Map by Oran

I think it’s unfortunate that a big picture argument about reorganizing Rainier Valley routes bogged down as to whether or not the 9 could replace the 7 for trips along Rainier. That’s my fault for not explicitly stating that I was open to adding stops to the 9, although it’s also clear that some people didn’t read carefully enough, because in my plan everyone has a one seat ride to downtown and a one seat ride to anywhere on Rainier, each with 15 minute frequency. There were lots of complaints about “forced transfers” that could be answered with a quick glance at the provided map. Such are the occupational hazards of writing on the internet.

What’s more, there’s a lot of misperception about how often the 9 stops. After checking onebusaway, by my count the southbound 7 stops 29 times between Jackson and Henderson, while the 9 stops 18 times. Thus, the average stop distance is only 50% higher, and 7 stops tend to the close side. However, 9 stops are much more frequent south of Othello, so I think it’s appropriate to add at least a few further north. In my opinion, the 7 stops too often, so if I were dictator I probably wouldn’t replace them all.

All that said, stop frequency on the 9 is a relatively minor point and I would gladly turn every 7 stop into a 9 stop if that was the price of implementing the other changes. According to the Metro schedule, the difference is about 5 minutes. From a marketing perspective, it may very well be that “7 rerouted to Broadway” is a better headline than “7 replaced with 9 local”, although they amount to the same thing.

65 Replies to “7 of 9”

  1. Thanks for diffusing the naysayers with a calm and concise rephrasing of your proposal for the naysayers, and with an inarguably geektastic headline.

    I would suggest that it’s worth finding a way to maintain 10-minute frequencies on the (new) 9, even at a slight additional expense, as the 9/34 interlining wouldn’t begin until more than 1/2 mile north of Columbia city, and as safety concerns still shrink the after-sundown walksheds of SE Seattle stations significantly.

  2. A one seat ride to downtown would be on one of three different routes, which is OK. I’m wondering what the time to downdown would be for three different cases:
    A. Present condition #7 and 7X from say 6 locations (2 for each new segment along Rainier)
    B) New routings, coupled with Link, with say 5 min transfer
    c) Stay on the new routing to downtown.
    If someone wants to tackle the schedule for a couple of time periods, peak/mid-day, that would be some good info for evaluation. I’ve got to dash, but may tackle it later.

    1. Rainier Ave riders north of Gennesee will have an ever-so-slightly shorter trip downtown due to taking Dearborn (express, Martin?). The exception is that those used to being lucky enough to catch the 7X will have a slower trip. Frequency loss may end up adding a few minutes to wait+travel time.

      Between Gennesee and Alaska, they’ll have to walk a couple blocks to the nearest 1-seat ride.

      For those between Alaska and Othello, the new 39 1-seat ride (about 22 minutes from Alaska to 4th & Jackson) would be slower than the old 7 1-seat ride (about 17 minutes from Alaska to 4th & Jackson). Riders faced with 20 minutes more to ride the bus downtown when they get to Columbia City Station would have to choose between that and up to a 10-minute wait for a 12-minute ride to ID Station. At that point, the math favors transferring. Still the bus+Link ride would average a minute or so slower than the current 1-seat 7 ride.

      During afternoon outbound peak, the 39 and 36 could be timed to wait at the station for the next load of southbound deboarding passengers.

      The 36 would take about 25 minutes from Rainier and Othello to 4th and Jackson — a dead heat with the 7. Riding the 36 for 24 more minutes from Othello Station would be a math loser vs. transferring and riding Link, an average wait+travel time of 21 minutes.

      I don’t see any significant travel time savings between southeast Seattle and downtown in this plan, nor do I see any significant travel time increases. But I do see connectivity increases.

      1. Great job of piecing that together. I came to about the same conclusion. It really depends on the quality of transfer at a link station for it to work really well, offering a distinct advantage over the present condition. That’s where marketing can be effective in easing into something like this.
        One other sales point is this. With the streetcar, and associated construction just ’round the bend’, eliminating the 7 on Jackson solves a lot of headaches for riders, drivers, and contractors. Once off Jackson, it would never return.

