At long last, SDOT has released its draft Transit Master Plan. It’s loaded with goodness, but most of you probably care most about the project list. I’ve already covered the high capacity transit corridors in gory detail, but I’ve only discussed one of the 12 other bus priority corridors.

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Chapter three is where it really gets into corridors, with detailed maps to show the priority treatments in each corridor. Fortunately for my weary typing fingers, there’s an excellent summary chart included, below the fold:

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Keep in mind that the current VLF plan allocates about $40m in total to these kinds of projects. All 12 corridors would add up to $184.6m. Combined with the full streetcar and BRT buildout, that would take us to around $900m total.

Also remember that corridors are corridors, not routes. A corridor that runs from Rainier Beach to UW doesn’t necessarily imply that Metro will run a route like that.

88 Replies to “Draft TMP is Out”

  1. If pictures tell a story, (n.b. I haven’t delved into the nitty gritty details) the map above already says the city doesn’t “grok” east/west transit corridors and still fails to provide east/west transit in the Rainier valley to the rail corridors and has a glaring failure to provide a direct corridor from Rainier Valley to West Seattle/S Duwamish.

    And I also see no east/west corridor in the north end either at 130th or 145th to planned rail routes or bus corridors.

    1. I’m somewhat disappointed not to see the 60 on the corridors as well. I’m hoping the reconstruction in Georgetown means buses will have a better path than the Carleston Ave traffic circle trap, but I suspect that’s not the case.

      Arrowhead Gardens, next to the Olsen/Meyer P&R, deserves a way to get out of their island of a neighborhood seven days a week. On-street stops will pay for themselves in saved service hours fairly quickly, but the 60 is not on the priority list, so I fear the TMP will become an additional roadblock to making this revenue-positive fix.

      I don’t have any easy solution for the VA, beyond having vans come out to pick up people at the on-street bus-stop. I wish studying this problem were part of the TMP.

      I want to see the TMP go forward, but I hope it doesn’t become a tool for the council to say “This project is not in the TMP, so we are not doing it.”

    2. Charles,

      It makes absolutely no sense to pour capital investment on to streets where Metro has no intention of running buses, and if buses ever run it will be infrequent.

      1. Martin, I don’t understand your response to Charles. While Metro can be legitimately proud of its standing as a transit system nationally, and its ability to move commuters… it fails spectacularly at moving folks who don’t want to go through Downtown Seattle, don’t travel at commuter hours, and/or want to use the system to access places for shopping and entertainment.

        It is hardly a secret that Seattle residents demand better East-West connections or that Metro has failed to support Link in the Rainier Valley.

        A Transit “Master” Plan that doesn’t address these issues fails before it’s even printed.

      2. Nonsense, the shopping and entertainment areas that don’t have oceans of parking (downtown, Capitol Hill, the U District) are easily accessible all day.

        While we’re paying Nelson/Nygaard to vent about the County, why don’t we also take on the 18th Amendment, the Federal failure to pass a carbon tax, and OPEC’s management of demand for oil? Because it’ll do about as much good.

      3. That’s ridiculous. Part of the goal of the committee putting this document together should be to articulate how the City would like to work with other regional governments/transit agencies to support its vision for better transit/transportation. That should certainly include asking for improvements to Metro bus service.

        Besides, I know SDOT has this data because I’ve seen them out in public with the maps. They know where our system currently focuses travel and where people want to go to/fro, and that the two maps don’t match up.

  2. The legacy of I-5 will forever lock us into this north-south mentality. It’s not necessarily a product simply of geography.

  3. The lake city to northgate corridor, ignoring the much more traveled lake city to downtown corridor is misguided in the extreme.

    It currently takes longer to get to northgate than to downtown by bus. Focusing on making it a two seat trip and nearly doubling transit time makes no sense. Speeding it up by 4 minutes won’t mitigate to error.

    Someone explain why they are destroying a fast, functioning crush-level route?

    Or preferably tell me what I’m missing.

      1. I’m obviously considering north link. Well maybe it wasnt obvious, but it doesn’t change anything about the absurd error.

      2. I still don’t get the concern. This would improve travel time from Lake City to Northgate, where people can then transfer to Link, which will go very quickly to downtown every 4 minutes with no worry about getting stuck in traffic.

    1. What are you missing? Perhaps the opportunity to get better frequency on the 522 corridor by interlining it with the 372? (The TMP isn’t looking at this opportunity, either.)

      What would you say to having the 522/372 head down 25th Ave NE to UW Station off-peak, creating 15-minute headway on the combined routing? Yes, peak-direction peak service ought to remain (and be distance-priced) and there needs to be more of it, but off-peak, the 522 is a painful wait.

      15-minute headway between UW and Lake City would be a boon for Lake City business. It would also provide new connectivity with neighborhoods between Lake City and UW, and faster connections to the eastside, central district, UW Medical Center, etc.

      But I’m also curious: What could the city do to improve the 522 corridor?

      1. This are good points about increased frequency.

        As far as what I want to see:

        Cheap rails running right down the middle of lake city way from 80th to uw bothell, ducking down to connect to roosevelt station. Barring that, priority transit lanes through the bottle-necks.

        I realize this would be st-72 or something, but if we de-prioritize the corridor, it will be st-never.

        This also why I would prefer 99 link alignment. Horns instead of spine.

      2. Aren’t the 372 and 522 already interlined?

        I have an idea to send one of those routes down Northgate Way to Northgate Station, related to a larger overhaul of North Seattle service that would have the 28 inherit the 105th/Northgate leg of the 75.

      3. Biliruben says:

        “….Cheap rails running right down the middle of lake city way from 80th to uw bothell, ducking down to connect to roosevelt station….”
        “….I realize that this would be st-72 or something…..”
        “…. Horns instead of spine.”

