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Published on by | Filed in Transit, Transportation

Sound Transit is in the midst of an important public outreach campaign for their next big transit expansion program, known as Sound Transit 3. Earlier last month, the agency released their Draft Priority Project List for public review and comment. This list essentially highlights a menu of possible service expansion alternatives on the table. The agency’s goal in this public review process is to determine which projects have the strongest public support. Sound Transit will review the comments received and then refine the Priority Project List down for candidate projects worthy of further study by the agency. Ultimately, this will inform the Sound Transit Board as they proceed to finalizing a System Plan to be packaged with complementary revenue sources for public vote in November 2016.

Seattle Subway Vision

Seattle Subway Vision

But before jumping straight to 2016, there is still the need for public participation now in order to ensure that a good plan is devised.

Last month, Anton Babadjanov offered some important insight into the competing choices light rail expansion poses to Seattle and the region. He dug deep into analysis of transit corridors in Seattle. Using data from the City of Seattle, Anton compiled baseline and projected bus ridership of each corridor. He further built upon the corridor analysis by linking each one with investments recommended in the Seattle Transit Master Plan and light rail alternatives proposed by Sound Transit. He also explained the tradeoffs of each potential mode/service type at a high level (e.g. grade-separated rail, in-street exclusive rail, and in-street exclusive bus).

Perhaps most importantly, Anton laid out specific priorities for transit investment in Seattle. He focused on three key points that Seattleites should rally around in their messaging to Sound Transit:

  • Support fully grade separated options to Ballard (C-01b, C-01c), West Seattle (C-03a) and through downtown (C-04). These are the highest ridership lines connecting major growth centers and the transit we build to them has to be scalable for future needs. The ridership gain and decongestion effects from the improved reliability of grade-separated lines will also be the highest here.
  • Support east-west corridors like the Ballard – Wallingford- U District via 45th (C-02) and Queen Anne – SLU – Capitol Hill (not proposed, you can suggest it). Building a network that requires going through downtown to go from one neighborhood to the other does not reflect actual movement patterns (as shown above) and will hinder achieving urbanist goals in areas of inadequate transit service.
  • The original Sound Transit Ballard to downtown Seattle Transit Expansion Study included a Corridor D in its Phase 2 which covered Ballard – Fremont – Queen Anne – Belltown – Downtown. According to the map above, not only does that corridor cover two of the major routes for work trips, it also covers non-work trips in the Ballard-Fremont and Queen Anne-Belltown areas and non-work trips represent 83% of all trips. Suggest this corridor be kept for studying in your comments.

There’s a small window remaining for public comment on the Sound Transit 3 draft project priority list. So be sure to provide your feedback before the end of Wednesday, July 8 (tomorrow). You can do so through Sound Transit’s brief online survey or by e-mailing the agency at

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Published on by | Filed in Architecture, Housing, Parks & Public Space

Construction has begun on the Pike Place Market expansion project, the first addition to the Market in 40 years. Crews broke ground on June 24th with the busy summer season in full swing.

The architecture firm managing the project, Miller Hull, noted the high pedestrian traffic as a complicating factor, along with the Burlington Northern train tunnel running below the site.

The $73 million dollar project is divided into two phases and scheduled for completion in late 2016. The first phase includes the construction of 260 parking stalls, storage space, and a podium for future construction. The second phase will include most of the public benefits, including a 23,400 square foot residential building with almost 8,000 square feet of retail space.

Plans call for 40 units of senior and low-income housing and a community hub of public resources and services, in addition to room for 55 new vendor stalls and 12 “stores with doors.”

There will be an opportunity to build an additional 28,000 square feet of retail space via an existing sky bridge.

Take a look at a series of new design sketches, courtesy of Miller Hull.

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US Capitol

Published on by | Filed in Cycling, Driving, Transportation, Vision Zero, Walking

Article Note: A version of this originally appeared on the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways blog.

