A Budget Neutral Fix for Southeast Seattle

8-106 Restructure Proposal

8-106 Restructure Proposal

What if there were a budget-neutral restructure that would make Route 8 dramatically more reliable (and possibly more frequent) in Southeast Seattle, improve connectivity between the Rainier Valley and Renton, and make trips between downtown Seattle and Renton faster, without sacrificing anyone’s access to the transit system? In this post, I’ll outline one restructure idea, which I believe does all of those things. Below are the basic components; throughout, refer to Oran’s lovely map above:

  • Delete Route 106 west of Rainier Beach Station. Instead, inbound 106 trips from Renton would turn at Rainier & MLK and follow the current 8 route to Broadway & John, then head to a layover near Convention Place station (discussed below); outbound trips would do the reverse. This new route would either be number 106 or some “new” number, but for this post, I’ll label it descriptively as “8S/106“.
  • Extend Route 107 to serve South Beacon Hill, serving the alignment of the 106 between MLK and Myrtle, before heading to Othello Station. In Rainier Beach, the 107 route would be straightened to serve Rainier & Henderson before Rainier Beach Station (just like the 106 does), avoiding a time-consuming backtrack.
  • Operate Route 8 on its original alignment, which is the same as the current alignment, but terminating in the east at Group Health Capitol Hill.
  • Make the 8S/106 frequent service. While it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much frequency improvement this configuration would make possible, I’m confident it would at least suffice to raise the frequency of the 8S/106 to that of the current 8.

After the jump, the details on what this restructure would achieve, and how.

  • The 8S/106 would be dramatically more reliable than the current 8. I’ve requested timepoint data from Metro to get numbers on this, and I’ll publish that data as soon as I get it, but I suspect everyone who’s set foot on the 8 on a bad traffic day (e.g. most weekdays) would agree that the 8′s egregious unreliability can almost all be attributed to the segment on Denny, which the 8S/106 would avoid.
  • Travel between downtown Seattle and Renton becomes faster. Several months ago, Oran ran the numbers to show that at most times of the weekday, a two-seat Link-106 ride beats or ties the one seat 106 ride between Westlake and Renton TC in travel time; and it’s an easy win when the 106 runs every 15 minutes, as it current does only in the peak. Extending the span of frequent service would extend that advantage throughout the day, and when the 8S/106 was not frequent, the schedule could be set up so the Link connection would still be timely.
  • For reasons I hope are obvious, it better connects the Rainier Valley and Central District to Renton and Skyway. What brought this idea to mind was Metro’s Southeast Seattle outreach report, which contained the following observation: “A new travel pattern of note that was consistently reported was more and more people traveling from the Rainier Valley south to Skyway, Renton, Tukwila, and White Center to visit family and friends. We heard references to routes like the 106 and 107 that take them there”. This restructure would directly cater to that emerging community travel pattern.
  • South Beacon Hill would maintain a two-seat bus-Link ride to downtown, and one seat ride to shopping, services and other bus routes at Othello Station, at a similar frequency to its current 106 service. While this would make downtown commutes a little slower, I’d argue this actually provides a service that’s more generally useful to get around the city and the region than what currently exists. Outbound transfers through Othello could be timed to minimize delays.
  • In September, service in Georgetown and SODO is being extensively restructured. The tangle of current routes will be replaced with the 124 serving Georgetown via Airport Way, and the 131 and 132 serving Georgetown via 4th Ave S. Thus, deleting this segment of the 106 wouldn’t cause any loss in coverage in Georgetown or on Airport Way, and the effective frequency will probably not be reduced much, as the 106 and 124 will be routed differently in SODO and downtown, so they will not form a usable high-frequency corridor.
  • The only reduction of transit access is on Swift Ave S, a sparsely populated street next to I-5 which (in my anecdotal experience; I have a request in with Metro for boarding data) generates little ridership. Swift residents south of Graham St are within walking distance of the 36, and north of Graham, the 60. So their transit access isn’t great, but they’re not cut off. A tiny piece of Renon Ave S would also lose service, but only a couple of stops would be a affected.

Judging by the feedback I’ve had so far, the thing people are confused by is the routing to Convention Place. The reason this is required is because Metro’s current layover spaces on Capitol Hill are fully utilized, and it would be prohibitively difficult to obtain more, in any of the areas where turnaround loops might be available. Group Health has enough curb space for one new route, which would be taken up by the 8N. It’s highly desirable to get the 8S/106 as far west as the business district and future light rail station at Broadway & John, to provide a good northern anchor for the route.

