Metro Tweaks North King-Seattle Routes

306, 308, 312 Routing Change from Stewart to . Similar changes for 301, 522.

306, 308, 312 Routing Change. Similar changes for 301, 522 (links below).

Yesterday, Metro announced a change to the outbound downtown Seattle routing of Routes 306, 308, 312 and ST 522, and the inbound and outbound routing of the 301. These routes serve Woodinville and other areas of northern King County. From the announcement:

Beginning Nov. 5, Metro will shift five bus routes off of Olive Way and onto Pike Street, and move a Fourth Avenue bus stop one block north. The revised routes are 301, 306, 308, 312 and Sound Transit Express 522 – routes that carry several hundred riders on 21 trips during the busiest hour of the evening commute. Maps of the revised routes are posted online for route 301routes 306, 308 and 312, and ST Express 522. [...]

The change comes after a month of observations and rider feedback that identified lengthy travel times on Olive Way during the evening commute. On Sept. 29, these five bus routes were revised to travel via Fourth Avenue and Olive Way as part of major changes in the bus network in downtown Seattle. However traffic in the area – buses, general traffic and pedestrians – proved too congested. [...]

To make the route revision work, Metro also will close the bus stop on Fourth Avenue between Union and Pike streets on Nov. 5. All buses that have been stopping at the stop between Union and Pike streets will serve the stop one block north on Fourth Avenue between Pike and Pine streets. This move will help buses and other traffic better make a right turn on Pike Street and head straight to the Interstate 5 express lanes. Other bus routes that continue north on Fourth Avenue also should see improved travel times.

The moved bus stop affects riders on:

  • Metro routes 111, 114, 210, 212, 214, 215 and 217
  • Community Transit routes 402, 405, 410, 412, 413, 415, 416, 417, 421, 422, 424, 425 and 435
  • Sound Transit Express routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 554, 590, 592, 594 and 595

These four routes have been tweaked a lot lately, and riders may find useful to know more about why, so as to understand that Metro isn’t just fiddling around with these routes for fun.

The 301 was, until last month, in the Downtown Transit Tunnel, along with other Shoreline commuter routes like the 316. It was moved from the tunnel to the surface due to reduced bus capacity in the tunnel, caused by the elimination of Pay as You Leave rules when the Ride Free Area ended. The 306, 308, 312 and 522 previously operated on a unique downtown pattern, operating southbound on 2nd Ave, and northbound on 3rd Ave, and then to and from the freeway express ramp via Pike and Union; most other suburban service operated on 2nd and 4th Avenues and accessed the freeway via the Stewart and Olive couplet.

More after the jump.

Northbound operations for the 306, 308, 312 and 522 on 3rd Ave were problematic for a few reasons. Along with the tunnel, 3rd Ave bus zone capacity was also reduced with the elimination of the RFA, and 4th Ave had much more capacity available. Those routes didn’t really fit in with the emerging logical design of the downtown area, where north-south Seattle service was almost exclusively on 3rd Ave, and suburban service on 2nd, 4th and 5th. Finally, it was often difficult for buses to make the right turn from 3rd to Pike in the afternoons, due to the heavy pedestrian traffic at that intersection. (The 14 was also split, in part, for this reason). Delays making that turn badly disrupted northbound buses trying to serve the 3rd & Pike stop. Hence it made sense to move these routes from 3rd to 4th.

The Stewart/Olive couplet has some advantages over Pike/Union. It provides much better access to the Denny Triangle, and in the outbound direction, a very good transfer connection from the South Lake Union streetcar. At best, it is still somewhat slower, as the bus drives further on surface streets before entering the freeway, but planners presumably hoped reliability would still be adequate, and that improved access outweighed the slower speed. Unfortunately, adding all these routes to the stop outside the Medical Dental Building (6th & Olive) turned out to exceed the workable capacity of that bus zone, causing significant delays to all the routes on Olive, forcing Metro to make this latest change.

When changes introduce chronic unreliability or other problems to their routes, people sometimes write to me or the contact@STB address, and complain about it. While this is understandable, I always tell them they’re talking to the wrong people: they best thing to do is send Metro feedback through through any of the means listed on this page, and get everyone else on the bus to do the same thing. Having covered Metro in more detail than perhaps anyone else in the city, I can say that within the context of minor, non-political problems such as I’ve discussed in this post, complaining en masse through the feedback form is a surprisingly good, if not the best, way to effect changes.

