Warm Greetings!

Our Annual Outreach from Smarter Transit Leads, John Niles and Maggie Fimia (approximately 2 minute read)


Our efforts to hold Sound Transit and our leaders accountable are going on three decades now…that’s how long some of you have been at this.

While this task is beyond daunting, we at Smarter Transit are not giving up.

What does success look like? Here are our top four goals:

  • No extensions of light rail beyond what they have currently started.
  • Our Federal and State officials hold ST and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) accountable for accurately documenting the actual cost and benefits of these projects.
  • A Board that is directly elected by the people who are paying the taxes.
  • Sound Transit terminates the Sounder North diesel passenger trains between King Street Station and Everett. * (details below)

All of us at Smarter Transit are volunteers. The need is so great and the impact to the Region so profound that we do what we can when we can.

To that end we are asking for your financial and/or volunteer help with the following:

  1. Maintaining the Smarter website – annual payment due.
  2. Recruit an analyst to help us with specific, important research we want to do this year.

Donations can be made through Paypal or credit card via Paypal. Any amount is appreciated.  Thank You so much for your past support!

Of course we will continue to volunteer our time to maintain the website with current info and present info to groups and individuals.

Thank you for your work and help in the past. Let us know if you have questions, suggestions, want to volunteer or just to stay in touch.

Best Regards, Maggie Fimia and John Niles on behalf of Smarter Transit.

*  As a local response in recognition of the climate emergency caused by increased carbon in the global atmosphere along with the opportunity to reduce waste of taxpayer-provided resources for a little used service, Sound Transit should terminate the Sounder North diesel passenger trains between King Street Station and Everett, coupled with promotion of existing bus service that provides functionally equivalent service in the same corridor.
Position statement of Smarter Transit formally delivered to the Board of Directors December 16, 2021 was posted by Seattle Times here.

** – go to “Learn More” and then “Key Performance Measures”

 Here is an accounting of our work these approximately last two years, accomplished and ongoing:

  1. Development of push back on PSRC ratification of ST3 in the new Regional Transportation Plan, beginning January 2022.
  2. Interaction begun years earlier continuing October 2021 with Sound Transit Board and Citizen Oversight Panel on the resource waste and negative climate impact of the Sounder North rail service … put Smarter Transit position on record with the ST Board in a formal comment to the Board on December 16, 2021.
  3. Interaction with Sound Transit Board, State of Washington Rail Safety Oversight Office, and Seattle Times on Sound Transit operational performance failures following the stall in tunnel of a Link light rail train on November 26, 2021 … John Niles is pressing for a full Federal investigation.
  4. Slide presentation on the problems with the PSRC plan with respect to Sound Transit, delivered to Eastside Transportation Association on November 17, 2021.
  5. Interaction with Seattle Times journalist Mike Lindblom in September 2021 resulting in these three paragraphs in a front-page story about the light rail extension opening October 2, 2021:

John Niles, a transportation technology analyst and bus-rapid transit advocate skeptical of Sound Transit, said he continues to view the Northgate corridor as a test line for the agency’s long-term ambitions for reaching Everett, South Kirkland, Tacoma and Issaquah. Ridership might be surprisingly low post-COVID, he thinks.

Even if light rail is popular, Sound Transit is “threading the needle” because its four-car trains are too small to relieve traffic congestion, he argues. He suggests adding bus and van services north of Lynnwood that can adapt quickly to demand at lower cost than rail.

“Either way, a revision of the entire regional mass-transit scheme should be put before the voters,” he said.

  1. Monitoring and press liaison on Sound Transit safety performance, for example, interaction with journalists Mike Lindblom and Liz Giordano in follow up to her story October 15, 2021 story on two senior citizen pedestrians, a couple, mowed down by a light rail train on July 2, 2021 coming at them from an unexpected second direction different from the direction they were watching.
  2. Screening and identification of professional literature for educational benefit for the Smarter Transit leadership, for example, “Prioritization of Public Transportation Investments: A Guide for Decision-makers,” National Academies Press, 2021.
  3. Preparation of light rail ridership data graphs for Mariya Frost,Transportation Director at Washington Policy Center, which she posted online..
  4. Maintaining current articles on the website. Thank you B.W.