The final SR520 Westside workgroup report, in addition to making recommendations about transit priority, also tried to narrow down a dizzying array of options on where buses should stop in the triangle where light rail, the medical center, and the campus proper meet.
With the planned elimination of the Montlake Flyer Stops, a smooth connection to light rail is critical. However, corridor HCT analysis suggests that 60% of bus passengers will head for the medical center or campus, 20% will transfer to another bus, and only 20% are transferring to Link. This led WSDOT to place stops A through C, near the current stop, on the short list, while retaining the (unfunded) option of constructing another stop on the east side of Montlake Blvd.
Option A, essentially the current location, provides the shortest walk for UW bound riders while dropping people off well away from the rail station. It also has relatively quick times for buses to transit through the area. Options and B and C have similar statistics.
To pick one of the alternate plans, Option D (depicted below the jump) brings both Northbound and Southbound buses by the station before turning on Pacific Place and merging onto Pacific St. Obviously, the balance of walking times shifts considerably in favor of the station, and buses take another 1.5-2.5 minutes to get through the area.
Obviously, the walking distance issue could be remedied by combining the two, and having another stop both somewhere near the station and at the intersection of Pacific and Pacific. When I asked WSDOT about this, they said that (i) there would be yet more delay to buses going through, and (ii) Metro is generally reluctant to put stops so close together.
I’m a big supporter of Metro’s stop consolidation, but this seems like a good instance to make an exception. We have two potential high-volume stops that are serving important destinations arrayed around a very large open space. Metro could realize huge savings by having a high-quality transfer to Link and severely curtailing downtown-bound buses.