Bus stop; Bus stop, part iv: Seattle rapid transit bus stops

Seattle appeared to have local bus services (blue) as well as express ones (red) that ran with more limited stops between neighbourhoods.  These Rapid routes made it easier to go long distances in a very spread out city (remember, most of its growth has been in the automobile era, and thus is sprawly). The Rapid routes had their own bus stops, with distinctive red branding. Electronic boards informed passengers when the next buses would arrive, and their destinations. The yellow box on the post is a fare card reader. In Ottawa, we buy a certain amount of time on the … Continue reading Bus stop; Bus stop, part iv: Seattle rapid transit bus stops

Bus stop Bus stop, part iii, LRT in Ottawa and Seattle, with videos

  I trotted off for an evening walk and ended up at Lansdowne Park and presto [pardon the pun] there was the new Confederation Otrain. Sort of. Inside it looked very familiar: The deja vu all over again feeling was partially due to a flood of memories of using the Seattle LRT last year. Although Seattle has Korean-made equipment. With that in mind, let’s peek into a Seattle downtown station.   Their downtown station is used by diesel buses and the LRT. In the pic above, note the [indoor] escalator; the electric pick up lines suspended a few inches below the … Continue reading Bus stop Bus stop, part iii, LRT in Ottawa and Seattle, with videos

More exciting drainage swales, in industrial parks

Seattle and its suburbs had an abundance of drainage swales. That might reflect the high seasonal rainfall. In a suburban industrial park (in Redmond or Bellevue, I’m not sure) , about half populated with businesses and the other half being vacant lots, the existing roads had been retrofitted to accommodate swales. The existing infrastructure looked to me to be about a decade old. At each half block, a pair of bulbouts had created a “neckdown” or pinch in the road. A crosswalk was installed, simply marked with a zebra stripe and fluorescent sign (Ottawa traffic engineers are horrified at this … Continue reading More exciting drainage swales, in industrial parks

Seeing Seattle (xiii): simple pleasures on the sidewalk

Expensive, “look at me” sidewalks pavers are fine for some selected special places. But most sidewalks are pretty humdrum things. Trod underfoot, usually cracked, always puddled at corners, and roller-coastered for your wintertime walking adventure. Sidewalks in Ottawa are the same as most other cities. Large poured concrete squares, about 5′ x 5′. You’d never know where you are by the looking at your feet. But Seattle had a distinctive concrete tooling, shown in the lead picture. Here’s a longer view: Sidewalks age over time, and decades on the sidewalk squares look like this: A few things really impressed me … Continue reading Seeing Seattle (xiii): simple pleasures on the sidewalk

Seeing Seattle (xii) parade of landscaped overpasses

Yesterday, we saw the “top” views of a landscaped overpass in Redmond, a suburb of Seattle. This landscaping is neither universal nor unique. But most impressively, along the I90 freeway, there were NINE overpasses in a row with luscious landscaping: Here’s some of the views from the freeway itself:   BTW, down the centre lanes of numerous freeways were transit priority lanes; stations were located in the centre median space either at freeway levels below the underpasses or sometimes transit vehicles had separate off ramps from the centre. You can see some of these features in the pictures here. In several … Continue reading Seeing Seattle (xii) parade of landscaped overpasses

Seeing Seattle (viii) Misc street observations

Visiting other cities reveals so many subtle differences in how something can be done. It breaks my assumptions — often implicit — that things “just are that way” as a matter of course.  So rather than look in depth at some significant urban planning diffences, which will be subject of future stories (drainage swales, bus stops, etc) lets look at a few miscellaneous differences. Here’s a few examples. Seattle’s Chinatown, being remonikered as the International District, seemed to have a heavy import-export-industrial flavour to it, rather than being a restaurant row. There was the requisite Chinatown Arch, albeit much more … Continue reading Seeing Seattle (viii) Misc street observations