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.
Sound Transit extends its winning streak of premier credit, easy money
In a year of tight money, Sound Transit is poised to accept another $327 million in federal loans this week, at bargain rates most people can only dream about. The feds offered this money to the Hilltop Tacoma Link streetcar extension, the Northeast 130th Street...
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!
Bad light-rail ties on I-90 bridge can’t be fixed, must be rebuilt
After some futile attempts at repairs, Sound Transit contractors have scraped thousands of flawed concrete track ties from the decks of Interstate 90 so new ties can be built from scratch. This second effort by the Kiewit-Hoffman partnership delays the Lake Washington...
Rhetoric vs Reality, the Housing Bills Now Before the State Legislature
If you agree with the information below, please contact your elected officials in Olympia asap and share with neighbors, colleagues, friends and family. These Bills will be moving out of committees this week. Here's how to contact them. If you would like electronic...
Seattle’s bleak downtown light-rail stations have nowhere to go but up
Thousands of passengers who enter the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel learned a while ago to sidestep broken escalators marked by yellow barricades, avoid the fentanyl smokers huddled outside certain entrances and take shallow breaths inside fetid elevators. They’ve...
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.”
The Source: Federal Transit Administration chief: ‘Paint is cheap, rails systems are extremely expensive’.
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.
Share what you’ve learned with friends and on social media.
Contact Maggie Fimia or John Niles: Here
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
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.
Bus Rapid Transit Institute – National data and info
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.
- Car crash kills one in Seattle’s Central...by Mike Lindblom on June 3, 2023 at 2:51 am
The fatal crash happened just before 6 p.m. Friday near Judkins Park in Seattle, police say.
- Saturday service starts this weekend on Kitsap...by David Kroman on June 2, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Outside of the summer, the boats normally only operate during the week around commuter hours.
- Drivers beware: Slowdowns ahead everywhere, led...by Mike Lindblom on June 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Here's your guide to summer road construction in and around Seattle — what will hurt now and what's supposed to get better.
- Inslee rebuffs tribes seeking relief after WA...by Daniel Beekman and Isabella Breda on June 2, 2023 at 12:50 am
Gov. Jay Inslee rebuffed a request from the Lummi Nation and other Native American tribes for an exemption from climate laws that have driven up gas prices.
- Northbound I-5 reopens after semitruck crash in...by Vonnai Phair on June 1, 2023 at 1:49 pm
Washington State Patrol, WSDOT and West Pierce Fire and Rescue responded to remove debris on I-5 after a semitruck crash.
- U.S. safety agency to require automatic emergency...by TOM KRISHER and ASHRAF KHALIL on May 31, 2023 at 3:52 pm
The U.S. government’s auto safety agency plans to require that all new passenger cars and light trucks include potentially life-saving automatic emergency braking and meet stricter safety standards within three years.
- As WA State Ferries cancellations, delays...by David Kroman, Mike Lindblom and Vonnai Phair on May 30, 2023 at 2:11 pm
After a weekend of restricted, delayed and canceled sailings, ferry traffic was restored to a mostly normal state. But the issues reveal the system's fragility.
- Hopes for a downtown Seattle streetcar find new...by David Kroman on May 30, 2023 at 1:00 pm
The should-we, shouldn’t-we of whether and how to build a streetcar through downtown has dogged City Hall for close to a decade.
- Can a new bike path on Seattle’s waterfront...by David Kroman on May 28, 2023 at 1:00 pm
As the $750 million waterfront overhaul nears completion, Alaskan Way from Pier 62 to Pier 70 threatens to become a chasm into which cycles and scooters will fall.
- Memorial Day weekend starts with San Juan ferry...by Brendan Kiley on May 27, 2023 at 3:38 pm
Crew shortages at Washington State Ferries have scuttled at least 11 runs to the San Juans Saturday morning, potentially fouling holiday weekend plans.