      2. On the point of transferring, it seems pretty easy at the at-grade stations (depending on ease of getting walking signals), and a royal pain at Mount Baker Transfer Center / Station. Is it really too late to dig out the first floor promenade below Mount Baker Station, turn it into a transfer center, and surplus the current poorly-conceived transfer center for some TOD?

      3. Isn’t the Goodyear site available now, whereas it wasn’t available when the Mt Baker TC was constructed?

      4. “Isn’t the Goodyear site available now, whereas it wasn’t available when the Mt Baker TC was constructed?”

        I think the same thing every time I drive past it on the 14. That said, I doubt ST or Metro has the money to purchase it.

  3. I like the plan, but the phrase “everyone has a one seat ride to downtown and a one seat ride to anywhere on Rainier, each with 15 minute frequency” is imprecise.

    Yes, everyone along a current southeast Seattle bus route would still have a 1-seat ride downtown. And yes, everyone in southeast Seattle would still have a 1-seat ride to Rainier Ave, but not to *everywhere* on Rainier Ave — which is the same as the case today. The garbled sales job may be a sticking point to the willingness of some to going along with this plan. And yes, Erica, everyone on Rainier Ave will still have a 1-seat ride to everywhere else on Rainier Ave.

    One of the lovely points to this plan is that everyone on Rainier Ave will now also have a 1-seat southbound ride to Link, for those going to the airport, Southcenter, Tacoma, etc. Those trying to go the counter-peak direction won’t be part of the crushload to/from Mount Baker.

  4. Thanks for coving these transit issues. I work in Rainier Valley, transit is very important to this part of town.

    You might enjoy this video of the new dedicated bus lanes in NYC –

  5. I agree entirely with that last statement. It’s ALL in how you market the change. Also, for people who don’t ride the 7 all the way downtown, retaining the number 7 designation would prevent a world of confusion.

  6. I like your plan, it’s a very elegant solution during the day. Even if they aren’t necessarily faster, the 34 and 39 are less likely to get stuck in traffic and would be a much more reliable 1-seat ride to downtown.

    But what about after 7pm? The 7 currently runs at 10 minute headways during the day and 15 minute headways until midnight, implying that ridership remains very high well into the night. Those service hours would have to be split between the 9, 34 and 39, resulting in dismal 45 minute headways.
    Maybe they could run a feeder that just loops between all the Rainier Valley Link stations and Rainier Ave, from 7pm until Link closes. Or maybe they could restore the 7 after 7pm (though being an evening only route would certainly hurt it’s ridership.) Neither would be ideal, but at least they wouldn’t completely kill the Rainier Ave transit corridor after 7pm.

  7. I love the way you keep to the conceit of everything being “to Downtown”.

    As someone who rides the milk runs through the valley…the workhorses…it’s clear there is no “one destination” for transit.

    If anything, transit has created the Linear City. Not a single central hub, but an old fashioned Cannonball Express…stopping here and there.

    What I’m saying is “The City” has become a collection of small Hootervilles, to which people ferry back and forth. Shop here. Go back to the apartment. Grab a soda…go to the Social Security office.

    These milk runs are what everyone has been crying over — the old “Interurbans” that gave people both local and mid range transit.

    1. Agreed. This is an example of where we can have more of a grid system like Portland. It doesn’t work everywhere due to topography, but here it would. The 8 could go between Uptown and Capitol Hill like it used to, or it could even continue east to Madison Valley. The other route would go north-south between Rainier Valley and Madison Valley, with perhaps a jog over to Capitol Hill. The small percentage of people going from Rainier Beach all the way to uptown would have to transfer, but for them it might be easier to go via downtown anyway.

  8. This is pretty close to what I always advocated. I’ve never understood the current diesel 9. The current structure looks like too many lines and not enough frequency.

    But go a step further: What if your 34 and 39 trade roles at Rainier & Alaska/Genesee, so that 39 jogs north on Rainier and picks up Genesee, Seward Park, Othello, while the 34 does what you had the 39 doing, going on out Rainier to Rainier Beach.

