Metro Goes Big for Fall 2012 Service Change

Excerpt from northern all-day network

Excerpt from northern all-day network

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:

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 from the 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!




Comments

  1. Even good plans have losers. Looks like I will be one. I bike from Tukwila to Georgetown to catch the 133 to UW. It is the single bus route that makes it possible to get to work faster than biking the whole way.

    It will be cancelled and I will be forced back into the 124/26 option which takes 75 minutes, or the 133 + 70′s express option, which forces me into the black whole of the transit tunnel.

    Figures.

    • This is the nature of demand-responsive service. The demand for the 133 isn’t there, and so Metro is choosing to redirect its increasingly limited budget elsewhere.

      Yes, it sucks when a route you rely on gets cut, but virtually any alternative would be worse.

      Also, for what it’s worth, the ride free area will also be eliminated with this service change. So I’m really hoping that Metro will figure out a way to streamline tunnel operations by then (which probably means kicking out most buses).

      • These changes are cascading effects from RapidRide C and D. It doesn’t mean it’s all the changes Metro will do.

      • No demand for the 133? 3 of the 4 routes each morning and 3/4 routes each evening are standing room only. The only reason I supported the $20 tab increase was to prevent changes, not to even further reduce access from West Seattle to UW.

      • Rob,

        According to the 2010 route productivity report, the 133 is a poor performer. It’s in the bottom 25% of routes by ridership, and it’s a very middling performer by passenger mileage.

        There are any number of reasons why this might be true. For example, as a peak-only route, half of its time is spent deadheading (in I-5 traffic, no less). But that doesn’t change the fact that this route isn’t very productive.

        Also, as far as the car tab goes, I want to point out that the $20 car tab passed *because* Metro agreed to restructure the bus network to be more efficient. If nothing changed, then Metro would need to ask for another $20 fee two years from now. Instead, if Metro succeeds in improving the network, they’ll be able to run even more service for less money.

        It’s true that certain trips won’t be as easy in the new system as they are today. But other trips will be easier, and those are the trips which will help more riders. It sucks if you’re in the first group, but it is what it is.

      • I’m with Brian and Rob–I ride the Route 133, and the efficiency measures aren’t fair for a commuter bus like that one that has to spend a lot of time sitting in traffic on I-5. They aren’t an accurate reflection of how many of us rely on that bus and will be without a viable alternative once (if) it’s eliminated–there’s a large demand for service from S/W seattle to the UD. The proposal says they’ll increase routes on the 120 to make up for it, which doesn’t make sense (I see at least 3 empty 120 buses pass every morning while I’m waiting for the 133 as it is).

        There’s a place on Metro’s site to contact them and give feedback. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/have-a-say/get-in-the-know/projects/restructuring-system.html
        There’s also a meeting tomorrow evening at South Seattle Community College to talk about the proposed changes. I will be there.

  2. I like how they’re using the service hours replaced by RapidRide D to beef up service between Magnolia and Ballard, as well as between Fremont and Ballard. Replacing that leg of the 75 with the 18 also makes sense.

    • From the TMP, it sounds like the City of Seattle would eventually like to see RapidRide D extended to Northgate (along that leg of the 75). So it’s interesting to see Metro taking a small step in that direction (though it’s more of a diagonal step than straight forward).

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        The TMP is NOT a route planning document, a fact that Martin dedicated an entire post to. In the TMP, the city identified Holman Road/105th as a place to potentially spend capital money to improve service quality. This service change is perfectly consistent with that.

      • Bruce,

        That’s simply not true. From Chapter 3 of the TMP, on the Corridor 10 map:

        “Extend RapidRide to Northgate with full stations (e.g., offboard payment).”

        It’s on page 3-21. I am not making this up.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Huh, I missed that.

        Regardless, extending RR C/D isn’t something I think the schedulers would like — it would make the route extremely long.

      • Oh, agreed completely. It seems very bizarre to me that Seattle has given its consultants free reign to develop route suggestions, and yet Chapter 3 is chock full of them. But we’re off topic, so I’ll shut up. :)

      • The TMP’s routes are just suggestions, a working hypothesis that meets Seattle’s own goals of connecting urban villages. It’s not binding on Metro. But Metro is likely to be influenced by the spirit if not the letter of it.
        And of course, the TMP is still a draft, and Metro must have been working on this since before it was released.

      • A jurisdictional TMP can’t be a proper route planning document, but clearing a path for positive route changes would help Metro identify, and follow, a productive path of least resistance.

  3. Zach Shaner says:

    Love it. Frequent Sunday service on the 2S and no more waiting ages to turn left on Spring, Madison finally gets the service it deserves, the 4 disappears, Ballard-Fremont get all day service, a couple dozen routes eliminated, new connectivity between W Seattle-Georgetown and W Seattle-RV… reading this proposal feels like cleaning out our mental attic and breathing a sigh of relief. There’s more to do, but Occam would be pleased. Please write Metro and support these changes…we need the public response to be articulate and positive!

    • I already filled in the feedback form. FINALLY Metro has some balls. We’ll have to give Metro every support to get this through the county council. The number of positive feedbacks is a piece of evidence Metro can give the council.

    • Shane Phillips says:

      What is the contact email or website to send our support?

      • It’s a bit hard to find. Follow this direct link, then “Take our online survey.” Or Go to the Comprehensive Description Page link above, click the Welcome tab (#1), then the “Get in the know” tab (#2, where you originally were), then “Read More”, then “Take our online survey”.

    • Matt Davish says:

      Zach-

      Please elaborate.

      It appears that the exact same service frequency will remain on the 2s–30 minutes.

      Also there would be no more turning left on spring to head to east to cap hill and the central district since it appears you would not be on a 2 anymore–that turn uphill would most likely be replaced by YOU making a foot transfer to the 2s if you aim to get anywhere SE of madison on that route. Please correct me if i am wrong.

      This proposed breaking up of the #2 into a #2s and a revised #13 is a huge mistake. Central District and CapHill/First Hill residents who currently take the #2 to the Tunnel, or north into downtown via 3rd (to the CBD, belltown, LQA, QA) will now have to TRANSFER (a potential peak period wait time of 10-13 minutes) to achieve those areas. This is a mistake. Adding 10 minutes to get to Belltown or LQA from the CD will not. Yes I live off 23rd ave and do not own a car but have been thinking about getting one. Now it takes 25 minutes for me to walk get to work on 1 bus, but if i have to go to 35-44 minutes twice a day–which is realistic (with a transfer) I will dump my daily bus habit–its just way too long to get barely across town when driving takes under 15.

      I apologize in advance if i am reading this wrong…I moved to the CD 10 years ago because of the bus service routes and frequency–and they have improved greatly, but i cannot imagine the moving of wires for the 2 and the restructuring of the route will help its performance. The EB #2 is packed SRO everyday between 4-6 by the time it hits first hill. Also the wait time to turn up spring to hit the library could be allieviated by a NB 3rd ave sign that says “Yield to busses 3-6p & and no right turns NB traffic M-F”

      Moving and breaking this route will plunge those #2 ridership numbers. The frequency times may improve to currently scheduled times but they will not increase. I agree with most of the changes here–i know i cannot like em all but i ride almost all these routes several times a year having no car. But having no car is only possible because i do not HAVE to drive to get to work in a meaningful time period. right now my commute time is less than 5 hours total a week. If this gets pushed to about 7 hours per week then ill start driving most days as time becomes so much more of an issue.

      You have to admit that living within 2 blocks of 23rd and union should not be rewarded with a 30-40 minute commute to north of belltown.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        No trolley wires will need to be modified for this restructure.

      • Matt,

        I think you have misread part of the proposal. The 2 will only be moved to Madison between downtown and 12th. East of 12th, it will continue on Union. For residents of Madrona and the CD, the only difference should be a faster, more reliable ride to downtown.

        You’re correct that the route will no longer stop in front of a tunnel station. However, I disagree that the transfer penalty for getting to Belltown/Uptown/LQA will be as bad as you say. From the 2, you should be able to transfer directly to RapidRide D, or the 1, 3, or 13. During peak, there will be about 20 buses an hour between those four routes, or one every 3 minutes, going between 3rd/Madison and 1st/Mercer. That’s not much of a wait.

        More importantly, by avoiding all turns on 3rd Ave, this proposal will improve speed and reliability on every bus that travels through downtown. So it’s entirely possible that your trip from the CD to LQA will actually be faster than it is today, even if you have to transfer.

        I understand that, in today’s system, a transfer automatically means a major wait. Part of the goal of this restructure is to change that, both in perception and reality. In a well-designed transit system, transfers should be fast, easy, and painless. We have a long way to go, but this change represents a major step in the right direction.

      • I totally agree that the plan to dump people off at Madison and bypass the Broadway and E. Union and Seneca stops are a huge mistake. Even within the arguments, I will ask where is the smooth transition to the tunnel. #2 riders from Madrona have two choices now that are quite immediate. One involves a steep hill and the other does not. This is not a good plan for the #2. It provides not access to the retail core without a clumsy transfer and many other destinations are ignored. More later.

      • Matt Davish, your comments are so correct. I have been using these buses since 1977, first as a studen/employee, then as a mom/employee/community volunteer, then as an empty nester/community volunteer/worker and agree with your comments. Thank you.

    • This group apparently had an advantage for commenting. Where is the specific form? So far I have been given and email address, found the blog sight on the Metro site (few comments there) and been instructed to take the survey.

    • central districter says:

      Zach is someone who does not understand the current 2. the current 2 and the proposed 2 have the exact same service frequency. the current 2′s difficulty with the turns could be allieviated with SDOT signage, and a dedicated bus lane on spring EB–which is what a bus with that freqency during the weekdays should have.

      Moving and breaking the 2 is a very very bad idea. Having to make a transfer to get north of madison will not decrease the travel time as some here have suggested–it will increase it. by at least 5 minutes, potentially 10 minutes during peak timers, potentially 17 during non peak, maybe even 20 on sundays. I ride this bus every single day and late into the evening after making a tunnel connection. To remove this route’s (and the CD, madrona, some bits of madison park, madison valley, Cap Hill) quick and handy for those of use with walking problems-access to the tunnel will only be punishing those of us riders who have been using it for years–myself about 15 years.

      Truncating that line is ridiculous. Again perhaps breaking it up somewhere north of there–say union or pike/pine, is way more acceptable. I am not against walking a few more blocks–but not to get somewhere sinple as teh post office or IGA or the market.

      Perhaps the 2 can be split somewhere north of belltown–plenty of places for extra wires there-just truncating the line down to first is an insult to those people who have chosen to live in a neighborhood with access to ahi frequency line–true not every 2 needs to go all the way to the lake–it could really turn around at the 34th corner by the madrona library.

  4. Details Matter says:

    I think the devil will be in the details. Many more transfers will be needed to get to the edges of downtown — to, say, King Street Station or the ferry terminal. And right now, such transfers often require 3-3 block walks and aren’t timed very well. Plus, this proposal relies heavily on Central Link and bus tunnel buses, and the tunnel entrances aren’t convenient to many current bus lines.

    Finally, this proposal will make it almost impossible to get from Pioneer Square to Pike Place Market and back in a reasonable amount of time. We really need to bring back frequent service on the waterfront and/or First Avenue. If not a streetcar, then at least have the 99 run both ways with frequent headways.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      “this proposal will make it almost impossible to get from Pioneer Square to Pike Place Market and back in a reasonable amount of time.”

      Huh? What does this proposal have to do with Pioneer Square-Pike Place connectivity??

      Also, the only route I can see affected in this change, without good connectivity to the tunnel, is the 2S.

      • GuyOnBeaconHill says:

        But there is a big gap in service from King Street Station or IDS to lower Queen Anne/Seattle Center and the Lake Union/Westlake area. From 5th & Jackson/IDS I’m only seeing route 1 going to the Seattle Center and route 18 going to Westlake. Will the 7 or 36 be heading to new terminals or am I missing some other links?

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        The 7 and 36 will presumably continue to their current terminals in Belltown, at least for now. The 358 and 70 will also extend south to Pioneer Square.

        It’s true that there will be less midday service from the ID to Uptown. Those riders will presumably have to make a frequent service transfer, walk from the ID to Yesler, or wait for the 1/14S under this service change; I don’t see this as a major problem.

        Certainly, this has nothing to do with Pioneer Square-Pike Place connectivity.

      • Now that you mention it, the current proposal seems to break a lot of through-routes without adding new ones. For the east-west routes, this makes sense, since there’s no natural continuation. But what about the north-south ones, like the 5, 13, 28, 36, 70, 124, etc.? That’s a lot of new layover space in downtown…

      • Those riders will presumably have to make a frequent service transfer…

        Metro keeps using those words. I do not think they mean what Metro thinks they mean.

        There’s just so much that works when frequent = frequent and that doesn’t work when frequent = not frequent.

        I’m a broken record. Shame that I have to be.

    • Arguably, the 12 is also affected (for the same reason).

      In practice, I don’t see this as much of a concern, though, because it will almost always be faster to take a surface bus if you’re just heading through downtown. In the time that it would take you to walk from 3rd and Pine to the Westlake platform, you could already be at Pioneer Square.

      And if we do end up building a center city streetcar, I presume that they’ll build a stop between Madison and Marion. :)

  5. Lack Thereof says:

    Sadly, the map still shows the 3 making the James slog from 3rd to Harborview. I guess no money was found to put wire up Yesler (or Metro is waiting for the city to pay for it)

    • IIUC, this change assumes no capital investments. I have no doubt that the folks at Metro would be ecstatic to reroute the 3, but it would be bad politics and bad policy to assume that new wire can be added before a commitment is made to do that.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        I also suspect the re-route of the 3 may be waiting on the rebuilding of Yesler Terrace by SHA. There will be a lot of construction work up there while that is happening and I believe some street re-alignment. It likely doesn’t make sense to put wires up until the heavier parts of the construction are done.

  6. Chris Hooker says:

    This is going to be a very big service change that is going to take place at once. This is the one of the biggest changes that I’ve seen in a lone time.

  7. The little-used tail of Route 26 is deleted, replaced with an extension of the 71 from the U-District

    I think you’re confusing the 600K cut scenario with this document. The 26 and 30 are replaced by the 31, 32, and 63. The 31/32 provide east-west service in Lower Wallingford, Fremont, and Nickerson, while the 63 covers Latona and Sand Point.

    Given the proposed (atrocious) frequency on the 63, my best guess is that both the 26 and 30 tails had enough ridership for “local” service but not enough for “frequent”, so they’re being merged together as a marriage of convenience.

    • That was from the 600K cut document.

      I’m pretty bummed out about the proposed changes for Wallingford – particularly since I typically just go Downtown or to Fremont. While it’s great to have slightly more frequent service on the 16 (from 20 minute peak to 15-20) keeping the Seattle Center routing continues to make the 16 really unreliable even during off-peak times (when the matinees get out at Seattle Center you can spend a huge amount of time on 5th N).

      • Looks like the 31 and new route 32 will provide additional Wallingford to Fremont service down on 40th. The 5 to Fremont should be really nice too, 34th and Fremont is one of the best places to transfer in my opinion.

        If you actually want to get to Seattle Center, the combined 31/32 service to SPU and then connecting should work OK.

    • I’m surprised at the 26/30 (#63), but it means greater reliability for Sand Point. No more Fremont Bridge or Mercer Mess.

      • The new 32 from Fremont to Seattle Center via SPU and Interbay seems a little weird but avoiding Mercer (and eventual Deep Bore Tunnel) construction is probably a good idea.

      • Yup. So put the “rapid” bus on Mercer and let the dumb, infrequent overlapping route avoid it.

        Genius.

  8. reality based commute says:

    There is a big important change to the 120, Bruce. It is now looping over to Westwood Village. Delridge is the biggest grocery desert in the city. By looping the 120 over to Westwood, people will now have bus access to QFC and Target. It also allows a connection to the Rapid Ride C line.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Thanks, I’ve updated the post to note that.

    • This is one of the excellent changes. More connectivity from White Center to the rest of West Seattle. White Center-Westwood Village will have both the 120 and the 60, with little increase to the 120′s travel time. The 128 is 30-minute frequent, straightened out, and extended to Alki, as I have long asked for.

      • This group apparently had an advantage for commenting. Where is the specific form? So far I have been given and email address, found the blog sight on the Metro site (few comments there) and been instructed to take the survey.

    • Thanks for mentioning that, rbc.

      I lived in the Delridge neighborhood for about a year a few years back (during Snowpocalypse ’09… ugh…) and the quickest way for me to access a grocery store via transit was to take the 120 downtown and transfer to an outbound 54. I’d usually bite the bullet and take a $5 cab ride up the Genesee Street hill, or walk it (about 2 miles). That was the main reason I moved out of that area.

      I’d been hoping for the routing for new Route 50 since it was proposed several years back. Living in Rainier Valley and working in West Seattle would have been exponentially easier.

  9. David Seater says:

    Bruce, is there any word about the 43 and the 49?

    Neither is shown on the proposed All-Day Network and the website does not mention any changes to either route. Meanwhile, the 8 is shown on the map but is not getting any changes per the website. It’s unclear to me if the map is comprehensive or just showing selected services.

    With the rumored cancelling of the 43 I’m curious to know if it’s still going to be around after this service change. When I didn’t see it on the map I thought it was canned, but then I noticed the 49 isn’t shown either. I can’t imagine them both getting the axe with no explanation/revision.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Changing the 43 or 49 would be out of scope for this service change. I, too, am puzzled why the 8 is on the map.

      • David Seater says:

        Okay, glad I’m not the only one. :)

      • Why would it be out of the scope of this change? If forcing transfers for residents of the CD is a great option. A transfer to downtown from the the 43 or 49. They both go downtown, along with the 12 and 10 which cross Broadway. Force more transfers on Broadway around the Community College if duplication is a concern. After all there are multiple ways for people from the U to get downtown.

        None of the above mentioned offer direct service to Virginia Mason, Horizon House, Town Hall or for the shopping at E. Union and Broadway to the CD. Yet the plan proposes that the #11 and #2 are duplications. They are not duplications of anything. Under the new plan they are duplicate on Madison. Why are you creating duplicate service?

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        “Why would it be out of the scope of this change?”

        Did you read the post?

      • I think it’s useful to clarify what we mean by duplication.

        Sometimes, Metro runs multiple unrelated buses along one street, or two nearby streets. This is duplication, because the two buses serve similar markets, but it’s difficult for a rider to benefit from both services.

        Other times, Metro runs multiple buses along one street, and schedules them so that they come with even spacing. This is not duplication. For lack of a better world, I’ll call it “synergy”. For anyone who wants to travel along the shared corridor, they can effectively ride a single bus line which is twice as frequent as either line individually.

        This is analogous to the 71/72/73 to the U-District, or the 3/4 to Harborview. Would it be better if the 3 took a different route that bypassed Harborview — for example, heading straight on Cherry? Of course not. The 3 and the 4 (in today’s system) work together to provide excellent frequency to lower First Hill and Jefferson St. Running them on different streets would hurt everyone.

        For example, currently, if I want to get from Virginia Mason to downtown, I can either wait for the 2, or walk to Madison and take the 12. In either case, I might be waiting for up to 15 minutes. After the changes, I can walk to Madison and take either the 2 or the 12, one of which will come every 7.5 minutes. That represents a massive service improvement between 12th/Madison and downtown.

      • Bruce,

        I actually have to agree with Joanna on one point: wjat *is* the scope of this change?

        If the scope of this change is improving routes to achieve better synergy with RapidRide, then the proposed changes to the 2/3/4 in the CD are way out of scope. The changes in Queen Anne are already tenuous at best; RapidRide D has very little overlap with the 3/4. But there’s absolutely no way you can say that rerouting the 2 to Madison, or deleting the 4S, has anything to do with RapidRide.

        It’s not a cascading issue, either. Metro could have split the 2 without rerouting the 2S, like they’re suggesting for the 11. Or they could have kept the 4S, and had 4S become 3N, like the 2/13 does today.

        If I had to guess, I’d say that the real scope of this change is “everything that won’t be affected by U-Link/North Link”.

