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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:44 AM   #821
HAWC1506
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Why can't we just stick with one underground system instead of having one up there, one down there, one somewhere in the streets, another one down the road, another up on a bridge...

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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:47 AM   #822
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The convenience of the transfers does concern me. The transfer between Central Link and the South Lake Union Streetcar seems particularly bad. From the Central Link station in the transit tunnel at Westlake, it will be necessary to climb the stairs to street level and then walk down the block and around the corner to find the platform for the South Lake Union Streetcar.
Well looks like the extra walking just takes the convenience away from the transfers doesn't it? Hahaha Seattle needs help...
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Old June 21st, 2007, 06:37 AM   #823
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There was some debate about the validity of Sound Transit's ridership numbers. Here's something that should be taken into account. "Boardings" are measured twice per trip - each time someone walks through the door of the vehicle (bus, train, streetcar). I do not know for sure if Sound Transit equates "boardings" with daily "ridership." If they do, cut that figure in half to see actually numbers of people. If they don't, it does seem high.

However, the math that was done by kub86 has inherent flaws due to using a seemingly random city (Moscow) as a standard and a 1990 figure, which is 17 years old, in the equation.

In reference to circulars, I agree that the bus lines and the streetcars act as excellent and less costly (buses at least) ways of accomplishing your idea, Hawc. The true reason for the single line is money and politics. That is to say, this route is mainly due to the political process more than a technical one. Furthermore, use of the single, existing bus tunnel drastically reduces costs because you don't have to build a new one.

I also agree transfers won't be a big deal as long as they are convenient. If the information about what line, number, and where to go is there and easily read and followed, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 06:45 AM   #824
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On the positive side, this region is doing a great job of concentrating its office growth in our downtowns rather than spread around freeway corridors. Downtown Bellevue in particular is growing its workforce faster than predicted, and also suddenly turning into a high-density housing node. If Downtown Bellevue's growth continues at even 1/4 of the current pace between now and 2016, it'll be crying out for the rail line before it opens.

If you factor this along with the planned growth at Overlake and continued growth at Mercer Island (getting to be high-density residential node), the Eastside line should be well-used.
I understand Overlake, but Mercer Island? I always thought city leaders there would do anything possible to control any major growth. Have things changed?
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:07 AM   #825
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Mercer Island's downtown is turning into a sizeable lowrise urban village. In the past it was probably 60-80 acres of suburban crap retail and a few office buildings surrounded by drive-to apartments on the hillsides. In the past year or two they've completed three sizeable apartment complexes with retail at ground level, and others are planned. The area's destiny is a lot more six-story apartments. It's already a pleasant little downtown in certain spots.

Bus transit is pretty good since every I-90 route stops there, though I think passengers for both directions need to cross the freeway. The surface park-n-ride is being replaced with a (two-level?) garage. They also have the I-90 bike trail into Seattle and Bellevue. And the freeway is covered by parks in a couple places.

Hope this link works. The photo shows the park-n-ride garage in the lower left, and some of the new density. You can also see the direct-access lanes to the freeway HOV lanes buses use. Lots more work to do, and residential development appears to have stalled. The picture is from 2006, which is also the last time I toured the place.

http://www.aerolistphoto.com/large/W...All/2006/001/2
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Old June 21st, 2007, 03:38 PM   #826
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Mercer Island was a bit concerned about losing I-90s center HOV lanes (SOVs from Mercer Island could use center HOVs if I understood correctly) to a rail line that is essentialy bus route 550. But I think they are behind ST on this one. http://www.mi-reporter.com/articles/...news/news3.txt

For circulating routes, Bellevue is thinking of implementing a free downtown circulator shuttle. I'm also happy that East Link will have at least 2 downtown Bellevue stops for cross-downtown trips. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...yndication=rss

and yah jaxom, my numbers were of course flawed. I couldn't find any other reliable info, although if I added up the numbers on the I-90 study, about 7% of all traffic occured during 1 peak hour (i was 3% off); or 22% during the 3-hour morning peak period. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsourc...ts+more+volume
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 08:33 PM   #827
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
I have lived in three different cities where I have been a regular user of rail transit and I have rarely had a single seat ride. Transfers are a reality of life when riding transit. Transferring between lines is not a big deal as long as the platforms are in close proximity to one another and the services operate at a high frequency so that waiting times are minimal.

