ST3 – You Don’t Get What You Pay For

Transit in Puget Sound can run faster.
It can carry more riders.
It can extend farther.
All for less money.

But ST3 is the wrong plan for the region.

We can have smarter transit. And we can have it sooner.


Smarter Transit focuses on education and advocacy about better transit choices.  It is a separate organization from the official campaign.  They really liked our name.
For more information about the People for Smarter Transit – No on ST3 campaign, visit their website at nost3.org.

ST3: It takes too long

Decades will pass before it’s fully finished

ST3: It costs too much

We’ll pay $529,000 for each commuter

ST3: It doesn’t work

In the end, it does nothing to reduce traffic

Light rail isn’t the solution

Each additional daily rider will cost an average of $529,000.

NoST3.org

Total transit ridership will only increase from 4% to under 5% of all trips.

What the Data Shows

Studies consistently show light rail does not decrease congestion or significantly increase transit ridership.

CityLab


Percentage of public transit use has stayed the same since 2006

Even though we voted for the first Sound Transit package in 1996, this data from our official regional planning agency shows that the percentage of transit ridership is flat since 2006. So while more people are using transit, it’s still a fraction of the total trips in the region by all modes of transportation. Source: Puget Sound Regional Council “Travel Mode” Trends April 2015

Learn more at Sound Transit Revealed.

Read our Key Performance Measures report (PDF). Transportation spending is an investment. How do we know if we are getting a good return?

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There are better solutions and greater needs

Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Rapid Transit “lite” offer more flexibility than light rail. It carries more people more places.

Ride share programs are very cost effective and use existing infrastructure.

Safe bikeways and walkways are needed in every community.

Maintaining our existing infrastructure should be a priority.

Let’s put our money where it actually moves us forward.

What we want
  1. Invest in a high capacity, affordable, rapid bus system that covers the whole region within a few years instead of inflexible, expensive and limited capacity light rail lines that reach a fraction of the region after decades.
  2. Finish the HOV system and commit to policies that keep it functioning at 45 mph 90 percent of the time.
  3. Realize the extraordinary potential of carpool and vanpool programs.
  4. Recognize that new technologies will change the way we get around making it even more critical to have the flexibility to upgrade and change as we need.
  5. Maintain our existing roads and bridges and fix the choke points that lead to congestion.
  6. Spend money on the simple sidewalk, safe crosswalk and bike path.  These make communities truly livable and walkable.
  7. Start with the question, What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Identify real goals and performance measures and allow objective analysis of the alternatives.
  8. Put directly elected people in charge instead of unelected boards who have no accountability and often a conflict of interest.
What is Bus Rapid Transit?

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is not buses as you know them. BRT treats buses like subways but with more flexibility. BRT buses always have right of way: they don’t stop at red lights or get stuck in congestion. Loading is also much faster because riders pay before they board, stations are raised to be level with the bus floor, and buses have more and wider doors. One lane can facilitate 300 buses per hour. Light Rail can only handle 10 trains per hour and can never have more than 4 cars per train.

King County Metro’s Rapid Ride is not BRT – think of bus service on a continuum from classic slow city bus to “rail on rubber tires.” This description of BRT (bus rapid transit) contains all the elements of an ideal system. But, many things can be done to improve the speed of the buses through a corridor. KIng County Metro’s Rapid Ride is really just higher frequency – more should be done to actually make it “rapid.”

Read the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy’s “What is BRT?” for a fuller picture.

Even the former FTA Administrator advocated for expanding Bus Rapid Transit type service over expensive rail …at one time.
“Riders often want rail – but you can entice diehard rail riders onto a “special” bus, sometimes by just painting the bus a different color than the rest of the fleet. Busways are cheap. You can get a designated lane just by painting it. And with signal preemption, you can move a lot of people at very little cost compared to rail.”
– Peter Rogoff in 2010 as head of Federal Transit Administration

In November, 2015, Peter Rogoff took over as CEO of Sound Transit and is now “excited by big light rail expansion plans.”

Read Peter Rogoff’s whole 2010 speech.

Read the Seattle Times article on Peter Rogoff.

Learn more

Sound Transit Revealed Get into the numbers of light rail, BRT and SoundTransit.
Transportation Matters A blog about rails, cities and politics in the Pacific Northwest.
Key Performance Measures Our report on what the data shows for transit 2040.

Here is a summary of the Sound Transit Contracts See who contracts with Sound Transit and also how many staff they hire 
All Sound Transit contracts over $100,000 since 2007 by category
Original list of contracts from Sound Transit

Modeling has shown for decades that fixed light rail lines do not dictate where the great majority of people decide to live. It’s confirmed again in this recent study
http://www.citylab.com/search/?q=does+light+rail+work

Does Light Rail Really Encourage People to Stop Driving? No, but it does pull them off buses, if a new study of British systems is any indicator.
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/02/does-light-rail-encourage-people-stop-driving/4800/

Have Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/04/have-us-light-rail-systems-been-worth-investment/8838/

Expedia moves to Seattle – An example of how businesses go where they want to go, not where the “Plans” tell them to go.
Expedia Moves to Seattle

84% of Portland’s regional trips still by car
Despite bike and transit gains, 84 percent of Portland region’s trips still by car: Metro study

Transit Riders Union concerned about a two class transit system
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/03/22/23823256/transit-riders-union-concerned-that-two-class-based-public-transportations-systems-taking-shape-in-seattle

Hawaii struggles to keep rail project from becoming a boondoggle
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/us/hawaii-struggles-to-keep-rail-project-from-becoming-a-boondoggle.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

Billions Spent but fewer people using public transportation in Southern California
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ridership-slump-20160127-story.html

Sound Transit Revealed: More detail about light rail and bus rapid transit
http://www.soundtransitrevealed.com

Transportation Matters – Troy Serad has a passion for transit, especially trains that make sense, does not own a car, but the most important thing is that, like Mark Ahlers, his information is based on facts and careful research.  His background is in urban planning, rail planning, accounting and cartography. https://transportationmatters.wordpress.com

What is Bus Rapid Transit – BRT?
https://www.itdp.org/library/standards-and-guides/the-bus-rapid-transit-standard/what-is-brt/

Great website that works with cities around the world on transportation issues including Bus Rapid Transit.
https://www.itdp.org

Bus Rapid Transit Institute – National data and info
http://www.nbrti.org

CETA Archives, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
</a>http://www.effectivetransportation.org<a href=”http://smartertransit.org/resources-and-organizations/”></a>

Here is the link to Sound Transit 2016 Budget. Pages 15 & 22 summarizes the amount of department budgets and staff.
http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/Adopted%202016%20Budget.pdf

Contact your local elected officials:
http://www.psrc.org/about/members/

Find Your Legislator:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

About Face by Sound Transit CEO
https://transit.dot.gov/about/speeches/administrator-peter-remarks-boston-reserve-bank-next-stop-national-summit-future

2014 PSRC Regional Growth Centers – Where does growth really go in our Region?
http://www.psrc.org/assets/10190/Centers_Monitoring.pdf?processed=true

Get involved

Contact your appointed and elected officials: Puget Sound Regional Council, Sound Transit Board and Washington State Legislature.

Volunteer: Smarter Transit is a non-profit organization run by all volunteers.  We need help with research, writing, speaking, networking.

If you’d like to send us info you can send it to: CETA/Smarter Transit P.O. Box 81  Edmonds WA 98020

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