      • David Seater says:

        Having finally had the time to read through the detailed changes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 43 and 49 downtown routing changed to use 2nd between Pine and Pike like the new 10, 11, and 14N. That would put all the Pike/Pine buses on the same downtown routing and be in line with the “no turns on 3rd” mantra.

      • The 43 and 49 already avoid turns on 3rd Ave. 43 turns on 2nd to get to Pike. 49 lays over on Virginia and uses 2nd to get to Pine, except when it turns in to the 7.

      • Maybe the 7 could be through-routed with the new 13? The through-routing only happens at night, when both routes are at 15-minute frequency.

    • David Seater says:

      Another map oddity, the 8 and 48 are on the North map but not the South map. The South map also shows the University Link extension, while the North map doesn’t.

    • This is only changes cascading from RapidRide C and D, not all changes. I don’t think Metro has said it’ll delete the 43. I’m pretty sure the 8, 10, 43, and 49 will stay as they are until Capitol Hill station opens (2016). They are not in the bottom quartile so Metro doesn’t have to cut them. And Metro did say not to expect a significant change with the First Hill streetcar opening, but rather with the Link opening.

  10. I read through this entire document last night. Tons of good stuff, and a few not-so-good things. I’ll comment in more detail later, with an eye towards focusing on ways that we could productively convince Metro to amend the proposal.

    I had an epiphany when reading through the planned changes, though, which is that productivity is a lagging indicator.

    This is Metro’s first big Seattle service change since the adoption of the Regional Transit Task Force guidelines. These guidelines set very precise policies on how to decide whether a route is performing adequately, and how to change routes that are significantly overperforming or underperforming.

    In many respects, this is fantastic. Finally, we have an excuse for cutting all the useless routes that have accumulated over the years, and redirecting those service hours towards productive service.

    But there’s a catch.

    Many of us have talked about the value of frequent routes. A route that runs every 15 minutes will often attract well over double the total daily ridership of a route that runs every 30 minutes. As headways get shorter, it’s much easier to use the bus for spontaneous trips, which can lead to dramatically higher ridership.

    The problem is that many Metro routes are paralyzed by their current lack of frequency. Thus, instead of increasing the frequency to a level where the route would be useful, Metro is forced to kill it, and the connectivity goes away forever.

    Consider the 46, for example. With a few small tweaks, it could be a fantastic way to get between UW, lower Wallingford/Fremont, and Leary Way/Lower Ballard. In particular, having a bus which went through Fremont center without crossing the Fremont Bridge would do wonders for reliability.

    But the 46 is a terrible performer, because it runs about 8 trips a day. Thus it will be killed. And there’s no way that Metro would be able to reintroduce a similar route for at least a couple of years.

    I definitely don’t mean to badmouth the RTTF guidelines. They’re probably the best thing that’s happened to Metro in the past decade. But I think it’s important to be aware of the perverse effects that these guidelines may have for certain corridors.

    • it’s better than that. 15-minute frequency full time (evenings/Sundays) is extended to Queen Anne Ave, E Cherry, Fremont/Phinney/Greenwood, and maybe other places. And Fremont-Ballard service is improved, which benefits UW-Fremont-Ballard even if you have to transfer at Fremont. You lose the one-seat ride but you get more runs all day. They can’t do everything for everybody. And closing the Fremont-Ballard gap prepares the way for future full-time service from UW-Ballard-Fremont. If the Ballard and UW streetcars are built someday, it would be an easy thing to connect Ballard to UW sharing some track.

      • I think I was unclear. I’m not saying that UW-Fremont-Ballard is itself a necessary corridor. Rather, I’m making a second-order claim.

        Sometimes, a corridor performs poorly because no one wants to ride the bus. But sometimes, a corridor performs poorly because the level of service is so poor that people choose to ride alternative services.

        For example, the 18 (nee 17) is undoubtedly a corridor with very high demand. But if it has 30-minute service for most of the day, as predicted, then many people will instead ride RapidRide and walk, because 30-minute service is just too hard to deal with. Thus, in two years, the productivity guidelines may say “whoops, turns out no one wants to ride this bus after all”.

        I’m worried the productivity guidelines will make it harder to distinguish between corridors which have minimal inherent demand (like the 38′s route), and corridors which have lots of latent demand but not enough service to attract ridership (like the 46 today, and like the future 18 might be).

      • You’re right about frequency and demand; it’s what I’ve been saying for years. People will ride a 10-minute route more than a 15-minute route, a 15-minute route more than a 30-minute route, and a 30-minute route more than a 60-minute route. Because they have greater certainty that it’ll be leaving soon whenever they decide to travel, and that if they miss the bus or it doesn’t show up, they won’t have to wait an hour for the next one.

        I’m not sure about the impact of the productivity-metric thing. Maybe, maybe not. I think Metro will be able to go beyond the metric to distinguish between routes which have potential and routes which don’t. All the deletions marked “not meeting the standard for bus service, or all-day bus service” are obscure streets on the outskirts where almost nobody goes. If 32nd NW can pass that metric, then surely Leary Way can.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says:

        @Aleks

        Not entirely. The adopted service guidelines uses productivity as one of several factors, not the only factor. Land use, social equity, uniqueness of origin and destination, major employers, etc all play a factor and if enough of those objectives are meet by the route, regardless of it’s poor performance the route could be kept.

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/03/01/constantine-moves-rttf-recommendations-forward/

        Your point is on the money in that service will not increase beyond what service level is deemed appropriate by the service guidelines unless capacity becomes an issue. This was one of my concerns with the RTFF recommendations because I didn’t see a way towards sub 10 peak/15 off peak service without the route first experiencing capacity issues.

      • We have to get to a 15-minute standard on trunk routes before we can push for a 10-minute standard. Right now Metro is a 30-minute minimum with some 15-minute inroads. We have to get it up to a 15-minute minimum on all core routes (like San Francisco and Chicago), then we can push for more.

      • Well, some of San Francisco’s “15-minute routes” are 20 minutes at some times, and 30 minutes night owl. But the point is that they’re not “The Little Engine That Could”, trying to serve an urban neighborhood at a grossly inadequate 30-minutes.

  11. I think it’s great that all 5 service will go to Shoreline CC now, but I wish wish wish that the 5′s northern terminus would connect to RapidRide D.

    • I wish that too, but I didn’t want to push Metro too far too fast. It’s in Seattle’s TMP. Both Seattle and ST are assuming that Swift and RapidRide will meet at Shoreline P&R someday, bypassing Aurora Village. That would be a short extension for the 5. Seattle and Shoreline did a joint study of TOD growth on Aurora, focusing on 130th and 185th (Shoreline P&R). If Aurora is chosen for Link’s North Corridor, the Aurora Village TC would move to the Shoreline P&R, and a new garage and TOD would be built there. If I-5 is chosen for Link, these changes may not be so certain, but some of them are likely to happen anyway. Shoreline is also committed to a “town center” around 175th & Aurora, and redeveloping its “community center” (a former school) at 185th & 1st NE.

      • transitrider says:

        That’s the plan, to connect up at the Shoreline P&R (192nd & Aurora). Although not initially, both agencies are now on board with the idea, and the city has pushed it for some time; they’d like Swift to go even further, to 160th, near Shoreline Community College.

        It is highly unlikely that Aurora will be chosen for Link’s North Corridor. All of the factors ST staff presented favor the I-5 alignment with the exception of TOD, and they claimed that I-5 has “TOD potential” based on their current bus service there, neglecting to mention that their current service is off-peak at those two north Seattle (not Shoreline) stops, and even though there is spotty Metro coverage at either 145th & 185th today, the map from this article showing zero. Their Aurora routing conveniently missed the 216th/220th employment and population haven to go over to serve the MLT parking garage, which also skewed the results to the I-5 alignment. Note than Shoreline has 53,000 people, MLT 20,000, Lynnwood 33,800, yet it’s the latter two that will likely have Link near their town centers.

    • Shoreline CC is quite a bit further north than RR D… did you mean RR E?

      • Sorry, yes. Extend the 5 to meet the Aurora bus, for those going to Shoreline or Snohomish County.

  12. A few specific comments on routes:

    I’m a bit surprised that the 16 isn’t being rerouted away from Seattle Center. RapidRide will be serving Seattle Center, and so I was hoping that Metro would use that as an excuse to straighten out the 16.

    There are a few new/revised routes which have 30-minute all-day headways. I’m just not convinced that’s a good use of service hours. In some cases, my instinct is that the route should be deleted (the 28X) or made peak-only (the 14N, the 27); in others, I’d like to see off-peak headways boosted at least to 15 (the new 18, the 14S at least along Jackson).

    For the brand-new routes, I think Metro may be making a mistake by not starting wih frequent service. I understand Metro’s reluctance to devote service hours to unproven routes, but the current frequencies on the 40 and 50 have the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I like the general concept of the 18 and the 31/32, but I’m skeptical on two counts. First, that’s a lot of routes going over the Fremont Bridge. I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense to keep the 17 instead of the 18, (except going north on 24th), and to send the 31/32 up Leary and over the Ballard Bridge. You keep the same service on Leary and Nickerson; you lose the direct connection to 24th/Market, but gain so much in reliability that it should be worth it. And second, I’m questionable whether Uptown is actually a good place to terminate a route. I’d rather see the terminus be within walking distance of a Link station, at the very least.

    Finally, the 63 strikes me as a very dubious route. My guess is that the U-District segment will have pretty much zero through-riders. Realistically, it seems like a way to combine two low-ridership routes to avoid killing them. But from a network connectivity perspective, I much prefer the earlier idea to combine the 26 and the 71. Given Metro’s tendency not to rework a route twice in a short period of time, this change seems like it will unnecessarily foreclose on better ideas that are out of scope for Metro for now.

    • I commented that 45-minute frequency on the 14-north is useless. The schedule is hard to memorize, and it never comes when you need it. They might as well make the route peak only and put the hours where they could give real frequency somewhere.

      I think the 14-north is going through the gradual death of the 42 and 39 (except maybe peak-hours). Lower the frequency to 45 minutes, then 60 minutes, then poof. If so, Metro should just cut off any service that’s less than 30-minutes unless there’s no other bus within a mile.

      The 27 also looks destined for the graveyard too. Why not run it to 23rd instead of 12th? It’s probably a stopgap until the 3 can be moved to Yesler. (When I lived on First Hill, I used to cheer when the hourly 27 came before the 3/4, to avoid the James-and-Harborview crawl. Oh, DP, I forgot to mention I lived near Harborview for a couple years.)

      • zefwagner says:

        I agree, this makes the 14N pretty much useless outside of the peak, and check out how short the route will be now that it’s split from the 14S!

    • The Fremont Bridge may not be as bad as reputed. I always assumed it’s the reason the 30 is consistently late. But driver today said it’s the Mercer project that’s slowing the 30 down. I asked, “But doesn’t the Fremont Bridge slow you down a lot too?” He said, “Occasionally I have to wait for a tall boat but not a lot.” I asked, “What about traffic on the Fremont Bridge; does it slow you down?” He said, “No, it’s usually not that heavy.”

      • It’s reliability I’m worried about, not traffic. If a bus is consistently “late”, no big deal, you just build it into the schedule. But with the Fremont Bridge, there’s a 10% chance (say) that the gap between buses will be 25 minutes instead of 15, or 40 instead of 30. That sucks…

      • Chris Stefan says:

        I have to agree the Fremont Bridge and traffic in Lower Fremont aren’t the issues for travel time or service reliability some make them out to be.

        In my experience the Mercer mess, Denny Way, and traffic around Seattle Center had a much greater impact on service speed and reliability for routes going through or near Fremont.

      • You can’t build it into your schedule if you one day take a later connecting bus (the 71/73 or 49) but that’s the day it comes on time and you miss your transfer.

      • zefwagner says:

        The bridge doesn’t open very often, not enough to actually worry about. It’s like in Portland–people worry about all the drawbridges, but I’ve been living here for 3 months crossing the bridges every day and still have yet to see one open even once.

      • Guys, I work right next to the Fremont Bridge. It’s the most heavily operated bridge in the city – most frequently opened. Look at the numbers, not the anecdotes. Yes Mercer traffic/construction sucks (and will suck for a while yet) but the bridge isn’t going to go away.

      • What matters to a vehicle is not the total number of bridge openings, but the likelihood of it opening when the vehicle is at the bridge. For a car making a single round trip per day, that’s 1 minute total. The bridge goes up a few times an hour at most, so only an infinitesimal fraction of those car trips will be blocked by a bridge opening. The 30 makes 37 weekday round trips, so it spends 37 minutes at the bridge. That might, at worst, subject it to one or two bridge openings a day.

      • True, but every time the bridge goes up traffic backs up and the buses (and everyone else) miss multiple light cycles in either direction. It’s not just the bridge opening, it’s the delays associated with it.

    • The 30 is below-average ridership but it’s by no means empty in the daytime. It’s prone to groups of 30 toddlers going to Madison Park. People ride it to Metropolitan Market on 40th, and from 25th/55th to UW. But evenings/weekends it’s like one person a run. So I’d reduce evening/weekend frequency. [1] They could fold it into the 75, or extend the 71 to Magnuson Park (instead of Wedgwood), but there’s enough ridership on 55th I’d hesitate to remove all bus service from that street.

      [1] This contradicts my earlier post that service below 30-minutes should be eliminated. But it’s a long hilly walk from Sand Point Way to any other bus route.

      • alexjonlin says:

        Yes, please extend the 71 to Magnuson Park! Practically no one rides the weird Wedgwood spur at the end and having it go straight down 65th would greatly increase reliability and connectivity. But perhaps that’s a change that won’t come until the U Link or North Link restructures.

    • Before that 26/71 proposal came along, I was a fan of combining the 71 with the 48N once North Link opens. I’m still not sure I’m a big fan of 26/71, so for that reason I kinda-sorta like 26/30, but I keep thinking 48N/71 would need another east-west route to be as useful as it could be.

    • Alex Bailey says:

      I agree, it is better to have 2 frequent routes between West Seattle and East Seattle (RV) then one frequent route and 2 infrequent routes. Specifically I’d prefer keeping the Route 50 over the Route 40 and doubling the service. Even better, have a Route (15-20 minute frequency) that goes from the Admiral district to Alaska Junction then follows the proposed Route 40 to Georgetown before continuing east to at least Othello or Columbia City station (using another route to cover the current Route 39).

      It might work to run the 31/32 and the 18 via Nickerson, but it would affect the connectivity of the system, notably effecting transfers between Routes 3 and 13 and the U-district (via Routes 31/32), and connectivity between Downtown Ballard and Fremont. However, assuming the 3 and 13 were extended to the Fremont bridge, then the reliability improvements may be worth it.

  13. I predict that cutting the 27 to peak only will not happen. Leaving Leschi without all-day service is going to bring a few vehement protesters out of the woodwork, which seems like enough to keep a route on the map.

    • Chris Stefan says:

      I suspect the 27 would perform better if it was more frequent. When I lived in the area I’d only take the 27 if I happened to be downtown and one was coming in the next 10 minutes, otherwise I’d take the 3/4 or the 14.

      • Until you hit Leschi, the 27 is not that far away from the 14, and it’s not that hard a walk for most of the distance. Making the 27 more frequent would just cause duplication of service and wasting of money.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        The 27 is much, much faster than the 14 thanks to Yesler. The 14 hast to wind past King Street Station and hits that aweful intersection at Rainier. King Station is useful for transfers, but if you’re going to, say, 20th then the Jackson St. routing probably adds 5 – 10 minutes to your trip.

      • This is really a rock and a hard place.

        The 27 is literally 5 times faster than the 14. I’m not kidding: it gets to 12th in three minutes, which can take the other fifteen.

        On the other hand, at 30-60 minutes (now or under the new plan) make taking advantage of that fast ride a total crapshoot.

      • …which is why we need wire on Yesler, to move the 3 off James.

    • Metro and the county are expecting protests, because that’s what always happens. People will complain about losing the 4-south and 4-north, about losing the Mt Baker commercial district, about the 5 and 18 taking longer to get downtown, about moving a bus stop 50 feet, etc. But Metro is under the gun to restructure by next year in order to convince the Legislature to give it long-term funding. The $20 fee runs out in Fall 2013, which means Metro will have to start talking to the leg’s next summer in order to give them time to approve something. So Lakeside Ave may be told, “Sorry, we can’t afford it.”

      I’d like to see more frequent bus service to all the parks, including Golden Gardens, Discovery, and Leschi. But that’s not in the cards for now. In the meantime, there’ll be better bus service to Alki from SODO station and White Center, so everybody go to Alki.

      • In my experience, the 17 is often faster to get downtown than the 18 from Ballard Ave/Market St during off-peak. It all depends on how many stops you make on 15th Ave W, how many cars are parked in the BAT lane, and how many pedestrians are crossing at Mercer St & Queen Anne Ave.

      • Don’t forget the complaints about the #2, since we are all just a bunch of complainers with no concerns worth addressing.

  14. I see that Routes 2S and 12 will no longer pass a Downtown Seattle tunnel station. While looping Madison/Marion at 1st Avenue is reasonable, the system proposed here makes users have to walk two to three blocks to get to a station — or makes users have to make a double-transfer Downtown. In particular, the stops around Swedish and Virginia Mason are often used by riders who are going to and from other places in the region. Maybe Metro could work with SDOT to figure out another “loop” strategy for these routes?

    • Chris Stefan says:

      There really isn’t a good alternate solution for the 2S or the 12 downtown. Turning off Madison/Marion will kill reliability and get the buses stuck in other traffic.

      FWIW there are surface stops on either side of Madison/Marion at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th which gets you a majority of the non-tunnel downtown routes. Due to the skip-stops you might have a bit of a hike anyway. There are tunnel entrances 2 blocks in either direction which is within the distance Metro expects people to walk for skip-stop routing.

      This will be great however for anyone trying to get from the Ferry terminal to anything along either the 2 or the 12 route.

      • Given the existence of several bus-only lanes Downtown, to use traffic as an excuse for service running at 7.5 minutes on average is nothing but a service planning cop-out. These routes are two of the very highest productive routes in the entire system to a bus tunnel station today. Metro should try harder and work with SDOT to get the reliable route alignment that crosses a tunnel bus station for these routes!

        Besides, the 12 riders already have access to ferries at a 1st Avenue south stop; the only ferry “benefit” is for the riders of Route 2 (east of 14th Avenue). These riders are generally not interested in going to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton and vice-versa; they are seeking connections to Sea-Tac or to buses headed elsewhere in Seattle.

        There are quite a lot of Route 2 boardings on Seneca around Virginia Mason and Summit Avenue today. I suspect that many of these people could get to Madison Street easily, but they seem to go over to Seneca so that they can get to the bus tunnel or further north on Route 2.

        Because these routes serve lots of medical facilities, there are also many people who simply have lots of difficulty transferring buses or walking two or three blocks in Downtown Seattle. We people in good health can do it easily, but there are lots of people on this route who cannot.

        I would also note that the loop on First Avenue requires two left turns, and that makes it really awkward for putting a stop on First Avenue.

        I suspect some young planner likes the Madison-Marion loop idea in concept and doesn’t fully see the problems that it creates for the riders.

      • In my experience riding the 2S eastbound, there are quite a lot of people who get off at Summit, substantially more than get off at Virginia Mason. However, I don’t think most of them are going to Swedish either, but this building right outside the stop.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        That Madison/Marion puts you in a gap between in DSTT entrances is a known problem; this is not some wild idea that some “young planner” dreamed up. One assumes that Metro’s planners simply decided that improving reliability and avoid turning motions on 3rd is, on balance, the best option.

        Where does it say that a stop will be placed on 1st? There is already a stop on Marion at 1st that the 12 uses. All the required trolley switches already exist.

      • So much of the ferry foot traffic is folks headed up the hill, many to the hospitals. And Colman is one of Nickels’ transit hubs, or whatever it was he called them. Serving it with regular service up the hill, seems like a very good idea.

        And as an almost-daily 2 rider, yes I’ll miss the one-seat ride to the retail core and Belltown, but there are easy transfer options even before you get downtown if you want to go farther north. Get off at TT Minor and walk 2-3 blocks for the 10/11/12, and you have direct access to Pike/Pine and the northern end of downtown.

