2030 “Transit Emphasis Corridors” (from p.10 of the report); Blue is BRT, Yellow and Green lesser all-day arterial service

Although Community Transit has suffered deep service cuts and has no state-granted ability to raise tax rates, it hasn’t stopped visualizing what Snohomish County’s transit network should look like in two decades.

The study, conducted by Nelson/Nygaard and completed last month, identifies key transit corridors and appropriate levels of additional investment for each by 2030.* It is a statement of aspirations, designed to drive future investment decisions, rather than a firm, funded project list. “Economic recovery and new transit investment will happen,” the report explains.  “When it does, the new system that is built will be different than the one that we cut.”

Like many other agencies, CT is looking to support rapidly densifying cities like Lynnwood with frequent, rapid all-day service through less emphasis on peak-only commuter routes, very much helped by the fact that Link will be moving masses of people from Lynnwood to the UW and Downtown Seattle. More after the jump.

Stated Priorities

  1. Preserve and Increase Access to and Usability of the Public Transportation System
  2. Provide a range of services tailored to the neighborhoods being served
  3. Provide Efficient and Sustainable services
  4. Partner with Other Transportation Agencies
  5. Integrate Land Use and Transportation
  6. Support Corridor-Based Development Practices
  7. Maximize Use of Existing Services
  8. Support Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The map above is a detail of the identified transit emphasis corridors. The blue, yellow, and green lines correspond to Swift BRT, Arterial, and all-day local service:

Chapter 2 describes each of the emphasis corridors in detail.

Commuter Service

We’d always assumed it, but the plan officially envisions redeploying Seattle-bound express buses with Link feeders, in addition to peak expresses on I-405, SR 9, SR 522, SR 525, and US2.

Fiscal Feasibility

To operate all this, CT will need to exactly double its total annual revenue hours from its 2008 level of 507,000 to 1,014,000. If the money materializes, the next Swift line could open in 2017 and others every 3 to 5 years afterwards.

However, that service increase would require $100m in additional annual operating expenditure, plus something like $1 billion for more buses and transit priority treatments. For comparison, CT’s entire sales tax take in 2010 was $61.5m, down from a peak of $76.6m in 2007. The report’s scope did not include concrete proposals for this, and population growth may help a lot, but that kind of increase would require a fundamental change in attitude in Olympia.


There is a lot more information about park & rides, vanpools, paratransit, other local service, and implementation steps.  This report presents an extremely attractive vision for Snohomish County transit, one entirely consistent with the values often professed at STB.

* The Seattle Transit Master Plan is using the same approach and same consultant, so it’s stylistically a good preview.

14 Replies to “Community Transit Releases Long-Range Plan”

  1. I get that Snohomish County isn’t exactly South Lake Union, but 15 dwelling units per acre? That’s pretty measly.

  2. Seems like they should consolidate service as part of this, so that they don’t have to spend so much more.

    1. The bulk of service is concentrated in the SW already – there are a few far-flung routes, but they’re much lower frequency. The only real exception is the 201/202 set, but they’re the core routes to Marysville and are top-5 routes by ridership.

      Cutting Seattle service in favor of link saves some, but it looks like a ton of new hours are all BRT at 10 min headways.

  3. Oddly, the map looks a little sparse to me, especially in SW Snohomish County, compared to current service. Just looking at the map, it looks like they may actually cut some current local-service corridors, even if they aren’t redundant to Link (like everything between SR 524 and the county line).

    1. I’m surprised the largest number of BRT lines center on 164th. I would have expected 196th. Hwy 527 has grown but it still seems less dense than the area within 76th-196th-44th-236th. Still, I don’t think they intend to cut that area. They’re just outlining growth corridors.

      These kinds of plans are very important. It tells people where future transit will be, which tells them where to move to if they want to have the best transit long-term. Otherwise you never know. Will Kent East Hill ever get BRT? If so, which path will it take? Metro gives no indication. So I’d better play it safe and avoid that whole area and stick close to 99, which has long had the best transit in South King.

      1. Actually, I recall reading in the Everett Herald at one point that 164th Street is built out to its max. Basically, Snohomish County has basically threw up their hands said there is nothing we can do here. It’s already seven lanes in some areas.

      2. drive (or take the 115/116) down 164th, it is condo/apt. nonstop from hwy 99 to 527. Just a dedicated bus lane would greatly speed up service on this always crowded corridor.

    2. Read the report. There’s much more service that doesn’t fit the definitions in this post.

  4. It is nice to know that Everett-Broaday-Marysville scores so high! There are alot of people using this corridor. The core would be students coming from Marysville and Everett Station to Everett Community College. CT used to run Route 200 from Smokey Point/Marysville to EvCC. I miss it!!! I could never understand why they cancelled it. Why do they cancel this popular run but keep service in downtown Everett for routes from east Snohomish County?

    I wonder if it would be possible to simply extend the existing Swift line to serve Broadway? It could terminate at EvCC for now.

    This was an excellent and thought provoking document.

      1. Not really. The hours and the route are certainly different. It doesn’t go all the way to Smokey Point. The hours are much earlier and don’t go as later (8 am) as the 200. It is a start at least.

  5. The map on page 13 shows “commuter rail” extending north from Everett stopping at Marysville, Stanwood, and further. And another line east of Hwy 9 to Snohomish. It does NOT show Link from Lynnwood – Everett.

    page 1: Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). That’s what Seattle and Metro need.

    page 24: re Edmonds/MT/Lynnwood/Brier: “By using [local buses] to feed [Link] the cost of new P&Rs can be reduced and significant air quality improvements… will result.” Actually, they say this for everywhere west of Hwy 9 and south of Tualip.

    page 29: “P&Rs are often understood to be a transitional or temporary solution to transit system access.” page 30: In southwest Snoh, significantly more people arrive or pass through P&Rs by bus than arrive by car. page 31: the area where P&Rs are recommended has moved from southwest Snoho to east, north, and northeast Snoho. Also, agencies are no longer siting new P&Rs where land is cheapest but instead at future commercial/transit/TOD centers.

    The webpage Martin links to says Snohomish County will have 981,000 people in 2030, or 60% higher than 2000. Wow. “New highway and road construction will not keep pace with population growth. 2 1/4 times more people will use public transportation when commuting to and from work.”

  6. I can’t tell you how much I would love to see commuter rail come north to Stanwood!!! Go CT Go!

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