Metro and ST Service Changes Start June 7

 

RapidRide coach

Metro RapidRide coach 6027. Photo by Zack Heistand.

Last week, just in time for Memorial Day, both Metro and Sound Transit published details of their upcoming service changes, which will begin Saturday, June 7.  Both sets of changes are minor, with the only significant news being the start of Metro’s RapidRide F Line connecting Burien, Southcenter, and Renton.

The major Metro cuts scheduled to take effect as a result of Proposition 1’s failure do not start now.  The first of four phases of cuts is scheduled for the service change beginning September 27, 2014, with more cuts to follow at all three service changes during 2015.

Details of the June changes are below the jump.

Sound Transit

The most important Sound Transit change is one that doesn’t affect actual service: there is now a printed timetable for Link in the newest ST brochure, which will presumably appear online on June 7.  This is great news, particularly during early mornings and late nights when Link frequency is 15 minutes. Actual changes to service are very minor indeed:

  • Tiny schedule revisions to Routes 532 and 535
  • A couple new stops in the Denny Triangle for certain trips on routes 577 and 578
  • Routine summer cut to Route 586 Tacoma-UW service

Metro

RapidRide F Line
RR F Map

RapidRide F Line. Map by Metro.

Metro’s big news is the start of the RapidRide F Line, the last of the six RapidRide lines currently planned.  The F Line will replace Route 140, with mostly identical routing (although with fewer stops), on an east-west corridor connecting Burien, Tukwila International Boulevard Station (TIBS), Southcenter, Tukwila Sounder Station, downtown Renton, and The Landing in north Renton.  (Here is the F Line map depicted above.)  The only routing difference between the two routes is in southwest Renton, where the F Line will use Route 110’s current routing along SW 16th St, Lind Ave SW, and SW 7 St, rather than the Route 140 routing along Grady Way.  This change gives the F Line access to a few additional destinations and allows Metro to delete Route 110 as well as Route 140.  (It should also reduce running time during the afternoon, when Grady Way can get quite congested.

The schedule is a significant improvement.  Like Route 140, the F Line will run every 15 minutes during the day weekdays and Saturdays.   But the F Line will run more often–every 10 minutes–during weekday peak hours (assuring good connections to both Link and Sounder), and it will maintain 15-minute frequency on Sundays instead of Route 140’s 30-minute frequency.  The F Line will also run over two hours longer at night than Route 140, ending around midnight.  It will use the same low-floor articulated buses as the other RapidRide lines, a significant upgrade in capacity from the 40-foot Orion coaches (with the occasional 30-footer) currently in use.

New SR-520 Freeway Stations: Worse Transfers for Route 271

Sometime in late June, a few weeks after the service change, SR-520 routes will begin using new Evergreen Point and Yarrow Point freeway stations located in the center of the roadway.  The stations are positioned in the center to match the new, full-width HOV lanes being built as part of the Evergreen Point Bridge replacement project.  This change should be seamless to most users, but there is one major wrinkle: Route 271 will no longer serve Evergreen Point Station in either direction.  There is not enough distance between Evergreen Point Station and the 84th Ave NE interchange for Route 271 buses to traverse all lanes of SR-520 safely.

This change will make transfers more inconvenient for travelers between west Bellevue and many Seattle destinations, and for off-peak travelers between Redmond/Kirkland and much of North Seattle.  Instead of an easy same-stop transfer at Evergreen Point Station, these riders will have to transfer at Montlake, which is not nearly as convenient.  Westbound travelers will need to walk nearly 1000 feet between Montlake Blvd E & E Shelby St (where Route 271 stops) and the westbound Montlake flyer stop.  Able-bodied eastbound travelers need only climb or descend the Montlake stairs, but there is no ADA-accessible way to make the eastbound transfer. Given that the current SR-520 service pattern provides excellent transfers between three very frequent all-day routes (255/271/545), this is a major regression.

South Park Bridge: Speeding Up Route 60

The South Park Bridge should reopen sometime during the summer.  Route 60 will return to its historical routing using the bridge immediately or very soon upon the reopening.  This will shave 5-8 minutes from Route 60 trips in both directions, a very welcome development.  With the South Park Bridge open and the VA Hospital loop closed, Route 60 will become a very quick way to reach Link and Beacon Hill from South Park and White Center.

