Smarter Transit is an all-volunteer, pro-transit, non-partisan, non-profit citizens’ organization. Our mission is to support and advocate for accountable public transportation governance and investments that grow transit, vanpool, carpool ridership, and safe bike and walking routes throughout the Puget Sound region in the most cost-effective way.
Better bus service would improve millions of Americans’ lives. Opinion by NYT columnist, Farhad Manjoo. Photo: Florian Buettner/laif, via Redux
We occasionally post articles and news of interest regarding transit and transportation issues that affect the Puget Sound Region. If there are stories that you think deserve attention, or if you have news or information that you’d like to share, please contact us!
Billions of dollars in federal aid have pulled New York’s transit agency from the depths of its fiscal crisis. But a growing consensus that its ridership may never return entirely threatens its future. (Photograph by Ali Kate Cherkis, NYT)
When Sound Transit unveiled a $54 billion tax measure in 2016, even its most tenacious critics said the rail and bus budgets were so larded with financial cushions the agency couldn’t possibly run short on cash. Only five years later,...
Washington State DOT’s Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Business Case Analysis (UHSGT) is a promotional brochure riddled with serious errors and misstatements
Read the complete paper here: Washington State DOT’s Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Business Case Analysis (UHSGT) is a promotional brochure riddled with serious errors and misstatementsKey Findings The term “Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation...
Mariya Frost is the director of the Coles Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center. Four years ago, transportation experts predicted Sound Transit’s light rail expansion would be obsolete before it’s built. Now, Covid-19’s impact on how we...
SEATTLE — If you think the commute in and out of West Seattle is rough now – get ready for January. The Washington State Department of Transportation said they will be doing some critical work to the First Avenue South Bridge that will require...
Performance audit of Sound Transit reveals over $100 million spent to fix mistakes and missing information
From the Washington Policy Center: The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) released a performance audit of Sound Transit, finding that the agency should spend more time upfront in carefully designing and planning projects to reduce high...
Los Angeles Times: A viaduct built in Madera for California’s high-speed rail project. (High-Speed Rail Authority) Lawmakers are withdrawing their support from the high-speed rail project as many become skeptical of the plans and...
From the Washington Policy Center: In a June 17 update, King County Metro provided information on the agency’s COVID-19 response and recovery, as well as the impact of the pandemic on budget and policy. Metro reported that ridership...
From the Washington Policy Center:The West Seattle Bridge was first opened to traffic in 1984, replacing a twin drawbridge (or bascule bridge) that had been struck in 1978 by the freighter Chavez. Its replacement – a segmental bridge supported...
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 in the region
- 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.
- Finish the HOV system and commit to policies that keep it functioning at 45 mph 90 percent of the time.
- Realize the extraordinary potential of carpool and vanpool programs.
- 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.
- Maintain our existing roads and bridges and fix the choke points that lead to congestion.
- Spend money on the simple sidewalk, safe crosswalk and bike path. These make communities truly livable and walkable.
- 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.
- 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.”
Even the former FTA Administrator advocated for expanding Bus Rapid Transit type service over expensive rail …at one time.
– 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.”
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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.
Have Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?
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
Hawaii struggles to keep rail project from becoming a boondoggle
Billions Spent but fewer people using public transportation in Southern California
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?
Great website that works with cities around the world on transportation issues including Bus Rapid Transit.
CETA Archives, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
Contact your local elected officials:
Find Your Legislator:
About Face by Sound Transit CEO
2014 PSRC Regional Growth Centers – Where does growth really go in our Region?
June 1, 2015 Crosscut We Deserve Better Transportation Planning
March 26, 2015 Daily Journal of Commerce Transportation 2040 Plan: What’s the Return on our $174 Billion investment?
Latest transportation stories from local papers
In the interest of providing the whole range of news regarding transportation and transit we are providing links to current articles and opinion pages. Smarter Transit does not necessarily agree with the views or info provided in all articles or op-eds.