        ——————-

        This would actually make for an interesting (fun?) thread…. take the working (hackneyed?) metaphor of Link as a “Spine” and nominate your favorite potential “Rib”. Go ahead– day-dream & blue-sky.

        personally (I live north), my 2 nominees would serve some of what “Biliruben” was getting at, but I would align a bit differently.

        “Dream-Rib” #1:
        Lake City — Northgate (link to Link) — North Seattle Comm College and/or NW Hospital — connect to 99 corridor — and then Holman Rd into Crown Hill and maybe all the way to Ballard?

        “Dream-Rib” #2:
        call it the “104/522”. Start in Edmonds with connections to the ferry and train stations — Shorline Comm College — Aurora Village Trans center — meet Link at the (eventual) Ballinger/Mountlake Terrace station — Lake forest Park — kenmore — bothell — UW bothell campus — woodinville?

        just sayin’ — just dreamin’

      4. Morgan,

        By interlining, I mean creating 15-minute headway to UW, and then downtown (via U-Link), from Lake City, instead of 30-minute headway to each on bifurcating routes.

      5. The 522 route today does a poor job serving anyone going between Kenmore/Bothell/Woodinville and anywhere in North Seattle that’s not downtown. The 372 can be decent while it’s running, but on weekends when it’s not, you’re left with an awful transfer where the 522 pulls into Lake City just into time for you to watch the 72 leave Lake City without you. And the 65, 72, and 75 all come back-to-back-to-back, so no matter what you do, a 25+ minute wait is the only alternative to going downtown and backtracking.

        Going north, it’s not much better, as the 72 is nowhere near reliable enough for me to trust the connection to the 522 even though, on paper, there’s a 10-15 minute cushion. The one time I really needed to be in Bothell at 8:00 on a Sunday morning, I followed the 372 route in a taxi, rather than take a chance on the connection. (I did use the bus on the return trip, which involved a 25 minute wait at Lake City with an aching bladder and no restrooms available).

        In the long term, it’s a no-brainer that the 522 should truncate itself at Northgate once Link extends that far. But, in the short term, there are simple things that ST can do NOW that would greatly improve North Seattle->Bothell commutes. In particular, I would like to see the 522 stop at the I-5/45th St. station and at 15th Ave and Lake City Way just before getting on the freeway. These two stops alone would transform bus trips from Roosevelt->Bothell and Wallingford to Bothell from terrible to great and would delay people going from Bothell to downtown by only a minute or two at the most. The 45th St. stop can even be omitted for peak-period-peak-direction trips to allow the bus to continue to use the express lanes, just as the 510 and 511 do. The 510, 511, and 522 could even be interleaved with each other on weekends to provide a combined 10 minute headway from 45th St. to downtown on Saturdays and a combined 15 minute headway between 512 and 522 on Sundays, which would be must faster than present alternatives for people in either Wallingford or the U-district.

        However, as long as anyone traveling the 522 corridor that isn’t living in Bothell and heading all the way to downtown is treated as an afterthought, none of these things seem likely to happen.

      6. “Wouldn’t the 372 and 522 be redundant if they were going to the same place?”

        Yes, so the all-day/every-day 15-minute headway route to UW Station would be the 372, and the peak-hour express route to downtown would be the 522.

      7. I’ve always thought the 522 would likely terminate at Roosevelt Station once North Link opens. However prior to opening North link it would be stupid to re-route the 522 off of its currently very fast corridor.

        Forcing people to take the slow slog to Northgate that made the 307 so miserable or forcing them to transfer at UW Station is just going to piss off people who are trying to get to Downtown Seattle.

        While service hours are somewhat fungible between Sound Transit and Metro, they are separate pools with separate funding. So saving service hours on the 522 does nothing really for Metro and keeping them doesn’t hurt Metro.

        Also remember that one of the possible restructures mentioned for NE Seattle is to replace the 72 with the 372 which would increase the frequency and span of service of the 372.

    2. biliruben,

      They’re not “destroying” a route. They’re choosing not to put speed and reliability road improvements into it.

      If anything happens to the 522 or 372, it’ll be ST and Metro, not SDOT.

      1. What are we, in the movie brazil?

        You don’t think the major transit agencies were consulted on the transit master plan?

    3. The 41 simply crawls between Northgate and Lake City. This section of the route was why the old 307 was so unreliable and so miserable if you needed to get to say Bothel.

      Improving travel time and reliability between Northgate and Lake City is well worth doing, especially since once North Link opens there is likely to be increased travel demand between those two neighborhoods.

      Just because the City hasn’t targeted Lake City Way for improvements between I-5 and doesn’t mean ST is suddenly going to stop running the 522 or have it terminate at Northgate rather than Downtown.

      Other than the section of Lake City Way between 15th NE and I-5 during peak hours this corridor is free flowing much of the day. Sure the City could do a few things to improve transit travel times at the South end of Lake City Way but the travel time savings wouldn’t be much for what is already a fairly fast route. The same goes for the 372, but only more so as it avoids the area with most of the congestion.

    1. And of course, if bus routes don’t exist between urban villages/centers, it must be because there is no demand for them … so why create routes for which there is no demand? (Bonus points for whoever can rephrase this as the argument against bike lanes where people don’t feel safe riding bikes)

      1. Follow cars for a while and note where they go. If you see enough of them going between areas of a city, there lies an opportunity to create a transit corridor. If they won’t/can’t do that then don’t assume there is no demand.

        p.s., I’m not sure a bike lane on the West Seattle connector makes sense. ;-) (yes lame I know but you asked…)

      2. [Charles] I like it. I’m seeing a high-tech solution. Hang a blimp in the air for a week over one part of the city, or the city as a whole. Mount a really good camera on it able to see each car as at least a few pixels. Run the footage through a computer program designed to map out each individual route. You can not only get route information from this, but travel time.