On Broadway, the only turnaround loops available are those of the 60 and 9X (both of which would require an upgrade in transit classification from SDOT) and the chances of taking enough parking to lay over a new route on north Broadway are probably nil. Convention Place is thus the nearest viable layover, and while some riders may find this part of the 8S/106 useful, this segment is not intended to make the route a downtown-oriented service; it’s basically just providing a little extra service because doing so is free.

Thoughts?




Comments

    • reality based commute says

      Actually, it doesn’t meet the concerns of 42 advocates. What they want is a one seat ride from the MLK corridor to the ID and downtown.

      That said, this idea has a lot of merit and Metro should look at it.

      • xxpor says

        Ah ok. So it solves the downtown part, but not the ID part. If this stops at CPS though, getting to the ID is so ridiculously easy it’s almost a non issue.

      • Brent says

        They also want a one-seat ride to Little Saigon. The river of frequency on Jackson is not enough to please the one-seat-ride-entitled.

  1. Charles says

    This proposal eliminates a direct connection between SE Seattle, Georgetown and the industrial zone that the 106 provides. There are jobs, schools, and legitimate places that people want to go to in those areas.

    One possible solution that might make your proposal work is to extend the southern tail of the new route 50 to Georgetown to meet routes there.

    • Chris Stefan says

      I agree that Georgetown needs a better transit connection to Rainier Valley. But the 106 is a pretty poor excuse and such a connection shouldn’t be the enemy of a restructuring that will benefit many more riders.

      • Charles says

        What’s poor about the 106? It seems to be perfectly fine for what it does. And you think sacrificing the only direct link between SE Seattle and the industrial zone so that people along Denny can get a more reliable bus is a good bargain? You’re going to make people travel many miles out of their way to backtrack just to ultimately travel east/west?

        I’ve offered a simple solution that would make Bruce’s proposal work. What say you about that?

      • Bruce Nourish says

        I agree this proposal does make connectivity between the Rainier Valley and the Industrial District worse, but I think the tradeoff is worth it. I expect the data to show that the 106 on Airport Way is relatively lightly used. My anecdotal experience riding the 106 is that most people are going somewhere east of Rainier Beach Station.

        There are still connections between the RV and the Industrial Districts. The 50 covers the RV and SODO fairly well, and the 131/132 will form a frequent service corridor on 4th Ave S. I think the weakest link here is the 50′s frequency. I would focus on fixing the 50′s frequency before working on its coverage.

      • Charles says

        I’m talking about the Industrial zone south of Spokane Street. It makes no sense to require people in SE Seattle to travel to SODO (e.g. North of Spokane St.) if they want to get to the Industrial Areas south of Spokane. That’s a 6 mile backtrack. Sorry but even if stop area data suggest that airport way is lightly traveled, this is still an important corridor to preserve.

        Again, extending the tail of Route 50 to Georgetown solves this issue albeit more frequency would be a plus. Would you at least support that ?

      • Bruce Nourish says

        I guess we just disagree about how valuable that direct connection is relative to fixing the 8. Yes, I would support sending the 50 to Georgetown, probably via Graham St, but not before the existing route is frequent service. I don’t know of anything we could cut to pay for that extension.

      • d.p. says

        Georgetown and South SoDo are lost causes for multi-directional service.

        You just can’t get past how isolated they are. Here’s a visual reminder. They are islands.

        Rather than obsess over multi-lateral connections, you need to get the in-and-out good enough to feel like an obvious choice. Good connections to Link (if coming from further east/southeast than Link). Good wayfinding from Link to 131/132. And a reliable 131/132 without any major service gaps.

        You’re not talking about more than 1-2 miles on that connecting bus. This is the sort of trip for which an in-and-out can be reasonable. If it works.

      • says

        I agree that loss of the Georgetown/SE Seattle connection is the major shortcoming of the plan. But don’t forget about the 60 – which connects White Center, South Park, Georgetown and Beacon Hill – with connections to the 36 and Link at Beacon Hill Station.

  2. Mark Y says

    Does that loop at the end of the 107 over to Seward Park Ave S serve any purpose (layover)? Seems crazy to me, but I don’t know a whole lot about the area.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Layover might be part of it, providing a connection between the main part of Rainier Beach and Rainier Beach Station is another, as is making a connection to the 7 at Rainier/Henderson. I’m told the 107′s current inbound path on Renton Ave S was intended to give 107 riders from Renton/Skyway a quick shot into RBS. My idea trades that quick shot+backtrack in for a deviation; the alternative, if we’re going to extend up Beacon Hill, is to omit Rainier/Henderson altogether, but serving the neighborhood and the 7 transfer point seemed worthwhile.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        I was assuming, in this response, that you were talking about the 107′s current loop.

