Yesterday, King County Metro published the initial proposal for the September 2012 service change, and if you care about improving our bus network to improve ridership, this is a red-letter day. The proposed service changes would deliver almost everything I’d hoped to see in terms of making routes more direct, more frequent, less duplicative, and more focused on moving people between big ridership centers, rather than just a mostly-radial network from downtown.
First, a word about the scope of this restructure. As Metro does not have the resources to rebuild its entire network at once, major rethinking of the bus network is typically confined to certain geographic corridors — in this case, West Seattle-Downtown-Ballard — with the only changes outside the corridor being those required by desired changes inside the corridor. Thus, this restructure does not primarily attempt to improve service in the Rainier Valley or Northeast Seattle, although it has a few knock-on changes in both places
Next, here’s are the links you need:
- PDF map of proposed northern Seattle all-day network
- PDF map of proposed southern Seattle all-day network
- Comprehensive description page
I’m not going to rehash all the details contained on those pages, as that would be exhausting and duplicative. Rather, you should at least look at the maps and read all the individual specific blurbs about your favorite routes. I’ll provide some very broad highlights and then some commentary, after the jump.
50,000 foot overview, roughly by neighborhood:
- Queen Anne, Central District: Goes ahead with the Queen Anne-Madrona restructure I wrote about, minus the extension of the 2X to Nickerson. Connectivity to the U-District is moved to Nickerson, where riders will transfer from revised trolleybus routes.
- Central District: Reduces the 27 to peak-only past Harborview.
- Magnolia: Turns Route 33 into a loop, cuts off West Magnolia from all-day service, removes the switchback from the 24 and extends it to Ballard.
- Capitol Hill, Madison Valley: Breaks the through-route of the 10, 11, 12 and 125.
- Ballard: Improves service on Route 15 from 20- to 15-minute headways and gives it the RapidRide treatment. Replaces Routes 17, 18, 75 and the Northgate tail of the 5 with a new route connecting Northgate, Greenwood, Crown Hill, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union and Downtown. The tail of the 17 and the North Beach loop of the 18 are now served all day only by the 24, losing direct downtown service.
- Broadview, Greenwood: Deletes the Northgate tail of the 5, in favor of extending frequent service all the way to Shoreline Community College. Reduces the 28 to peak-only service north of Crown Hill. (The idea here is that people in Broadview will be willing to walk a little further to frequent service — this part of the 28 mostly runs within three blocks of the 5). The 5 is moved from Aurora to Dexter, while the 28 moves to Aurora.
- Wallingford, Greenlake: The little-used tail of Route 26 is deleted, replaced with service to
an extension of the 71 fromthe U-District, but the 26X stays; Route 16 is straightened to operate on NE 92nd St rather than looping around via NE Northgate Way, but unfortunately the time-consuming Seattle Center detour is still on the map.
- Alki, Genessee Hill: The little-used neighborhood circulators, 51 and 53, that currently serve these neighborhoods go away. Service to the eastern part of Alki is provided by the DART vans the King County Ferry District operates from Seacrest Dock. The western part of Alki gains many more connections.
- All West Seattle: The proposal calls for not one, but two east-west connections from West Seattle, one on the south to Georgetown via the 1st Ave S bridge, and another to the Rainier Valley via SODO Station, effectively tying together the 56 and 39.
- Delridge: The 120 alignment is unchanged (in Delridge), but 16th Ave SW is reduced to peak-only downtown service, in favor of tying together the 125 and 128, avoiding the 128′s current long backtrack to South Seattle Community College and providing much better connectivity to Alki and Alaska Junction. The south tail of the 120 is extended to Westwood Village, as is the south tail of the 60.
- Arbor Heights, Shorewood: Reduced to peak-only service.
- Vashon, Fauntleroy: The 54X and 116 are consolidated. RapidRide C replaces the 54, but unfortunately, it looks like frequent service isn’t going to extend into the evening.
- Night Owl Service: Routes 81 and 85 are replaced by RapidRide trips. Score two for a rational night-bus network.
- Small Changes: Routes 45X, 46, 48X, and the vestigial tail of the 14 to Hanford St, but (sadly) not the 42 are deleted.
Overall, this seems to be an excellent proposal. It focuses service where the riders are, dramatically improves the connectivity between neighborhoods and employment centers, and focuses on increased frequency over wide geographic coverage. Doubtless, I’ll write more about the details in the future, but now it’s your turn. Discuss!