        Expensive, but the equipment and process would be reusable – I can imagine a company hiring out their services to cities throughout the world.

      3. Brent, the model was also based on current and future densities, which drive ridership more than anything else.

        No one is saying there is “no demand” for these trips, just that they pale in comparison to the workhorse routes in the system.

    2. They are again, failing to acknowledge where people actually travel by car and provide alternatives. (for example, RV residents travelling to South Seattle Community College Campuses or jobs in S Duwamish would have to travel to Downtown by transit) Further, (again, without delving into the nitty gritty) the chart indicates they are planning for some demand corridors that instead should be offloaded onto Link. For example, Othello to U-District.

      Since as the link you provided indicates this is a high level view and not an operative plan, in my opinion the single most important thing we can communicate to city officials is EAST WEST EAST WEST EAST WEST. ad nauseum until they get it through their thick skulls. I don’t want to hear lame excuses that I-5 is a mental barrier. We’re supposed to be a city populated with smarties. The other (complimentary) thing that needs to be acknowledged in a plan is that there are many centers of activity (employment, commerce, school, leisure) that transit must accomodate and pathways to those do not always include downtown (the RV to W Seattle/S Duwamish example).

      Solving the East West issue is critical to increasing utilization of public transit and reducing dependence on cars.

      1. If Seattle is going to be engaged in this level of planning then the CITY and not just us citizens need to be talking to KC Metro. Further, if the goal is to recognize actual demand corridors as they presently exist and not as some ivory tower planner wants them to be, then SDOT should be planning street improvements in concert with Metro bus planning to accommodate where people want to go.

        Otherwise, it is simply more of the same broken substandard transit system that grossly short changes a big chunk of this city.

        Because there isn’t a singular arterial between Rainier Valley and West Seattle, it isn’t obvious how people travel between those to areas of the city but people do and they are part of the 94,000 vehicles that transit the West Seattle corridor or the 37,000 vehicles that transit Michigan. They just do it in their cars because perhaps neither the city nor Metro think anyone does or should travel between these areas.

      2. “they are planning for some demand corridors that instead should be offloaded onto Link. For example, Othello to U-District.”

        Link is not local transit. Just because the corridor goes from Othello to the U-district doesn’t mean it’s primarily for Othello-UW trips. It’s for trips from Graham to Jackson, Mt Baker to Madison Valley, Dearborn to UW. Expecting people to ride Link for just one or two miles and transfer to a bus for a third mile is just too much. Link is for longer-distance trips, and the subset of short trips it happens to serve. All cities with limited-stop rapid transit have a local bus on the same street, sometimes following the rapid transit for five miles or more.

      3. Charles,

        What makes you think that Metro planners aren’t aware of the demand? They have the same tools as SDOT does.

        Just because people travel between two parts of the city doesn’t mean the sources and destinations are concentrated enough to be efficiently served by transit.

      4. I-5 is not the problem. Green Lake, Lake Union, the Duwamish, and in some places, parks and the larger street grid are the problem.

        Try to create an all-65th or all-75th route. You can’t, and not because of I-5.

        Try to create an all-85th or all-95th route. You can’t, and not because of I-5.

        Try to create a route connecting Queen Anne to Capitol Hill that’s worth creating a new route rather than moving the 8. I don’t think you can, and not solely because of I-5 (though Aurora is also part of it).

        Try to create a route connecting West Seattle to Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley that’s not the old 50. You might be able to, but it’d be really irregularly shaped, and not because of I-5.

      5. I could not agree more about the need for East-West connectivity. In the Ranier Valley, especially, buses should focus on providing very frequent shuttle service from anywhere to the nearest Link station (and providing east-west connectivity for local trips at the same time), not providing milk run service that competes with Link for getting downtown.

        North-south routes should focus on Ranier Valley->central district->capitol hill trips, and leave the Ranier Valley->downtown trips to Link.

        And don’t get me started about the 39’s ridiculous turnback into the VA hospital, only to duplicate Link and head downtown afterwards. The service hours wasted by duplicating Link west of the VA hospital could instead be used to provide a reasonable frequency east of the VA hospital. If the hospital doesn’t really give a shit about transit access (and if they did, they would have built an entrance off Beacon Ave that could be served efficiently by the 36), they shouldn’t expect transit to bend over backwards to stop at their front door, at everybody else’s expense. If every destination tried to do this and succeeded, the result would be a transit system that would be completely unusable.

  4. Wow, $57m to electrify the north half of the 48 (yeah I know, the “Crown Hill – Green Lake – U District” corridor)? That investment seems a little weird to me unless you added a lot of ETB infrastructure north of the ship canal.

    1. If that corridor becomes an extension of the SLUT, would the trolley wire have to be torn out to make room for streetcar catenary?

      1. Seems to be somewhere around $2 million/mile for steel poles. If I had to pick projects, I’d electrify the southern 48 first, since you already have wire for parts of the route anyway.

      2. The Seattle Streetcar Network and Feasibility Analysis says “Electric trolley buses, by comparison, cost … $2-4M per mile for electric wire design, engineering and installation and up to $3-7M per mile if repaving is needed to accommodate heavy bus vehicles at high frequencies.”

        SDOT’s ETB Fact Sheet says “system expansion which costs about $4-6M per mile”.

    2. There’s plenty of time to convince Metro/Seattle to split the 48 and electrify the southern half. I suppose an Eastlake-Brooklyn streetcar could be extended to Greenlake, but it would take several years to plan/approve/design the route, and there would be plenty of time to decide what to do about the 48-north and its trolley wire (which probably wouldn’t be installed yet), or the Greenlake-Greenwood-Loyal Heights segment (which has less justification for a streetcar).

