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Old September 2nd, 2007, 09:54 AM   #1021
Backstrom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsider1983 View Post
Probably, I bet there will be a charge everywhere including downtown. I am not sure, but most rail services charge to get back the farebox recovery.
I don't think so. Since the fare system is most likely based on honesty, I don't see the need for proof-of-payment downtown. Like Portland, the whole reason why they make Downtown ride-free is to reduce congestion and promote transit. I see no reason to make an exception for LR.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 05:56 AM   #1022
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I like the Portland idea. But Seattle's going to be in debt until 2050, so I don't know if we'll be able to pull off the free ride thing.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 09:09 AM   #1023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstrom View Post
I don't think so. Since the fare system is most likely based on honesty, I don't see the need for proof-of-payment downtown. Like Portland, the whole reason why they make Downtown ride-free is to reduce congestion and promote transit. I see no reason to make an exception for LR.
I read through the SIP, and the Tacoma Link there will be no fares collected..interesting. It seems that the ride-free only applies to buses. The light rail, as with the commuter rail will follow the zone fare system. No rail service has a long-term "ride-free" system...it's just not financially plausible. A ride-free route usually does not attract new riders, but rather current riders make more trips. Rails are much more expensive to run and maintain than a bus system, the lost farebox recovery would really hurt the agency with no dramatic increase in ridership.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 06:00 AM   #1024
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Uh oh, Bouldergrad posted this on another thread: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-tr...tot-topstories

Quote from within the article:

"The region's (Los Angeles) transit system is limited, experts say, because it was built on two assumptions that have since proved untrue: that most traffic was generated by commuting trips and that most people worked downtown.

Nowadays, people nationwide are driving so much to take their children to school, run errands and engage in other activities that these trips far outstrip commuting, according to federal transportation statistics."

What do you guys think? Good news for Seattle? Bad news for Seattle?
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Old September 4th, 2007, 06:19 AM   #1025
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He is right. The role of rail transit is to aid mobility within heavily traveled corridors. A competing vision is networks of Bus Rapid Transit lines, which would provide more complete coverage of a metro area but might not be as successful as trains in attracting passengers. Neither rail transit nor buses are likely to displace the automobile.

My personal view is that salvation for the environment will come in the form of alternative energy sources and not from transit. I hope that one day there will be a solar array on the roof of my house, a battery bank in my garage, and a car in my driveway that is powered by either batteries or bio-fuel.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #1026
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Thats quite a wish greg!

The traditional approach to transit assumed that people not only worked downtown (or in some other central location), but also made only 2 trips, one to and one from work. People no longer work downtown, and suburban employment centers have replaced the traditional CBD. How do you structure transit knowing this? That is still one of the questions that is yet to be answered. I'm no expert on the Seattle area commuting behavior and employment centers...but the light rail link seems like it not only connects jobs with downtown but also surrounding suburban areas.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #1027
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What's nice about our region is it's much more linear than Los Angeles, so a rail system is more viable for more trips. It will also take less effort in the long run to connect suburban centers together.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #1028
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That's very true, in a sense, Seattle is one long corrdor in which transit could be made very useful. The success of San Diego's light rail project I think is partly because of the similar layout as Seattle: long, linear, and mountains block development to the east...so a N-S light rail is very beneficial for the region.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:49 AM   #1029
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The Proposed system goes to the top employment centers in the Seattle Metro area: Downtown Seattle, Industrial District south of Downtown, University District (UW is the city's largest employer), Sea-Tac airport and surrounding commercial area, Tacoma (specifically the Port of Tacoma, which even rivals Seattle's Port), Downtown Bellevue (which has many office buildings) and all points in between. If enough money is still available LRT will make it all the way to Redmond and the Microsoft campus.

Not to mention the City of Seattle already has the beginnings of a Streetcar Network, that so far will link Downtown to South Lake Union (a center of the burgeoning bio-tech sector) and First Hill (which is a huge employment sector for the health-care industry) to Capitol hill and the International District. There are future plans to expand on this system as well. http://www.seattle.gov/transportatio...carnetwork.htm

What will also make transit effective in Seattle is that most of the neighborhoods the Link will go through have or will have (after light rail of course) a fairly high residential density. If people can walk to night clubs, grocery stores or other non commute trips, this will further marginalize auto use in these neighborhoods (although I don't claim that it will entirely stop people from using their cars).