        And there will still be plenty of routes to Belltown. One hopes the reliability argument will play out in reality as much as we want it to, and that making that transfer from the 2 will be as easy as I hope.

    • Metro and Seattle are working towards turning 3rd Ave into a “no turn zone” between Stewart and Yesler. Among other things, this means breaking most of the through-routes between E-W and N-S routes, pushing the 3 south (so that it doesn’t turn until Yesler), and moving the West Seattle routes so that they don’t get on the viaduct until south of Yesler.

      As Chris says, there are tons of buses on 3rd Ave. Transferring from the 2 to a 3rd Ave bus, to get to Westlake or the ID, is pretty much free.

    • The problem is there’s no Link station at Madison. But there’s nothing Metro can do about that. Making Madison more frequent mitigates the problem, even if it doesn’t solve it. The library also suffers because of it. You’d think they’d make sure to put a station close to the main library, but they didn’t. They should have skipped University Street station and put stations at Madison and Union/Pike instead, but they didn’t. Eliminating turns onto 3rd Avenue between Yesler and Stewart is a goal of Metro, to increase reliability of both the north-south and the east-west routes. The only other choice would be to put the 2, 11, and 12 all on Seneca, but Madison is the main street in the area.

      • I asked this in another thread, but I’m curious if Metro has considered pairing Madison with Spring, rather than Marion. That would mean that the closest tunnel station to the 2/12 would always be University Street (rather than Pioneer Square in the outbound direction, as it is today). It would also mean that the 2/12 would stop next to the library in both directions, rather than just one.

        (Of course, the ideal change would be to make Madison 2-way for buses…)

      • I haven’t heard that but it’s worth suggesting. It would be good for the library too, to run on both sides of it.

      • Alex Bailey says:

        The problem with using Spring is that it runs into to I-5 South traffic. Anyone whose ridden the 2S Eastbound in the afternoon and early evening knows that this is a problematic idea to say the least, as it leads to big delays.

    • Very good point.

  15. I can’t say I’m a fan of the proposed changes to the 28. Peak hour trips downtown will be slower than the current 28 express because it will presumably be making frequent stops all the way down Leary and 39th until it reaches Aurora. Local trips to Fremont and the Dexter/Westlake area will become more difficult than the current 28 local, requiring transfers and/or walking.

    It just seems like the worst of both worlds for most of the things I would want to use the bus for. This makes off-peak downtown trips a bit faster, but losing the direct connection to Fremont is too steep a price to pay for that in my opinion. If they schedule these routes so that the transfer on Leary from the 28 to the 18 (and vice versa) is under five minutes, it might be tolerable. Otherwise I can see myself biking quite a bit more.

    • Chris Stefan says:

      39th/Leary and 39th/Fremont aren’t all that much of a hike from the Fremont core. Service on the 5 should be frequent enough to make for a good connection if for some reason you can’t/won’t make the hike or need to access the Dexter corridor.

      Whenever you change bus routes, somebody somewhere is going to be pissed because they lost some one-seat origin/destination pair. The question is do proposed changes better serve the needs of a majority of riders?

    • I think the reason is that the 28X is between the eliminated 15X and 5-Aurora, so both walksheds can walk to it. It’s also more evenly spaced between RapidRide C and Ballard. I was surprised about the loss of lower Ballard and Fremont, but they decided that some express service was more important than that, especially since they’re taking away nearby expresses.

    • If the 28 lets you off at the on-ramp to Aurora Bridge, you can just walk down the stairs and be at the troll- a block away from the Fremont core.

  16. So the 30 gets deleted–any changes to the 74?

    • As mentioned above, this change is really only about buses in the vicinity of RapidRide C and D. Northeast Seattle routes are not being changed at this time; that will probably wait until Link comes online.

  17. I’m also wondering if this means more or fewer buses using Dexter Ave. and Aurora each day. Has the reconfigured Dexter helped or hurt buses, or had no effect?

    • Dexter and Westlake should be the same, since the 26/28 is being replaced by the 5, and the 17 is becoming the 18. Aurora will have slightly fewer buses, but Aurora south of the ship canal is overserved as it is, so who cares? :)

    • In my experience (ie, anecdotally, no hard data) as a regular 26/28 rider, it’s notably faster southbound PM peak b/c of no bicycle conflicts…until a few blocks before Mercer, where it slows to a crawl. Then once you cross Mercer you’re generally good again. AM peak northbound seems notably faster as well. Really like the in-lane stops and it definitely helps to not have to get back in the lane again.

  18. And presumably this includes changes in preparation for the E line too, or will there be further restructuring in 2013?

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      I don’t know anything official, but I suspect there will be a more modest restructure for the E Line. I’m writing a piece about RR E right now, and I’ll see what I can find out.

      • Cool. Given they’ll have to do another big restructuring in 2016 with U Link, I’d think they’d want to avoid a third big one between 2012 and 2016. Smaller one for 2013 makes sense with RR E and the First Hill Streetcar. (I think the 9 would be good to delete or change then)

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        There are no restructures to the all-day network planned for the First Hill Streetcar.

    • I would not assume that. The document never mentions RapidRide E, and there are several potential improvements that were unaddressed. For instance, a bus on 130th/125th connecting Aurora to Lake City, and any Shoreline restructurings.

  19. While there are some good things here, there are a number of milk runs intended to preserve one-seat rides to downtown. I’m not sure it’s entirely praiseworthy. More on how I’d restructure North Seattle service shortly.

    If the 4 is getting axed, I’m surprised that wasn’t mentioned in the post.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      A link to the Queen Anne-Madrona restructure was provided in the post. That post, and a prior post referenced there, discussed the deletion of the 4 in great detail.

    • A consolidated milk run that eventually reaches downtown is an acceptable compromise in order to get the frequent routes approved. One thing I’ve noticed about one-seat riders, they never insist on frequency or speed. They just want a door-to-door route, no matter how infrequent or slow. So let’s just make the milk runs slower so we can concentrate resources on frequent corridors without causing a revolt. The 71/26 would have been a good example of that. It eventually gets to downtown, but first it serves Roosevelt station and Latona and Fremont, so it can kill three birds with one stone. One-seat riders would have grudgingly accepted it more than a 71/48, which wouldn’t go anywhere near downtown or the U-district.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Honestly, I think the revised Latona service is a fig leaf, providing token service on a route segment that has little unique walkshed and little residential or commercial density. I think every serious bus rider there is going to walk to the 44, 48 or 16.

      • Yes, I was thinking more about the #24 monstrosity with its backtracking. But this is the second time the 30 is attached to an east-west route to keep it from dying. Latona is token service for the disabled. I had assumed Latonaites wanted to go to Fremont rather than the U-district (because there’s no nearby bus going that way), but we’ll see what they say.

      • Honestly, I’d rather put the 30 out of its misery and extend the 44 to Children’s. The 75 already serves Sand Point unless it’s getting deleted. Who would be left without a bus? The 20th Ave segment? Hawthorne Hills?

      • Also, the 71/26 would have gone to the U-District, not pick up the 26′s routing beyond 40th. Still a big fan?

      • The 71/26 would have been a good example of that. It eventually gets to downtown, but first it serves Roosevelt station and Latona and Fremont, so it can kill three birds with one stone.

        Actually, the proposal I saw would have terminated the route at the U-District. Latona would keep its service, but lower Wallingford wouldn’t, and the 71 would lose its direct connection to downtown.

        Honestly, I’d rather put the 30 out of its misery and extend the 44 to Children’s.

        The proposal on the table doesn’t involve any new trolley wire. Once that’s on the table, there will be a whole world of new options.

      • “Also, the 71/26 would have gone to the U-District, not pick up the 26′s routing beyond 40th.”

        We don’t know that, or at least I’ve never seen a document that said that. It just said vaguely “attach the 71 to the 26″ and mumbled something about the U-district, but it never said exactly where the route would go.

      • The 2010 route performance chart incorrectly lists the 71 as “Wedgwood and U District via Latona”. So that’s one official document ;)

      • The 71/26 or the current proposal are both fine once the Brooklyn Light Rail Station opens. Until then both proposals seem a bit odd.

        As far as I can tell Wallingford is effectively left with the service we would have had if Metro’s 600K cut scenario had been implemented (maybe with a bit more service on 40th). I think that sucks.

      • Alex Bailey says:

        Yeah I don’t see how the route 63 makes any sense. There are only a few very small coverage gaps (55th and Latona being the main one) that it addresses. Otherwise better or equal service is provided by the Route 16, Route 48, Route 44, Route 31/32, Route 75, and Route 71. This service should go to improving frequency on other routes in the area.

      • Seattle’s TMP seems to call for wiring NE 45th St. to Children’s to extend the 44 eastward.

      • Is Kevin right, Wallingford is just getting cuts? That could argue (A) Wallingford is overserved now, or (B) Wallingford is getting the worst treatment of the inner city neighborhoods. Which is it?

      • Is Kevin right, Wallingford is just getting cuts?

        No, I don’t believe that’s true.

        The 16, whose routing is fundamentally unchanged, will have extra trips.

        The 44, which is almost definitely the highest-ridership Wallingford route, is not being changed.

        The E-W corridor along 40th currently has scattered service, consisting of the 26, 30, and 31, each of which has 30-minute baseline frequency. The inconsistent routing and schedules mean that these routes do not currently form a corridor. This will be replaced by the 31/32 pair, which will provide 15-minute (i.e. frequent) all-day service between Children’s and Interbay, including connections to frequent downtown service from Fremont, the U-District, and Interbay (RapidRide D).

        The 63 does represent a cut from today. However, the frequency cuts only apply to peak, when the 26X is still around. The downtown connection is replaced by a U-District connection, which is arguably an improvement; when the express lanes are running, switching from the 63 to a 70-series will undoubtedly be a faster way to get downtown than taking Dexter (like the 26 does today).

        From my perspective, Wallingford is gaining a frequent corridor, and all they give up are a few circuitous downtown connections and a bit of peak frequency on a poorly-used corridor. I don’t know about you, but I’d take that tradeoff in a second.

      • By the way, it’s worth mentioning that the 600K cuts were grouped into three categories:

        1. Reduce low productivity services
        2. Restructure service
        3. Reduce higher productivity services

        The point of passing the $20 fee was not to resume “business as usual”. In that case, we’d be back in the same place 2 years later.

        The Wallingford cuts we’re talking about were all in parts 1 and 2. The creation of a second frequent E-W corridor in Wallingford was nowhere to be found in that document; it’s the extra money from the $20 fee that allows Metro to create that corridor.

      • My comment related to the fact that the current plan seems similar to Metro’s 600K cut plan where we would have lost the 26 local and the 71 would have taken over what they’re now proposing as the western half of the 63. I think that outline included retaining the 26X and adding a few 16 trips. So basically Metro is packaging what the cuts would have entailed as a service enhancement.

        I regard the resulting service as far worse than what we have presently. You can’t get to either Fremont or Downtown without transferring from big chunks of Wallingford. As other folks have mentioned below – Metro’s frequency doesn’t provide the reliability necessary to make transferring work.

        I also don’t recall the 26 as ever being called out as a low productivity route – if I’m recalling correctly that made its appearance on the initial 600K list a surprise.

      • It’s about corridors, not routes. The 26 is a fairly productive route, since it serves the relatively dense areas of SLU (Dexter) and Fremont. But the Latona tail is not very productive at all.

        It’s often true that the tail of a route is less productive, but not always. Link is the clearest example: there is consistent end-to-end demand. But many routes both start and end in a demand center, such as the 8, 43, 44, 48S, 49, and many others. (There is a reluctance among transit planners to terminate routes in residential areas for precisely this reason.)

        Saving money and improving service are not always incompatible. For example, one very effective way to save money is by eliminating route deviations, such as the 16′s circuitous route into Northgate TC. This saves money, because the 16 can maintain the same frequency with fewer platform hours. But it also improves service, because the trip from Wallingford to Northgate is now faster.

        Looking at the 600K cut scenario, there were definitely a lot of changes that I would consider improvements.

        I mostly agree that the 63 does not represent a service enhancement compared to the 26 local. But the higher 16 frequency, and the 31/32 corridor, are real improvements that will help many Wallingford residents. So it’s incorrect to say that Wallingford is only getting cuts.

      • It’s often true that the tail of a route is less productive, but not always. Link is the clearest example: there is consistent end-to-end demand.

        Come again? The two airport stations and the four tunnel stations account for ~70% of the ridership. The seven stations in nowhere land only 30%. The four RV stations only 20%. The two termini, West Lake and SEA are 34%. Clearest example? Yeah, clear as mud.

      • Last time I checked the airport and downtown were at the ends of Central Link. Has something changed?

      • Bernie,

        Sorry, I was unclear. What I meant was that there is strong demand — anchors, if you will — at both ends of the corridor. In a sense, you get the intervening stations for “free”, since you’ve got to get from Seattle to the airport somehow.

        Contrast this to the 26/28. If you simply deleted the sections of those routes north of Fremont, most riders of the 26/28 wouldn’t notice.

        Routes with anchors at both ends are more productive, because at any point in time, the bus is more likely to have more riders. Even if the middle segment has fewer on-offs, the number of through riders keeps usage high.

        Metro is wisely trying to restructure routes to follow this model.

      • you get the intervening [link] stations for “free”

        No, it about doubled capital cost and the recurring debt payment and the extra time time forever adds 10-30% to the operating costs and effectively precludes replacement of express bus service forever. “Central” Link is essentially a route with the “tail” in the middle. A species not well suited to survival outside of a zoo.

  20. Random:

    I’m pretty pleased to see most of these changes. I’m glad to see the 60 extended (and hopefully upgraded to 15 min headways). I still have buses to/from Costco. I’m glad to see one-seat rides to downtown eliminated in favor of more frequent crosstown ones.

    It makes sense to move the 2S to Madison/Marion for good combined headways with the 12. But I wonder what happens to the trolley wire used only by the 2? Does it get removed? Maintained? Installed elsewhere? I’d love to see it used to electrify other routes or segments thereof.

    I know it makes sense to decouple the 10 and 12, as much as I use the 12 to get uphill after work, but I do think the north-south service on 1st, Western, or Alaskan needs to be replaced. Eventually I’d like to see the Central Streetcar, but in the meantime I’d wonder if the 99 couldn’t run more often (and not as a couplet). It has like a 25 min. headway now and runs two blocks apart northbound from southbound. Not very useful.

    Through-routing the 31/32 with the 65/75 means the 67 and 68 would no longer be through-routed? I’d love to run the 67 and 70 more often and kill the 66.

    The 40 and 50 seem like good, useful routes. I’m glad to see more E-W lines in the south end.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      The Seneca wire is the alternate wire for the 3/4 to get to downtown (via 9th) if James is closed. I doubt they’ll go away.

    • Besides the actual wires, there is also as substantial investment in electrical support systems like substations that have to operate. For that reason, it takes more engineering and construction to move a trolley wire than may be apparent. On the other hand, eliminating bus stops can free up some replacement parking, so that larger bus stops or maybe even more bus only lanes can be justified in other locations.

      • Ok, thanks. And the 1st Ave. wires used by the 10/12? I’ve heard some people plan for a new ETB route up and down 1st.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        They’re currently used for some northbound trolley deadheads, and they’re the only alternative to 3rd to move trolleys north/south through downtown.

        I’m not aware of any plans to create a trolley route on 1st, or move a trolley route to 1st. Viaduct construction has made it very unreliable southbound.

  21. So is there no Route 15 local shadow for RapidRide D?

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Nope. Why would there be? Only a handful of stops will be removed.

      • Maybe we should fix that bug.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Set up a recurring direct deposit for quarter million a year to Metro and they’d probably fix that for you.

      • Alex Bailey says:

        Although it does have shadow service south of Market, which will at least could make the south Ballard to downtown leg limited (2-3) stop to downtown.

    • A and B don’t have shadows. RapidRide isn’t Link or even Swift.

    • RapidRide was originally marketed as being similar to Swift, adding a limited-stop route that shadows a local route. Either this was Metro’s original intention and revenue losses forced Metro to downscale, or Metro’s initial marketing was misleading. In either case, RapidRide is being implemented as a single route with fewer stops than a local but more stops than a limited, with no shadow route.

      RapidRide “stations” are where the limited stops would be — significant destinations, transfer points, and additional stations as necessary to keep the spacing even. (Swift has a mile between stations; RapidRide is 0.25 – 1 mile.) RapidRide “stops” address locations that are too far a walk from a station — these would have been served by a local route but there isn’t one.

      Seattle’s TMP recommends upgrading all RapidRide stops to stations. I’m not sure if this would have been done originally if there had been more money, or if the TMP misunderstands the stations’ purpose and ridership levels.

      In many European cities (e.g., Duesseldorf), local bus routes have a half-mile spacing between stations, and in some places all bus stops have off-board payment and “station-like” features. In other words, the minimum bus quality is RapidRide, and most American bus routes would be considered substandard in Europe. That’s because we haven’t invested much in public transit in the past fifty years and we’re using old technologies. And because Seattle inherited 1-or-2-block stop spacing from the streetcar days.

  22. Its really too bad that the 10 minute midday frequency of the 15/18 between Ballard, Interbay, Queen Anne, and Downtown will be reduced to 15 minutes on the D Line. Honestly, that is not the kind of change I had in mind when I voted yes on transit now. Upgrading to “BRT” should not involve decreasing service levels.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      It wasn’t what Metro had in mind when you voted for Transit Now, either. Much of the projected revenue from Transit Now has failed to materialize, hence the watering down of RapidRide. Hence this is a budget-neutral restructure, rather than a budget-positive restructure.

      That aside, 15-minute headways are about right for 15th Ave NW; ridership isn’t so enormous that 10-minute headways are required, even though I realize that is a loss for you.

      • Not to quibble, but this is, to date, the only rapid ride implementation thus far to reduce service in a corridor to lower than existing levels. While I do appreciate some of the proposed added service on the 18, I hate to see one of this city’s few existing 10 minute all-day corridors disappear.

      • Perhaps once the economy tanked and it became clear that Metro was going to have to water down RapidRide the way they have and scrap almost everything else about Transit Now, they should have instead scrapped RapidRide and focused on the sorts of improvements that are actually important in the short term with limited resources.

      • Morgan,

        Exactly. I’m just not sure if we can justify 10-minute rather than 15-minute service to 15th NW, when we’re talking about 30-minute service on corridors like Westlake/Leary — corridors so important that we want to build a streetcar there!

    • The 15-minute headway is just a minimum starting point. The existence of RapidRide will channel future money to those routes and may increase their frequency. In any case, the 10-minute frequency is only useful to Leary Way at the far edge of Ballard. Beyond that, you have to walk further to your destination depending on which bus it is, and southbound it’s a dilemma which stop to walk to. Getting rid of the “Y” and that dilemma is an improvement, even if the headways go down a bit.

      • zefwagner says:

        Good point. The 15/18 was always more annoying than useful, since most people are going from downtown to somewhere in Ballard, and one was always better than the other. Now people going to 15th will have more frequent service, and people going to 24th will also have more frequent service, just using a different route.

      • It might also be possible that the 10-minute service exists because of the Y. If Ballard’s downtown had been on 15th so that a single route could serve all of Ballard, maybe it would be 15-minutes rather than 10-minutes.

      • Zef, people going to 24th will not have more frequent service. It will be as little as 2 buses per hour during the mid-day.

        Metro needs to stop calling a decrease an increase, and STB needs to stop repeating it.

      • Also, if Interbay is presently overserved by the shared 15/18 corridor, than why the dumb-ass “32″?

        What a waste of service hours that could be keeping RapidRide’s broken promises.

        The 32 is easily the poster child for what’s wrong with this restructure.

      • The point is that people living on 24th can walk to 15th and find a 15-minute bus. That makes the system more usable even if it’s the same number of buses. The 18 is no longer about going to downtown, so get that out of your head. It’s about going to Fremont and Northgate and SLU. But it still goes downtown too, if you’re a one-seat rider who doesn’t mind the slow route.

      • Mike, our system is full of routes that officially run at 15 minute intervals. They’re unreliable, prone to massive delays from wheelchairs/bikes/bridges/luck or usage spurts, and just plain not good enough to walk a ways to and still risk a 14-minute wait (or longer, with delays).