There will be at last three streetcars that operate as circulators for the Central Link light rail system: Tacoma Link, South Lake Union Streetcar, and First Hill Streetcar. There may be a fourth streetcar if the Waterfront Trolley is not configured as an extension of the First Hill Streetcar. Central Link will also carry passengers who transfer from Sounder, the Seattle Center Monorail, and numerous bus lines. It seems to me that a lot of passengers will have two or more transfers.

The convenience of the transfers does concern me. The transfer between Central Link and the South Lake Union Streetcar seems particularly bad. From the Central Link station in the transit tunnel at Westlake, it will be necessary to climb the stairs to street level and then walk down the block and around the corner to find the platform for the South Lake Union Streetcar.
One transfer and two transfers show dramatically different potential ridership.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 08:34 PM   #828
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Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
There was some debate about the validity of Sound Transit's ridership numbers. Here's something that should be taken into account. "Boardings" are measured twice per trip - each time someone walks through the door of the vehicle (bus, train, streetcar). I do not know for sure if Sound Transit equates "boardings" with daily "ridership." If they do, cut that figure in half to see actually numbers of people. If they don't, it does seem high.

However, the math that was done by kub86 has inherent flaws due to using a seemingly random city (Moscow) as a standard and a 1990 figure, which is 17 years old, in the equation.

In reference to circulars, I agree that the bus lines and the streetcars act as excellent and less costly (buses at least) ways of accomplishing your idea, Hawc. The true reason for the single line is money and politics. That is to say, this route is mainly due to the political process more than a technical one. Furthermore, use of the single, existing bus tunnel drastically reduces costs because you don't have to build a new one.

I also agree transfers won't be a big deal as long as they are convenient. If the information about what line, number, and where to go is there and easily read and followed, it shouldn't be a problem.
All of Sound Transit's numbers are absolutely standard compared to any other US transit system - they're using FTA modeling for ridership, not something they came up with themselves. They had to in order to qualify for New Starts grants.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 08:46 PM   #829
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The Seattle Monorail Project had a fixed priced contract with Cascadia Monorail to design and build the 14-mile Green Line for $1.615 billion. The total project cost was $2.016 billion; however, this included costs not directly associated with the construction of the line such as operating subsidies from the opening of the line in 2009 until 2020.

The point is well taken that the cost numbers tend to creep upward as the design of a transit line matures. The Green Line was advertised to the voters in 2002 as having a construction cost of $1.3 billion and a total project cost of $1.75 billion. The fixed-price contract negotiated with Cascadia Monorail in 2005 featured a design and construction cost of $1.615 billion. The total cost for the project was $2.016 billion. The cost overrun came on top of a 20% revenue shortfall on the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) that was to fund the project. Joel Horn, the Executive Director of the Seattle Monorail Project proposed paying for the project with a finance plan that involved a total debt service of $11.4 billion over 48 years. The board rejected the finance plan and forced the resignation of the Executive Director. A subsequent finance plan that reduced the total debt service to $7 billion over 40 years was developed by Kevin Phelps, who had previously been involved in the development of finance plans for Sound Transit. The plan was predicated on the MVET rising at the historic average of 6.1%. Many thought that a more conservative MVET growth rate should be used to take into account the possibility of an economic downturn. Mayor Greg Nickels and the city council rejected the finance plan and terminated the right of way agreement with the city. The Seattle Monorail Project board developed a new plan that truncated the line to 10.6 miles and reduced the design and construction cost to $1.334 billion with a total project cost of $1.687 billion. The total debt service would have been $3.9 billion over 31 years based on the MVET growing at 6.1% per year. The terms of the 2002 ballot measure that funded the monorail required that any change in the route be approved by the voters. This in conjunction with the termination of the right of way agreement with the city led to the fall 2005 vote that terminated the project.