  5. As a Central District resident, I am really quite bothered by the lack of providing fast, high capacity service in any corridor to/from Downtown except for Madison Street. The Madison Street corridor is a much more affluent corridor and much more “gentrified” than the Union or Jefferson/Cherry Street corridors. The buses that run on Madison Street don’t have the loads that are found on Routes 2, 3 or 4 — buses that seem to move at much slower speeds and carry much heavier loads.

    By ignoring CD corridors besides Madison Street, this plan seems to favor a certain type of “politically correct” rider that has the demographic profile similar to those who managed this work. I even have to wonder if there is some sort of latent prejudice against Central District residents that is embedded in all of this.

      1. Matt, the nearest light rail stops for the CD will be Broadway/John and the Rainier/90 stop, neither of which currently exist. Depending on whose version of the CD you adopt, the first is not in the neighborhood at all (firmly ensconced on Cap Hill) and the latter is at the extreme southern end if in the neighborhood at all.

        To Al’s point – I suspect SDOT is looking at corridor demand for hospital trips, and the Swedish/VM corridor demand is very high, plus there is more demand farther down Madison. As a regular 2/3 rider, you won’t get any argument from me that we need to do more with those routes, but as Bruce has pointed out, there are things Metro could do without needing any help from SDOT to make both those routes and the 4 perform better than they do currently.

    1. Al, as a 2/3/4 rider, I share your concern. Madison St, however, is where the density is, at least right now. It’s simply a much more trafficked corridor. Look at all the apartments being built on Madison between 11th and 19th Aves right now. If we want more transit service to/from the CD we may need more density along the routes. 23rd & Union is a great place to start. The anti-density folks in Madrona aren’t helping matters, either (remember when people freaked out about a 3-story building in “downtown” Madrona?).

      @Charles below – there is a CD-ish stop on East Link at 23rd & Massachusetts/I-90. “Judkins” is probably more accurate, but it’s walkable from 23rd & Jackson so I’ll generously call it CD.

      1. The segment of Madison Street between 11th and 19th is within walking distance (about 1/2 mile more or less) of the new Capitol Hill light rail station on a relatively flat path. This new development is thus getting new service from U-Link already (in the sphere of influence of the Capitol Hill station), and frankly isn’t adding that much density to the neighborhood in aggregate. I also point out that the First Hill Streetcar was conceived to serve the medical centers as well as the area around Madison/Broadway. With these new services coming on line, Madison Street corridor ridership will likely fall as other transit options will be available. The Madison corridor should be dropped from this plan, and an operational strategy for either Union or Cherry Streets should be introduced instead.

        My broader complaint here is that this particular City of Seattle transit plan favors improving corridors where it’s trendy to build a few more buildings for higher-income young adults. With this approach comes an inherent bias against existing lower-income households, which often correlates to existing communities of color.

        This issue is not common to Seattle. It played out fairly extensively in Los Angeles in the 1990’s as MTA build a new light rail line to Pasadena, while slow South Central buses operated at crush loads. It was pretty much the exact same approach — invest in better service in redeveloping areas rather than in better service for existing, low-income residents on crowded buses.

    2. Al,

      You’re very quick to ascribe the worst possible motives to these consultants, but there was a defined set of criteria that they applied to these corridors to pick them. And in fact, service to “vulnerable communities” was one of the inputs, over and above whatever its density and current ridership justified.

      1. What holes? There are three high-volume bus corridors in the Rainier Valley: Beacon, MLK, and Rainier. One has Link and the other two are in the plan.

      2. You know buses are the wrong technology when you don’t have streets. I’d tell you the answer, but I’ve become a broken record.

    3. Note that both 23rd and Jackson are corridors targeted in the TMP. This will help the 48 and the 14. Last I checked both of these are in the CD.

      As for Union or Jefferson/Cherry most of the improvements that can help routes on these corridors would be on First Hill and Downtown.

      For Jefferson/Cherry the biggest thing to help these routes would be to re-route the buses off of James and on to 9th/Yesler.

      For the Union corridor improvements to Madison will help if the 2 is re-routed off of Seneca and on to Madison.

  6. The Link light rail station at Mount Baker is about 1.7 miles from Garfield High School. The future Capitol Hill light rail station is about 1.3 miles from Garfield High School. The future East Link light rail station is still a mile from Garfield High School. Even the First Hill streetcar is 0.7 miles away and it doesn’t go directly downtown; it will require a transfer. The notion that the CD has a light rail line is about as absurd as saying that Queen Anne is served by the Westlake Station, which is about 1.3 miles from Key Arena.

    Meanwhile, Queen Anne is getting two RapidRide corridors on either side. Plus, Queen Anne is targeted as a third corridor for better service in this plan.

    You raise a further relevant point to why favoring improvements on Madison Street versus Cherry or Union Streets seems illogical. Madison Street is much closer to the Capitol Hill station than the Union or Cherry corridors are. The Madison Street buses are going to lose some ridership to the light rail when U-Link opens!

    1. I’m sure Matt was joking.

      Upper Queen Anne is not getting zilch in this plan. Lower Queen Anne contains one of the largest destinations in the state (Seattle Center), and it’s also on the way to Ballard and Greenwood. Cherry and Union Streets aren’t on the way to anywhere. Madison is a growth corridor and is densifying/will densify. Cherry and Union aren’t densifying except where their cross-streets are (12th and 23rd). Also, Cherry and Union don’t have traffic congestion.

    2. You’re talking about Uptown, not Queen Anne. Queen Anne is the big empty part without any blue lines in the map above. It’s true the CD is a little empty part without blue lines, but it does have that nice dot at the bottom. The future East Link stop will be at the southern end of the CD that, in theory, has a half mile walkshed. If you insist, I’ll take a light rail stop at the southern end of QA.

