Here are the Southeast Seattle service change proposals:

Southeast Seattle front page (includes questionnaire)

Southeast Seattle brochure (pdf)

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.

10 Replies to “Southeast Seattle Service Changes”

  1. I would love to see a West Seattle circulator next. We’ll see what improvements will actually come over to us, in addition to more runs downtown and the new bus service (which I’m not holding my breath to ride as it rids us of a good, regular local route 54). I had to run errands this weekend in West Seattle which took me from the Morgan Junction to the Admiral Junction. There’s no bus route to do this. I could hop the 128, transfer at the Alaska Junction, and then continue on to Admiral, but the wait times for the buses and the transfer are way too long. It would have taken an additional hour to take the bus, which I accomplished in about 15 minutes of total driving. I found myself thinking, “if only there was one bus I could take that travelled up and down California Ave…”

  2. It seems like there’s a big stretch of Rainier between Othello and Alaska that won’t be served anymore. It’s a long haul for locals (through some dicey early morning neighborhoods) E. to the 50/39 or W. to light rail. Am I missing some E/W service in the new plan that would make light rail work for that area?

    1. It seems like there’s a big stretch of Rainier between Othello and Alaska that won’t be served anymore.

      I’m not sure what you mean. You’ve still got a #7 bus coming down Rainier every 10 minutes or so, plus a possible increase in service to the 9. In either case, if you want to get on light rail you can take either bus to either Mt. Baker station or Rainier Beach station, depending on which way you’re going.

      1. My bad, I misread the discontinuation of service on the 7 between rainier/henderson & prentice/62nd as discontinuation of the 7 altogether. Thanks.

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