The Central District Deserves Better

Route 14 in Little Saigon

The Fall 2012 Service Change does many good things, which Bruce has covered in exhaustive detail. But I wanted to draw particular attention to the effects of the proposed service changes on the Central District. Though I support the changes to Route 2 (and as a former Madrona resident I have credibility on the issue), and though I have long supported the elimination of Route 4, the newest service change proposals radically underserve the commercial hub of the Central District at 23rd/Jackson.

In short,  with the reduced peak frequency on the 14S and the (overdue) elimination of Route 4, riders on Jackson east of 14th will have only half-hourly service to both the International District and downtown. Furthermore, by moving the 27 to Spring/Seneca, the 14 will become the only decent east-west grid connection between Jefferson (Route 3) and I-90.   I drew up a quick map to visualize the changes:

The Yesler-Jackson Corridor in 2014

More after the jump.

On the map, line widths are indexed exactly with frequency. You can see wonderfully frequent service on Jackson from 5th to 14th Ave, and frequent north-south service on routes 48 and 8, but also an inexplicable east-west frequency gap between 12th and 23rd.  Consulting Bruce’s ridership charts proves that ridership is very strong all the way to 23rd Avenue, and that CD to ID connectivity is important in its own right, independent of trips to downtown proper. Furthermore, the new through route of Route 14S and Route 1 means that trolleys will be lazily looping around Kinnear and West Queen Anne when they should be providing frequent turnback service on the 14S (though, alas, there is no turnback wire on Jackson).

One possible solution:  If the Route 1 loop goes forward, we should ask Metro to offer additional short-turn frequencies between downtown and Jackson/MLK on diesel coaches.  30-minute headways are sufficient for both Kinnear/W Queen Anne and 31st/Mount Baker, but Jackson shouldn’t suffer because of the weakness of Route 14′s endpoints.

Comments

  1. Keith says

    Zach – this is a great map. It’d be very cool if there was an equivalent “corridor demand” graphic that used a similar methodology to show how much ridership demand there was for a given corridor. Then you could very easily see potential mismatches between demand and service levels…

  2. Matt the Engineer says

    Also, those ridership charts don’t include my frequent walking up and down the hill between 18th and 14th or 12th because I don’t want to wait for the 14.

    Late to pick up kid from school with no 14 or 27 in sight? Take the 7 to 14th or 36 to 12th and walk, walk, walk. Not that it’s the end of the world to walk, but I bet there’s more ridership up the hill than our data shows.

    • JohnS says

      +1, Matt. I’m in similar shoes (no pun intended) quite often, though usually it’s after dropping off. So I’m either walking back up to 23rd (annoying) to hope for a 4, or I’m walking down the hill to 12th.

  3. GuyOnBeaconHill says

    Yes, the CD does deserve better service! I think my ideas might make your head explode, but please give them some thought.

    Previously I proposed installing a trolley switch at 23rd and Jackson that allows a 14 to turn onto 23rd from Jackson (and v-v) and create a 4/14 variant route. The bus would mirror the 14 from downtown to 23rd, turn onto 23rd, run through Judkins Park and extend to the Mt. Baker TC without the Lighthouse deviation. The cost of the new wire and new switches could be part of the 48 electrification project.

    The 8 could then run on 23rd south of Jackson to MBTC. There’s usually a large number of people transferring from the 8 to the 48 at 23rd/Jackson; why not let them stay on the 8? The few riders that currently use the 8 between Jackson and the MBTC would still have the 4/14 to connect them with the TC.

    • GuyOnBeaconHill says

      Understand that the existing 14S would still run at 30 minute headways to 31st Ave, the 4/14 would provide 15 minute headways on Jackson between 23rd and downtown.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Um, no, I’d rather we just cut less product service elsewhere and boost service on the 14. You seem to have a passion for crazy route structures, just like with your ideas for the Rainier Valley.

      • GuyOnBeaconHill says

        Running the current 14S @ 15 minute headways from 23/Jackson to MBTC would be a horrible waste of resources. Why not offer 15 minute headways from downtown to 23/Jackson and then split the route–one branch to MBTC via 31st Ave and the other branch via Judkins Park?

        You seem to have a passion for crazy route structures, just like with your ideas for the Rainier Valley.
        …coming from the guy that wants to reorganize RV service around a stand-alone trolley route from Prentice St. to Othello…

      • Bruce Nourish says

        Because there’s plenty of N-S service on MLK and 23rd. Adding an extra 30 minute route (that will, by necessity, not be coordinated with the 48) isn’t going to get many more riders, and needlessly complicates the route structure in the area. How many ridership charts of split-tail routes do I have to publish that show ass-kicking ridership in the common frequent segment that tanks in the split segments in order to convince you that such routes are, at worse, total crap, and at best a tool of last resort?