      Anyway, I was more trying to fend off the class-ism charge than anything else. I’m in favor of putting high capacity near density, even if it doesn’t land on my neighborhood.

      1. Matt the Engineer says:

        ” . . . I’m in favor of putting high capacity near density . . .”

        Agreed, and Amen.

        Now consider that little dot on the corridor map (above) up at I-5 and NE 145th……

        Now put together this current blogpost with the previous ones about the upcoming ST North Corridor meetings

        see:
        https://seattletransitblog.com/2011/10/04/sound-transit-north-corridor-meetings/

        and with the blogpost about “lessons learned”

        see:
        https://seattletransitblog.com/2011/09/20/lessons-learned-the-hard-way/

        and then add a dash of any one of (quite) a number of recent posts concerning Density and TOD.

        ——–

        put this all together and I see a high priority for serious discussions ASAP to talk about the planned locations of the next 3 Link stations as we head north.

        because of cost considerations, Link is going to hug I-5 as much as possible — built into state right-of-way at near-grade — and this is going to potentially result in some of the worst station locations ever.

        that rough, conceptual location of a station at I-5 and 145th is a good example. Check the zoning charts for Seattle and Shoreline.

        see:
        http://www.seattle.gov/dclu/Research/gis/webplots/smallzonemap.pdf
        http://cosweb.ci.shoreline.wa.us/uploads/attachments/gis/maps/Zoning.pdf

        that location is 100% surrounded by SF zoning, and within a quarter-mile-diameter station-area of that spot, close to 50% of the land is taken up by the ‘footprint’ of I-5, and another significant portion is golf course….. Not much chance of significant density in that situation.

        in these early planning stages, if we are to hope for significant Transit-Oriented-Development opportunities, we need to start by turning it around and get the planners to consider Development-Oriented-Transit.

        align the rails –and especially the stations– to areas and communities with existing development, and potential for more.

        While there is no density –and little chance to increase it– at a NE 145th + I-5 station alignment, move 7 blocks east to 12th and you would skirt a commercial district (145th + 15th) and existing higher density (apts, condos). Likewise, staying on that 12th Ave alingment as Link heads north would allow for the NEXT station to be immediately adjacent to North City rather than the rumored probable location at I-5 and 180th.

        Again, the location at I-5 + 180th is in the heart of a large single-family zone, with a good portion of a potential Station Area taken up by a stadium, rec center, and community center. Great to have some services/destinations nearby a station, but it really limits the amount of potential TOD/development/density.

        On the other hand, if you don’t know North City, its a growing a dense hub with a full range of services — probably the most significant and distinct “urban village” between Lake City and Mountlake Terrace. It would be a huge and frustrating missed opportunity if Sound Transit doesn’t align Link to take advantage of this existing density & development.

        So yeah, right now is the time to start the sort of urban planning (with a TOD focus) that needs to happen if Light Rail is ever going to live up to its potential.

        as soon as the Link alignment departs from I-5 it will cost more, but it will be worth it.

      2. Wow, that was off topic. But I totally agree. Except I’d consider going in another direction: neighborhood density thunderdome: two stations enter, one station leaves. We should be taking neighborhood proposals for how much zoning they’ll commit to adding, and the neighborhood that has the best numbers according to some formula (score = 2 x average current density + future zoned density), wins a station. No more Roosevelt or Beacon Hill fiascos.

      3. sorry. didn’t mean to seem to be so off topic. I just thought that the Link algngment and station locations were a fairly important part of the “transit corridor” equation (the subject of this blogpost)– and that the 145th + I-5 station needs to be considered ASAP (esp since those meetings are this month).

        as for roosevelt, it kinda makes my point. In that case the community wanted to start the Station-Area-Planning process at least 10 years ahead of the station — just the way the ‘conventional wisdom’ suggests. little or no help, advice, support, or aid was forthcoming from Sound Transit or the City — so the neighborhood went ahead on their own, and met or exceeded every benchmark and goal they were given by the city. They did the public outreach and urban planning necessary to updated their neighborhood plan to reflect the station location and coming of light rail; and they crafted a proposal for upzoning the core that reflected the plan’s goals and priorities. The city and ST were impressed and complimentary about the work — and the city (DPD) even said that some of the steps the neighborhood was proposing to increase density went too far. Five years later ( this past spring ) people started suggesting, and the Mayor proposed, higher density goals for Roosevelt’s upzoning. Again, the community got together and has crafted –by consensus– a plan which exceeds these new goals matches the priorities and strategies of their Neighborhood Plan.

        Roosevelt organized as a community and proactively did as thorough of station-area-planning as they could. They have met every goal they were given.

        If you don’t like the result in Roosevelt then you shouldn’t beat up on a community which did everything it was told to do, and met every goal. You need instead to re-double your efforts to have the city and Sound Transit to organize and support Station-Area-Planning efforts STARTING 10 – 15 years prior to the opening of every station.

      4. I agree. The fact that they ended up with only a 10% upzone probably isn’t their fault. Someone should have told them we need something an order of magnitude bigger.

      5. Regarding the North Corridor idea, I was disappointed at the “Aurora alternative” when I read the details. One of the stations is at the Shoreline P&R, where you get a nice view of cars but not much else, and it’s a longish walk to Aurora Village. The three stations would not serve intra-Aurora trips much although they’d help with getting out of the area. So the I-5/185th station is not MUCH worse than the 192nd/Aurora station.

        Diverging to 12th or 15th NE for two stations may be possible, but it’ll be an uphill battle to convince ST, because the 15th alignment was dropped in the previous stage.