        We have every reason to believe that RapidRide will provide scant reliability improvements. And with no schedule, you really might be walking 10-15 minutes only to wait 15+ minutes more. (OneBusAway won’t work if your walk must begin before the bus leaves its terminal.)

        10 minute averages might still make this worthwhile. 15 minutes won’t.

        Let me be crystal clear: At 10 minutes, RapidRide replaces many or most trips to downtown from 24th. At 15 minutes, it does not.

        This latest scale-back is grotesque and destroys whatever shreds remained of the line’s BRT purpose.

      • I know you’re a silver-lining guy, Mike. But really. 24th has a 20-minute bus, with a schedule, right now.

        How can you possibly think that walking an additional 10 minutes to “find a 15-minute bus” (whose schedule you don’t even know) is possibly a valid trade-off?

      • Mike, our system is full of routes that officially run at 15 minute intervals.

        Actually, it’s not.

        As of today, there are *six* routes in the system that have 15-minute all-day frequency, 7 days a week. They are RRA, RRB, 36, 43, 44, and 49.

        Most of the frequent corridors in the current system get their frequency from the combination of multiple routes, or from turnbacks. As Bruce discussed in his Queen Anne piece, this is a prescription for guaranteed unreliability.

        This proposal does have problems (you saw my list of suggested changes below), but one of the things it absolutely gets right is turning frequent corridors into frequent routes. The 3/4 becomes the 3. The 2/13 becomes the 13. The 5 drops its Northgate variant. The 54/55 becomes the 54. The 15 is now frequent on its own.

        This will enhance reliability by quite a bit.

      • Aleks, I cede your point about interlining and frequency.

        And (as you know) I would accept it for the Ballard corridors if RapidRide were indeed maintaining the previously interlined frequency, thus legitimately replacing 24th as the “to-downtown” corridor as Mike suggests.

        But at 15 minutes baseline, the argument bottoms out. There is simply no way to spin 20 minutes + 0 walk + schedule –> 15 minutes + 10 walk + no schedule as a valid trade-off.

        Seriously, do the math.

        If you’re already standing at the bus stop, the current 24 gives you an average of 10 minutes standing in the rain. RapidRide gives you 10 minutes walking + average 7.5 standing in rain. That’s 17.5 minutes. Average. Much worse.

        It gets even worse if you’re leaving from a warm location on 24th. That’s a difference of 0 minutes standing outside versus 17.5 with the walk + RapidRide’s lack of published schedule.

        The walk and the lack of schedule can only be justified by significant gains in reliability. Pardon me for doubting that reducing from 20 minutes to 15, with no more than 2 bus bulbs added and the tiniest fraction of riders using off-board payment, will provide any reliability gains of note.

      • That’s: “If you’re already standing at the bus stop, the current 18, on 24th…”

      • d.p.: I completely agree. Either the 18 needs to be all-day 15-minutes, or RRD needs to be all-day 10 minutes.

        Realistically, I doubt that both of these will happen right away. I think if we pick one, and advocate for it, we’re more likely to get it than if we demand both.

        That’s all I’m saying.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        The City TMP calls for the city to build additional full stations (with in-lane stops and off-board payment) on the RRD line. Funding is an issue, but along with the Madison BRT corridor and RRC and RRE this should be a priority. With increased investment by the city it will be easier to convince Metro to put more platform hours into RRD.

        I’m not going to disagree that RapidRide needs to be as good an implementation of BRT as is possible without building entirely separate right of way. However the funding to do so simply isn’t there.

        Metro is getting Federal money for RapidRide so this is why Metro is pressing forward with a relatively watered down implementation (as compared to what was promised in TransitNow).

  23. Kellen Donohue says:

    The 31/32 through-routing with the 65/75 would have been nice for my Lake City-Fremont commute over the summer.

  24. I would like to see more connectivity between West Seattle and South Lake Union.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      The problem with SLU is that most transit routes either terminate in Belltown (which is very dense, still denser than SLU) or are through-routed to the north (Ballard, Queen Anne, Aurora, Dexter), none of which do many favors for SLU. Hence, the SLU streetcar.

      • That may be changing. Seattle’s TMP recommends putting layovers in SLU and Pioneer Square-ish precisely to make SLU more accessible. If Metro agrees with this, the Belltown layovers may move north.

    • It all depends on where you are going in SLU. In general, you need to transfer downtown to head north to SLU. To my office in SLU, 5/358/26/28 all pass within one block, for a combined frequency <5 min. Much better than 10-15 minute frequency on the streetcar.

      As employment and other destinations grow in SLU, some high-demand routes that aren't through-routed could be extended a bit further north, at least to Denny, such as RR-C or the 120.

    • Wasn’t connecting to the South Lake Union Street Car suppose to solve a lot of these problem. Remember the theory being presented here is that direct service is not important. We can all just transfer. Under that theory you would just transfer to the street car and any other service would be duplicate. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the theory. Even if SLU were denser, they have the street car, which was a controversial and expensive move; so I hope it is useful.

  25. Gern Blanston says:

    Yay! The 50 is back on the table!

    • But should the 50 go to Admiral/Alki instead of to the West Seattle Junction? On summer weekends, I can see greater demand from SODO Link and SE Seattle to Alki. Other times, I not sure. Going to Alki would be mitigated if there was a same-platform transfer from the 50 to the RR-C under the Spokane St viaduct (near the circle-P on the map).

      Now about the 40: interesting idea. Would be better if extended from Georgetown to Othello Station, since there is now no single connection between those two points.

      • Successful transit cities have good bus connections to their parks and tourist destinations. San Francisco has a bus to Coit Tower, and the L and N trains to the beach. Chicago has a bus to the Navy Pier, another to an isolated museum, and I think a third to another isolated museum. These are well used.

        Alki has been underserved forever. The 56 is half-hourly, which in itself is OK, but it’s such a backwater route that it takes a long time to get there, it goes in SODO rather than the Viaduct, and it doesn’t go to Alaska Junction which is West Seattle’s main transfer point. So it’s harder to get from West Seattle to Alki than from downtown to Alki!

        (There is the water taxi now, but it’s a long walk from there to the main part of Alki, and the shuttle buses aren’t exactly frequent.)

        Given the long history of underserving Alki, I’d rather risk overserving it a little bit and let it reach its transit-riding potential.

      • Yeah, Georgetown-Rainier Valley seems like a bigger hole than Georgetown-White Center that’s already served by the 60.

      • The 128 will provide a frequent connection from the Junction to Alki.

        From the Junction, the fastest way to the RV will be to take a bus to SODO Station, and Link to your destination (or another transfer).

        Honestly, one of my biggest complaints about this plan is that service from West Seattle to SODO Station isn’t emphasized more. I realize that people would revolt, but I really wish that RapidRide would be truncated at SODO, at least off-peak (and likewise for the 21 and 120, and any other routes I missed). You could use those service hours to boost every other route in West Seattle to 15-minute all-day frequency.

      • Regarding the “hole” in Rainier Valley to Georgetown connection, how about extending the eastern tail of the new route 50 on Othello to Swift ave into Georgetown? This would provide possible connections to industrial jobs along Duwamish/E Marginal Way as well as to “South” West Seattle/White Center and South Seattle Community College. Not to mention the SSCC industrial trades school near Georgetown.

      • “Now about the 40: interesting idea. Would be better if extended from Georgetown to Othello Station, since there is now no single connection between those two points.”

        Agreed! (though Graham St. and then MLK might also be a productive path)

        If the 40 is to be instituted, then don’t have it fade out in the middle of nowhere (Georgetown). Have it connect all the way from somewhere to somewhere (light rail).

        I’m finding both the 40 and 50 (or frequency on one and scrap the other) to be intriguing, but I’m not sold on them.

        Georgetown already has a frequent connection (the 60) to West Seattle, which will also be quick once the South Park Bridge is back up and running, and will then no longer have to deal with the whims of the 1st Ave Bridge openings. The 60 could easily be re-routed to serve Corson Ave (if the neighbors don’t booby trap it with too-wide traffic circles), and thereby provide the connection to the SSCC Georgetown campus.

        SODO Station already has several good connections all over West Seattle, at least for the time being. It *is* the connection to Rainier Valley, so the 50 may be duplicative for most places riders want to go on its east end. I frankly don’t see much time savings on the proposed 50, getting stuck often at the train tracks, over transferring between the 39 and a West Seattle route down by Spokane St.

  26. I wish that they would generate a maps that actually shows the frequency of these routes, rather than the arbitrary colors that they use on this map. There is a huge difference between a route with 1/2 hour headway and one with 15 min or less. It looks like they have that data on the page, but they don’t visually represent it so it’s difficult to see where the service will actually be.

    • I’m hoping Oran gets inspired to make a frequent-route map.

      • Until I have time to create a proper map, just look at my Sharpied mod of Metro’s map of frequent service under the proposal:

        South End

        North End

        In this case I was being loose with the frequent definition and included 20 min and 15-30 min headway routes. Also I didn’t have the combined 65/75 up to Children’s. Error corrections are appreciated.

      • Meanwhile I made a frequent route list. It distinguishes between full-time frequent (15-minutes until 10pm every day), weekday-Saturday-Sunday frequent (15 min), weekday-Saturday frequent, and weekday only frequent. It’s based on the proposal and Metro’s current schedule, plus a few routes from your map that I forgot. Anyone can put comments on it if I’ve missed anything.

      • That’s really helpful; it’s a lot more useful than metro’s map that looks like maze!

  27. Not even a mention that 2 Southwest neighborhoods (Arbor Heights and Shorewood) are losing all day service? Last bus home at 545pm? No more weekend or daytime service? I am feeling very isolated and disconnected.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      ??? Maybe I’m missing something, but they list unchanged routing on the south end of the 2, with 10-15 minute peak runs, 15-30 off-peak, 15 minute saturdays, and 30 for nights and sundays.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Oops. Scratch that. I hadn’t heard of those neighborhoods, but thought you meant the southwest route of the #2!

      • …How is the 2 remotely “southwest”?

      • It’s southwest of Madison? ;)

      • Er, even that’s wrong, since it’s southeast.

        Dunno, maybe Matt and I just had the same brain fart.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        “2 SW neighborhoods” in my mind was referring to two neighborhoods in the SW portion of the #2. In other words the western portion of the #2 South.

        Looking at a map, that would be maybe Senica & Boren or Seattle U.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      I mentioned Arbor Heights. I shall amend the post to include Shorewood.

    • alexjonlin says:

      It’s too bad, but it makes sense. Those neighborhoods are both quite low-density, have no mixed-uses, and have very low ridership.

      • Cutting bus service there is great way to make sure the status quo is maintained.

      • ryan,

        Yes and no.

        Low-density residential neighborhoods and frequent transit just aren’t compatible. If you assume that most people are willing to walk about 1/4 to 1/2 mile from their bus stop to their destination, then the number of people who could possibly use bus service in these neighborhoods is already tiny. The fact that most of them currently own and use cars for most of their trips seals it.

        No amount of transit could change the fact that neighborhoods like Arbor Heights are not zoned to allow density. That zoning isn’t going to change any time soon — look at how hard it is to upzone neighborhoods around current (Beacon Hill) and future (Roosevelt) Link stations. And even if it did, what developer would build a 6-story apartment building in Arbor Heights, when there’s buildable land in neighborhoods that are already dense and growing?

        The fact is, barring a sea change in US transporation policy at all levels, transit in low-density residential neighborhoods just doesn’t pencil out. So if we want to bring the greatest mobility to the greatest number of people, then our limited transit dollars are best spent elsewhere.

  28. Wait what? You’re killing the 37? So now beach drive/harbor ave has no bus at all?

    Between this and the viaduct getting replaced with a tolled hole in the ground with no exits to down town, it sure seems west Seattle is an afterthought in metro planning.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      WSDOT is the lead agency for the DBT; Metro wasn’t responsible for that choice.

      Correct, those roads will have no service. Ridership there was very modest. Parts of Alki will have service from the 77x DART vans.

    • I live on Alki and occassionally take the 37 (either downtown or to the water taxi) and the ridership is abysmally low. There’s no way it’s a wise use of hours… The 56 is questionable enough.

      • I’m a 37 rider and will miss it terribly. I agree that it isn’t often crowded, but perhaps that’s related to the fact that it only runs about five times a day each way? A little bit like Halley’s Comet.

      • I will miss the 37. I’ve never noticed it running completely empty – particularly close to downtown where it’s often standing room only. It’s the only service western West Seattle gets.

      • I took the 8:50am starting at alki and 63rd and took it to the water taxi and there were ~7 people on it when I boarded. A few more got on between there and the water taxi (which will still have SOME services with the 773).

    • Routes with a body of water on one side suffer the curse of having half the walkshed of other routes, and therefore half the ridership.

    • I think the 773/775 van hours could be allotted better. My proposal: Run 775 as a gaint loop, from the water taxi dock westbound along Alki and Beach Blvd to Fauntleroy Wy, North on Fauntleroy, to Avalon and Harbor Blvd back the water taxi.

      773 would run in a straight line N/S from the West Seattle Junction on California to the water taxi.

      • This would certainly help make up for the loss of the 37.

      • I would definitely suggest passing those thoughts along to the Metro folks, either through the online survey or one of the public comment meetings.

        I lived in West Seattle in the early ’90s (halfway down the hill on Admiral) and service there now is much better than it was then. Serving Alki and the west edge is still a challenge.

  29. It makes sense to me that the off-peak ridership for Arbor Heights does not justify continuing the route there except during peak. Is there another way to serve riders in these extremities of the city?

  30. Joeen Ofsthus says:

    I don’t see the 345 listed anywhere. Has it been elimimated? It serves many senior/retirement communities, especially west of Aurora at 130th, and would be a real problem if gone

    • Michael H. says:

      If it’s not listed, then it probably wasn’t part of this review. Lots of bus routes aren’t.

  31. Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

    Wow, this is an exciting proposal. I love the new emphasis on connecting adjacent neighborhoods. Ballard and the Center of the Universe are now connected, as are Magnolia and Ballard. There is finally connecting service at 15th & Dravus.

  32. The end of front-door service at the VA may merit its own post. The service guidelines are being used to eliminate one of the more prominent front-door loop-de-loop specialty stops in the system. If the VA front-door stop goes, imagine what other such circle-through-a-parking-lot stops could go next. It’s a long list, with the potential to reduce operating costs by several percentage points systemwide.

    I predict a battle over this, and that if Metro doesn’t offer mitigation (e.g. a couple vans for VA valets to go fetch passengers at the bus stops), then I foresee the council chickening out.

    I appreciate staff’s chutzpah to push this streamlining.

  33. I’m delighted to see my 132 get its frequency doubled, especially during the bridge closure. It also got a little spinal adjustment in the SODO, switching over to 4th Ave S, where it makes a beeline to SODO Station, and doesn’t have to navigate the transit-lane-free 1st Ave S baseball traffic. Having the route run down the middle of the SODO walkshed is nice.

    I’d still like to see the 132 get switched over to serving the more central, employment-connecting Tukwila International Boulevard Station than the out-of-the-way Burien Transit Center. The planners don’t want to give up serving that stretch through southern Riverton. But really, 128th would still have a short walk to both the 132 and the 128. Des Moines Memorial Blvd is pretty much a wilderness down to S 146th St, and 146th is all within a short walk to the soon-to-be-half-hourly 131, which probably got the biggest spinal adjustment of any route in the list.

    Consider what the 128 would look like if it went along 128th St. (I cannot make up this kind of serendipity.) It would cover a much wider walkshed of south Boulevard Park. Right now, its twisty route has a golf course and a cemetery fronting it on the north. Having the 128 run down 128th would be shorter, connect with the 121/122/123 freeway stop, and significantly increase the population within the 128′s walkshed.

    I really like what Metro is doing with the 156, namely, giving a big chunk of Des Moines a one-seat ride to the airport and a train ride to downtown. The 132 was *never* a viable way for Des Moiners to go downtown, even if it was one seat. And so, it was nearly empty south of Burien.

    • One tweak to the new-and-improved 166 in Burien: The most popular stop, by far, that will be losing service when the 132 is truncated is right in front of Highline High School (currently served by the 132), on S 152nd St, a block or so east of 1st Ave S. The 166 could make its turn off of 1st Ave S at 148th St instead of 156th St, and thereby provide a closer stop for Highline students and staff to catch the 166 than having to head over to 4th Ave S or to the transit center.

      BTW, with the 131 and 132 truncated in Burien, that means South Park goes from two one-seat rides to within a 10-minute walk to the A Line, to having zero such one-seat rides. Not that I’m complaining. I just want the 132 shortened to serve Tukwila International Boulevard Station. ;)

    • alexjonlin says:

      Will the 131 and 132 be faster under this plan? I’ve taken them a couple times, they’re so incredibly slow! Scheduled to take an hour to travel the 10 miles from Downtown Seattle to Burien.

      • The 132 won’t be much faster. It’ll save a couple minutes by not jogging over to 1st Ave south of Safeco Field. It will be shorter, though, and twice as frequent.

        The 131 will be a whole lot faster without the scoliation through Georgetown and doing the Figure 8 to serve South Park.

        I hope we don’t have to wait until next October to make this change. The frequency should have been doubled on the 132 a year ago, as mitigation for dropping the ball on replacing the South Park Bridge. By the time the frequency is doubled, the bridge will be nearly done, and it will be time to reconsider whether the 132 is the best route for the most South Parkers to get downtown quickly.

        The 131, with the South Park Figure 8, is nearly useless. It’s ridership comes from having it halfway between 132 runs, but it really should have been streamlined last summer when the bridge closed.

  34. Anandakos says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so others may have squawked, but I will say unequivocally that people on north Phinney Ridge and Greenwood would rather get downtown rapidly than ride to Fremont. If they really want to go there they can get off at 39th and Fremont and walk three blocks.

    It’s a HUGE ERROR to force Greenwood riders through the fustercluck that is downtown Fremont and the Bridge. The #5 is one of the best routes in the system. So Metro is going to penalize them for their loyalty. Right.

    • I read a bit about the changes to route #5 and couldn’t believe it. Adding a few extra minutes to go onto Dexter instead of bypassing it along Aurora? Crazy! I ride until about 130th each day and it is already slow enough along Phinney with the Zoo and the retirement homes along there. I think it is crazy to try to make #5 into a Dexter-Fremont local run when there are already other bus routes to handle that portion. Since Metro has to cut hours, why are they cutting from already crowded routes like #5? Even late night(10pm and later), sometimes it can be difficult to find a seat.

    • Disclosure: I live in Fremont, but upper Fremont. The current 5 is my closest bus route, so the change probably makes it a little slower for me to get downtown.

      The fact that the network is totally disrupted around lower Fremont is a significant problem. You can’t easily get from upper Fremont to lower Fremont on the bus system, which is just silly when an arterial street connects them. The Interurban used to stop there on the way north, then some genius decided to vertically bypass it by building Aurora, and buses followed. That only makes sense to serve downtown commuters. But, in case you didn’t notice, there are plenty of employers in lower Fremont. Moving the *local* 5 down onto the local street serving a really important transit destination, instead of the highway bypassing it, is the right decision. I was pleasantly surprised to see it in this plan.

      For Greenwood commuters, the express 5 still gets on Aurora at 46th. Also, the 5′s corridor is right between those of the 358 and 28, both of which will run on Aurora, skipping lower Fremont’s “fustercluck”. Neither you nor I will be in a dire situation. And I think lots of people, many of whom aren’t transit riders yet, will benefit from updating the network.

      • I like to cite Lower Fremont as an example of what’s wrong with the old Metro. There are six distinct bus routes that travel on (or cross) Fremont Ave between 34th and 39th, and not one of them goes straight for the entire segment.

        It’s true that this change will slow down trips from Phinney Ridge to downtown. But as Al says, the express trips will still be there. The 358 and 28X will also provide all-day express service that bypasses Fremont and takes Aurora to downtown.

        For my part, I used to live in upper Fremont, and the lack of a bus connecting me to lower Fremont was just dumb. So I’m really excited to see this change.