      • says

        Think of it this way: you might as well keep the 4 as is, because Lighthouse for the Blind deviation or not, you’re basically swapping its interline with the 3 for an interline with the 14.

  4. Stephen says

    I don’t understand how they can justify having routes that only run twice an hour in seattle. Sure, if you’re out it the suburbs in Kirkland or Burien or something there isn’t sufficient density to warrant routes that run every 15 minutes (for most corridors anyways). But it sounds to me like what going on here is just a case of horrible allocation of resources. Having a route with half hour headways should be a last resort, when no possible route configuration can justify more frequent headways, not the default state for routes.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Yeah I generally agree. If you’re going to have all day service, especially in a central city neighborhood 15-min headways should be the minimum goal. Thing is that means consolidating service sometimes, which means some people are going to have to walk further.

      • Stephen says

        I’m really tired of people complaining about having to walk further. With the current service there are tons of gaps where people have to walk > 1/4 mi to get to a bus. However the people that just so happen to be currently served miss out on the fact that there are, more dense other places that have worse service. The key should be that the densest locations have that short walk, and if you live in a less dense location you may have to walk > 1/4 mi to get to a bus… but at least when you get there it will be frequent.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        “The key should be that the densest locations have that short walk” Yes. And some of the highest densities, outside of Cap Hill and the U district, are in the Central District (PDF here).

        Sure, there is some duplication of service that drops frequencies. But half hour frequencies at peak times are worse than the service in many sparse suburbs.

    • Mike Orr says

      Exactly, I’ve been saying that for years. Everything except the residential-only tails deserves 10-15 minutes full time. And there should be 30-minute night owls a mile apart. Seattle’s geography does force some redundancy in the system: there’s no way to reach Lakeside, 31st, Shilshole, and parts of West Seattle without overlapping routes to some extent, but the system could be reorganized to make the trunk corridors frequent without overserving the tails too much.

  5. Scott says

    Exactly right. The consensus on this site has been that the CD just has too much bus service. Lines within 5 blocks of each other! Lines that take people where they want to go (Westlake, seattle center) instead of where they don’t (the ferry dock)! And lines that terminate out in the neighborhood instead of connecting dense areas on each end.

    What all of your previous analysis ignores is that the CD has historically had very high use of and dependence on transit. Definitely more per-capita than Ballard, West Seattle, and other neighborhoods that get a lot of chatter about needed improved transit. I believe that the CD has such good transit use because bus routes have always been convenient – in most cases at most 2-3 blocks away. Remove that convenience in the name of simplicity or 3rd-avenue efficiency and I think you’ll destroy a key community of transit users and political supporters.

    As someone who rode the 3/4 daily for years, there was never a shortage of riders on those routes. They were commonly standing-room-only by the time it hit 12th Ave. I rode it because it was convenient and because it took me where I wanted to go downtown. Yes, there’s not a lot of people who get on at the first stop, but there are a lot of riders who accumulate by the time the routes cross 23rd. Eliminate those tails and you remove transit access for a big part of the ridership of those routes.

    The Central District will never get a Link station. The CD will never get a rapid ride route. And the misguided planning guidance of the leaders of this site are on a path to remove a lot of the useful transit coverage that we’ve had and avidly used for 100+ years.

    • Zach Shaner says

      Not true. We have never argued for a reduction in CD service. We argued for the elimination of the 4 in order to boost frequencies on the 3, and we’ve supported moving the 2 to Madison in order to double frequencies west of 12th Ave. Now I’m arguing that the 14 gain additional service. We argue against wasted resources — can one really argue that Route 4′s 24th/26th couplet wasn’t redundant? — but in all cases we’ve sought to preserve the same or more net level of service. This blog consistently supports higher frequencies at the expense of coverage, and while that may be a philosophical difference it’s not at all indicative of a desire to reduce neighborhood mobility.

      • says

        Yikes Zach! The CD doesn’t begin until 14th Ave and runs east. Could this be showing a lack of understanding about the CD?

        I see a huge loss in Metro ridership on Capitol Hill routes when the light rail station opens. Maybe those empty buses can be shifted to better serve the CD or other areas?

      • Zach Shaner says

        Scott’s comment implied that we are indifferent to rider’s needs and that we dismiss them with claims of “it’s just a few blocks”. I assumed he was referring to the Route 2 changes and the controversy there, and I replied that we argued for doubling service on a common segment in First Hill while leaving CD stretches of Union, Jefferson/Cherry, etc. either unchanged or enhanced. I could have made my point better, but yes I know where the CD begins and ends. =)

    • Bruce Nourish says

      On the contrary, by cutting coverage on little-used routes and proving all-day frequent service on higher-performing routes, we’re on a path to dive up ridership and drive down costs. If your reading habits on this blog were broader than merely popping up to denounce us every time we talk about the CD, you would know that every time Metro has done budget neutral restructures where infrequent routes spidering all over the place in every direction were replaced by more widely spaced high-frequency routes, ridership in those areas has boomed, and the cost per rider has plunged.

