Sunday Open Thread

"KBFI US NAVY Blue Angels", by wings777

I rode Link to Othello yesterday for a quick look at people riding to and from Seafair. My train was well used with lots of people and bikes. Then I went to Alki for some fish-and-chips. I had to go back downtown and catch a bus. It made me wish there were better east-west connections.

In a totally unrelated note, South Seattle hip-hop duo Blue Scholars, the same guys who brought us our official theme song “Joe Metro”, have a short video featuring Link light rail. The video has their DJ Sabzi riding Link on opening weekend (sorry, I’m having trouble embedding it). At the end of the video he announces a new partnership with Duck Down Records and Caffe Vita for their upcoming projects. I hope to see another video or song featuring Seattle’s newest form of transit in the future.

This is an open thread.

ORCA passes now accepted on SLUT

Seattle Streetcar, by Mike Bjork
"Seattle Streetcar", by Mike Bjork

The Seattle Streetcar official website welcomed the arrival of Link light rail and the ORCA smartcard. It announced that ORCA card readers will be installed on streetcar station platforms next year.

While ORCA e-purse users have to wait until next year to pay with their card, ORCA passholders can show their card as proof of payment. Funnily enough, an ORCA card looks the exact same whether it carries a monthly PugetPass or an e-purse… So draw your own conclusions.

Hopefully we can get ORCA readers installed into the streetcars themselves some day. Now that the South Lake Union Streetcar connects with Link, has anyone noticed an uptick in ridership?

Metro Receives Stimulus Funds for New Buses

Orion VII bus from Daimler Buses (manufacturer photo)
Orion VII bus from Daimler Buses (manufacturer photo)

King County Metro Transit announced today that it will be purchasing 93 new buses from Daimler Buses through a $46 million grant awarded under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. King County Metro originally requested funds for 60 new buses but lower costs than expected allowed them to get 33 more. The agreement includes options to purchase 400 more buses in addition to the initial 93 buses over 5 years. Metro said they expect to see the first prototype delivered in about a year and the rest of the ordered buses delivered in early 2011.

The Orion VII buses will feature a modern look, low floors, air conditioning, and hybrid-electric technology which reduces fuel consumption, noise and emissions. They will replace Metro’s aging fleet of 40-foot Gilligs, which will be 14 years old when the new buses arrive. That’s two years longer than the expected life span of a transit bus. The Gilligs that Metro currently has are high floor and don’t have air conditioning. Over 700 hybrid-electric Orion VIIs are currently in service in New York City, Toronto, and San Francisco.

Via Capitol Hill Seattle blog, NWCN

Do You Have Link/Street Signaling Questions?

Photo by the Author

Link light rail runs at grade on Martin Luther King Jr Way S with street traffic and pedestrians crossing the track at regular intervals. Coordinating signals to ensure that trains and cross traffic flow safely with minimal delays is an ongoing process that will continue after light rail opens for service.

Do you have questions about how traffic signals work together with Link light rail signals? If you do, please leave them in the comments. I will be meeting with an SDOT signal operations engineer this Thursday and will try to have your questions answered.

Sound Transit is the twelfth man

Sound Transit is the 12th Man

Apparently, Sound Transit is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan. Link hasn’t opened yet and it’s already being the twelfth man (upper half). The new Sounder destination signs are proclaiming their support, too (lower half). There will be Sounder service to and from the last home game of the season tomorrow if weather doesn’t force any delays or cancellations . Come next year, we’ll welcome Link Light Rail as well as Seattle’s brand new Major League Soccer team, Seattle Sounders FC. Will we soon see a “Sounder to the Sounders” train?

Snow on Santa’s Lights Tour

After Santa's Lights Tour

Hi, my name is Oran. You have probably seen my work featured on STB numerous times. I would like to thank Andrew for giving me the opportunity to do “media blogging” for STB. Basically, I will post a photo or design with a caption. Let us know how you like it. Here’s the caption for the photo above:

“This is Seattle Transit System coach 724, a GM ‘New Look’ bus from 1968, at the end of MEHVA‘s annual Santa’s Lights Tour of stunning holiday light displays around Seattle. Snow began falling before we took off and Santa (yes Santa!) told us this was the first time it snowed on the tour in 20 years. It was an enjoyable ride and I highly recommend it but I cannot guarantee snow on that night next year. “