With the big boom in South Lake Union, I’ve heard mutterings about transit service in the neighborhood, particularly from employees asking if there’s a more direct bus route up into SLU. Since many of the north-south routes that serve downtown terminate somewhere around the northern edge of the ride-free area, riders coming from points south and east often have to make a connection to a 70 or the Streetcar to get to where they’re going.
One suggestion I’ve heard tossed around is extending the termini for many of these existing routes further north into the neighborhood as to avoid the inevitable connection that has to be made under the current network. I see a few problems with this idea, including lack of adequate layover space and real evidence that a significant number of riders would be continuing on past the downtown core. Making these extensions wouldn’t be cheap either.
Between the 70 and the Streetcar, there’s a strong case to be made against this idea. However, I would acknowledge that the transfer penalty is sufficient enough to deter some SLU employees from taking transit altogether. What it may ultimately come down to is improving frequency and reliability to these existing connecting routes to minimize that penalty.
[UPDATE 11:59AM – My mind slipped on the 4th/5th connector, which could dramatically improve these kinds of trips. However, unless the $60 VLF passes or some other funding is found, this is what we’re left with in the meantime.]