      • Mark Y says

        Yep, I was talking about the current loop at the end of the 107. I was curious if there was any reason for it (there didn’t appear to be), since your proposal deletes it. Thanks!

    • Charles says

      I think he’s trying to cover a portion of south Beacon Hill that the 106 covered and provide transfer points to Link.

  3. Gordon Werner says

    16th ave behind group health is a relatively open space … any reason why both the 8S and 8N couldn’t both utilize that portion of street for their layover? Another option would be John Ct. the little street that borders the S & W side of the park at 15th & John …

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Any street not on this map would need SDOT’s permission to become a layover space: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/Transit%20Classifications22006150dpi.pdf

      SDOT would have to evaluate the pavement quality to see if it could survive buses driving over at four times an hour. I’m not sure how good James Ct would fare in that evaluation. The city would also consider whether the bus can make the loop without crossing the centerline, and I’m not sure it could without converting that street to one way. So there are a lot of technical challenges, even before we get to political opposition to bus layovers from the neighbors.

      • Gordon Werner says

        If you look at Google Earth (or physically go there) … 16th ave between E John St & E Denny way is concrete and the West side of the street is a park … no reason why it couldn’t be made into bus parking S of the parking/turning circle for Group Health. E Denny Way could also be used as that street has little traffic from my own personal observations walking there … but I get your point.

        As for E John Ct. … was just thinking of a good use for that barely utilized street

      • Oran says

        Not all concrete pavement is created equal. If it isn’t thick enough it doesn’t matter what it’s made of, asphalt or concrete, bus loads will crack and damage the pavement.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      And regarding Group Health, Metro planners told me at an open house some time ago that there was only enough space back there to lay over one route.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        IIRC most of that block is short-term (1 hr?) parking, benefitting the hospital. Of course, they have their own parking garage so maybe some of this could be converted.

      • says

        Here is the old layover for the 8 behind Group Health on 16th. It appears that there are 4 1 hour parking spots behind the layover but even with those spots, you’d have a difficult time getting an additional route in here, assuming 60′ coaches. Given the proximity to the hospital drop off, you can assume a lot of illegal stopping/parking here so best not to try and shoehorn in too many buses.

    • Lloyd says

      I think you’d find that before the 8 was extrended east and south, its layover spot WAS on 16th behind GHC.

    • Lack Thereof says

      I would argue against using that as a turnaround for the 8s – that bus needs to reach the Capitol Hill/Broadway Link station.

      In this plan, it also wouldn’t be too difficult to potentially lay over at the soon-to-not-be-a-tunnel-station Convention Place facility.

  4. Adam Bejan Parast says

    Don’t know if this would work, just throwing it out. What if the 8S/106 used Broadway/Seneca to get downtown, allowing the 2 to shift to Madison? The Olive/Pike/Pine corridor is already saturated with bus service and adding more won’t make a difference.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Interesting. My initial concern is that you’d inherit the 2′s reliability problems on Spring, as well as downtown unreliability generally; excellent reliability was my top goal here. You’d also have to identify a turnaround loop and layover space, and the runtime would be longer than this proposal, which takes away from frequency gains which might otherwise be possible.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Yeah. If your goal is reliability I wouldn’t send it downtown if possible. How about using it to replace the 14 and turning around at Bellevue… or you could send it over the Lakeview overpass and have it layover somewhere in the cascade neighborhood. This would provide a unique network connection down to SLU, mitigate the elimination of the 14N (actually improve service markedly) and could be done using low-volume, high-reliability streets. Would that trigger SDOT street classifications issues?

      • d.p. says

        While laying over at 9th already prevents it from becoming part of the Bunched-Service Pike Slog(tm), I’m wondering if there’s a way to give it a completely different (somewhat off-the-radar) routing to and from Olive. Perhaps avoiding getting on Pike at all, so as to avoid the disadvantageous Boren light.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        My initial idea was west on Pine, layover on 9th, east on Olive, but I didn’t like how it created yet another service pattern between Capitol Hill and downtown. You still have to cross Boren, although Olive is bigger and the signal might be more favorable.

