Little Saigon -- 12th & Jackson
Little Saigon -- 12th & Jackson

In a previous post, I presented travel time and reliability information for Aurora and Dexter, to help inform the ongoing discussion of the pros and cons of possibly moving Route 5 and Route 16 from Aurora to Dexter. In this post, I’ll do the same for Yesler Way and Jackson St, using reliability data for Routes 14 and 27. As most readers probably know by now, the proposed Fall 2012 restructure reduces route 27 to peak-only past 12th Ave, in favor of adding trips to Route 14. This complements my prior posts discussing ridership patterns on Route 14 and Route 27.

UPDATE: Maps, by popular request: Route 14, Route 27.

Yesler vs Jackson Eastbound Travel Time
Yesler vs Jackson Eastbound Travel Time

This chart shows average travel time by time of day, heading outbound from 3rd & Union to the commercial district at 23rd Ave; the standard deviation each data point is indicated by the error bars. In this direction, the difference is about three minutes during the early morning and from mid-afternoon onwards. Between 10:00 and noon, that difference widens to about five or six minutes. I would guess this is due to the stronger all-day ridership demand on Jackson compared to Yesler.

Yesler vs Jackson Westbound Travel Time
Yesler vs Jackson Westbound Travel Time

Inbound to downtown, early morning and morning peak trips show a difference of about two or three minutes; evenings are about three or four minutes. The gap widens very significantly in the midday and afternoon peak to six or seven minutes. Note that the end timepoints are slightly different: Pike & 4th (for the 14) vs 3rd & Pike (for the 27), so this chart includes the time and reliability penalty entailed by the 14 turning right from 3rd to Pike, which can take several light cycles when traffic is bad*.

Yesler vs Jackson Eastbound Reliability
Yesler vs Jackson Eastbound Reliability

This chart shows the standard deviation of the travel times presented in the eastbound chart above. To quote myself in a previous post:

Standard deviation is a mathematical measure of how “spread out” a set of numbers are. In this context, it’s a little hard to define both accurately and simply, but the best I can think of is this: For a route with a standard deviation of (say) 2.5 minutes, the vast majority of buses will be no more than 2.5 minutes late. So the higher the number, the less reliable the route.

This chart tells us that these two routes are fairly similar in terms of reliability eastbound, with the 14 maybe slightly worse overall. The 14 suffers quite badly from traffic congestion on Jackson St and in Pioneer Square during the PM peak.

Yesler vs Jackson Reliability Westbound
Yesler vs Jackson Reliability Westbound

Inbound, the picture is somewhat the same, the 27 generally being slightly more reliable, especially in the PM peak. I’ve no idea what’s up with the last inbound 27 trip.

* One of the hardest things to explain to the lay public is how much this restructure would help eliminate difficult, lane-blocking turning motions on 3rd Ave that contribute significantly to congestion on 3rd. In this case, the proposal would change the 14S to interline with the 1.

9 Replies to “Chartapalooza 2: Yesler vs Jackson”

  1. would make things much easier if you could post images of the route maps in these posts as not everyone is familiar with every route (and it would save time looking them up)

  2. Looking at just travel times only tells half the story.
    All those buses have to let riders on and off, which takes time.
    They have to stop at most every bus zone which takes time.
    If other routes travel the same street (Jackson), then approaching buses have to wait for the zone to clear.
    I would expect most of the time savings on Yesler are for those reasons alone.

    1. Jackson is slow in part because it’s such a massive ridership corridor. That said, most of the Jackson riders are well served by the 7 & 36, so diverting at Rainier might work out ok.

  3. “In this case, the proposal would change the 14S to interline with the 1” – Yes, please. I HATE making that turn. Ticketing pedestrians that enter the crosswalk against a flashing “Don’t Walk” sign would dramatically improve the situation but that’s an uphill battle.

    One quibble: I think most 14N passengers get on at Pike & 4th, but there are a fair number that are already on the bus at that point. A separate post might be warranted discussing ways to ease transfers from N/S buses to E/W buses. The stops in this area are a prime example of that.

    1. “I think most 14N passengers get on at Pike & 4th, but there are a fair number that are already on the bus at that point.”

      Granted, but that will also be true for the 1. The wisdom among planners is that through-riders are generally much fewer in number than people for whom downtown is a destination; this is also true in the U-District, and probably to a lesser extent at other urban centers. All through-route pattern changes have winners and losers, but some through-route patterns can be scheduled more efficiently and reliably than others.

      1. Just the other day, a friend and I were trying to transfer from the 12 to the 5, and it turned out that I had to walk north on 3rd, uphill, to do so (not a big deal for me, but a very big deal for my friend). We ended up taking the 26 two stops.

        Once every bus runs the full length of 3rd, there will absolutely be some winners.

    2. Ironically 3rd is the one place I see jaywalking tickets being written, regularly. As much as I hate SPD’s focus on jaywalking vs. failure to yield to pedestrians, and I think most of the tickets I see written on 3rd are unnecessary (crossing a completely empty street with no visible traffic in either direction for multiple blocks) I 100% agree that blocking or slowing down buses is a great reason for a ticket to be written.

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