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Metro is in the middle of a project to consolidate the stops on Route 16, eliminating 33 of the 109 stops between Denny Way and the Northgate Transit Center.  Those 33 stops represent about 12% of the route’s riders.  The consolidation will bring the mean stop distance from 850 feet to about 1,225 feet (3 blocks), which is closer to Metro’s ideal separation.

The changes are expected to improve reliability and save about $50,000 a year in operating costs.  Metro has done similar projects on Routes 7 (as we covered), 48, and 120.

Rider alerts are already posted at the stops.  Customers have until Nov. 6 to submit comments to 206-296-4511 or  There is no webpage for the project.  The 16 will cease serving those stops on Nov. 28th.

There’s also a map of revisions on the South end of the line.  Thanks to Julia Hanke for the tip.

40 Replies to “Route 16 Stop Consolidation”

  1. Oh thank GOD. I would never have considered taking the 16 to Northgate before, but this may help the experience.

  2. 1,225 feet is just about a quarter of a mile. That’s a pretty good standard when it comes to consolidating stops.

  3. I was called for a survey the other night on Metro service. Some of the questions delt with this very issue on a non-route specific manner.

    They asked:

    How far would you walk to a bus stop?
    How far is too far to walk to a bus stop?
    Do you think some routes have stops too close together?
    Do you think spacing the stops about three blocks apart is too far?

  4. Are distances between stops for all Metro routes published anywhere publicly? I’m curious about the 75.

  5. i wish they would do this for route 2 which stops about every 2 blocks. it would definitely help keep it on schedule.

    1. Yes! Especially the outbound # 2 on the 1700 block on 34th Ave, which –no lie– actually as two Metro stops in it. When I asked Metro why, they thanked me for my suggestion (I never made a suggestion; I just asked why- thought it might be an elderly or disabled passenger issue).

      still, two stops in the same block??!!!!

      1. The 49 has two stops in one block where it turns the corner around SCCC. I’ve often thought they should eliminate one, but one is needed for the Broadway buses and the other is needed for the Pine Street buses. If the 49 skipped one of them you wouldn’t have seamless transfers. I don’t know the Madrona location in particular but it could be something like that.

      2. Nope. Only the #2 travels on 34th. It’s a single-family housing area. Just two stops on one block, with Metro unable to explain why.

    2. 48 between Republican and Cherry on 23rd has a stop almost every single block… which sucks when you’re late to school.

      1. Maybe they can make it express if the students on board might be late… and the ones waiting at the stops in between are already gonna be late, so they might as well wait for another!

    1. I think Metro’s also consolidating stops on 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle. I support this. We know that people still ride the bus even when it makes only five stops downtown (in the tunnel). The stop in front of my building (Seattle Municipal Tower) is slated for closure. There’s another bus stop just a block north of there. There’s also a stop on 5th & Pine next to Westlake, followed by a stop on the next block at 5th & Pike.

  6. I have a feeling that Metro is following the footsteps of some LA bus routes where they are looking at the busier routes and going from every 2 blocks to every 3 blocks.. Its about time!

  7. Awesome. I wish they would do WAY more of this type of cost-cutting before cutting service. Downturns are great opportunities to make efficiency improvements, so I hope Metro doesn’t miss out too much this current “opportunity”.

  8. These proposed changes sound great. I take this bus fairly regularly and I haven’t seen anything on the actual buses. Guess the only notify the folks that may be losing their stops.

  9. Sweet! Now, if only they could do the same for the bus routes on 15th Ave N between 45th and Pacific…

    1. I could see an alternate stop system being good on 15th, like the buses on 3rd & 4th downtown, but I don’t think removing whole stops on that street would be a great idea. Even if they seem like a waste when school’s out, all those stops get pretty heavy usage during peak class times–there simply wouldn’t be enough room for everyone to wait if Metro took out stops along there.

  10. Does anyone know how many trips on the 16 would need to be cut to save $50,000/year?

    Stop consolidation sounds like a great idea to me, but I’ve heard objections from people who like having a stop within steps of their house. It would be nice to have some hard data on the cost trade-offs.

  11. Two stops in the same block is actually pretty common in Minneapolis — and it sucks! Even more frequent (and worse) is stops every block in the “short block” direction — Twin Cities area blocks are typically 1/8 mile by 1/16 mile. Some routes actually have 16 stops per mile. AAAARRRGGH! I wish our Metro Transit would learn something from yours!

    I recall from misc.transport.urban-transit (a Usenet newsgroup I no longer participate in) that there is a mathematical formula for optimal stop spacing to get people to and from their destinations the fastest when walking time is considered. Any info here?

  12. on the 271 in bellevue on 8th st there are 7 stops in 1 mile, we could easily ditch two of those, but if you make the route too fast I guess there would be more downtime on the ends…

  13. i tried taking the 16 once from northgate to queen anne, what a disaster. just incredibly slow compared to other routes i’ve been on.

    that said, while i personally agree with this sort of change to improve efficiency, i live directly on a bus line in a more central neighborhood. i hope that this sort of choice, while appealing to many of us more urban types, does not discourage transit use in outlying neighborhoods.

    i mean, we could turn every single route into an express between two points, and things would be much more efficient, but there needs to be a balance between efficiency and accessibility. people live between the main transite hubs, and if they don’t have relatively convenient service they will be forced into increasing car dependency.

