Perched on a ridge north of beautiful Carkeek Park and west of Bitter Lake, Broadview enjoys a broad view of Puget Sound — sort of like living on Sounder North — and shares the quiet, leafy feel and chip sealed, sidewalk-less roads that characterize much of north Seattle past 85th St. Homes here are exclusively single-family, and tend to be on lots a little larger and more widely set-back than streetcar suburbs, but this neighborhood feels similar to walk through, possessing a mostly-intact street grid and houses in a jumble of styles and ages and states of repair.
Broadview is served by two Metro routes: 5 and 28, and the express variants 355 and 28X. Route 5 currently operates on Aurora and Phinney/Greenwood before splitting, with half of the trips continuing straight up Greenwood Ave to serve Broadview, Bitter Lake and Shoreline, terminating at Shoreline Community College; the other half continue to Northgate via Holman Rd . Route 28 currently serves Dexter and Fremont, then jogs west to 8th Ave NW before heading up to Whittier Heights, Crown Hill and Broadview, terminating on 145th St near Aurora.
Notably, due to the absence of suitable roads, Route 28 operates three blocks west of Greenwood Ave, on 3rd Ave NW, for most of its alignment north of Crown Hill, even though no intervening terrain feature acts as a barrier. I’m not sure when this alignment was created, although it goes back at least to the 80s and streetcars existed south of 85th St on both 8th Ave NW and 3rd Ave NW.
Long-time readers can probably guess where I’m heading with this, after the jump.
Let’s look now at the ridership charts for Route 5:
This chart requires some caution to interpret, because of the distortive effects of the much-less-used Northgate tail, which joins the Shoreline tail at Holman. I have omitted data entirely for the Northgate tail, but it is not possible to separate out Northgate trip data out from Shoreline tail data south of that point. This means, for instance, that the big drop in midday loads at Holman is not “real”, i.e. does not indicate that half the people on the bus got off there. Similarly, even though there are more boardings per trip in Bitter Lake/Broadview than in Greenwood, there are actually less riders served there over the course of a day than in Greenwood due to the half-frequency.
That said, here’s what I see in the data:
- Route 5 (Shoreline) performs very well at all times, with only evening and night service to downtown carrying relatively light loads.
- Route 5 (Northgate) not so much, probably due to superior competing service from Route 75. I have omitted the data so you’ll have to take my word for it, but it’s pretty weak.
- Most stops show a steady churn of riders, particularly those at transfer points on 46th, 85th, and Holman; this precisely parallels Route 358. The only stops that are little used are those between 145th and Shoreline CC, plus those on Aurora south of the ship canal.
- Shoreline CC is a major ridership driver, particularly in the midday, surprisingly strong for an institution at a distance from major urban population centers. Without Shoreline CC, ridership in Shoreline would almost completely vanish outside the peaks, whereas with the college, only night ridership flatlines.
- Route 5 is in dire need of stop reduction, with stops often two blocks apart in Greenwood, and not much further apart to the north. Between weaving around in Greenwood and constant stops, riding the 5 any significant distance can feel interminable. With stops that close, eliminating some will lose no riders and will probably gain a significant number due to improved speed and reliability.
And for Route 28:
There is a more subtle distortion at work on this chart. Some of the morning and evening trips for Route 28 begin or end at 85th St causing the apparent plunge in morning peak ridership there. The same artifact isn’t observed in the evening, as riders presumably read the schedule or headsign before boarding, rather than engaging in a surprised mass exodus at 85th St. Note that this chart has a different scale to that of Route 5.
- Great performance to Fremont. Stops on Dexter are well used, although riders seem to be almost entirely headed downtown. The stops on 34th are extremely busy, and show significant turnover, which makes sense giving the entertainment, residential and employment land uses in that area.
- Good performance to Crown Hill. The bus is mostly unloading, but some riders are using the 28 to travel to the commercial district at 100th St.
- Poor performance in Broadview. Past 100th St, stop usage is minuscule and the bus is almost empty outside of the peaks, in stark contrast to Route 5, which carries good loads all the way to to Shoreline except late at night. This illustrates the importance of terminating routes at ridership centers if at all possible.
The initial proposal for the Fall 2012 restructure suggested deleting Route 28 north of 100th St off-peak, and switching those Route 5 trips currently going to Northgate to Shoreline. Based on the closeness of the routes, and the ridership data I’ve presented here, it should be fairly obvious where this idea comes from. Deleting the 28 off-peak is unlikely to seriously impact many riders, due to the modest walking distance to Route 5, and extending all 5 trips to Shoreline will focus service where it is most cost effective and likely to garner additional riders, while making schedules simpler for riders and more efficient for Metro.