      You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts, and the verdict is in on ridership-oriented restructures like the ones Metro is now undergoing. What you are demanding is a prescription for continued mediocrity.

    • Mike Orr says

      The CD has shockingly low service east of 23rd for a neighborhood so close to downtown. The service it has is spotty, and it’s excruciatingly slow due to the bottlenecks on James and Seneca. I refuse to live east of 23rd because of the infrequent buses, and I would not live on the 3/4 because of the bottlenecks. (I did live next to Harborview on the 3/4 for a few years, but that was close enough to walk to 3rd so it wasn’t as big a deal, and the 27 was a supplemental help.) So yes, service in the CD should increase to match the potential ridership, but it also has to be reorganized to give more frequent corridors and deal with the bottlenecks.

      • Joanna Cullen says

        I am still waiting for the statistics on reliability from Metro. They are working on getting them to me.

      • Lack Thereof says

        I think Bruce got those statistics already and posted them, back when he was comparing the 27 and 14 for reliablity.

        Or maybe that was the 27 vs the 4.

    • Joanna Cullen says

      Scott actually lives here, uses the buses here and has some common sense. Yes the #2 is the 7th most productive bus in the Metro system.

      • Keith says

        I live in the CD, ride buses in the CD, and have common sense too. Ergo, by your own logic, I must also be right… :-)

        How does Metro define “productive” in this context?

      • Zach Shaner says

        “actually lives here, uses the buses here…”

        We can disagree on the #2, but please stop insisting that I/we are outsiders with no stake in the success of routes in the CD/Madrona/etc. I took over 800 trips on the #2 between 5/2010 and 11/2011, and I left Madrona for Capitol Hill mostly because I was tired of it taking 30 minutes to get home from downtown every afternoon, and 10 minutes just to get from 3rd/Spring to 4th/Spring. I believe in the proposed change for the #2 because I am certain that it will provide a more reliable trip.

    • Scott says

      In the case of the CD you’re removing both coverage and frequency. Removing the 4 lowers frequency for the half of the neighborhood that lives south of Jefferson. Nothing has been done to compensate for that, as this post points out.

      There will be significantly fewer hours of transit service for the CD if these changes take effect.

      And there are NO corridors in the CD that are getting increased frequencies. The increase of the #3 only compensates for the lack of the 4 where the two overlap between 23rd & downtown. There is no increase in service for the #2 in the areas where it serves the CD.

      Be clear about the impact: You’re advocating for lowering transit coverage and frequency for a very large group of very dedicated transit users and supporters.

      • Lack Thereof says

        As a CD resident on the section of the 4 line that’s being cut, I support its removal.

        The 4 is the absolute slowest way to get anywhere but Harborview, and it’s CD tail is completely redundant with not one but two 15-minute-frequency N/S routes.

        There’s a reason why, in a neighborhood with such high transit use, the 4′s tail has such lousy ridership numbers. It is because the 4 is simply a bad enough route, with good enough alternatives, that people are choosing not to ride it in droves.

        However, I wish we could get the 3 turnback killed and extend 15 minute service all the way to the end of the line.

      • Scott says

        I often got on the 4 at 23rd & Jefferson, and in the morning half the seats would be full. It was not an underused route.

        If these changes were about improving service in the CD, the extra hours saved by cutting the tail of the 4 would have been added to the 14. Instead those hours are leaving the neighborhood and going god knows where.

        And a forced transfer between the 48 to the 3 is not an improvement for residents on the south end of the neighborhood. Fewer people will bother with transit if you make it more complicated and segmented.

      • Lack Thereof says

        Frequency from 23rd and Jefferson (where yes, the route performs very well) into the city center is unchanged under the proposal. It is ONLY the segment SOUTH of that intersection that is being cut.

        All of the current #4 trips on Jefferson will be added to the #3′s schedule, as turnback trips.

      • Christopher Stefan says

        I do not support cutting service frequency on the 2S or the 14S. Cuts to the 4 should be replaced by an equal number of trips on the 3.

        However I do support moving the 2 off of Seneca to Madison and re-routing the 3 from James to Yesler.

        Anything that can be done to increase the reliability and speed of routes serving the CD would be a major win.

  6. chetan says

    Why not just move the 27 to Jackson st. (And remove the strange detour through 1st hill) so that you have one high frequency corridor from the cd to downtown?