    1. The 16 is much faster between Green Lake and Downtown than the 26 (and would be even faster if it didn’t sidestep through LQA.

    2. The 16 is much faster between Green Lake and Downtown than the 26 (and would be even faster if it didn’t sidestep through LQA).

  14. Thanks for looking into this STB! Now it makes plenty of sense. Keep up all the great work!

  15. I was actually talking about this today. It’s my opinion that a great deal of Metro buses have too many stops. So many buses are slowed down significantly (I’m looking at you, 7:15am 14 to downtown, and of course others by one person getting on every block. Sure it’s great for the people who live right there, but it’s no more than a major pain for all the people already on the bus.

    Metro should do stop reductions for all its routes (maybe prioritized by stops per mile), and maybe it could be coupled with sign replacement to the new & improved design.

  16. It continually amazes me how short the distance is between Metro stops on almost ALL routes. I know they do that to boost ridership and farebox recovery…but the “one stop per block” model is ridiculous.

    One could make the argument that the disabled and elderly are negatively affected by stop consolidation…that is, if we didn’t have such extensive paratransit coverage.

    The #1 impediment to making bus routes more productive and efficient: a directly elected county council, which will literally prioritize the interests of a handful of loud change-haters over the interests of the other hundreds / thousands of riders negatively impacted by slow, unreliable bus service.

    The #2 impediment: generations of seemingly lazy Seattleites who will literally fight for parking spaces next the Costco entrance so they don’t have to walk 30 seconds from the middle of the parking lot. We are way to comfortable and lazy here. And I am not exluding myself from that criticism.

    1. Stop consolidation is a huge deal for the elderly and disabled populations. The newly refigured SE Seattle routes (and Link stations too, come to think of it) have faced much disdain from our most vulnerable and least mobile populations. ACCESS is extensive, but at 30 bucks per ride (with farebox recovery of 1 dollar per ride) Metro is not trying to boost ridership there right now– quite the opposite.

      Its easy for us able bodied folks to complain and lament at the stops at every block in Fremont (which is what I always do when I can’t catch the 5x! lol) but its also really important to allow mobility to those most vulnerable to hills, “historic” sidewalks, and our prolific adverse weather.

      I am not saying it shouldn’t be done, but I am saying we do need to consider people who are not like ourselves.

  17. In the 16 revamp I hope they eliminate the Dexter/Aurora loop in the northbound direction. The current northbound routing travels between John St. and Mercer St. three times! There is no justification for this.

    After going through the Mercer St. underpass under Aurora, the 16 should turn left on Dexter, and take the next left to get onto northbound Aurora (like it used to).

    1. That caused too many delays. Trying to turn left off of Mercer during rush hour (which on that street seems to last 20 hours) and then making that stop on Dexter where the 26/28 stop and then getting back across to make a left at the next street. It’s a little easier to hang a right, even though you can’t make the right on red, and then have a free and clear path back up and around.

  18. I ride the 3/4 mostly, but eliminating the northbound stop (shared by the 3/4/16) between John St and Broad St on 5th Ave N is beyond overdue!

    The previous stop is ~600ft (per Google) south of the stop to be eliminated. You can’t legally cross the east side of the 5th & Denny intersection, though, so it is more like ~750ft when you factor in street crossings. The next stop, just beyond Broad St, is only ~450 feet to the north. Nothing there (unless you could McDonald’s) to attract ridership.

  19. Like pretty much everyone else here, I am way in favor of stop consolidation – it’s about time! I suggest everyone on the blog send a quick email to your county council member and Metro and express your support.

  20. This is long overdue. One example: at North Seattle Community College, where the 2 stops in front of the college are within shouting distance of each other, then there’s another one over the rise. The first stop is essentially used to drop people off, then the bus lumbers forward to the second one to drop a handful off, but pick up a bunch. The stop over the rise rarely has anybody get on there, so why have it? After Metro consolidated the stops in the U District for the #43 and #44, it was a noticeable improvement.

  21. I suspect that Metro will find that their hoped-for $50,000/yr
    cost savings will be whittled down significantly by loss of
    ridership; I can imagine that those whose stops have been removed
    will opt again to routinely use their cars instead of hiking
    3 – 10 city blocks to a viable busstop. Thanks, Metro, for
    taking us two steps back. I also wonder whether buses will stop
    at those stops which remain in the case of inclement weather; i.e.,
    will someone whose stop has been eliminated have to walk 20 blocks
    instead of 10 if it snows? Right. Well done.

    1. I don’t understand your complaint. I don’t see where any of the stops removed on the 16 are going to force anyone to walk an extra 10 blocks. As for making someone walk an extra 3 blocks, what is the big deal if you are able bodied? Sure I have a bus stop only 1 block from my house, but the route runs infrequently and doesn’t provide convenient transfers to most places I need to go. Therefore I usually choose to walk 4 blocks to where I can catch a more direct route with frequent service. In the morning I walk 7 or 15 blocks to the nearest express route to downtown. Even factoring in the extra walk times I typically save a lot of time over trying to walk as little as possible.

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