What would get you to ride transit?

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    I have not lived in either the Junction or Admiral and have had no problem commuting by bus. I’ve been through four rentals here in West Seattle, in Morgan Junction and on Avalon, and have always had direct and quick options to get me to my office (Belltown, just north of Pike Place Market). 21, 21X, 22, 54, 54X, 55… I’ve taken all of these to and from work.

    I’m not saying every part of West Seattle has great transit access, but one needn’t live in the Junction or Admiral to catch a bus outta here.



    I’ve been disappointed to discover how time-consuming it can be to ride the bus from West Seattle to anywhere but downtown. I live in Morgan junction and frequently work in the U-district. It takes 2 buses one hour to do this commute, at the best of times. That is exactly how long it takes me to ride my bike there. When I ride my bike I’m getting a hella exercise and am not frustrated by the traffic or the waiting at bus stops (flip side = sweaty). Driving my scooter is next-fastest (45-min taking low bridge), and, unfortunately, driving a car takes only 20 minutes in low traffic. When I feel pressed for time, I very often hop in my car.



    JoB, what part of West Seattle do you live in? If you live anywhere along 35th, your husband could take the 21 and transfer to the 55 which continues to Fremont as the 5. If you live in Gatewood, he could take the 54 which also continues to Fremont as the 5, no transfers. From Highland Park he could take 23 which becomes the 28 and travels to Fremont. All of these trips take about an hour, give or take 5 minutes, and only one of them requires a transfer. If you are looking to go from a suburban area of the city to a neighborhood on the other side of downtown and 11 miles away, I don’t think an hour is that unreasonable. My daily commute in SF was pretty close at 10 miles and it took me at least an hour everyday, and that was traveling a significant portion on underground light rail.

    Redblack, if you were out by Golden Gate Park you need to watch out for buffalo as well!

    Fishgirl, for awhile I commuted by bike myself and never quite solved the sweaty problem. The best I could do was keep my suits in the office along with a supply of baby wipes…




    we live quite close to the bus line that goes from 35th to Fremont…

    and yes.. it does take a full hour to get there from here…in optimal conditions.

    that’s nearly and hour and a half longer commute per day than the drive time in the same optimal conditions…

    of course optimal conditions go out the window on game days and with roadwork and with accidents when he rides the bus.

    if he times it well… only accidents (and the occasional snowstorm) impact his commute by car.

    Towards the end of his employment downtown he was experiencing commute delays several times a week on the bus …

    and it’s not going to get any better any time in the foreseeable future.

    i don’t know what your time is worth..

    but i do know that he can’t get enough work done standing on the bus to rationalize spending the additional 7 and a half hours a week plus on the commute…

    If we want public transit to be taken seriously, it has to be both reliable and cost effective…

    that’s not going to happen when our only public transit options are competing with cars for space in the downtown gridlock.



    life is so simple for people who don’t have to deal with the real world constraints that transit planners face; I guess they just decide they want something and snap their fingers … so, here’s the real world: want to add a bus route? There is no more money, so you have to cut service somewhere else. Remember, your phone number will be on the service change flyer, so all the people who are upset about losing their service will be calling you. As will the people who think the new route is the dumbest idea they’ve ever seen because it doesn’t go where they (or their husband want to go). As will the elected officials who want something for their constituents (and it ain’t the route you proposed.) As will the business owners who don’t want a bus stop in front of their store and don’t want street parking used by their customers to go away. As will the neighborhood residents who don’t want the bus on their street cuz they won’t ride it (I mean, who wants to go to West Seattle from Fremont anyway????). And then you do ridership projections based on your route that avoids downtown (how you’re gonna do that is a mystery since downtown is pretty much in a direct path ‘tween WS and Fremont.) And then you find out only one person rides this new route, but hey, who needs to be cost-efficient???? And so it goes.




    I have three words for you

    regional transit authority

    if we had one we

    we would ahve a regional plan

    and we would have light rail



    metrognome, I think you bring up a good point. People often don’t consider the larger issues at play when talking about transportation planning.