    • Matt the Engineer says

      The 27 is so nice and fast, it would be sad to lose it. That said, I’d be happy enough with a doubling of frequency on the 14 to support it.

      I wonder if Jackson is getting crowded enough with buses that it would be hard to add more. I know at King Street Station they’re occasionally queued up, waiting for curb space. With the new streetcar Jackson (west of 14th) will have plenty of capacity.

      Maybe add wires to Yesler and move a few buses there?

      • JohnS says

        I’d love to see the 3/4 moved to Yesler from their current routing (then cut back north to serve Harborview and resume the current route).

      • Chris Stefan says

        John,
        as far as I know that is in the Metro and the City of Seattle’s plans. From my understanding it is mostly waiting on identifying a funding source.

      • JohnS says

        Chris, yes, because it would require new wire. I had hopes for some of the Prop 1 money perhaps going there, but no such luck.

        As a regular 2/3 rider living east of 23rd, I support the changes to the 2 routing and the removal of the 4 tail. I don’t think lowering service frequency on Saturdays is acceptable and hurts those of us who have been working in the neighborhood to advocate for the changes. And I agree we need better Jackson corridor service.

    • Lack Thereof says

      No, I’d only move it to Jackson from 12th to 31st, and I’d keep the first-hill detour (if only to avoid the political fights). I bet that, for people going downtown, the first hill detour on the 27 would probably add about the same amount of time as the 14′s slog through Little Saigon and Chinatown. So people headed downtown to catch a transfer could take whichever route comes first without worry.

      West of 12th, there is plentiful service. Granted, absolutely all of it is overloaded by Metro’s definition, but 2 more 40′ buses an hour that are already standing-room-only when they get to 12th aren’t going to help that situation appreciably (average mid-day load on the 14 approaching Little Saigon is 30 passengers).

      So if we do it my way, Jackson gets 15-minute frequency to Downtown (just like the CD’s other major E/W corridors), Virginia Mason gets to keep their front-door stop, and First Hill gets a token all-day route on Boren with a direct connection to Little Saigon and the FHSC.

  7. says

    I think an equally important issue is that the CD has obscenely slow service. On many routes, it can take about 20 minutes to go 1.5 miles, which is a painfully slow 4.5 miles per hour speed. Metro and the City would benefit from trying to speed up the buses by 50 percent through better signal priority, stop design and other treatments — especially through First Hill. That would also create the opportunity to increase bus frequency by 50 percent with the same number of buses.

    • Keith says

      Al S. – I can’t tell if you’re trying to be funny or not. The proposed changes to the #2S that you’ve been strongly opposed to do exactly what you propose. Not necessarily via signal priority or stop design, but putting the #2 on Madison and alternating it with the #12 is a pretty effective “other treatment” to increase bus frequency with the same number of buses, especially through First Hill. And the overall proposed set of changes to the #2 should improve its reliability and let it get through those 1.5 miles more quickly…

      • says

        Keith: It takes me about the same amount of time on Route 2 or Route 12 to go from Downtown to 12th/Madison. Each route has some serious peak hour operational delays. I’ve been on a Route 12 bus that takes up to 10 minutes to from Broadway to 14th Avenue often in the evenings, for example.

        Keep in mind that the topic is the CD. For Route 2 riders in the CD there is no frequency benefit. The doubling of bus frequency by combining the 2 and 12 on Madison Street is ONLY east of 12th Avenue. There is still one route — Route 2 — on Union Street in the CD.

        I think the combining of both routes on Madison will actually make it slower for both routes. Here’s why: Putting two high-frequency bus routes on the same street trying to reach the same stops will create more stop delays as the leading bus route will be in the bus stop, so the following bus route won’t be able to pull in until the leading bus leaves. That’s just one more delay us riders will now have to endure.

        Anyway, the original topic presented above is that area of the CD at least a half-mile south of Madison Street. There seems to be a geographic definition problem in that the CD is a long north-south district and served by many east-west lines to and from Downtown. Perhaps the topic should not even use the definition CD.

        Regardless, ALL of the routes that go to/from the CD are terribly slow and merely shifting streets does not solve the problem!

      • says

        It also goes the other way. Consolidating routes on to Madison St means improvements like enhanced stops and transit priority benefit both routes for the cost of one. That’s what the city plans to do on the Madison corridor.

        Al S. – those two bus routes would have staggered schedules on Madison (a bus every 7-8 minutes, every other bus is a #2). Your problem at stops happens only if the buses are bunched which should be less likely by minimizing exposure to two sources of unreliability (1st Ave and 3rd Ave).