The history of the cost numbers for the Green Line monorail can be summarized as follows:

Green Line Monorail - Original Promise to the Voters in 2002
Design-Build Cost
$1.3 billion / 14 miles = $93 million/mile
Total Project Cost
$1.75 billion / 14 miles = $125 million/mile

Green Line Monorail - 2005 Contract Price
Design-Build Cost
$1.615 billion / 14 miles = $115 million/mile
Total Project Cost
$2.016 billion / 14 miles = $144 million/mile

Green Line Monorail - 2005 Truncated Project Price
Design-Build Cost
$1.334 billion / 10.6 miles = $126 million/mile
Total Project Cost
$1.687 billion / 10.6 miles = $159 million/mile

The requirement that the monorail plan be revoted if there were any change to the route was a response to what had happened following the 1996 vote that funded the Central Link light rail line. Campaign literature for Central Link described it as a 25-mile line that would run from the University of Washington through the downtown business district to the airport. The campaign literature actually showed a mix of images that included Vancouver Skytrain and the Portland light rail system, so it wasnít even clear to the voters that the line would be light rail. The cost of the line was to be $1.7 billion and it was to be completed by 2006. As the engineering of the line commenced, it became clear that that the cost would be much higher than the original estimate. A revised plan was developed for a truncated and delayed initial segment. The wording of the 1996 ballot measure allowed the changes to be made without requiring a revote. The initial 13.9-mile segment is now expected to open in 2009 at a cost of $2.1 billion or $2.44 billion depending which numbers are used. A 1.7-mile extension to the airport is expected to open shortly thereafter at a cost of $225 million or $300 million if the cost of necessary changes to adjacent roads is included. A 3.15-mile extension to the University of Washington is being planned. The University of Washington extension is expected to be completed in 2016 at an estimated cost is $1.7 billion.

The history of the cost numbers for University-to-Airport segment of the Central Link light rail line can be summarized as follows:

Central Link - Original Promise to the Voters in 1996
$1.7 billion / 25 miles = $68 million/mile

Central Link - Present Cost - Low Version
$4.025 billion / 19 miles = $212 million/mile

Central Link - Present Cost - High Version
$4.44 billion / 19 miles = $234 million/mile

The electorate is now facing a vote on Sound Transit 2. Sound Transit is now much better at estimating costs than they were in 1996 but there still are questions regarding the accuracy of the cost estimates:

Sound Transit 2 Central Link Extensions - Low Estimate
$8.97 billion / 49.4 miles = $182 million/mile

Sound Transit 2 Central Link Extensions - High Estimate
$10.26 billion / 49.4 miles = $208 million/mile

The credibility of the Sound Transit 2 plan hasnít been helped by the newspaper headlines screaming that the debt service will extend for 50 years.
1) You're still comparing 2002 numbers to 2006+ numbers. Construction cost inflation has been 10-14% annually during that period - mostly due to increases in the price of concrete and steel, but also due to higher labor costs driven by healthcare. The consumer price index isn't valid for inflation calculations here, but WSDOT does track construction cost inflation.
2) I believe the Sound Transit 2 cost estimates also include operating costs through at least 2027. Given that .4B of 2B for monorail was operating costs, if they're similar you'd have to lower your ST estimates by 20% for a valid comparison.
3) You're also still comparing some single track for monorail using the West Seattle Bridge to full double track (and some triple for sidings) for light rail, and longer station platforms for light rail - higher capacity overall. You're also comparing elevated to tunnel in some segments.

The cost comparisons you're making are *not* valid until those three issues are addressed.

I also want to point out that the SMP really started with the ETC - and their 1997 promise was 40 miles at no cost to voters other than agency startup. They went to voters twice with initiatives 41 and 53 before the SMP was even formed. See my short history of the project (with citations) here:
http://higherfrequency.blogspot.com/...beginning.html
http://higherfrequency.blogspot.com/...-planning.html
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 08:57 PM   #830
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All of Sound Transit's numbers are absolutely standard compared to any other US transit system - they're using FTA modeling for ridership, not something they came up with themselves. They had to in order to qualify for New Starts grants.
You didn't really address my question. Sure, they use the standards. That makes perfect sense, but what is standard? I know the term boardings refers to how may people pass through the doors of the vehicle, and thus is a number counted twice. Is ridership the same thing? Or do they count that differently? What is the method used to gather the data?
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 03:49 AM   #831
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One transfer and two transfers show dramatically different potential ridership.
If there is such a great advantage in eliminating transfers, by far the best solution would be a PRT system in which the passenger programs his own destination. Even a matrix of BRT lines would be better than a network of light rail and streetcar lines as a passenger boarding in Bellevue could be given a choice between buses headed directly toward the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, or the airport. (Please note that I do not necessarily advocate either of these solutions. I am just carrying the argument to its extreme conclusion.)

