King County Metro 31, at the Center of the Universe
King County Metro 31, at the Center of the Universe

As every regular STB reader who’s not been hiding under a rock for a week probably knows, one of the more controversial ideas in Metro’s proposed Fall 2012 restructure is moving Route 5 from Aurora to Dexter, trading the speed of Aurora for the better connectivity to other routes, access to Fremont, and economy of service that Dexter provides. To help quantify that trade-off, last Friday I posted graphs that show the difference in travel times and reliability between Aurora and Dexter, and the day before that, I posted ridership charts for Routes 5 and 28.

Map showing Route 16 on Dexter
Black: Current alignment Purple: Change idea.

In this post I’d like to float a slightly crazy idea, one that has not been proposed by Metro, but which may have, on balance, as much merit as the idea of switching Route 5 to Dexter, namely moving Route 16 to Dexter. The trade-off is similar in many respects: speed for access and connectivity, although with some minor differences, both pro and con.

The details are as follows: Route 16 would stop serving the Seattle Center detour, instead proceeding on exactly the same alignment from downtown as the proposed Route 5 on Dexter. It would turn right on 35th Ave to Wallingford Ave, then head north, rejoining the existing 16 alignment on 45th St. The proposed 28X would become a local bus, serving all stops on Aurora, probably with an additional preak express service that did not.

Arguments in favor:

  • Would maintain the direct connections from Westlake, Dexter and Fremont to Wallingford and Green Lake, and from Lower Wallingford to Downtown, currently provided by Route 26, which would go away under the current proposal.
  • Would provide additional direct service to the heart of Fremont, notably the extremely busy stop at 34th
  • Would add another another possible connection to what would then essentially be a transit hub at Fremont, arguably adding to the quasi-gridded nature of the new system.
  • Would consolidate all service in lower Wallingford onto one corridor on 35th and Wallingford Ave.
  • Would shift frequent service away from the extremely-little-used local stops on Aurora to Dexter, which is an infinitely nicer pedestrian environment and much better walkshed.
  • Would not make northbound trips slower or less reliable than the current Route 16; the unreliability of and time penalty of Dexter is similar to that of the northbound Seattle Center deviation.
  • Would reduce the time spent on 45th St, which is often congested.
  • Would almost certainly have more total riders, and riders per revenue hour, assuming no loss of riders from north due to the longer southbound travel times.

Arguments against:

  • Would make southbound trips slightly slower, although not much less reliable than the current alignment on Aurora and by the Seattle Center.
  • Would route service away from well-used stops on Stone Way between 40th and 45th to Wallingford Ave, which currently has no service north of 40th St.
  • Would not serve the Seattle Center. I’ve never seen this detour as an asset, and I still don’t.

What do 16/26 riders in the audience think? Charts and a little more analysis after the jump.

Ridership chart for Route 16:

Ridership Chart for King County Metro 16
Ridership Chart for King County Metro 16

Here’s what I see in the data:

  • Good performance throughout the route. Only in two places — on Aurora and just northeast of Greenlake — are the stops little-used. This contrasts very favorably with Route 26 below, again (as with Route 5 vs Route 28) illustrating the importance of terminating routes at ridership centers if possible.
  • Stops on Northgate are well-used. This illustrates the difficult choices faced when streamlining routes. The proposed re-route on 92nd St will make the bus much more reliable and faster in to Northgate TC, but may force some riders to walk from one side of the Northgate Mall to another, if their destination is NorthgateNorth (the Target/Best Buy etc. on Northgate Way). On the other hand, if their destination is the mall proper, arriving in to Northgate TC in only a slightly longer walk.

Ridership chart for Route 26:

Ridership Chart for King County Metro 26
Ridership Chart for King County Metro 26

Note that this chart is based on more recent data than the chart for Route 28, so the stop names on Dexter are different. Here’s what I see in the data:

  • Great performance as far as Fremont, as expected from looking at Route 28’s data; good performance on 35th Ave.
  • Not much activity on Wallingford, Thackery and Latona, outside of peak periods, except at 45th St and the terminus in East Green Lake (which is essentially right next to a 16 stop). Ridership slowly peters out, with almost no-one boarding the bus after it starts heading north, a stark contrast to Route 16.

