It’s time for our third snow open thread.  Just about all agencies regionwide are in snow operations, meaning reroutes, slow buses, lengthy delays, and some canceled routes entirely.  If you’re about to head out, the smart thing to do is probably turn around and stay put.  Otherwise, be sure to check emergency service revisions.

Any rider-to-rider advice is welcomed in the comments.

58 Replies to “Snow Open Thread #3”

  1. currently … the following routes are all operating on First/Capital Hill … albeit on their snow routes


    note: the 9 is using 60′ articulated buses

  2. I was one of about 200 people waiting for the 255 from the Kirkland TC yesterday. The ST 540 driver told everyone that due to snow route the 255 inbound to Seattle didn’t stop at the TC (though we had seen 4 go by heading north).

    I pulled out my phone to double check the route map, and noticed that the map doesn’t show the exact snow route through downtown Kirkland — “(See Detail Map)”, which doesn’t exist on the map.

    After another 20 minutes, a 255 showed up.

      1. Thanks. Also, just got an alert that there is no service on the 255 north of Kirkland TC until further notice.

    1. I’ve seen this same omission on a few Metro schedules over the past year or so – a segment of the map will be blocked out with “see detail map“, but the actual inset is missing entirely.

      I’m sure it’s just a cost-cutting strategy.

  3. After sitting on a bus for an hour that just gave up part way and decided it couldn’t go any further in a previous storm I’m very much staying home this time around… Yay for being able to work from home.

      1. I would love to be telecommuting right now, but the taxicab company that I work for doesn’t offer that option.

    1. Link is doing fine – running on regular weekday schedule. Relatively light NB loads while out checking in on the line this morning but SB is steady with lots of folks, and luggage, headed to the airport.

      A big thanks to the Operations folks who’ve kept the train platforms and station sidewalks clear.

  4. Got on a SB 36 this morning on Beacon Ave. intending to transfer to Link at Othello Station. Bus was signed up to Othello Sta. but turned around on Beacon. Operators’ instructions are to not go down the gentle grade of Myrtle St. to the Link station.

    Sure would be nice to blank that inappropriate destination sign. If the bus ain’t going to Othello Station, it shouldn’t carry a sign saying that it is.

    1. The signage the operator was using was per the run card and book. There is no list of all available codes. A more experienced driver would sign it blank, but operators are no longer taught that code and ones whom know have been instructed not to use it.
      There is no thing as a gentle grade from beacon ave east to mlk, especially if you are more then twenty tons!

    2. While I was waiting for 45 minutes for my North/East bound 39 bus, I noticed that the 106 Rainier Beach bus was rerouted through the Myrtle/Othello-MLK intersection so some buses were indeed coming down that hill. Of course, this was yesterday evening without actual snow on the ground, just buses on snow re-routes.

    3. Blanking the sign would be worse than what you saw. There are no sign codes that account for snow routes, or changing conditions such as reroutes. At least the sign you saw identified the bus as a 36 – a blank sign wouldn’t have even done that. Whining about signage? Sheesh. People DIED out in this mess.

  5. Anyone know if the 3/4 are running up Taylor?

    Metro’s snow page only says that “Route 4 is not serving regular stops north of Valley St when Taylor Av N is closed” without mentioning whether in fact Taylor is closed or not.

    I am surprised that the 1 is unable to get to the top of Queen Anne – usually it is the most reliable of the Queen Anne routes in snowstorms, although not especially convenient to most parts of QA.

  6. I live near stops for the 48, 16, and 316. The 48 has been running quite regularly all morning, as has the 16 on its’ snow route.

    1. As per usual, the price tag would scare most Seattlites, the NIMBYS would oppose it, and the city would study it and decide it wasn’t feasible because there wouldn’t be enough ridership to justify spending the money to build it.

  7. I ride the 5 in from Greenwood. Apart from some 5E’s and regular 5’s not showing up on time in the last two days(some up to 15-20min late), its been a pretty smooth ride otherwise.