    Then, well, the 34 might as well be called the 7. You should be able to offset 15-minute headways on 7 and 9 to deliver a continuous net 7.5-min headway all the way from Dearborn to Rainier Beach.

    In fact, if you leave the entire existing 7, using Jackson instead of Dearborn, then all the 7+9 can go back to being trolleys.

    Broadly speaking, I think Metro needs the courage do simplify all the way to something of that scale, and increase frequencies to the point that the connections all become acceptable.

    A further issue is that while Sound Transit is supposedly funding the First Hill streetcar as an east-west link, the most important First Hill access lost by the withdrawal of the First Hill station is north-south — to Capitol Hill/U District and south toward Mt Baker/Beacon Hill. Will it really make sense for a trip from, say, Tukwila to First Hill to go downtown on Link and then take the streetcar? Wouldn’t connections to 9 at Mt Baker (or 60 at Beacon Hill) be a more logical path?

    1. That would only make sense if the 9 and 60 were much more frequent. Right now they are so infrequent that transferring would be difficult to time correctly, and the streetcar would make more sense. I personally think a great streetcar extension would be to go from Jackson down Rainier, connecting with the future Rainier East Link station and ending up at the Mt Baker station.

      1. Yeah that was proposed in the Streetcar Network Report. I think it’d be great to have the Rainier one just continue up to Capitol Hill, and then have only the Central Streetcar running up Jackson, as far as MLK or 31st.

    2. Jarrett,

      What you’re describing is much more like the current system. The drawback is that mid-Rainier you have much worse connections to Link and Beacon Hill.

    3. “I’ve never understood the current diesel 9.”

      Faster service to Broadway and the U-district. Hopefully this will be rethought when Link reaches UW. When the 49 was split from the 7, and the 9 was truncated at Broadway, the question was what to do with the 9’s service hours. I advocated transferring them to the 60 and eliminating the 9. Metro offered two or three options. I favored transferring the 9’s service hours to the 60, because Beacon Hill has less bus service than Rainier Valley, especially in 15th Ave S where only the 60 is. But a significant number of Rainier Valley residents told Metro they’d rather have a 9-express, so that’s what we got.

    4. “Sound Transit is supposedly funding the First Hill streetcar as an east-west link”

      I always thought of it as north-south. The east-west portion is only a small part of the route. And it addresses the north-south transit needs on First Hill (an alternative to the 9 and 60).

      “Will it really make sense for a trip from, say, Tukwila to First Hill to go downtown on Link and then take the streetcar? Wouldn’t connections to 9 at Mt Baker (or 60 at Beacon Hill) be a more logical path?”

      You wouldn’t want to take a bus that far, it would be slow. I rode the 8 from Columbia City to Summit once, and it was so slow that the next time I took Link, and even Link + a 20 minute walk from Westlake Station was faster than the 8.

      From Beacon Hill would be more viable, but the 60 takes a 4-block detour to 9th Avenue, which adds more to its travel time than you’d expect.

      Where the FH streetcar shines is as an alternative to the 3/4, which is slow and crowded coming up steep James Street, and has more than its share of behaviorally-challenged passengers.

  9. Similar grid concepts have been considered since Link was first conceived. A variation on the theme that might make sense with Capitol Hill Station and First Hill streetcar:

    – Extend/reroute 7 to Broadway and University District with 10-12 minute frequency
    – Extend 7 and trolley lines at south end from Rainier & Henderson to Rainier Beach Station, replacing some or all Prentice street trips
    – Delete 9 and 49
    – Retain other elements suggested by Martin and Jarrett
    – Improve Route 10 to 10-12 minute frequency if needed to maintain capacity from Broadway & Pine to Downtown OR reroute 43 west of Broadway from Olive to Pine. Olive would still be covered by Routes 8 and 14

      1. Transit plan update recommendations are likely to get to the level of detail of recommending specific system changes, but not until much later in the process.

  10. After further thought, it occurs to me that the opening of the First Hill Streetcar may make redesignating the 7 as the 9 moot. Just terminate the 7 at Little Saigon Station (12th and Jackson) and eliminate the 9. Or continue running the 7 through downtown after all, with no 9.

