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Old January 22nd, 2009, 06:31 AM   #2001
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Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
As much as I hate saying this, I can't wait for gas prices to rise again.
Gas price already rising again.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #2002
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I was just reading a Seattle Times story about a ST Citizen Oversight Panel report and I thought it was a bit depressing to read
The "smart-card" fare system, known as ORCA (One Regional Card for All), is at risk of not being ready by July, when Link light rail opens from Seattle to Tukwila.
This has taken a while! Go back to Dec. 2006 posting #3:

Anyway, Seattle is moving on up by introducing the ORCA Card (FINALLY!) in early 2008. (One Regional Card for All) Testing of the system began in August. It will be used for busses, light rail, commuter rail, and ferries.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 10:20 PM   #2003
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University Link Groundbreaking
March 06, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Husky Stadium
Building toward a stronger economy...
station renderings

Join us as we break ground on the light rail extension to the University of Washington.

University Link light rail is coming to Seattle. With service between downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the UW, this extension will make traveling to the UW three times faster than taking the freeway. By 2030, the University Link line will be a key component of the regional light rail system moving more than 285,000 people a day. The first turn of dirt on this three-mile extension kicks off our progress toward a better economy and a more sustainable future.
Expanding Link

University Link was not part of the successful Proposition 1 ballot measure that will fund the Sound Transit 2 package.

Sound Transit 2 will extend the University Link light rail line 12.5 miles farther north to Northgate, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood by 2023 as part of a 36-mile light rail expansion plan. The Sound Transit 2 light rail system will also reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, Redmond/Overlake, Highline and the Star Lake/Redondo area north of Federal Way.

Project Page>>>

Sound Transit plans, builds, and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.

To request accommodations for persons with disabilities, call (800) 201-4900 / TTY Relay 711 or e-mail [email protected]
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:55 AM   #2004
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2023! i wonder if some of us will be alive by than
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:17 AM   #2005
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Originally Posted by spongeg View Post
2023! i wonder if some of us will be alive by than
Lol I hope so cause I'll only be 41.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #2006
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Originally Posted by spongeg View Post
2023! i wonder if some of us will be alive by than
We will see. I will be around 38 years old that time when they completed.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #2007
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I will be 47 in 2023.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #2008
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Well every city has to start somewhere. Future generations will thank us forever. If only our prior ancestors had gotten on board sooner.. *grumble*
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Old March 7th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #2009
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ST University Link

Ant this article from today's Seattle Times which contains a small map. As usual, please disregard the negative comments, as Seattleites love to whine.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 10:19 PM   #2010
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some cool videos... almost ready!!


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Old March 21st, 2009, 05:17 PM   #2011
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Thursday, March 19, 2009
Last updated 5:38 p.m. PT

Sound Transit has $2.1 billion budget hole

The recession has blown a $2.1 billion hole in projected revenues through 2023 for Sound Transit's $17.8 billion rail and express bus plan.

"We've had a direct hit with the deepest recession since World War II," Brian McCartan, Sound Transit's chief financial officer, told the agency's Finance Committee on Thursday afternoon.

An independent forecast that local economist Dick Conway prepared last month projected sales and motor-vehicle tax revenues would be 15 percent lower than the $15.8 billion forecast just last July, McCartan said.

The forecast is conservative in that it projects average increases of just over 4 percent a year for sales and motor-vehicle taxes, lower than the area's long-term trend of 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, McCartan said. But it also assumes that the area's economy will start recovering in the third quarter of this year and hit growth rates above 8 percent in 2012, thanks to a customary post-recession bounce, he said.

In this unusual recession, neither the turnaround this year nor the post-recession bounce is assured, he said. "This is by no means a worst-case forecast."

Another factor that could increase the funding hole is that Sound Transit projects 13 percent of the ST2 budget will come from leftover Sound Move plan money. Because the downturn is also affecting Sound Move revenues, there probably will be less leftover money than expected, McCartan acknowledged.

Aaron Reardon, Snohomish County executive and chairman of Sound Transit's Finance Committee, said after the meeting that the budget hole didn't surprise him.

"Certainly the situation's not foreign to anyone who's working in government or paying attention to the economy at the juncture," he said. "It's sobering."

The committee will review the numbers and options, and start a conversation with the full board about what to do, Reardon said.

Aubrey Davis, a member of Sound Transit's Citizen Oversight Panel and former chairman of the state Transportation Commission, said the hole did not reflect problems with last summer's projections.

