Meanwhile, South of the Boarder…………

Seattle is building a subway system, using light rail vehicles. LRT it is not as 70% of the current hybrid rail system is grade separated, either on viaduct or in a subway, with the only at-grade portion traveling through a poorer (black) neighbourhood, and extensions being built to date are almost entirely subways.

The main reasons for building light rail as a metro; Seattle’s very expensive bus/LRT tunnel ($468 million in 1990 dollars) under the city centre and the very vocal and well financed monorail lobby, which made silly promises about the capabilities of monorail. The LRT had to be designed to counter the monorail lobby’s rhetoric and politicians demanded that the LRT use the bus subway, which had streetcar rails already laid. The rails had to be replaced for the new mini-metro.

So bad was the feelings of those supporting LRT, that they quit and ceased to support the current transit planning in the region!

With very generous subsidies from the Federal Government, Seattle’s hybrid mini-metro continues to grow, but oh my the costs.

If built, Seattle would have a subway/metro network extending 100 km from Tacoma to Everett and 60 km. from Redmond to Ballard/West Seattle costing more than $50 billion; that’s $67.5 billion CAD!!

It is clear that Seattle’s transit planners have ignored the European light rail Renaissance and continue to spend massive sums of monies on a 1950’s style transit system, where transit is submerged in tunnels, so cars have free reign of the roads. Unfortunately, history has told us, such planning will come back and haunt the good citizens with ever higher taxes and increased congestion, the same which is happening in Metro Vancouver.

Sound Transit outlines plan for major light rail expansion

By Graham Johnson

SEATTLE ai??i??

New light rail tunnels beneath downtown Seattle could be part of a big ballot measure next year.

On Friday, Sound Transit released details of how Seattle’s single light rail line could expand to be more like a big-city subway system.

“It’s necessary for a growing city like Seattle, so I’m for it,” said Chris Metcalf as he rode Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail.

Sound Transit officials say the agency is considering as many as four one-way tubes beneath Fifth and Sixth Avenues to accommodate new light rail lines.

Sound Transit released a map showing how lines might be split.

One would run between Everett and West Seattle, another between Everett, Downtown Seattle and Redmond.

A third line would expand the current Link, going between Ballard and Tacoma.

“This is beginning to look like and operate like a real metropolitan subway system,” said Ric Ilgenfritz, Sound Transit executive director for planning and project development.

New connecting tunnels could be part of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure before voters in November 2016.

Sound Transit says the typical adult in urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties would pay $200 more per year because of higher property and sales taxes and car tag fees.

Next year, Sound Transit’s board will decide whether to ask voters to pay over 15, 20, or 25 years.

“How far out into the future the program goes determines how many projects we can do,” said Ilgenfritz.

The 25-year option would bring in $27 billion in local taxes, plus $21 billion in other revenue, for a total of $48 billion.

The Tunnel machine Bertha’s delays digging the State Route 99 tunnel could make voters hesitant to fund new tunnels.

But Seattle Mayor Ed Murray points out Sound Transit has a much better tunneling track record than the state.

“We can build tunnels in this region on time and on budget,” Murray said.

In late March, Sound Transit will release a draft of which projects make it into the ballot measure.

The list will be finalized in June before the vote in November.

More details on Sound Transitai??i??s analysis of light rail routes can be found at


2 Responses to “Meanwhile, South of the Boarder…………”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I worked with one of the main consultants that deals with Sound Transit. The reason and need for so much tunneling was that, Seattle is a very hilly city and the public kept refusing surface rights of way through their neighbourhoods. In north Seattle, several well connected neighbourhood associations had forced all track through their neighbourhood to be buried by federal court order! The current LRT extension going east through Bellevue was going to be cancelled unless the entire right of way was put in a tunnel. The people of Bellevue feared losing parking and didn’t want the noise of surface trains through their downtown. There was enough political power that unless Sound Transit complied, state officials would cancel the right of way. Since they couldn’t take away the funding.

    One good thing is that their station platforms are all between 115-120 Metres in length, allowing someday for 4 car trains even though they currently only use 2 car trains.

    The next big test is whether Sound Transit will ban buses completely from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. Currently, King County Metro Transit (the regions largest local transit operator) and Sound Transit, (which handles regional express bus transit, the LRT, Commuter Rail), share the tunnel. Operations of both buses and LRT forces a complex signal system to control vehicle flow in the tunnel which has seriously hindered frequency of the LRT system. A decision was expected by 2018 or 2019 about when Sound Transit takes over tunnel operations and cuts most if not all of the current buses through the tunnel to maximize LRT frequency. It was Seattle’s experience with operating both buses and trains in their tunnel which convinced Ottawa to make its tunnel LRT only, even though there was extremely intense local pressure for buses to operate in our tunnel as well.

  2. zweisystem says:

    Sorry folks, comment son this post will be stopped due to unprecedented spam, over 400 in the past 12 hours.