    Could we bring the 106 into the equation? Two of the further-down goals on my wish list are a route that continues south on 15th Ave S from Cleveland High School down to Rainier Beach Station, and a route that continues north from Cleveland High School and bypasses the VA to give the Cleveland ridership crowd a direct ride to Beacon Hill Station. Perhaps it could interline partially with the 60 and partially with the 106. Or perhaps it should only be peak-hour, based on when students and faculty commute. As a rider on the 60, I’ve noticed that there is a crushload on the 60 when school gets out, and they mostly don’t ride beyond the Georgetown turnoff. Give the kids who live south of Cleveland a 1-seat ride home.

    The 106 going all the way downtown is justified by the fact that it is all neighborhood and business access service. In the long picture, riders who live in south King County or Pierce County and work in the SODO can get off Link at RBS and take the 106 directly to their SODO jobs, instead of backtracking from downtown. However, it doesn’t have good transferability to the 124 to get to Boeing or any of the businesses on the west end of the SODO. I’d love to see the 124 divert through Georgetown and head up Airport Way, and have the 106 diagonal through Georgetown and head up 1st Ave instead, with the 132 doubled in frequency and heading up 4th Avenue to give South Parkers their quickest connection to Link at SODO Station. (And as I keep wishing, have the 132 be altered to head straight down Military Rd to TIBS.)

    1. The thing is, there are people going from Walker Street to First Hill or Broadway, people going from Union Street to St Mark’s Cathedral or UW, etc. A single Rainier-Broadway-UW route makes sense because it gobbles up all these uses, rather than forcing people to transfer to the First Hill Streetcar for a short distance. Or worse, transfer to the streetcar at Jackson and then again to a bus at Denny. Sensible grid transfers make sense, but not overtransferizing over a short 2-mile segment, that’s getting too pedantic.

      1. Hmm. How about a 9 that goes Rainier-12th (or 14th-Madison-15th)-Aloha (or Prospect or John-Broadway)-10th(and possibly -Roanoke-Harvard-U-District) and delete the 49? (I’d even be open to taking the 14th-Madison-15th leg, deleting the 10 in favor of increased 11 frequency, and having the new 9 terminate in a massive 15th-Boston-10th-Prospect-or-Aloha loop around Volunteer Park.)

  11. Functionally, it seems to work, assuming Metro could properly interleave the schedules to provide 7 minute peak headways along Rainier. Knowing how coordinated they can be, we’d probably end up with two back-to-back buses every 15 minutes.

    As with any plan involving the 9, you have to consider what will happen once the First Hill Streetcar opens on Broadway. At that point, Metro will probably consider the 9 to be redundant, and it will quickly go on the chopping block if there is no detailed plan to save it. If you proposed moving it to 12th, paralleling the streetcar at 15 minute headways, you could probably get a lot of community support. There’s a large contingent of people who were fighting to get the streetcar on 12th and are still sore about the Broadway alignment; it would be politically wise to get them behind this plan.

    I think this plan will be most palatable to implement when U-Link opens, providing an easy Link transfer for the 9 at the Capitol Hill station. And that leaves plenty of time beforehand for politicking and pushing Metro to study it.

    It feels like a huge risk to give up the 7. Right now we’ve got an amazing, easily understood, unbroken transit corridor on Rainier. We don’t have headways like that hardly anywhere else. This plan breaks the corridor up into three chunks, setting up boundaries at Genesee and Othello; if you want to cross those boundaries, you’re kicked back down to 15 minute headways along Rainier. For that reason alone, I kind of feel like the 7 is a sacred cow that we really shouldn’t touch. But this plan really does tie the area as a whole together, and I think it’s worth the risk.