      • says

        Assuming that the system has no wheelchairs, strollers, walkers and long dwell times from lots of boarding and leaving riders — and expecting inbound buses to arrive miraculously evenly-spaced — is a nice ideallic dream. But how realistic is it really? Being electric trolleybuses, it only takes one operational delay by the leading bus to create bunching…

      • JohnS says

        Al, and many of those concerns are going to be alleviated significantly by low-floor trolleys (which can’t get here soon enough).

      • says

        Having low floor trolleys (with open floor plans and passive-restraint for wheelchairs) would speed boarding. Having double frequency on the busiest section helps reduce overcrowding. Having lots of service on one street means more bang for the buck from physical improvements (like off-board payment and bus lanes) than spreading it over two closely spaced parallel streets.

      • Aleks says

        The off-wire capability will help a lot, too, since it can effectively end platooning (assuming Metro gives buses permission to leapfrog).

        Another improvement I’d really like to see is building raised platforms on major bus streets, such as 3rd, Pike/Pine, Madison/Marion, and 15th NE, as well as at other major stops (e.g. Madison/Boren, Pine/Broadway, Broadway/John). That would allow wheeled users to board and exit the bus without even needing to deploy a ramp, just like for Link. With low-floor buses, such raised platforms can be built at comparatively little expense, and without requiring much sidewalk width.

      • Bernie says

        Will the off wire capability include automated detach/reattach or will the driver still have to climb out of the bus and fish the wire with a pole?

      • Bruce Nourish says

        They will have sensors that automatically retract the poles in the event of a dewire. Reattachment, in general, will always be manual.

    • Keith says

      Al – you’re the one who brought First Hill into it. I was merely responding to that.

      I do agree that Madison can get a bit messy through First Hill and south Capitol Hill(especially eastbound). I serious hope they consider either signalizing left turns off Madison or banning them outright (specifically east of Broadway) since that seems to be the source of many of the delays in that area. Still, I’m not convinced that messiness is any worse than what the #2 currently deals with.

      Another question for you – do you think the current #2 config on E. Union through the CD (let’s say between MLK and 19th, although I’m fine with the western edge being 17th or 15th if you’d prefer) under serves, over serves, or meets the needs of that corridor?

      • says

        I sometimes think that the posters here don’t fully fathom the complexity of our diverse CD transit needs involving extended families, the working poor, grandparents, and many other transit riders riding at all times of day for all sorts of purposes. Each rider is important to consider, and not just the single white male ones who like to live in small condos and apartment “TODs”, and hang out in Pike/Pine on a weekend night.

        My primary complaint about the #2S service change is that it doesn’t connect to the rail or to Westlake. I’m bothered by this Downtown access limitation that seems to be singularly forced on #2S riders. I’m complaining that the route should use Third Ave at least a few blocks rather than merely go to First Ave. I think that’s what many other posters have also been repeatng, and getting insults hurled at us for making this complaint.

        I’m actually not that opposed to using Madison although I do feel that Madison Street would needs to first be significantly re-engineered before Metro really implements this. To throw loads of additional buses on a street, and then reconstruct a roadway for them is backwards and very messy!

        #2S gets lots of boardings from Madrona’s business district west. I see at least 2 to 5 riders at every single stop in the mornings. I see lots of transfers where cross routes operate on MLK and 23rd. Peak buses are crowded by the time they reach 12th Avenue. I see persons of color often standing on #2, while I see mostly white-color well-dressed white people on #12, each with two seats for most of the trip. So, I’d speculate #2S through the CD is significantly underserved compared to the kinds of loads that I’ve seen on the nearby #10 or #12. In fact, I feel like I’m in some surreal 1950′s “separate but equal” city being subconsciously played out on the transit system. As a friend of color once pointed out to me, people don’t understand when they have “white privilege” so sometimes you have to explain it and hope that they get it.

        We now see the hundreds of millions of transit dollars to be spent on the Streetcar and U-link. These costly transit investments not benefiting most of the CD at all, and instead benefiting this same privilege demographic. The Route 12 riders will have lots better transit choices coming to them! They can switch to U-Link or have a higher frequency bus on Madison! Even persons coming from the north can transfer on a cute Streetcar from the Capitol Hill station, or have a higher frequency bus on Madison! Life is just getting better all the time for them!

        What do the #2 riders in the CD get? Oh, we get told we have to take our lumps and lose access to most of Downtown and rail. We get told that Metro can’t afford to take the #2 bus north a few blocks to make our lives easier because it’s too costly.

        It sure looks like Seattle’s “separate but unequal” thing is getting worse…

      • RachaelL says

        How exactly does the proposed 2S changes remove access to most of downtown and light rail? The bus goes to 3rd Ave. That’s downtown. It’s a block from a tunnel entrance. I don’t understand.