Whether or not you check the box asking for a response, you’ll probably never hear back about your feedback (at least according to every single person who’s ever written to us), but Metro has an entire Service Quality team whose job is to sift through this and other data, looking for and fixing speed and reliability problems. The scope of what they can do is limited, but if enough people complain about one specific problem, they’ll almost certainly look into it, and if there’s an easy fix, they might well be able to make it happen.

Kudos to Metro for addressing this issue promptly, and I hope the expected speedier operations on 4th are also realized.

POSTSCRIPT: An attentive reader brought this Rider Alert to my attention, at the Pike & 6th stop:

Rider notice at Pike & 6th

Rider notice at Pike & 6th

It appears buses to Capitol Hill (10, 11, 43, 47, 49) will no longer serve that stop after Monday; I assume this change is also dictated by bus zone capacity. Closing this stop is actually great for most Capitol Hill riders, and is something I’ve wanted for ages — it’s only two blocks in either direction to another stop, and this stop’s presence caused buses to crawl through this quarter-mile — but Metro’s announcements regarding the Olive-Pike switcheroo failed to mention it.




Comments

  1. David L says

    That change to the Pike and 6th stop suggests to me that Metro may be thinking of putting even more routes through the Pike/Union couplet. It’s going to upset a lot of people… I hope they have the fortitude to stick with it.

    • David L says

      Typing before thinking at 7 a.m. The vague “it” in my second sentence is the change to Capitol Hill service, not any moving of suburban service.

    • says

      Skip stops, and outright stop removals, have been implemented slowly over time. I’m sure they catch heat for it but I’ve not seen any reversals. The 303 stop on 5th by the Library is an oddball stop that confuses drivers (like me) that don’t drive 5th Ave very often. Metro has been removing buses from that stop for a while but there must be a “squeaky wheel” that keeps that one around.

      • Lloyd says

        This will be a good change, but Cap Hill folks who work in and around City Centre will likely howl. Metro will need to put back the shelter on Pike at 4th which was removed maybe 18 months ago.

      • David L says

        That shelter being gone is a very good thing. That is one of the two or three bus stops in the whole city that tends to attract the most dubious activity, and when the shelter was there it was only used by dubious people and not accessible to anyone else. There are overhangs on the nearby building which can help people stay dry.

    • Stephen F says

      Definitely. Metro should stick with commonsense chanes like this. We love stop consolidation!

    • David L says

      Looking at the list of 4th Avenue routes, the 64 is the only one that seems like a no-brainer to move from Olive onto Pike. I don’t think Pike could handle all the SnoCo service, and the Eastside service can’t use it because it uses the regular lanes onramp at Olive.

      • John Slyfield says

        No community transit buses will hit i5 via pike street. the only impact on those routes will be the stop closing between union and pike street. Only the metro routes listed as well as st 522 will service i5 via pike.

      • David L says

        John, I realize that’s the situation now. If you read my thread starter above, you’ll see I was speculating about additional routes that could be moved to Pike in the future. Then I looked at the list and realized the 64 was the only one that made sense.

    • Jason Rogers says

      The main drawback to closing this stop for Capitol Hill routes is that it is close to the 6th & Pine tunnel entrance. Yeah, I know the entrance at 4th & Pine is equally close to the 4th & Pike stop (closer actually since there’s an entrance on the south side of Pine), but if you’re coming from/going to the east end of Westlake station, it is faster to go via 6th.

      • adam says

        Seconded.

        I would like Westlake station to have better wayfinding in the station itself for bus connections. I used 6th/Pike as my preferred stop for the 11/43, because I perceived it to be closer to the Westlake station exit (given where the train stops in the station itself), and because the 4th/Pike stop seemed (anecdotally – I can make no factual claim here) to be a bit more unsafe late at night. A greater police presence along Pike street between 10 and EOS might help.

  2. Zach Shaner says

    These are good changes. Though I know about the difficulties of the right turn from NB 3rd to Pike, I still think the 301 should be on 3rd Ave to allow Aurora Village riders the choice of local (358) vs express (301) at the same stop. It’s only 3 reverse-peak and 15 peak-direction trips.

    • David L says

      Usually I’d agree with you, but in this case the time difference between express and local is so dramatic that I don’t think anyone would want to take a 358 to 301 destinations during the 301 span of service, even if they had just missed a 301.

