Would people perceive Metro’s proposed restructure differently if it were presented like this?

Schematic map of proposed 2012 service restructure in West Seattle
Click to enlarge

The depiction of routes and categories of service & frequency have been simplified for the purpose of this map, which took about ten hours to produce from sketch to post.

Addendum 6:40 pm: For those who want to see ALL service in West Seattle, including those that only run during peak period, see this map.

28 Replies to “Simple Map of West Seattle Transit in 2012”

  1. Fantastic! Beautiful as always.

    I think the answer to your question is “yes and no”. Anyone who has a strong aversion to change, or who is losing some/all service to their home/work/etc., will still be opposed. But I could imagine that someone who previously had no interest, or was neutral towards the proposal, could see a map like this and say “hey, this actually looks pretty nice”.

    1. If this gets potential “new” riders excited about being able to ride the bus then it works.

      If it’s a bad plan, no fancy map is going to save it. I don’t live in West Seattle so I can’t say if this is good or bad for the community. However, I support the principle of improving transit access within and between other neighborhoods (not just downtown) while increasing overall service frequency which this proposal seems to do. I think most would at least agree with that.

      1. However, I support the principle of improving transit access within and between other neighborhoods (not just downtown) while increasing overall service frequency which this proposal seems to do. I think most would at least agree with that.

        Most people on STB would agree with that, but there’s a sizable contingent of current transit riders who would not. For them, the only important transit routes are the ones that currently exist, and connectivity to other neighborhoods is meaningless.

        I can actually understand that perspective. With Metro’s current service, if you live in Capitol Hill, Ballard might as well be outer space. So for them, changing service to make CH-Ballard trips easier is the equivalent of building a space elevator — cool, but who cares? Conversely, adding a transfer to an existing trip can feel like the equivalent of, say, shutting down 520. You don’t know how much harder the new trip will be, but if it’s anything like going to outer space (i.e. Ballard), then you’re screwed.

        Again, I don’t think there’s anything we can do to convince them. We just have to continue to increase reliability, improve frequency, and generally work to make transfers so easy that you don’t even notice you’re making them.

        But there are a lot of other people who just use the bus when it’s convenient. They’re not likely to have any strong opinions about the existing or the new networks. If anything, they might not ride the bus very often because “it never comes”, or “it takes too long”, or “it’s so confusing”. So a map like this could potentially be a very effective marketing tool for people in that group.

      2. “With Metro’s current service, if you live in Capitol Hill, Ballard might as well be outer space. So for them, changing service to make CH-Ballard trips easier is the equivalent of building a space elevator — cool, but who cares?”

        Can Metro make that trip any easier than the current 43+44 (admittedly generally only through-routed evenings and weekends)? And, if a single route, would such a route be a good idea?

  2. So without the 56 and 57 the Admiral District and Alki are losing a direct bus route to downtown?

    1. The 56 and 57 expresses will continue to run with combined service every 15 minutes during peak hours. It is not on the map because I want to focus on the improved all-day service in West Seattle.

      1. Wait, is the 57 that peak-only local route that starts at the Junction, runs on the west side of another bus’s loop, and then provides local service on the 56 corridor that the 56X is skipping? It seems supremely pointless to keep that when nearly everyone it would serve would be served equally well by the 50, 56X, and RR C.

  3. Looks fantastic, great job on the map! The water taxi to West Seattle is year-round, though, isn’t it? I could barely tell the water was there, would a very light blue work better instead of gray?

    1. The Water Taxi is year round but runs peak-only Monday-Friday in the winter months (current schedule).

      When I printed it the gray does look very light. So yes, water should be more visible while not overpowering the other elements on the map.

  4. Nicely done! I like the clean design. (Borrowed a bit from the DC Metro, right?)

    If most cities had maps like this, transit would get a far better public response nationwide or globally.

  5. This is nice. To be persuasive, you need a comparison to what the current all-day transit network in the same area looks like. Otherwise people will continue to focus on the drawbacks for them specifically.

    1. Good point. Certainly people would love to see their “thin” infrequent bus line be upgraded to “thick” frequent service. You will see an example of maps comparing past, present and future service in Bruce’s upcoming post.

  6. It seems a bit frivolous, though, to provide crosstown connections to Link (route 50) and not connect through Alaska Junction – most of the crosstown traffic for the Beacon and SoDO Link stations does NOT come from Admiral but rather from the rest of WS – which connects appropriately at Alaska Junction. This routing of the 50 is inappropriate, misses probably 60 percent of the potential traffic and removes one more connection between Admiral and Alaska Junctions. I was under the impression from Metro planners that the 50 would mirror the last few versions of this potential route – and those last iterations had the 50 going from Alaska Junction through Delridge to the High Bridge on ramp and then up Columbian Way – I could live with the routing through SoDo if the 50 served Alaska Junction. The present route does not look like it would draw many riders, frankly.

  7. As a West Seattle resident, I believe the map should show all bus routes. So, no, this map does not “turn me on”. In my neck of the woods, the 56 and 57 are missing. That makes this map DOA for many in the Genesee Hill area. I do understand why the 51 is going away. But the map should show all routes available at all times, IMHO.