      6. Matt, please stop using this oft-quoted but misleading statistic of 10%.

        You are comparing the proposed density capacity increase to the entirety of a ½ mile Station Area (500 acres), instead of considering the density increase WITHIN THE AREA BEING RE-ZONED (about 100 acres).

        For better or worse (yeah, I know you think its “worse”), the scope of the rezone work done by Roosevelt was limited (by the city) to the business-core and the blocks immediately adjacent to the station.

        Within this area being rezoned there are probably a bit less than 1000 households at present. The re-zoning proposals are adding to this area 700 units of capacity – in addition to the current 200+ units of capacity currently zoned for.

        Spin the statistics any way you want, but within the area covered by the legislative rezone there is no way that “10%” applies.

      7. Mike Orr says:
        “….Diverging to 12th or 15th NE for two stations may be possible, but it’ll be an uphill battle to convince ST, because the 15th alignment was dropped in the previous stage. “
        ——

        See, this is what I don’t get.

        In the last couple weeks/months there has been so much energy put into blog posts and comments which ‘virtually’ scream about the up-zoning in Roosevelt not being big enough (which adds 700 units of capacity to an area that has 1000 households and current zoned-for capacity of another 200+).

        Add to this the wring of hands and gnashing of teeth over the perception that people were excluded from the process — or only heard about plans and proposals ‘when it was too late’.

        Well, if you read this blog and are concerned with these issues you must be at least starting to appreciate the lead-time needed to plan the projects.

        If you think Roosevelt + Becon Hill represent some missed opportunities, then the stations in Shoreline –-the way they are currently planned, located, aligned– are going to make you crazy.

        But NOW is when something can be done about this — 15 years ahead of time while the plans are still in the very rough ‘conceptual’ stage. If you care about our future transit system being successful through good station-area-planning, transit-oriented-development, etc. I would strongly urge you to engage on the location and planning of the North-Corridor Link alignment & stations.

        This is when to get engaged. do not wait for the “11th hour” and then be upset by the plans.

        And your next opportunities are the next two weeks.

        See:
        https://seattletransitblog.com/2011/10/04/sound-transit-north-corridor-meetings/

      8. [andy] drawing your boundary around the buildings being zoned then calling that the percent upzone for the Roosevelt neighborhood is dishonest. I’m actually being kind by using a 1/2 mile circle around the station area. If you really consider the entire Roosevelt area, the percent upzone is much smaller.

      9. No [ Matt ], I am not just counting the buildings being up-zoned.

        The “rezone area” I refer to is the same one defined by the DPD in their reports/proposals of April and June 2011. It is roughly a quarter mile radius from the “crossroads” of Roosevelt’s business core.

        See DPD analysis:
        http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cms/groups/pan/@pan/@plan/@rooseveltrezone/documents/web_informational/dpdp021209.pdf

        With your technique of counting adjacent, unaffected neighborhoods which are not within the scope or purview of an up-zone, ANY proposal can be shown to having little effect.

      10. Andy: it’s just my impression of what ST’s reaction will be. I may be wrong. By all means push for this routing if you think it’s important. It’s a lower threshold to get ST to do a cost/benefit analysis on it and issue an opinion, than to implement it. When we know the analysis and ST’s stance on it, we can try to persuade them to adopt it if we think they’re making the wrong decision. That’s how we got the Aurora study done: by telling ST it’s at least worth a cost/benefit analysis.

      11. Counting only the rezone area misses the point. If all we care about is upzoning in that one little area, that’s fine. But that’s not what we should care about. What we should care about is:
        1. The amount of upzone we’re creating at/near the station area. This is the TOD we’re creating for rail.
        2. The amount of upzone we’re creating in the neighborhood as a whole. I would argue this is the most important boundary line, since Roosevelt likely won’t see another upzone for decades.

        In my view we need to double zoning heights throughout the city within the next few decades if we want to curb sprawl. The percentage increase in zoning in a very small area is simply not a relavant number. Having a neighborhood upzone by (much less than) 10%, when they’re getting a light rail station, is a terrible, terrible start toward this goal.

      12. Given the negatives for 15th NE I’m pretty sure it is entirely off the table at this point for North Corridor.

        Money is a huge factor, as cool as it would be to serve SR-99 between NE 130th and Aurora Village I don’t think there is going to be room in the budget for it. If the choice is between picking some crappy station locations between Northgate and Lynnwood and not reaching Lynnwood at all Sound Transit is going to pick the former.

        Lynnwood is the big prize with the crazy ridership, getting there is a priority. Any additional ridership picked up between there and Northgate is pretty much gravy.

  7. The basic upshot is a moderate speed increase on the streets we’ve been shouting for the Seattle/Metro to upgrade. It doesn’t have any bold initiatives for new routing, but on the other hand I think we’ll be glad for some improvements to the D/E/5/44/48/8/7/36/9 streets. If Transit Signal Priority can cut through the mess on Northgate Way and Montlake, I’ll be amazed. I’m more pessimistic about 45th/Market, but “existing planned improvements to Market/45th” sounds heartening.

    The plan seems to target streets that are already < 30 minute headways, except the shortest ones (I think that's why Cherry isn't included). It's also looking at traffic bottlenecks. The 3 does not have any significant traffic bottlnecks except at James, which Metro is addressing. An east-west route in Rainier-Beacon-West Seattle would not have bottlenecks except crossing the West Seattle bridge or 1st Avenue bridge. Arrowhead Gardens is an issue of access to the transit system, not traffic bottlenecks which this plan is addressing.

    1. I’m very excited about the improvements to 45th, which were funded by stimulus money. It should do wonders for the 44 bus, with stop consolidation, bus bulbs, signal priority, and a queue jump or two. Some will complain about the bus bulbs, since cars will have to wait, but lots of people ride that bus! Also any smart driver knows to take 50th anyway, it’s way faster. Maybe this will convince more to make that choice.