45 Replies to “What if Route 16 Moved to Dexter?”

    1. Either the proposed 18 or the 5 could serve Westlake. There are advantages and disadvantages to Westlake or Dexter. The main thing I’m interested in hearing about is what Wallingford and Green Lake riders think of the walkshed/connectivity/speed/reliability tradeoff for their neighborgood.

  1. I like this idea because the walkshed would be so much better. I used to often end up catching the 16 headed to Fremont and was forced to navigate that obnoxious area around Aurora and head down several blocks to Fremont proper. Same with using Dexter, it would get a lot more riders than Aurora. Stone Way vs. Wallinford is a trickier question, but ultimately Wallingford Ave is more the heart of Wallingford than Stone Way, so probably would get somewhat higher ridership. I’m sure the folks there would appreciate the north-south service.

    1. I disagree on higher ridership on Wallingford Ave. There are lots of commercial and multifamily developments (and new mixed-use construction right now) on Stone Way, and more apartment buildings between Stone Way and Aurora. Many more potential users than in the “heart of Wallingford.”

      1. I agree that Stone Way feels like a better choice than Wallingford, given current (and coming) land use.

        I’ll add (and I’m a downtown-Fremont commuter) that whatever happens, getting all the buses that serve Fremont to use the same downtown stops would make me very happy. Currently only 3rd/Virginia has all 5 (the 5, 16, 17, 26 and 28).

        PS: I don’t mind the walk down from Bridge Way at all, but I think I’m in the minority on that one.

    2. I agree, I used to live around 45th and Stone which has great transit connections. But I often had to go to Fremont, I could take the 16 but it only gets you half way there and it’s probably late, the 30/31 get you half way there too, but it’s hardly worth it and better to just walk especially evenings and weekends. So I had also thought about the benefits of moving the 16 to Stone-35th-Dexter, with the travel times offset by dumping the Seattle Center loops. The extra ridership might let you boost freqency to 15 minutes.

      Also, I don’t think the southbound 16 could hit the 45th and Wallingford stop and then make the left turn to serve transfers to the 44. The 16 is definitely a local route, so connecting Dexter, Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, and Northgate would be a bonus – express options with the 41, 358, 316, etc exist. There are a few high density apartments on Stone Way too, I think you’d probably want to serve them over the single fam on Wallingford.

  2. I live very close to 40th and Stone Way. I think this is a much better idea than moving the reliable and well-used 5 from Aurora onto Dexter.

    The other changes eliminate the service on Stone Way between 35th and Bridge Way. With this, there would be no service on Stone at all. I would favor putting the 31/32 on Stone Way/40th St and running this 16 as set out here.

      1. Bruce, which one of those choices would you recommend? My anecdotal perception is that Westlake would be faster than Dexter to/from downtown, but serve less passengers in between.

  3. I’m a regular 16 and 26 rider and I would definitely be in favor of the 16 picking up Downtown Fremont in exchange for skipping Seattle Center. I think that would balance out time and be better in terms of reliability (I’ve been stuck way too often on 5th N waiting as people exiting the new garage by the Gates Foundation keep filling up the road each cycle thereby leaving the bus stuck). This would also get rid of the weird jog the 16 does from 5th N around to Aurora headed north bound. For the Wallingford neighborhood this would keep the one seat ride to Fremont that would be going away under Metro’s current 9/12 proposal.

    In terms of the specific routing through Wallingford the current Stone Way routing serves a couple of social service agencies as well as a retirement community and whatever happens to be in the old Lincoln High School in a given year. I think the Wallingford Ave routing would be close enough to Lincoln and Solid Ground but it wouldn’t be a good fit for the retirement community or the mental health services on Stone. It would give far more people on 40th a shot at a day long one-seat ride to Downtown (which would otherwise require transferring from the 31/32 at either Fremont or in the U District) with the stop at 40th and Wallingford.

    I would also be curious to hear from folks who use the 16 from further north as to their reaction.

  4. While its not proposed by Metro, they are aware of this as a possible adjustment. I went to the Fall service changes public meeting in Ballard last week and this came up with the planner I was chatting too. I think that you could definitely see this as a better replacement to some of the service lost with the 26 while still keeping the same basic service.

    I am a frequent rider of the current 26/28 and while I’m not sure if this would be “better” or “worse” than moving the 5, I think it definitely has merits. I currently don’t ride the 16 because the leg down Dexter currently makes it very unreliable.

