News Roundup

Mt. Baker TC Bay 2, by Oran
Mt. Baker TC Bay 2, by Oran

News Roundup

KCM RapidRide, CT Swift DE60LFA, by wings777
"KCM RapidRide, CT Swift DE60LFA", by wings777

Things that fell through the cracks while we obsessed over the McGinn light rail speech:

This is an open thread.

News Roundup

Photo by Oran
Photo by Oran (Click to Enlarge)
  • The Seatac Station pedestrian bridge is now in place (see above).
  • The SLUT is having money trouble, but Mayor Nickels is seeking a loan to keep it afloat.
  • Mountlake Terrace Park and Ride is not yet packed, but it did just open.
  • John Stanton, of anti-light-rail fame, gives $700 to Joe Mallahan.  That’s the maximum.
  • Seattle Business Monthly notices TOD.   Luckily, some projects are still afloat in this economy.  (via HAC)
  • Portland’s temporary “cycle track” installation.
  • A very wonky primer proposed changes to on the Growth Management Act (GMA): Part I and Part II.
  • The MAX Green Line opens Saturday, which should bring daily boardings from 100,000 to about 125,000 by the end of the year.
  • SOV drivers annoyed our minimal attempts at BRT aren’t open to SOV drivers.

News Roundup

Photo by Atomic Taco
Photo by Atomic Taco

News Roundup: Stale News Edition

Clearing out my inbox of interesting tidbits:

News Roundup: Oyster Sleeves

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: Unit Faulty

Photo from ECB at Publicola.
Photo from ECB at Publicola.

News Roundup

Vancouver Skytrain (Wikimedia Commons)
Vancouver Skytrain (Wikimedia Commons)

News Roundup

Metros Mailbox, by Atomic Taco
"Metro's Mailbox", by Atomic Taco

The media blitz is settling down.

News Roundup: Pedestrian Safety Edition

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

While waiting for the 48 this morning, I witnessed a car-vs-pedestrian collision.  The pedestrian was hurriedly crossing MLK illegally to catch the bus and ended up shattering the windshield of the car.  I was first on the scene, and assisted the pedestrian, who was limping, but apparently not really seriously injured, fortunately.

The driver was appropriately mortified, but that may have been because of the police car 20 feet away, parked to observe traffic.

We really ought to elevate or bury the traffic on MLK, to avoid this kind of thing.  Anything less would be gross negligence.

That’s all just a long introduction to the P-I‘s nice piece on the state of pedestrian safety in Seattle.  Other news items:

Passenger Rail News Roundup: ARRA Funding and Talgo

A lot has been happening!

  • Washington State has requested $1.8 billion dollars in stimulus money to upgrade the Vancouver BC – Portland, Oregon with diesel locomotives but includes funding for a 220mph corridor
  • Meanwhile, Oregon State has requested $2.1 billion dollars in stimulus money to upgrade the Portland, Oregon – Eugene, Oregon route into a 110mph electrified rail corridor
  • Wisconsin has won the bid to build a new Talgo Assembly and Maintenance Facility. The State of Wisconsin will also be purchasing 2 new 14 car Talgo trainsets with an option to buy 2 more with a capacity of 420 passengers. I am not sure if Washington State ever competed for this project. It is expected that the trainsets will be the Talgo 7 or Talgo 21 (H/T; Trains4America)
  • Amtrak has put out an RFO to build the new Viewliner II long distance single level passenger cars. Hmm, Oregon Iron Works perhaps? (H/T; Trains4America)
  • And in Canada, Via Rail may strike due to contract issues with the government (again)…

News Roundup: Link Reactions Everywhere

Kitty eats an orange, by beatnikside
"Kitty eats an orange", by beatnikside

News Roundup: 4 Days

BeaconHillsation!, by litlnemo
"BeaconHillsation!", by litlnemo

Once U-Link construction gets a little further along, Link will accommodate 4-car trains, carrying up to 800 people each.

The are four stations in the Downtown Seattle tunnel.