      • d.p. says

        You know, one option would be to go into the leftmost platform at Convention Place. CP then becomes a transfer station rather than just a portal.

      • says

        “You know, one option would be to go into the leftmost platform at Convention Place. CP then becomes a transfer station rather than just a portal.”

        You would need to reconfigure the entrance to CPS to allow this. While that entrance can be configured as a two way entrance/exit, visibility lines are poor, the turn onto Olive Way is a bit tricky, and there are currently no signals for exiting buses. It was configured this way while the bus tunnel was closed but the signals have been removed.

      • says

        One advantage of this routing is that, if you extend it along Pike and Pine into downtown and the layover in southern Belltown, you make it a lot easier to cut the 43.

        That said, I do like the idea of using this to replace the 14N, though I do have misgivings (and wonder how it’s going to make that turn at Olive and Summit/Bellevue).

      • d.p. says

        Morgan: Any bus that starts at Pike & 4th can miraculously wind up taking 10 minutes to go six blocks. You simply cannot attach a route this long to that high-volume, high-cluelessness slog if you care about the route’s reliability.

        Velo: What do buses do now, should they happen to have to leave the Convention Place layover areas through not-the-tunnel and not-the-Bay-A-ramps?

      • says

        “What do buses do now, should they happen to have to leave the Convention Place layover areas through not-the-tunnel and not-the-Bay-A-ramps?”

        Funny you should ask: I made this mistake for the first time last Thursday. Metro will write us a PR for making that [unsafe] turn without assistance so I had to get a supervisor to help me. The turn isn’t horrible but you need help to make sure a pedestrian or car isn’t coming from a blind spot that the signal is with you. Again, you can safely do it as a one-off with assistance but the intersection/lights would need modification to do it in regular operation.

      • Lack Thereof says

        d.p. -
        This suggestion has going no lower than 9th. It would have a protected left turn signal onto Pike. It would only have to cross Boren and make the left turn onto Bellevue, missing the worst parts of the slog.

        It still has to cross Boren and Bellevue if it takes Olive, only (in my opinion) Olive & Boren is a worse intersection. Both lanes are frequently blocked at rush hour by right-turn-on-red’rs from Boren trying to merge into the left-hand freeway queue, and the box is often blocked by people queueing on Boren for the Howell right turn.

        Seems like 6 of one, half a dozen of the other to me. We need travel time data.

    • says

      Here is a layover map I found at the base. It’s a bit difficult to read and doesn’t cover all of the layovers, but it appears to show a few “candidate on-street spaces” where there may be some room for layovers at SLU.

      The 8S could come down Pine and then turn right on 8th, a current designated deadhead route, to access these layovers. Once down there, it gets a bit messy but you could \create a route that terminates right in the heart of Amazonia/Vulcanland/Tom Douglasville and those streets don’t typically [yet] get too jammed up. Layover space plus a one-seat ride for Capitol Hill residents east of 15th as well as Central District residents sounds pretty good.

  5. Martin H. Duke says

    As a current 8 user, my biggest gripe about this would be that I’m not sure reliability gets any better. It’s true that the Denny segment is terrible, but messing around on Capitol Hill will still randomize departures from Madison. Furthermore, extending all the way to Renton will make Northbound (i.e., “to work”) much more unpredictable than it currently is.

    That said, I’m far enough north that Skyway access is irrelevant to me; this is an improvement for most 106 riders.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      The timepoint data I’ve requested from Metro is as follows: Route 8 from Uptown to Broadway, from Broadway to MBTC, from MBTC to Ranier Beach; and Route 106 from Renton TC to Rainier Beach. We can mash this data together to tell us pretty conclusively how reliable we can expect the 8S/106 to be. Keep in mind that northbound 8s are frequently late starting out from Rainier Beach because they’re massively late coming in.

  6. zefwagner says

    It will be pretty ridiculous if Sound Transit does not include bus layover space at the Cap Hill station. That’s a no-brainer to at least include as an option. If that could be done, I say turn the 106 around there.

  7. Brett says

    Although this is more about the 8 than it is the 106/107, I selfishly wish the 106 and 107 could be combined into 15 minute service starting out at RBS and terminating at RTC or Renton P&R. Getting from Beacon Hill to Renton would be much easier with 15 minute service and better reliability of 106/107. Of course those two routes serve different corridors between RBS and Renton, so maybe it would make sense to leave them as separate routes but time their departures to create 15 minute service between the endpoints.

