Photo by Oran
Photo by Oran

Metro is gathering comments on the Route 7 stop consolidation. To accelerate the crawl that is Route 7, at all times of day, Metro wants to cut from 107 stops to 76.  Route 7 will otherwise be untouched by the sweeping Southeast Seattle service change.

They’re collecting comments through the end of July and seem to be targeting the September service change.  It’s a change long overdue.

What other routes could use a stop diet?

85 Replies to “Route 7 Stop Consolidation”

  1. They did the north half of the 5 a few years ago. They really need to look at the stops on this route between 80th and 70th.

    1. Well, I agree with this but my mom would say the opposite. She lives on NE 8th Street in Bellevue, and has been complaining about the stops that have been eliminated over there or are slated to be eliminated with Rapid Ride. She’s disabled and can’t walk more than a couple of blocks, especially uphill, so eliminating bus stops means she has to drive more. They’re planning to eliminate the stop in front of her apartment with Rapid Ride, and she’s concerned about not having any bus access at all in case her car breaks down or she has to stop driving someday. (She’s tried to get Access but they’ve disqualified her repeatedly because she can go up and down the lifts. But her problem isn’t the lifts, it’s walking from the bus stop to her destination. She has also been hit by cars more than once when walking across the street, especially near Virginia Mason.)

      Also, there are other routes in Seattle besides the 358 that have already had stops eliminated. University Way was restructured with the last makeover, and a third of the stops were consolidated.

      1. Not really Seattle, but a bunch of stops that used to be served by the 307 along Lake City/Bothell Way were eliminated when it switched to the 522.

      2. A somewhat unrelated idea I like is the bus only letting most people off at designated “preferred stops” (riders with disabilities would be able to request any stop).

        If some of these stops were also improved with shelters and next-bus information I bet most people would also get on there.

      3. To pay a disability/senior fare, a Regional Reduced Fare Permit is required. The driver could use that.

        There’s also the Night Stop program where you can request to be let off anywhere along the route at night for safety.

      4. I love the night stop program, but I’ve never used it, since the regular stops on the buses I use after 21:00 are already the closest.
        I bet it’s really convenient on the Owl buses.

      5. don’t worry Mike, I don’t think rapid ride will ever happen in Bellevue with the budget being the way it is.

      6. Rapid Ride is coming to Bellevue (Transit Center to Crossroads via NE 8th continuing to Overlake via 156th). It’s funded by ST2. Part of the “gotta spend it ’cause it’s there mentality. Some members on the City Council questioned the need to rip out perfectly good bus shelters and replace them with the Rapid Ride “brand”. Likewise they questioned the need for electronic signs that tell you when the next bus is coming when they run on seven minute headways. Seems there’s little they can actually do about it. The Rapid Ride branding is intended to show people that they’re getting something “new” for their money more than actually do anything worth while.

      7. The sign would be nice when it’s running at 15 minute headways. Or sometimes even at short headways unexpected reroutes occur. Like last night with the fire on the Ave. Dunno exactly where they went, but I’d have to assume 15th.

      8. The signs provide comfort to the customer that they know when their bus/train is coming. Studies have shown that providing such information makes the wait feel much shorter and helps people who are not frequent riders. Link will have such signs even though you’ll never have to wait more than 10 minutes most of the time.

        I do think that it’s necessary to integrate the shelter design with the neighborhood and not plop down cookie cutter RapidRide shelters. I like those custom shelters on NE 8th (not the lame metro boxes). The least they could do is just put down some signs and the RapidRide pylon (with the reader board with ORCA validator) to identify the station and save money on the shelter.

      9. MK Duke makes an important distinction. Being funded by Transit Now makes RapidRide vulnerable to Metro’s budget crisis; if it were funded by ST2 it probably wouldn’t be.

      10. Yes, it is a very big difference because Metro has no mandate, or track record of delivery as promised or the funding gets yanked. However, I’m quite sure Rapid Ride will come to Bellevue and replace existing service. It’s really a smoke an mirrors game of painting the buses and a few glittering lights and calling it “Rapid”. Same route, same traffic just a few less stops.

