Despite our budgetary doldrums, it’s an exciting time to be a Seattle transit advocate. Regional planning is focusing upon performance analysis and capital investment, and at last it seems possible, through the work of the Regional Transit Task Force and others, that radical changes could come to our bus network. Last Monday’s record-breaking comment thread on Metro’s proposed revisions/cuts makes one thing clear: there is no shortage of enthusiasm and informed opinion any time big changes are proposed.
Two weeks ago I wrote a detailed yet exploratory post about what should happen to Capitol Hill bus service after U-Link. My proposal sought to make one fundamental point: that comprehensively higher frequencies can be wrought simply from existing inefficiencies, a point I believe I made well. The strength of the comments and subsequent email exchanges with readers, however, made it clear that some of my routing choices were unwise and not fully thought through. A big hat tip to readers such as Zef Wagner, Brent, über-commenter Bruce, and especially Morgan Wick, whose criticisms and suggestions have been particularly helpful. Useful objections included:
- Keeping the 2 on Spring/Seneca is duplicative and goes against Metro’s desire to move it to Marion/Madison.
- Keeping the 3/4 on James perpetuates unnecessary conflicts with I-5 on-ramps, and Metro has already discussed moving it to Yesler.
- Having the 11 serve the ferry terminal is an inconvenience and prohibits effective interlining with other routes.
- My Route 12 idea was defective in a number of areas, but especially the 19th Ave tail.
- Keep the 14N!
- You can’t mathematically combine a 15-minute bus and a 10-minute bus and end up with 6-minute combined headways.
- The 27 is pointlessly close to Jackson, and should be eliminated.
Agreeing with some of these and not others, what follows is a 2nd attempt.
An improved post-ULink proposal after the jump…
Differences from the original:
- The map now indexes line widths to frequency, gives a clearer sense of service levels on combined segments, adds I-90 all-day routes, adds major parks, and other cosmetic improvements.
- Diverts Route 2 to Marion/Madison, away from I-5 ramps on Seneca/Spring.
- Diverts Route 3 to Yesler/8th/9th, away from I-5 ramps on James. Direct service to Harborview is retained.
- Route 7 continues as a Rainier/Boren/Seattle Center service, but is routed to Fairview/Mercer instead of Denny. South Lake Union would then become the hub its growth dictates, with direct, gridded routes to Downtown, Eastlake, Seattle Center, First Hill, and Capitol Hill.
- Runs Routes 2 and 11 at 12-minute headways for 6-minute combined service on Madison from 3rd to Broadway.
- Keeps Route 14N to Summit, ‘paid’ for by….
- Eliminating Routes 36 and 49, and consolidating them into Route 12. Service would take the 36 routing to Jackson St, run on 12th Ave to Pine St, and then take the 49 routing to the UDistrict. West of Broadway, Madison St would be served by Routes 2 and 11. All service on 19th Ave E would be eliminated.
- Diverts Route 48 to serve Lighthouse for the Blind, allowing for the elimination of Route 4 (H/T Morgan Wick).
- Keeps Route 60 between White Center and Beacon Hill.
The proposal still only requires current operating resources (61 frequencies per hour), simplifies the network from 17 to 12 routes, offers radically better connectivity between non-CBD urban villages, pushes many trips to Link and the Streetcar, fulfills the mayoral promise to add service to both Boren and 12th, and offers 5-15 minute frequencies to everyone in the area between MLK/Downtown/Beacon Hill/UDistrict.
In the end I’m not nearly as attached to my routing choices as I am to the sort of network characteristics a system like this would provide. Simply put, we can and should get more for less. As both taxpayers and riders we deserve it. In the meantime, let’s get that emergency funding passed.