On Wednesday, I joined many others in attending the open house for King County Metro’s RapidRide E Line in Green Lake. It seemed like a majority of the attendees were from the Linden Ave neighborhood where the open house was held, but riders from up and down the line, and around the city, were present. Metro staff provided posterboards discussing the general improvements of RapidRide, along with planned stops, BAT lanes, and intersections that will be equipped with signal priority. (I was hoping to include them in this post, but I didn’t get them in time — I will add them later.) The room was well-filled and there was lots of conversations between staff and attendees, and among attendees, some quite intense.
More after the jump.
Unsurprisingly, the dominant topic was the Linden Deviation. As I discussed at some length in my previous post on RapidRide E, the decision presented by Metro is between maintaining the deviation, with the bus leaving Aurora to serve a stop at Linden & 68th, or staying on Aurora. This is partly a coverage versus speed issue, but primarily about the safety and accessibility of a potential northbound stop on Aurora, access to which would require using the crosswalk at 68th St, which is near-universally regarded as somewhat dicey.
Most of the neighborhood residents seemed to be strongly in favor of keeping the deviation (one of them came armed with a WSDOT chart showing accident statistics for this segment of Aurora); many neighbors also expressed a preference for the stop serving this neighborhood to be located further south, near 63rd. On the other hand, one long-time resident who lives next to a current 358 stop on Linden complained of incidents of trespass, urination and littering by (often intoxicated) patrons; she wanted the stop anywhere other than in front of her house.
One idea that seemed to gain some traction among staff and attendees was the compromise of maintaining the deviation in the northbound direction, but staying on Aurora southbound. This provides speed and reliability benefits southbound, but doesn’t require anyone to cross Aurora. It would probably save Metro money up front, as no pedestrian infrastructure improvements on the east side of Aurora would be required.
Another neighborhood concern was about the size and visual impact of the RapidRide shelters in the predominantly single-family area around 68th. The proposed RapidRide stops at 68th are “Station” stops, rather than “Stop” stops, which typically means larger shelters with ORCA readers and real time arrival signs. Linden doesn’t have much pedestrian activity, so it seems to me that Metro could assuage the neighborhood’s concerns and get more riders by downgrading 68th to a Stop and using the money to upgrade Stops in a more active place further north to Stations.
Many readers have noted the closely-spaced stops, particularly in Shoreline, and I was able get details on this from staff at Metro and Shoreline. The City of Shoreline requested that Metro maintain stops at every signalized intersection north of 145th, and while Metro isn’t required to honor that request, the opinions of local jurisdictions carry a lot of weight, so the stops have made it this far in the process. This could change if enough rider feedback demanding a reduction in stops was forthcoming. Perhaps more interesting is the background to the request.
Shoreline is in the process of a top-to-bottom makeover of their segment of Aurora, which includes a complete repaving, full-time BAT lanes throughout Shoreline, as well as extensive pedestrian and transit infrastructure upgrades. By contrast, about half the length of Seattle’s BAT lanes will be peak-period peak-direction only due to local business opposition, and there’s really nothing nice to say about the pedestrian environment and road condition in Seattle’s segment of Aurora. Shoreline feels they’ve already done their part to make RapidRide smooth, pleasant, fast and reliable, but would perhaps revisit the stop spacing issue if Seattle would go into bat for full-time BAT lanes and other improvements.
As always, if you have thoughts about the E Line, Metro staff from the General Manager on down do read our posts and your comments, but you should also take the survey, and you can email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: Here are most of the boards from the open house. The only information likely to be new to most regular readers is the signal priority location. Unfortunately, the map of the BAT lanes seems to be missing.
46 Replies to “RapidRide E Open House”
While the City of Shoreline has made great strides in improving the walking environment of Aurora Ave N (Shoreline is doing a much better than the City of Seattle), I hope their next step is to encourage the type of development that will make walking along Aurora a better experience. This would be the type of development that begins reducing the number of driveways from Aurora by placing the parking access on the side streets and brings the retail closer to the street. I am hoping that Aurora eventually does not become what is seen on the “After” picture on the Shoreline website.
I noticed that the casino at N 145th Street has recently been torn down. It will be interesting to see what building is put in its place.
Concerning the portions of Aurora within the City of Seattle, if that is the type of business the City wants to maintain, then they will probably cede to the business owner’s demands. If, however, they wish to redevelop Aurora to a more pedestrian friendly environment, they should pursue the more aggressive plan of making the transit lanes 24-hours and on future development require parking access from the side streets.
Seattle apparently had an urban redevelopment plan for Aurora corridor that was somewhat akin to Shoreline’s (crucially including full-time BAT lanes) but it was scuppered in the design process due to business opposition, which seems most unfortunate. Now that the Mercer/Broad/Valley disaster is being improved, Aurora is perhaps the single street in the city that most desperately needs remaking.
Agree entirely on the zoning and built environment in Shoreline.
Yeah, that corridor is in need of a facade redevelopment program with free technical/design assistance, matching grants, and no- or low-interest loans. A ban on street-facing parking lots wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Aurora Avenue Merchants’ Association has been heavily opposed to redeveloping Aurora to make it more pedestrian-friendly. They feel that removing parking means that their businesses will suffer. They actually list the blocking of HOV lanes on Aurora as one of their “accomplishments” on their website.
Thanks for attending this meeting, Bruce, and for this posting. I would like to be more positive about the whole “Rapid Ride” program. But as operations are currently conceived, I need some persuasion that the whole idea is worth a single public event.
Signal pre-empt is only worth its wiring if somebody turns it on. Last time I rode SWIFT, streamlined buses spent as much time stuck at lights as the old square ones. Same with our red and yellow ones south of the airport.
VeloDriver: any improvement on this in on the Bellevue line?