        One concern the city coucil had was vandalism of the electronic signs. You know Crossroads is a pretty mean neighborhood :0 I think Metro could better spend their money by getting GPS on all the buses and sharing that info via the web. Looking at how far cell phone technology has come I think those signs are going to look like old fashion train station chalk boards in five years.

      11. GPS is coming. It has been planned for long long ago. It’ll be installed in the system wide radio upgrade, but the project is waaaaay behind schedule and they won’t start touching coaches until 2010 at the very earliest.

    2. Agreed. I’ve always thought Metro could get away with eliminating every other stop, thus speeding up routes and offering more frequency. Could doing this allow for less cuts in routes due to budget shortfalls?

    3. I actually think that sound transit needs to add more stops to route 522 this would relive some of the over crowding on the 306/312 and people getting passed up.

      1. The 522 should replace the 306/312. Increase frequency on the 522 and use 60-ft coaches during peak to make up for the lost 306/312 runs.

        I don’t remember if there is a difference in what stops the 522 serves vs. the 306/312 North of NE 125th. I would like to see the 522 serve the same stops as the 306 and 312 South of NE 125th. If that would cause delays for coaches coming all the way from Woodinville then either consider splitting the route or offering local and express service (though with Sound Transit the local and express routing would likely have different route numbers).

      2. The 522 has pretty high frequency (15 minutes plus) in the peaks and they rely pretty much on 60ft couches. I am not sure that it would be a good idea to get rid of the 306/312. Maybe get rid of the 312 because it is pretty much the same as the 522.

        The 522 does not stop after 125th, it goes directly downtown. This is where the 306/312 run into issues with over crowding. To me there is to much focus a on the Kenmore/Bothell and Woodinville area when Lots of the riders from those routes come from the lake city area.

      3. The 306/312 only serve 4 or so stops along Lake City Way between NE 125th and Downtown. It would seem logical to just have the 522 serve those stops as I doubt it would slow the route down all that much.

        Furthermore there is the desire to shift service hours from Metro to Sound Transit. I’d hate to see the 306/312 just dropped and the 522 not reconfigured to compensate as there clearly is demand since nearly every trip of the 306/312 is packed entering or leaving downtown while even at peak hour many trips on the 522 use a 40-ft coach that is only partially full.

      4. I used to ride the 306/312 every day from south of 125th and have seen tons of 522s go by half empty while I would sometimes get passed by 306s and 312s. ST should partner with Metro or something to have the 522 stop south of 125th. It’s less than 10 stops anyways to 125th.

        Now that I’m in Tacoma I say this to Pierce Transit: get rid of half of all your stops in Downtown Tacoma or at least close every other one during certain times. There are so many routes that have a stop on nearly every single block. The 590/594 are much more efficient through downtown.

      5. Now image how full the 522 it is in the Bothell/Woodinville area. I am all for the merging of the three routes (it will make things a lot less complicated as well) just as long as the majority of service stays in the Lake City area

    4. I just visited up from Portland… we have bus stops every 2-4 blocks and our blocks are short. So the walk is always short- I felt I was hiking miles for a stop in Seattle in comparison. It may be I didn’t always know where the closest was, but surely they were further apart than here. And our busses don’t really stop all that much… at least not to me.

  2. CT’s 100 and 101 along highway 99. Holy hell its a long ride. They’re the massive 4-city-block long blocks, but it stops at every one. Going somewhere on those routes that usually takes me 15 minutes to drive takes about an hour by bus. Swift “BRT” will finally make that ride a lot better.

  3. Anything on Meridian AVE N. I find it hilarious that North Seattle Community College has the same amount of bus stops on it’s campus that University of Washington has, yet the difference in campus size is literally miles. Why on earth can’t the students at NSCC consolidate at 1 stop instead of 3 or 4?

      1. But each road through or on the edge of campus with bus service has a limited number of stops.

        I suspect trickycoolj was thinking of Stevens Way which has only 3 or 4 stops and is much longer than the section of Meridian adjoining the NSCC campus.