I’ll return to what I’ve already stated based on my own previous experience. Transfers are not a big problem provided that 1) the service frequency is high so that the wait time is short and 2) the platforms are in close proximity so that the transfer can be accomplished by going up an escalator or walking to the opposite side of a platform. I fear that the transfers in Seattle will not be so convenient.

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Old June 23rd, 2007, 03:51 AM   #832
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1) You're still comparing 2002 numbers to 2006+ numbers. Construction cost inflation has been 10-14% annually during that period - mostly due to increases in the price of concrete and steel, but also due to higher labor costs driven by healthcare. The consumer price index isn't valid for inflation calculations here, but WSDOT does track construction cost inflation.
2) I believe the Sound Transit 2 cost estimates also include operating costs through at least 2027. Given that .4B of 2B for monorail was operating costs, if they're similar you'd have to lower your ST estimates by 20% for a valid comparison.
3) You're also still comparing some single track for monorail using the West Seattle Bridge to full double track (and some triple for sidings) for light rail, and longer station platforms for light rail - higher capacity overall. You're also comparing elevated to tunnel in some segments.

The cost comparisons you're making are *not* valid until those three issues are addressed.

I also want to point out that the SMP really started with the ETC - and their 1997 promise was 40 miles at no cost to voters other than agency startup. They went to voters twice with initiatives 41 and 53 before the SMP was even formed. See my short history of the project (with citations) here:
http://higherfrequency.blogspot.com/...beginning.html
http://higherfrequency.blogspot.com/...-planning.html
Mr. Schiendelman,

1. If it is true that construction inflation is running at 10% - 14%, there are major problems ahead for Sound Transit 2. According to a question and answer piece that ran in the Seattle Times, Sound Transit has been making cost projections based on an assumed inflation rate of 3.6% for construction and 4.6% for real estate < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABP...2003733314.pdf >.

2. Responses to the RFQ for the Green Line monorail were due in late 2004 and the contract with Cascadia Monorail/Hitachi was negotiated during the first half of 2005. This was approximately concurrent with the bidding for the major construction projects for the downtown to airport segments of the Central Link light rail line. Both systems were to be completed in 2009. The actual contract cost numbers for the two lines should be comparable without making adjustments for inflation. The numbers that I’ve stated for Sound Transit 2 are in 2006 dollars. A series of PDFs with the source data can be found on the Sound Transit website < http://www.soundtransit.org/x3951.xml >. If Sound Transit is assuming a construction inflation rate of 3.6% and the actual inflation rate is 10% - 14%, then construction cost estimates in 2006 dollars generated based on 2005 construction contracts could already too low by up to 10%.

3. Regarding the funding of the operation of the lines built under Sound Transit 2, read the question and answer piece as if you were a lawyer < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABP...2003733314.pdf >. The answer regarding the estimated costs states, “These projects are estimated at $10.8 billion in 2006 dollars. The plan would also provide funds to operate the expanded system indefinitely. For the first 20 years, operations and maintenance costs would total $1.5 billion in 2006 dollars.” There is no definitive statement that the $1.5 billion in operation and maintenance costs is included in the $10.8 billion for the construction of the projects. If you read the PDFs, you will find that they do not include line items for operations and maintenance. The “Link LRT: Maintenance Bases, Vehicles and Operations for ST2 Expansion“ PDF provides an annual operations and maintenance cost but does not include this as part of the capital cost < http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...Operations.pdf >.

4. I completely agree regarding the plan for a single-track monorail guideway along the West Seattle Bridge. This was a false economy that would have hamstrung the operation of the line forever. It would have been the weak link in the system similar to the at-grade segment of the Central Link light rail line through the Rainier Valley. The Seattle Times stated that the cost in the Cascadia Monorail/Hitachi contract for the segment of single-track on the West Seattle Bridge was $32 million and that the cost of a double-track line would have been about twice that amount < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...norail18m.html >. In my opinion, this would have been well worth the cost. The aborted bid from Team Monorail/Bombardier did feature a double-track guideway across the West Seattle Bridge.