  8. Lack Thereof says

    I usually have massive issues with any plan to split the 8. However, in this plan both 8s and 8n still are able to serve Capitol Hill/Broadway station, I have no objections. Yet.

  9. David L says

    Aren’t you just substituting one reliability problem for another? 8S + 106 is an astonishingly long route that hits a variety of trouble spots.

    There is also substantial ridership between South Beacon Hill and downtown. Those people will scream bloody murder about losing their one-seat ride. They were already upset when the old 32 was canceled and they had to ride the 106 through Georgetown.

    • David L says

      Another thought… the 107/148 is also already too long and reliability-challenged as a result. But I think you could solve that by through-routing the 148 with the 105 rather than the 107.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      “Aren’t you just substituting one reliability problem for another? 8S + 106 is an astonishingly long route that hits a variety of trouble spots.”

      My guestimated runtime is about five to ten minutes longer than the 106, which is about as long as the 358. Yes, it’s a longish route, but avoids all the big schedule graveyards that I’m aware of (downtown Seattle and the drawbridges).

    • says

      There are “trouble spots” and then there is Denny Way from Cap Hill to Seattle Center. I don’t know the 8S / 106 that well, but I have to imagine that Denny Way traffic is some of the worst along all of these routes. Isolating that chaos to the 8N (or ideally a Gondola) seems to be the wise course of action.

      • David L says

        Oh, I agree completely that the 8N needs to be isolated or replaced with an alternate mode. The 8 as it is today just doesn’t work. A shame, because if it were reliable it would provide some nice connectivity.

        I just think there are a lot of low-grade trouble spots on the 8S/106 that could add up when the routes are combined, and what makes it worse is that they are on the ends of the route. Getting out of RTC can be trouble, and a Pine/9th/Pike layover will be trouble. I may also feel jaundiced because when I drove I had a lot of trouble keeping the old I-5-based 106 on time, mostly just because it was scheduled way too tightly anytime except the PM peak. It was scheduled like a low-ridership neighborhood route when pre-Link it was a very-high-ridership through route that stopped at every stop along Rainier Ave and Renton Ave. Perhaps some better scheduling of the 106 could alleviate this. Hell, perhaps it already has, since I never ride the 106.

        And the 358 isn’t a great point of comparison… it’s too long; it just can’t be split because there is no reasonable point to split it.

      • phil says

        I live a couple blocks from the LQA/Uptown layover for the 8. It’s faster to drive and find free parking on Capital Hill than it is to take the 8 in the afternoon. Those articulated buses are a nightmare on Denny.

  10. GuyOnBeaconHill says

    I like the idea of restoring the original 8 (your blue line 8N), although Metro might consider extending it to Madison Park on the east end. I’ll be waiting to see ridership data through Madison Valley on MLK from Madison St. to about Union St. My casual observation is that ridership is pretty weak in that area and that the 8 is wasting a lot of resources serving MLK between Madison and Union. Would it be better to straighten out the 4S, extend it to Mt. Baker and terminate the 8 at Mt. Baker? A lot of south end passengers could catch the 4 at MBTC and get to the First Hill hospitals without having to go downtown and transfer.

    Eventually I think the Rapid Ride Ballard is going to suffer due the Uptown deviation. If the 8N were extended to Ballard as a local route, then maybe the RR Ballard could avoid the Uptown deviation, drop a couple of stops along 15th W and provide a service that really would rapidly connect Ballard and downtown Seattle. I don’t know if that would be budget neutral, but I think it would be popular.

    • Lack Thereof says

      Ridership data on that stretch of 8 was posted this time last year.

      To sum it up: Ridership on northern MLK is solid, although not crazy popular or anything. Average load is about 13ish passengers all-day, with commute-time averages closer to 18ish. It would be a good load for a 40′ bus, but the popularity of the rest of the route requires an artic.
      And while the buses are carrying good loads, the stops are not particularly busy – passengers in that section are either through-riders bypassing downtown, or locals using it at the “last mile” of a cross-town trip, not people riding in short local hops.

    • Keith says

      Typically the big issue that crops up whenever the idea of removing service from that the northern part of MLK comes up is that the hills to get up to 23rd (the next closest N-S corridor) are fairly steep in that part of Madison Valley.

      One way you could improve the reliability on the existing 8S is to take out the jog to 23rd between Yesler and Jackson and just stay on MLK. The blocks between 23rd and MLK are relatively flat there and that jog has a few left turns that can be painful when traffic is busy.

      • Nathanael says

        I immediately wondered why that jog remained in this restructuring proposal. It seems senseless. Would that change improve the proposal further?