Grab Bag

There are only a few other changes to Metro service in June, as the agency saves its powder for the major changes to come in September.  Here they are:

  • Some PM peak Route 21 trips will no longer do the time-consuming “double loop” around Roxhill Park.  The non-“double loop” trips will lay over at 35th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St, and proceed directly toward downtown along 35th Ave SW.  This means inbound Route 21 trips will only leave Westwood Village every 30 minutes during the PM peak.  Inbound PM peak riders may want to walk from Westwood Village to 35th Ave SW and SW Barton St for more frequent service.
  • Outbound Route 121 and 122 trips will use Bell St instead of Lenora St (no longer stopping in front of Cinerama).
  • The following routes will see the usual summer service reductions lasting throughout the UW and Shoreline Community College summer quarters: 31, 32, 48, 65, 67, 68, 75, 167, 197, 205, 271, 277, 331, 372, 373.
September Preview

As a reminder, the following cuts are not happening in June, but are currently scheduled to happen beginning September 27 (with many more cuts scheduled for 2015). If you ride any of the services listed below, it’s a good time to start thinking about alternatives.

  • Delete the following lower-performing routes entirely, with no replacement: 7X, 19, 47, 48X, 61, 62, 82, 83, 84, 139, 152, 161, 173, 210, 211, 213, 243, 250, 260, 265, 280, 306, 909, 919, 927, and 935
  • Turn all-day routes 27, 30, and 931 into peak-only, one-way service
  • Delete peak-hour service on Route 200
  • Delete Routes 202, 205, 209, and 215, replacing only with shuttle service on Routes 204 and 208
  • Delete night service on Routes 236, 238, 249, 331, and 903

Comments

  1. Stephen says

    The fact that the 271 is retaining its current routing is unfortunate. I think this exact question has been asked of Metro before, and they said that when the new SR520 work is done they would actually re-route the 271 to serve the Freeway stops and take the 108th Ave NE HOV-only exit, traveling into downtown Bellevue along 112th Ave NE.

    The current portion of the 271 between BTC and SR520 would be replaced by extending one of the existing, less frequent, routes that terminate at BTC, such as the 241, and having riders transfer at Evergreen Point (or Yarrow Point).

    • asdf says

      I was thinking the same thing. The primary reason why the 271 is routed the way it is is intertia, and the construction of the new freeway stations should be an excellent excuse to change things. The only reason I can think of for having the 271 retain its current routing is no money available to have an extra bus circle around Medina carrying nearly zero riders.

      • David Lawson says

        There is a part of the 271 west of BTC which actually covers some demand, which is the part along NE 8th between 108th and 100th. It’s the best way to commercial Bellevue from anywhere in Seattle north of the Ship Canal. But if it were up to me I would cancel the north extension of the 246; have the 271 use 100th to NE 24th; and then have it use Bellevue Way to get the rest of the way to the freeway. There is zero justification for running a frequent route through Medina and Clyde Hill if such a routing has this kind of impact on riders.

        There used to be a Medina/Clyde Hill/Bellevue shuttle (the 924) which ran in addition to the 271’s predecessors. It had essentially zero ridership, although I rode it often as a kid when no one could pick me up from Yarrow Point Freeway Station.

      • asdf says

        I never understood why the 246 headed north through residential Bellevue, only to peter out about a mile shy of the Yarrow Point Freeway station. If you’re going to serve the area at all, it seems the least you can do is have a good connection point at both ends of it.

        In my opinion, the core routing between north Seattle and downtown Bellevue should be focused on taking the most direct routing possible, without getting hung up on coverage missions through Medina. Even if the coverage currently provided by route 271 is replaced with nothing, at least half of the houses would still be within a decent walking distance of either Evergreen Point or Yarrow Point Freeway Stations, or the 246. If necessary, an infrequent shuttle route could be added just for the peak.

      • David Lawson says

        The route I described is the most direct route consistent with covering the part of the 271 that actually does have demand and useful destinations.