  4. The 17 definitely needs to be cut back in the Ballard area. When it turns onto 32nd at the locks, it stops around every 1-2 blocks and takes forever to make it’s way up that road during rush hour when someone wants off at every stop. It’s a little ridiculous.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I’m always muttering to myself: “One at every stop”–meaning there are times–lots of them, it seems–when only one gets off, stop after stop, on 32nd Avenue NW. In fact, I wish the 17 Express didn’t switch to a local right after Ballard Avenue NW, but would continue as an Express with limited stops until NW 65th Street.

      1. Or the stop at taco time, then a couple hundred feet to the locks, and a third one around the corner. Three stops on one block seems kind of excessive for the northbound 17.

      1. Yep, even though this is right by my house, there is a stop every 1 or 2 blocks, each often with someone wanting to get on or off.

      2. The 68 isn’t terribly useful to me other than for trips to/from Northgate or U-Village. The 66/67 is better for going downtown or to the U-District.

      3. Not just Maple Leaf and not just Roosevelt. The 66/7 has a stop right outside my house, on Roosevelt between 58th and 57th. It also has a stop at 56th, one block from my house. Stop density on the 66/7 is good for me but a little ridiculous.

  5. i’ve never understood why there are 2 inbound stops for the 10 at 15th and john (one on the north side of the intersection in front of the safeway, and one on the south side of the same intersection across from group health – seems the one in front of safeway could be chopped and the people who wait there could make the 1/4 block trek to the southern stop)

    also, never understood why there are stops for the 49 on harvard ave e both n/s bound right next to the i5 onramp (between roanoke and eastlake). i think i’ve seen one person board there in all my time on this earth.

    1. If you’re asking about both directions, the answer is: For the same reasons that 20/40/40 exists.

      I think there need to be SB stops on that stretch, even though there’s no sidewalk and it’s right next to the freeway – otherwise there would not be a stop on Harvard, going up a steep hill, between Allison and Roanoke and that would be a pain for anyone in that area that wanted to take the bus. But there needs to be a sidewalk of some sort, especially for the stop north of the onramp.

  6. That photo reminds me of how much wasted pavement there is around here with continuous two way turn lanes. Yet the push for dedicated transit lanes and continuous shoulders that support safe biking are nearly non-existant.

    1. Yea, except for left turn pockets at locations with a high volume of cars turning there really isn’t a need to eat that much ROW for turn lanes is there?

      The other idea would be to ban left turns in most locations. Make the cars drive around the block (two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights make a left!).

      1. Bellevue is planning a make over of Main. There concept is 2nd would be the major auto east/west route and Main would become more bike and pedestrian friendly. It seems like a decent plan but they’re stuck on a three lane configuration with continuous center turn lane. Why? Supposedly business wants it. It seems crazy because if, like they are envisioning people come in on 2nd they just drive one block farther and come back on Main on the south side of the street. Or, park and use a cross walk. Anyway, the picture above is similar to lots off places where there seems to be a lane that’s doing nothing 99% of the time. In many cases I’m thinking there is a duplication of this waste one or two blocks away. Turn them into a couplet of one way streets and Voile, instant dedicated bus lane (or HOV lane) for next to nothing.

      2. Turn them into a couplet of one way streets and Voile, instant dedicated bus lane (or HOV lane) for next to nothing.

        Dedicated streetcar or light rail ROW too!.

        Even without the couplet you could have 5-6 ft. wide bike lanes in each direction.

    2. Remember that businesses get shipments of supplies and those big trucks need to park somewhere. Delivery trucks love to park in the center turn lanes if they can’t find a curbside spot.

      Center turn lanes can serve as a refuge for pedestrians crossing a busy street. A step up would be to turn parts of them into median islands

      1. Parking in a two way left turn lane is illegal. Not saying it doesn’t happen, trucks love to park in bike lanes too but I’d rather see the bike lane. Likewise using the center turn lane to jay walk isn’t only illegal it’s really dangerous. Getting rid of it would maybe make people a little more willing to hike to the closest crosswalk. There are places where the two way turn lane makes sense but this picture just set off one of my pet peeves which is that we have hundreds of miles of these and most of it is underutilized impervious surface. Planted median islands can work. I especially like the way they used the median island on Ravenna to create an inside bike lane.