  35. How the typists of W Seattle are responding:

    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/10/big-changes-proposed-for-metro-service-in-west-seattle#comments

    Personally, I love all of the changes except for the elimination of the 85. But I can just as easily ride my bike down 35th to work at 4am.

  36. Overall, the changes look good. But, there are a few things that stick out as not quite right:
    1) The 63 routing looks quite strange. Taking the bus from 20th/Ravenna to Green Lake is going to be barely faster than walking. I like the idea of the straight shot down 65th to Latona better, as anyone going to the U-district can always take the 65, 68, 75, or 372 instead.

    2) I agree with Anadakos that making the 5 go across the Fremont bridge does appear to introduce extra travel time and unreliability for no good reason. People going to Fremont should be able to walk the 3 blocks from 39th St.

    3) I like the cross-town connection that route 50 would provide, but I don’t like its loop-de-loop in SODO to stop by the Link station, as I see little reason why the Link transfer there has enough importance to justify making the bus go out of its way for it. If you’re coming from downtown, the transfer can be made in West Seattle, or, just walk a little further and take a one-seat ride on the C-line, depending on where you’re going. If coming from Beacon hill, a stop on Columbian Way is only a 1/2 mile walk. If coming from any other Link stop, you can make the transfer to the #50 at Columbia City station. Given that SODO is not a destination in and of itself, I’d rather see the #50 get through it quickly in a straight line and focus on serving West Seattle and the Ranier Valley. The service hours saved could, maybe, produce modest improvements in the route’s frequency or span.

    Stuff I like:
    1) A direct route between Ballard and Fremont
    2) Eliminating #16′s jog down Northgate Way
    3) Splitting route #75 at Northgate (if you’re going to go into the TC and layover, it’s a de-facto transfer anyway)

    • alexjonlin says:

      The 63 isn’t meant to provide service from Sand Point/Ravenna to Green Lake, it’s just meant to serve the route that the 30 currently serves from the U District to NOAA, and the route that the 26 currently serves up Latona to Green Lake, while eliminating the southern portions of both of those routes. I guess they just didn’t want to have a couple very short, low-ridership routes overlapping in the U District so they decided to through route them as the 63. Hopefully someday there will be a direct bus along 65th from Wedgwood/Ravenna to Latona/Green Lake.
      The transfer from the 50 to SODO Station is the only thing that will make the 50 work. I’m pretty sure that its intention is to provide Alki and Admiral District residents with decently frequent, all-day connections to Downtown, and the connection to Rainier Valley is more incidental. It will be nice to have that connection, but the truth is, there probably won’t be that many riders going all the way through. Most of them will be using it locally or transferring to Link.

      • Alexjonlin – if your argument is correct, the main purpose of the #50 is that people going from Alki to downtown would prefer to transfer at SODO as a transfer point vs. other alternatives. The reality is that SODO is a very ugly place to wait, especially waiting for the bus on the return trip after dark. I believe, in practice, the Water Taxi + water taxi shuttle would be a much superior option.

        Geographically, the east-west connection from West Seattle to the Ranier Valley makes a lot of sense, as it follows the standard grid principles. While the number of people who it would benefit is probably not that much, the people who would benefit from it would benefit a lot. That being said, if a straight-through route 50 would really have ridership in the toilet, maybe it’s best to not have a route from Ranier Valley->West Seattle at all, instead truncate the #39 at the VA hospital and use the saved service hours to increase frequency on the rest of the route, so it can actually be used as the Link shuttle it was originally intended to be.

      • alexjonlin says:

        What are the other alternatives along that route, though?

  37. Alex Bailey says:

    I’ve responded to some specific points that people have made, but I also wanted to post generally on what I didn’t like (overall most changes make a lot of sense and aren’t worth mentioning).

    The Route 63 is essentially redundant. Kill this route and improve frequency on Route 16. Indeed, if the Route 16 ran every 10 minutes then it could alternate between terminating in downtown and terminating in Ballard via Fremont, improving the connectivity between Fremont and Northgate/Green Lake.

    This leads to my second point, which is that Rapid Ride D should have at least a 10 minute daytime frequency. To make up for this service Route 18 should be deleted (replaced to 85th st. by an extended route 16. In order to eliminate the gaps that this change would create, the old route 17 should stay and the Route 28 should be routed via the proposed Route 24 south of Ballard and also extended to Northgate.

    Terminating the Route 27 at 12th and Yesler makes no sense. If this corridor is so important route the 14 via Yesler instead of Jackson to 12th street.

    Also surprised that the 12 survived instead of the 43, or the 11 being rerouted via Madison (for frequency purposes), and the 12 being axed.

    Finally, the proposed Route 40 and Route 50 should be consolidated into one route with 15 minute frequencies.

    • Alex Bailey says:

      Also what I said about Route 12 goes for route 14 also.

    • Alex Bailey says:

      14N that is.

    • This proposal does not list unchanged routes. The 43 and 49 are intact.

      Also, the changes here are primarily targeted at West Seattle, Ballard, and other neighborhoods receiving RapidRide. Capitol Hill changes, including things like moving the 11 to Madison, will wait until U-Link comes online.

    • I use that 26/63 route along Latona all the time. It passes by my kids’ elementary school (stop at 40th and Latona). Kill it and I end up having to walk more than two miles to get back and forth.

      There are zero alternatives other than foot for the trip at that point.

      It is *not* redundant with the 16.

      • Alex Bailey says:

        First of all I said mostly redundant. Any revenue neutral bus service change has winners and losers. I, living on Viewmont Way, experience this first hand, as buses would no longer go in front of my house (see Route 24). However, the winners will be much greater then the losers. To expect metro to provide a one seat ride from a random location in the Wallingford Greenlake area to a local elementary school is unreasonable. This one the few possible trips for which the 16 is not redundant with the 26. To expect this makes providing frequent service on other routes that connect several large employment, residential and recreational centers, such as the Route 16 or the Route 44, impossible.

      • This shows the problems in the locations of schools and residences, which make it difficult for transit to serve the area. Most of Wallingford and Latona is purely residential. There used to be local businesses on the streets where the streetcars used to run, but they’ve been turned into houses. The businesses could anchor the neighborhood better, the school could be next to the businesses, and that would give more justification for a transit line there. But the rigid zoning that produced residential-only areas hinders that.

  38. “Metro Goes Big for Fall 2012 Service Change, Fails the Frequency Test, Risks Making Things Worse

    The maps are full of interesting ideas. The possibilities they suggest: new vectors, new cross-connections, are very exciting. The plan is laden with plausible-sounding rationales and peppered with the phrase “added trips.”

    It’s easy to get excited about it. I know I did at first.

    But then you start looking at the actual headways. They’re right there, in plain sight, at the bottom of each expandable route detail.

    And they’re crushing.

    We have a brand new network where 30 minutes, or worse, remains the default. Forget all of those connections; they’ll never work right. Let the feeling that we were about to see dawn a new era of easy and successful Seattle transit wither away. Start bracing yourself to internalize a whole new litany of algorithms and back-up plans.

    There were clearly some smart, creative people behind some of these routing ideas. But, just as clearly, Metro as a whole still does not get it! Transfers that might be painless at 10 minutes are meaningless at 15-30 minutes. Very long corridors like the “new 18″ — with its many, many possible connections — might work brilliantly at high frequency, but they’re going to be reliability nightmares at the frequencies they’re being given. (A 75 that leaves its Northgate layover on time is often 10+ minutes late to Ballard at present. On the “new 18″ it won’t even be halfway through its route.)

    You can tell the mappers saw the headways on the wall and revised accordingly. The result is a very bad compromise: one-seats to downtown get replaced not with functional grids, but with one-seats between nodes, often overlapping clumsily. Thus we get “route 32,” 100% of which overlaps other, better routes. (Note: the way the Nickerson/15th interchange is set up, the westbound 32 can’t even provide a decent northbound connection to RapidRide.)

    But really, the bait-and-switch crime in today’s “goes big” blitz comes from those two fatal, completely false words: “added trips.”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to debunk these claims. The current 18 comes every 20 minutes, all day, on weekdays and Saturdays. The blurb baldly claims to “improve frequency of Route 18 during…non-peak periods.” But the “new 18,” only promises “15-30″ minutes mid-day, offering the possibility of less. Saturdays are definitively “30″ minutes. That is simply fewer. (Also, this is replacing all current 17 and 18 trips between central Ballard and downtown, 4-6 trips per hour, with as few as 2.)

    But it’s all about shifting demand to RapidRide, you remind me.

    Don’t worry. That’s the first frequency chart I discovered, the one that deflated me the most. I suggest you look at it now…

    That’s right. 15 minutes, and no better, is now the default. No better mid-day. No better weekends. No better ever. And look for Ballard RapidRide to get the same “30 minutes starting at 10 PM” treatment as other lines have gotten, never mind that current 15/18 service is 15 minutes until midnight (and with plenty of demand to justify it).

    I crunched the numbers for cumulative Ballard-downtown service. The results and crushing:

    ………………..Current 15 + 18 + 17…..“New 18 + RapidRide*
    ………………….trips per hour:…………trips per hour:

    Weekday mid-day………………8……………………………6 to 8
    Saturday daytime……………..8………………………………6
    Sunday daytime……………….6………………………………6
    Early evening………………..6………………………………6
    Late evening…………………5………………………………4

    So there you have it. Same number or worse in every time period.** Plus further walks and less pleasant station locations to add insult to injury.

    Of course, RapidRide C is getting headways as bad as 60 minutes (!) on its late-evening service… I can just see all those West Seattleites selling their cars now!

    I don’t like being lied to, and I don’t like smoke and mirrors. Neither should any of you. The more I delve into this plan, that’s all I can find.

    *No, the “new 24″ does not count for this purpose. No one in their right mind is going to ride all the way from Ballard to downtown via West Magnolia.

    **Except possibly peak one-ways. Who cares. One-way peak is already the only well-served trip of day. A pox on them for making it better while everything else gets worse.

    • zefwagner says:

      I’m having kind of the same reaction. I love the new route 18 idea, with a more direct connection to Northgate TC (I think you missed that, d.p.), and going through Fremont, but the frequencies throughout are really terrible. I’m in Portland now for school, and we are dealing with the same problem. We have a nice grid that is functionally useless much of the time because frequencies are too low. Metro is finally understanding the network idea, adapting it to the node-focused nature of the Seattle landscape (a grid doesn’t really work in much of Seattle). However, as d.p. says there is still a lot of overlapping routes and too little frequency. People really need to put pressure on the legislature to grant more tax authority to Metro, but Metro also needs to make the right choices. There are several routes here like the 14N that will be so infrequent they might as well be cancelled to give more hours to things like RapidRide.

      • zefwagner says:

        Oops, I guess the route to Northgate didn’t change from the 75 like I thought.

      • Zef, I’ll admit that the easy-to-use, logical Portland grid has worked well for me in the past. But then, I’ll also admit that I’ve rarely used it for a trip that didn’t cross the Willamette at some point.

        Question: I see that many routes that I’m sure used to run at 15 minutes all day are now running at 20 minutes mid-day. The 15 Belmont, for example. So I presume this is the result of recent service cuts.

        The cuts also look to have affected the 6 MLK and the 75 Chavez, which are pretty important to the grid.

        Do you feel like many of these transfers would work at least a bit better if 15 minutes were restored or even improved upon?

      • Silver lining: just poking around TriMet’s website, you have to admit that there are a ton of 20-minute routes that you know would be 30 on Metro’s watch.

      • Zef, did you think “Nu18″ was different, or that the 75 was?

      • zefwagner says:

        TriMet made the unfortunate decision a couple years ago to do across-the-board cuts, with some attention paid to productivity in how much was cut on each route. The Frequent Network was downgraded to every 15 minutes or better only during peak times, so a route like the 15 is more like every 17-20 minutes most of the day. It makes the grid much less useful, since transfers can take a lot longer. Another problem is that there are still large gaps in the grid–many of the crosstown routes stop and turn when they get to I-84 rather than crossing it, and there is a big gap in the SE of almost 30 blocks with no north-south service.

    • Great post. I agree completely.

    • DP, Metro probably agrees that more frequency is needed. But it doesn’t have the money. This is revenue-neutral. I would yank service on 8th NW and 32nd NW entirely and put it on the D, the 5, a UW-Ballard route, and the like, but Metro apparently thought this is already a radical change and those would be too much. We have to keep the voters’ attitudes in mind too, because they can vote to expand Metro or eliminate it. This change is a reasonable compromise, and it’s much more non-downtown centric than anything Metro has ever done. Metro never said that RapidRide frequency will never go up. Some of the routes are obviously “through-routing” that few people would take end-to-end, but that’s OK, it’s just two routes combined into one.

    • It goes without saying that I agree with the principles behind your post. I will definitely be emailing Metro (and showing up to open houses, etc.) asking for more frequency (including a 15-minute 7-day/all-day baseline on all important routes), and I hope you do too.

      However, even if the plan is adopted as written, I don’t think it will be as bad as you think.

      First of all, you can’t simply add together the number of buses in a corridor and call that the headway. For example, the 8/43 both run at 15-minute headways from Olive and Summit to John and 23rd. This means that the Olive/John/Thomas corridor has 7.5 minute headways, right? Wrong: the 8 and 43 come at almost exactly the same time, so the corridor really has 15-minute headways with double buses. (It’s agonizingly worse when both buses drop to 30-minute frequencies, yet still manage to be synchronized to come at exactly the same time.)

      In some cases, the issue is just bad planning. For the 17/18 shared corridor, it’s math. If you combine a 20-minute bus (the 18) with a 30-minute bus (the 17), here’s what you’ll get:

      2:00 – 18
      2:10 – 17
      2:20 – 18
      2:30 – nothing
      2:40 – 17 and 18
      2:50 – nothing

      That is, the effective headways are still 20 minutes, except for a small portion of every hour.

      I checked the 17 and 18 schedules, and there are in fact quite a few trips which arrive at Ballard/Market within minutes of each other. And this has been my experience making these trips as well. You’ll see a glut of buses, and then you’ll go 20 minutes without anything.

      Metro’s plan will provide 15-minute all-day service along the 18 corridor. No impedance mismatch. That’s an improvement.

      Second, the number of neighborhoods that have and need the combined 15/18 frequency is actually relatively small.

      Ballard: If you’re in Ballard and you want to wait for the first 15/18, you have to walk to 15th and Leary; that’s 0.7 miles if you’re at 24th and Market, and further if you’re anywhere north. That’s significantly further than Metro assumes most people are willing to walk to a stop.

      Interbay: Do you really think it’s worth it to have 10-minute frequency on 15th Ave NW, when most of the city is lucky to have 15-minute? In my experience, these stops are way underused compared to the rest of the route.

      LQA: LQA definitely benefits from 10-minute service. But between downtown and LQA, the 13 will provide an additional four trips. It’s possible to make the math work out, and stagger the 13 and RapidRide D to provide 7.5-minute service between downtown and 1st/Mercer. That’s not possible today (both because of the impedance mismatch and the UQA labyrinth), so again, while this represents a service hour decrease, it very well may be a frequency improvement.

      Thus, from my perspective, having only 15-minute all-day service on these routes is just dandy.

      I think it’s a much better use of our time and energy to push for expanding the frequent service network (i.e. bringing more routes up to 15-minute all-day frequency). Even if Ballard had a bus every 2 minutes, that’s no good if you can’t transfer anywhere, because all the other buses come twice an hour!

      Once we’ve built up the concept of the frequent service network, and everyone (both Metro planners and riders) understands that they’re the important routes, then we can steadily push to increase their frequency and span. Imagine the Metro change announcement: “On October 2, 2013, every frequent route in the city will be switching from 15-minute to 12-minute frequency, and frequent service will continue until midnight.” That loses its impact when you can count the number of frequent routes on two hands.

      • By the way, here are the frequent routes I allude to in my last sentence:

        - RR A
        - RR B
        - 36
        - 43
        - 44
        - 49

        Everything else on Metro’s frequent route list suffers from one or more of the following flaws:

        - No Sunday service
        - Frequent service only on a turnback
        - Frequent service only on a shared segment (i.e. 26/28, 71/72/73)

        This change adds a number of routes to that list:

        - RR C
        - RR D
        - 3
        - 5
        - 13

        I think that’s a major improvement on its own.

      • Aleks, points taken. But it’s worth noting that even your analytic has been duped by Metro’s weasel-page.

        Metro’s plan will provide 15-minute all-day service along the 18 corridor.

        “[route] 18: [mid-day] off-peak: 15-30″

        That’s as few as 2 buses per hour on 24th. It’s as few as 2 buses per hour from central Ballard toward downtown. Unacceptable, when RapidRide is no longer an acceptable alternative…

        RapidRide was promised as a 10-minute service corridor. No scheduling, no frustrating service gaps. Logical, effortless. For once.

        As everything else about RapidRide degraded, at least they continued to promise that.

        Skipping downtown Ballard isn’t ideal. But at least it’s still 10-minute service.

        Oh, they’re cutting corners on off-board payment and dedicated lanes in LQA. But at least it’s still 10-minute service.

        Great, now they through-routing it over the viaduct. But at least it’s still 10-minute service.

        And now it isn’t even that.

      • It turns out that the answer to all of your complaints is in the newly-adopted Service Guidelines.

        On page SG-8, there are two major problems.

        The first is the distinction between “very frequent” and “frequent”. It turns out that “frequent” routes can have an off-peak headway of 30 minutes! (Seriously?)

        And the second is the definition of “night”, which officially starts at 7pm — immediately after the PM peak ends.

        I know that the definition of these words is laughable, but that’s beside the point. We can push to change that in the next version of these guidelines.

        In the meantime, the most important thing we can tell Metro is that “frequent” is unacceptable. Every major Seattle route needs to be “very frequent”. And off-peak service needs to extend until 10pm at the earliest.

        I’m 100% with you that pushing for 15-minute all-day frequency on routes like this is the most important thing we can advocate for. It’s completely unacceptable to have a major corridor like this — a corridor on which we’re considering building rail — and run two buses an hour.

        I plan to write Metro, and attend open houses and hearings, and do everything I can to convince them to run “very frequent” 15-minute service on the new 18 and all similar corridors.

        Having said that, I think it’s more important to bring the frequent network up to RapidRide’s level of service than it is to bring RapidRide up to a better level. The number of routes on major corridors with 30-minute headways is ridiculous. Let’s fix that, and then we can push to change “very frequent” to be 10 minutes all day.

      • Either is better than neither.

        Here’s the thing about RapidRide: the whole idea behind BRT — even very watered-down BRT — is not just an extension of “frequent transit,” but an extension of no-brainer transit: a network that can get you between most quadrants of the city without a planning or worry. You just go to the stop, it comes, and it gets you at least within shouting distance of your destination.

        10 minutes can do that. 15 minutes really can’t.

        Ballard RapidRide was indeed marketed, like the 15th Ave monorail before it, as serving the whole of Ballard in this way. The idea that it would be appealing enough to justify walking further was integral to the plan.

        But Metro is planning as if Ballard Ave and 24th are permanently outside of RapidRide’s walkshed. RapidRide’s capacity is lower than its supposed antecedents (all six current mid-day 15s and 18s per hour do, BTW, easily have the ridership to justify their existence). The continued existence of a 24th connecting bus suggests that transfers should be made. But then neither leg has the frequency to make those transfers work, and certainly not without a schedule.

        “So frequent you won’t need a schedule.” Those words remain on RapidRide’s site. Seattle may be the only rainy, windy city on earth where transit planners can say those words, only mean “15 minutes” by them, and keep a straight face.

      • Also, if Interbay is presently overserved by the shared 15/18 corridor, than why the dumb-ass “32″?

        What a waste of service hours that could be keeping RapidRide’s broken promises.

        The 32 is easily the poster child for what’s wrong with this restructure.

      • Nothing would make me happier than a complete revamp of Metro’s route network, in which a series of mostly-straight routes ran at frequencies matching Link.

        But in practice, that’s not going to happen. Metro doesn’t have the money to run the current network (even the current frequent network) at those frequencies, and the decision-makers don’t have the political capital to impose so many cuts all at once.