  8. I found a huge number of goodies in the first 3/4 of the plan. Too many to mention here, but here are some highlights. It does propose routes on the several corridors.

    – European trams and MAX are explicitly cited as a model for the rapid-streetcars.
    – It recommends moving closer to a grid configuration. All 14 corridors should be 15-minute frequent 18 hours, 7 days, plus night owl.
    – Madison BRT: the 12 would go to 23rd, then bend back on Thomas to 19th and Interlaken Park.
    – Westlake streetcar before Eastlake streetcar.
    – Westlake streetcar: considers replacing Fremont Bridge or adding a bridge at Fremont or SPU/3rd NW. The 28 would be truncated at 8th/45th, and the 17 moved to Dexter.
    – Eastlake streetcar: possibly extend to Roosevelt or Northgate. Or run 67 from terminus to Northgate.
    – Bus priority network:
    * Propose Delridge RapidRide to Burien and possibly “Tukwila”.
    * 49/36 trolley: Othello – Beacon – 12th – Broadway E – U Dist.
    * 7-north trolley: Mt Baker – Rainier – Jackson – downtown. (The report says 36/60 but that must be a mistake.)
    * 7/48-south trolley: Rainier Beach stn – Rainier – 23rd – U Dist.
    * D/75: downtown – Uptown – 15th NW – Holman Rd – NSCC – Northgate TC.
    * 66/67/73/75/522: U Dist – Northgate – NG/LC Way – Lake City – Kenmore.
    * 44 trolley: Ballard – Laurelhurst.
    * 48-north trolley.
    * 8: 23rd – John – Denny – W Olympic Pl – Magnolia Bridge (to Magnolia or Ballard).
    * 5: consider extending to Aurora Village.
    – Each corridor has a street improvement diagram.
    – Metro is making Delridge improvements (transit signal priority, bus lanes).
    – Upgrade all RapidRide stops to stations.
    – Prefer two-way routing over couplets; minimize terms where couplets are necessary.
    – Lists of strategic steps to realize each major goal.
    – Center City would look like the following:
    * Link under 3rd.
    * Transit mall on 3rd (to Denny), with no turns (to Stewart).
    * Regional buses on 2nd/4th.
    * 4th/5th streetcar to SLU and Jackson/Broadway (Ballard, U Dist).
    * 12th Ave bus to U Dist and Beacon/Othello.
    * Yesler bus to Harborview/Cherry.
    * RapidRide C, D, E, and Delridge.
    * The usual on Denny, Pine, Madison.
    – For north-downtown layovers, include SLU in downtown. For south-downtown layovers, locate near Intl Dist station.
    – Frequent route map, page 48. Non-work trip pattern map for all modes including cars, page 50. Trolleybus history, page 56.
    – Put RapidRide C and Delridge in SODO for connections to SE Seattle and SE King County. (This is allegedly a grid-based improvement.)
    – Highest priorities for investment to make frequent corridors: (1) Rainier/23rd, (2) 15th NW/Holman Rd, (3) Denny, (4) Center City corridors, (5) Aurora, (6) Beacon/12th/Broadway.
    – Highest priorities for non-frequent service (not on the 14 corridor map): Georgetown/South Park, Magnolia, NE Seattle, N 125th, N 145th, and a few others.

    1. “Madison BRT: the 12 would go to 23rd, then bend back on Thomas to 19th and Interlaken Park.” That sounds completely pointless.

      “7-north trolley: Mt Baker – Rainier – Jackson – downtown. 7/48-south trolley: Rainier Beach stn – Rainier – 23rd – U Dist.” That sounds like a horrible idea. It means a split doesn’t improve 48 reliability that much, and remember the backlash against Martin’s Rainier Valley plan?

      “66/67/73/75/522: U Dist – Northgate – NG/LC Way – Lake City – Kenmore.” That sounds like a really bizarre, zig-zaggy route. If you’re sure these are routes, Seattle should get out of the route planning business and leave that to Metro.

      “8: 23rd – John – Denny – W Olympic Pl – Magnolia Bridge (to Magnolia or Ballard).” Do you mean Mercer Pl?

      N 130th seems like a more transit-friendly street than N 125th, extending across the freeway. NE 125th, on the other hand… (The other half of my 75/28 restructure involves extending the 75 down 125th and 130th to a loop in Broadview.)

      1. Re #12: I’m sure the team’s goal is to send the 12 to 23rd to transfer to the 48. The team is not focused on minor routing like the 12’s tail, so it’s punting to Metro to decide whether to yank the 12 off 19th.

        7-north: I wondered why they created a Rainier-23rd route and Beacon-Broadway rather than reinstating the 9-local (Rainier-Broadway-UW). But it makes the routes straighter north-south, which is more grid-correct. The 7-north actually sounds like an echo of Martin’s proposal. It preserves a short-distance one-seat ride for north Rainier, while denying a long-distance one-seat ride to south Rainier. (Of course it doesn’t address the Boren proposal.)

        Maple Leaf: I don’t like it much either. But they had to do something in this corridor, and this is a starting point for negotiation.

        Denny: yes I mean Mercer Pl. I looked at the shape of the route and it falsely reminded me of the 1.

        130th: I really want a route here from Lake City to Aurora, passing a Link station. The Maple Leaf corridor would take care of Lake City-Northgate, which would free the 75-Sand Point to go straight west on 125th/130th. Or if no station is built on 130th, it go to the 145th station and then west to Aurora. Then it could either turn south to 130th (to give some east-west connectivity to 130th-135th), or north to Shoreline CC.

        (I’d like to see your 75/28 restructure; I’m not sure how you’d include Broadview. It also sounds like a U-shaped route, which is maybe a bad characteristic of the current 75.)

