Topic: Sound Transit
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
November 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Weather: Sunny, high around 50. The forecast.
Pot party coming to Seattle Center: To celebrate the one-year anniversary of legal weed in the state, the city of Seattle has granted a permit for a pot party at Seattle Center on Dec. 6. “No matter how often you might have smoked weed at Folklife or Bumbershoot, you were civilly disobedient,” said pot activist Ben Livingston. “This is the first time ever on-site cannabis consumption is permitted at Seattle Center.” Reporter Bob Young explains what went into getting the city to say yes, and gives more details on the party.
April 15 was apparently just another day: Former Bellevue real-estate developer Winston Bontrager was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for failing to pay more than $2.7 million in income taxes. His girlfriend, Pauline Anderson, was sentenced to 39 months for her involvement. During the trial, the prosecutor made the case that Bontrager and Anderson failed to report more than $23 million in income from development deals. Read how the judge took to quoting famed psychoanalyst Erich Fromm on the the subject of greed, and see a photo of the couple in happier times — she, in a hat — at the racetrack.
Light-rail to UW likely to open several months early: Don’t get out your ORCA cards yet, but Sound Transit officials now say the light-rail extension from Westlake Station to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium will open “with certainty” in the first quarter of 2016. That is six to nine months sooner than the earlier projection of September 2016. Transportation reporter Mike Lindblom took a tour of the station near Husky Stadium, and writes how within a few years, 40,000 riders are expected to use the station daily.
Huskies eager for a win tonight, but so are Beavers: UW plays Oregon State tonight in Corvallis, hoping to turn things around. Who starts at quarterback for Washington will remain a mystery to the public until just before kickoff, writes reporter Adam Jude. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles has been preparing all week as if he would take over for the injured Keith Price, but UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Friday he wouldn’t be announcing a starter publicly. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Elwha River exhibit starts at Burke Museum: The exhibit, which opens today with a lineup of activities, tells the story of the river, the people who have depended on it, and the changes brought on by the construction of two dams and by the biggest dam-removal project in U.S. history. “Elwha: A River Reborn,” is based on the book of the same name by Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman. Mapes will speak today, and members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe will talk and perform for the opening of the exhibit, which combines photographs, artifacts from an ancient Klallam village, a million-year-old salmon fossil and hands-on activities. Read more about today’s activities and the exhibit. The Burke is on the University of Washington campus at 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street. The exhibit runs through March 9.
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
- City to pay jaywalker $15,000 in civil-rights suit against Seattle
- 500-toker pot party gets OK’d outdoors at Seattle Center
- Off the field, Pete Carroll is an evangelist for better living | Jerry Brewer
- After mistaken landing, cargo pilot was confused
- President Obama in Seattle on Sunday for fundraisers
November 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM
North Seattle light-rail supporters, many of whom are cramming into 70-series King County Metro Transit bus lines, are eager for a new subway to open as soon as possible linking Westlake Station, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington.
Two months ago, Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl said she would look into whether the official Sept. 24, 2016 start date could be accelerated, given that construction has gone smoothly so far, as described in this news story. Earl planned to confer with contractors about what’s doable.
And it turns out, the agency said Thursday it will indeed trim six to nine months off the schedule — and open in first quarter 2016.
Light-rail director Ahmad Fazel told the transit board during a presentation Thursday that with the $1.95 billion, three-mile tunnel 79 percent complete, the project still has 169 days of leeway in the construction schedule, known as “float.” And it’s trending $107 million under budget, raising a possibility that savings can be some day applied toward construction farther north. To attain the early start, transit executives say they’ll try to finish train and signal testing in 90 days instead of the customary 180 days.
Trains are expected to reach Northgate in 2021 and Lynnwood in 2023. Also on Thursday, the transit board endorsed a preliminary north route, for environmental studies, that would avoid blocking access to a Latvian church near Northgate, and seek to bypass wetlands and apartments in Lynnwood, said spokesman Bruce Gray.
November 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM
Sound Transit will hold an open house Tuesday to discuss the design of the future light-rail line and stations in the Overlake area of Redmond.
The gathering is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a presentation at 6:30, at Ardmore Elementary School, 16616 N.E. 32nd St.
Sometime after the event, citizens will be able to view design plans and make online comments at www.soundtransit.org/eastlink
The rail segment is part of the East Link rail extension, which will provide passenger service connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake in 2023.
November 15, 2013 at 8:37 AM
UPDATE 12:15 P.M.:
The Edmonds-Kingston ferry run is back in service after stopping while police investigated a man being struck by a train near the ferry terminal this morning. Police said that ferry service was halted because the train stopped in front of the terminal, blocking traffic in and out of the dock.
Edmonds police said the train tracks are also clear.
Police said the man killed was 35 and last known to be living in Mountlake Terrace. Police are investigating the case as a suicide.
A man was struck and killed by a freight train in Edmonds this morning.
