The 11/29/14 post “Sound Transit’s ‘Integrated Transit Service’ Insanity” detailed the problems with their decision to force all cross-lake transit riders to transfer to and from light rail at the South Bellevue and Mercer Island light rail stations for their commute into and out of Seattle.
ST plans for East Link service, one 4-car train every 8 minutes or 30 cars per hour will limit ITS capacity to far less than current bus ridership and a fraction of their DEIS promise to increase I-90 capacity by 60%. The result will be more commuters forced to “drive” rather than “ride” exacerbating the outer roadway congestion from loss of center roadway, inevitably leading to future gridlock.
However, a T/C at the University light rail could make ITS a major contributor to improving Central Link light rail efficacy. The UW T/C would have twice the number of trains as East Link and the easy access to the resulting bus/rail combination could attract thousands of 520 transit commuters from both sides of the lake. Terminating 520 buses there would also reduce the number of buses merging on to I-5 and in downtown Seattle.
Even if they insist on extending light rail to Northgate, there will still be plenty of light rail capacity at the UW station when service begins in 2021. The T/C would also provide needed riders if operating costs forced ST to terminate some Central Link routes there.
ST claimed the following benefits from ITS in the Nov 19th MI presentation.
• Smooth bus-rail transfers
• Help improve efficiency and cost-savings
• Provide more reliable and frequent service
• Enhance rider experience
• Help optimize transit operations
A UW T/C could make those benefits a reality.