      • Bellinghammer says

        But maybe there are lots of folks taking the 358 end-to-end who don’t even know about the 301?

    • says

      The turn isn’t the problem. Pedestrians crossing against a flashing “Don’t walk” and box blocking by cars travelling East on Pike from 1st & 2nd is the real problem. Making that turn only for buses and adjusting signal timing would do wonders. Even at the busiest times, it wouldn’t take much of a tweak (At least based on my memory of driving the 14 through there 2 years ago. I suppose it could be far worse now)

  3. Mark says

    Glad for this – the Olive street routing added a few extra minutes to my evening commute, which I’m glad to have back now. And as an added bonus, I’m back to being able to just cross the street to get to my bus stop now.

  4. Anon says

    What about an all walk signal, similar to the one on 1st and Pike? I know they aren’t the best, but considering the amount of buses that turn here, it might greatly increase the reliability and capacity of buses to turn right onto Pike.

    • David L says

      Scrambles are great for pedestrians where there is a high volume of them. But they are disobeyed enough that they are only marginally helpful to transit. On the old 5 and 11, the turn from southbound 1st onto eastbound Pike was still a challenge even with the scramble, because so many pedestrians were still walking with the green for vehicles. I remember many 5 trips where I sat, partway stuck in the intersection, until the green light for eastbound Pike traffic appeared.

      • Mickymse says

        The problem is that the City keeps failing to post signs there… despite my repeated attempts over the years to get them to do so — pointing out that many tourists and suburbanites who don’t regularly use the intersection don’t know that it’s Walk All Ways there.

  5. Rob K says

    The removal of 6th and Pike for Capitol Hill is moronic. Wait a few years until the tunnel is done before making this change.

    Instead of the “crawl” along Pike, you’re going to see a total lack of movement at 4th. No one will walk to convention place because it’s uphill. So 4th and Pike will take twice as long to board passengers, longer because fewer buses will be boarding.

    But screw Capitol Hill right? Metro couldn’t stick a couple of transit cops on Olive Way, the city couldn’t ticket all of the bus lane violators, nobody could figure out how to make things work on that street. So, we will take these routes that we severed into short-distance loops from their former one-seat downtown rides… We’ll take these routes that we’ve forced everyone to transfer to, and we’ll make that transfer harder.

    Because, apparently, Metro’s goal is to support suburban quality of life.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      You arithmetic about delays at Pike & 4th makes no sense. If all the people from two stops load at one stop but the bus only stops once, this makes the bus faster. It especially makes it faster when, as is usually the case here, the bus can follow the lights eastbound to 8th Ave when it doesn’t have to stop, rather than having to stop at 4th and probably wait another light cycle. This is a bonus for the Hill.

      • Rob K says

        My math is fine. This is not some lightly used suburban stop. The buses are half full after 4th, full of standers after 6th. Getting a full bus in one stop does not reduce the total time when 3 or more buses are trying to load in the space of two buses.

      • Bruce Nourish says

        That makes absolutely no sense. Fewer stops decrease the amount of time buses spend farting about.

      • Brent says

        Rob,

        If you think there is math to back you up, I would encourage you to time how long those buses take to get through that section of their route today, before the shift occurs, and then a couple weeks down the road. Measurement trumps thought experiments.

      • Rob K says

        The burden of evidence is on the party proposing change.

        Even if I wanted to, I can’t gather a week of data because the change happens next Monday.

        Why would you trust a week of data anyways? A 522 broke down at 6th and Olive yesterday at 6 pm, totally skewing this week’s data.

      • Mickymse says

        Happy to agree with the desire for data, Bruce… BUT, common sense should tell you that you’re not correct at all times here.

        Take the high volume, short distance stop for SW-bound buses at 2nd & Columbia before the Viaduct. If you increase dwell times for buses there to load more people, you back up each succeeding vehicle behind it.

        That will cancel the time savings for folks already on the bus pretty quick and increase bus bunching.

    • David Seater says

      It will likely take less than twice as long to board at 4th. Even if we assume that there were an equal number of riders boarding at 6th, and that they all choose to board at 4th, the bus is still only stopping once instead of twice. It would take twice as long for people to board at 4th as it does now, but once boarding is done the bus would only have to wait for runners once (instead of twice), meaning that instead of missing a light at 4th AND and 6th it could only miss the once at 4th. There will only be one opportunity to be stuck at a green light waiting for runners instead of two.

