured on the project page: 20 minutes to UW, 28 minutes to downtown, 60 minutes to Sea-Tac airport, and 60 minutes to Overlake Transit Center. The rest of this article will focus on 145th and 185th Stations.

ST has a new kind of online open house site at Each page has renderings above and a comment form below so you can refer to the information as you type. There’s a row of circles below the image; be sure to click all the circles to page through all the renderings. The comment period will be open through the Lynnwood open house. Unfortunately the site doesn’t have all the information that was on the slides and posters in the Shoreline open house. That should be motivation to attend future open houses.

145th Station still has the bus turnaround loop at 148th. My biggest concern is there’s only one lane into the station for both buses and cars. Both will turn left into the station and then on for a half-block before they separate, buses to the turnaround, cars to the garage, and other cars to a separate turnaround to drop people off. I’m concerned about cars getting in the way of buses there, and wondering if they need separate lanes. However, more lanes means more asphalt and ugliness.

Aerial view of NE 185th Street Station (Sound Transit)

Continue reading “Lynnwood Link 60% Design”