If the entire LRT system is built out, there is talk of extending it to Everett, which if this happens the Everett city government has in the past said that their preferred route would take light rail past Boeing's main plant and Paine Field Airport.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:05 AM   #1030
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According to the 2000 U.S. census, the following are the cities with a population over 100,000 with the highest percentage of commuters who use public transit:

1. New York, New York 54.35%
2. Jersey City, New Jersey 40.26%
3. Washington, D.C. 34.47%
4. Boston, Massachusetts 33.07%
5. San Francisco, California 32.64%
6. Newark, New Jersey 26.81%
7. Chicago, Illinois 26.71%
8. Cambridge, Massachusetts 26.46%
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 25.93%
10. Arlington, Virginia 24.12%
11. Yonkers, New York 23.61%
12. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 20.99%
13. Baltimore, Maryland 19.94%
14. Berkeley, California 19.93%
15. Hartford, Connecticut 18.87%
16. Seattle, Washington 18.44%
17. Oakland, California 18.18%
18. Daly City, California 18.12%
19. Alexandria, Virginia 16.69%
20. Atlanta, Georgia 15.61%
21. Minneapolis, Minnesota 15.07%
22. Elizabeth, New Jersey 14.91%
23. East Los Angeles, California 14.4%
24. New Orleans, Louisiana 14.05%
25. Portland, Oregon 12.89%
26. Buffalo, New York 12.52%
27. Paterson, New Jersey 12.36%
28. Cleveland, Ohio 12.2%
29. Honolulu, Hawaii 12.02%
30. Miami, Florida 11.6%
31. New Haven, Connecticut 11.36%
32. Stamford, Connecticut 11.14%
33. St. Louis, Missouri 10.9%
34. Los Angeles, California 10.64%
35. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 10.44%
36. Cincinnati, Ohio 10.35%
37. Concord, California 9.97%
38. Naperville, Illinois 9.52%
39. St. Paul, Minnesota 9.01%
40. Detroit, Michigan 8.81%
41. Denver, Colorado 8.75%
42. Santa Ana, California 8.62%
43. Bridgeport, Connecticut 8.49%
44. Richmond, Virginia 8.46%
45. Rochester, New York 8.33%
46. Inglewood, California 7.62%
47. Providence, Rhode Island 7.48%
48. Madison, Wisconsin 7.39%
49. El Monte, California 7.38%
50. Syracuse, New York 7.17%

Regardless of how successful Central Link is, there are still going to be a lot of cars on the road in the Puget Sound region. Transit alone will not solve the environmental problems resulting from cars.

I remain optimistic that technologies presently under development will provide solutions. Several companies including some large multi-national corporations are developing a new generation of thin-film solar panels that promise to be much cheaper than traditional solar panels. The following are some of the companies involved:

Nanosolar: http://www.nanosolar.com/
First Solar: http://www.firstsolar.com/index.php
Miasole: http://www.miasole.com/
BP: http://www.bp.com/modularhome.do?categoryId=4260
Shell: http://www.shell.com/home/content/shellsolar
Sharp: http://solar.sharpusa.com/solar/home/0,2462,,00.html
Honda: http://world.honda.com/news/2005/c051219.html

The next generation of hybrid automobiles will be "plug-in hybrids" that are designed to be recharged overnight and then travel the first 40 miles or so on battery power. General Motors, Toyota, and Ford have each announced plans to market such a vehicle within the next few years. The following is the website for the General Motors version:

Chevy Volt: http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/

The following is the home page for the battery supplier for the Chevy Volt:

A123 Systems: http://www.a123systems.com/

As I stated in an earlier post, I hope to one day have a house with solar panels on the roof, a battery bank in the garage, and a car powered by batteries or bio-fuel in the driveway. There have been expectations since the first fuel crisis in the early 1970s that these technologies would be developed. The technologies have been improving and the costs have been coming down. We now seem to be a lot closer to the point where these technologies will be a practical reality.

Last edited by greg_christine; September 5th, 2007 at 04:10 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:14 AM   #1031
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I'm glad you posted that. People don't realize that best case scenario will give you about 50-60% transit mode share for commuters (like NYC) in the US. The rest of the people have to drive.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #1032
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Okay this just came into my box from Sound Transit:

"We are currently in the process of analyzing potential Link fares. We’re looking at both distance-based fares and a flat fare, and we will evaluate options regarding the ride free area in downtown Seattle. The ST Board is likely to make a decision about this in first or second quarter 2008."

Looks like we'll have to wait another half year for the answer.

Now, for the "convenience" of mass transit, I think personally, in Seattle, more mixed use complexes like those going up in Bellevue would probably also help Sound Transit even more than placing a large number of stops. It's not only the convenience of light rail, it's also the convenience of the location of the light rail stops. If you can walk out of your office building, buy groceries, and get office supplies, and maybe get that jacket you've always wanted all within walking distance of a light rail station, that will beat the car. The problem I find with Seattle is that we are too spread out and too "organized." Retail all in one place, commercial zone all in one place, residential zone all in one place, industrial zone all in one place. So instead of having to drive to all those different zones to do each task, you can do them all once and walk to a light rail station. I noticed that when I was playing Sim City 4. Make mixed use of city blocks, not just office complexes. I'm not saying that you have to place a nuclear power plant next to a school like I did, but you get the idea.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #1033
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The lure of car culture was recently driven home to me when one of my coworkers told me about an apartment building that his brother-in-law had built near then new airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The building is designed to appeal to lower paid service workers at the new airport. The apartments are efficiencies that lack kitchens. My coworker's brother-in-law was having trouble renting the apartments until he leased a lot across the street to serve as a parking lot. To a low paid Thai airport worker, car ownership is more important than having a kitchen!