    1. There are a lot of good ideas in Martin’s plan, but there are some practical and political problems that need to be addressed. First, the Broadway streetcar and Link service will make the 9 (north of Jackson) redundant, as noted above. Second, explain to me how a mobility impaired rider will get from Charles Street to Juneau Street with one bus. Those people exist, they will be heard from and their needs are important. Third, there is the issue of trolley-vs-diesel. The proposed 9 doesn’t have wires on Henderson, so we will have to debate whether to extend wires or run diesels. Fourth, the 36 crossing MLK looks problematic. The issue isn’t whether or not the different voltages can be isolated, they can. The problem appears to be the different heights of the trollley wires and the light rail catenary. Maybe there is an easy engineering solution, but it looks like trolley routes aren’t going to cross the light rail right-of-way.

      So here are my suggestions to tweak the plan:
      *no changes to the current 36, terminate at Othello Station.
      *The box formed by Othello-Rainier-Henderson-MLK can be covered by running the 8 east-west on Othello, north-south on Rainier to Henderson. If 30 minute frequencies are acceptable on Henderson and MLK (south of Othello), the 106 can cover Henderson between Rainier and MLK and the 107 can be extended north to Othello Station. Or, the 8 could cover the whole box if 15 minute frequencies are required. RB Station works as a transfer point for 106/107 riders, but Othello Station should be the transfer hub for riders in the deep south of Rainier Valley.
      *The Prentice loop could be attached to the 34. There wouldn’t be a time penalty for those riders and they would regain a one-seat ride to downtown during middays.
      *The 39 would be a flip of the coin: follow the proposed route to Rainier and Alaska, then north to Mt. Baker Station or south to Columbia City?
      *Then, the 7 would run from Rainier Beach only to downtown on the existing routing.

      1. Does being mobility impaired really mean you can’t transfer? If you really can’t, there’s paratransit. There’s just no possible way to provide a one-seat ride for everyone, and rather than trying to, it makes a lot more sense to make a grid-style system that forces more people to transfer but offers much better headways on all the routes, so that instead of everyone being able to get a one seat ride every half hour to a couple places, everyone would get a two-seat ride to far more destinations every 10 or 15 minutes.

      2. Transfers are fine, but given the geography of Rainier Valley, it’s kind of absurd to require a transfer when the journey is a straight shot down the main road. (Actually, my Charles to Juneau example is out of date–Juneau is closed, but there are plenty of other examples.) Martin’s plan has a lot of good ideas, but until the A to B without a transfer problem is solved, I don’t think it’s going to get much support from the Valley community.

      3. >explain to me how a mobility impaired rider will get from Charles Street to Juneau Street with one bus

        Um… the 9? Unless there’s some strange complication I’m not seeing here. No transfers needed, and I assume the lifts work just as well on the 9 as the 7.

      4. The 9 doesn’t stop at Charles St. and it doesn’t stop at Juneau or Brandon…that’s the “strange complication”.

      5. Yup, I read every word. I don’t think stop spacing on the 9 is a relatively minor point, it’s kind of trying to straddle both sides of the issue to say you would be open to adding stops. If the 9 becomes a local you will get flack from the people that want express service on Rainier. If you make it skip-stop, you will get flack from people that don’t want to make transfers. That’s the political and practical reality of the situation.

  12. One more tweek: The 34 ought to make it all the way to Rainier Beach Station (as it does now) for those riders trying to catch Link to the south.

    I’d still argue for 15-minute frequency the whole length of that line, but if not, then at least to Genessee Park via Alaska to connect with the 39 and serve Rainier Community Center, circling back on Genessee after laying over by the park.

  13. Its too bad the mt baker station bus loop was not better intregrated with link. For you die hard transfer advocates you could have the old #9 from the u dist run down to the terminal have the 4. 7 8 and 14 and old 42 terminate there and really give riders a good chance to transfer. Also extending the 7 to renton wouldent hurt either. Some extra trolley wire and you’re good to go. Also I don’t see how eliminating the 7 on jacon would help the first hill streetcar any as you still have the 36 electrified plus you still have garage access. Really we need more electric transit – trolleycoaches and light rail and not give contractors or metro reason to get rid of them.

    1. And if you think the Mt Baker connection is bad, check out the plan to have a five-minute walk between UW Station and the nearest bus stop.