      When it finally does pull out it can proceed with the timed lights all the way to Convention Place rather than slowing, stopping, at repeating the “wait for runners” process at 6th.

  6. Cascadian says

    I used to ride the 312/522, for a previous job in Seattle. I’d heard from a friend about the change to Olive and he was really irritated about it. I think it makes sense to get the suburban commuter routes out of the city as quickly as possible, so changing this back is a good thing. The stop consolidation on local routes is just a bonus, even if it provokes some grumbling.

  7. Adam Bejan Parast says

    Since we’re on the topic of Pike operations for Capitol Hill routes I’d like to know if Metro has looked at using the existing trolley wire on 8th to do the jog over to Pike rather than on Bellevue.

    This has several benefits. The first and primary benefit is this gets buses away from the congested and slow intersection of Pike and Boren. If Boren is backed up Pike will be backed up often taking 2-3 signal cycles for buses to get through. Pine, because of the one way operations west of 8th, has very low volumes and thus is very reliable at all times of day.

    The second advantage is moving the left/right turns from Bellevue to 8th will reduce delay from pedestrian crossings because pedestrian volumes on Bellevue are higher than on 8th (personal observation, I don’t have counts to back that up). Because Pine begins two way operations at 8th it will also speed on right turns onto Pine from 8th which I think would be possible on red. Currently drivers almost never attempt a right turn on red from Bellevue onto Pine because of pedestrian crossing volumes and poor sight lines. A left turn off Pike at 8th rather than Bellevue also eliminates delays caused by oncoming traffic since Pike is one-way at 8th but two way at Bellevue.

    With the elimination of the 6th St stop weaving to the far left lane should not be an issue and the stop at the convention center can be moved to the current taxi stand location on 8th between Pike and Pine, with the taxi stand moving to current bus stop location. This will have an added benefit of providing full rain cover for the relocated bus stop.

    What do people think? Any fatal flaws?

    • murradus says

      I like it, as it will make my commute better. But i wonder about the stop at Pike and Boren (that would be eliminated).

      Also is the left from Pine to Bellevue any better than Pike to Bellevue? You might be able to make a left turn lane and bus signal at Pine/Bellevue, that could speed things along.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Yeah the stop would have to move. Don’t know the best location for a replacement. Pike and Boren would work at since it’s fairly flat between the two but wasting over the freeway isn’t ideal.

        And yeah the left from Pine to Bellevue would be an issue however only the 43 and 47 make that turn with all other routes goings straight. I think it would still be a net gain but yeah it is something that would need to be looked at.

      • d.p. says

        Your plan is entirely sound, but you’ve done a ton of Pike/Pine switching in your description.

        Pine is always north of Pike. Edit if you are able..

      • murradus says

        The Convention Place bus stop would have to move to 8th. There are 2 sets of wire on Pike, one on the left side and one on the right. The only place to switch between them is back at 5th ave.

        This would actually work perfect. Now that the trolleys dont stop at 6th pike, the can shift to the left wire at 5th, go straight through to 8th, turn left on 8th. Stop at new convention center stop. Then continue on. This would definately save time. The only really drawback is that you would have to move the Pike/Boren stop to Pine/Boren, which is located over the freeway. Not the ideal location for a bus stop.

      • Brent says

        Can we please just give Pine St a new name? I’ve lived here 14 years, and I still get Pike and Pine mixed up. While we are at it, change the name of University St, so that the name of the station has to be changed.

      • d.p. says

        Excellent!

        Now all we need is a counter-flow lane all the way down Pine, and we can forget completely about Cap Hill buses on Pike.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Yes. Hopefully we can have a discussion like this when the Capitol Hill station opens.

      • Aleks says

        +1. I think this would be a great idea, especially because it’s implementable without any new wire.

        I especially love that it places a stop directly next to Convention Place.

    • Brad says

      If memory serves correctly, at one time some buses did this. I think the 10 and the 14 took a left at 8th to traverse from Pike to Pine. If I remember right, at that time the 11 went up Pike and didn’t make the turn on Bellevue.

      I’m not sure why they chose to switch it to Bellevue then; it was fine as it was, but I’m sure it had something to do to standardizing the routes.

      • Aleks says

        I vaguely recall there was some construction that required a temporary reroute away from the crossover at 8th, which became permanent.

