Ranting about Bellevue, Washington

I had thought that literally nobody cared in the city of Bellevue. It’s a super dystopian vertical suburbia that is super creepy from anything other than the wheel of a car. Even then however, it’s pretty myopic in it’s worldview. I was super surprised at this twitter thread however and the great new material to sleuth through!

What transpired from that included a few gems from @theboobla. Then a bit later, after I was frustrated by needing to weed through stopped auto traffic through inclement environments I ranted again while I waited in some cartopian dystopian crossing.

…which led to…

Then the sleuth work actually got underway! Here’s some starter material on what looks like prospectively amazing infrastructure heading for Bellevue. This city could absolutely turn around it’s car-dependency dystopian myopic worldview with this and open the place up to a better future!

Which leads me to two of the leading blogs on all things transit & bicycle transpo ->

http://www.seattlebikeblog.com and https://www.seattletransitblog.com ! Both excellent sources of great information and news for the area.

 

Hawthorne Bus Island Fix

Where a bus island needs to be on Hawthorne, desperately.

@ Fremont,Williams, & Vancouver Intersection

This intersection needs a little help in the AM. It only continues to get worse too. Motorists beware.

Portland’s Better Blocks Broadway

Here’s a short review I did of the redesign. The bus island was something that really shows in this city how these should be implemented. Well designed and well built, we should have these as standard on almost all major roads with bus stops so there isn’t the existing conflict.

Transit Projects: Faux BRT – A Summary of the Situation

Previously written about here.

There are two projects that are either being built or are in the works. There’s the Trimet Powell & Division Corridor BRT Project and north of Portland in Vancouver there is the Fourth Plain “The Vine” BRT Project that is being built right now.

What is BRT? BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, is bus service over dedicated lanes. This service is generally provided with higher capacity buses that are 60 feet long or longer. Think of current light rail service in downtown Portland it’s basically similar to that, just with buses. The buses run in these dedicated lanes, people pay fare off of the buses at the stations, they have light precedence, and that way the buses are able to move along much quicker than traditional bus service.

The two “BRT” projects I mention above are neither BRT nor regular bus service, but instead a mix of traditional bus service and BRT. The bus service for The Vine and Trimet’s current project will include 60 foot long buses, payment at the stations, but beyond that will have no real features that would make BRT. Thus the reason I labeled the service “Faux BRT”.

Bus Service Improvements : The Current Situation

Even though these lines won’t be real BRT, the good thing is that both of the lines are pretty dramatic improvements over what currently exists. Right now both routes have regular, frequent stop, local bus service style operation. That means they stop about every other block, which makes them timely or efficient if you need to only go a short, very short distance. Otherwise they quickly double, triple, or quadruple the time it takes to simply bike or driver the same distance.

In the case of The Vine in Vancouver, the route will travel along Fourth Plain from downtown Vancouver to Westfield Mall. The route currently has two routes that serve the bulk of the corridor: the Ctran #4 & #44 routes. The #44 is an express bus that currently travels from Delta Park in Portland (the second to last stop of the MAX Yellow Line) and goes to Westfield Mall and past it onward to some other key points. The #4 goes from Delta Park, the same MAX stop, through downtown Vancouver, and onward along Fourth Plain until it reaches the Westfield Mall.

In the case of the Powell/Division Corridor, there are two buses that run this primary corridor right now too: the Trimet #4 & #9 routes. The #4 actually starts far north of Portland in St Johns, travels all the way south into downtown Portland, then back across the Hawthorne Bridge, then over to Division and onward until Gresham. Almost 15 miles form downtown Portland to Gresham, and the #9 completes a similar route, except on Powell.

The Ctran #4 and #44 are low ridership lines compared to the #4 and #9 in Portland. Which will make the ridership of The Vine interesting. Ctran intends to remove or significantly alter or curtail #4 and #44 service when The Vine starts running. The Trimet #4 and #9 lines are actually high ridership lines. Trimet doesn’t intend to entirely cancel either of these lines, but the intent that the ridership that currently uses the #4 and #9 routes in this corridor will likely switch to the new service to get downtown.

Predictions

In both cases the new service will reduce the overall costs for Ctran and Trimet to carry passengers in the corridor while making way for decreased trip time and a potential ability to carry far more passengers than can currently be carried with existing service. The current estimates, from yours truly Transit Sleuth, is that The Vine will like get about 8-10k rider trips per day. The Powell/Division Corridor Service will likely see upwards of 15k passenger trips or more per day and likely climb well past that once it has been operating for several months and people get used to the frequency and faster travel times.