        Case in point: do you *really* think that Pow and Joanna and Matt Davish and ALS wouldn’t be complaining if all these new routes had 5-minute frequency? To me, it’s very clear that they’re interested in a one-seat ride from their origin to their destination, anything else be damned.

        I understand where they’re coming from — transfers *are* often very awkward in the current network. And I hope that someday, we can build a network where transfers are accepted and normal, because every route is so frequent.

        But we can’t do it all at once.

        So, as far as I’m concerned, we have two options.

        The first is to push for RapidRide to live up to its name. This means 10-minute base frequency, and 15-minute night frequency (after 10pm). Same as Central Link.

        The second is to push for expanding the frequent network. This means increasing the number of routes with 15-minute base frequency and 30-minute night frequency (after 10pm).

        It’s possible to push for both. But inevitably, these will come into conflict. Metro is already agreeing to delete lots of 30-minute buses to low-density neighborhoods, and I highly doubt that they’ll be willing to delete any more to bring RapidRide up to Link frequency. Thus, any service hours we spend on boosting RapidRide to Link frequencies will come at the expense of the frequent network (meaning, more 30-minute buses like the 18 might be).

        So, which should be our higher priority?

      • Also, if Interbay is presently overserved by the shared 15/18 corridor, than why the dumb-ass “32″?

        Damned if I know. Seems like it would be way better to make the 31 a 15-minute bus, skip the 24, and use its hours to bolster the 18. (Now that’s a concrete change we can propose.)

      • Morgan, I do get the “perils of succeeding on average” thing. I didn’t mean to imply that the 17 and 18 were perfectly staggered from Ballard to downtown — there are a few times (afternoon rush hour, daytime Sundays) when they couldn’t be worse-staggered.

        But from my experience, even when the 17 and 18 come two minutes apart (by bad scheduling or by lateness), there are still people arriving at the Market/Ballard stop to get on the second bus. That’s how high the demand is at that stop, that there are always new riders coming and waiting.

        Given the level of demand that already exists (and gets underserved) in Old Ballard, it’s quite an intimidating proposition to relocate that demand 1/2 mile away. That’s a lot of people that you’re asking to relocate the start and end of their trips. So you’d better not skimp on the service they get if they agree to do it.

        Hence…

        RapidRide, at frequencies that are mathematically unable reduce the mean trip time, will not give riders a valid reason to make the trek over to 15th.

        And thus…

        Having failed to cause the Old Ballard demand to relocate, it would be disingenuous to claim that the “new 18″ should not be used for downtown trips or or should be subject to reduced frequencies.

        Aleks, my vote is for ramping up the pressure to return RapidRide to 10 minutes. Even though that means a lot more walking for me. It’s the right precedent to set.

        That said, I think it would be fair also to push for making sure the new 18 maintains an uninterrupted 15 minutes during the daytime (dropping to 30 at 6:00). That’s still same-or-better than the current 18, and is fitting for a prominent RapidRide-connecting service, while acquiescing to the reality that RapidRide is the new full-time spine for Ballard-downtown trips.

        (p.s. Morgan, I get that Jarrett’s “pulse” post talks about 20-minute buses clashing with 30-minute buses, and that’s why you included it. But in general, talk of pulses should be moot in big-city transit, except for very late-night service. The need to be able to get anywhere and to transfer anywhere makes the idea of buses only leaving any starting points at infrequent intervals blood-curdling. Inversely, the interconnectedness of a city — I would argue that’s a big part of what defines a “city” — is what enables transit to find demand along anywhere along its route at all times, without having to rely upon a clumsy and artificial “transit center” to provide all of its passenger.)

      • Making an edit that I haven’t been clear enough about in any post on the subject:

        “RapidRide, at frequencies that are mathematically unable reduce the mean trip time or even to reduce the maximum trip time (thanks to the minimum walk + maximum wait) will not give riders a valid reason to make the trek over to 15th.”

    • This is true for the assumption that those on the #2, #11, and #12 want to transfer to get any destination at all including the light rail. Few riders into the the city are headed for the ferry during the day. Forcing all these transfers is destructive to the support that Metro has enjoyed in Seattle.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Improving reliability on the 2 and 12 and eliminating the turning movements onto 3rd will improve the experience of everyone who travels on 3rd ave or the 2 or the 12, while only slightly inconveniencing the comparatively small number of people who ride the 2 or 12 from the north.

        Improving ridership and reliability will not destroy support for Metro; quite the opposite.

  39. Wow. This change is a complete disaster for my family.

    I don’t see the value of trading in the local 26 to downtown for a direct connection to Sandpoint.

    On the rare occasions that I take a bus to Sandpoint, I’m fine with a transfer to the 30. Push me over to the 16 for my commute and you add a whopping 30 minutes of walking to my commute, 30 minutes walking in the rain. Yuck.

    I could take the new 63 over to the U district . Of course, I gave up commuting from the U district not for those reasons but because I was being left behind by over crowded buses. Not acceptable when you are trying to get to work on time.

    Finally what’s the direct connection between Wallingford and Fremont now? My husband commutes to Fremont for work and I take the 26 between Fremont and Wallingford when delivering and picking up my kids from their friend’s houses, or taking the family out to shop or eat in Fremont.

    This change breaks just about everything for us. It will drive us from being a current car-less family to being a car owning family.

    • Wallingford and freemont will be better connected in this plan, with the 31 and 32 serving the area. As for your ride to downtown, as I understand it the 26 express will still be there, and have you considered the 45th st. freeway station? I don’t think the situation is as bad as you think it is.

      • I don’t see how Wallingford and Fremont will be better connected – the 32 is just taking over the current 26 runs on N 40th so from South Wallingford it would be the same and from north of N 40th you would need to transfer.

        The 45th St. Freeway Station is only convenient for folks who live right near 45th and the 510/511 don’t serve it during rush hours.

      • Will Douglas says:

        The 26 is a good route and heavily used along the “tail” from Fremont to East Green Lake. It provides a good connection from residential Wallingford to both Fremont and Downtown, which seems like a desirable connection to keep. Wallingford is going to revolt against this proposal, and we’ll see if it has any impact.

      • We probably have different definition of Wallingford. I live in upper Wallingford N of 50th. Sure I can still get from here to Fremont with a transfer.

        There are two places I mainly go on the bus, Downtown and Fremont. Both of those will now take transfers on 40th. Downtown could also be transfer less, but takes a substantial walk to the16.

        It’s doable, but it’s slower, wetter and unpleasant.

        I’m especially not fond of waiting on 40th for transfers with the two small kids I invariably have in tow.

        I’m better connected to Sandpoint, but is there really high demand for a route from Greenlake to Sandpoint? I take the bus there a couple of times a year.

        Taking the freeway station won’t save me any walking time. I’m not close enough to 45th.

        Trust me the situation is as bad as I think. I have never owned a car and have taken every which way of bus combos in my neighborhood many times. Unless I missed some new route, this make 95% of my riding much slower, adds too much walking and takes away direct routes to the destinations I need.

      • The 45th freeway stop is not useful at rush hours, but a number of buses stop just before the Ravenna onramp to the I-5 express lanes and head directly to downtown at rush hours. For some set of people north of 50th, that may be the most convenient way into downtown.

        I wonder if it would be desirable to re-route the north leg of the 16 over to Latona at 56th (following the old streetcar route) to blunt some of the negative effects of removing the 26 for Northeast Wallingford.

      • alexjonlin says:

        The purpose of this route is not at all to provide service from Wallingford/Green Lake to Sand Point; it’s to replace off-peak Downtown service on a local route with transfers to Downtown-bound buses at the U District, in order to decrease service duplication. Then they decided to through-route it with the 30 from the U District to Sand Point. I’m having trouble understanding exactly what trip would get substantially harder in this case. Yes, you’ll have to transfer, but there will be a lot of different frequent routes that you’ll have the option of transferring to, and the fact that the 26 will now go to the U District will mean that you’ll have greater regional connectivity.

      • @alexjonlin

        Here’s why this sucks. On the way Downtown it’s probably about the same amount of time that the 26 local takes including the transfer (provided you can get on one of the 70s) but on the way back it will likely completely suck because the 63 is on a 30 minute frequency. Metro is trying to act like it has the frequency and reliability to make a node system work but that really isn’t the case. Asking current single-seat riders to give up their service will likely discourage bus ridership. Even with a similar or shorter trip Downtown via 63/70s the hassle factor is a lot higher.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        @Will Douglas

        The tail of the 26 past 45th St is not well used at all in my experience. That part of the service would not be proposed for such a cut as this if it was well used.

      • Metro is trying to act like it has the frequency and reliability to make a node system work but that really isn’t the case.

        Kevin wins the thread. If Metro has actual frequency and reliability on any of these proposed routes, Pow wouldn’t even be here. He’d have have zero trepidation at all.

        Restructuring + lies doesn’t end well.

        (That said, I’m a little perplexed by Pow’s “30 minutes walking in the rain” from the 26 to the 16. North of 50th, the two routes are never more than 1700 feet from each other. That’s a 7-minute walk.)

      • Alex Bailey says:

        I would second Steve’s idea for a slighly meandering Route 16 through North Wallingford. While not ideal, the walkshed between Greenlake park and I-5 is too small (nor dense enough) for two routes, but too big for one straight shot route. This would be a better comprimise then the proposed Route 63. Also, one way or another, Route 16 should find its way to Fremont, and indeed may be a better candidate for providing Dexter Ave service then the Route 5.

      • @ Bruce-

        My experience on the 26 north of 45th is that the usage is reasonably high (and comparable to the end of other routes). In looking at the proposal they’re actually not cutting service frequency along the corridor through much of the day (so it’s not a low productivity cut) but they’re sending it to the new nodes thereby undermining reliability and convenience throughout the neighborhood. Ultimately the cannibalized remains of the 26 local are the 63 from Green Lake to the U District and then the 32 to Fremont – both running at 2x/hour which is what the 26 does now. So you’re running the same number of buses just away from where people in the neighborhood have typically travelled on the 26 (Fremont and Downtown).

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        “Compared to the tails of other routes” is kind of the issue. Much of the point of this restructure is terminating routes at ridership centers so you don’t have routes that start strong and fizzle out to five people by the time they’re 2/3rds to the end. My experience of the 26 (riding it off-peak) is that ridership falls off a cliff after Fremont. There are some routes (e.g. 1, 10) where you really can’t achieve that easily, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

        While we’re on the subject of East Green Lake and the 16, I strongly suspect that moving the 16 of Northgate Way will make it much more reliable heading southbound. If Metro had the gumption to eliminate the Seattle Center detour on the 16, I suspect the improved reliability in both directions would steal more riders from the current 26, even had the network remained otherwise unchanged.

      • There’s already an incentive to use the 16 over the 26: Aurora instead of Dexter.

  40. Will Douglas says:

    The focus on “productivity” is self-defeating. The goal of transit advocates should be to expand not only the frequency of service but also its geographic reach. There should be no joy in cutting off routes to neighborhoods or entire regions. Our goal ought to be to provide an alternative to driving to as many people as possible.

    We do ourselves no favors by playing within a box of reduced revenues and therefore finding ways to do Metro’s dirty work for them. Our job should be to expand the pool of available funding to improve frequency, to ensure most people in Seattle are within reasonable walking distance of a bus, and to help improve the available bus service in outlying areas.

    The problem with focusing on productivity and ridership is it is always looking backward and not forward. It relies on past trends at the expense of future opportunities. A transit system should be managed to provide good service to as many people as possible, damn the cost. It’s that latter part that is hanging us up.

    Improved political support for more bus funding will never be achieved by taking this approach. There is no political constituency for it. People want better bus service near their home. Why not provide that to them? Why waste all this time trying to tell people why they’re wrong to want a single-seat ride to downtown? Each time you say that, you’re taking a pro-transit voter and turning them into an anti-transit voter. It makes no sense.

    • How do you propose financing such an expansive network?

    • alexjonlin says:

      But if you cut off-peak service to an area with 10 units per acre in order to provide 7-days-a-week frequent service to an area with 50 units per acre, aren’t you better serving more people?

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      You are wrong in every respect. How does increasing transit ridership cause a loss of transit voters? There are no neighborhoods being completely cut off, and certainly no regions. Suggesting what we should do things, “damn the cost” is idiotic, and is what got us in to this mess.

    • Will Douglas, thank you for your comments.

    • These goals are complementary, not mutually exclusive. We are trying to expand transit throughout the city. But efficiency is also good, if we can serve more riders and more diverse trips with the same number of bus hours. A 20 MPG car gives you the same quality as a 40 MPG car, it just eats up more gas and money. None of the streets that are losing bus service have frequent service now; they just have marginal service that’s only halfway useful. We do want to serve these areas in a smarter way rather than abandoning them, but sometimes you have to make tradeoffs. We’re also in an anti-tax climate where voters are reluctant to pass even a $60 fee for minor improvements. In that climate you can’t ask them to approve $300 for major improvements. You just make incremental improvements whenever you can, and they add up over time.

    • Thank you for this post. It seems like we need some balance here. The constant reiteration of reliability and frequency, seems to turn this into a virtual game and does not address the needs of people.

      Many are trying to address accessibility, convenience, and even safety on a slightly different level, maybe more on the ground.

      Some points are the importance of rider access from home and to work, businesses, transportation centers, and services, Light Rail, retail cores, theaters and entertainment, and schools. Along with this are the numerous issues of safety, access, and convenience faced at each transfer point (all different depending on age, number of items or small children carried, and physical well-being.) Time spent transferring and possibility of loosing items are issues even for the most athletic.

      Then on top of this the plan ignores some obvious redundancy or duplication of services for instance on Broadway or in the U District. Please don’t take me as an advocate for changes in those areas. I have not studied them. However, with light rail in some areas and coming to others, the plan does not do anything to explore ways that maybe that can be better integrated. Considerations do not seem fair and balanced. Riders are the main advocates for mass transit and they can be useful in promoting its use.

  41. The 5 going through Fremont is sort of a mixed bag for me. It will be nice to have a direct route to the core of Fremont. However, the 5 is utterly unreliable schedule-wise and I feel that routing it through Fremont would make it even worse (if that’s possible). And of course the increased travel time to downtown is a little annoying. But if they make up for it with increased frequencies, then that’s cool. The part of the route on Phinney is ripe for a bus stop diet. There are stops practically every block for a good stretch.

  42. Whatever happened to an Express Bus, lake to sound and back, along Madison/Marion? Is it no longer being considered? I live along Madison and work downtown. These proposes make it so I have to walk half a mile up hill to catch the 12 or half a mile/transfer downtown just to get to the business district. In my opinion, these are both horrible prospects.

    • alexjonlin says:

      The 11 will serve Madison east of 15th, and the 12 will serve it west of 15th, with both going Downtown… What’s the issue?

      • Transfers, walking up the hills in the rain, infrequent 12 service with the alternating 2 that goes out to sea IMO, 40+ minutes to travel two miles. Metro will drive me back to using my car.

      • Alex: You’re assuming that everyone on Madison wants to go downtown. What if you want to go from Madison to… Madison? :P

        I do think the lack of connectivity from 23rd/Madison to First Hill is a problem, and so I’m looking forward to the inevitable rerouting of the 11 along Madison.

        That said…

        ALS: The 11 isn’t being straightened out now because it’s out of scope for this change. The only change to the 11 is breaking the through-route with the 125 (and possibly increasing its frequency, though that may just be an error in the document).

        I agree with you that the current system is not ideal, but I don’t understand how the current changes will affect you for the worse. The 11 and 12 will not be changing in any way — neither one will become any less frequent. What trip are you taking now that won’t be possible with these changes?

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        I also don’t have a clue what change ALS could be talking about that have the described effects.

      • (and possibly increasing its frequency, though that may just be an error in the document).

        Yes, an error. In the document. That’s it.

        All of Metro’s empty promises, broken promises, easily debunked promises… they all must have been “errors in the document.”

      • d.p., I think you misunderstood me. According to the page, the 11 will see a massive improvement in frequency, from 30-minute all-day to 15-minute all-day. And yet the description of the route change says nothing about this.

        Surely, if Metro was doubling service hours on the 11, they would have at least mentioned that they were “adding trips”, right? :)

        Given that — and given the fact that this proposal is primarily about Ballard and West Seattle, not Capitol Hill — I think it’s much more likely that the person responsible for filling in estimated headways simply forgot that the 11 isn’t a frequent route, or even just made a typo.

      • d.p.’s sarcasm does belittle a good point, though. While some larger moves, like the watering down of RapidRide, can’t be defended, it sounds like there are so many boneheaded errors in this document that the gulf between Metro’s hype and reality may not be so much malicious so much as the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

    • I have never heard of a Madison express. Seattle’s TMP recommends a Madison corridor from the ferry to 23rd, which would have some number of trolley routes, possibly the existing 11 and 12. But it would not be express, just frequent.

      Various previous speculations have suggested moving the 11 from Pine to Madison, making it frequent, and electrifying it. Metro has been lukewarm about this idea because it would be further from a Link station. But they might get more enthusiastic about it in the future, especially if Seattle recommends it. There will be a Capitol Hill reorganization in 2016 with Link, and that would be the most likely time to change the 11.

      • Mike, the TMP absolutely suggests upgrading Madison to BRT standards: Limited stops, near-level-boarding bus bulbs, signal priority, etc. But only from downtown to 23rd, as you say.

        It’s the one recommendation in the TMP with which I fully agree. It would solve a lot of problems for both First Hill and south/east Capitol Hill. It’s a crime that there’s no non-excruciating way to travel east-west in this city, something that Link on Broadway won’t really help much, and BRT-ized Madison could be a game-changer in that department.

        I think counter-flow lane on Madison to keep the buses from having to fight Marion traffic should be required before “BRT” could begin to apply, though.

      • I didn’t see limited-stop in the description of Madison. It mentioned possibly using the 11 and 12 instead of adding a new BRT route. The 11 and 12 can’t be converted to limited-stop without closing bus stops. And Madison is not really long enough to require a limited. Although a bus that stopped only at 3rd, Summit, Broadway, 12th, and 23rd would provide a new kind of bus service in the area.

      • And Madison is not really long enough to require a limited.

        The current speed of service demonstrates otherwise.

        Anyway, here’s the proposed map:
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/07/28/tmp-hct-analysis-v-madison/

        They’re suggesting Colman, 1st, 4th, Boren, Broadway, 12th, 18th, 23rd.

        Of course, you can always quibble with those specifics. And they also include a silly branching suggestion (involving backtracking to 19th/Interlaken) that would screw up inbound reliability on the BRT. And why pay any capital cost for BRT start-up and not bother to put in a Madison Ave counterflow?

        But it has in it the makings of a game-changing cross-city travel spine.

    • I agree that there is little consideration for the actual destinations of riders and there needs.

  43. alexjonlin says:

    23rd & Jackson, a dense (and continually densifying), high ridership area, will now have only one bus to Downtown that will have at maximum 20 minute frequencies. It appears that the idea of the Central Streetcar going up Jackson to MLK has been abandoned as well. I can understand the problems with this: there are already two extremely well-served corridors that turn off Jackson at around 14th, and it would be hard to justify having buses going up there every 2 minutes, but I still feel like 23rd & Jackson deserves frequent service.
    I’m also worried that the 18, being such a long, winding route, will end up being quite unreliable and we’ll be talking about splitting it up in Ballard pretty soon (the L18?). Don’t know how to resolve that one.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      RE: 23 and Jackson: How many serve it now? I only know of the 14, and the 27 with a walk. I’m not happy the 27 is going away.

      Oh, and it lists 15 minute minimum intervals for the 14.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        It seems that with the 27 going away past 12th they should at least give those minutes to the 14.

      • 15 minutes during *peak*.

        I say euthanize the 27, and boost the 14 to 15-minute all-day frequency. And once we get that new wire along Yesler (and the streetcar along Jackson), we can maybe use that wire to speed up the 14, too.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Interesting. So with wires, basically keep the 27 up until 23rd, then hop over to Jackson and follow where the 14 goes? We could hop over to Jackson earler, but not at 14th – that intersection is a nightmare at Jackson. I’m actually concerned about the 1st Hill streetcar there – if they don’t get signal priority it could be a serious bottleneck.