      2. The 7-north is a variant of Martin’s 34, but remember that Martin was excoriated for not serving intra-Rainier trips even though his 9 served that purpose. No part of Rainier north of 23rd (admittedly a short segment, and direct access between I-90/Rainier station to 23rd will mitigate it further) will have a one-seat ride to the rest of Rainier.

        I’d like to see the 26 extended down 5th Ave NE if we lose service on any part of Roosevelt and 11th.

        The only segment of the current 28 north of Carkeek Park that runs on any part of 8th Ave NW, as opposed to 3rd Ave NW that’s a little redundant with the 5, happens to be a segment that 130th nearly pierces down the middle. My version of the 75 isn’t quite as U-shaped as it is now.

        I think I mentioned elsewhere in the thread that I would send the 28 from Holman and 8th to Northgate and Lake City via Northgate Way; I suggested sending the 372 or 522 to Northgate to serve the Northgate-Lake City corridor that would be far busier than the rest of the route. The 75 would take over 125th, a new 3xx route would serve 5th with a zag to 1st between 130th and 145th, and Northgate-Lake City service would follow a straighter path and the network as a whole would become more gridlike.

        With North Link, I don’t think we need a direct Northgate-U-District bus, but if we do I’d run it down 15th straight to Northgate Way, and then turn it towards the transit center. I wondered in another thread about the prospects of one long 347/73 15th Ave NE bus from Mountlake Terrace to the U-District, and someone called it the “least bad option”.

        If it’s true that these ARE routes, I might send in my full North Link restructure proposal early as a rebuttal.

      3. A few bloggers excorciated Martin in 2011. Most of the Valley didn’t even know about his proposal, and wouldn’t care until/if Metro actually threatens to restructure it in 20xx. By then, attitudes could change, or a compromise routing worked out, or money found for an additional route, or the city/Metro may develop more backbone than they’ve heretofore had.

        I was the one who said an all-15th route may be the least bad option. But I don’t have a strong opinion on the area, just that there must be some frequent north-south route somewhere.

        These are both “corridors” (streets to improve) and route proposals. They don’t mean more than STB’s various route proposals, except that they may become the city’s official recommendation. That doesn’t mean Metro will say “yes sir” and build all of them, but Metro won’t tell the city to go jump in a lake either. The plan will influence joint planning episodes. Like how Bellevue wanted a tunnel so ST tried to accommodate it.

      4. Essentially, one of Metro’s criteria for evaluating route performance is how well it fits with [the appropriate city]’s plan. That’s how the proposals will affect Metro’s routing. Not decisively, but a significant factor.

      5. There are other ideas – a route down 15th to Northgate Way would probably be most legible, and leaving the 67 more or less intact is something I wouldn’t say no to. My objections to improving 11th and Roosevelt below are more based on the fact that that doesn’t seem to be where Metro’s priorities lie.

        My main objection, besides the zig-zagginess of the route, is that not only would no one ride this Corridor 12 end-to-end – that in and of itself isn’t a problem – but no one would stay on at Northgate Transit Center except committed one-seat-riders. Northgate-Lake City-522 and Northgate-Roosevelt-U-District really are two different transit markets, and are best served by two different lines. Combining the two might work for a rail line, but not for a bus.

  9. Why are we electrifying, putting BAT lanes on, etc., Roosevelt/11th/12th when bus service might be leaving that corridor, and what service remains might be a streetcar with completely different needs?

    Is the 48N really that popular on its own merits to merit the level of improvement being invested in it?

    1. This is just a proposal. If the council approves it as-is and tells Metro, “This is what we want”, Metro will merge it with its own priorities and may push back; e.g., saying the 48-north doesn’t deserve that much attention.

      The whole Roosevelt corridor is pretty tentative: “”Further analysis of routing options recommended around LCW/80th/Roosevelt.” It doesn’t recommend BAT lanes or electrification, it says “not proposed for electrification” and “BAT lanes are assumed for planning purposes, but recommends further engineering studies of the options.” Those studies could include BAT lanes, streetcars, a different routing, or other things. A streetcar to Northgate is pie-in-the-sky: it’s justmentioned in passing as an alternative. If they’d felt strongly about a streetcar to Northgate they would have included it in the Eastlake map, and would not have mapped a Roosevelt bus corridor. If the city and Metro agree to build a streetcar, hopefully the BAT lanes won’t have been built yet. But if it takes fifteen years to commit to a Northgate streetcar, maybe it’s worth having BAT lanes in the meantime?

      1. Corridor 3 in the chart proposes electrifying 11th and Roosevelt north of Campus Parkway, which isn’t even part of the corridor so I don’t know what that’s about, but the 44 corridor also proposes improving 11th and Roosevelt which runs completely perpendicular to it, and Corridor 12 proposes BAT lanes on 11th and Roosevelt when it’s 12th and Roosevelt by the time it runs on it, so the chart gives the impression they’re obsessed about that corridor.

        I didn’t know whether a streetcar was going to be built or proposed all the way to Northgate; all I knew was that sending it up 11th and Roosevelt was one proposal for what to do with it on the other side of the University Bridge. I haven’t looked at the actual plan; the comment you replied to was one I was intending to get in before yours.

      2. (Page 42) Electrification north of Campus Parkway (page 42): that must be to get to Brooklyn Station. The existing wire on 15th is too far east.

        The rest I put down to mistakes or vague wording. It probably hasn’t been proofread yet. I’ve seen a couple other mistakes; e.g., a route listed in the wrong row.

        Northgate streetcar: page 26, Corridor 8 strategic steps: “Consideration of northern terminus options and phasing, including a terminus at the Brooklyn station, a terminus at the Roosevelt station, or a terminus at Northgate.”

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