NORTH BY NORTHWEST 65: FUTURE OF FLIGHT DEFEATED IN GETTING IMMEDIATE TRANSIT SERVICE

The Future of Flight W/ A Dreamlifter Nose Sticking Through...
My Aerial Photo: The Future of Flight W/ A Dreamlifter Nose Sticking Through…

Well folks, it is my displeasure and sadness to report that any short-term fix to the Future of Flight getting transit service is a nonstarter.  Last week, I learned Community Transit has vetoed changing Community Transit Route 113 to support the Future of Flight due to scheduling concerns and inconveniencing local Community Transit users for international Future of Flight visitors.  This defeat of getting public transit services to the Future of Flight however in the short term is ultimately because the better argument won inside Community Transit; and I accept full and total responsibility for the failure to succeed this time around.

I acknowledge the difficulty of asking a transit agency to change a transit schedule broadly advertised and should be reliable to the taxpayers to magically change a community’s main route to service a major tourist-powered economic engine.  A proposal that the Mayor of said community was apprehensive about in a North by Northwest Big Interview.

Some will ask, “Why not Everett Transit?”  Believe me, I have.  I went to the Everett Transit August 2015 Service Change Proposal public meeting at Thursday, April 16, 2015 where senior Everett Transit leaders and I discussed potential options for the Future of Flight.  One option thoughtfully proposed was an express shuttle linked to Everett Station.  One option frankly is insulting – and that’s the Everett Transit Planner’s demand of direct Future of Flight funding for Everett Transit service as if magically the nonprofit Future of Flight can write a check.  I also learned at this meeting from the Everett Transit Planner that hourly Everett Transit service to Boeing’s Paine Field factory and even with three Boeing employees helping get Boeing employees to choose transit first was not going so well so there’s understandable Everett Transit reluctance to further service Paine Field.  One would hope the Everett Mayor will listen rationally to Everett Transit staff before further championing light rail to Paine Field without firing Everett Transit professionals championing data-based contrarian viewpoints.

Speaking of comments, let me be clear, read carefully trolls: To lob from the dark corners of the room the hecklers’ veto and snipe at a major nonprofit doing good works is a classless disgrace and speaks volumes about how some transit advocates misperceive their role.  Make no mistake, I am confident other nonprofits who need transit service are going to keep their hands down and point to your sniping as a reason why not to ask for help. Running a mostly positive campaign clearly has less weight than that of anonymous coward internet trolls sniping because some people are unhappy with their transit service levels now means less transit for all.  Some heckler’s veto to celebrate.

That said this is all in the past. There is one good option left not just for the Future of Flight but also for giving Mukilteo a fair slice of transit service.

If we can get the City of Mukilteo City Council to please pass a resolution as a part of this Community Transit levy lift to request a bus route from 84th Street & Mukilteo Speedway to Seaway via Future of Flight so as to link Seaway Transit Center to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal in 2020 & the City of Mukilteo… but this route request requires Mukilteo community support, a bold investment of the City Government of Mukilteo’s political capital, and Community Transit to get its levy lift at the ballot box.

Arguably best to get the Seaway to Mukilteo connection is via commenting on the 2016 Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Community Transit.  In a recent public records request, Community Transit’s Public Records Officer wrote, “The full text of each comment received was provided to board members, initially to the board committee reviewing the plan, and then to the full board.  Comments were discussed in the context of the plan.  The final adopted plan includes the full text of each comment.”  When asked to share route planning for the Seaway Transit Center, Community Transit also replied, “There is no specific route planning for the transit center at this time. It’s too early in the process.”  Therefore a letter from the Mukilteo Mayor coupled to a Mukilteo City Council Resolution would certainly influence Community Transit’s “route planning”.

I will conclude with the genuine concern I have a Community Transit levy lift is going to require transit advocate enthusiasm to win. I know many share my fear a Sound Transit 3/ST3 package that rewards Seattle/North King insufficiently will not be pushed over the top.  So I legitimately fear a Community Transit levy lift transit package that insufficiently excites Mukilteo and Everett will ultimately fail.

Over to hopefully thoughtful comments at 777 words…


Programming Notes: Tomorrow I will post a North by Northwest View 18: What Should I Ask North by Northwest Transit Agencies about…

Also since I am no longer able to edit what’s posted to Seattle Transit Blog and writing this post is rather emotional for me, I drafted in Microsoft Word.  I encourage other Page Two writers to do the same.

North by Northwest 59: Polite Reminder on Everett Transit Service Change…

Your Mr. North by Northwest is slammed this week, so between the big comment thread from Sunday’s open thread on the main page and my workload, I’m just going to take five to post a polite reminder of the last two Everett Transit the August 2015 service change planning meetings:

Monday, April 20, 2015
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Everett Station, Dan Snow Room
3201 Smith Avenue

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Everett Public Library, Evergreen Branch
9512 Evergreen Way

I come down on the side that since money is being spent on these public meetings by the transit agencies we cover, maybe we at Seattle Transit Blog should be advertising them… and encouraging attendance.  Whether it’s to discuss the service changes, give an atta-girl (or atta-boy), or concerns with the agency in question; methinks we’re cheerleaders for transit service.


Programming Update: Whidbey-Skagit-Snohomish Tri-County Connector update tomorrow, I promise now that I’ve got the video.  After-action report from this meeting sometime this week…

North by Northwest 58: Everett Transit Annual Service Change Outreach

Everett Transit New Hybrid Buses (one is mine!)
Frank Boston Photo: “Everett Transit New Hybrid Buses (one is mine!)”

