Friday, January 23, 2009

If I Were King of the World

If I were king of the world, or maybe just the Washington transportation Czar, I would:

  1. Immediately convert the I5 Express Lanes to HOT lanes (might need to be King to do this on a Federal highway) and adjust fares so that traffic was always moving at the speed limit. If necessary convert to bidirectional BRT only.
  2. Build out one tunnel of the Central Link immediately and put the savings toward completing a connection with Northgate and improvements to the west end of the 520 corridor.
  3. Reconfigure all bus routes to a trunk and feeder system.
  4. Uncouple the various phases of the 520 bridge replacement

    • Build a "signature bridge" (most likely cable stay) to replace the Portage Bay viaduct.
    • Immediately eliminate all Arboretum on and off ramps and make Montlake transit only. Replace as soon as possible with a transit tunnel from 520 to Huskey Station and terminate all cross lake bus routes here as soon as the Central Link is operational.
    • Leave one GP lane of 520 connected with I5 northbound and leave southbound I5 to 520 in place. The other 520 GP lane would connect with the 10th Ave southbound and traffic northbound on 10th would be able to merge onto 520 (eliminate on street parking on 10th Ave).
    • Extend 520 to Eastlake Union via tunnel for Seattle Center traffic (eliminate 520 to I5 southbound connection).

  5. Start rail service on the old BNSF route

    • Immediately from Wilburton to Woodinville.
    • Repair track as required and extend service to Snohommish
    • Replace the right of way lost by the removal of the Wilburton Tunnel
    • Extend the service to Tukwilla Station

  6. Start laying track on the East Link from East to West

    • Start in Redmond (option E2)
    • Connect with BNSF right of way southeast of the 405/520 interchange
    • Connect Redmond to Woodinville along the BNSF spur
    • Decommission tracks through Totem Lake and convert to bike trail
    • Use single track across I90 (no need for trains to pass on this stretch with an adequate signal and control system) allowing for rail and two way BRT across this corridor.

  7. Replace the Evergreen Point floating bridge with a suspension bridge. Four GP lanes on the upper roadway plus two HOT lanes. The lower deck would have light rail and BRT. Light rail would complete a loop from downtown across 520 to Bellevue and back across I90. Trains would always run clockwise on the loop. Passing tracks at stations would allow a mix of local and express service but rely heavily on the trunk feeder concept and connections with the BNSF line. At least once an hour a train leaving Bellevue would go direct to Seatac returning to the loop to continue in the standard direction.

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