We have been pretty adamant on our concerns about bus connections between SR-520, Husky Stadium, the UW Triangle and the rest of the U-district over the last few weeks. This connection must be done right and that means uninterrupted and high quality bus lanes between SR-520 and the intersection of Pacific St and Pacific Pl at the very minimum. A few reason why this is so important:
- Current bus service on Montlake/Pacific/15th currently has a combined headways as low as 1.5 minutes.
- The SR-520 HCT plan calls for three BRT routes, one new route and two upgraded routes (271 and 540), all traveling on Montlake/Pacific/15th Ave
- Routes 43, 44 and 48 also travel on 24th/Montlake/Pacific/15th and already exceed service levels for RapidRide
- Even with best case scenarios Montlake/Pacific and Montlake/SR-520 will still have an LOS of E in the afternoon (pg 15, Note this is an old design, the newest design will have a worse LOS).
- Community groups don’t want a second bascule bridge built, even though all new space will be allocated to transit, carpoolers, bicyclist and pedestrians.
- WSDOT is removing the Montlake flyer stop without providing new operating funds to mitigate this change
- WSDOT is removing the ramps to Lake Washington Blvd which will worsen traffic south of SR-520 on Montlake/24th Ave
- Husky Stadium Link station neccesitates fast and reliable bus connections to the rest of the U-district and SR-520 especially if transfers to Link are to be “forced”.
Below the jump are two graphics showing which bus routes contribute most to this extremely low combined headways. Routes 43, 44, 48, 271 and 540 are the lions share of the trips.
Service on the 271 and 540 will need to increase by roughly by 4-8 buses trips per hour per direction to meet goals set in the SR-520 HCT plan and a new BRT route would add 6-10 trips per hour per direction during peaks. Additionally if ST/Metro wanted to end other routes like the 255 or 545 at Husky Stadium roughly an additional 10-16 buses per hour per direction need to be accommodated.
All of this additional service put together could add roughly 20-30 new buses per hour per direction to Montlake/Pacific/15th, roughly doubling bus service from current levels. While nothing is certain, decisions made now must be able to accommodate a scenario like this and details of transit operations must be worked not now, not later.
Graphics after jump