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.
By Mariya Frost of the Washington Policy Center, May 10, 2022 Since 2017, Sound Transit’s full system expansion went from costing taxpayers $92 billion to an incredible $142 billion, and project completion was stretched from 2041 to 2046. That’s $50...
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!
Along much of the No. 94 route Stevens takes into the city, there are no shelters. That pattern is repeated across the country: Less than one-fifth of more than 122,000 bus stops served by 16 of the nation’s largest transit agencies have shelters, according to...
VTA approves $235 million San Jose BART extension contract — so why is it also reviewing its controversial design?
"The unanimous vote from the board puts the VTA in the unusual position of awarding a $235 million contract that moves forward with the extension’s “single-bore” tunnel plan, while simultaneously launching a new analysis of the contentious design." ...
April 28, 2022 Seattle Times Article by Mike Lindblom "...managers blame construction errors, a concrete delivery strike, COVID-19, frayed supply chains and even bad weather." Most disturbing from the article is this: "Progress reports say the prime schedule risk...
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.
- Body pulled from water hours after crash on Ship...by David Kroman and Christine Clarridge on May 24, 2022 at 1:26 pm
The body of a man ejected from his vehicle during a Tuesday morning collision on the Ship Canal Bridge was recovered from the water, according to the Washington State Patrol.
- Even with gas prices soaring, travelers are...by Christine Clarridge on May 23, 2022 at 2:18 pm
Even with WA gas prices up another 20 cents since last week, Americans are expected to hit the road in masses for Memorial Day. And Seattle is expected to be a top destination.
- ‘Sitting on a gold mine’: As change comes to...by Daniel Beekman on May 22, 2022 at 1:00 pm
With a light rail only two years away, Lynnwood residents and leaders are debating how and how much the suburb north of Seattle should grow.
- Seattle traffic deaths show no sign of slowing as...by David Kroman on May 21, 2022 at 1:00 pm
Gan Hao Li, 73, was fatally struck in Sodo as he rode his bike last week. More serious injuries and deaths occur on the streets there than anywhere else in Seattle.
- Seattle’s I-5 lane closures start this weekend;...by Mike Lindblom on May 20, 2022 at 2:30 pm
Most southbound I-5 lanes in Sodo will close this weekend to replace expansion joints. This is to be the first of 16 weekends of lane closures.
- Pedestrian critically injured in Seattle...by Mike Lindblom on May 20, 2022 at 12:22 am
A woman walking was seriously hurt when a light-rail train struck her at Othello Station.
- Nearly 43,000 people died on US roads last year,...by TOM KRISHER and HOPE YEN on May 17, 2022 at 3:04 pm
Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the most in 16 years, as Americans returned to the highways after the pandemic forced many to stay at home.
- Aging gasoline storage tanks in WA pose...by David Kroman on May 16, 2022 at 1:00 pm
As Washington looks toward a more electric-powered future, it may also find itself reckoning with a gas-powered past: and the daunting cleanup of underground fuel tanks.
- FAQ: What you need to do now to keep your ORCA...by Mike Lindblom on May 16, 2022 at 1:00 pm
More than 175,000 Seattle-area transit customers must go to the new myorca.com website, or use other payment methods, to keep their fare cards working properly.
- Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C.,...by Mike Lindblom on May 14, 2022 at 1:04 am
Amtrak says there aren't enough workers to restore the north corridor to its Cascades line yet.
