It’s clear from the comment thread under Adam’s TMP breifing book post that people are laboring under the misconception, understandably, that the Transit Master Plan will be a comprehensive plan for transit in Seattle. Considering the role of Seattle in transit planning, however, that can’t be the case.
I sense some trepidation that the master plan doesn’t seem to visualize some sort of radical route reorganization. Of course, route structure is the domain of Metro and their masters on the King County Council. Seattle’s role in transit is capital investment in rights of way, construction and ownership of the streetcar network, and at the margins purchase of some bus service. The TMP serves as a to-do list for the city, and concentrating on telling Metro what to do is a waste of consultant and staff resources.
Moreover, it’s important to understand that the briefing book that hit the street yesterday is not a recommendation of transit investments; that will come in the fall. It is an assessment of our current state, an explanation of some basic principles, and a roadmap for how to generate the actual plan. The idea is that the consultants will identify a dozen or so high-demand corridors. A few of those will be designated for major investment, somewhere between pretty good BRT and full-blown light rail. The rest will get smaller-bore bus improvements like curb bulbs and queue jumps. Regardless what happens to routes over the next 20 years or so, there is definitely going to be a lot of service on corridors like the West Seattle Bridge, 15th Ave NW, and N 45th St, so expenditure on those paths is a good idea in any case.
Finally, the trip demand maps in Chapter 2 measure a lot of different things. Many of them depict total trips, not just transit trips. A lot of these results come from the Seattle Travel Demand Model, which uses methodology validated against real measurements but is ultimately still a model. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not perfect but I’m more inclined to trust it than whatever anecdote you might have.