      2. A legal crosswalk exists at every street intersection with or without a marked crosswalk, unless explicitly prohibited. This misconception that the only way to cross the street is to cross at a marked crosswalk leads to drivers not paying attention, not yielding and hurting/killing people. Not everyone can walk long distances to a marked crosswalk if it even exists.

        I won’t disagree with you that there’s a lot of underused impervious surface out there but you have to consider the traffic and safety impacts of having a lane blocked while people make a left turn into a driveway or side street. That section of Rainier has a lot of businesses with off-street parking lots (also lots of underused impervious surface). If it were downtown Columbia City then it would be a different story. There isn’t a TWLTL and there is on-street parking. There are still 4 lanes of traffic, though. The city had plans to road diet it to 3 lanes (NB+TWLTL+SB) with 2 bike lanes and parking but it seemed to fell through.

      3. Maybe not Rainier, but there are many places where the solution is to ban left turns except for intersections with a left turn signal and lane. Even with the two way left turn lane people making left turns in and out of driveways can cause quite a bit of traffic congestion.

  7. Every one of the routes that goes east/west onto Capitol Hill should lose half of its stops. The 11, 3, 4, 43, 10, and 2 are some of the worst offenders. Seriously the bus will struggle to get thru a light and then stop ten feet later (again). Once it starts moving (probably around 5 mph) it will stop again in less than 2oo ft. Its so absurd! There have been many times where I will need to take the bust downtown from the broadway area and it takes over a half hour and many times close to an hour.

    Cut the stops! It has to be done if we will ever get more efficient as a system. Perhaps a map of all stops with the distances in between would be great and truly show how crazy the system is.

    1. You can get a rough feel for stop frequency in Google Maps by turning on the Transit labels, for example this shows the ridiculous number of stops for Routes 10 & 12 on Capitol Hill. Don’t know of any route-specific maps, however, though I’m sure Metro has them internally.

  8. I hope this is a test of system-wide changes. Nearly every route has stops every two blocks; just go to OneBusAway and type any route number. I don’t think there’s any good system to decide which ones to eliminate without studies like this for the 7 which has to be really expensive. Maybe it can be crowdsourced–just plan to eliminate every other stop and accept comments about why stop X would be better to keep than stop Y. Maybe no one would care about a 1/3 of the stops.

    1. “Every two blocks” varies in Seattle from 600′ to 1300′ feet, because most of our blocks are rectangular, not square. 1300′ is in the range of European stop spacing, and probably what we should be aiming for, though most American cities space their stops closer to 600′. However, other things need to be considered.

      On NW Market St, for example, a few years ago Metro tried to remove a stop at 14th Ave NW. This would have created stops for the 44 and 46 every two blocks (at 15th, 11th, and 8th [there’s no 13th, 12th or 9th]) with a spacing of 1300′ feet. But 11th Ave, unlike 14th, doesn’t have a marked & signaled crosswalk, and removing the 14th stop would make the distance between marked crosswalks around 2400′ (half a mile). Since Market is four lanes and rather heavily trafficked, this probably meant that for many users there was no accessible stop in that half-mile. Unfortunately bus stops are usually added after arterials and signals are already established out, and these things will often dictate stop placement, rather than maximum efficiency.

      All that said, Metro’s stop-removal policy is more or less as you suggest. They put up signs at stops that are to be removed, with information on how to comment on the proposal. In the case of the 14th Ave stop above, they put up the signs but never removed the stop. Presumably, they got an earful. No study necessary.

  9. Are passenger payments recorded by stop, so that Metro could compile a rough database of stop use and then cut the most underutilized stops? Seems like the cheap and easy way to do it.

    Kind of like the property owner who plants grass and sees where the grass is trampled the most to decide where to put a foot path.

    1. Not payments, but the APC data of ons and offs are recorded several times each shakeup, per route and run. Certain buses have pressure pads on the stairs to count passengers. The buses are rotated thru the system to get sample data.