      1. Does it really take 5 minutes to walk to Pacific & Pacific stops in front of the UW Medical Center? Granted, it’s not ideal, but it doesn’t seem terribly burdensome either.

      2. It’s actually 3-5 minutes, depending on the luck of the walk signal. Still, that 3-5 minutes is enough to tip the scales in favor of running 520 buses all the way downtown in perpetuity.

        Metro/ST are making it sound like they are doing campus riders a favor by bypassing UW Station, and saving a minute of travel time. Clearly, they are not doing campus riders a favor by significantly increasing future headsay to/from the eastside. I don’t see anything malicious here, just an engineering mistake that will cost taxpayers a lot of money in perpetuity, and make the commute worse for most sets of riders affected by the UW Station street design.

        I suppose we could hire Norman to plant a chair between Mount Baker Station and Transfer Center, and count how many riders are actually walking between the two sites.

      3. I still find it somewhat bizzare why there isnt a more substansial on and off street transfer ability setup at that station, than inbetween that and the one coming at 45th and Brooklyn you wouldent even need the old transfer point on brooklyn anymore and could easily intergrate your services with LINK, plus have layover space and all of lifes nessisites. Probally has to do with ST and the UW which have not gotten along exactly well in prior times (Read Mt Baker Station & the UW laundry, than the ballyhoo about going under the campus).

      4. “Metro/ST are making it sound like they are doing campus riders a favor by bypassing UW Station, and saving a minute of travel time.”

        Where is Metro/ST doing that? They’re making the best out of a bad situation forced on them by the state and UW. Metro/ST does not have much control on the station location, lack of an underpass to Pacific, or losing the flyer stations.

        If you’re talking about keeping the 71/72/73 to downtown until Brooklyn Station opens, Metro has not said either way on this, so we don’t know what Metro will do. But physically, there’s no way to fit six more articulated buses per hour on Pacific Street without making the bottleneck worse. So your “one minute” would stretch to ten minutes.

      5. Well, even when Brooklyn Station opens the 70-series still needs to serve the Ave south of there; at the very least it’s not a good terminus. (At that point the 70-series might be chopped up entirely with attendant changes to the 48.)

        What do you think of this idea: Merge the 72 and much of the 68; find some other way to serve 80th. If that’s not enough: Between the 71 and 73, divert one of them onto the campus, and possibly interline it with the 72/68. This assumes Stevens Way/Rainier Vista is a sufficient transfer point to Link, which I sure hope so because the obvious change to the 66/67 is to delete the 66 and double 67 frequency.

      6. We don’t necessarily need service on both U-Way and 15th. The station entrance is 1/2 block west of the Ave, or 1 1/2 blocks from 15th. I’d almost suggest moving all all-day buses to the Ave and making the Ave bus-and-right-turn-only from Campus Parkway to 45th (or 50th). (The commuter buses can stay on 15th because their destination is the UW, so transfers to Link would be few.)

      7. To move the buses from 15th to the Ave, you’d have to add trolley wire between Pacific and 45th. You’d also probably have to kick cars off of the Ave completely, depending on how much of the 70-series service is left.

        That said, I still like to see it happen…

      8. There aren’t trolley wires on the Ave, so you can’t move the 43 or 70, and if you keep the 49 a trolley on its current routing it can’t move to the Ave either. (The 70 isn’t a trolley now because of the Mercer project, and whenever the 70-series does get truncated or cut the 70 will likely become an all-day 7-day route to the extent it isn’t now.)

        Is it possible, pre-North Link, to move the 48 to the Ave and have it absorb much of the 70-series’ demand? It still raises the question of where to terminate the 70-series…

    2. Really we need more electric transit

      I heard on the Radio last week that thanks to a Federal grant Seattle will be getting a new Trolley next year with off wire capability. I haven’t been able to find anything about it in the local media.

      1. Hopefully a prototype of a New Flyer ETB model in use in Vancouver and San Francisco or even a series hybrid diesel fitted with current collectors. Now *THAT* would be cool. Diesel where you can’t get approval for wires – electric drive where neighborhoods are willing to trade overhead wires for virtually silent operation without diesel emissions.