Everett Transit has some serious changes in the works for August.  Such changes include increase frequency on Route 7 to reach out to North Everett & Everett Community College, thin some routes and eliminate the Everett Station to/from Everett Mall express (Route 701) that hasn’t worked out.  Below are the remaining meetings to give input:

Thursday, April 16, 2015
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Everett Public Library, Evergreen Branch
9512 Evergreen Way

Monday, April 20, 2015
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Everett Station, Dan Snow Room
3201 Smith Avenue

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Everett Public Library, Evergreen Branch
9512 Evergreen Way

Alternatively you may submit comments by email or call Everett Transit at 425-257-7777.  The Service Change Proposal Brochure is here.

North by Northwest 51: Everett Transit’s New Website

Everett Transit Gillig Hybrid B0500
Everett Transit Gillig Hybrid B0500 by Wings777

Figured you’d want to know Everett Transit has a new website up and running.  EverettTransit.org which used to be a clunky afterthought on the City of Everett’s webpage now has intuitive buttons to check fares, schedules, programs and even a Google Map of all their bus stops.

So go take EverettTransit.org out for a spin this wet weekend.  You’ll love it.

North by Northwest 04: Transit at Paine Field

2014-07-09 Paine Field Panorama
2014-07-09 Paine Field Panorama by Joe “AvgeekJoe” Konzlar

[Note: Unlike most Page 2 posts, this is slightly edited for clarity.]

Fellow commenters on Seattle Transit Blog know my passion for more mass transit services to and from Paine Field.  I’ve even written a letter to the Everett Herald editor sharing my aspirations for a route serving – counterclockwise from the northwest corner – the Future of Flight, Historic Flight Foundation, Flying Heritage Collection and the Museum of Flight Restoration Center.

Now what and where are these marquee facilities?  See a Paine Field map also showing a few others not open to the public. The Future of Flight is part-museum, part-HQ for Boeing Tours, part-observatory and part-events center.   According to a PDF factsheet, it “draws approximately 200,000 visitors per year and generates an additional $3.5 million annually of tourism spending in Snohomish County.” Historic Flight Foundation is a flying museum at the end of Bernie Webber Drive that preserves aviation history from 1927 to 1957 with many historic aircraft. The Flying Heritage Collection is Paul G. Allen’s (mostly) flying collection of historic warbirds that range from WWI to a modern Mig-29.  There are also other artifacts like several ground vehicles, cutaway engines and disarmed rockets. Finally, the Museum of Flight Restoration Center restores aircraft for static display and is open to self-guided tours much of the year.

Everett Transit Route 12 serves the Future of Flight museum.*  It required a nice 0.8 mile hike – partially through a Boeing parking lot and partially on a nice trail.  The problem is that in inclement weather very few wish to hike almost a mile to visit the Future of Flight.  Please see pictures below from my trip on the 12:

Looking at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center...
Museum of Flight Restoration Center through the Everett Transit Route 12 window(1)

Everett Transit Route 12 Pulls Away...
Getting off Everett Transit Route 12 in a big Boeing parking lot.

A View of Paine Field from my hike to Future of Flight
A view from my 0.8 mile hike from the nearest Everett Transit Route 12 bus stop to the Future of Flight

I asked local transit agencies what they could do about this situation. Community Transit couldn’t respond by press time except to refer me to Everett Transit. An Everett Transit spokesperson told me Everett Transit will take comment in late winter or early spring on route planning.  I’m going to start a petition for extending Everett Transit Route 12 that last 0.8 mile to get a bus stop at the Future of Flight Monday through Saturday on a trial basis with performance benchmarks.

There is is a much appreciated Community Transit bus stop at the foot of Bernie Webber Drive, the road that goes up to Historic Flight Foundation that serves several routes that link up with Swift (Bus Rapid Transit) to the south and both Sounder North and Washington State Ferries to the north. The Everett Herald reported a Community Transit Park & Ride is in the works for that location, which is sensible considering Historic Flight Foundation uses the proposed grassy area for special event parking anyway.

Now if only Flying Heritage Collection would get some transit service…  Recently Flying Heritage Collection had a special event called Skyfair on July 26th and provided a bus shuttle to and from a nearby park & ride which is nice for those whom needed parking.  Problem is there was no adjoining service from either Everett Transit or Community Transit to supplement and amplify those services – requiring me to hail a cab from Everett to attend.  With Flying Heritage Collection having Fly Days on many June, July, August and September Saturdays with hundreds of attendees; it’s illogical to deny Flying Heritage Collection direct Saturday transit services.  Heck, I’d pay a few bucks for a shuttle to/from a Swift (Bus Rapid Transit) stop.

Ultimately, I argue that the international aviation geek community deserves some love and mutual cooperation from both Everett Transit & Community Transit.  In a perfect world where Paine Field did not fall between the Community Transit & Everett Transit service areas, having a Paine Field circular that would link to Swift (Bus Rapid Transit) would make economic sense because according to Paine Field’s official website, “Paine Field and its tenants have a $19.8 billion economic impact on the region and the state. Additionally, the Airport and the businesses utilizing the airfield provide $79 million in tax revenue to the local and state governments”.  I argue that from $79 million in tax revenue we could get some decent transit services to all of Paine Field’s tenants.

* You can also get out to the Museum of Flight Restoration Center by using Everett Transit Route 12 and disembarking at the 100TH ST SW & AIRPORT RD stop for a 0.23 mile walk.  To walk from the Museum of Flight Restoration Center to Flying Heritage Collection is a 1.5 mile, 30 minute hike through an industrial area.  Not exactly tourist friendly by almost any stretch of the imagination…