  2. Jeff says

    Good news on the RapidRide. Are they still rolling out que jumps, bus lanes, bus bulbs, and off board payment kiosks? It will be interesting to see the RapidRide system when it’s completely done.

    • Brent says

      I’ve been pondering having a meet-up to ride the F-Line and check out its state on-the-ground. The tradition has been to do it on the first day of service, when we get to see all the technical snafus and various pieces of hardware still on their way.

      I won’t be available on the 7th, but was wondering if anyone would be interested in a meet-up on June 14th or 15th, and get to see what the line looks like a week after opening, when the operators know the route and the ground crew has had time to work out the little technical surprises. I’m suggesting the 15th as an option because Sounder will be serving a Rangers game that day, and we can experience the transfer at the new-and-improved Tacoma Sounder Station. We may even run into Mr. Bailo and get his autograph.

      • Mike Orr says

        I’ve been thinking of an inaugral ride starting at Renton TC, going to The Landing and then back to Burien. I’d also like to find out more about Burien’s walkable destinations, which I’ve heard about but haven’t been able to find much (just a few things around City Hall). Would anyone be able to give a walking tour of downtown Burien? Either the 14th or 15th would be fine.

      • RossB says

        I don’t live there, but I have been to Burien a lot. From what I can guess, you probably have seen the best of it. I’ve walked around there a lot, and the area by the library/city hall is quite nice (152nd is a great street). But once you get away from there, it gets a lot less interesting. At best you have nice residential streets (which are fine, just nowhere to eat). There is a very nice park close to the water, with a lot of stairs (I think it is called Eagle Landing Park). It is a bit of a walk from the center of town (a mile and a half), but on a nice day it would be worth it.

      • Brent says

        I should have pointed out that the 15th is Fathers’ Day, should that weigh into your votes for what day to meet up. If we don’t make a stop at TSS and see if M’s fans are using it, and finding their way to the new platforms, then there isn’t much reason to have it on the 15th.

        Eagle’s Landing is one of many beautiful transit-accessible destinations along the Sound coast. We can get pretty close to it on the 139 (which will go away in September) or just walk about 30 minutes from Burien TC, via Olde Burien on 152nd. Olde Burien is the place you will find unique indie/hippie shops that you won’t find in every other suburban village. If you haven’t been to Eagle’s Landing lately, though, I’ll have to ask you to sign a waiver not to sue me if you have trouble getting down from that last rung at the bottom of the broken stairs down the cliff, or climbing back up. Unless maintenance has fixed that lawsuit waiting to happen, we may have to settle for terminating at the seating area about 30 feet above the shore. I honestly think that final portion needs to be fenced off, which will deny us the best view on the hike.

        To Mike: I was actually hoping to start the journey somewhere along Link, and see how well it follows the newly public schedule. Something like this: Start at ID Station (where we can still get cell phone reception on the platform). At the appointed time, get on Link and head down to TIBS. Take the F Line to Renton Landing. Find the stop for the return trip (which I recall is a little bit of a scavenger hunt) and get on the F Line back to TSS, timed to be before Sounder comes through. Have Bailo wave to us. Head west on the F Line to Burien. Catch the 139 to within a couple blocks of Eagle’s Landing. Non-ADA-accessible hike/climb through Eagle’s Landing Preserve and back up. If we are lucky, catch the 139 back to civilization. Otherwise, walk 20 minutes. Take refreshment in Olde Burien.

        Take the 132 back downtown, and see all dozenish single-family houses, the two businesses (which have probably been closed for years), and all the open space served by the 132 up to 128th. I wish it to be known there is no there there being served by the 132 south of 128th, so you can see why I want it to go to TIBS.

        Anyhoo, please cast votes for date (and if you prefer the 7th, say so, but I won’t be joining you) and what destinations you wish to stop at. Thanks.

      • Mike Orr says

        We can do that route. My reason for not doing a full round trip was the last ride got pretty long (E+E+44+68+73) and I thought people might prefer a shorter one. Also, I’d start downtown anyway, and would give a schedule from there. I’d like to See Eagle’s Landing, although I’m not excited about a long drop and climb up. How far is it from the stair to the ground? I’m also not sure if I want to wait for the 132 if it means standing around for half an hour. But I guess that means we can walk around Burien some more.