Just before 7:30 a.m. witnesses reported seeing a man standing on the train tracks just north of Main Street, near the Edmonds Ferry Terminal. The train operator sounded his horn but couldn’t stop, said Edmonds police Sgt. Mark Marsh.
Marsh said it appears to have been a suicide. He added that they investigate about seven fatalities each year involving people struck by trains. The majority, he said, are suicides.
Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railway, said the train crew applied their emergency brakes, but were unable to stop in time to avoid the collision. He said the train was hauling general merchandise in containers from Seattle to Chicago.
Melonas said this is the 17th person fatally struck on BNSF property this year. He said that, on average, that figure hovers between 18 and 20 fatalities each year.
All train and ferry traffic in the area are delayed while police investigated. Melonas said they hope to have the tracks clear for railway traffic by 10 a.m.
November 12, 2013 at 2:55 PM
Light-rail is 10 years from reaching Lynnwood and Overlake, yet Sound Transit is already seeking public comment for a possible next round of rail projects.
People who attend public forums can even have themselves filmed inside a video photo booth, talking about what kind of transit the region should build.
Information will be used to update the region’s long-term transit plan, which is required by law, and which would be studied by officials when they consider future projects. The work is beginning now so there would still be adequate time for environmental studies and decisionmaking by the transit board, in the event leaders decide to offer “Sound Transit 3″ to voters as early 2016.
New taxes would be needed, since the agency’s bond debt payments will likely extend until 2040 or later to build the first 50 miles of light rail, plus express buses, park-and-ride garages and Sounder commuter train service, approved by voters in 1996 and 2008.
An online survey encourages people to pinpoint two corridors they believe deserve high-capacity transit, and rank their priorities (frequency of service, park-and-ride access, environmental sustainability, etc.) One question tilts toward rail, listing the alternative as “focus on express bus and Bus Rapid Transit services with lower construction costs, but lower capacity and increased vulnerability to rising congestion without investments in dedicated or priority lanes.”
Presentation materials explain that “high-capacity transit” in state law means vehicles which run mainly in their own lanes. Yet after the 2008 plan passed, Sound Transit provided $134 million for Seattle to design and build a First Hill Streetcar that will run in mixed traffic next year. Spokesman Bruce Gray said the agency considered the streetcar a “mitigation package” for canceling a deep First Hill light rail station, rather than true high-capacity transit.
Some areas commonly discussed as ST3 destinations include Everett, Federal Way, downtown Redmond, Issaquah, Ballard, West Seattle, or a crosstown Ballard-Wallingford-University line.
The first forum, with presentations and public comment, will be Tuesday night at Seattle University, followed by five more in the next nine days. “It’s going to be fun to look at where transit might go, way down the road,” Gray said.
October 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM
Sound Transit announced it opened 62 extra park-and-ride spaces this week on the roof of the SeaTac Center Garage, about two blocks from the Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
The entrance is off South 154th Street, just west of the light-rail station that flanks Highway 99.
The 600 spaces in the transit parking lot usually fill before 9 a.m. Many commuters park on residential side streets. The new off-site spaces are for transit riders only, weekdays from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sound Transit is paying the city of SeaTac $4,410 per month to lease the space, said spokesman Bruce Gray. If the spaces are filled, this translates to about a $3.40 subsidy per parked car.
October 28, 2013 at 7:20 PM
UPDATE, 8:09 p.m. | Sound Transit says light-rail trains are again serving all stations, with minor service delays.
UPDATE, 7:43 p.m. | Sound Transit has issued the additional following information about bus service to replace the closed section of light rail:
“Heading north toward downtown Seattle, board the Metro-operated Link Shuttle bus Route 97 on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South at stops adjacent to Rainier Beach, Othello, Columbia City or Mt. Baker stations; or on Beacon Avenue South near the Beacon Hill Station and transfer to the Link train at Stadium Station.
“Heading south toward Sea-Tac Airport, board the Metro-operated Link Shuttle bus Route 97 on SODO Busway adjacent to Stadium or SODO Stations; or on Beacon Avenue South near the Beacon Hill Station; also on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South adjacent to Mt. Baker, Columbia City or Othello stations and transfer to the Link train at Rainier Beach Station.”
EARLIER POST | Reports of smoke from an unknown source in a Beacon Hill transit tunnel have prompted Sound Transit to stop Central Link light-rail service in both directions between the Stadium and Rainier Beach stops.
Alternate shuttle-bus service is en route for passengers who had to get off Central Link before their stops, according to Sound Transit. Central Link is serving other stations with minor delays.
Passengers who need service between the Rainier Beach and Mount Baker stations can take Metro Route 8 on Martin Luther King Junior Way South.
The Seattle Fire Department is investigating the source of the smoke.
We will update this post as more information becomes available.
October 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM
Ballard-based Mars Hill Church wants to move the center of its operations to a new site in its largest and fastest-growing location: Bellevue.
