Lynnwood Transit Center is probably the most important transit hub in Southern Snohomish County. It provides all-day access to Seattle, and 18 bus routes converge there.
In a noble attempt to simplify and straighten bus routes, CT consolidated a number of East/West routes in the area into the 196, which, fittingly, travels in a nearly straight path on 196th St SW. Regrettably, this forced it out of a direct connection at the transit center: not only would it have subjected riders to a circuitous detour, but CT’s Martin Munguia says that the added length would have required an additional bus, “which we cannot afford.” Score one for system legibility and directness.
The next best thing would be a 196 stop in both directions on 48th Ave. W to limit the walk to under a half mile, if not an additional stop at 44th Ave. W to facilitate transfers to those buses. Regrettably, neither exists: your eastbound choices are Scriber Lake Rd,. a full mile away and a long block East of Swift; or 40th Ave. W. (Timepoint 2 above), 0.8 miles to the East. Westbound, there’s a stop at 50th Ave. W, “only” two blocks away from the optimum. More after the jump.
Last September, CT requested stops on 48th from the City of Lynnwood, but the request was rejected this spring. They have since persuaded the Public Works Dept. to reopen the request, though there is no resolution at this time.
Lynnwood Public Works Director William Franz, P.E. says that the two stops near 48th were the only two requests (of 10 total) that the City refused. He explained why the traffic engineer refused the request:
He denied this based on traffic volumes, turning movement demands at that location, and major queuing and associated safety impacts that would result. Blocking a lane of 196th in either direction at that location even for just a short time, especially during busy times, would cause major backups. In fact, we have not historically permitted lane work or closures for any reason at this location except at night time because of the severe traffic impacts that result. We did offer to work with Community Transit if they wanted to invest in bus pullouts at or near that location. Their response was that they don’t like to use pullouts as it makes it hard for the buses to re-enter traffic.
It isn’t surprising, or unreasonable, that a suburban city would prioritize car traffic over a bus that runs every half hour. It is, however, disappointing for the primary connection of a good chunk of Lynnwood and Edmonds to the North/South freeway express spine.