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Old October 12th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #1281
sequoias
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funny thing is that the light rail train's maker said that the train can go up to 65 mph. We got a really long gap between S. 154th/international blvd station and the last station on mlk blvd. It would feel like its taking a long time going at 55 mph.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #1282
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funny thing is that the light rail train's maker said that the train can go up to 65 mph. We got a really long gap between S. 154th/international blvd station and the last station on mlk blvd. It would feel like its taking a long time going at 55 mph.
Let me preface this by saying that this is getting built by a *sliver*. Why isn't there transit oriented development all over the station property at Tukwila? Because materials costs have SKYROCKETED in the last decade, and Sound Transit can barely afford to build at all.

65mph would have required more expensive engineering and possibly larger curves in places where more property takings would have meant impacting extra businesses and creating bad will - bad will that could shut down future votes. It would have added a lot of cost to the project.

It's not going to feel like anything, though. Seriously - 55mph max instead of 65mph? There's this weird idea people have that the train goes right from 0 to max and stays at max - it doesn't. You'd be talking about saving like 20 seconds, for another 10 million in costs.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #1283
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Let me preface this by saying that this is getting built by a *sliver*. Why isn't there transit oriented development all over the station property at Tukwila? Because materials costs have SKYROCKETED in the last decade, and Sound Transit can barely afford to build at all.

but the materials for transited oriented development is not related to Sound Transit. Rainier Valley is experiencing transit oriented development around the stations, so I don't think cost is the issue. It could be a late bloomer, or just not feasible

65mph would have required more expensive engineering and possibly larger curves in places where more property takings would have meant impacting extra businesses and creating bad will - bad will that could shut down future votes. It would have added a lot of cost to the project.

Hmmmm, I didn't think of that.

It's not going to feel like anything, though. Seriously - 55mph max instead of 65mph? There's this weird idea people have that the train goes right from 0 to max and stays at max - it doesn't. You'd be talking about saving like 20 seconds, for another 10 million in costs.

If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, it's going to feel like a "long" trip. Buses can go to 60-70 mph on the freeway on the HOV lanes, unless you can get stuck in traffic, though.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #1284
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoias View Post
Let me preface this by saying that this is getting built by a *sliver*. Why isn't there transit oriented development all over the station property at Tukwila? Because materials costs have SKYROCKETED in the last decade, and Sound Transit can barely afford to build at all.

but the materials for transited oriented development is not related to Sound Transit. Rainier Valley is experiencing transit oriented development around the stations, so I don't think cost is the issue. It could be a late bloomer, or just not feasible

65mph would have required more expensive engineering and possibly larger curves in places where more property takings would have meant impacting extra businesses and creating bad will - bad will that could shut down future votes. It would have added a lot of cost to the project.

Hmmmm, I didn't think of that.

It's not going to feel like anything, though. Seriously - 55mph max instead of 65mph? There's this weird idea people have that the train goes right from 0 to max and stays at max - it doesn't. You'd be talking about saving like 20 seconds, for another 10 million in costs.

If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, it's going to feel like a "long" trip. Buses can go to 60-70 mph on the freeway on the HOV lanes, unless you can get stuck in traffic, though.
On TOD in Tukwila - I'm just saying that Sound Transit could have done some of that work themselves, but they didn't have the money. Personally, I think there's some merit to having Sound Transit build mixed-use buildings around their stations and use the rents to pay for later operating costs. I believe Japan Rail uses this method.

If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, you're getting a one seat ride instead of going *north* to downtown and transferring to buses that don't use I-5. The 174 uses surface streets near Boeing Field, not I-5. And there's no HOV lane on I-5 immediately south of downtown.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 01:48 AM   #1285
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On TOD in Tukwila - I'm just saying that Sound Transit could have done some of that work themselves, but they didn't have the money. Personally, I think there's some merit to having Sound Transit build mixed-use buildings around their stations and use the rents to pay for later operating costs. I believe Japan Rail uses this method.

If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, you're getting a one seat ride instead of going *north* to downtown and transferring to buses that don't use I-5. The 174 uses surface streets near Boeing Field, not I-5. And there's no HOV lane on I-5 immediately south of downtown.
Japan Rail stations ARE mixed use buildings.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #1286
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If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, you're getting a one seat ride instead of going *north* to downtown and transferring to buses that don't use I-5. The 174 uses surface streets near Boeing Field, not I-5. And there's no HOV lane on I-5 immediately south of downtown.

yes there is hov lanes all the way to around king/pierce county line on I 5 corridor. The hov lanes stretches from just north of fife all the way to south everett on I 5 and the whole 1 405 corridor and also all the way to near issaquah on 1 90.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #1287
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoias View Post
If you're traveling from Rainier Valley to Tukwila, you're getting a one seat ride instead of going *north* to downtown and transferring to buses that don't use I-5. The 174 uses surface streets near Boeing Field, not I-5. And there's no HOV lane on I-5 immediately south of downtown.