    • CD & Valley guy says

      Why not connect the 8S and 4S into one route or Connect the 2S and the 8. The CD connection to the valley is great to have. The 3S could continue where the 2 goes to the lake.

  11. says

    Does this proposal eliminate the 43? I don’t see any unique value in the 43 if the 8S/106 provides service along the John/Thomas St corridor to downtown. Eliminating the 43 gives you service hours to improve this restructure.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      I didn’t want to go there today, because having killed the 42, I decided I would need to kill another bus, but decided to go about it stealthily.

      No, seriously, now. Yes, I have ideas for post-2016 that would involve killing the 43 and extending this 8/106 a few more blocks to replace the 43 through the dense Olive corridor to Broadway. But that can’t happen until 2016, because Montlake has no good service to downtown without the 43, and the 49 can’t carry all the U-District Capitol Hill traffic alone. My purpose in this post was to lay out a restructure which Metro could do next spring, if it wanted. Part of that was identifying a viable layover space and a path to get there, and that’s the primary purpose of the Olive segment.

      • Kyle S. says

        So why do we want to kill the 43 again? And if we do, how do we make good use of the trolley wire that we already have on Olive? Or do we tear it down?

      • Chris Stefan says

        Because the 43 really isn’t what you want in a route that receives so many service hours. Especially if your goal is a gridded, frequent, “anywhere to anywhere” transit system.

        Most of the reason for the 43 went away when the 8 started and frequency was increased on the 48. Link takes away even more of the reason for the 43.

        As for what to do with the trolley wire, I believe the 48S (actually the whole route, but the part between MBTC and the U-District is easier) and the 8N should both be electrified and turned into trolley routes.

      • David L says

        We toss around things like “most of the reason for the 43 went away,” but the passengers don’t see it that way–ridership on the Olive Way segment between Broadway and downtown is absolutely enormous. Buses run every 10-15 minutes and they are often packed. It’s not clear to me that taking the 8 backward to Capitol Hill Station and then transferring to Link into downtown is an adequate replacement for such a short, high-volume service. I don’t think you can take away the 43 unless you have replacement service as far as Group Health.

        The 48 is not a good candidate for trolley service unless you split it, because the 48N would make a terrible trolley route. It’s long, it has a couple places where speeds are relatively high, it runs through a scenic area where there is a lot of ridership but electrification would be fought by the neighbors, and it would gain nothing from electrification (it has no steep hills). So you’d be left electrifying only the 48S, but it’s hard to split the 48 (unlike the 8) because there is no clear point where the ridership divides.

        I guess if there’s a theme to these comments it’s that restructuring requires us to take the pie out of the sky for a second and actually look at how people are using the service today. Bruce does a good job of this in the proposal that starts this thread.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        Any proposal to electrify the 48 would involve a split, Metro’s never likely to have the cash to electrify 85th. I described one budget-neutral arrangement here:

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/09/06/route-48/

        This through-route gives everyone full coverage of the U-District, and riders who want the long-haul from north of the U-District to the RV can transfer to Link for a much faster ride. The only people who have to transfer are those from north of the U-District to Montlake or the Central District.

      • David L says

        The thing is that the 48 is not just a commuter route to the U-District. It’s also got huge school ridership, much of which rides through the U-District. The route is a primary feeder to Roosevelt, Garfield, Washington MS, and Franklin, and will also feed the new MS that is likely to open in the old Marshall building. Students are riding from all over town to get to those schools, especially Roosevelt, Garfield, and Washington (all of which have special citywide programs), and in many cases the 48 is the only way to do it without either a three-seat ride or a very long ride through downtown.

      • Chris Stefan says

        Metro planners certainly have thought about both electrifying the 48S and 8N as well as killing the 43. See theRapid Trolley Network developed as part of the Alaska Way Viaduct project (but sadly not funded by the legislature).

        Given how slow Capitol Hill buses are, particularly Eastbound I can easily see riders preferring to take LINK to CHS and transferring to a frequent 8 to reach the Olive Way/Denny corridor. Also remember the 14 provides service to much of the same area. Perhaps dropping the 43 would improve the fortunes of the 14N and provide a reason for keeping it around?

        Also note the similarity between these maps and both Bruce’s and Metro’s proposed restructurings of Queen Anne and Central District service.