      • Brent says

        I’ll have a post up soon, with details. Seacrest Park is a longer but easier hike if getting down to the beach to see a magnificent view is the goal. The 120 can get us a little closer to it. Eagles Landing is a long climb down and back up, but it is all improved path and stairs — lots of stairs, but not anything close to rock climbing. It’s just that last thirty feet of stairs that was not in good repair last time I was there.

      • Mike Orr says

        We’re already packing it pretty full if we go round trip from TIB and add an hour to go to the shore. Let’s do this trip focusing on Renton and Burien and perhaps the way to Eagle’s Landing, and then we can do a separate trip with a beach hike. asdf may also have some ideas about that… something Burien – Des Moines-ish.

      • Arthur Allen says

        I just walked Eagle’s Landing today and the stairs are repaired. I was able to walk down to the beach and even across to Seahurst Park. (Harvey Manning says that any exposed beach below high tide is public property. Anyway, there is only one house between the parks that’s built right down on the beach.) Unfortunately, Seahurst was under reconstruction and closed. For some reason they didn’t put up signs for walkers coming the way I came. I went to the other end of the beach by the education center and walked back up from there. I had Seahurst Park beach to myself on a sunny day, which just felt weird.

        Also, the F line will not enter South Renton Park & Ride, but will skirt it by a block. The permanent turn into Tukwilla Station will eliminate an often backed up turn from Grady Way to West Valley Highway. Still, the times for F seem very close to the 140. However, on ST 560 it only takes a half hour on weekends to go from The Landing to Burien. Now THAT’S a rapid ride!

    • says

      ” Are they still rolling out que jumps, bus lanes, bus bulbs, and off board payment kiosks?”

      This is Rapidride where they have new buses to run the same routes and take at least as long to get there as the old buses but now everyone gets to stand up.

      • John Slyfield says

        This is Metro for ya, only having some of the elements of BRT and then only when they don’t break down (seen enough of those broken ORCA readers that have a red cover over them saying “OUT OF SERVICE”). Community Transit and Sound Transit apparently didnt bother purchasing any covers like that because they don’t need them for their services.

  3. Andrew K. says

    Little bit bummed about my 140 stop being deleted. BUT, I’m still happy to trade an increase in frequency for an extra .10 mile’s walk. I’ve just missed the sounder too many times due to traffic on Grady.

    • Brent says

      Oh, cool. I’ve been looking for someone who rides the bus to TSS to prove it happens. Do you see a lot of 140 riders transfer at TSS?

    • mic says

      … and the blazing speed improvement up to 10 mph is really appreciated. Oh, wait, that’s about how fast the 140 runs. (48 min, to go 8 miles)

      • mic says

        … and only 3 minutes slower than the 140 between Renton TC and Burien TC.
        “It ain’t Rapid, but it’s a Ride”

      • Brent says

        mic, Is there anything proactive we can do to improve the South King County bus network into which you would be willing to put effort?

      • Sam says

        Are we witnessing the peter principle in action? Who are these transit planners deciding that a “BRT” bus should make unnecessary, time-wasting detours through the S. Renton P&R and Tukwila Station?

        Can someone tell me if Metro transit planners are former bus drivers who were promoted to supervisor, then promoted to transit planner?

      • Bellinghammer says

        Sam, it’s more like “transit planning by constituency appeasement”. Tukwila would scream if Southcenter were skipped, Metro couldn’t save whatever BRT face it has left with a peak-only Sounder detour, and Renton wouldn’t stand for not serving its two P&Rs and its faux-urbanist “Landing”. Ergo, a “RapidRide” route that hits Southcenter, Tukwila-by-the-Fields off-peak, and the South Renton P&R loop-de-loop.