- Amazon’s self-driving cars are coming to...by Katherine Anne Long on October 20, 2021 at 1:30 am
An announcement from Amazon's self-driving car unit, Zoox, that it will soon begin testing prototypes of its autonomous vehicles in downtown Seattle, drew criticism from some transportation-safety advocates.
- Cost for docking Alaska state ferry idled nearly...by The Associated Press on October 18, 2021 at 6:46 pm
The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry that has been idled for nearly two years is close to $900,000 a year, with much of that representing insurance costs that were not previously publicly disclosed, CoastAlaska reported on Monday.
- Five I-5 rest areas to close in Snohomish and...by Mike Lindblom on October 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Citing an overload of trash and vandalism along with threats against employees, the Washington State Department of Transportation is closing five rest areas in Snohomish and Whatcom counties on an interim basis.
- Washington State Ferries to cut sailings on some...by Mike Lindblom on October 14, 2021 at 2:12 am
Washington State Ferries will reduce scheduled sailings on five routes starting Saturday as a chronic lack of workers continues. The agency decided it is better to provide leaner, more reliable service than to cancel scheduled sailings.
- Ferry service returning to normal Monday as more...by Mike Lindblom on October 11, 2021 at 7:10 pm
Following a severe crew and boat shortage on Friday, some Washington State Ferries returned to their normal sailings on Monday morning.
- Washington State Department of Transportation’s...by Christine Clarridge on October 11, 2021 at 2:07 pm
For several hours, Twitter appeared to be the only way the state's transportation system was getting out information.
- Pedestrian struck and killed on I-90 near North...by Sydney Brownstone on October 11, 2021 at 12:22 am
A 28-year-old man from Kent was killed when he was hit by the driver of a semi-truck heading east of North Bend on Interstate 90 Sunday morning. The man had been walking in one of the eastbound lanes of the highway.
- Renovated Seattle monorail station opens Monday...by Mike Lindblom on October 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm
With a wavy new roof and plentiful fare machines, the Seattle Center Monorail's Westlake Station is ready to reopen on Monday before concerts and the Kraken's first home opener at Climate Pledge Arena.
- Crew shortages bring unprecedented service cuts...by Mike Lindblom on October 8, 2021 at 7:00 pm
The service cutbacks are unprecedented in the nation's largest ferry system. Several sailings have been late, in what the agency called "a rough service day due to lack of crew." Most days about 600 are on duty, of a total workforce near 1,600.
- Montlake interchange and Highway 99 tunnel to...by Mike Lindblom on October 8, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Drivers should prepare for weekend detours and congestion as state contractors work on the Montlake Boulevard interchange of Highway 520. The Highway 99 tunnel will close in both directions this weekend for maintenance and repairs as well.
- Cyclists highlight Interurban Trail needs before...by Ben Watanabe on October 18, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Leafline Trails Coalition, Snohomish County Transportation Coalition and others toured some trail gaps. Cyclists highlight Interurban Trail needs before light rail arrival Ben Watanabe
- Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts...by Ben Watanabe on October 17, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates. Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’ Ben Watanabe
- Ferry-geddon: Sailings from Mukilteo, Edmonds cut...by Andrea Brown on October 15, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The state blames route cuts on COVID factors and not enough staff. The vaccine mandate is a factor. Ferry-geddon: Sailings from Mukilteo, Edmonds cut in half Andrea Brown
- Everett, Smokey Point rest areas closed for 2021by Herald Staff on October 15, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington WSDOT announced the closures were due to ongoing maintenance, staffing and vandalism problems. Everett, Smokey Point rest areas closed for 2021 Herald Staff
- Northgate light rail frees buses for Snohomish...by Ben Watanabe on October 11, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Community Transit is using the change to imagine service when light rail reaches Snohomish County. Northgate light rail frees buses for Snohomish County routes Ben Watanabe