        It is possible to split the 48N and the 48S, you do it much like the 43 and 44 were split. The Northern half of the route turns back at Montlake (or joins another route like Bruce’s proposal to merge the 48N and the 271) and the Southern half of the route uses one of the ETB turnbacks in the University District (either the one for the 70 or the 43/49).

    • Mike Orr says

      Re eliminating the 43. It all revolves around how important it is to keep the Olive/John segment and the 23rd/24th segment together. The alternative would be a transfer between the 8 and 48, but that would only work if the buses were ultra-frequent (5-10 minute) and there’s a really good transfer station at 23rd/John/Madison that people would feel safe at. I’d like to believe the 8, 48, and Madison BRT will be ultra-frequent someday but it’s hard. There’s strong ridership between Montlake and Capitol Hill, and I don’t think we should just cut it off at this point. After Link has been running a few years, we can reconsider it, and maybe by that time the overall bus network will be stronger anyway.

      So, one alternative in my mind is to keep the 8, 10, 11, and 48, delete the 43 in favor of a transfer, and delete the 49 in favor of a north-south route. Madison is still tricky, it could be 11 Madison-Pine, 11 Madison-Madison, and/or 43 23rd-Madison. Then there’s the question of whether both Olive/John and Pine should have frequent service or it should be consolidated on one or the other. I don’t think removing service from Pine is feasable, and Olive/John will have the 8 in any case.

      One simple alternative would be to merely exchange the heads of the 12 and 43 (43 Madison-23rd more frequent; 12 John-19th less frequent). That would get more service onto Madison especially to 23rd, avoid a fight over removing buses from 19th entirely, and almost support existing 23rd-John trip patterns (but on 19th rather than 23rd).

  12. Al S. says

    With so many bus routes already connecting the area between Capitol Hill station and Westlake station AND the new two minute light rail ride that Link will introduce AND the beginning of Broadway Streetcar operations, isn’t the segment 8S/106 here rather redundant? Capitol Hill will be seeing much better transit accessibility shortly!

    Service hours could be shifted to the Rainier Valley, especially for areas not easily walkable to Link. Route 7 takes forever! What about a frequent limited-stop service that extends to Renton? Restructuring Route 9 into a limited stop, extended, high-frequency RapidRide service could work wonders for all sorts of trips!

    • Lack Thereof says

      I am actually super psyched to see what happens to ridership patterns on the 8 through the CD when Capitol Hill station opens. At that point we’ll have a loop through a residential neighborhood with Link stops at both ends. On one hand there might be fewer through riders from people transferring to Link rather than buypassing downtown on the 8. On the other hand there might be more locals in the CD getting on board to transfer at Capitol Hill.

      I’m totally with you on the limited-stop 7. I would love to see the 7x getting all-day service (I think the stop spacing of its express portion is damn near perfect, BRT worthy). But we can’t cram that into the budget without cutting local connections, and the Rainier valley needs better local e/w connections worse.

    • Brent says

      Oh, please don’t push the 7X.

      7X is to 7+Link as Sound Runner is to Edmonds ferry + Sounder.

  13. sambrag says

    What stops KCM from starting from scratch? It seems like it would be a really good idea.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Inertia. With that said when the Capitol Hill station opens, I think there needs to be a lot of creative thinking about how to restructure service.

      • sambrag says

        “I think there needs to be a lot of creative thinking about how to restructure service.”

        I agree. I’d support funding for the KCM planners to, as a team, be given a blank map and told to, “plan all the routes KCMs needs”.

    • Nathanael says

      More than inertia.
      (1) Trolley wire locations;
      (2) The fact that SDOT has to approve which segments of which streets are allowed to have buses on them;

      That already restricts the opportunities for restructuring a lot. However, it is true that a lot of changes can be done even with those restrictions.

  14. Brent says

    I’m not a fan of the 106/124 pairing on Airway (or at least the theoretical pairing if the Argo Bridge were open), since half of that pairing runs in the tunnel and the other runs up above. If I were living in east Georgetown, I’d hate that. I’d rather see the 124 get more frequency, and be *the* route serving that corridor.

    There is an unmet demand for students at Cleveland High on 15th Ave S to be able to continue southward beyond Albro to South Beacon Hill residential areas, rather than having the only route serving that corridor (the 60) head for the saloon district. I’d love to see the 106 stay on its current path up to Albro, then keep heading up 15th Ave S, past Cleveland High, to the VA (without doing the knot) and on to Beacon Hill Station.

