Here are the Southeast Seattle service change proposals:
Having read through these, here are some general observations:
- The plans strike a pretty good balance between being hyper-conservative about changing someone’s commute and blowing up the whole system to do something else. MLK service will change radically, regardless of which options are chosen, and the longer hauls will be diverted to light rail, but they really aren’t trying to force the mass of 7 and 36 riders onto the train.
- Probably the greatest strength of the plan is that they’re using the freed bus hours to improve connectivity to other parts of the city. It’ll be easier to get one- or two-seat rides to places like Capitol Hill, the U-District, and West Seattle without going through downtown.
- In my opinion, the biggest weakness is that Metro has forfeited the possibility of improving connections within the Rainier Valley. It’s still very difficult to get from random points on Beacon Avenue to random points on Rainier Avenue without a bike or car, and that’s really not going to change until somebody creates a new line, perhaps like the Rainier Valley circulator this blog has played with in the past.
In general, I’m happy with the proposals as a first step. Metro grabs the low hanging fruit to switch the emphasis of bus service from downtown to other locations. In the longer run, I suspect the train will be popular enough that there will be more demand from Beacon and Rainier Avenues to get to the stations on MLK, and we might see some 7 and 36 assets diverted that way.