    • Sam says

      Bellinghammer, Southcenter shouldn’t be skipped, but Tukwila Station should. By going through that lightly-used train station, the F Line will make hundreds of detours a day to service just a handful of train passengers. And “Renton wouldn’t stand for the F Line going into the S. Renton P&R?” First off, so what? Secondly, I don’t think they, or many riders would really care. Almost every bus that goes to that P&R also goes to the RTC. Riders can just transfer there. As to riders who’ve driven to the P&R to catch the 140 or soon to be F Line, no such passenger exists. Drivers use the P&R to catch Seattle-bound buses. The F Line P&R detour is an unnecessary waste of time.

      • mic says

        Keep in mind Sam this is a precursor to building a light rail line along the same route, as all the RR-F buses will quickly fill up. Remember the article last month on ST3 planning?

      • Anandakos says

        I used to think that the loop into TSS was dumb too. I still do, but less so. In fact, I’d turn the question around and say “why is RR-F diverting south to 27th Street just to serve the station named “Boeing Commercial Airplane Group” on Oakesdale Avenue”? Yes, around the peak hours BCAG will generate some trips, but the truth is that they can almost as easily be served from the Sounder Station stop. There’s a walkway which leads directly to the southern building and obliquely to the northern one. So the RR could exit from TSS and continue northward on Longacres to 16 Street. A stop at the roadway which goes through the Boeing complex from just south of 16th Street would be closer to the large north building,.

        And, if stopping on Oakesdale is really important then why not ask Boeing to allow the bus to use the roadway which goes through the complex to Oakesdale? It has no visible gates anywhere and would save quite a bit of distance. There would need to be a stoplight added at Oakesdale where the road comes out, but I expect that Boeing would probably appreciate that.

      • aw says

        “the F Line will make hundreds of detours a day to service just a handful of train passengers”

        There are many handsful of users of the Tukwila Station. There are about 1900 daily boardings and alightings. There was also over over 29,000 boardings and alightings of Cascades trains at Tukwila, more than at Mount Vernon, Edmonds, Centralia and Kelso-Longview.

      • aw says

        PS, the first link above refers to Sounder riders only. Don’t bother to click on it if you’re not Sam and you want to avoud downloading an 11MB PDF and then searching 169 pages to find the one page where the statistic I quoted is. If you are Sam, please click on that link because the rest of us don’t like to do research for you.

      • says

        Of course the F Line should connect to Sounder. Whether it should do so on all of its many trips for a train that runs as infrequently as Sounder is more questionable.

        But the big deal is that the new Sounder station is currently under construction. It was designed very recently. And it was designed with no regard for the directness of bus transfers to and from a route that will run several times as often as Sounder for the forseeable future. A lot of the infrastructure that compromises the F Line is out of the hands of anyone that cares about transit effectiveness. We should expect better from Sound Transit.

    • John Slyfield says

      If they did it right they’d keep the route 140 and add the new BRT line with very limited stops (i.e. Burien TC, 156th and Des Moines Mem. Drive, Tukwila Intl Blvd Station, Southcenter, Tukwila Station, Rainier Ave & Grady Way, Renton TC, and the Landing. No more stops. Use the 140 to get to local stops. Of course, King County Metro doesn’t do BRT. They just pretend to try.

  4. aw says

    As much as people may complain about the demise of Montlake Freeway Station in the Seattle-side planning for the 520 rebuild, it will permit a convenient transfer on the HOV ramps, fixing the problem with the 271 described in the post.

    • Brent says

      4-8 months of the fastest connection to Beacon Hill Station South Park has ever had. Hooray!

      I just noticed the change in the 60’s plan for a makeover coming next February. The new service on Graham St. doesn’t appear to be happening. Metro convinced all those voters along Graham to vote No on Prop 1 in order to get that reorg, and now, it has been scuttled in favor of duplicating the new 107 and the 36 for the entire portion of the 60 east of Georgetown. Prop 1 might have gotten more votes if Graham St hadn’t been teased with the possibility of service.

      I much prefer getting home from Sounder matches on a route that connects from Link and doesn’t slog through downtown post-match traffic, but the 60 doesn’t run that late, and will end two hours earlier than before. Waiting for the 132 to come at some random time, often for over an hour, at the stop by SODO Station, is no fun. Oh, for a little investment in the transfer experience. I’ve been walking north to the RTA signs to get home lately. Thanks, SDOT and Metro, for the RTA signs!

