As the 9/17/15 post promised, I’m back from my visit to New York City and cross-Canada train ride. Both were “eye opening”. NYC, where public transit “works,” and the train ride, a “scenic extravaganza in comfort".
The New York Subway is arguably the most effective public transit system in the world. (At least in comparison to those I’ve used throughout Europe.) Weekday ridership of 6 million is almost 15 times that of the west coast standard BART.
It would allow me to ride from near my hotel on West 79th to Times Square on 42nd in less than 9 minutes. The route included 3 intermediary stops along the way, including Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. The speed by which they went past made it literally impossible to count the number of cars in the train but it surely exceeded 20. And they went by about every 4-5 minutes.
By comparison, Sound Transit East Link service in 2023 will consist of one 4-car train every 8 minutes. If each 74-seat car can accommodate 148 riders (PSRC Assumption), total capacity will be limited to 4440 riders per hour (RPH) in each direction.
This limited capacity might be acceptable if it added to cross-lake transit capacity. Instead, East Link’s confiscation of the I-90 bridge center roadway precludes using 2-way BRT with 20 times that of light rail. Even worse, ST plans to use East Link to replace cross-lake buses will reduce peak commute transit capacity by nearly 50%.
ST East Link incompetence is “matched” by the WSDOT plan to reduce I-405 congestion by requiring +3 carpools during peak commute, or pay tolls up to $10.00 to use HOV lanes. Increasing HOV requirements from +2 to +3 will surely reduce the number of riders that can use them. Their plan to raise the tolls in order to reduce the number of drivers who use the HOV lanes seems rather “counter productive” in terms of reducing congestion on regular lanes. The fact that trip times for those unable to find two riders or unwilling to pay the tolls has increased should be no surprise.
With this level of Sound Transit and WSDOT incompetence, it's no wonder we have the 4th worst congestion in the country.