Rail transit must be justified based on the improvement to mobility in the corridor that it serves. The key to solving the environmental problems created by cars will be to develop cars that pollute less.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:47 AM   #1034
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The key to solving the environmental problems created by cars will be to develop cars that pollute less.
Yes. And if you could do more things in a short distance so that your plug-in car won't run out of range, that's even better.

I am waiting for the arrival of the European Ford Mondeo. For those of you who don't know what it is, if you've seen Casino Royale, that's the saloon that James Bond was driving. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, then check it out. Efficient efficient car and I think it would make a perfect commuter

What I think is going on is that hybrids from the Japanese are only good for local driving, not for highway driving. It's virtually useless in highway driving. Here in Seattle, I believe most driving is done on the highway. So there's no point in buying a hybrid really unless you're the lucky few who have everything you need within a few city blocks. Diesel engines get better economy on highways because diesel fuel packs more energy per gram than conventional fuel, but puts out less carbon dioxide. European cars get around 40 to 50 miles a gallon on diesel fuel, but they also don't have to drive as much because they have good public transportation. In Japan hybrids are better because their freeways mostly have a limit of 80 kilometers, around 53 miles an hour (as opposed to 70 here, and 90 in Europe).The top operating speed for most hybrids before they switch to full gas is around 55 miles an hour.

For Seattle, our travel distances are toooooo loonnnnngggggg, but for energy saving in cars, I'd say a diesel-hybrid
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Old September 5th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #1035
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Ok ok ok...I got sucked into car culture recently (after YEARS of strict public transit adherence in Seattle and in France). I bought my first car last week...and it already got me broke with payments, insurance, gas, and repairs already. I didn't even register or pay taxes on it yet.

For me, it's a tossup of living at home for free in suburbia while paying for a car to work in Bellevue, or paying rent in Bellevue and riding a bike.

Anyway, my mom used to be a car-addict (well my whole family in general; we have 5 cars for 4 people), but after working 6 months in downtown Seattle, she's been loving transit and wants more. She seems stoked for the light rail since she has meetings in U district sometimes. She doesn't understand why it ends at the airport though. She says Sounder needs to go to Olympia too since her 590s expresses seem to be full of them.

edit: Greg_christine: Don't forget Tesla Motors!! 100% plug-in electric; equivalent of 135mpg; 200 mile range per charge. They're starting with expensive electric sports cars (0 to 60 in 4 seconds), but they're coming out with sedans and cheaper versions in the future. Slick! http://www.teslamotors.com/

Last edited by kub86; September 5th, 2007 at 10:35 AM.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #1036
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Got back from school, first thing I saw in the mail. From Sound Transit:

"I am responding to your question about light rail on the Eastside.

The Sound Transit 2 plan that will be put to a public vote in November 207 as part of the Roads and Transit Plan includes light rail across I-90 from Seattle to Bellevue, then east to Overlake. An extension to downtown Redmond will be implemented if funds are secured.

Light rail to the Issaquah area is not part of the Sound Transit 2 plan. However, the plan includes a study to evaluate an extension of light rail from the south Bellevue area to the Issaquah area. The study will evaluate ridership, station locations and terminals and develop information to update the Long-Range Plan. Based on the information developed, an extension to the Issaquah area could be considered in a future phase of high capacity transit investments in the region."
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Old September 6th, 2007, 02:15 AM   #1037
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OK, I live in Issaquah and don't have a car, but despite that I can tell you that a LINK line to Issaquah is NOT needed. The Sound Transit bus I take to downtown Seattle gets me there in about 20 minutes, and spends 90% of its time in the HOV lanes which are almost never crowded. You would gain little or nothing from a rail line.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #1038
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Originally Posted by Bond James Bond View Post
OK, I live in Issaquah and don't have a car, but despite that I can tell you that a LINK line to Issaquah is NOT needed. The Sound Transit bus I take to downtown Seattle gets me there in about 20 minutes, and spends 90% of its time in the HOV lanes which are almost never crowded. You would gain little or nothing from a rail line.
Oh yes and I believe she was talking about the highlands, urban village. Sure thing about the low traffic CURRENTLY, but she was talking about the future, in 30 years. Populations going to grow. There's almost no room to expand I-90. And the 3200 new homes aren't even done constructing yet. I am not a resident up there, but I can tell you when I pass by in the mornings, the GP lanes on the ramp to I-90 are crowded. All the way up the hill.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #1039
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I've never really ridden a sound transit bus though. Is it just a regular city bus?
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Old September 7th, 2007, 06:34 AM   #1040
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I'm glad you posted that. People don't realize that best case scenario will give you about 50-60% transit mode share for commuters (like NYC) in the US. The rest of the people have to drive.
No they don't. Have you never been to New York City? The remaining 44 percent of non-transit trips made in NYC aren't by cars. In fact, the Census shows 21 percent of travel is by walking and cycling, with the rest split among taxis, for-hire vans, carpools, and driving alone.
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