Declaration of Right of Way Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, whether they are rich or poor, black or white, young or old, and that we are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  1. We the people recognize that the ownership or use of a private vehicle does not imply the sole ownership of the public Right-of-Way.
  2. We recognize that there is no such thing as free parking, and that our collective community pays to subsidize free car storage on our public Right-of-Way.
  3. We recognize the rights of people, in particular our most vulnerable elders and children, to freely walk on and across our public Right-of-Way without fear of injury or death by people in moving vehicles.
  4. We recognize that when separated sidewalks are provided as part of the Right-of-Way, they must be wide, uncluttered by street poles and furnishings, and minimally punctuated by driveways in order to be functional for people who walk.
  5. We recognize that people riding bicycles have the right of way on our streets, and that the movement of people on bikes, particularly families riding bikes, shall not be limited on our Right-of-Ways unless their movements represent a danger or obstruction to people walking.
  6. We recognize every public Right-of-Way that does not provide separated sidewalks and protected bike lanes is a place where “cars are guests” and where people who drive should go no faster than three times average walking speed (ten miles per hour).
  7. We recognize the highest and best use we can have for our vehicles, our Rights-of-Way, and our fossil fuels, that are all subsidized by our common wealth, is to move our goods, provide emergency services, and provide transport for our most vulnerable people.
  8. We recognize that our public Rights-of-Way are maintained through extraordinary investments of our collective energy and capital.
  9. We recognize we have built more public Right-of-Way than we will be able to maintain in the future.
  10. We recognize that we live on a finite planet with limited resources and that the fuels and battery energy needed to power our vehicles is heavily subsidized with our collective money.
  11. We recognize we are at the start of a centuries long climate crisis, and that every opportunity to maximize tree planting on the forty percent of our city land that is currently paved is an investment that future generations will thank us for.
  12. We recognize the potential for beauty, gathering space, and places for people in our public Right-of-Way.
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Olympia - Capitol

Published on by | Filed in Uncategorized, What We're Reading

VanCan commiseration: The Vancouver, BC area’s transit referendum failed by wide margins this week, despite grand plans for expansion of SkyTrain and local bus service.

It’s just that simple: It’s safer for people walking and biking when more people are walking and biking because people driving pay more attention.

Regulating Lowrise: Ethan Phelps-Goodman digs deep into the data on those 4+ story Lowrise buildings that have caused local controversy using Seattle in Progress and permitting data.

Map of the Week: A supercharged map of the West Coast Electric Highway.

Far too short: A 4-year-old dies in an Issaquah crosswalk while another 2-year-old perishes at an intersection in Redmond. If that weren’t enough, Seattle sees the first death of a bicyclist since Sher Kung last year.

Toxic law: The Supreme Court made a lazy decision on EPA rules meant to reduce air pollution.

Loosening up on pot rules: The Washington State Legislature has enacted new rules that could allow marijuana-oriented businesses within 100 feet (down from 1,000 feet) of some sensitive uses; taxes are also set to be simplified and reduced.

New Regional Growth Center: With two small studies remaining, Central Issaquah is well on its way to be officially designated as a new Regional Growth Center by Puget Sound Regional Council, the regional planning authority.

New Seattle projects: Renderings of two mid-rise blocks set to go up on KING5’s South Lake Union digs are out, plus, next door neighbors plan a 24-story tower. But, Edith Macefield’s “Up” house redevelopment is, again, a no-go.

New wayfinding: Sound Transit released their new wayfinding designs for transit stations, including a series of future light rail station pictograms.

Absent of nice words: The local blogosphere condemned many of the gimmicks and ploys in the statewide transportation bill. But, Seattle Bike Blog highlighted some of the modest improvements for biking and walking funding in the bill.

WA State budget approvedCrosscut gives a rundown of what passed out the Washington State Legislature for the biennial budget.

Return of the Burke: Rainier Vista and the Burke-Gilman Trail have reopened on the south end of the the University of Washington campus.

All about that waterfrontCityLab profiles the Seattle Waterfront and its major projects, Seattle Bike Blog analyzes the planned bike infrastructure, and SDOT declares it reopens for the summer.

Homeless encampments: Three possible locations for future homeless encampments in Seattle.

Urban policing: One police officer in Chattanooga, TN developed a way to determine if drivers violate the three-foot rule for bicyclists. Meanwhile, Seattle PD gets some good coverage on their LEAD program, which is helping drug addicts.

Quiet restrictions: The US Navy is quietly restricting development in Hood Canal and near Bremerton in order to protect their activities.

Crafty state: Washington has the most craft distilleries in the US.

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