yes there is hov lanes all the way to around king/pierce county line on I 5 corridor. The hov lanes stretches from just north of fife all the way to south everett on I 5 and the whole 1 405 corridor and also all the way to near issaquah on 1 90.
Along with construction of outer HOV lanes on I-90 on Mercer Island, not just the reversible. That will most likely help the buses quite a bit I'm assuming.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #1288
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yes there is hov lanes all the way to around king/pierce county line on I 5 corridor. The hov lanes stretches from just north of fife all the way to south everett on I 5 and the whole 1 405 corridor and also all the way to near issaquah on 1 90.
I think that there's a good section of Seattle without HOV lanes:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/Projects.htm#
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Old October 13th, 2007, 11:00 PM   #1289
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Keep in mind those are just the freeway HOVs.

I don't know how many non-freeway HOVs we're getting, but that is a big aspect of the recent bus expansion measure, so we're getting more.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 02:56 AM   #1290
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In regards to the heavy-rail vs. light-rail debate, I think that a valid definition of either ought to be put in terms of level of service/efficiency. That is, what is the time saved and convenience gained over the cost incurred. Unfortunately, some of these measures are fuzzy - subjective.

So, if my headways, speed of travel, and money spent (tax and fare) is comparably equal to that of heavy-rail, what does it matter? From what I see being built in Seattle, there's enough grade-separation and "high-speed" (relative term there) corridors to make the cost justifiable in comparison to heavy-rail. Also, if there is another line that needs to be put into an environment that utilizes light-rail's more flexible (but slower) at grade abilities, there's no need to switch trains from line to line. While the line that's at grade is less efficient, the over all system is more efficient because of the existing grade separation, convenience for riders, as well as ease of construction and other technical details.

My thoughts are NOT based on hard numbers but on what makes sense from my limited observations.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:24 AM   #1291
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Keep in mind those are just the freeway HOVs.

I don't know how many non-freeway HOVs we're getting, but that is a big aspect of the recent bus expansion measure, so we're getting more.
Where? There's not any place to put them in the most heavily congested corridors.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 06:44 AM   #1292
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Quote:
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I think that there's a good section of Seattle without HOV lanes:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/Projects.htm#
That's the reversible HOV lanes north of downtown to Northgate. That's the only area in Seattle's city limits with no seperate HOV, common elsewhere in the metro area.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #1293
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Quote:
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Keep in mind those are just the freeway HOVs.

I don't know how many non-freeway HOVs we're getting, but that is a big aspect of the recent bus expansion measure, so we're getting more.
Just out of curiosity, are there any bus-only lanes in Downtown Seattle?
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Old October 14th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #1294
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Just out of curiosity, are there any bus-only lanes in Downtown Seattle?
you mean besides 3rd ave? (all busses)
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Old October 14th, 2007, 09:53 PM   #1295
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you mean besides 3rd ave? (all busses)
Other than that. I don't remember hearing of any new ones planned. Do you guys think it will be a nice addition to put into Bellevue? There's certainly room in some undeveloped areas.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #1296
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Other than that. I don't remember hearing of any new ones planned. Do you guys think it will be a nice addition to put into Bellevue? There's certainly room in some undeveloped areas.
And there's no demand in those undeveloped areas. This is the fundamental problem with the "BRT" argument. In the only places where you want separation for transit, you have to build entirely new right of way anyway - making BRT just as expensive as rail. The thing is, in the long-term, the maintenance and operations for rail cost much less - trains last longer, rails last longer, electricity is less expensive than maintaining diesel motors - so it *never* makes sense to build bus transit.

There's always this fringe argument that buses would be cheaper, and then the people making the argument ignore the fact that there isn't any place to put bus lanes in the places where people need to *go* - the urban cores. And I'm sorry, but the service levels on a bus system with traffic lights right through the major destinations do not compare to rail, and will never garner good ridership in and be a real alternative to driving in a place where we build so many highways.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #1297
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And there's no demand in those undeveloped areas. This is the fundamental problem with the "BRT" argument. In the only places where you want separation for transit, you have to build entirely new right of way anyway - making BRT just as expensive as rail. The thing is, in the long-term, the maintenance and operations for rail cost much less - trains last longer, rails last longer, electricity is less expensive than maintaining diesel motors - so it *never* makes sense to build bus transit.