"They did quite a credible job of going to outside advisors and checking their numbers," he said. "The fact is, no one saw at the time how deep this (recession) was going to be."

An updated inflation forecast expected next month could blunt the impact on the plan, because the recession is also holding down price increases, particularly in construction, he said. Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said recent bids for parts of the light-rail line to the University of Washington and the Montlake Terrace Freeway Station were 34 percent and 19 percent, respectively, lower than earlier engineer estimates, although he acknowledged those estimates had some wiggle room built into them.

Costs are coming down, Davis said. "Both the (state) DOT and Sound Transit are getting pretty good bids right now. The contractors are hungry."

Sound Transit officials already are looking for ways to cut costs and sources of additional funding, particularly from the federal government, McCartan said. He said the agency also could use bonding for more of the cost, although he did not yet know if it had enough excess bonding capacity to fill the hole.

Finally, the agency could extend its timeline for completing the rail and express bus projects, McCartan said. "That's, for us, very much a last resort."

Sound Transit's board will start grappling with these options this summer, when it updates its 2010 financial plan.

The new forecast projects total revenue drops from July of 24 percent in Snohomish County, 17 percent in Pierce County, 13 percent in south and east King County and 11 percent in North King County.

"The economic downturn has so far been substantially more severe in Snohomish and Pierce (counties)," McCartan said.

Because each Sound Transit subarea must pay for its own projects, these areas will have to make up more revenue than those in King County. The good news is that they have more unused bonding capacity than King County areas, McCartan said.

P-I reporter Aubrey Cohen can be reached at 206-448-8362 or [email protected]. Read his Real Estate News blog at blog.seattlepi.com/realestatenews.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #2012
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Seattle Light Rail Pics

Seattle's light rail project is almost complete! It will open July 3rd, 2009, only three more months! Some new pics of train testing and stations I found on the web:

image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

Last edited by seawastate; April 10th, 2009 at 10:20 AM. Reason: pic link
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Old April 10th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #2013
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My God that station is monstrous! Is it an interchange of many lines or something?
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Old April 10th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #2014
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More photos!

How much of the route is below ground? Any news on possible extensions?

Has the airport extension started?
Calling occupants of interplanetary craft...
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Old April 10th, 2009, 03:53 PM   #2015
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No building boom along Seattle light-rail tracks
6 April 2009

SEATTLE (AP) - Less than a year ago, the blocks around three Sound Transit light-rail stations in Southeast Seattle were abuzz with real-estate deals and dreams.

Planners, politicians and developers anticipated the coming rail line would spark a redevelopment boom that would transform the long-neglected corridor along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. For-profit developers proposed more than 1,500 condos and apartments within a 10-minute walk of a station.

Now, with the trains to carry their first paying passengers in three months, most of those deals are on hold.

Project after project has been delayed or derailed, victimized by tight credit and related economic woes.

Last year's big dreams for MLK haven't died. Developers still believe apartments or condos 15 or 20 minutes from downtown by train will appeal to commuters tired of traffic, rising gas prices and expensive parking.

But for now, with a handful of exceptions, "nobody's moving forward with anything," said Al Levine, deputy director of the Seattle Housing Authority, a major landowner in the MLK corridor.

His agency is a case in point. The housing authority last year agreed to sell Unico Properties two prominent corner properties just steps from the Columbia City rail station to build prefabricated apartments and shops.

Unico pulled out a few months ago. A Unico representative blamed "current economic conditions."

The housing authority still has a tentative deal to sell developer Opus Northwest a larger property near the Othello Street station for a 300-unit mixed-use project. But the sale is taking longer to close than either had anticipated.

"We're still in discussions," said Tom Parsons, Opus senior vice president. Considering the market, he added, "nobody's in a hurry to move it along right now."

The only project that seems reasonably likely to break ground this year is Othello Street Station, a six-story complex with 350 apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

That project is moving forward because developer Othello Partners found a partner with deep pockets: Texas-based insurance and financial-services company USAA, which bought an equity stake in the project last year.

USAA also has an option to invest in a companion project across the street for which Othello Partners is seeking permits.

Mike Hlastala, Othello Partners' chief operating officer, said construction at Othello Street Station should start in June, once he lines up debt financing.