      2. Through the internets I gather that
        A) A Few Flyer E40LF Trolley Bus will be coming to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. on loan for a short period, some time in the near future. These being MODERN Trolley Buses, they have off-wire capability.

        B)There was a press releasee put out by King County Metro last week:

        Which speaks of a Battery Bus, (NOT A TROLLEY BUS) which would recharge at stations enroute.

        And ” Metro will also explore if the prototype bus can connect to existing trolley wires for a “fast charge” when needed.”

        Well, if it is the bus I think it is (Proterra ecoLiner):

        http://www.proterra.com/

        then the existing 600V DC wires will NOT be able to charge this Battery Bus:

        http://www.subchat.com/buschat/read.asp?Id=206577
        http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/09/proterra-ecoride-foothill-transit/
        http://www.foothilltransit.org/NewsDisplay.aspx?ID=688&type=news
        http://www.foothilltransit.org/uploadedFiles/AboutUs/Issue%2011.pdf?n=9481

        and whomever wrote that Press Release obviously flunked High School science class.

        In fact, I suspect we’ll find out that the Proterra ecoLiner can’t make it up the counterbalance. The bus route it is on right now in eastern L.A. County is relatively flat:
        http://www.foothilltransit.org/BusSchedule.aspx?busnumber=291

    3. First we need to decide where the routes should go for the most effective transit, then we can look at how much trolley wire would have to be strung and whether it would be cost-prohibitive. Also, the new wire is effectively a capital investment, so you can compare it with other capital investments. If you don’t move and electrify routes, would you spend the money on other routes or do nothing?

  14. One little tid-bit from that press release:

    “In addition to this grant, the FTA also awarded Metro and Sound Transit $6 million to purchase 40-foot and 60-foot hybrid diesel-electric buses to replace conventional diesel buses that have reached the end of their useful lives.”

    Translation: Replace the worst of the 9500 and older 9000 series buses, I hope. I haven’t driven any for a while, but I’d be happy to drive one to a scrap yard somewhere. Replacing them with hybrids, either with or without Hush mode, would be a welcome change.

    Let’s hope this prototype/trial isn’t used to kill the trolley network. Somebody could use the *possibility* of a fully electric bus, recharged at layovers, as a justification to discontinue investment in Seattle’s Trolley network. (“Let’s go with ‘cheaper’ diesel hybrids today because we’ll be able to buy battery electric buses tomorrow”) Given what I’ve read up above, it seems premature at this point. Still, exciting to see the technology advancing.

  15. While it doesn’t address the diesel routes in Rainier Valley or the CD at all the Rapid Trolley Network:
    http://globaltelematics.com/pitf/KingCountyMetroRapidTrolleyNetworkPortfolio4-3.pdf

    I think has some worthwhile ideas for revising service. I particularly like the idea of taking the Harborview routes off of James and moving them to Yesler, running the 36 through First and Capitol Hill (though I’d revise to use 12th rather than Boren/Broadway), and combining the 7 South of Mt. Baker with the 48 North of there.

    Of course the key to making any of this work is high frequency (15 minutes or better for most of the day). Unfortunately with the current financial situation the service hours will have to be taken from other routes and there are no real “no brainer” routes for elimination other than the 38 and 42.

  16. What about night service? The 7 is about the only corridor with essentially 24-hour service. (Eastlake/Fairview is the main other one with the 70-73 and 83.) And night buses need to transfer all in one place, which is 4th & Union, not Broadway. It would be confusing to reinstate the 7 as an evening-and-night-only route.

    This also gets into the Link night shadow proposal. That makes sense abstractly and works well in San Francisco, but in the Rainier Valley there are more destinations closer to Rainier than MLK. And two nearby night-owl routes don’t make sense when north of 85th is not served at all.

    1. Re-number it the 87! :D Have it go clockwise through the Valley on one trip and counterclockwise on the other between Mount Baker and Rainier Beach stations, and you get both Valley trips while also justifying the number change. (In any case, some late-night and early-morning 49 trips stay on Broadway to and from the International District, and some 43 trips do similar, in order to get to and from base.)

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