      • alexjonlin says:

        Yeah that would actually be a great solution. There’s already a ton of service on Jackson west of the 14th, so just route the 14 to serve Yesler Terrace, then hop over to Jackson along, say, 18th, which is wider than a typical neighborhood street. Would make the 14 faster, and give justification for frequent service from Downtown to both Yesler Terrace and 23rd & Jackson.

    • I expect one Metro answer will be, take the 3 and transfer to the 48. With current 14 headways, that or walking up from 12th (7/36) and Jackson are probably the fastest ways from downtown.

  44. If I’m forced out of the 26 route to the 16 for my trips to downtown, this adds 2 miles of walking to my day.

    This seems like a lot to me. Is there any data on how far a walk the average bus user takes to get to a downtown route?

    Does Metro have any standards for how much of a bus commute should consist of walking? In this case the walking will take nearly as long as the bus trip itself.

    I’m already spending roughly 50 minutes on the bus for rides that take 20 by car. Moving to the 16 adds walking which pushes the total commute to 76 minutes/day, almost four times as long as a car trip. That’s a serious sacrifice.

    This 26 route change just sounds like a disaster.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      What intersection is near you? I can’t find anywhere that would end up with a mile walk each way that was served by the 26 – especially adding an extra mile each way.

      • The places where the 26 is farthest from the 16 are in east Wallingford, south of 45th. It’s not a mile to Stone Way, but it’s more than a half-mile, and there are some pretty steep hills. When I lived in that area I usually took the ST510/511 to get downtown outside of peak hours. It’s more frequent and usually faster than the 26, but not especially reliable because of I-5 traffic, and the bus stop is a pit (it would be better if the absentee owners of the lot behind the bus stop would maintain their property… when I lived nearby and used that stop regularly I used to sweep out litter and trim bushes around the bus stop).

        If the new scheme goes into place, the easiest walk to a one-seat ride downtown for some former 26 riders might be Eastlake and 40th. That means it might be the fastest way downtown in some circumstances.

      • Changing bus routes and stops affects one’s walk on both ends of the trip. For me, taking the 16 adds a few blocks of walking at the north end of the trip (which is reasonable) but many more blocks of walking (along Mercer and under Aurora) at the south end of my trip.

        My commute has changed in recent years to go to South Lake Union instead of downtown, and there the 16 and 26 are not redundant. Because the 16 travels on the west side of Aurora southbound, it’s not trivial for me (and many others heading to SLU) to use the 16 as an alternative.

        Similarly, residents of the east side of Wallingford might appear to have the option of going to the U District for other buses to downtown and SLU, but at peak times in the morning the 44 bus can get full before getting to I-5, forcing riders to wait for the next bus or to make a long walk.

        In both SLU and Wallingford, riders are separated from bus routes that look close on a map, but are separated by either Aurora and I-5, which have limited crossing points. This means that seemingly parallel routes cannot be accessed easily.

      • Erma,

        The “linear neighborhood” problem you describe is well understood. That’s why Metro continues to run parallel service on Taylor, Aurora, Dexter, and Westlake, even though that would be way too much service if not for the elevation and the pseudo-highway nature of Aurora.

        In particular, there’s a tension due to the lack of canal crossings. The Fremont Bridge is a reliability killer, but south of the bridge, Aurora is dead until you get to Denny.

        In a perfect world, I think the best solution would be to build another bridge. A Stone Way bridge, for example, would allow the 16 to be rerouted along Westlake. That would provide the service to SLU that you (and other people) want, without slowing down everyone else by sending it through Fremont.

        Until then, the best I could recommend is to take the 44 (or the 31/32) west to the 5, and then take the 5 south to your destination on Dexter.

    • The description on the 2N says:

      “The distance from current stops to new ones would be less than four-tenths of a mile.”

      In general, I believe Metro assumes that the walkshed of a stop is about 1/4 mile. Thus, Metro aims to run buses with 1/4 mile stop spacing, and where parallel routes are at least 1/2 mile apart.

      For unproductive routes, Metro is willing to ask people to walk a bit further. That is, rather than run two unproductive infrequent services at 1/2 mile spacing, Metro would prefer to run one frequent service, and ask riders to walk the extra.

      However, there is pretty much no way that Metro expects anyone to walk a mile to the nearest bus stop.

      That said, I second Matt’s surprise at your claim. In a different thread, you said that you lived north of 50th. If you lived right in front of a 26 stop, then the furthest you might have to walk to a 16 stop is 0.4 mi. That’s less than a mile of extra walking, roundtrip, to go from your home to downtown. And the 63 will bring you directly to your kids’ elementary school, without any extra walking required.

      Can you describe the commute you take now, and the commute you think you would have to take (including the two miles of walking)?

      • Frequency, frequency, frequency. If the connection worked, Pow wouldn’t even be here venting.

        Also, kind of sucks that the 16 never connects with the 31 and the new 3s2pid.

      • Frequency, frequency, frequency. If the connection worked, Pow wouldn’t even be here venting.

        The fact that multiple people are complaining about the #2 reroute suggests that you’re wrong. ;)

        Also, kind of sucks that the 16 never connects with the 31 and the new 3s2pid.

        Can’t disagree there.

    • I’m not sure where Pow lives, but I have lived around NE 58th and 5th NE. At peak times, the 26X is good, and it’s easy enough to walk over to the Ravenna onramp and catch a 76/64 downtown, so killing the 26 at peak times wouldn’t make any difference to me. Off-peak, I tried walking to the 510/511 stop, but it was kind of a hike and the stop was a terrible place to wait for unreliable buses. It was much nicer to walk a block and catch the 26, whose schedule was predictable, if infrequent. Coming back from downtown, I’d usually take whichever of the 16 and 26 came first, so the infrequency wasn’t a big deal.

      I don’t live there anymore, but if I did, I doubt I’d ever take the 63 — I’d walk to the U-district if I wanted to go to the U-district, and I’d walk over to the 16, or maybe to Roosevelt to catch the 66 to go downtown. Transferring to buses that are guaranteed to bunch and be overcrowded (i.e. the 70 series) isn’t a picnic.

      I’m not saying everyone deserves a 1-seat ride downtown. If the tail of the 26 is rarely used off-peak, maybe it’s right to kill it. The question is just whether putting the hours somewhere else increases ridership there enough to offset the ridership lost by deleting the 26 tail.

  45. This really will be a vast improvement. I look forward to it. Especially with the 75 split!!

  46. Ok, I will say that Metro’s communication on this has not been fair. The email announcement that I received did not provide the link to the details so that riders and residents could see how the outline (I would say propaganda but don’t want to become engaged in a discussion regarding the definition and whose propaganda it is.) played out in their communities. I happened to find it in exploring how the new plans might help me get around in West Seattle better. I had always found my rare trips to West Seattle to be a challenge on Metro I am truly disheartened and doubt that I am alone among Metro riders and supporters. I appreciate that those who maintain this blog are excited about mass transit. However, there seems to be little understanding of the impact on communities and people who live. Just a little background in sociology, anthropology, experience in living with and without various burdens and joys, injuries, babies, groceries, and all the pieces of a total life would help. For instance, I think almost everyone is will to spend another extra few minutes on a bus to get them where they are going without a transfer. The expense of a redesign that forces a transfer is a waste of time and resources. The current plan shown for the #2 is one example. The only people for whom this is useful is the ferry rider and the person from the CD going to the ferry. Once or twice in a year that is my destination compared to almost daily rides to downtown retail or to other meetings around Town Hall, the library, Belltown, and Horizon House.

    In this plan there is an insinuation of duplication of services for the #10 and #2. This is not true. They are completely different routes serving different communities. I am not saying ferry riders don’t deserve service. I sat next to a mom going to a special private school on E. Union who lived on one of the islands. This new #2 would serve her well, but who knows that the regional school will continue to be housed there and her child will grow up and leave the school, and oh, she is one and thousands would not be served. Perhaps you could look at some special route that circulated to serve ferry riders. I know there are already a number to lower Queen Ann. This service should not be at the expense of the area residents who are also trying to get to work, meetings, jobs, hospitals, libraries, and events in downtown, Belltown and Queen Ann.

    • I probably should have said the implication is a duplication of services for the #2, #11, and #12. Still it is not true.

    • alexjonlin says:

      It’s true that forcing transfers can seem like a hassle to the average rider, and so us transit nerds need to do a better job convincing the public that it is better for them. Under the current system, we have a ton of infrequent routes zig-zagging all over the place. Under this plan, we are at least moving towards a grid-based system, which would be composed of frequent straight routes going up and down major arterial corridors. Right now, if you’re trying to get from one place to another, you might go out to the stop and wait over half an hour for the bus. Under a well-designed grid system, you would wait just a few minutes for one bus, then wait just a few minutes to catch your transfer to the next bus, and get anywhere in the city. Here’s a good article: http://www.humantransit.org/2010/02/the-power-and-pleasure-of-grids.html

      • The problem with Metro’s plan is they want to move towards the grid without providing the frequency so we’ll have the worst of both worlds – an infrequent grid that sacrifices convenience and reliability. This will have a real impact on actual riders (the people who actually pay for the system and hope to use it to get to work, etc.).

      • It’s a step towards gridded.

        It’s not a step towards frequent gridded. It just isn’t.

        If you try to “convince the public” of something that’s not true (that infrequent transfers work), you’re going to get a lot of really unhappy customers.

      • [jinx]

      • While, on paper, a grid system seems like “forcing” transfers, in practice, it is often possible to walk the shorter segment of the grid to avoid the transfer. If walking is too slow, you can walk faster, or even bike – it’s in your control.

        Furthermore, a transfer doesn’t always mean a complete waste of time sitting at a bus stop – rather, it can mean an opportunity to chain trips together and get some shopping done on the way to or from other places. On the other hand, with a system focused on infrequent routes that avoid transfers, you don’t dare drop anywhere along a route because who knows how long you’ll have to wait to get back on a bus again. So, every errand has to be accomplished with a completely separate trip.

      • @Eric-

        I think you’re forgetting that there are a lot of folks who depend on the buses who have limited mobility – the idea of walking to the next line on the grid is unrealistic and transfers can be time consuming and physically taxing.

        Transfers as an opportunity for running errands seems a bit far fetched to me. The reality is more like being trapped in an airline’s hub and spoke system – stuck in the Omaha airport because that’s how they decided to get you from Seattle to Philadelphia – not because you want to be there or have anything to do while you’re there. The transfer points I would need to use under the current plan are either on residential streets or over by the U.

      • Eric, you are correct on the principle.

        You also appear to be under the impression that frequency is improving under Metro’s new plan.

        Look at the charts. It really isn’t.

        Walking further doesn’t help when you still need two buses (even after the walk), and when your wait for each could still be 14 or 29 minutes.

        Mid-trip stops and errands don’t get any more appealing when that’s the time you’ll be waiting in the cold.

  47. My experience with Metro is that if you want the system to be usable for more than getting to a tiny handful of specific destinations, there is an overriding rule that the faster and further you are able to move under your own power, the more usable and reliable the bus system becomes.

    For example, I live in the Ravenna neighborhood and, on paper, I should be disappointed that getting to Fremont would require the T-word, with the #30 being split into a 63 and 31/32. In practice, I’ve come to the conclusion over the past year or so that biking down the Burke-Gilman is faster than more reliable than any bus serving that corridor will ever be, and I will continue doing that. So, if the #30 is going away, I won’t miss it, nor do I anticipate riding the #63 replacement more than a few times a year, if that, because every trip I could possibly make on it, I could do faster by walking or biking.

    The buses I do use, and will continue to use, however, are the buses that move in straight lines, down major arterials, or freeways, preferably at a reasonable pace. Currently, this consists mostly of Sound Transit buses, however, the 75, 358 and D-line fit the style of the type of routes I am interested in. (The 44 and 48 are nice and straight, but, alas, excruciatingly slow). I try to avoid buses that do crazy loop-de-loops in the middle of the route, but in our present network that is, unfortunately, not always possible.

    • Eric, you are correct on the principle.

      You also appear to be under the impression that frequency is improving under Metro’s new plan.

      Look at the charts. It really isn’t.

      Walking further doesn’t help when you still need two buses (even after the walk), and when your wait for each could still be 14 or 29 minutes.

      Mid-trip stops and errands don’t get any more appealing when that’s the time you’ll be waiting in the cold.

      Also, it a is reasonable to assume that most able-bodied people can walk a reasonable distance year-round is. It is not reasonable to expect most people to lug bicycles and helmets anywhere they go in their day, to ride them at night and in the pouring rain, just to access your system. (That’s also unsustainable, as your bike racks would be full from minute one.)

      • Also, it is reasonable to assume that most able-bodied people can walk a reasonable distance year-round to a transit service that is actually frequent and fast.

        It is not reasonable to expect everyone to lug bicycles and helmets everywhere they go in their day, or to ride them at night and in the pouring rain, just to access your system. (That’s also unsustainable, as your bike racks would be full from minute one.)

      • “It is not reasonable to expect most people to lug bicycles and helmets anywhere they go in their day, to ride them at night and in the pouring rain, just to access your system.”

        I recently bought a foldable kick scooter to address that specific issue. It provides almost all the benefits of a bike for short distances, but without the hassles – no need to park it, no need to depend on limited bus rack space, no chains and derailleurs to adjust, no rubber tires to check and fill, and with slower travel speeds, I usually don’t bother with helmets either. All for about $250, which is cheaper than the average bike.

        Also, while a cruising of 10 mph isn’t as good as a regular bike, it’s still good enough as a backup option for when a bus doesn’t show up. A couple weeks ago, when a #75 let me down, I scootered all the way from Sand Point to Crown Hill. Travel time (once I gave up on the bus) – about 55 minutes, only about 10 minutes longer than the bus would have taken.

        Night and rain are also solvable problems. I deal with night by using lights. The same lights that they sell at bike shops work for scooters too! Cold and rain are easily solved with a good rain jacket, hat, and pair of gloves. When there’s ice, well, I can still leave the scooter at home and use my feet and the bus.

        Kick scooters are wonderful devices and I highly recommend them for anyone living in Seattle without a car.

      • dp – a lot of the point of walking further is so you don’t turn a 2-seat ride into a one-seat ride, so you don’t need to transfer. Plus, you’re in control of your pace, which means you can pick it up a notch is OneBusAway says to will allow you to catch a bus you’d otherwise miss and have to wait 30 minutes for. On the other hand, if you’re going bus->bus instead of foot->bus, the pace of the bus is completely out of your control. If one person arguing with the driver over fares delays you just enough so you get to watch your connecting bus leave without you, it’s tough. With walking, unless you’re disabled, that’s almost never the case.

        My comments here are also backed up by my personal experience. Where I live, I can get a one seat ride almost anywhere in North Seattle, in addition to downtown, Lynnwood, Shoreline, Everett, Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland, provided I am willing to go the first 1-2 miles under my own power. Through downtown, a two-seat ride provides access to most of south seattle, the airport, Tacoma, and pockets of south King County (and on occasion, I will even force those trips into a one-seat ride through a bike or taxi ride to downtown).

        Drop the willingness to travel under my own power, however, and the usability of the bus drops significantly. All of a sudden, everywhere would require at least one transfer, often 2 or 3, except for the U-district, Fremont, and Sandpoint (plus a few more places on weekdays, and a few more during rush hour). Trips would take considerably longer than they actually take today and travel times would be wildly unpredictable, depending on when buses decide to show up.

        The fact that I have the willingness and equipment to use my own power for the short “shuttle” parts of trips, rather than depend on a motorized vehicle for everything allows me to travel almost anywhere I want without a car, with the appropriate walk/bike/bus combination, often in not that much more time than driving would take. Plus, the exercise does a wonderful job of keeping me in shape – the more I do it, the easier it gets.

        On the hand, if I were really constrained to use the bus the way planners typically envision it (maximum self powered distance 1/4 mile at 2-3 mph), while I could get by that way for a short time in response to a temporary injury, in the long term, I would quickly conclude the bus to be a piece of crap, buy a car, and go back to driving everywhere like I used to do.

      • Good suggestion, Eric. That’s the problem I have with bikes, they’re like cars but with fewer needs. Folding bikes reduce the burden somewhat but good ones are pricey for covering a short distance (up to a mile).

        Do you have suggestions on places to buy kick scooters?

        Apparently scooters are also popular in France. And they’re also fun freestyle, like BMX and skateboards.

      • A lot of the point of walking further is so you don’t turn a 2-seat ride into a one-seat ride.

        Eric, I am willing and able and frequently do walk great distances — far greater than any other Seattleites I know would be willing in our often pedestrian-hostile city.

        The truth is that my willingness to walk does not, in fact, buy me any better transit options.

        1 mile of walking buys me an additional north-south options 28 (on top my front-door 18 and 17 and half-mile 15). Not very helpful: it is rare that walking to the 28 will get me downtown any faster than waiting for the others. Walking to the 28 also will not get me to Fremont faster than waiting for the 17, nor provide me any otherwise unavailable destinations.

        2 miles of walking would buy me access to the 5 and the 48. But both of these walks involve significant hills (the former exceedingly steep, the latter an unbroken 2-mile medium grade). And in the 30-40 minutes it would take to make such a walk, I would undoubtedly be passed by the other-leg bus I was trying to avoid (even if they’re very late).

        So while I might walk in reasonable weather to avoid the frustration of an additional unreliable bus leg, it does not actually improving my speed or range.

        (Admittedly, I often walk between downtown and Capitol Hill. That’s certainly an example of the phenomenon you were describing. But even that is significant time that needs to be allocated to traverse one mile between the city’s two densest points — points between which any sane person should expect transit to be so frequent and expedited that you should be able to hop between the two in seconds, not 20 minutes.)

  48. John S, when do you ride the #2 with a single seat ride to the retail core? I ride often at different times of the day, and yes, in the early to later evening headed to downtown from Madrona that may be true, as many are headed out of the retail core, and not as many to downtown. Coming south/east from downtown, single seats are not available then, and I think it possible that in the early morning that there may fewer coming toward Madrona. I don’t ride in that direction in the morning. Certainly by mid morning and into the afternoon the bus is very full both ways. Students from various schools make up a good chunk between 2 and 4PM and big variety of users make up the rest during the day. To downtown in the morning there are often spots of standing room only. On one hand you are saying that this is for the riders convenience and then we are saying well you can just walk over to Madison or John for buses, which takes longer than riding the bus from Senaca to Pike. By the way why not maintain the #2 and let them transfer. The people along 19th who use the 12 could walk to E. John or 23rd and catch the 43 or to 15th and catch the 10. Why not let the 11 go to 4th and maintain the 2? You are not thinking about Horizon House, or the people who shop at E. Union and Broadway.

    I know the 16 and 66 both serve the ferries. The few times I want to go to the ferry dock I transfer fairly easily to one of them. Are the ferries going to become more central to the plan than the CD residents? If we need more service to the ferry docks, lets say that more service is needed to serve to the West Seattle Water Taxi and the ferries and not pretend that this is designed for us in the CD, who have long been Metro riders and advocates. I think I could look at some solutions if that was the problem to be solved and not sacrifice the service here.
    JohnS says:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

    • Alex Bailey says:

      Joanna, in previous comment you only offered 1 route in which a transfer would be required under the new system that wouldn’t under the old. And with the possible exception of Route 63, that is the only route in which there appears to be a net loss in destinations served in a single route. Other restructured routes may serve different destinations, such as route 18 or route 50 (replacing route 39), but this simply means that some people will gain a one seat ride and some will lose it (a neutral proposition). As has been explained here before, buses making turns on and off 3rd avenue costs all buses on 3rd avenue time. Furthermore, the outbound 2 takes forever to get through I-5 traffic at Spring, and this problem should be mostly mitigated. These two facts create a huge reliability problem. I think most people like to know that time of arrival on the schedule is going to be fairly close to the actual time of arrival.

      Having double the frequency on Madison makes it a heck of a lot easier to simply walk out to the stop instead of having to rely on schedules or stand around for 10 or 15 (or more) minutes for a bus. I think most people like to know that when they’re ready to leave wherever they are, they don’t have to stand around at the bus stop for a long time.