    • says

      It permits a convenient transfer… when it’s used. I don’t think it’s been decided which routes (and in some cases which trips) will stop up there. Some trips could get much less frequent service (or more complicated service).

  5. RapidRider says

    That routing needed to get to Southcenter and then Tukwila Station makes me cringe…

    • says

      Sadly, straightening it even a little would require more infrastructure changes than a program like RapidRide can do. Andover Park W is probably something like a requirement. It would be a little more direct to use 61st instead of 66th to cross 405 to get there, but there’s no place to put an eastbound bus stop on Southcenter Blvd west of 61st, so doing so would cut off some riders completely (instead of just making them walk farther). The Sounder situation should get a little better when road construction is complete, right?

      • RapidRider says

        I thought I remember some potential road improvements coming with the Tukwila Sounder Station, it’s been awhile thought.

        But yeah, the deviations are more due to physical limitations caused by two intersecting freeways and a road infrastructure more suited to the industrial past and suburban present of the area.

        I don’t know that area all too well, and I was wondering why they don’t use Klickitat Dr to access Southcenter, rather than Southcenter Blvd, but then I see that Klickitat goes on a bridge over Southcenter (with the Link even going over that bridge). The deviation is sadly the best option.

      • Mike Orr says

        Andover Park W & Baker Blvd is the main Southcenter transfer point, and has gotten slightly upscale shelters, so it’s not likely to move. It’s also close to the mall and centrally located for other destinations.

        There’s a gap in Strander Blvd/SW 27th St between West Valley Highway and Oakesdale Avenue; that’s what’s causing the bus to go all around. One of the early RapidRide plans mentioned a connecting road that could be built, but that’s beyond Metro’s control. It would have to cross the railroad tracks. If it was built, the F could go straight, and even if it detoured north to the Sounder station, it would be on a low-traffic road (presumably a Longacres Drive extension) that wouldn’t be congested. But somebody would have to build the road.

      • says

        If they were willing to cut off the riders they’d have to cut off to use Klickitat they could use 61st.

        The eventual plan is to complete an insane 4-to-5-lane highway for “congestion relief”. The diagram… does not appear to indicate a road that one could cross on foot, meaning buses will divert to the station until the end of time.

      • RapidRider says

        Egads! Another thought that comes to mind is the Interurban Trail crossing. The tiny map looks like it has some over/underpass, but it’s hard to tell.

      • Mike Orr says

        A street without a sidewalk is surely illegal now, now? I thought 520 was the last gasp of ignoring peds and thiking “bikers can just take a bus here”, which has caused people major problems for forty years. There must be a sidewalk outside the railings on at least one side.

  6. Brent says

    4-8 months of the fastest connection to Beacon Hill Station South Park has ever had. Hooray!

    I just noticed the change in the 60′s plan for a makeover coming next February. The new service on Graham St. doesn’t appear to be happening. Metro convinced all those voters along Graham to vote No on Prop 1 in order to get that reorg, and now, it has been scuttled in favor of duplicating the new 107 and the 36 for the entire portion of the 60 east of Georgetown. Prop 1 might have gotten more votes if Graham St hadn’t been teased with the possibility of service.

    I much prefer getting home from Sounder matches on a route that connects from Link and doesn’t slog through downtown post-match traffic, but the 60 doesn’t run that late, and will end two hours earlier than before. Waiting for the 132 to come at some random time, often for over an hour, at the stop by SODO Station, is no fun. Oh, for a little investment in the transfer experience. I’ve been walking north to the RTA signs to get home lately. Thanks, SDOT and Metro, for the RTA signs!

    • David Lawson says

      I think the reason Metro made that change is because it realized there are no riders and only one destination (DSHS) along that stretch of Graham Street. The Swift/Myrtle routing is more direct and serves many more riders and destinations.

    • says

      Graham Street between Beacon Ave. and MLK is too narrow and steep to safely accommodate 40ft coaches. It was not designed to handle transit service.

  7. William Aitken says

    Are there any plans to get rid of the the 4 down 2 to go signs that still seem to be carried around by some of the RR buses?