- A third of ferry sailings cancelled due to crew...by Jake Goldstein-Street on October 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Slashed service could persist in Mukilteo, Edmonds and elsewhere. It’s unprecedented, officials said. A third of ferry sailings cancelled due to crew shortages Jake Goldstein-Street
- Community Transit issues vaccine requirement for...by Ben Watanabe on October 8, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington It starts with new hires this week, a vaccine or weekly negative test by Oct. 18, and full compliance by Jan. 1. Community Transit issues vaccine requirement for employees Ben Watanabe
- Southbound I-5 bridge over Stilly River to reopen...by Herald Staff on October 4, 2021 at 2:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Closed since June for paint and preservation work, two of the three lanes were to be reopened this week. Southbound I-5 bridge over Stilly River to reopen Tuesday Herald Staff
- Bike lanes proposal could cut two vehicle lanes...by Ben Watanabe on October 4, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Two options before the City Council would reduce at least one vehicle lane along 100th Avenue W. Bike lanes proposal could cut two vehicle lanes in Edmonds Ben Watanabe
- That jerk who cuts in the ferry line can be fined...by Andrea Brown on October 1, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Meanwhile, the state has ended the 877-764-HERO program, whereby the public could report violators. That jerk who cuts in the ferry line can be fined $139 Andrea Brown
Tacoma News Tribune
- 3-car collision in Tacoma sends 3 to hospitalon October 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm
A traffic collision in Tacoma on Monday evening ended with three people injured and transported to the hospital. Police said the incident involved three cars. Tacoma Fire Department crews responded … Click to Continue »
- Traffic collision on northbound I-5 in Federal...on October 18, 2021 at 2:33 pm
Drivers going north on Interstate 5 should expect some delays Monday morning. A traffic collision in Federal Way blocked two lanes of traffic, causing a six-mile backup. The collision was … Click to Continue »
- Pussyfoot Creek and SR 164 get new bridge. Fish...on October 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm
State Route 164 between Auburn and Enumclaw reopened Thursday after a three-month closure just east of the White River Amphitheater to allow for construction of a new bridge over Pussyfoot … Click to Continue »
- Driver hospitalized after traffic collision near...on October 11, 2021 at 3:11 pm
A two-car collision Monday on state Route 7 near Parkland left one driver in serious condition, Washington state troopers said. The crash was reported about 5:40 a.m. on Route 7 … Click to Continue »
- Delays on southbound I-5 near DuPont on Friday...on October 8, 2021 at 2:32 pm
Drivers traveling south on Interstate 5 out of Tacoma Friday morning experienced significant delays in DuPont while crews cleaned up a semi-truck fire blocking two lanes of traffic. Two southbound … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma man killed after he is hit by car in Grays...on October 3, 2021 at 5:41 pm
A Tacoma man was killed overnight Saturday after he was struck by a car while standing outside his SUV in Grays Harbor County, according to Washington State Patrol. The man … Click to Continue »
- Officials identify driver who died after crashing...on September 30, 2021 at 6:19 pm
A 57-year-old woman who died after crashing her vehicle into a pole in Tacoma was identified Thursday by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office. Korinn M. Siwicke, of Roy, died … Click to Continue »
- Puyallup police vehicle involved in traffic...on September 29, 2021 at 3:41 pm
A Puyallup Police Department truck was struck by another vehicle Sept. 28 while the officer drove through an intersection on his way to a separate incident. The crash was reported … Click to Continue »
- Multiple people hospitalized after traffic...on September 29, 2021 at 2:38 pm
Fire crews responded to the scene of a two-car collision early Wednesday in Tacoma that led to multiple people being hospitalized. Tacoma Fire Department reported that crews responded to a … Click to Continue »
- 2 dead after overnight traffic collisions in...on September 28, 2021 at 3:38 pm
Officials identify driver who died after crashing into pole in Tacoma Two separate traffic collisions were reported Monday evening in Tacoma, leading to the deaths of two people, according to … Click to Continue »