    2. The newer buses use an infrared detection system that seems to be more reliable. You can tell which bus has APC from the equipment at the doors and the little APC sticker on the front. 15% of Metro’s fleet are APC equipped.

  10. When Metro decides to put in a new routing, there’s a detailed policy to determine the minimum and maximum stop spacing based on the density of the local area.
    If Metro wants to save some money, they should evaluate every route in the system against the new route stop criteria. They have the maps, the stops, and all the on/off data per stop, so it’s an office exercise. I think you would be amazed at how many ‘extra’ stops there are on a lot of routes.
    Every time the bus pulls to the curb, it’s at least a 30 second delay, or more if cars don’t let you back in traffic (it’s also against the law, but even cops ignore the rule)
    Apply all those 30-60 second stops systemwide, and your talking some real dough. Fewer buses are needed to maintain the same headways.
    Just a thought!

      1. Removing stops speeds up the buses, allowing them to complete more runs in the same amount of time.

    1. On the same note, the more often buses have to stop, the more inefficient they become (it’s much more efficient to run at a steady speed than to stop and go every 600 feet).

      Also it’s confusing for bus riders when there are stops within 2 blocks of one another – “oops, sorry I pulled the cord, didn’t realize there was a stop right before mine!”

    2. After cutting the stops down on every route in the system they should also be evaluated for where bus bulbs are needed. There are many locations where there can be a significant delay before the bus can get back into traffic. In some cases you’ll see the driver block the traffic lane when pulling into a stop, unless they are using the ramp, to avoid getting trapped in the bus zone. Market/N 46th/N 45th/NE 45th springs to mind as a street where this is particularly bad.

      1. Bus bulbs should be combined with low floor buses to speed entry and exit and reduce the delay that buses cause for general traffic.

  11. Just in case anyone thought the bus in the picture was causing the insane traffic jam on Rainier Avenue, it’s not. I don’t know when the picture was taken, but my guess is that Rainier was down to one lane northbound for construction of the new bus facility just north of the Starbucks between Rainier and MLK.

    1. That’s right. It was taken a few months ago when they were working on the bus facility. The caption is on the Flickr page.

  12. they should eliminate every other stop on the 345/346- right now it stops every 600 feet and takes forever.

  13. The 44 stop at N 45th St and Stone Way N WB far side is way close to the stop at N 46th St and Green Lake Way N near side. The latter is a connection for the 358, and the former should be eliminated.

    1. The 44 stop at Stone Way N is a connection for the 16. The 44 went through a (much needed) consolidation a few years ago,

      1. I saw a couple of bus bulbs on N 45th St in Wallingford complete with mini islands that prevent cars from passing in the turn lane.

      2. I guess I haven’t been paying attention. I’ll have to look for those next time I’m in Wallingford.

  14. I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned the 48 along 23rd Ave. That’s a stop-an-go nightmare during peak periods.

  15. So how many Seattle blocks are in a mile? I always thought it was 20. But that means Fremont to Denny Way (34 blocks) should be less than two miles and take 40 minutes to walk, but it takes me over an hour and the sign says 3 point something miles.

    1. I always heard that Seattle blocks were 12 per mile. But I’m wondering how consistant Seattle blocks are? Most of the city was platted by individuals or land trust corporations way before those blocks were incorporated into the city, so there wouldn’t have been a mandated size that they would have to follow. I know that in my neighborhood on Beacon Hill there are some blocks that are about 200′ long (curb to curb) and some that are as long at 350′.

  16. The County grid is 16 blocks to the mile. Downtown I don’t know because it was plotted by three different landowners. That’s why we have the triangle blocks.

  17. the 5 between bitter lake and aurora stops entirely too often.

    the 26/28 between fremont and downtown could 60% of its stops – there is absolutely no reason people that live on dexter can’t walk more than a block to a bus stop – it would improve transit times 3-4 fold through this section.

    also, having LESS seats on busses, especially during rush hour, would allow more people on. seats are for the pregnant, elderly and infirm. it would be great to have euro-style seating so that during peak loads, more users can board (improving capacity/efficiency) and during off-peak hours, buggies and luggage could easily be accomodated.

    as bus systems go, ours is pretty pathetic.

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