Proposed Frequent Transit Network (click to enlarge)

I’ve expressed skepticism that formulating a City of Seattle opinion about route changes is a very good use of consultant time. And so I hope that not much was expended on Chapter 4 of the draft Seattle Transit Master Plan, which lays out priniciples to guide future service allocation.

It also sets priorities for the city to purchase more service from Metro should that one day be cost-effective. This has little direct relevance to this November’s ballot measure, which envisions no such spending due to the lack of matching funds from Metro or any other source, a decision with which I strongly agree.

Anyway, the principles expressed wouldn’t be out of place on STB or other like-minded sources. In fact, I don’t think you’d find much disagreement with them inside Metro’s service planning department.

23 Replies to “Route Planning and the Transit Master Plan”

    1. That would be a terrible idea, at least west of 15th. A Link stop at I-5 and 145th would have a quarter of its walkshed cut off by the Jackson Park Golf Course even in ideal pedestrian conditions, unless that’ll be redeveloped, and I’m skeptical that an east-west route that far north and that close to a more transit-friendly arterial in 130th is the best use of Metro resources. Put a Link stop at Aurora and 145th and I might be more open to the idea.

      1. I disagree. I believe there are some neighborhoods in north Seattle or south Shoreline where it would be quicker to have access to the existing service on I-5 to get to downtown than to take the local service from that neighborhood even with a transfer.

    2. Your argument is a good point for why the 145th St. stop on I-5 should maybe be moved somewhere else. But, as long as you are going to have a freeway stop at 145th, east-west connections on 145th are extremely important. I do not consider it at all reasonable to expect everyone in shoreline to take milk runs to Northgate and catch the 41 when the 510 and 511 stop much closer to where they live.

    3. 130th is better than 145th for buses to Lake City and Aurora. However, ST is thinking that 145th is better for Bothell and Shoreline buses. Does 145th need street improvements though? It’s already a large street. I haven’t seen traffic backing up on it although I’m not there very often.

    4. given the WSDOT infrastrucuture, for the forseeable future, the I-5 services only serve the outside stops in the reverse peak direction; the peak direction services are in the center HOV lanes. freeway interchanges attract significant traffic and have congestion making east-west service less reliable. also, consider the gravitional pull of the Northgate TC; does it pull routes in to its frequency and connectivity like a black hole?

    5. I’m not sure what eddiew is saying regarding Northgate. Metro’s current policy is to send as many north Seattle routes to Nortgate TC as possible. That’s consistent with the basic purpose and goal of transit centers, and will probably continue. However, Nortgate Way has several traffic chokepoints which drag down reliability of buses around the TC. That’s why I’d really like the 75 and 41 to go a 130th or 145th station instead of Northgate TC. I doubt it will happen because they’re not “transit centers”, and ST isn’t even considering a 130th/I-5 station at this point. That means the only hope for the 75, 41, 16, 345, 346, 347, 348 is if Seattle can really fix the traffic chokepoints on Northgate Way so that buses can get through it without slowing down. I’m pessimistic about that.

    1. The Mayor’s office who wishes for a west-side rail alignment but needs to capture Fremont’s interests and votes…

  1. I don’t get the Priority Upgrade to Frequent Service along Corridor 7 from Magnolia to LQA. Why?
    If they think they’re going to run wire in Magnolia they’re nuts.

    1. This chart isn’t talking about wire, just service frequency (I think). Western has decent midday ridership — excellent ridership in the peak — due to all the jobs down there. I don’t know if it extends all the way to Magnolia Village, but I’m pretty sure that Magnolia is dead north of there.

      1. Actually, Western isn’t on the list. It’s just the Magnolia Bridge and west.

        The answer is on page 13, under “Priority Areas for LTN investment.” It boils down to geographic isolation. Magnolia doesn’t have any frequent service today, and so the TMP proposes to restructure service in such a way as to provide frequent-ish corridors.

        I’m not sure why Magnolia qualified as a “priority upgrade” rather than a “future candidate”. My best guess is that the consultants ran the numbers and found out that Magnolia already has almost enough frequency for a frequent corridor. You could imagine rerouting the 24/31/33 in such a way that you’d get frequent service on that segment.

        Also, FWIW, note that figure 4-13 suggests Magnolia as a possible ETB expansion area. So maybe they’re just crazy. :)

    2. Ooh, it gets better! Corridor 7 suggests shadowing RRD to Magnolia Bridge, and then crossing to Magnolia… to avoid duplication with RRD.

      The icing on the cake is that Magnolia isn’t even an urban village. N 125th, U Village/Ravenna, West Seattle… these are all places that need more frequent service. And yet they’re all listed as “future candidate”, while Magnolia gets “priority upgrade”.

      To me, it sounds like someone said, “Well, if it’s an east-west route, why don’t you keep going west?”, and it didn’t occur to them that there just isn’t the demand to keep going west.

      I highly doubt this will make it to the final report.

      1. That’s what I was looking at, it seems nuts unless they’re going to restructure all the service in Magnolia to run to RR D instead of having the 24/33 duplicate it to downtown. In that case, maybe it makes some sense.
        Hard to tell based on the TMP. I still think it’d be a tough sell to electrify in Magnolia. These folks like their views. Plus at some point the city is planning on replacing Magnolia bridge.

      2. Magnolia does have decent ridership except the part west of Magnolia Village. A surprising number of people ride the bus from one part of Magnolia to another. Some kind of consolidation would probably make it more efficient.

      3. It’s all the more surprising when you look at the productivity of those routes. :)

        I definitely agree that Magnolia needs service consolidation. I don’t agree that it needs to be connected to Corridor 7. Terminating the 8 in LQA, as it does today, seems perfectly reasonable.

  2. The report says that “Public transit is an enigmatic element of every great city”. While I find often find Metro’s decision making policy to be enigmatic, I would prefer that an efficient transit system become emblematic of our fair city.

    1. I think they meant “public transit consultants are an enigmatic element of every great city”.

    2. It’s kind of like how people romanticize the depressed artist.

      Cities have enigmatic transit because they have enigmatic histories. That’s an explanation, not praise. We can (and should) do better.

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