  8. I’ve had pretty good luck on the #11 the last 3 days – 5 of 6 trips completed on a relatively toimely basis and only about 5-10 minutes slower than usual. EB at about 4:15 Wednesday was a bit scary between 12th and 16th on Pine, and between 23rd and MLK on the Union Street snow re-route. Thankful for a Gillig as there were nearly 1/2 dozen artics out of service west of MLK to 14th Ave.

  9. I would love to get a bunch of people together to talk to the Times’ Editorial board and ask them to explain why they give absolutely no attention to rail – Link or Sounder – in their coverage of the impact of snow on transportation. Transit Blog folks, have you already tried this? is the Times just dead set against rail transit?

    1. Yesterday and today, Link is doing nothing but taking a few business travelers and tourists to and from the airport. Students aren’t using it as schools are closed, and workers aren’t using it as most businesses are closed. And as of this hour, all three runways are closed at Seatac airport. So it’s basically running back and forth to help people escape cabin fever. Hardly newsworthy.

      1. A closed airport doesn’t render Link useless. It’s still useful for intra-Seattle trips, not to mention connections to/from other transit services. If I had to get from Federal Way to Seattle, for example, I’d try RapidRide + Link instead of an express bus on I-5.

    2. Sounder trains had many, many delays and other problems yesterday. Why isn’t STB reporting on this? Is that what you want the Times to be writing about — all the delays and cancellations of Sounder trains yesterday and today?

  10. This morning, I saw a couple of articulated buses stuck on a relatively flat part of Stewart Street. I have also heard numerous reports of buses careening down streets. However, as others have already mentioned, Link Light Rail was running well through the stormy weather. Clearly, rail is superior to buses and cars when snow hits. One more reason to support the Seattle Subway!

    1. Link service was disrupted twice this morning, and, as of about 9:45 am this morning, Link SeaTAc station is closed. You must take a BUS between Tukwila and SeaTac Link stations as of now.

      Sounder trains have had all sorts of delays and cancellations yesterday and today.

      Someone wrote that Amtrak is not running between Seattle and Vancouver B.C. due to the weather.

      Are you absolutely sure you are correct about what you wrote above?

      Stay home. Work from home. That is the best way to cope with this weather.

      1. Wednesday’s trains, #’s 510/517 (510 goes up to VAC, comes back @ night as 517) were cancelled. Sounder north ran all 4 trains, but evening departures were delayed enough that only 3 carried passengers.

        Late Sounders aren’t as exciting as cars in the ditch, so that’s probably why it’s not headline news.

  11. 1.) My regular commute from Beacon station to Pioneer Square was flawless.

    2.) Amtrak Cascades hardly noticed the much more severe weather down south, judging by their on-time performance, and the Empire Builder was only and hour late inbound, and less than an hour late outbound, which probably worked to everyones advantage.

    1. Actually, Amtrak Cascades and Sounder struggled with frozen switches, causing delays. Same trouble as anything on the wet (and generally warm) side. For the occasional need, not worth the expense of installing switch heaters.

      1. I was 90 minutes late on the Cascades once because at every switch the Amtrak people had to get out and chip ice off the switches. Ninety minutes on a 210 minute trip is a lot.

  12. I think one of the most confusing parts about this whole experience, once busses managed to get on their snow routes, was signage. There either needs to be a well publicized P/R Code (not unlike the “BUS FULL” P/R Code, though few drivers know about that one) adding a “via SNOW ROUTE” to the display, or a cardboard sign that drivers can place in the window indicating the bus is on snow routing.

    …given how hard the signs are to program, I’d imagine the cardboard sign is easier, and probably cheeper as well.

    Aside: This also includes making sure route changes include giving drivers the right sign code. At one point on Sunday, I was on a bus signed as a 43 to Ballard that was running as a 49 to the U-District. This caused a good bit of confusion for people boarding the bus…

      1. But you can (and have to) take a BUS between Tukwila and SeaTac stations. So, buses are still running in and out of SeaTac, apparently.

  13. When you get results from the King County Metro Trip Planner during when they’re on a snow schedule does it factor it into the results?

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