- Lynnwood to keep collecting a car tab fee and...by Jerry Cornfield on May 24, 2022 at 5:50 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington City Council members will consider repealing them in October when they write a new city budget. Lynnwood to keep collecting a car tab fee and utility tax, for now Jerry Cornfield
- Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly openby Herald Staff on May 23, 2022 at 5:49 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A miscommunication led Snohomish County to misstate how much of the road is open. Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly open Herald Staff
- Roundabout coming to dangerous Bickford-Highway 9...by Ben Watanabe on May 23, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington WSDOT is building a roundabout at Bickford Avenue and Highway 9, where drivers are expected to enter at 15 mph. Roundabout coming to dangerous Bickford-Highway 9 intersection Ben Watanabe
- Lynnwood’s car tab fee and utility tax on...by Jerry Cornfield on May 23, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington City Council members will talk about repealing them. If they do, the mayor is prepared to veto their actions. Lynnwood’s car tab fee and utility tax on chopping block again Jerry […]
- Light rail work closing I-5 North lanes nightly...by Herald Staff on May 20, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Crews need to close northbound lanes between 220th Street SW and Highway 104. Drivers have two detour options. Light rail work closing I-5 North lanes nightly this weekend Herald Staff
- Free coffee will be back soon at Smokey Point...by Ben Watanabe on May 20, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Everett’s Silver Lake rest area for southbound I-5 drivers remains closed while WSDOT works on the facility. Free coffee will be back soon at Smokey Point rest areas Ben Watanabe
- Highway 9 to close this weekend in south Lake...by Herald Staff on May 19, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Detours take drivers around the closure between 20th Street SE and 32nd Street SE from Friday night to Monday morning. Highway 9 to close this weekend in south Lake Stevens Herald Staff
- Afghanistan, Ukraine refugees get bikes, bus...by Ben Watanabe on May 16, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington One nonprofit needs volunteers to repair 40 kids bikes for refugees. Another agency could use cash gift cards. Afghanistan, Ukraine refugees get bikes, bus passes and rides Ben Watanabe
- Lower speed limits move forward on dangerous...by Ben Watanabe on May 12, 2022 at 1:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The Everett City Council approved a resolution to slow speeds on Evergreen and Everett Mall ways. Lower speed limits move forward on dangerous stretch of Highway 99 Ben Watanabe
- I-5 south to close for light rail work near...by Herald Staff on May 11, 2022 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington This weekend and next weekend overnight travelers will need to find a new route. I-5 south to close for light rail work near Mountlake Terrace Herald Staff
Tacoma News Tribune
- Octane booster? Fuel stabilizer? Here’s what...on May 25, 2022 at 11:00 am
Gas prices in the northwest continue to sit above the national average, according to AAA, as prices nationwide continually increase to new record highs. The average price of regular unleaded … Click to Continue »
- Eastside Tacoma road will be reduced to one lane...on May 13, 2022 at 6:01 pm
A two-lane road in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood will be reduced to one lane Saturday while crews perform road maintenance, the city said. Crews will be working on Pioneer Way East … Click to Continue »
- Traffic collision on northbound I-5 in Pierce...on May 3, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Commuters driving north from the Tacoma area on Tuesday morning likely ran into significant traffic delays due to a collision on Interstate 5 that blocked various lanes, according to the … Click to Continue »
- Here’s why you should expect delays on a major...on April 16, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Trashy drivers have been tossing their fast-food wrappers, COVID masks and drink cans along state Route 512 between Parkland and Puyallup for years, and now law abiding drivers are going … Click to Continue »
- Downed power lines on northbound I-5 in Tacoma...on April 7, 2022 at 5:16 pm
Live power lines in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Tacoma on Thursday forced the closure of two lanes, causing significant backups and traffic delays. The incident was reported … Click to Continue »
- Pierce County man hit and killed on I-5 near Kent...on March 27, 2022 at 5:09 pm
A Lakewood man who was hit and killed by a pick-up truck on I-5 near Kent Friday afternoon has been identified, according to Washington State Patrol. Dominic G. Njuguna, 35, … Click to Continue »
- Update: Northbound I-5 in Tacoma reopened after...on March 18, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Drivers commuting north Friday morning on Interstate 5 in Tacoma ran into significant traffic delays. All northbound lanes of the interstate were closed for nearly eight hours due to a … Click to Continue »
- Here’s why you should avoid driving on...on March 16, 2022 at 6:55 pm
If you need to drive south on I-5 through Nisqually this weekend, it would be best not to do it either Saturday or Sunday morning. From 6 a.m. to noon … Click to Continue »
- WSDOT wants input on strategies to improve I-5...on March 14, 2022 at 8:01 pm
I-5 motorists and other South Sound residents have an opportunity to provide feedback on strategies aimed at improving commutes and conditions along the Interstate 5 corridor in Thurston and Pierce … Click to Continue »
- Serious-injury collision in Puyallup causing...on March 10, 2022 at 3:35 pm
A 60-year-old man was struck by a vehicle and seriously injured Thursday morning in Puyallup. Police said the incident was causing some traffic delays. The incident occurred about 6 a.m. … Click to Continue »