    JoB, I appreciate that your husband’s time must be very valuable. It sounds like driving is the best method of transportation for him so that the least amount of his time is wasted. Even if there was an express bus that bypassed downtown by staying on either 99 or I-5, I highly doubt it would be much faster than going through downtown. Using Google’s driving directions, driving to Fremont using 99, I-5, or downtown surface streets all take approximately the same time. You could shave a couple minutes off by not making the stops downtown, but it still wouldn’t be much of a difference.

    Light rail would not likely be much faster. According to the Seattle Monorail Project, the trip from the Morgan Junction Station in West Seattle to Ballard would have taken about 35 minutes, and would likely be about the same if it went to Fremont instead. Light rail is generally considered to travel more slowly than a monorail since it often shares surface streets with cars and buses at some point along its route. The LINK Light Rail takes about 45 minutes to get from Westlake to Seatac which is 13-14 miles with only a handful of stops. Depending on your location in West Seattle the distance to Fremont is about 11-13 miles, but a light rail route would likely have more stops so lets call it even. So, I will concede that if Seattle built a light rail line that ran directly from your home to Fremont, it would shorten the commute by about 10-15 minutes. Probably more on days when the bus gets caught up in shenanigans, probably less when LINK does.



    JoB — I have 2 words for you: Sound Transit, which is a regional transit authority (http://soundtransit.org/.) We may someday have a single agency similar to Tri-Met but I guarantee you will not be happy with it as we will give up local decision making by the county council for decisions made by a regional board about routes planned by regional planners. Metro, Pierce and Community Transit work closely with ST to coordinate their local services with the long-distance, inter-county, commuter-type services provided by ST (i.e their Sounder commuter rail and Regional Express bus routes.) Now that ST has completed their Phase I plan, they are implementing the phase II regional transportation plan approved by the voters in most of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties (the outlying edges of the counties are not included in the ST catchment/voting area.) We have a regional fare structure, including fare media that also works with the ferry system. We have added miles of HOV lanes with transit-specific access to facilities and built several transit centers and park-and-rides. We have a world- class vanpool system and are leaders in developing ridematch software for commuters as well as for major events such as sports games and concerts.

    If you visit the transit tunnel, you will see we do have light rail. What we will never have is light rail to West Seattle. One more time: there is insufficient demand to justify the capital costs (translation: not enough people live in WS and there is no destination here that draws enough people, not even Alki on the best day.) The monorail almost came to W Seattle only because it was designed by amateurs and was not required to go through the PSRC regional planning process. As there was no federal $$ involved, there was no federal review process either (it would never have been approved for federal funding.)

    I would note that if monorail or light rail service existed today in WS, it would serve Alaska Junction. Therefore, your hubby would take a bus to the Junction or to a station near the bridge. Once he reached Ballard, he would take another bus to Fremont. I would guess this would add at least a half-hour to the commute estimate AHexpat worked out (very impressive, by the way. I kinda wished I had kept the monorail documents when I retired.)



    despite your awesome and curmudgeonly knowledge of public transportation, metrognome, i have to disagree with that second-to-last paragraph in 58. if you put link down in the junction, i’d bet my bottom dollar that that sucker would be SRO during every rush hour – even if it’s mainly one-way. it would see decent ridership in off-peak hours, too. enough to pay for itself right away? maybe not. but it would still get people off of roads.

    don’t underestimate the amazing thing that the viaduct does for west seattle that it will soon stop doing – even for metro.

    and no one’s looking for door-to-door service, mg. but the x-shape of the monorail line was a good layout – even if it was done by amateurs. downtown and four compass points. hub and spoke. the design allowed for redundancy and options, and took riders to metro, ferries, and amtrak.

    i would also like to see ridership – and car commute – estimates for the ballard/fremont-to-west seattle commute. i have a feeling there’s more than just me and mr. jo going that way.