A Major Concern for “The Vine”

There is one other caveat of The Vine, which might be a major sticking point. This bus service improvement actually curtails service in downtown Vancouver, while replacing the #4 and #44 bus. The #4 and #44 bus currently goes to Delta Park, which is one of the top destinations for all of Ctran ridership. The Vine cuts out Delta Park, which could cause a significant time increase and prospectively drop that 8-10k riders a day down significantly. I personally would suggest that Ctran and Trimet both need to figure out how to insure that the riders can get to Delta Park with one trip – one more transfer is unacceptable. Already the vast majority of riders on the #4 and #44 are going to Delta Park specifically for a transfer to the MAX Yellow Line, so adding another transfer would make an already time consuming & rough trip into a relatively unbearable one for the majority of riders.

So that’s my quick review of the situation. More to come on this topic later.

Transit Header Images

I’ve just cut up a bunch of header images and just thought I’d post them. Any favorites? The next round I’ll aim for a few buses since this primarily came out of my MAX photos from the last 8 years.

IMG_3986IMG_4059IMG_4036IMG_4510IMG_4003IMG_4497IMG_4101IMG_40592IMG_3987IMG_3944IMG_3943IMG_4464IMG_0314_2IMG_4462IMG_9721IMG_40032IMG_4007IMG_4102IMG_0280_2IMG_39442IMG_3979IMG_4035IMG_4456IMG_4116IMG_3992IMG_4065IMG_4002

Just Stats from November 9th – November 25th & Commute Notes

So far out of the last two weeks and three days, I’ve commuted to the Orchards office north of Vancouver, Washington for a total of 6 days. Two trips occurred before that, and were both entirely transit and Lyft. So here’s the stats so far.

Day 1
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 4 Route / Lyft
From: Lyft / Yellow Line MAX

Day 2 (1st Day on the job) November 9th
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 44 Route / Ctran 7 Route
From: Ctran 7 Route / Ctran 4 Route / Yellow Line MAX

Day 3 November 10th
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 44 Route / Bike
From: Bike

Day 4 November 11th
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 44 Route / Bike
From: Bike / Ctran 44 Route (Wrong Way) / Ctran 4 Route / Yellow Line MAX

Day 5 November 24th
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 44 Route / Bike
From: Bike / Ctran 44 Route / Yellow Line MAX

Day 6 November 25th
To: Yellow Line MAX / Ctran 44 Route / Bike
From: Bike / Ctran 44 Route / Yellow Line MAX

Notes:

All of the Ctran drivers have been excellent. They’ve offered several cyclists the opportunity to come onto the bus when the front rack is full too. They wait for people running for the bus and overall don’t seem to sweat getting off schedule. Of course, there’s a good and very bad side to disregarding the schedule.

Speaking of schedules, departures from end points – as one would expect – are on time +-1 minute. Catching the 44 back to the MAX has a schedule that is entirely useless. Not a single time so far has it arrived at Westfield Mall even close to on time. Usually somewhere around 8-14 minutes late, or in one case the bus just didn’t show up entirely. Leaving the MAX Delta Park Station (the end point) for the 44 and 4, they almost always leave on time. The 4 however takes 20+ minutes longer then the 44, which makes it all but ridiculous for me to take it.

The MAX has actually been the most timely out of all the routes. Which is somewhat odd, because out of all the trips, the MAX has been late by 6+ minutes in the morning on 4 of my 6 trips so far. Fortunately the transfer from the MAX to the 44 is 8 minutes or so, thus the tardiness of 6 minutes means I only have to wait about 2 minutes before the 44 departs. If the transfer is botched, that means I’ll be waiting 30+ minutes for the next 44 or boarding a 4 and taking an additional 20+ minutes in my commute.

Another big plus, is my entire commute I get to work on things that relate to my job. Which means, in essence, my entire commute counts toward getting the job done – I’m very fortunate and have worked hard to put myself into a situation like this. If I were to drive it would mean I’d entirely lose the commute time and it would be wasted time. Instead I commute on the MAX and bus which gives me time to read, write code, work on documentation or other assorted things I need to get done. To put it simply, this commute actually works really well for me. I’m intrigued to learn more about it and see what comes of the changes when The Vine is put into place.