      You suggest that most people would spend a few extra minutes for a one seat ride over a two seat ride, but how much is a few? Would people spend 10 extra minutes? fifteen extra minutes? The increases in frequencies will probably make the wait time for an initial bus and a transfer no longer then the wait time for the 2 today. Throw in all the reliability gains and this becomes a very unproblematic change.

      Also your repeated mentioning of Ferry connectivity is a red herring. This is a side benefit that has no impact on why the 2S and the 12 are being routed the way they are.

      • Ahh, so you want me to look at the whole plan. Just today, I requested a map of the City that would depict deletions and additions, just as the individual maps show. I will add to the #2, the #11 that would require a transfer to many major destinations. This is for just one of the efficiencies, so there must be more. If not, then I would ask why the #2 which always has a high ridership shown between 23rd and E. Union to at least 3rd and Pine and maybe beyond is considered for this cut. I am not staff or paid or heralded as a guru here; so please give me the tools to look at the whole plan with the underlying information available in a readable format.

    • Single seat refers to you not having to transfer, not having a pair of seats to yourself. I ride the 2 westbound many mornings and rarely do I have a seat to myself – have spent plenty of trips standing. I know what you mean about crowded.

  49. Re: Joanna’s dozen comments on the 2…

    There’s a lot about this plan that I find untrustworthy. But there’s no arguing with this: the current 2 is slow as fuck headed out of downtown.

    Sometimes I’ll look at a map of Seattle not long after an excruciating half-hour 2 ride, and I’ll nearly have a heart attack to be reminded that 12th & Union is a mere mile from downtown.

    Will avoiding the need to turn off 3rd downtown help? I can’t say for sure, but my hunch is that the reliability of interlining the First Hill segment (with a common starting point) will be a start. As will not having to deal with highway on-ramp traffic on Spring (Marion is bad for this too, but Spring is worse). And the 11th-12th zigzag will be gone (at least outbound).

    Metro needs to expedite its order for low-floor trolleybuses, and the 2/12 need to be first in line for them. And a Madison contra-flow needs to be considered too.

    But I have a very strong hunch that as soon as this change is made, you’ll be marveling at the years of your life that you lost waiting for late 2s from Queen Anne, shuttling free-riders from Pine to the library, and sitting in traffic.

  50. Here is a point of concern with the 21 and 50 routings: They both head north on 4th Ave S to SODO Station, cross over to 1st Ave S on Lander, and then head back south. Yes, these two routes would cross the BN&SF tracks for the foreseeable future.

    Or is the plan to alter SODO routing once the Spokane Street Viaduct is fully open again?

  51. Matt the Engineer says:

    I love that this post is getting the number of comments it deserves. We’ve come up with a few good suggestions along the way – any chance someone from Metro would read the whole thing, or should someone send a summary to them?

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Metro people do read the blog. That said, I would certainly include any gems you find here with your feedback on the form. Planners read those and take them seriously (I’ve already heard feedback on the feedback).

    • The most actionable proposals, that don’t require new trolley wire, seem to be:

      Route revisions:

      - Reroute the 16 to go straight on Aurora.
      - Reroute the 128 along 128th St.
      - Reroute the 132 to go to TIBS.
      - Reroute the 773 to go straight from Alaska Junction to the water via California.
      - Reroute the 775 to run in a giant loop from the water taxi dock along Alki and Beach Blvd to Fauntleroy Way, then north on Fauntleroy, to Avalon and Harbor Blvd, and back to the dock.

      Level of service changes:

      - RapidRide D should have 10-minute base frequency, as the 15/18 do today.
      - Kill the 14N off-peak; a 45-minute route is useless.
      - Boost the 14S to 15-minute base frequency.
      - Delete the 32, and boost the 31 to 15-minute base frequency.
      - If the 18′s route is important enough to build a streetcar, then the 18 is important enough to have 15-minute base frequency.
      - Kill the 27 off-peak.
      - Kill the 28X off-peak.
      - Delete either the 40 or 50, and boost the other one to 15-minute base frequency.

      • Pretty much everything here.

        Half of me thinks the 32s that would become extra 31s should turn back at 15th & Dravus, so that their overlapping hours could help return RapidRide to 10-minute levels.

        The other half thinks that direct 15-minute service from Magnolia Village to 15th corridor connections is more useful than any other form of service Magnolia will ever see, and so it should be encouraged.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

        If the 18′s route is important enough to build a streetcar, then the 18 is important enough to have 15-minute base frequency.

        +1000.

    • Metro staff are aware of our opinions and ideas. But official comments on their comment form or to the customer-service email are more persuasive because they get the attention of Metro executives and county council members. Not every individual message of course, but if several people give feedback saying the same thing, it’ll get on some report as “a significant portion of the responding public thinks X should be done”.

    • Eek, Metro planners actually read this?

      Is there really no way to include an edit feature within the current comments server? I don’t mind Metro seeing my indignation — which is really just an expression of how important I think uncompromisded transit should be to this city — but I cringe at the illegibility of ideas caused by lack of verb agreement, skipped words, and all the other typos that I’m never able to spot until after the comment renders.

      • “Uncompromisded”!?

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        I’m pretty sure your sins in this respect will be forgiven.

      • Are you able to spot typos when using Notepad or Word?

      • Indeed, Morgan. If I expect to be writing a really long comment, I always start in Word and have much less error-prone results.

        But more often then not, I think I’m going to just write a paragraph or two, and it ends up significantly longer. I make the mistake of not spending the time to move it to Word and edit it, and my eye misses a shocking amount. (Or I do move some things around, accidentally leaving confusing orphan words and fragments.)

        Really only bothers me when the meaning gets muddled as a result.

  52. One problem with interlining the 13 and 3 is that the 13 will inherit the James-Harborview bottleneck. That could destroy the 13′s reliability and its ability to improve commerce and transit use on Queen Anne.

    • Metro is clearly designing this plan in anticipation of the new wire, though without depending on it.

      • So the Yesler trolley wire will be installed next year?

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        There is no money to move the James wire, so no plans to do it. This restructure will work without that change. Moving the wire just improves the quality of service and saves a little time.

    • Alex Bailey says:

      Read some of your comments, and I have a few more thoughts. First you should consider yourself very lucky to have a one seat ride to most places. I live in Magnolia, where the closest one seat ride goes to Belltown and downtown. To get anywhere else I have to transfer, (which means I usually have to transfer). Transfers are part of doing transit. While transfers can be difficult for some people, almost everyone who can use transit at all can make a transfer, as long as the transfer is safe and quick. Since pretty much all downtown stops have benches and a variety of people around to ensure order these are not concerns in this scenario. My 89 year old grandmother often buses up to Aurora village taking the 2 from Queen Anne before transferring to the 358 in downtown. While she does well for age, the implication is that transfers are not some be all end all doomsday proposition.

      BUT, if you want to create some constructive ideas that don’t involve turning without a turn lane on third avenue, I suspect people, including myself, would more than happy to hear them. I’ll give you one to get you going. Maybe it makes sense to route the 2 and 12 south on third (thus avoiding the left turn off third problem) and terminating it in the international district. Then all of those people who can’t make transfers who need to get from the international district to first hill can do so, and it will serve Link as well.

      This sort of idea is one that can add to the conversation. However, denying the importance of reliability and frequency for the sake of everyone having a one seat ride to everywhere is a non-starter.

      • Your comments are for Magnolia only and not for the CD. Your one seat rides pretty much coincide with mine downtown retail core for me and Belltown as destinations. I was able to demonstrate that within this one seat ride there are many other destinations. I think this is a goof defense. Where does the ridership on the Magnolia piece fall? The high volume ridership section for the #2 extends from 23rd and E. Union to at least the retail core. You understand Magnolia’s challenges and I the CD’s at the moment. Will the new plan benefit the situation you describe? What is the record of ridership for the routes that interest you?

      • Alex: “Denying the importance of reliability and frequency for the sake of everyone having a one seat ride to everywhere is a non-starter.”

        Joanna: “…goof defense…”

        What a perfect slip of the tongue.

        Joanna, you can’t simultaneously argue that the #2′s corridor has excellent ridership notwithstanding its downtown destination and that not providing a one-seat ride to every point in downtown will harm everyone who rides the two.

        Wouldn’t those on the 2 who aren’t headed downtown benefit from the increased reliability on First Hill?*

        *(You are aware that most who get off at Union and Broadway aren’t headed to that very intersection, right? Those headed to Pike & Pine are no worse served by the stops at 12th or 11th, and for those walking further up Broadway, the Madison stop adds a mere 2 minutes to however far they were already walking. 2 minutes is a reasonable trade-off for a route that will stop being 10-15 minutes late all the time.)

      • Also, Alex was pointing out that, in addition to your direct ride via the 2, C.D. residents currently only have to make a short walk to access one-seat rides to anywhere the 48 and 8 go (as well as a few others, depending on where in the C.D. you are), while Magnolians can hardly go anywhere without a transfer.

        And your response is that “I don’t care how the system works for anybody else but myself and I have no desire to engage with a larger transit network in any way.”

        What makes you think you even speak for other C.D.ers when you make such a statement?

      • If you live in northern Magnolia, walking across the Ballard locks can get you to Fremont, Crown Hill, Northgate, and the U-district without a transfer. I sometimes do this in reverse by taking the 44 to the Ballard Locks, then walking across the bridge plus 1/2 mile through Magnolia to Discovery Park. The alternative route 24/33->43/49/66/71/72/73/255/510/511/545, I only consider when I have a reason to stop downtown on the way.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        As someone who used to live near 23rd & Union I have very little sympathy for Joanna’s point of view. The 2 was a joke because of how long it took to get either from the CD to Downtown or vice-versa. The 2 route between I-5 and 12th & Union is at all times either a short walk to Madison or Pike/Pine.

        Furthermore I fail to see the great hardship entailed walking between tunnel entrances or stops on 3rd and stops for the 2 and 12 on Madison and Marion. There are many transfer combinations downtown that require a similar or longer walk. There are many destinations that are two or more blocks from the nearest tunnel entrance or bus stop with frequent service.

        While I recognize there are factors Metro might overlook in a proposed service change I get really sick of the “don’t change my route ever” and “don’t touch my one-seat-ride” mentality that leads to stupidity like keeping the route 42.

      • “You are aware that most who get off at Union and Broadway aren’t headed to that very intersection, right?”

        Well, it is the best stop for the east side of Seattle University, at least on that particular route. But then, that only benefits those that aren’t near the 12, 3, or 4 (though I tend to take the 2 quite often when I have to come in from downtown). And it’s not like the transfer opportunities there are that great – the only routes that aren’t the same or better if you transfer at 12th are the 9, 60, and maybe the 49 but if you aren’t right in that area you might as well either catch it downtown or catch the 48.

        (I’m assuming you mean most people that get off at Union and Broadway are there to transfer to some other route, not that they literally don’t walk more than a block to get to their ultimate destination.)

      • I meant that Broadway & Union isn’t exactly front-door service to any destinations already. It’s the back of the QFC complex and its behind the Pike/Pine corridor.

        Most who takes the 2 from the C.D. to that stop are either headed to Pike/Pine (just as well served by a stop at 12th) or to SCCC and the Broadway corridor (already a walk; adding 1 extra long block isn’t the end of the world).

        People headed to Seattle U get closer service on Madison under this change.

        Joanna kept trying to cite the loss of that particular stop as one of the horrors of rerouting the 2. I’m trying to say that said stop’s replacements just aren’t far enough away to get worked up about. And outbounders might appreciate their Madison bus coming on time, which they’re Broadway and Union bus never did.

  53. I’ll be out of town for the first week of public meetings, so if anyone who’s attending can report back on what the general public reaction is and how many people show up, I for one would appreciate hearing it.

  54. Something else I just thought of. Why not extend the 3S to Madrona along the 2′s route? It seems like this should have exactly the same benefits as extending the 3N to SPU. It’s not that either area really needs the frequency, but by having a single terminus, you should be able to improve scheduling (as described in Bruce’s Queen Anne article).

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      1. There’s no additional layover space at the Madrona Park turnback wire, and no cheap way of creating any.

      2. It would be mind-bogglingly complex to schedule three routes with three terminals, two of them being shared by disjoint pairs of routes. I’ve seen the scheduling spreadsheet for the Queen Anne restructure, it’s huge enough.

      The only manageable way to improve on the efficiency of this proposed restructure might be to extend the 1 to the shared terminus at SPU. It’s almost certainly not worth it, given that new wire on McGraw would be needed.

      • Not saying we should do any of the below… I’m just trying to understand what’s the difference between the situation here and at SPU.

        Suppose that we kept the link (and thus the left turn on 3rd) between the 2 and the 13.

        Given that, would it then make sense to extend the 3, so that you could treat the 2/13 and 3 as two different routes between the same two terminals?

        Or is there just a point of diminishing returns with regard to scheduling complexity vs. operational efficiency, and the current proposal (with the 3/13 link) is at the sweet spot?

        Again, I only ask because your previous post so thoroughly convinced me of the savings you get by having fewer termini. So I’m surprised to hear you argue against that here, and I’d like to understand why. :)

      • Think of it in terms of interlining. If you interlined routes A and B on one segment, and routes B and C on another segment, you’d effectively have to time it so that A and C are running as though they are the same route as B, despite going to different places and having different termini. Interlining from just one terminus is exponentially easier by comparison.

        I imagine something similar would happen here. You’d have to constantly manage buses switching between three different routes and moving between four different termini, as opposed to two routes and two or three termini.

  55. All right. Here’s a fairly rough sketch what I’ve been kicking around in my head as a North Seattle restructure; let me know how you’d improve it. This is for after Link is open into Snohomish County and RR D and E are online, so not all of this would take effect now. I have very little to say about frequencies until I’ve had some time to kick out rough numbers. In my mind, while Metro’s reorganization has a lot to praise it, it also has a number of concerning features, especially all the milk runs, and could actually make it harder for something like the following to come to fruition in the future. Also note that I have very little to say in some cases about southern termini.

    *Adopt the 24 restructure to 32nd NW
    *Send the 18 all the way to the U-District via Fremont
    *Keep the 17′s route on Westlake and Nickerson, but send it to the 31′s terminus or up Commodore Way
    *Ax the 30 and 31; if we really need a one-seat ride from the UW to SPU, extend selected 3 or 13 trips to the U-District
    *Extend the 44 to Children’s Hospital, and extend select trips to Golden Gardens via the 46 routing (probably mostly on weekends so you don’t have to lay wire on a low-demand segment)
    *48/71 from Wedgwood to Loyal Heights; anything else requires the 48N to keep going to the U-District, which I’m not a fan of; also, extend to Sand Point
    *New route: NW 65th-Linden-Winona-N 85th-NE 80th-Ravenna Ave-NE 95th-35th Ave NE-current 71 tail-45th Ave NE-NE 55th-Princeton-Sand Point Way to Children’s Hospital
    *Redistribute 28 and 75 trips; 28: 8th NW-Holman-105th-Northgate Way to Northgate TC and Lake City; 75: Sand Point Way-125th-Roosevelt-130th to Broadview
    *Reroute the 372 and/or 522 to terminate at Northgate TC; if the 372, keep the 68 as an all-25th route
    *Cut the 345; extend the 5 to Aurora Village via the 331′s route, move the 331 to 8th Ave NW; don’t add Four Freedoms diversion to the 75 or Northwest Hospital diversion to the 346; possibly help fund shuttle service
    *Extend the 26 to Northgate TC via 5th Ave NE; cut the 66 and 67
    *New route from Northgate TC to at least 185th via 5th Ave NE, with a zag to 1st between 130th and 145th, replacing segments of the 41, 347, and 348
    *Straighten the 347 along 15th and redirect it to the U-District, with 15-minute frequencies at least as far north as 145th and for the whole route if 15th alignment is chosen for Link
    *Make the 330 all-day and break its through-route with the 75
    *Redirect the 348 to Lake Forest Park and Kenmore TC via Perkins Way or 24th/178th

    • One problem with your suggestion for the 28 is that 8th Ave NW and Holman Rd don’t actually intersect. Holman has a bridge that goes over 8th Ave. A bus could conceivably turn off of 8th a block before the bridge and then take 7th to Holman (which is in fact what I do when I need to drive that way), but the bus would have to contend with two blocks of non-arterial residential street (including a roundabout) to make that transition from 8th to Holman happen. Not ideal.

      • It’s shorthand for “8th NW-101st Pl-3rd-Holman”. 101st Pl (I may be misremembering, it may be 100th Pl) runs parallel to Holman on the other side of the QFC and is used by the 28 today to get to 3rd. The only drawback is an acute angle turn between 3rd and Holman.

  56. The #26 is vital. I do not agree that it has such low ridership from 40th to Greenlake that that route should be eliminated. I may use the #26 for five round trips per week and cannot walk to the #16 when i need to take the bus. The #16 does not connect well for the library and PCC in Fremont.

    Walking uphill from N 35th is just that, steeply uphill.

    Perhaps reducing the number of trips would be an acceptable alternative to canceling the needed service completely?

  57. I along with others need the 37 to get to work in the morning and home in the evening. Dropping it will make me believe it will be easiest for me to park near the Chelan Cafe and catch a bus there. So I’d be driving my car or find a place to park at the junction if there are no stops at 26th & Spokane.
    Please advise of what the thinking is, of how all the people living right on the beach are to get to work downtown.
    Also, what are the plans for the 56?
    Can we, the 37 passengers, sign a petition to keep this bus running? If so, how do I get this?
    Shall I make one up like Tim Eyman does?! Thanks

    • Hi Sue,

      I’m glad to hear someone needing bus service on Beach Dr SW who doesn’t lobby for it by insulting everyone who is trying to help him.

      Consider that the route may be more saveable if it isn’t a 1-seat ride to downtown. Would a bus that serves Beach Dr, even only peak, to get to the Line C, meet your needs? That would be a lot fewer service hours, so would calculate out to a better boarding-per-service-hour ratio.

      The key is to find a route that will meet the service guidelines for acceptable level of ridership to keep the route.

      Good luck!

  58. Tonight I attended a Metro public meeting on the West Seattle transit restructure. There was no formal program, but several Metro planning staff were avialable for discussion, and written comments were accepted. Many of the attendess were current riders whose commutes would be negatively impacted by the restructure.

    After having some time to evaluate the proposed restructure, I gave these comments to Metro:
    - I support the general concept of setting up a grid system.
    - However, the available service hours just aren’t sufficient for a functional grid system. In this I agree with d.p. – spread too thin with the new cross-town routes.
    - I recommended deleting the 40 and the 50 (W.Sea-SODO Segment)
    - Reinvest those service hours to increase 21 and 128 frequency to 15 minutes base, and 120 evening frequency of 15 minutes. This frequency allows functional transfers between C, 120, 21 and 128.
    (Improving 120 evening frequency, currently 30 minutes, is needed to avoid overloads because of the elimination of the 125 in evenings.)
    - Revise the Water Taxi van routes to serve Beach Drive and provide a one-seat ride from the Water Taxi to the Alaska Junction.

    Metro staff I spoke to concurred that the 40 might not survive, but that they would love to extend it to Othello if service hours were available. Swinging the 50 through the Alaska Junction and then up California is an option. Re-routing the 128 in White Center/Tukwila is likely to be on the table when 140 becomes RR “F”.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] just found out that King County Metro is planning to cut off service for Route 27 at non-peak times about seven blocks from where I live. This is [...]

  2. [...] Seattle Transit Blog digs into Metro’s 2012 service change plans. [...]

  3. [...] has the full information on its “Have a Say” web site, but I recommend the Seattle Transit Blog’s article. Posted by Eric | October 27th, 2011 | Category: Mass [...]

  4. [...] people perceive Metro’s proposed restructure differently if it were presented like this? Click to [...]

  5. [...] RapidRide E; this result should inform future debates about ridership-oriented restructures such as Metro’s initial proposal for Fall 2012. « Tomorrow: Open House for Fall 2012 Service [...]

  6. [...] if the proposed September 2012 restructure weren’t news enough, on Thursday Metro released its proposal for the June 2012 service [...]

Sign in or create an account to save your credentials and make commenting faster.



You may want to read our comment policy.