      • says

        The people who live along Madison west of 19th and on 19th itself would object to your claim that “this Downtown access limitation…seems to be singularly forced on #2S riders.”

      • Lack Thereof says

        The bus goes to 3rd Ave. That’s downtown. It’s a block from a tunnel entrance. I don’t understand.

        It’s not a block from a tunnel entrance. Madison/Marion is as far from a tunnel entrance as it is physically possible to get on 3rd ave – 3 blocks from Marion/3rd to the nearest Pioneer Square Station entrance, and 3 blocks from Madison/3rd to the nearest University Street Station entrance.

        Redrawing the turnback loop to include a tunnel-entrance stop (like Seneca&3rd) would be a simple modification that wouldn’t cost significant service hours, and could help to soothe some 2 riders.

      • Christopher Stefan says

        Lack Thereof,
        Actually 3rd & Marion is roughly 2 1/2 blocks from the nearest Pioneer square station entrance (the one in front of the hole that used to be the Public Safety Building). 3rd & Madison is 2 blocks from 2 tunnel entrances right on Seneca.

        I’ll also point out that the blocks are shorter than say the distance from Union to Pine.

        This is also shorter than the walking distance required to transfer from many routes on 2nd and 4th to routes on 3rd or to tunnel routes. Also look at how long you have to walk between the Mt. Baker TC and the Mt. Baker Link station. Many neighborhood transfers involve a bit of a hike as well (from the 66 to anything serving 15th like the 271)

      • Lack Thereof says

        Stefan:

        I see. For the Madison transfer I was counting streets, not blocks. And for the Marion transfer I was trusting Metro’s map, but you’re right, that entrance is mid-block.

        Nevertheless, the fact that we’re talking about using different stations in different directions to minimize transfer delay really indicates that there’s something seriously wrong here.

        Compared to the prototypical Bad Link Transfer at Mount Baker, this still looks as bad or worse.

      • d.p. says

        Reinforcing what Christopher said, and repeating myself from elsewhere in the thread:

        The blocks south of University are barely half as long as the blocks north of University.

        Ever change from a bus at 3rd/Pine to bus at 4th/Pike? Congratulations! You just walked further than the transfer from the new 2 route to the tunnel!!

        (Lack Thereof, we’re talking about 600 feet here. The Mt. Baker transfer is about 700 feet, between a Firestone Tire and a freeway-speed street, and making you wait at a crosswalk that takes multiple minutes to change. That is really incomparable with a downtown transfer. And again, a shorter distance and fewer crosswalks are involved than if you were to transfer from a 13 to a 49!)

  8. Matt the Engineer says

    I’m on th 14 right now, and grabbed the last seat on 18th, and it was packed to the elbows when we made it down the hill. At 9:15 am. There is plenty of latent demand.

  9. Bruce Nourish says

    I agree that the Jackson corridor warrants frequent service as far as 23rd, but turnback trips are almost never the right thing to do. You’d have to find a place for the bus to turn around and lay over, and there are no arterial streets conveniently available to do that in the vicinity of Jackson/23rd. Getting such a turnaround on a non-arterial street would be very hard.

    From Jackson/23rd it’s only 10 minutes to Mount Baker TC (bearing in mind the tail to Hanford St is going away). Your layover on a 30-minute turnback is probably going to be more than that. Making it a trolleybus and extending frequent service all the way to MBTC might actually be cheaper than your proposal, even though I freely admit the bus would be mostly empty on Mount Baker.

    • JohnS says

      So similar to the QA restructure proposal, you trade the ‘OMG! Empty buses’ folks for 15-minute headways? I’d be good with that.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        Yes, exactly like the situation with the north end of the Queen Anne restructure: between the top of Queen Anne and SPU, the revised 3/13 buses will be underutilized, but it’s (paradoxically) cheaper because the extra run time is made up with shorter layovers; plus you make the route maps more consistent and easier to understand, and you’ll induce a little bit more ridership even on the underutilized section.

  10. Matt the Engineer says

    Ok, I’ll call for it. Bring back the Yesler cable car.

    In 1940 we were promised buses would replace the service. Now that they’re taking away the 27 (or at least moving it from its original path), Seattle owes Yesler its cable car back.

      • Joanna Cullen says

        That would be the #11, right? Who on this blog told me that history is not allowed? History isn’t important.

      • Keith says

        I believe someone said that you weren’t allowed to use “history” as a defense for keeping around things that are obviously broken (as defined by them)…

        Besides, I believe what Matt is indulging in is better referred to as “nostalgia”. :-)

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Just because the past is the past doesn’t mean it can’t also be the future.

        There has been no fundamental change in motive power in the past century. Tearing out our streetcars and cable cars has always been the kind of mistake we can reverse, if we cared to.

