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.
- Seattle Marathon returns in person with new...by Seattle Times graphics staff on November 27, 2021 at 12:19 am
The Seattle Marathon returns to in-person racing this Sunday — a first since the start of the pandemic. See the new race route and how it will affect local traffic. COVID-19 protocols will be in place.
- How to make Washington State Ferries shipshape...by Mike Lindblom on November 22, 2021 at 2:00 pm
As Washington State Ferries tries to recover from crew shortages, state leaders weigh the possibility of massive budget increases to make routes reliable again.
- Traveling for Thanksgiving? Keep an eye on...by Amanda Zhou on November 19, 2021 at 3:11 pm
With snow already in the mountains, poor road conditions and closures could be on their way. Officials advise planning for any travel to include extra time. Here are some things to know when planning your holiday travel
- Ferry to be added to Anacortes-San Juan Islands...by Skagit Valley Herald on November 19, 2021 at 3:04 pm
A fourth ferry will be added to the Anacortes to San Juan Islands route Friday, according to Washington State Ferries. The route had four boats until Oct. 16, when State Ferries cut back to three boats because of staffing shortages.
- Highway 520 bridge to close for the weekendby Amanda Zhou on November 19, 2021 at 2:44 pm
Highway 520 will be closed over Lake Washington starting on Friday evening at 9 p.m. Crews will demolish the former westbound offramp from Highway 520 to Lake Washington Boulevard, also known as the 24th Avenue Overpass.
- Amtrak rolls again through tight DuPont curveby Seattle Times staff on November 19, 2021 at 3:24 am
Amtrak has said that eight trains — including Amtrak Cascades and Coast Starlight — will use the bypass daily, with additional trains added in the coming months as COVID restrictions are expected to ease.
- Collision near Monroe leaves 2 deadby Seattle Times staff on November 18, 2021 at 10:38 pm
A collision on Highway 2 near Monroe resulted in multiple fatalities early Thursday afternoon. A commercial vehicle was involved in the collision.
- Poll: Seattle voters support limiting car traffic...by Daniel Beekman on November 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm
A poll of Seattle residents on use of streets and adjoining spaces says most are willing to create more walkable neighborhoods, pedestrian-friendly streets and shopping areas.
- Flooded communities in Northwest Washington start...by Mike Lindblom on November 17, 2021 at 3:12 am
Flood fallout is widespread and severe, with the waters damaging an estimated 75% of homes in one town. Now, as neighbors turn their focus to cleanup, the weather ahead will bring relief — but "it's too early to relax," one meteorologist explains.
- Feds award $60 million to improve Washington...by Mike Lindblom on November 16, 2021 at 10:58 pm
Truck routes in Seattle, Longview, Grays Harbor and Granite Falls will receive federal money for road and signal improvements, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., announced on Monday.
- Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than...by Ben Watanabe on November 24, 2021 at 1:37 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go. Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic Ben Watanabe
- Where should Everett Link light rail line and...by Ben Watanabe on November 22, 2021 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington East or west of I-5? How close to Alderwood mall, Boeing or Paine Field? Sound Transit wants input. Where should Everett Link light rail line and stations go? Ben Watanabe
- Even on Evergreen Way, drivers can’t pass a...by Ben Watanabe on November 15, 2021 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Everett school bus drivers say some aren’t always following the rules around their buses and students. Even on Evergreen Way, drivers can’t pass a stopped school bus Ben Watanabe
- Lynnwood’s $40 vehicle license fee survives...by Ben Watanabe on November 9, 2021 at 8:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The Lynnwood City Council did not have the five votes necessary to undo Mayor Nicola Smith’s veto. Lynnwood’s $40 vehicle license fee survives with mayoral veto Ben Watanabe
- Too many sidewalks aren’t built for people with...by Ben Watanabe on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington After the Week Without Driving challenge, our transportation columnist reflects on a recent scene in Everett. Too many sidewalks aren’t built for people with disabilities Ben Watanabe
- Light rail work to close Highway 104 ramp to I-5...by Herald Staff on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A detour takes drivers to 56th Avenue W, then north to 220th Street SW and back to I-5 North. Light rail work to close Highway 104 ramp to I-5 Tuesday night Herald Staff
- Highway 528 intersection signal work could...by Ben Watanabe on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Marysville is installing new signals at Highway 528 and 67th Avenue NE. Work is set through late November. Highway 528 intersection signal work could disrupt traffic Ben Watanabe
- 3 miles by ferry, but these days a round trip can...by Andrea Brown on November 2, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Reporter Andrea Brown commuted on the “20-minute” sailing between Mukilteo and Clinton. Service is taking a toll. 3 miles by ferry, but these days a round trip can take 5 hours Andrea […]
- Being car-less means cold waits, long trips:...by Ben Watanabe on November 1, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The Week Without Driving challenged policymakers and planning professionals to ditch their vehicles. Being car-less means cold waits, long trips: It’s ‘exhausting’ Ben Watanabe
- In close vote, Lynnwood council plans to end $40...by Ben Watanabe on October 29, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Members voted 4-3 to end fees that fund road work. With an election Tuesday, the matter might not be settled. In close vote, Lynnwood council plans to end $40 car-tab fee Ben Watanabe
Tacoma News Tribune
- I-5 will close overnight in Tacoma next week....on November 23, 2021 at 4:04 pm
Motorists traveling on Interstate 5 through Tacoma overnight next week will need to use alternate routes to avoid construction that temporarily will close southbound lanes Dec. 2 and northbound lanes … Click to Continue »
- Traffic delays near Puyallup on state Route 512...on November 15, 2021 at 4:05 pm
A collision on state Route 512 early Monday morning caused some traffic delays for drivers going west toward Puyallup. The collision was reported about 3:30 a.m. on westbound state Route … Click to Continue »
- Pedestrian is killed by DUI suspect early Sunday...on November 14, 2021 at 6:54 pm
A pedestrian was killed early Sunday morning after a vehicle drove off the road and crashed into a man sleeping on a discarded couch, according to Puyallup police. The driver, … Click to Continue »
- Officials identify motorcyclist killed in crash...on November 11, 2021 at 9:30 pm
A man killed Friday night after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle making a turn at an intersection near Fircrest has been identified by the Pierce County medical examiner. Brandon … Click to Continue »
- Wreck near Puyallup turns fatal after Graham...on November 7, 2021 at 6:18 pm
A Graham woman died at an area hospital Saturday afternoon following a single-vehicle wreck near Puyallup, according to Washington State Patrol. The woman was identified as Kimberly E. Rosoto, 54. … Click to Continue »
- Traffic collision on I-5 near JBLM between...on November 4, 2021 at 7:35 pm
A traffic collision on Southbound I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Thursday afternoon blocked several lanes of traffic and caused delays for motorists on the interstate. The collision was reported … Click to Continue »
- Traffic delays on southbound I-5 after fatal...on October 27, 2021 at 2:25 pm
A fatal crash on southbound Interstate 5 near the Main Gate of Joint Base Lewis-McChord caused traffic delays Wednesday morning. The right two lanes of traffic were blocked due the … Click to Continue »
- Is our long, Tacoma traffic nightmare nearly...on October 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Buckle your seat belts, Tacoma. You’ll need another half year of fortitude before you can drive Interstate 5 without passing through a construction zone. After 20 years of shifting lanes, … Click to Continue »
- Man fatally struck by car while crossing Tacoma...on October 26, 2021 at 3:58 pm
A man was struck and killed by a car Monday night in Tacoma. Police said the man was crossing a street in the middle of the block when he was … Click to Continue »
- Man killed in traffic collision Monday afternoon...on October 26, 2021 at 2:40 pm
A 27-year-old man died Monday afternoon after his car collided with the front of a truck in Spanaway, deputies from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. The collision occurred about 4:40 … Click to Continue »