transportation

A stairway descends into Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s been three months since two light rail stations opened in Seattle, bringing tens of thousands of riders to the system. 

But if you've had trouble with your cell phone down in those tunnels, here's why: There's no working network there yet.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (holding giant scissors) and other officials celebrate the opening of a light-rail station on Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Sound Transit

The launch party for the two light rail stations was, in hindsight, “too much.”

The consultants, tote bags, security and ads – it added up to $858,000 of taxpayer money.

The Chetzemoka was placed in the water for the first time on March 2, 2010 in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND) http://bit.ly/1V2AtiL

When you sink millions of dollars into a brand-new Washington state ferryboat, you hope it'll stay in good working order for years.

Just after noon on June 3, the two-man Union Pacific crew hauling 96 cars of Tacoma-bound crude oil felt a tug on the train as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge.

The train’s emergency brakes triggered unexpectedly, according to railroad union leaders, indicating bad track or equipment failure could be to blame. The crew looked back and saw smoke — the beginnings of a fire that would burn for much of the night.

The state of Oregon is delaying a decision on two permits submitted by the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal and pipeline project. The Oregon Department of State Lands says it will take another five months to make a decision.

A year before 16 of its oil tanker cars derailed and caused a fire, a spill and an evacuation order in the Columbia River Gorge, Union Pacific lobbied against stronger oversight of oil trains moving through the Northwest.

The railroad industry lost in Washington. But in Oregon, it won.

Oregon lawmakers are hitting the road Monday to get a first-hand look at the state's traffic chokepoints. It's part of an effort to develop a transportation funding package for a vote in next year's legislative session.

The idea: a drone taxi that can transport a single passenger for up to 23 minutes.

Bricks that fell from an earthquake cover parked cars in Seattle's Pioneer Square district, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2001 after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake which damaging buildings and roads, and closing Seattle's two airports.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Emergency responders across the Pacific Northwest are holding an exercise to test their skills in a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. It's called Cascadia Rising

And one of the challenges that responders would face after a real earthquake would be getting supplies through downtown Seattle.


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants oil trains to slow down and safety improvements to speed up. Inslee said Wednesday that he personally delivered that message to the CEO of Union Pacific and the executive chairman of BNSF over the last 48 hours.

oil train, transportation
Flickr Photo/Russ Allison Loar (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/aqtNAn

The oil train spill June 3 in Mosier, Oregon was the latest of about 20 oil train derailments in the US since 2013. The group Earth Justice tracks derailments and spills with an online map.

One Washington lawmaker says there's a way to limit the danger of derailments or oil spills in this state: build an oil pipeline. (The state already has some fuel pipelines, but not one that's state-wide.)

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle-based Sound Transit has made its plan to expand regional transit slightly faster and slightly more expensive.


Washington state officials are holding a public hearing Friday in Vancouver on new rules targeting oil train safety.

One proposed rule would require trains carrying refined or crude oil to submit spill response plans that the state would approve.

Another proposed rule would make oil terminals and refineries alert the state that they plan to receive crude oil. Right now, companies that move oil by rail aren’t required to share that information with state officials.

This week we're making it up as we go

May 27, 2016
'Week in Review' panel Sydney Brownstone, C.R. Douglas, Rob McKenna and Ron Sims.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Seattle's Mayor is combating the city's homeless problem by "making it up as we go." That means, in part, shutting down the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. So where will those people go?

And how did Bernie Sanders go from winning the caucus to losing the primary? 

We'll tackle these subjects and more on Week in Review.

Listen to the live discussion Friday at noon, join in by following @KUOW and using #KUOWwir. Audio and podcast for this show will be available at 3 p.m.

Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.


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