5. The Seattle Monorail Project was funded in 2002 by a ballot referendum that defined the route and the cost and required a revote if there was any change. The Central Link light rail line was funded by a 1996 ballot measure that provided no such safeguards. The route of Central Link was subsequently truncated and the costs went through the roof. There was never a vote by the electorate to validate the change in the route and cost of Central Link.

Thank you for patiently tolerating my views,
Greg V.

Last edited by greg_christine; June 23rd, 2007 at 04:16 AM.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 05:12 AM   #833
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Construction cost escalation has been in double-digits for a few years, but costs could be flat or even fall in other years. Sound Transit's assumption isn't unrealistic over a longer period.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 06:16 PM   #834
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Mr. Schiendelman,

1. If it is true that construction inflation is running at 10% - 14%, there are major problems ahead for Sound Transit 2. According to a question and answer piece that ran in the Seattle Times, Sound Transit has been making cost projections based on an assumed inflation rate of 3.6% for construction and 4.6% for real estate < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABP...2003733314.pdf >.

2. Responses to the RFQ for the Green Line monorail were due in late 2004 and the contract with Cascadia Monorail/Hitachi was negotiated during the first half of 2005. This was approximately concurrent with the bidding for the major construction projects for the downtown to airport segments of the Central Link light rail line. Both systems were to be completed in 2009. The actual contract cost numbers for the two lines should be comparable without making adjustments for inflation. The numbers that Iíve stated for Sound Transit 2 are in 2006 dollars. A series of PDFs with the source data can be found on the Sound Transit website < http://www.soundtransit.org/x3951.xml >. If Sound Transit is assuming a construction inflation rate of 3.6% and the actual inflation rate is 10% - 14%, then construction cost estimates in 2006 dollars generated based on 2005 construction contracts could already too low by up to 10%.

3. Regarding the funding of the operation of the lines built under Sound Transit 2, read the question and answer piece as if you were a lawyer < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABP...2003733314.pdf >. The answer regarding the estimated costs states, ďThese projects are estimated at $10.8 billion in 2006 dollars. The plan would also provide funds to operate the expanded system indefinitely. For the first 20 years, operations and maintenance costs would total $1.5 billion in 2006 dollars.Ē There is no definitive statement that the $1.5 billion in operation and maintenance costs is included in the $10.8 billion for the construction of the projects. If you read the PDFs, you will find that they do not include line items for operations and maintenance. The ďLink LRT: Maintenance Bases, Vehicles and Operations for ST2 Expansionď PDF provides an annual operations and maintenance cost but does not include this as part of the capital cost < http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...Operations.pdf >.

4. I completely agree regarding the plan for a single-track monorail guideway along the West Seattle Bridge. This was a false economy that would have hamstrung the operation of the line forever. It would have been the weak link in the system similar to the at-grade segment of the Central Link light rail line through the Rainier Valley. The Seattle Times stated that the cost in the Cascadia Monorail/Hitachi contract for the segment of single-track on the West Seattle Bridge was $32 million and that the cost of a double-track line would have been about twice that amount < http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...norail18m.html >. In my opinion, this would have been well worth the cost. The aborted bid from Team Monorail/Bombardier did feature a double-track guideway across the West Seattle Bridge.

5. The Seattle Monorail Project was funded in 2002 by a ballot referendum that defined the route and the cost and required a revote if there was any change. The Central Link light rail line was funded by a 1996 ballot measure that provided no such safeguards. The route of Central Link was subsequently truncated and the costs went through the roof. There was never a vote by the electorate to validate the change in the route and cost of Central Link.

Thank you for patiently tolerating my views,
Greg V.
As I understand it, the Cascadia contract was still in 2002 dollars. I've seen nothing specifying differently. Regardless... it wasn't built, for whatever reasons.

Central Link has not been truncated. The original 1996 voters' pamphlet statement has the north end at the "University District". Sure, it's taken longer, but that's because of the double digit inflation.