- Faded 41st Street lane markings eyed for refresh...by Ben Watanabe on June 4, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A reader asked about the I-5 interchange lane striping after reportedly seeing lots of driver confusion. Faded 41st Street lane markings eyed for refresh next year Ben Watanabe
- Jetty Island ferry reservations open for summerby Ben Watanabe on June 1, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington People can book trips there and back for $3 to $5, as well as $2 parking for eight hours when made online. Jetty Island ferry reservations open for summer Ben Watanabe
- Tune in for virtual meeting on Edmonds-Kingston...by Andrea Brown on June 1, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The series of Washington State Ferries meetings are for updates and public comment. A recording is available online. Tune in for virtual meeting on Edmonds-Kingston ferry Andrea Brown
- Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in...by Herald Staff on May 31, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway. Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens Herald Staff
- Nightly lane reductions, ramp closures set for...by Herald Staff on May 30, 2023 at 9:10 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Both directions of the interstate between Bothell and Lynnwood are set for disruptions this week. Nightly lane reductions, ramp closures set for I-405 near Lynnwood Herald Staff
- $123M project starting on Highway 529...by Ben Watanabe on May 28, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather. $123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane Ben […]
- Overnight I-405 work to close southbound lanes,...by Herald Staff on May 22, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The lane reductions are between Bothell and Lynnwood from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day this week. Overnight I-405 work to close southbound lanes, ramps between Herald Staff
- Overnight closures set for Highway 529 between...by Herald Staff on May 22, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Construction crews need to install a safety barrier, closing the road from Ebey Slough and Interstate 5 on Monday and Tuesday. Overnight closures set for Highway 529 between Everett, […]
- Everett building out bike network with 4 projects...by Ben Watanabe on May 22, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The city is putting bike lanes on Madison Street, converting College Avenue and Fleming Street into a bike boulevard, and adding signs. Everett building out bike network with 4 projects […]
- To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go...by Ben Watanabe on May 22, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts. To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late Ben […]
Tacoma News Tribune
- Traffic impacts in Parkland as brush fire closes...on June 2, 2023 at 10:22 pm
A brush fire was reportedly blocking state Route 7 near 114th Street South in Parkland on Friday. Central Pierce Fire & Rescue and the Washington State Patrol responded at about … Click to Continue »
- Updated: Wreck cleared on Tacoma Narrows bridge...on May 27, 2023 at 1:22 am
Update 2, 7:11 p.m.: All clear on the Narrows bridge now, WSDOT reports. Looks like traffic is moving again on westbound SR 16. Update, 6:49 p.m.: WSDOT reports only one … Click to Continue »
- Section of busy Tacoma freeway to be closed until...on May 26, 2023 at 5:38 pm
Southbound I-705 from Stadium Way to South 13th Street in Tacoma will be closed Friday morning and afternoon while crews remove debris and graffiti along the road. The work began … Click to Continue »
- Traffic near downtown Tacoma is about to get more...on May 20, 2023 at 6:42 pm
Northbound Pacific Avenue from South 30th to South 27th streets in Tacoma will be down to one lane Monday and Tuesday while the city conducts repairs to the roadway. The … Click to Continue »
- Multi-vehicle crash in Tacoma leaves motorcyclist...on May 18, 2023 at 10:18 pm
A multi-vehicle collision on South 21st Street and Tacoma Avenue has left a motorcyclist with serious injuries. At 12:30 p.m., a driver was traveling west on South 21st Street, Tacoma … Click to Continue »
- Traffic blocked in both directions on SR-512 in...on May 15, 2023 at 5:13 pm
Motorists traveling through Puyallup area likely ran into heavy traffic delays Monday morning due to a collision on state Route 512 and an incident in a creek near the Puyallup … Click to Continue »
- Pedestrian dies in collision on Interstate 5 in...on May 12, 2023 at 3:22 pm
A person died Friday morning in a collision on northbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma, according to the Washington State Patrol. Multiple lanes and an on-ramp from state Route 7 to … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma man dies in semi-truck crash on Interstate...on May 6, 2023 at 5:54 pm
A 63-year-old Tacoma man driving a tractor-trailer died Friday morning in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 in Seattle, according to the Washington State Patrol. The crash occurred in the … Click to Continue »
- Man struck, killed in traffic on I-5 in Fife...on April 28, 2023 at 5:20 pm
A 20-year-old man struck and killed by passing cars early Monday morning on southbound Interstate 5 in Fife was identified Thursday by the medical examiner. Daniel Rush of Fife was … Click to Continue »
- Motorcycle crash on SR-167 in Auburn left...on April 28, 2023 at 3:13 pm
A Puyallup woman died Thursday evening in a crash in Auburn when a driver traveling behind her hit the back of her motorcycle, according to the Washington State Patrol. The … Click to Continue »