      • Bernie says

        Wasn’t a mistake. It was done deliberately to save transit because the streetcars were a finacial failure and buses were much cheaper to operate. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

      • Lack Thereof says

        The streetcars were a financial failure because they never budgeted for any kind of track maintenance – when it came time to replace the rails, they simply couldn’t pay for it. Of course, by that time, the original operators had already bailed out, having sold all their nice suburban land :).

        Buses were a sneaky solution, because then the transit agency didn’t have to spend one dime on ROW maintenance.

      • Nathanael says

        Indeed, “make someone else pay for the right-of-way” always makes your financials look better. In the short term.

  11. Joanna Cullen says

    John S. is correct about the low floor buses helping with some of this. I can tell Al S. is looking at real solutions, not to just kill the trolley. I know that there are knowledgeable people with only good intentions working to solve the problems along Spring. How can anyone support these proposals in light of the fact that they still have buses going using those Spring and Seneca routes (which can be improved);they plan is replacing a huge chunk of the what is a trolley route with diesel, creating crosstown unproven diesel route that replaces one of the most productive routes int the system that is a trolley. What is the projected productivity of the new #27 and #33 crosstown diesel (Leschi to QA). People want and use the #2. I think the part of the #27 that they are removing is part of the most productive part. If the 18 is available to replace something why not run it along Madison. We need a little common sense reflecting on this.

  12. Joanna Cullen says

    I need to edit before I hit “post.” John S. is correct about the low floor buses helping with some of this. I can tell Al S. is looking at real solutions, not to just kill the trolley. I know that there are knowledgeable people with only good intentions working to solve the problems along Spring. How can anyone support these proposals in light of the fact that they still have buses going using those Spring and Seneca routes (which can be improved); the plan is replacing a huge chunk of the what is a trolley route with diesel, creating crosstown unproven diesel route that replaces one of the most productive routes int the system that is a trolley? Where is the green (both types)? What is the projected productivity of the new #27 and #33 crosstown diesel (Leschi to QA)? People want and use the #2. The part of the #27 that that is being removed is along a piece of the most productive area for the route. If the 18 is available to replace something why not run it along Madison? We need a little common sense reflecting on this.

    • says

      Part of the reason why the 2 and 12 are turning back at the ferry dock is to get rid of buses turning off 3rd Ave (which is one reason many of us are dumbfounded at the 27 changes).

      • Joanna Cullen says

        We may not agree, since I believe the #2 should stay on 3rd Avenue, and Metro should work with some in the community to correct a few of the problem areas. However, Morgan, you and I may agree that for all the reasons that were listed for getting rid of the #2,a more twisted scenario that incorporates all the point of criticism has been created with few of the advantages of the #2. And I see no analysis of how this will be a more productive route or even nearly as productive. This is also at a great cost to a community that has had a record of voting for transit funding.

  13. Joanna Cullen says

    I am posting to respond to Rachael and Morgan. Morgan, I am trying to understand your posting regarding west of 19th on Madison. The #12 under the proposal would change form having the access it does now, true. I don’t know how that ridership is responding and if that is important to the proposal. I am sure the #2 group would be happy to hear from them. I can let you know how to contact the group if you are interested. Between 19th and 12th where the #11 turns on Pine there would be access to downtown and the tunnel. Morgan I will agree that both the #12 and #2 riders are being isolated if that is your point.

    Rachael the point about the #2 and the access to the tunnel is that it is actually 2 or 3 blocks to the University Street Station with red lights and all (time delay for us with no increase in frequency) and no access to 3rd and Pine entrance which is much better for those with mobility issues. As it is now a number #2 passenger going west on Seneca can exit between 3rd and 4th and cross the street into the tunnel, which makes for very smooth and quick transfers. It is steep downhill slope and some may much prefer the Westlake entrance. Transferring to get downtown to Pine Street or walking 6 blocks is a delay and a hassle. Every transfer has potential for stress; missed connections, lost stuff, baby strollers that have to be folded and unfolded, lost baby booties, lost I-phones, and encounters with more people increase the likely hood of various types of incidents. If you have ever traveled with small children or someone who has some mobility issues this would be very evident to you. 3rd and Madison is not a destination for most #2 riders from Madrona, East Union and Seneca. Seattle Central, the Harvard Market, tunnel transit, the retail core, Belltown, and Seattle Center are among the top places they are headed, not the ferries. Why do you think Pine Street was not allowed to be a non vehicle mall, because the city knew that people in cars and buses wanted access there. Are we any different, wanting a ride that will take us to the retail core. I think if the #2 wasn’t among the most productive routes in the system we might not be so outraged and might accept well maybe we will have live with some patches here and there. But, really this proposal is likely producing less productive and efficient routes. It more than pays for itself and is not a drag on the system as a whole.

