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 View 17: A Rider’s Suboptimum Experience on Sounder North…

A Sounder North Train Pulls Into Mukilteo Station... In Kodachrome

My photo: A Sounder North Train Pulls Into Mukilteo Station… In Kodachrome


I’ve decided to divided this write-up into three sections: The trip home, the Sound Transit response, suggested rider experience improvements and concluding thoughts.  With that, here goes.

The Trip Home

Recently, I was in Mukilteo combining a fact-finding mission with business travel and got to as part of that fact-finding mission interview Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson.  As part of that fact-finding mission, I took Sounder North to Mukilteo Station from Everett Station and then erred doing the same going back.  However, I did get this nice photo of almost 70 cars in the Mukilteo Station parking lot:

Mukilteo Station at 4:23 PM, 8 May 2015

Problem is, I was a bit early to the first 4:47 PM train but had to wait until (according to my camera) 5:18 PM for my train to Everett – a full 31 minutes late.  I also had to relieve me behind the bush as there was no public restroom – an act degrading to my dignity and possibly to Mukilteo residents’ dignity as well.  Between me with a simple LG 500G Tracfone and a lady crossing the train tracks with a smartphone we were unable to check the Sound Transit website because our phones would be unable to handle the Sound Transit website – too much data or something.

          [For those on e-mail subscription like I, I’ve decided to insert a jump point here so if you want to read the rest of the story – just click the header.  Or if you’re at the full size page read on.]

Continue reading “North by Northwest View 17: A Rider’s Suboptimum Experience on Sounder North…”

North by Northwest Big Interview 01: Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson

Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson

          A while ago on a Sunday Open Thread, I aired a trial balloon of doing a podcast on transit issues.  Most of you in the STB comment threads wanted text instead so I’m going to oblige.  I’m hoping based on the responses here to make time to do this monthly or twice a month with a major newsmaker who we would not hear from otherwise that has an impact on transit services north of Lynnwood.  So here we go with the North by Northwest Big Interview!

          For my first subject, I decided to choose a friendly face and also a voice who in some of the big debates affecting the North by Northwest region who has not been heard from.  From the Future of Flight Transit Desert to the proposed Paine Field Terminal – the media has (mostly) neglected Mayor Jennifer Gregerson’ s voice.  Today is about turning that around and I sincerely appreciate her interest and participating.

          In this interview we discussed Sounder North, a substantial subject of yesterday’s main post’s comment thread.  We also discussed potential transportation options to the potential Paine Field Terminal that Propeller Airports wants to build, Community Transit, Swift 2 and finally the Future of Flight transit desert.  I’ve helpfully included appropriate pictures and hyperlinks.

          For those on e-mail subscription like I, I’ve decided to insert a jump point here so if you want to read the whole interview – just click the header.  For the over 1,200 word interview itself, read on.

Continue reading “North by Northwest Big Interview 01: Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson”

North by Northwest 30: Mukilteo’s New Transit Terminal by 2020?

View post on

Washington State Ferries Simulation of New Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal

Mukilteo by 2020, assuming the state funds the second and last phase of the actual $129 million construction, will have a new multimodal transit terminal that’ll be a net gain.  For one, Mukilteo’s waterfront will no longer have unsightly abandoned US Air Force fuel tanks and the pier they were on that served Paine Field (aka KPAE) when Paine Field was a US Army Air Corps & US Air Force base defending the Pacific Northwest & training WWII P-38 Lightning & P-39 Aircobra pilots.  Mukilteo will also happily lose “four percent of the remaining creosote-treated timber piles in Puget Sound” (SOURCE) on its shoreline.  The Mukilteo waterfront will also no longer have a significant walk between the Sounder North platform and either the State Ferry Terminal or the bus stop.  With Mukilteo-Clinton being the busiest Washington State Ferries (WSF) ferry run in sheer demand with over 2 million vehicles per year & almost 4 million total riders per year, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) decided the time was right to start replacing a seismically deficient & disruptive WSF terminal with something out of the 21st Century that is environmentally friendly.

I decided to write about this project because as my Flickr followers or browsers of the Seattle Transit Blog Flickr Pool may have noticed, I use when able Sounder North to make connections between Everett Station & Mukilteo – mostly in the late afternoons.  Not too happy about the bad connections that a 1,850 foot walk entails as per page 6 of this PDF discussing Multimodal Connections.  In fact, here’s the existing terminal status quo versus the changes that will happen if Phase II, the actual building of the new Mukilteo terminal occur:

ST to WSF passenger building Bus to WSF passenger building Bus to ST
Existing terminal* 1,730 190 1,850
Project (New terminal)* 745 225 970

*Distance in Feet

So I decided to reach out to Laura LaBissoniere Miller, a WSDOT communications consultant who according to her bio, “supports a range of public involvement programs, specializing in implementing community engagement for NEPA/SEPA environmental review processes. … A skilled communicator, Laura also handles citizen correspondence for some of the most controversial projects.”  Having worked with her on this report, tend to concur.

For instance when asked about putting TransitScreen into the new terminal after this great Frank Chiachiere post Laura promised, “it’s certainly something the design team, Sound Transit and Community Transit can look into. Thank you for the suggestion! ”  Considering Sounder North, multiple Community Transit & Everett Transit routes and a very-high-demand Washington State Ferries run all will be serving this terminal… hope TransitScreen happens.  Especially if perhaps somebody waiting on a bus can walk off the ferry or Sounder North could dive into the terminal, pick up something from concessions and/or use the restroom and make their connection…

As part of my Paine Field commutes these days involves the bus stop along the Mukilteo waterfront, also was happy to hear buses would have their own lanes through to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal.  Currently buses have to make a turnaround right in the thick of the WSF terminal traffic flow.

Noting heated waiting for bus passengers

One thing also noticeable in reviewing the voluminous documentation of the project library is that the new terminal will provide a covered, heated place with restrooms for transit users to make our connections in health & frankly basic human dignity.  The below is the current status quo as I pictured around 5:30 PM 10 November 2014:

2014-11-10 Mukilteo Transit Experience

If you browse through the pictures, you’ll notice some construction in the background.  It’s the expansion of the Mukilteo terminal for Sounder North which according to the Sound Transit website, “includes a second platform on the south side of the tracks, a pedestrian bridge over the tracks connecting the two platforms, permanent passenger shelters and public art”.  Sharon Salyer, an Everett Herald Writer noted in her write-up the project is costing $11 million dollars and, “Currently 280 people board the train at Mukilteo Station each day, part of the 1,100 passengers traveling between Seattle’s King Street Station and Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett.”  A review of the WSDOT project library notes the plan is to design multiple walking paths for Sounder North users to/from the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal.

Ultimately, if the state legislature can please fund the construction of the actual Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal – it’ll greatly improve the transit connections from here to/from Whidbey (assuming Island Transit financial condition doesn’t further worsen) but also Everett to the north and Mukilteo, Lynnwood plus Seattle & points further south.  The Puget Sound environment will also be greatly improved by the removal of harmful abandoned docks & petroleum infrastructure along the Mukilteo waterfront, and ST3 can help provide even more high quality transit connections to this new transit hub. Plus with much improved transit service to Paine Field, this terminal could be a great hub for transit connections to the many tenants