Such inflation *was* 10-14% for specific reasons (hurricanes, more than anything). It is not right now, and is unlikely to be moving forward.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 06:19 PM   #835
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You didn't really address my question. Sure, they use the standards. That makes perfect sense, but what is standard? I know the term boardings refers to how may people pass through the doors of the vehicle, and thus is a number counted twice. Is ridership the same thing? Or do they count that differently? What is the method used to gather the data?
The term boardings refers to how many people get on the vehicle. People are not counted twice - only when they get on.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 06:43 PM   #836
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If there is such a great advantage in eliminating transfers, by far the best solution would be a PRT system in which the passenger programs his own destination. Even a matrix of BRT lines would be better than a network of light rail and streetcar lines as a passenger boarding in Bellevue could be given a choice between buses headed directly toward the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, or the airport. (Please note that I do not necessarily advocate either of these solutions. I am just carrying the argument to its extreme conclusion.)

Iíll return to what Iíve already stated based on my own previous experience. Transfers are not a big problem provided that 1) the service frequency is high so that the wait time is short and 2) the platforms are in close proximity so that the transfer can be accomplished by going up an escalator or walking to the opposite side of a platform. I fear that the transfers in Seattle will not be so convenient.
In eliminating transfers, there's a curve. No transfers is best, one transfer sucks but doesn't kill ridership, two transfers almost completely kills ridership, and three is laughable. With Link, from Bellevue, you'll have no transfers to downtown Seattle, Northgate or the University, your by far largest possible destinations of the three you mention. One transfer on rails to Sea-Tac or Tacoma. We will still have direct buses from Bellevue to Sea-Tac (the 560) and from Bellevue to the U-district (the 271), but buses can't handle the number of people who will be making this trip in 2030.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 04:33 AM   #837
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The term boardings refers to how many people get on the vehicle. People are not counted twice - only when they get on.
The Seattle Times must have gotten their facts screwed up. I wish I remembered the exact article I saw that bit of information in to point to it.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 08:52 AM   #838
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I went thru Rainier Valley today, it looks near completion. There's a bunch of support posts for overhead power lines for the trains in south part of the line with tracks and all that. The streets are all done, just need more track laying with cement infills. They also have landscaping in the process with new trees and stuff like that.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 04:49 PM   #839
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The Seattle Times must have gotten their facts screwed up. I wish I remembered the exact article I saw that bit of information in to point to it.
Maybe you're confusing it with the Seattle Times article about the low ridership of the Sounder North Line? They mentioned that x number of people boarded Sounder north, but since they were all roundtrips, you'd half that number to see the real number of people using it.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 04:43 AM   #840
greg_christine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanBen View Post
As I understand it, the Cascadia contract was still in 2002 dollars. I've seen nothing specifying differently. Regardless... it wasn't built, for whatever reasons.

Central Link has not been truncated. The original 1996 voters' pamphlet statement has the north end at the "University District". Sure, it's taken longer, but that's because of the double digit inflation.

Such inflation *was* 10-14% for specific reasons (hurricanes, more than anything). It is not right now, and is unlikely to be moving forward.
1. Like any construction contract, the Cascadia Monorail contract was in actual dollars rather than theoretical dollars from some other year. Cascadia Monorail was not a party to the financing of the project. If Cascadia Monorail had been involved in the development of the finance plan, they might have saved the Seattle Monorail Project the humiliation of Joel Hornís infamous $11 billion finance plan. The Cascadia Monorail contract had a grace period of just a few months for the Seattle Monorail Project to sign the contract and obtain financing. The grace period had already lapsed by the time of the fall 2005 election that terminated the project; however, the contract had already been mooted by the revised plan to build a truncated line.

2. The plan for Central Link that was presented to the voters in 1996 called for the line from the University to the Airport to be completed by 2006. The present plan is for the initial segment of the line to open in 2009. Most of the initial segment didnít even go to bid until 2004 and 2005. In the most optimistic scenario, the extension to the University wonít open until 2016. Inflation was much less of a factor in the delay than the original cost estimate being much too optimistic. If the Seattle Monorail Project had the luxury of collecting taxes for almost 10 years prior to beginning construction, there would have been no finance problem.

3. The discussion concerning inflation raises a serious concern regarding the cost estimates for Sound Transit 2. All of the cost estimates given on the Sound Transit website < http://www.soundtransit.org/x3951.xml > are in 2006 dollars despite the fact that the election will be in late 2007. If the 2006 construction inflation rate was 14%, the cost of the projects should be reported as $12.3 billion (2007 dollars) rather than $10.8 billion (2006 dollars).
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