Month: October 2014

Light Rail and Bus Rapid Transit are coming.

Sound TransitToday, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Chair of the Sound Transit Board, and County Councilmember Joe McDermott, also on the Sound Transit Board, announced their plan to add future high-capacity transit service to West Seattle and Burien to the Long-Range Plan now being prepared for Sound Transit.

When Sound Transit did a survey of residents — nearly 1000 respondents from West Seattle, we heard — the desire and approval for Light Rail from West Seattle to downtown was well over 92% in favor. That’s absurdly unprecedented uniformity and desire in favor of it happening. This is the only option we have in the long term for our kids and grandkids, and we’re decades behind from our predecessors allowing Atlanta to take Federal money away from us to get their subway before us by failing to pass Forward Thrust.

We need to do this or we’re completely done. There is no part of the city not growing denser, and all communities have to absorb their share. There is no viable political tactic to stop jobs growing here and no legally viable way to keep people moving here. The only opposition we have ever really heard to Sound Transit and Metro are based in general opposition to public transit or general opposition to rail, or the unsubstantiated belief that if we do nothing it will somehow “freeze” our city in time and place, or just West Seattle. Every viewpoint is out of alignment with every political reality on the ground or in Seattle in general.

Those issues are generally outside the WSTC’s realm, but transit isn’t. Transit is coming, transit will grow, and transit must grow. The other things happening just cement that need.

This is not just to service today’s population, and the wishes to a degree of today’s population must be secondary to the needs of our children and tomorrow’s population. It’s how it has to be and it’s what poll after poll and vote after vote has said. We need expanded transit and our population overwhelmingly and demonstrably supports it.

News coverage:–0

Rapid Ride from West Seattle to Downtown. Can you spot the bottleneck?

What makes the Rapid Ride C from West Seattle to Downtown so terrible in the mornings? Look at this time lapse showing the bottleneck on Avalon Way, with no dedicated or separate bus lanes, and how fast it speeds up the moment we reach bus lanes, only to have another, smaller slowdown on the Spokane Street Viaduct/SR-99 Viaduct interchange. We need dedicated bus lanes somewhere all the way from West Seattle to SODO or Downtown.

This was done on an iPhone 6 with the time lapse feature, and the recording time was longer than 20 minutes but less than 40, so what you’re looking at is a 60x faster than reality playback of the ride from the middle of Avalon Way SW to 3rd & University on the Rapid Ride bus. Click here for details of how their time lapse feature works.

So, the first 9 seconds of the video takes us from Avalon Way SW & SW Genessee St, Seattle, WA to Avalon WAY SW & SW Spokane, which is about here, 0.5 miles away.

That means it took approximately 540 seconds to go 0.5 miles, which plays back as about the first 9 seconds of the video. Nine minutes to go half a mile on the bus.

That’s an average speed on the bus of 5.025/feet per second or 3.33 miles per hour. Human walking speed is around 2.50 mph for the elderly to 4.00 mph for a brisk pace. Avalon Way SW’s transit design is a failure and dedicated, separate lanes are needed for buses all the way up to and on to the bridge. We need that to bridge our literal gap until we have grade separated Light Rail in West Seattle, and beyond.

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