This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
The No. 8 bus, scourge of many, will get more service above and beyond TransitNow, due to a partership with the city and some local businesses:
The Route 8 bus, which runs east and west on Denny Way, between Capitol Hill — past South Lake Union– and Queen Anne will come every 15 minutes between 6 and 7:30 p.m., instead of every half-hour.
The city, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vulcan, Group Health and REI are each giving $21,800 to the expansion over the next two years.
“It’s going to help,” [Gretchen] DeGroot said as she waited for the No. 8 on First Avenue near Denny Way. It was 6:15 p.m., and the next bus was scheduled to arrive about 6:35 p.m. “The fun thing about the 8 is you never know when it’s going to come.
Anecdotally, it seems that reliability, not frequency, is the No. 8’s problem, as Ms. DeGroot suggests. And that’s not really the Metro’s problem, it’s the fact that Denny Way is a tough cookie of a street. I give SDOT and Metro props for doing the best with it. The light timings are acually pretty good, and they’ve all but eliminated the ability to make backup-inducing left-hand turns.
Yet, as Denny Way transforms from parking lots and gas stations to apartments and retail, the traffic is likely to increase. Will the extra No. 8 buses help, or will they just stack up 2 and 3 deep during rush hour? It’s getting to the point where it’s almost as fast to ride the No. 2 or No. 3 buses from Queen Anne, through downtown, and up Capitol Hill than to take your chances with the No. 8.
Lowering Aurora Avenue and reconnecting the street grid between Queen Anne and South Lake Union will help disperse traffic, but that project is still years off. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the added bus service helps.