        I fully support standardization, but I strongly agree with Adam that we should standardize on switching over at 8th.

        Separately, I think the time is ripe for switching the 11 to all-Madison. This would help (even if just a bit) to reduce congestion on Pike/Pine, which matters more now that so many other routes are moving back to that corridor.

    • adam says

      I like this for the 10/43/47, but not the 11 and the 49.

      I think the 11 should be a couplet along Pike/Pine all the way through to Madison since it’s not a trolley route at all, and the 49 should turn on Broadway at Pike – fewer turns means fewer headaches, especially since it jogs all of 4 blocks between Bellevue and Broadway.

      • adam says

        Of course, with the streetcar coming online soon enough, who knows what the complications will be. (How are trolley buses going to cross the streetcar power lines?)

      • adam says

        By my logic, I’ve failed to realize that having the 47 go all the way to Bellevue is the better option. Derp.

      • Aleks says

        There’s a lot to be said for having buses with similar origins/destinations share a common route for as long as possible. Many people use these services as substitutes for each other, and so the ability to wait at one stop for all of them is very useful. For example, if I wanted to get from Convention Place to Pine and Broadway, I would want to wait at one stop for the 10, 11, or 49. If I wanted to go to Broadway and John, I would want to wait at one stop for the 43 or 49. Summit and Olive? 43 or 47. Splitting any of those pairs would be bad; the logical conclusion is that all five routes should be kept together.

        Aside from the current routing, there are two main alternatives that would work. One would be to use Pike St exclusively for all NE-bound trips. The 43/47 would be unchanged; the 49 would continue on Pike to Broadway; the 10 and 11 would continue on Pike to Madison/15th. The other is the one that Adam Parast proposed.

        The benefits of Adam Parast’s routing are, first, that couplets are inherently evil and should be avoided, and second, that it doesn’t require any new wiring.

        Why are couplets evil? Because most trips are round trips, and therefore the effective walk shed of a coupled pair of stops is the intersection of the walk shed of the individual stops. That is, if someone is willing to walk 1,200 feet (say) from the bus to where they want to go, then they need to be able to walk 1,200 feet from each of the stops separately. This is exacerbated by the fact that Pike is noticeably downhill from Pine. Running a bus along one street (or, occasionally, as a “reverse couplet”*) means that a greater number of destinations are within walking range.

        Couplets are also hard to understand, because people generally expect a bus to travel the same route in both directions, especially when the streets involved are two-way.

        The benefits of the full-couplet design are that you minimize the number of turns. That’s nice, but it doesn’t outweigh the cost of new trolley wire and the reduced walk shed.

      • Nathanael says

        “(How are trolley buses going to cross the streetcar power lines?)”

        Battery power through the intersection. Needs new trolley buses first though.

      • adam says

        and of course Aleks, you’ve found the primary outstanding flaw in my argument for a couplet – walkshed problems. It’s the common argument, and I’d be naive to dismiss it.

        I do think that, because of proximity and geography, that Pike would be as suitable a candidate for a couplet as there can possibly be. However, if the necessary signals could be re-timed at 8th, and along Pine — what we’re proposing is essentially a major corridor redesign, one that will almost certainly require traffic engineering improvements — then there’s no reason this can’t be achieved. I worry slightly about the intersection with Boren Avenue, though. It gets pretty clogged.

      • Aleks says

        adam,

        Thanks for your thoughtful response! :)

        Personally, if we’re willing to invest in a massive corridor redesign, I’d prefer we make Pine St two-way bus-only downtown, and avoid the couplet. In contrast, Adam Parast’s idea could be implemented today without any infrastructure changes.

        I disagree that Pike/Pine is a good candidate for a couplet. The gap between Pike and Pine is actually pretty wide — 423 feet. Plus you need to add in the width of both streets, since the stops are at opposite ends. In contrast, Portland’s reverse couplet is only 279 feet, and you don’t have to count the street width, since the stops are on the same block (just opposite sides).

        I can only think of one situation in which I’d be happy to see a regular couplet. If there’s a really hilly neighborhood, with a commute-focused ridership pattern. In this case, you can get some benefits by having the bus run inbound in the valley and outbound in the hill. The couple allows people to walk downhill in both directions. (The 47 is kind of like this.)