    RachaelL says:
    February 3, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    How exactly does the proposed 2S changes remove access to most of downtown and light rail? The bus goes to 3rd Ave. That’s downtown. It’s a block from a tunnel entrance. I don’t understand.
    Morgan Wick says:
    February 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    The people who live along Madison west of 19th and on 19th itself would object to your claim that “this Downtown access limitation…seems to be singularly forced on #2S riders.”

    • Lack Thereof says

      I can see your issue here – especially the bit about the tunnel entrances.

      The Madison/Marion couplet is in the worst possible location for potential tunnel transfers – perfectly centered between the University and Pioneer Square station, as far away from a tunnel entrance as it is possible to get on 3rd ave downtown.

      Changing the turnback loop to ease Link transfers (I’m thinking 4th -> Seneca -> 2nd) might be a worthwhile and relatively painless solution.

      Nevertheless, current #12 riders are dealing with that exact same transfer conundrum every day. Not that crappy service on one route is an excuse for crappy service on another, but you know, to be fair.

      • Joanna Cullen says

        There are other solutions that leave the #2 comfortably on 3rd. I am saying that the if you feel the proposal leaves us with crappy service, the Bus2Riders contact information can be found on any of the community blogs and they would be happy to work with you.

      • Christopher Stefan says

        Lack Thereof,
        There is no budget for installing trolley wire to enable such a turnback. If we are going to spend money on new wire I’d rather see it go to moving the 3/4 from James to Yesler.

      • d.p. says

        Jesus Crackers, people. I walked these blocks yesterday.

        Do you have any idea how short the blocks are south of University? They’re barely half as long as the blocks between University and Olive.

        Ever change from a bus at 3rd & Pine to bus at 4th & Pike? Congratulations! You just walked further than the transfer from the new 2 to the tunnel!

        We’re arguing about f*ing nothing here!

  14. zefwagner says

    I think it was a very poor decision to move the 27 to Boren and run the 18 up Yesler. It’s really contrary to a good grid network. It makes sense to have the 27 and 14 be the east-west lines in this area, but a grid doesn’t work on half-hour frequency because transfers are too difficult. It looks like there was enough pressure from Virginia Mason to keep front-door service that Metro is willing to divert the 27 for that purpose. Once they did that, the 18 has to be diverted to go up Yesler and 12th. This is a very confusing system. 12th avenue doesn’t need a bus that doesn’t even go north to Capitol Hill and only goes downtown–12th needs a solid north-south route to connect multiple destinations and light rail stations!

    • Lack Thereof says

      Agreed on 12th needing a good N/S route. I hold out hope that the 9 will be moved from Broadway to 12th once the FHSC opens.

      • Lack Thereof says

        Actually, I’d prefer 14th over 12th. Better walkshed.

        12th is seperated from Broadway by the SU campus, and keeping buses on Broadway once the streetcar is up and running seems redundant.

    • Mike Orr says

      Or maybe it’s the closest layover place on First Hill, and it’s just a coincidence that it goes three blocks on 12th rather than some other street. It’s clearly not “12th Avenue bus service”, because it doesn’t go to either important destination (12th & Jackson, and Broadway & Pine-John).

      • JohnS says

        bingo – I am pretty sure Mike has it right. I think this is all about layovers, and not really about service on 12th.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        Yes, this routing was chosen for exactly the reason Mike guessed (or knew). Pioneer Square has asked Metro to lay over fewer buses there, and First Hill via Yesler is about the only other place you can lay over a bus and have it reliably start its route on time, but still cost no more than just a deadhead back and forth to base.

  15. Joanna Cullen says

    The frequency promise in the proposal for the #2/#12 is a staggered schedule that will serve Madison west of 12th every 5 to 15 minutes, and that it will definitely reduced on Saturday from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes. So the minimum frequency for evenings would likely remain the same if ever 15 minutes means the #2 will be an every other bus. But, at other non peak times if for instance the frequency on that corridor of Madison is only ever 10 minutes that could again lower the frequency of the #2.

    • JohnS says

      So far the only service frequency decrease on the #2 is Saturdays, from 15 to 20 minutes. I’m not worried about other non-peak times, at least not yet. And the Saturday proposal sucks.

  16. Joanna Cullen says

    Where I mentioned the loss of the #27 connection to the tunnel at 3rd and James–a quick one for them-, I forgot to mention that they will keep the connection at 3rd and Pine.

    • Lack Thereof says

      I looked at the new proposed 27 routing, and while slower than the old 27, I think it’s still as fast (or faster) than the 14 for getting downtown from 23rd. The international district is a huge timesink.

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