    The ridership on the 60 drops off south of Cleveland High (and drops off to almost nothing during various periods of the day, thanks to the painful re-route and Figure 8 through South Park). With the 132 getting improved frequency, and the 60 keeping the *(%^#$ VA knot, I’d rather just serve South Park with the 132 and have the 60 interline with a re-directed 106 to provide more frequent service on underserved 15th Ave S.
    .

    Yes, split the 8 so as to terminate at GroupHealth coming from the west, and somewhere west of Capitol Hill Station coming from the east/south, but don’t ruin the newly-reliable 8S by through-routing it with the 106, which gets bogged down in traffic in downtown Renton.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      If there was a cost-neutral way to split the 8 without through-routing the 106, I would have suggested it. Until 2016, there’s just not enough fat to squeeze out of S/SE Seattle to pay for a total split.

      • Brent says

        If the 106 is truncated at Beacon Hill Station, the 60 frequency is reduced, and the 124 is left as is, I think that should provide far more than enough hours to do the split.

        This will be a lot more politically feasible to accomplish now than after the Argo Bridge and South Park Bridge are finished.

      • Gordon Werner says

        Brent … the 60 is the only N-S bus on Capital Hill-First Hill that operates daily … until the streetcar is operating I could see a lot of pushback over reducing service hours

      • Brent says

        What about the 9?

        And then, after CHS opens for service, how about continuing the 49 south to take over the northern portion of the 60′s routing?

    • asdf says

      +1. Why does the 8 take the jog over to 23rd anyway? Because somebody 50 years ago lobbied Metro really hard for front door service to a building that has since been torn down and replaced?

      • Bruce Nourish says

        For a while, the 8 looped around there. When it was extended to Mount Baker, the deviation was kept. The deviation is slow, but it does provide front door service to the groceries and the library, and the stops in the deviation are easily the busiest on the 8 in the CD. Ideally, I’d axe that deviation, but I shied away from it in this proposal, because axing it would probably upset lots of people, and, again, my goal here was to lay out an ambitious but realistic restructure proposal.

      • Chris Stefan says

        What Bruce said. Besides the 8 hasn’t been around long enough to suffer from a 50 year old deviation.

        OTOH there are some Metro routes with weird routing that haven’t changed much in 30+ years.

      • Nathanael says

        “and the stops in the deviation are easily the busiest on the 8 in the CD.”

        Okay then.

  15. Kotzebue says

    This proposal as I read it would leave me stranded–I catch the 107 in Skyway on Beacon Ave to get down the hill to the RBS–and that loop gets very heavy usage during the school year–the 40ft coach is SRO from Sept-June. There is no direct walking route to the 106 and it is my understanding that rerouting the 107 after the reduction of the 42 (which used to have a coach that started on Beacon and Leo and served the neighborhood around Rainier Vista Elementary where I live) was Metro’s way to ensure that people who live in there were not cast adrift. In your desire to make sure this is “cost neutral” don’t abandon those of use who ride the bus on a daily basis…

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Hmmm… not sure if I follow. My proposal doesn’t change the 107 on Beacon, it’s just not shown on that map (we could only fit so much on there). You would still have a connection to RBS. It would be slightly slower, as the bus would go up 51st Ave S and west on Henderson, rather than the diagonal down Renton Ave S, but still there.

      • Kotzebue says

        Taking a second look, you’re correct. My apologies on looking the wrong direction on the map

  16. Limes says

    It’s always interesting to me to see people hypothesizing about routes that they don’t ride themselves. Yes, you can utilize some systems knowledge, but you have to consider how people are actually using the system.

    Few points:

    1. The 8 NB is not predictable between 7-9am. It’s unlikely that the 8 SB is causing those delays. It’s more likely that the buses are at crush loads before they hit MLK / Rainier. And for some of those routes, it’s impossible to get on at Alaska.

    2. The jog at 23rd is *critical* for the 8. The 48 was cut south of MLK, so they only way for students to get to Washington Middle School, Garfield High school or 23rd and Jackson is the 8. As Bruce said, the two stops on 23rd are probably the most “offs” of the entire route. Getting rid of that means people will have to transfer to the 48 at Mt. Baker, which is already at crush loads during peak hours (before it even leaves the stop).

    3. Brent makes an excellent point that the 106 is critical to Cleveland HS. The 60 does not run frequently enough to deal with the demand.

    In addition, as others have mentioned, it’s near impossible to get to Georgetown from the RV. I’d love to ride a bus into Georgetown for all of their great restaurants and art scene, but it’s just not feasible.

    I rate this recommendation as good on paper and faulty in execution.

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