  5. This plan is plausible, but will require quite a bit longer to get downtown. I think the better alternative is to have the 16 still do the Seattle Center detour on its current route southbound to downtown, but to head directly onto Aurora northbound via Battery, eliminating the horrible delays heading north by the Seattle Center and the delays of going on Mercer (whether the new route, or the old one which took a left on Dexter and then hopped on Aurora immediately afterwards). The northbound section past the Seattle Center is what kills the route’s reliability. I always take the 16 downtown, but never back to Wallingford, where the 358 or 5 are so much faster that the extra walk time is not a factor. If you are downtown and want to get to the Seattle Center, there are other routes. Likewise, if you are at the Center and want to get to the destinations currently served by the 16, a short walk will get you on the 358, 5, 26, or other bus. It may be wise to add a 26 Express and 28 Express stop at Dexter and Denny (Pink Elephant Car Wash), which both routes go by anyway, so adding the stop would not be too difficult and would let people head to eastern Wallingford or Ballard without too much of a hiccup in the route.

    In short, going south through Fremont would be a real time suck for anyone who hops the 16 in Wallingford or farther north. I know a lot of people ride the 16 (especially kids and families) who do get off at Seattle Center, but the ridership getting on at the Center heading north is minimal, and there are other options that don’t require the dreaded sitting in traffic on Mercer underneath Aurora. Also, I think the current 26/16 routes offer good alternatives to Green Lake/Wallingford residents heading downtown, with decent spacing. Going downtown, in my experience, requires predictable timing, while returning home or visiting Wallingford/Green Lake from downtown is a bit more open, that is to say, less timing oriented for most passengers. If they resurrected the old route 6, that would be perfect for me, and also allow folks heading to Green Lake to get there in a much more direct fashion, but it is admittedly very well served by the current 16 route (aside from the Mercer Mess).

    1. You’re right that the issue with the 16 is northbound. I wonder if that would be too confusing having the northbound bus so far from the southbound bus if the southbound bus kept to the existing route and the northbound went up Battery and got on Aurora?

      1. That’s a good question, although the 26X and 28X deviate substantially from the local routes in terms of how they exit downtown, so I think regular riders would figure it out. Also, I think the main issue is people who want to get to Wallingford, Fremont, or Green Lake from the Seattle Center would need to learn/know that they will need to either catch a bus towards downtown for a transfer or make a bit of hike over towards Dexter/Denny/Battery to get the bus they need. I have no idea how large a ridership that might represent, but the delays that exist with the 16 northbound make me and lots of other riders choose other routes when heading north from downtown, and perhaps my proposed reroute sans Seattle Center might actually increase ridership. Just an idea, would be nice to have some data about folks like me who take the 16 southbound, but avoid it going north. I do think that offering one final 26X/28X at the Battery/Denny stop (Pink Elephant Car Wash) would be a real bonus for some riders with minimal cost in terms of time or infrastructure, as those buses already pass by there, and there are new “bus only” lanes on Battery that mean that the buses can stay in the right lane and still have streamlined passes by that stop.

  6. I don’t love the 16 leaving Stone Way. Stone Way is denser than Wallingford already, is zoned for more density, and as you can see from the charts, providing more ridership on the 16 than the comparable section of (lower) Wallingford is on the 26.

    Though if you could rezone Wallingford Ave for mid-rise apartments, I’d go for the re-route any day — the walkshed is definitely better from Wallingford Ave, especially if the 26 is toast.

    1. It’s important to remember that the 16 has a northbound anchor. If I lived on Wallingford Ave, and wanted to go to Northgate, I’d still end up having to walk to Stone Way.

      1. The Northgate-bound boardings on the 16 from Wallingford are pretty minimal. This isn’t really surprising — it’s a relatively wealthy neighborhood and there’s free parking at Northgate.

      2. That’s not really what the data suggest. There are plenty of boardings in Wallingford going north, and most of them stay on the bus until close to Northgate, it seems.

  7. Is there any worry about loading delays along Fremont Ave. between 34th and 35th if more trips on different routes serve that zone? I’m talking about a bus arriving just after another one and having to wait for the other one to finish. Maybe there are ways to mitigate this… but at what point does that usually become a problem?

    I see this sort of thing sometimes in Fremont today, but I think it’s more common to see delays just due to general traffic congestion. I think I see it more when riding the 255 through South Kirkland P&R, where buses operating a handful of routes in all directions have just one zone.