  8. lakecityrider says

    The June service change doesn’t have a whole lot in it but, damn, the September one is going to suck for Hwy 520 traffic from Redmond to Seattle, along with all of the other reasons. Those of you who are lucky enough to board the 545 and 268 from Bear Creek will be the only ones who have seats. Everyone else will be hanging onto the sides (or driving).

    Oh, and thanks for the wry chuckle: “If you ride any of the services listed below, it’s a good time to start thinking about alternatives.” I think that Metro has it out for me in September. Half of the routes I use are being deleted, though the other half are untouched.

    • asdf says

      520 routes are mostly Sound Transit, which would be unaffected by the change, and the 542 does have additional capacity to mitigate the cancellation of the 242.

  9. z7 says

    Hm, certainly didn’t see those changes to the 271 coming. Does this spell the end of my telling people that SW Cap Hill -> Bellevue is doable?

    (Eastbound seems ok. Westbound seems really awful, unless there’s a bus lane opening up on the Montlake exit ramp so that the 271 doesn’t crawl in traffic for ten minutes before being able to let people off.)

    • Zach Shaner says

      Walking to Convention Place for the 550 seems a hell of a lot more reliable than hoping for a well-timed transfer from 255/545 to 271.

      • z7 says

        Eeee, I disagree. The 550 is a champ and the obvious choice during non-commute times, but for AM-eastbound and PM-westbound, it really doesn’t compare to the alternate 545-271 trip.

        First of all, the slog from BTC to South Bellevue P&R is painful, and can continue to be bad when game day traffic hits (killing reliability). Game day traffic seems not to affect 520 as much.

        The 550 is less frequent than the 545 in the morning, the 550 is not as near (“downstairs”) as the 545. It’s also not as near for people who live farther north on Bellevue / Summit / Melrose. The Boren / Pine stoplight is a huge buzzkill, and when walking down to Convention Place, it’s not possible to see if you’re going to make your bus; it’s also unsafe to hurry downstairs in anything but flats. The 545 is one of the few buses that are frequent enough for spontaneous arrival, and the 550 isn’t.

        The air in the transit tunnel is unpleasant, and moreover, it means that as you are nearing friends in the evening, you stop being able to coordinate with them. I would rather be rained on at Evergreen Point a few days of the year than smog-choked and SMS-blocked every day.

        Purely environmental: The 550 is too cold, and the light is too blue. I’m more likely to see friends on the 255 / 545 (though this isn’t Metro / ST’s problem).

        In short, while it’s possible to get ‘better’ at the transfers between 255/545 – 271 (and it is possible to make it very, very good), it’s not possible to make the 550 less comparably mediocre.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        I generally opt for the 545 + 545/255 during commute hours or use the 550 and end up regretting it while stuck on Bellevue Way or in the DSTT.

      • David Lawson says

        Depends where you are going. The 271 is a lot better than the 550 at reaching places on Bellevue’s northwest edge.

  10. djw says

    So perhaps I’m missing what seems like an obvious solution here, but why not have the F go to the Train station on trips running between 5:30-8:30 AM and 3:30-6:30 PM M-F? Less wasted service hours, station served during the times it’ll be used, etc.

    • aw says

      Should RR-F not serve the trains that arrive at around 11:25AM, 11:40AM, 2:35PM and 9:45PM? In two or three years, there should be two more Cascades round trips that may not be scheduled at commute times.

      • asdf says

        Even so, a bus deviating to a train station every 15 minutes, delaying all riders, is not an appropriate solution to connect with a train that only runs every 2-3 hours. Rather, the solution is to route the frequent bus in a straight line, and only serve the station with specific trips when there is actually a train to connect to.

  11. Josh F. says

    Hopefully the issue with the 271 not serving Evergreen Point goes away once U-Link opens and all 520 buses are routed to University Station…or is this too optimistic?

    • asdf says

      As I indicated in previous posts, lack of layover space around the station is likely to be the dealbreaker. (And, yes, I do find it mind-boggling that they can completely tear up the area around the station and rebuild it with no plans to fix this problem).



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