The local media is in overdrive:

  • KING 5 news reports Sound Transit is scrambling to finish testing and get the elevators and escalators certified by the State.  On three separate occasions in the report, Mt. Baker Station is inexplicably identified as “Rainier Station.”  ST is confident they’ll finish on time.
  • The Sunday Seattle Times had a fantastic introductory graphic.  Use it to explain Link to your grandparents.
  • Mayor Nickels takes ownership of the Link project, for better or worse.
  • Lindblom has a nice capsule history of rail in Seattle.
  • The Times also looks at some public art at the stations.
  • It turns out that elevated section in Tukwila is too loud.  Sound Transit’s going to fix it.
  • The cities of Tukwila and Seatac start to realize they have a big asset there.  Better late than never, Tukwila.
  • The US High Speed Rail Association launches a website.
  • The Tahoe Regional Transit Agency asks STB readers to provide feedback on their new website.  Please send comments and suggestions to

News Roundup: 8 days

Video by css903

The initial peak headways are a little under 8 minutes.

Route 8 will serve all the Rainier Valley stations, and provide local service along MLK.

Everyone’s publishing their “anticipation of light rail” piece.  As the train becomes less theoretical (and the large costs remain abstract in most people’s minds), I think enthusiasm is building, at least among those who aren’t invested in hatred and/or distrust of Sound Transit:

Continue reading “News Roundup: 8 days”

News Roundup: $99,000,000,000

Intercity Transit Bus, by majinandoru
Intercity Transit Bus, by majinandoru
Lots of interesting stuff coming in over the interwebs yesterday:
  • Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Chair of the House Transportation Committee, has a doozy of a transportation bill.  The transit fund would shoot up to $99 billion, from $53 billion in 2005.  The Bush-era FTA cost-effectiveness metrics would be revised to allow for benefits aside from reduced travel time.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! It’s far from law, but there’s tons of coverage at Streetsblog, the NYT, the transport politic, and Transportation For America.  There’s also a 17-page proposal available for viewing (pdf).
  • In an increasingly common refrain, however, the Obama administration is a little chilly towards pursuing major transportation reform this year.
  • Portland’ s proposed streetcar extension becomes the first in the nation to get federal funding. (H/T: Gordon)
  • The APTA named Thurston County’s Intercity Transit best transit system of its size in the nation.  It’s in the middle of three size categories, and competed against 108 other agencies.
  • Headline from Bizarro Washington: Maryland transportation board raids road fund to pay for light rail. (H/T: Yglesias)
  • Seattle Mayoral candidate Norman Sigler wants to find the money to do Ballard-to-West Seattle light rail sooner.   The Daily Weekly’s Damon Agnos gets Ben’s reaction.

The only thing I might have added to Ben’s comments is to point out that there are useful things to do between a study and actually building the thing. For starters, it’s fairly evident that we’ll have to tunnel under Second Avenue, and a rail-convertible bus tunnel would be a nice down payment that’s useful in the meantime, all for about $1 billion or so.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Sigler’s $5 billion figure, which for a total stab in the dark, is both a good guess and not as sugarcoated as most political promises.

News Roundup: 38 Days

Route 38 completes our list of slightly ridiculous single-purpose Metro runs in the wake of Link Light Rail.  Currently a route that runs from Sodo to the Mt. Baker neighborhood, allowing a bypass of downtown congestion, it’s been whittled down to a shuttle between Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker stations, allowing those in need to avoid the climbing the extremely steep hill that is S. McClellan St.  Luckily, the line is so short that it can be served by a single bus.

Two good tidbits from the TCC Blog:

  • The Columbian has a noncommittal editorial about extending MAX light rail into Clark County.  For media in this state, that’s tremendous progress.
  • The Cascade Bicycle Club launched a site called Bikewise, to report crashes, hazards, and thefts across the country.  I found the interface a bit cumbersome, but then I’m not a bicyclist.  (Hint: click on “Crashes”, “Hazards”, or “Thefts” to get to a link where you can change the city from St. Louis).  Q13 Fox had a report on it yesterday:

Perhaps Adam will expound on this site further.