  8. The good: Metro’s proposal responds to a number of requests from neighborhood leaders through repeated lobbying the past few years. For example, a small change that I assume has no budget impact and little time penalty but changes the route of the 120 for a few blocks to connect to Westwood Village. This connects thousands of people to a grocery store and other shopping with a short trip and no transfer and provides a connection to other West Seattle bus routes on the south end.

    The bad: While there are very good ridership-based reasons for it, most of Alki and all of Arbor Heights lose any bus service and some key areas only see peak connections. There will be some angry folks at the meetings.

  9. What I think would convince some of the one-seat riders is either a timed transfer, or a believable narrative of average journey time, and how it would become faster. The 120 and proposed 128 scream for having a point where they stop together and exchange passengers, before the 120 heads downtown and the 128 heads to the Admiral District.

    I’ve even considered the feasibility of a timed transfer between the 128 and 132 at Highline Medical Center in Riverton, now that they will match frequencies. It would add a little travel time to each route, but significantly decrease the time it takes to get south to anywhere but Burien for South Parkers. Besides, anyone riding the 128 or the 132 can’t be in that much of a hurry.

    The same principle works at Northgate, between the 18 and the 75. A timed transfer from one incoming bus to an outgoing bus would beat the heck out of sitting on the 75 during a ten-minute layover.

    Having the buses simply honk at each other doesn’t work half the time. I have sent in complaints against 128 drivers who did not listen to the 132’s honks. Though I send in more commendations than complaints, there I some behaviors I have to see corrected. A crossover and wait for a bus that may appear to never come because it already flew by early is much less reassuring than a guaranteed connection.

    1. While a 50->Link trip might work ok for inbound trips, the outbound trip, as currently planned, leaves you waiting in SODO for a bus that runs every 30 minutes. Between Link not publishing schedules and the possibility of the train getting stuck behind a bus loading a wheelchair, you probably need to allow a 15 minute cushion to ensure the #50 bus doesn’t leave you behind, as if you miss it, nothing short of calling a cab will get you home faster than sitting in SODO for 25 minutes, waiting for another bus. This means, on average (when the train comes promptly and moves quickly), you will be stuck in SODO for about 10 minutes.

      This is not going to go well with people, especially if the wait in SODO is after dark. Most will avoid it by either taking C->128, C->walk, 775->water taxi, or biking or driving the entire way. I can’t speak for others, but if I lived in West Seattle, that’s what I would do – SODO is just too sketchy to be stuck waiting for a bus.

      So, given that, what’s the solution? First, I would scrap the 50, replacing it with a truncated #39 operating just between Othello station and the VA hospital. Front-door service to the VA would remain only because it happens to be a convenient place for the bus to layover and turn around and it would no longer be delaying anyone. Anyone going to downtown or SODO from the #39 corridor can transfer to Link at Columbia City station. Avoiding the VA parking lot should cancel out the wait for the train, making travel time a wash with service today. Yes, it would suck that to get from the Ranier Valley to West Seattle, you have to go downtown and back, but given that both neighborhoods are mainly residential, I don’t think there would be too many people making that trip.

      For West Seattle, I would re-invest the saved service hours to make the north section of the 128 operate more frequently, or continue it’s frequent service for a longer span – frequent until 7 PM weekdays really isn’t all that good.

  10. While this plan certainly includes some improvements, large areas of West Seattle will lose all-day service. If the goal is to encourage people to make more non-work trips on transit, which is the message I get out of the City of Seattle, Metro is telling a lot of people in West Seattle to stay in their cars with this plan.

    When we bought our house in Arbor Heights, one of the primary considerations was good access to transit. We had good access to all day service on two routes (21 and 54). Now we’ll basically have peak period service only.

    Understanding that changes need to be made, I’d rather lose the one-seat ride from downtown on the 21 Local but retain all day service to my neighborhood. I’d happily transfer, especially if the C is frequent.

    1. Paul: Where do you live? If you previously had service on the 54, then you should continue to have service on RapidRide C.

      1. Aleks, the closest 54 stops to me will be eliminated when RapidRide C starts operating. The closest 54 stop is 35th and Roxbury. The closest RapidRide stop will be 35th and Barton, which is another 2 blocks north at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. I’ve done that walk before. It isn’t a trivial difference.

        I went to the Metro open house yesterday and suggested that the proposed 21 loop be extended south to 106th instead of using Roxbury. The demographics of the area surrounded by Roxbury/25th/106th/35th are very different from those in the area along most of the current 21 loop, so I think this would serve most of the people who actually use the bus. Access to the remaining areas of Arbor Heights and Shorewood by walking would be more reasonable.

      2. That sounds like a very reasonable suggestion.

        Also, if I understand correctly, you’re saying that one of the deleted RapidRide stops is the one that would save you from a 2-block hilly walk? You might want to let Metro know that as well — that sounds like a very legitimate reason to maintain the stop.

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