There's always this fringe argument that buses would be cheaper, and then the people making the argument ignore the fact that there isn't any place to put bus lanes in the places where people need to *go* - the urban cores. And I'm sorry, but the service levels on a bus system with traffic lights right through the major destinations do not compare to rail, and will never garner good ridership in and be a real alternative to driving in a place where we build so many highways.
That brings up another question, what's the difference between a streetcar and a bus and a train?
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Old October 15th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #1298
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That brings up another question, what's the difference between a streetcar and a bus and a train?
I'll give that my best shot:

A streetcar is a train, but it's the lowest form of train. Usually, when one refers to a streetcar, they're also indicating that you can't link a bunch of them together (or that the platforms aren't intended for it). They're also generally at-grade in town, although often separate from traffic in their own lane. Portland has a streetcar that's largely in traffic. Strasbourg has streetcars that are marginally in traffic, but usually in their own right-of-way outside of the city center. You'll also hear "tramway" used to refer to streetcars and light rail. They blend a little with light rail at the high end - Strasbourg's has its own tunnel on one line, it's almost light rail.

Light rail is the next step - you can link the cars, it might be at-grade in places, but it's got some grade separation and higher maximum speeds. Like a streetcar, it tends to be powered by an overhead wire so it has the option of crossing streets. It's almost always in its own lanes.

Heavy rail includes subways and commuter rail, as well as above-ground rail. Japan Rail's lines in Tokyo are heavy rail. Sounder is commuter rail, but has very high capacity (there are over a thousand riders on some individual trips). Subways we all know. People will tell you that this stuff is usually third rail, not overhead wire, but that's generally only true of older systems and true subways - lots and lots of heavy rail, and all real bullet trains (Eurostar doesn't count for another month) are overhead wire.

All of these are really arbitrary distinctions, though, made by focusing on one aspect or another - the terms are almost universally thrown around to detract from mass transit systems, there's no argument among supporters because they understand that it doesn't matter what you call it - what matters is how many it can move, at what average speed, with what headways. In all of those measurements, Central Link is between a typical light rail and a typical heavy rail system, and the Sound Transit 2 expansion is slightly closer to looking like heavy rail. The limiter on calling it heavy rail, in my opinion, is that we're limited at the moment to four car trains. Frankly, that doesn't matter, we're building in a lot more capacity than Portland's got.

Just a little on buses versus streetcars:
Buses are kind of bad news, in the long term. They're unreliably slow, and subject to weather issues. Streetcars have a lot fewer variables during operation - electric motors with standard overhead wire systems are very robust, rails prevent most accidents, schedules are easier to keep. Developers are afraid to rely on buses for transit because they're so "flexible" - they could go away with the political winds. It's pretty hard to get rid of a train, so it's reasonable to do your couple of years of planning work for a site relying on its existence. This applies to your government as well - transit isn't typically run by the same part of the government that controls land use (although I think it should be). They're just as worried about buses as your developers are - but a train convinces them to raise building heights and allow mixed use.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #1299
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The assumption of the permanence of streetcar lines is not supported by history. Seattle once had an extensive streetcar network. It was torn out after WWII and replace with buses. More recently, Seattle had the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar. Service on that line ended so that the maintenance shed could be torn down to make way for a sculpture garden. A deal has been in the works for sometime now to build a new maintenance shed as part of a development in Pioneer Square; however, it is not clear whether streetcar service will resume prior to the line having to be shutdown to make way for demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. In the meantime, the route is being served by a bus:



I also am perplexed by the statement that streetcars are more reliable than buses. Something as simple as an illegally parked car can bring a streetcar line to a halt. Buses have the flexibility of going around such obstructions.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 05:19 AM   #1300
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Quote:
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Let me preface this by saying that this is getting built by a *sliver*. Why isn't there transit oriented development all over the station property at Tukwila? Because materials costs have SKYROCKETED in the last decade, and Sound Transit can barely afford to build at all.

65mph would have required more expensive engineering and possibly larger curves in places where more property takings would have meant impacting extra businesses and creating bad will - bad will that could shut down future votes. It would have added a lot of cost to the project.

It's not going to feel like anything, though. Seriously - 55mph max instead of 65mph? There's this weird idea people have that the train goes right from 0 to max and stays at max - it doesn't. You'd be talking about saving like 20 seconds, for another 10 million in costs.
Regarding the 55 mph maximum speed of Central Link, this is probably governed by the design of the signaling system. This is a reasonable design decision for a light rail project given that most light rail vehicle manufacturers claim a top speed no higher than 55 mph.

The 70% low-floor light rail vehicles typically use odd axle arrangements in way of the low-floor segment in order to avoid encroaching on the seating and floor space. The result is that the axles in way of the low-floor segment are never powered and often the ride quality is somewhat compromised. The 70% low-floor vehicles from some manufacturers have a reputation for “hunting”, which is an oscillation that occurs at higher speeds. The Kinkisharyo light rail vehicles that I rode in San Jose seemed very steady at speed. The floor area in way of the low-floor segment was narrower than the floor area in the rest of the vehicle, which leads me to believe that perhaps Kinkisharyo found a good compromise between encroaching on the floor area and providing good ride quality:

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