    1. The big challenge I see in Fremont is on the west side of Fremont Ave between 34th and 35th where it’s tough for the buses to pull into the stop zone. Two specific problems – a loading zone in front of the Starbucks and traffic turning west onto 34th.

      1. We really need to re-examine pedestrian movements at both 34th/Fremont and 35th/Fremont, as well as bicycles. And think hard about getting rid of the loading zone on the west side of Fremont between 34th & 35th as well.

  8. I ride the 16 every day from north greenlake to downtown or the Seattle Center.

    I’m a bit worried about how much time a routing through Fremont would add, but I’d have to see estimates to know for sure. It seems like we just finally sped up this route a little by removing a bunch of stops— hate to slow it down again. If it did go to fremont though, it seems like Stone Way is the way to do it, not Wallingford. Stone is a lot more developed and really, the time spent on 45th isn’t that bad (especially now that the queue jumps are installed).

    Hitting Seattle Center going southbound also doesn’t seem to be a problem, and even northbound isn’t a problem if it’s not peak time. If possible, I’d have the 16 bypass the Seattle Center via Dexter during peak, and keep it running past the Seattle Center off-peak. It could still get back on aurora from Dexter via valley. Valley even has a wide turning zone already.

    The thing I’d really like to do something about though is that stupid loop on dexter. I wish that the bus would turn left on dexter from mercer, then hop over to aurora on valley. I saw a post here that mentioned some historical reasons for the loop. I presume they also don’t want the bus cutting across all of mercer traffic to make the left turn, that could be mitigated if there was a peak time reroute though.

    1. The loop is weird but it does help at peak times. It used to be really tough for the 16 to turn right from 5th to Mercer and then get across to turn left onto Dexter.

      The challenge for this area is that “peak times” frequently happen outside of rush hour. The Seattle Center traffic has the potential to create a peak scenario any time there’s a big event or a bunch of smaller ones (trying to get through there on a Saturday afternoon when all the theaters are ending their matinees is a nightmare).

  9. I used to work at the UW Medicine building in South Lake Union and take bus 16 home to Greenlake most days. I absolutely hated the Aurora stop right above Mercer. It’s cold, windy, and at night you feel like you have to be really vigilant or the bus might just drive by you without stopping. In the 6 months I was there the bus probably passed me by half a dozen times, and I’m certain it wasn’t full for at least a few of them. The change might be worth it just for the switch off of Aurora (including the removal of the loop on Dexter), especially since it seemed like very few people really used the stops north of Mercer anyway.

    The switch from Stone Way to Wallingford Ave does seem a little suspect, but I never rode any buses on 35th so I don’t know how that change affects ridership, up or down. I might actually be even more averse to the lack of 45th St. connectivity than I am about the switch from Stone to Wallingford – a lot of people use those stops in my experience. The change you’re proposing is a pretty significant walk for a lot of those people.

    I think changing the route from Aurora to Dexter and moving through Fremont is a great idea, but I’m leaning toward keeping service on Stone and then 45th, as it currently is for the 16. If the service would actually attract more riders using the other alignment I’d be willing to have my mind changed, it just doesn’t seem likely from my perspective.

  10. According to metro’s route schedules the time difference between Route 5 from Aurora on ramp to Union and Route 26 from 34th and Fremont to Union is about four minutes. It seems that the added connectivity for Fremont and for 16 riders is worth the extra few minutes of travel time. Especially as it replaces the Route 26 connectivity between GreenLake and Fremont. Of course in any such scenario the Seattle Center derivation should be eliminated as it causes a variety of delays and Dexter is a mere four blocks away from 5th avenue.

    I also think that if the 16 served Dexter then the Route 5 should maintain its current routing on Aurora. Although a gridded system is valuable, in many ways metro will continue to be largely hub and spoke even after the September restructure, meaning time to downtown is a very relevant measure. And since the Route 16 is only providing downtown service to North Green Lake (as Northgate has Route 41), the Route 5, going all the way up to Shoreline CC, is more worthy of the express service.

    On a tangential note, I wonder if all Fremont Bridge Routes (Route 31, Route 32, Route 18, Route 16/5) could be interlined so that they all crossed the bridge both northbound and southbound at the same time? If each route has fifteen minute frequencies then bridge operators could be instructed to only raise the bridge in the ensuing fifteen minute gap periods, ensuring that a number of buses could run through Fremont without inevitably being frequently caught by bridge going up.