        Reverse couplets can be quite a bit more useful. In particular, they have the nice property that the distance between stops is the block width, rather than the block width plus two street widths. They also minimize left turns; buses can just operate in a giant clockwise loop.

        For example:

        1. There’s a really wide (or difficult-to-cross) street, and the blocks between the couplet are relatively narrow. In this case, it’s possible that the distance between two stops is actually shorter with the reverse couplet than it would be if it were operating on the same street!

        2. The center block serves as a kind of civic square. For example, in downtown, imagine a couplet between Madison and Spring. You could take a bus to the library, spend some time there, then take a bus home, all without having to cross a single street.

        3. The center block is a major connection point, with couplets on all sides. For example, imagine if all downtown buses went north on 4th and south on 5th, and the Capitol Hill buses went east on Pine and west on Pike (opposite of today). In that case, the Westlake Park block could serve as a two-way transit island. You get off on that block, walk to a different corner, and get on a different bus, all without crossing a street.

        However, given the relatively narrow width of Pine St, the relatively wide block, and the two-way operations on 3rd St, think that two-way Pine is more appropriate here.

    • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says

      Because Pine begins two way operations at 8th it will also speed on right turns onto Pine from 8th which I think would be possible on red.

      Would that be considered part of the CBD? Metro policy prohibits right-turn-on-red in the CBD.

      • David L says

        It’s right on the CBD border. If Metro started sending high volumes of buses through the corridor, it would probably have to set a right-on-red rule for just this intersection.

        I could see the right on red being a safety challenge for artics, because there is only one lane to turn into. On the other hand, the curb is fairly well radiused. I don’t think I’ve ever done that turn in a bus so I don’t have an intuitive sense of how difficult it would be.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Because of how Pine becomes two way at this intersection it’s actually possible to give the right turn an green arrow at all times when Pine WB has a green.. The signal timing could be set up so if a bus is waiting the bus would get a green arrow but otherwise the peds have the crossing like now.

    • Lloyd says

      Great idea, Adam, and would segue nicely into an eventual streetcar replacement for the #10 from Volunteer Park all the way down to the Market

  8. Eric says

    The elimination of the stop at 6th & Pike removes the closest stop to catch the 49 for people getting off Light Rail at Westlake. There are likely to be a number of people ticked off over this. Interesting that they didn’t bother to include this change in their announcement.

  9. PSF says

    This doesn’t sound as though it will help the inbound evening crawl along Stewart to 5th.
    The 301 only runs on Stewart in the AM.

  10. Brent says

    When you like a change, remember to send in a commendation. Your commendation is worth a whole bunch of complaints given the generally low commendation/complaint ratio. Metro knows that happy customers are a like less likely to communicate with them than unsatisfied ones are.

    I do hope Metro can have a team or two of ORCA loading assistanst upstairs again, working the worst bottleneck stops, and maybe even roving to where the biggest bottlenecks are occuring in real time. They may have seemed ineffective due to the lines at the front still taking a long time, but I’ve seen a lot of ORCA holders and transfer holders obliviously bypass the assistants. With some voice messaging, “Please board at the rear door at this time if you have an ORCA card or valid transfer slip,” and lightweight portable signage “ORCA & valid transfers: Please board at the rear door when you see this sign,” I think the boarding assistant teams could become a lot more effective.

  11. Brent says

    I waited until this week to contact Customer Service about the Bay A overload in the DSTT. (To wit, 35 outbound buses are scheduled to serve Bay A during the peak-of-peak hour 16:30-17:30, but the functional capacity of the bay is only 32 buses per hour (2 platoons between each train x 2 buses at once at the bay if distribution were perfect, which it isn’t, times 8 trains per hour at peak).

    By comparison, Bays B, C, and D have 7, 16, and 15 buses scheduled to serve them during that hour, with 15 inbound northbound buses and 18 inbound southbound buses. A simple tweak of moving routes 71-74 to Bay B would leave the A/B split at 26/16, leaving plenty of room for the inbounds, and hopefully shave 4-8 minutes of travel time off of every northbound peak-of-peak trip through the DSTT.

    The great thing about tweaks like this is restoration of the depleted service contingency budget. If you want to keep the extra buses on your route, take the time to commend the time-saving tweaks and encourage more of them.

  12. Brent says

    One other tweak I’d like considered: Separate the West Seattle express routes from 3rd Ave through-routes at the heaviest stops. In particular, what is the point of having the 21 serve those stops if anyone who knows the routes and wants to get to West Seattle will wait for an express route?