No other major project along MLK is nearly that far along:

--Safeway had a tentative deal last year to sell its aging supermarket near the Othello station, a first step toward redevelopment. But that fell through, said Gary Slabaugh, Safeway's vice president for real estate, and the property is no longer for sale.

--Sound Transit has long-range plans for transit-oriented development at three sites it owns near the Othello and Mount Baker stations, but doesn't expect to do anything soon. "Realistically, putting properties out on the market in the near term does not jibe with the financial situation for most builders," spokesman Geoff Patrick said in an e-mail.

--Harbor Properties still plans to build about 370 apartments with ground-floor retail on the former site of the St. Gobain plastics factory in Columbia City. But Denny Onslow, Harbor's chief development officer, acknowledged the economy has pushed back the timetable.

"We are looking at doing the project in phases and trying to put some of the existing buildings back into service as interim use," he said in an e-mail. "We are slowed down given the conditions of lenders and investors."

--Eagle Rock Ventures six months ago obtained permits to start building a 63-unit apartment or condo complex in Columbia City but hasn't broken ground. "We're just patiently waiting for the market to improve, which at some point it will," managing director Scott Shapiro said.

--The University of Washington last year hired a consultant to explore the redevelopment potential of its property near the Mount Baker station, until recently home to a discount grocer.

The upshot? "We're open to something in the future," said Jeanette Henderson, the UW's real-estate director, "but I don't see us going into something soon."

--The Web site of nonprofit developer SEED (Southeast Effective Development) still says it plans to start building a five-story residential/retail project a few blocks from the Mount Baker station in 2008.

Turns out that was wishful thinking: The vacant Chubby & Tubby store on the site hasn't been torn down. SEED Executive Director Earl Richardson said he's searching "aggressively" for financing.

"It's just not a good business to be in right now," he lamented.

Commercial real-estate professionals counsel patience. "The market isn't going to be down forever," said Jason Rosauer, a senior vice president with brokerage GVA Kidder Mathews. "When it does turn around, that area's going to take off."

The project delays may serve a purpose, said Nora Liu, senior policy adviser in the city's Office of Policy and Management.

"What the economic situation is allowing us to do is take a breath and do some serious planning," she said.

The City Council in September authorized updates of the decade-old neighborhood plans for blocks surrounding the Othello, Mount Baker and Beacon Hill stations.

Kickoff meetings in all three neighborhoods were held last month.

Density is likely to be a hot topic: Zoning now limits building heights to six stories. Some say rail warrants even requires more.

But a bill to establish minimum densities around rail stations died in the Legislature this year, partly because of opposition from some Southeast Seattle residents.

City officials, residents and developers all say they're excited about light rail's potential to revitalize neighborhoods. But they don't want the line to force out people who live there now many of them low income or diminish the corridor's rich ethnic and cultural diversity.

While most developers pause, a few nonprofit projects around the stations are nearing completion. Even they are feeling the recession's effects.

On South Othello Street, the first residents should move next month into Hope Place, the Union Gospel Mission's five-story complex for homeless women and their families.

But spokeswoman Sharon Thomas-Hearns said a fundraising shortfall has left 33 of the 98 rooms unfurnished. And none of the 8,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space has been leased.

A few blocks south, nonprofit developer InterIm expects to complete construction this summer, three or four months ahead of schedule, of Samaki Commons, a 40-unit complex for low-income Lao Highland immigrants.

With the economy so slow and little other work available, InterIm housing planner Leslie Morashita said, contractors have put all their employees to work on Samaki.


Information from: The Seattle Times
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Old April 10th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #2016
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Why didn't you use just use the existing Seattle Thread. Nice pics btw.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 01:38 AM   #2017
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What is "preferred route & station options" supposed to mean? A projected extension?
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Old April 11th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #2018
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the airport expension has started

the section from westlake to chinatown is underground so is a section between SODO and Mt. Baker

there will be extensions south to des moines north to lynnwood and east to bellevue and redmond


preferred route and station means thats where they want to built it.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #2019
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
My God that station is monstrous! Is it an interchange of many lines or something?
Seattle is basically building the infrastructure for a metro and operating light rail trains on it. It doesn't make much sense to me, but some in Seattle seem to like the idea. The initial line from downtown to the airport is grade-separated except for a segment in the Rainier Valley. All presently planned extensions are also grade-separated.

Last edited by greg_christine; April 11th, 2009 at 12:50 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #2020
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king county metro, seattle, sound transit, us light rail

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