    1. That would be nice, southbound. Northbound, I’d like 7.5-minute or less headway to Fremont.

    2. “On a tangential note, I wonder if all Fremont Bridge Routes (Route 31, Route 32, Route 18, Route 16/5) could be interlined so that they all crossed the bridge both northbound and southbound at the same time?”

      Unfortunately, buses are not reliable enough for that to be realistically possible. You can schedule them to go by at the same time, but if one’s on time and the other is 5 minutes late, they’re going by 5 minutes apart.

  11. I currently live on the proposed Northgate cut near N Northgate Way and Meridian. First off, because of the bad spacing of the 5/75/345/346 southbound to Northgate TC they often bunch up in the morning which would lead me to crossing the street and catching the 16 over to Northgate and 5th and transferring to the 41 before it gets to the mosh pit at the TC. It’s not a long walk (in the summer) but in the winter it can be an ugly trudge in dress clothes and pumps in the rain. It’s often a last minute decision to catch the 16 I see rumbling up the hill on Meridian knowing it’s faster than waiting for the 345 I just saw turn to go make the hospital loop and will get me to work 15 minutes sooner. Many of us downtown commuters would make the run across the street to take the 16 if we missed the 316 which often runs hot.

    Granted these days I don’t work downtown and my employer has ample free parking so I choose to drive (it’s cheaper and 1/3 the time). However the one bus I do consistently ride is the 16 to go to events at Seattle Center. There is no service from Northgate TC to Seattle Center without transferring downtown. The 16 also runs much later than the Northgate TC transfers back to my neighborhood if I see a 10pm or later movie at the IMAX. As a young woman I would much rather take the one seat ride and ask for a night stop at my apartment complex than take my chances riding to the TC alone and waiting half an hour or more for a transfer or walk. The 16 at least affords me a ride home most of the way with my friends who live in North Greenlake.

    Those are my two reasons for keeping the 16 as is currently. The looping around to get back on Aurora can be frustrating on a sardine can packed bus, but at least I know I’ll get home safely.

    1. I agree…I like knowing that I can take ONE RIDE to get from Seattle Center to Northgate late at night. Maybe someday when LINK is up and running to Northgate, I may try to do the transfer downtown at Westlake–no way in Hell am I transfering anywhere else downtown late at night!

      Until LINK is running to Northgate, keep 16 running the route it currently is!

  12. I used to live on Meridian just south of Northgate Way, the section that the 16 will stop serving with the proposed fall service restructure.

    I used to occasionally ride the 16 to Green Lake or Wallingford. I almost never took it all the way downtown because it’s excruciatingly slow, compared to the 41, or even the 358. Similar with the Seattle Center.

    Overall, I found the route quite unreliable in both directions for those trips, and as time progressed, I started using it less and less, replacing the 16 trips with a mixture of walking, running, bicycling, and driving. On the way home from work, I often jogged home from Green Lake, which took the same amount of time as waiting for and riding a 16 or 316.

    Now, I live closer to the U-district, so the 16 doesn’t go directly by my neighborhood. I tried a couple of times a walk->16 or 48->16 trip to the area around my old apartment, hoping that the stop consolidation improved the experience. It did help some, but wait time was still way to unpredictable and I quickly decided that pretty much anytime I’m going to that area, I’m avoiding the bus and biking the entire way (~15-20 minutes door to door).

    One thing I did find the 16 useful, though, was for a trip home from the Seattle Center at night, as 16->44 is faster than taking a one seat 30 ride all the way, and as an extra bonus, I get to do some shopping at the Wallingford QFC on the way. While this trip does take full advantage of the detour you propose to eliminate, I would hardly call the Seattle Center detour essential, since plenty of alternate routes would be available. I would gladly give it up in exchange for more reliable service between Wallingford and Northgate. We do, however, need to significantly improve the pedestrian environment crossing Aurora to get from the Seattle Center to bus stops on Aurora, Westlake, or Dexter.