After months of searching, church officials say they’ve found only one building close to downtown Bellevue large enough to seat 3,000 worshipers and accommodate church offices and a future Bible College.
There’s just one glitch in the plan to buy the former International Paper warehouse: Sound Transit already has bought the 10-1/2 acres as a possible location for a future maintenance and storage yard light-rail cars that will carry passengers from Redmond to Seattle and Lynnwood.
Now Mars Hill is asking its thousands of worshipers to ask Sound Transit officials to choose one of two other sites, in Bellevue and Lynnwood, that also are under study for the maintenance facility.
The property lies north of Northeast Bel-Red Road between 120th Avenue Northeast and the Sound Transit-owned Eastside Rail Corridor formerly owned by BNSF Railway.
Sound Transit closed its $23 million purchase of the property Sept. 3. The transit agency’s governing board authorized the purchase last year because the land was on the market and the board didn’t want to risk paying a higher price later if the land was bought by a developer or speculator in a part of the city zoned for high-density mixed-use development, agency spokesman Geoff Patrick said.
“We just want to tell our story and hopefully work closer to help Sound Transit to choose one of the other properties,” Mars Hill spokesman Justin Dean said this morning. “We believe that this property is what God has intended for us, and we’re going to pursue that and other options presented or we’re forced to move on.”
Since Mars Hill opened a new church in the former Danz movie theater in downtown Bellevue two years ago, the location has become the largest of the church’s 15 locations, with about 2,500 people attending one of four Sunday services, Dean said.
September 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM
Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl is looking into whether Link light-rail trains can reach Capitol Hill and the University of Washington months earlier than the official start date of Sept. 24, 2016.
An early opening would certainly be good news for students, staff and medical-center personnel who often must cram into UW-bound buses downtown.
Sound Transit leaders are feeling optimistic because there is still six months of “float” in the construction schedule after finishing 75 percent of the heavy work, including the tunnel tubes. And the $1.95 billion, 3.1-mile project is trending toward having $105 million left over, she said.
“We’ve asked our contractors for cost proposals on what it might take to move the start date up,” she told the transit agency’s governing board Thursday. In other words, spend down some of the $105 million to accelerate the work.
It’s not a sure thing. The U-Link team would need to test the trains to meet federal requirements, and satisfy the Seattle Fire Department’s rigorous fire-suppression and safety codes for tunnels. There can be glitches in train-control software that eat days or weeks.
Earl said she will report again in October or November on whether builders can deliver an early-2016 launch.
“That would be fabulous, fabulous,” said board Chairwoman Pat McCarthy, the Pierce County Executive.
Meanwhile, the agency said it plans to release the land around the future Capitol Hill Station for redevelopment in March 2016.
September 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM
The Washington state Supreme Court today rejected an attempt by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman Jr. to stop Sound Transit from building a light-rail line on the Interstate 90 floating bridge.
The 7-2 decision gives a green light to the $2.8 billion East Link project, which when completed in 2023 would connect Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake with light-rail service.
This appears to be the end of the line for legal challenges by Freeman, developer of Bellevue Square area and a longtime advocate for motorists. His transportation adviser, Bruce Nurse, said no further lawsuits have been discussed, and he seriously doubts there will be any. ”We’re getting somewhat battle fatigued from fighting the government,” Nurse said.
Bellevue City Council member Claudia Balducci, who sits on the Sound Transit board, said in a statement today, “While we did not let this lawsuit slow us down, I am pleased to have it behind us. It’s time to get this project built and give riders a congestion-free transit option across Lake Washington.”
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, writing for the court majority, found that the conversion of two high-occupancy vehicle lanes to rail lines doesn’t violate the state Constitution because the state motor vehicle fund that built those lanes will be reimbursed by Sound Transit.
Although the state Constitution requires that the vehicle fund be used only for highway purposes, “it does not prohibit” the state Department of Transportation from transferring highway lanes to other purposes if the fund is reimbursed, Madsen wrote. Another point that swayed the majority was that the Federal Highway Administration, which paid most of the I-90 construction cost, supported the rail conversion.
Justice James Johnson, in a sharply worded dissent, wrote that the majority “once again” eroded the constitution’s protection of the motor vehicle fund for highway purposes and put it ”at risk of legislative and administrative pilfering for projects outside its constitutionally prescribed purposes.”
Johnson echoed Freeman’s case by ridiculing a state argument that I-90 center lanes will become surplus with the advent of new carpool lanes on the mainline.
“In fact, it is difficult to imagine any property in the entire state of Washington that is needed for highway purposes more than the two center lanes of the I-90 bridge during any daily rush hours,” he wrote.
In 2008, voters in the three-county Sound Transit district approved taxes to expand the agency’s light-rail system, which currently runs only between downtown Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Trains will reach the University of Washington and Angle Lake in SeaTac by 2016, while extensions in the early 2020s will reach Northgate and Lynnwood.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
Trending with readers