News Roundup: 42 Days

By the Author
By the Author

The 42 and 42X are the two routes, along with the 194, that most closely duplicate Central Link. The 42X will be eliminated and the 42 will be dramatically scaled back in route length, service headways, and service span.

The 42 is basically being retained as a shuttle for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) so that they have a door-to-door connection to downtown. They cared enough about transit access to send a bunch of people to the County Council meeting to demand their very special bus line, but not enough to design their brand-new building so that it actually faced the light rail station, or even the nearest bus stop.  It has plenty of parking, though.

[UPDATE: Tipper Carl points out that ACRS is so transit-oriented that on the very same webpage, it says to find out about bus service to the Bellevue location by calling Community Transit.  Heh.]

The 42 is also infamous as the route where, until recently, you could get your next hit of crack.  Even more infamously, it’s a route I take almost every day.  Elsewhere in the world:

  • Joe Biden says intercity rail funds are on the way.  Checks should go out by the end of the summer. (H/T: Gordon)
  • In other Biden news, he and Sec. LaHood met Wednesday with selected State Governors and transportation officials.  Washington was not on the list.
  • STB Hero Geoff Simpson (D-Covington) is upset at the Governor’s veto of the MVET authorization.
  • The Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada is concerned that deteriorating rolling stock could force a halt to many Southern and Western Amtrak routes.  As Cascades has its own trainsets, it ought not to be affected. (H/T: Lloyd)
  • Transit planners ask Congress to fix New Starts Funding, since FTA rules routinely force agencies to lowball ridership estimates.  For all the doubters, those rules were used to generate Link ridership estimates.

News Roundup: Northwest in the Global Media

Photo by Stephen Devights

Some stories we haven’t mentioned over the last few days:

  • The BBC does a story on American high-speed rail, and highlights Amtrak Cascades. (H/T: Erik)
  • Metro GM Kevin Desmond profiled in Mass Transit Magazine.  (H/T: Orphan Road).
  • Sound Transit awarded the contract to upgrade the Sounder track between M Street in Tacoma to Lakewood, thanks to $4.6m in Federal Stimulus.

Amtrak News Roundup

Amtrak Cascades near Stewart, WA by Brian Bundridge
Amtrak Cascades near Stewart, WA by Brian Bundridge

Here is some news on Amtrak in the past couple of days.

  • Amtrak has received $1.5 billion in the President’s budget. It is expected that Amtrak will overhaul 70 Amfleet I cars in Bear, Delaware with the additional stimulus funding along with new corridor equipment. The Amfleets would provide an additional 5,880 seats to Amtrak. Amtrak has already begun hiring for employees for the overhaul.
  • Leavenworth Station construction starts this Spring with a opening in the Fall
  • Stanwood Station also starts construction this Spring with a opening in September
  • All aboard!! More climbing aboard Amtrak for cheaper travel.
  • Edmonds Crossing could happen but focusing mainly on the station and bus portion instead of the full deal.
  • There is a lot of steam behind a movement to restore the Amtrak Pioneer, The Hermiston Herald has a good editorial on it and a search on Google reveals a heavy search in the past year from states along the entire route that would like to see the train return.
  • Amtrak drops fare on the high-end Acela to be more competitive

News Roundup: New Bus Schedules

Image by Oran in the STB Flickr Pool

Quick items from around the transitsphere:

  • Metro service changes are now online.  No big changes, although there are a couple of extra trips for some routes and they’re redoing the bay assignments at the Overlake Transit Center.
  • Community Transit and Pierce Transit (pdf) changes are also posted.  We discussed Sound Transit changes previously.
  • Tacoma debates whether to elevate their Sounder extension with a berm or post-and-beam construction.
  • The pedestrian walkway for the Seatac light rail station will be put in place (pdf) Friday morning.  There are road closures that will snarl airport traffic, but it also ought to be a nice opportunity for our platoon of photography buffs.