    regarding vanpools: if they’re going to enjoy county money, those drivers need to be isolated from the passengers. they frequently don’t pay attention while driving, and more than once i have looked over to see them talking and gesticulating wildly.

    regarding the actual light rail, expat, putting it on grade with cars might save construction costs, but it defeats the entire benefit. the MLK route should have been grade-separated and doing 70 mph between stops.

    and if light rail to west seattle is anything less than two tracks, don’t bother. build it right or don’t build it at all. if we’re going to go into debt over a worthwhile project – like linking the neighborhoods via light rail – make it effective and build it to last.

    we’re all just daydreaming here, though, aren’t we?



    redblack — apparently everyone (ok, at least JoB) is looking for one-seat rides, which means door-to-door. how are you going to (cost-effectively) get light rail across the Duwamish, considering Coast Guard rules about navigable waterways?? Where will light rail go in WS?? It would pretty much have to tunnel or go elevated as the road widths here won’t allow for both rail and cars (and yes, we still need roads for cars.) What will those elevated tracks do to the view?? Where will it go from WS, or will it dead-end here as the monorail would have (kind of a fatal flaw from a planning standpoint)?? Will you build massive park&rides so people can drive to the Junction?? One-way SRO during rush hour does not justify the 100’s of millions if not billions in capital costs to bridge the Duwamish and tunnel into W Seattle when buses serve the same purpose of getting people off the roads quite well.

    not sure why you think I am underestimating the effects of the viaduct; the tunnel will clearly have an impact on Metro’s routes … but so would 4 to 5 years of total gridlock while a replacement viaduct is built. And given the gridlock in downtown and on the viaduct whenever anything is going on at one of the stadiums, the tunnel (and all the street improvements in the SODO area) may actually improve traffic flow.

    BTW, light rail doesn’t ever reach 70 mph as it stops too frequently to be able to accelerate and then decelerate.



    i’m under no illusion that the west seattle bridge could accommodate light rail. so i’ll answer your question with a question: are you saying that we can’t build another elevated structure? and does it necessarily have to be over the deepest part of the duwamish?

    after all, the duwamish is a big part of why traffic and transit suck from points west and south. just look at what removing the little old south park bridge did. why not bridge the river as often as possible? (without making seattle look like pittsburgh in 1972, that is.)

    and i don’t understand why a dead end in west seattle is any different from a dead end… well, wherever else light rail might end. it has to end somewhere, doesn’t it? we are 1/6 of the city, and we’re cut off from the rest of the city except by road. (no offense, water taxi fans, but it ain’t exactly high capacity, and it’s subject to squalls.)

    and buses do not get people off of the roads; buses just condense them. buses might get people out of cars, but even BRT is subject to the same gridlock – just like light rail when it travels at grade. (i know, i know: people are way too honest, courteous, and respectful to cheat bus lanes. [guffaw] heck, SOV drivers would probably use the tracks on MLK if they thought they could get away with it.)

    i’ll challenge your 70 mph claim, too. i know link goes that fast through tukwila – where it’s grade-separated – and i’ll bet i could get my car up to 70 on MLK between light rail stops without making myself puke.

    and you’d probably enjoy seeing me get arrested proving my point. then i wouldn’t bother you with my dreck on WSB. :)



    I guess we’ll agree to disagree. I’ll meet you out here in 50 years and we’ll see what’s what.

    while light rail trains can reach the speed you mentioned on open trackage, I was referring to their operation in an urban environment

    http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/light_rail_bro.pdf (see p. 15)

    I must say it fascinates me when people who complain that we don’t spend enough on human services want so spend hundreds of millions on a gold-plated, platinum-trimmed, titanium-accented transit system.



    metrognome for the win! nice assumption, followed by hyperbole! bravo, sir! well played.

    is this what passes for civil neighborhood discussions about transit on your world?

    as far as what’s going to be what in 50 years: ever seen idiocracy?

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