  13. I don’t mind the Seattle Center change, but moving the 16 off Stone would not be a good idea. There are quite a few seniors living at the University House who rely on the 16 that stops right outside their door. One lady with a walker I see frequently goes up to Northgate at least 3 time a week. The short trip from the bus stop to the mall has her huffing and puffing, and I know she couldn’t handle the hike over to Wallingford to catch the 16 if it were there. She barely makes it back across Stone on her return. In addition, there are two new apartment buildings under construction on Stone (well one under, the other about to start once they demolish some perfectly functional buildings) at 40th and 42nd, and not having the bus stops right there risks even more vehicles trying to park and drive around on Stone Way. I’ve noticed a large increase in traffic over the past 5 years on Stone, and taking away the bus would only make it worse.
    And yes, I appreciate having a stop just across the street, particularly on those days when I am running late, which seems to be every day lately.

    1. (The more things change…) I remember when Route 16 was rerouted away from Wallingford to serve Stone Way when Route 6 (which I still miss) was discontinued, in the late’90s. Stone Way seems to a good transit corridor, the streetcars once went straight up to Green Lake that way….

    2. It’s interesting you say a large increase in traffic. I did traffic counts before the bike lanes were put in, and after, and they were frankly pretty low for an arterial. I haven’t seen SDOT’s annual numbers the last two years, though.

  14. I live in lower Wallingford and use the 26 to go downtown. From my point of view, Bruce’s proposed 16 revision suits me great, since I would keep my one seat ride downtown rather than having to transfer from the 30/31 at the U district or Fremont. I do think it would be good to have a route on Wallingford Avenue proper, whether or not the 16 is it. There is actually a fair amount of density in lower Wallingford and Stone Way is a reasonably long way to walk. If the 26 disappeared and its replacement moved to Stone Way, I would probably always bike to Fremont to catch a bus with better frequency instead.

  15. It seems that most folks are thinking that Stone remains the best routing south of 45th which means that you’d still have a ton of folks who would be losing a one-seat ride to Downtown outside of peak hours should Metro go ahead with the deletion of the 26. It seems as though Metro should be looking at changing the Seattle Center routing of the 16 in any event (although there does seem to be a need for late night service to Northgate).

    The more I’ve looked at the 9/12 proposal the less getting rid of the 26 makes sense to me. The only corridor it currently serves with a big service reduction will be along 40th (from 6 to 4 buses an hour during midday). The frequency from 40th north to the current terminus is proposed to be the same during most of the day (less during peak hours). The new 32 would effectively duplicate the existing 26 service to Fremont (as would the revised 31) but then goes all the way around Queen Anne to end on the west side of Seattle Center (31 goes to Magnolia).

    Metro seems to be sacrificing service for residents of the Wallingford neighborhood (primary destination Downtown) on behalf of folks who go through the neighborhood to get to the U District.

  16. Part of the reason the #16 is so slow is because it goes down too many narrow streets. There are wider, faster alternatives on that route. If, when entering the Tangletown area at 55th St. they would turn down Kenwood Place N. and take that to Green Lake Way until past 65th St. they would make much better time. Meridain between 55th and 56th is slow because it is residential and very narrow. Even though the city has put in a round about on Kenwood the street is still double the size of Meridian with plenty of room for the bus. the drivers always complain aobut Meridian in that area.

  17. I regularly chose between the 16 and 26 in Wallingford to get to downtown, and also use the 16 to get to Northgate.

    I haven’t looked at the data, but certainly my perception is that the 16 is much faster than the 26 to downtown. Note that I do not travel at peak times on weekdays. In addition, I love using the 16 to get to Seattle Center with my kids as well.

    As for running the 16 on Dexter, why would you do this if you have 5 on there already (I am presuming 5 stays on Dexter)? My neighbor takes 16 to the Gates Foundation every day, so there’s another “No” vote.

    Let’s take a step back and look at what the true problem here is. Route 16 in its current alignment is a classic example of a crying need for a speed and reliabiilty improvement for transit. Rather than throwing additional bus resources at 16 to “address” OTP, go to the root and fix the problem with a capital improvement.

  18. When I ride the 16 to and from Seattle Center, that appears to be a significant destination for that route. Just from the 16 ridership chart it looks like a destination, and then there are intermittently very heavy loads during major events. If the 16 goes away, something has to take its place (besides existing routes half mile away.)

    The 16 does get downtown faster than the 26, because it goes via Aurora. Of course Aurora is faster overall, but the main advantage is that it goes right over Fremont. Fremont itself can be very crowded, but the worst bottleneck is the south side of the bridge, where northbound buses on Dexter may sit for multiple stoplight cycles, even when the bridge is down. Aurora has its own problems, but after the tunnel goes in … who knows, likely the tolls will cut down on through traffic.

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