    And then there is my longer-term wish that the 21 stop serving downtown altogether, and just be interlined with the 50 so as to give both options more frequency and much more utilized and invested-in stops right by SODO Station. Throw in a donation of the service hours the 60 uses to serve the VA stops (and get rid of that stop on the 60), and two West Seattle corridors could have excellent east-west crosstown frequency, while VA riders would have much-improved frequency and not have to game which way is the fastest to get to the VA.

    • Mike Orr says

      How can the 21 be interlined with the 50? Would Alki be split to another route? Would it go from the bridge to Westwood Village and then to Alki? Would that destroy the improved east-west connectivity between Delridge and the rest of West Seattle?

      • David L says

        Mike, interlined != through-routed.

        I think Brent’s suggestion is to run the 21 and the 50 as a common corridor between 35th/Alaska and Sodo Station, with service every 8-10 minutes (6-7 buses per hour), and then to terminate the 21 at Sodo Station. That’s the usual meaning of “interline” in a transit context — a good example is the old 15/18.

        Brent, there are several difficulties with this proposal, if I understand it correctly.

        1) Most importantly, it cuts off the last one-seat connection between West Seattle and south downtown, a corridor which still attracts meaningful ridership, and which is no longer overserved like it used to be. That results in a three-seat ride to south downtown for anyone in territory not covered by the 21, RR C, or the 50.
        2) It reduces the volume of buses covering 4th Ave S in Sodo from 8/hour to 4/hour. Those remaining four buses would be the 131 and 132, which run packed (especially the 132) with passengers riding to points beyond Sodo.
        3) 35th Ave SW is a corridor that is growing quickly (thanks mostly to new development at Westwood and High Point). It’s one of just three core downtown corridors left in West Seattle. That’s a lot of riders to force to transfer.

  13. Matt H says

    Ugh, as a 301 rider to SLU this will add an additional 5 minutes of walking to my morning commute. The only other options for me involve transferring at Northgate which would add 10-15 minutes to my commute.

    When are we getting that extra streetcar added for the SLUT? 5 minute frequency would make it so much more useful..

  14. Ryan on Summit says

    As a Capitol Hill resident, here’s why I’m ticked off about this bus stop deletion.

    It’s not being done in the name of efficiency. If it were, it would have been done before. It is a change made at the expense of Capitol Hill riders to benefit suburban commuters.

    The time savings will be marginal for Capitol Hill routes, because they’re still going to have to wait behind these buses. Metro is thumbing its nose at Capitol Hill riders here.

    • David L says

      Why would the Cap Hill buses have to wait behind the suburban buses? There are three lanes on Pine. It will work just like it does on 3rd, where the suburban buses will leapfrog the Cap Hill buses loading at Pike/4th, and then the Cap Hill buses will leapfrog the suburban buses loading at 6th.

      This will save Cap Hill residents time. The lights are timed such that most buses leaving the stop at 4th should, most of the time, be able to make it all the way to the Convention Place stop without stopping. That can save 2-5 minutes per trip at busy times of day.

      • Ryan on Summit says

        But it’s not being done to save Capitol Hill riders time. The (theoretical at this point) time savings is a by-product of the inconveniencing of those riders.

        Again, mostly pissed off by the crappy way this was done.

    • Mike Orr says

      It’s being done to relieve excessive congestion and over-capacity bus stops. That helps downtown generally. The Capitol Hill bonus may have reinforced the decision, turning it from good to must-do. The travel time between 3rd Ave and Broadway has been a frequent complaint on this blog. To paraphrase DP, “Why does it take as long to get from downtown to Broadway as from downtown to Mercer Island?”

  15. MarciaFS says

    I mourn the loss of the stop at 6th Avenue. I work on 6th about a half-mile north and get off at 12:15 a.m., and this will make it difficult to catch one of the 12:30 buses to Cap Hill. Basically I’ll have to run most of the way there (or at least “quick-time” it), not an easy thing to do at my age (61). Plus, I have always felt safer at the 6th Avenue stop that time of night because of the 24-hour security presence at the adjacent hotel. If Metro is intent on reducing the number of stops, they should at least consider moving the Convention Center stop a block or so to the west. The distance between the 4th Ave. stop and the current CC stop is far too great for the downtown core.

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