“BAT” is spot on. “Business/Transit Access” just about says it all. Would anybody dare say, with a straight face, “Express track/Driveways?” And Seattle’s one-direction reservation says the rest.
Possibly worst thing about BAT idea is impossibility of conversion to future light rail. Might be better to hold off on this project until money and political will are there for the reserved right-of-way and signal arrangements fast transit really needs.
I don’t like being so strongly negative about any honest attempt to develop bus transit into the future, both for its own sake and for eventual rail conversion when the time comes. So since this is an open thread, I’ll waive privilege against personal abuse on this one.
Somebody please convince me I’m wrong.
What’s most confusing and backwards about the “part-time” BAT lanes is that it will reduce all of the “stations” as well as the “stops” to requiring pull-outs 16 hours out of every day. Which of course means fighting to pull back into the traffic flow, every single time.
At least the other RapidRide lines get to have some curb bulbs at true “stations.” Without a single one of those, what’s the point?
The difference between a boulevard and a freeway is that a boulevard has driveways and at-grade intersections. Moving parking lot access to cross streets like 130th where feasable makes sense, but banning driveways sounds like transforming the area into suburban superblocks with one access road to a spaghetti of cul-de-sacs (viz. Medina/Clyde Hill), or the Sprague Avenue approach to highway 16 in Tacoma (which looks like a freeway and none may cross). And banning driveways is impossible for mid-block businesses that don’t have any other access road, like the motels.
If surface rail is ever built on Aurora, it’ll be in the middle, not in the outer lanes.
The extra lane is not really necessary off peak, when the 358 can run at full speed without it. But the lanes are necessary both directions during peak.
Ten seconds waiting to pull back into traffic, times a lot of stations, add up quite a bit. Just as it does on all local bus routes.
Why is why we’re supposed to be replacing local-style bus routes with something better.
“VeloDriver: any improvement on this in on the Bellevue line?”
Some, but there are still some gaps. I’m planning to write more detail but in general, the worst performing section of the route is the detour off of 156th down to service 152nd and Overlake P&R. The signals at 156th & 24th, Bel-Red Rd & 24th, and 152nd & 24th are poorly timed – I get a red at one light followed by an almost guaranteed red at the next one in the sequence. Along the whole route, I spend the most time stopped at lights in that area.
Most of the signals in Bellevue work pretty well, even without TSP (no signal West of 120th has TSP). Redmond, which owns the signals listed above, doesn’t seem to have their act together. I honestly can’t tell if they even have TSP turned on. I estimate you could shave another 4-6 minutes off of each trip although keep in mind that I’m driving in the morning with lighter overall traffic. Afternoons might not be such a slam dunk.
Many signals in Redmond occasionally have what I refer to as “Transit Signal Anti-Priority”. I’ll be sitting at a red light behind a couple of cars. The light turns green and then just as the first car or two in line get started the light turns yellow. It’s VERY frustrating. I’ve reported it multiple times but it happens infrequently enough that I can’t say whether it’s been fixed or not. No emergency vehicles were observed which would explain such wonky behavior, given their ability to preempt signals.
I shouldn’t be surprised that the people at the meeting favored continuing to have the bus go down Linden, given that:
1) The meeting location was most convenient for the people who would benefit from the Linden deviation the most.
2) People are more likely to be passionate enough to go through the time and trouble of attending a meeting over queasiness about crossing Aurora than over their bus trip to Shoreline taking 3 minutes longer than it should take.
However, what’s best for a few residents of one neighborhood isn’t necessarily what’s best for the entire line. I dug up Bruce’s ridership chart on the 358 (https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/king_county_metro_358.png) and the result is that the number of people using the 358 stops on Linden today is actually really tiny in both directions.
Based on the 358 ridership chart, maintaining the Linden deviation would save 3 people about 2 minutes (1 minute to walk to Aurora, one minute to wait for the light to change). Yet it would delay a busload of 20-40 people by at least those same 2 minutes. Cost-benefit-wise, the Linden deviation would make sense if half the people on the bus were getting or off there. But delaying an entire busload of people just so three people have to wait the light to cross Aurora just doesn’t make sense.
Furthermore, for people who do live in the Linden area, there are several mitigating factors of this change. First, you only have to cross Aurora once in a round trip, not twice. And second, assuming you’re taking the bus to downtown, the crossing is after you get off the bus, which means you won’t be tempted to run across the street (and get run over in the process) to catch a bus you’d miss by waiting for the light to change. Third, if the pedestrian signal at 68th St. gets more use as a result of people accessing the bus, drivers will become more used to seeing the light turn red and the likelihood of drivers running the red light should decrease. Fourth, there’s nothing to stop the city from taking additional safety measures to deter people from not seeing the red light. For example, we could lower the speed limit on Aurora north of 60th St. to, say 40 mph, or put warning signs further back to tell drivers there’s a signal coming. These safety measures would also benefit people who live on Linden that like to walk or jog around Greenlake, including those that don’t even ride the bus.
Fifth, if you still really hate the Aurora crossing that much, you can always choose to take the 5 in northbound direction, instead of the E line. Yes, there is a hill, but you would be walking down the hill, not up it.
The 358/Linden area is near where I work, so I’m familiar with the geography. I would say that forcing people to cross Aurora at 68th to use the E Line would be perilous, at best. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. The speed limit on Aurora is 40mph from the Viaduct to the Greenlake area, where it drops to 30. SPD constantly tries to enforce the limit, but many drivers still drive at +20 mph on that road. Stopping the E Line northbound on Aurora at Greenlake should be a non-starter; for rider safety, the E Line needs to deviate onto Linden or not stop at all until 76th Street.
Southbound, the E could stay on Aurora, but it would be necessary to engineer a safe location for the southbound stop. Remember that the bus would have to pull back into traffic that is moving at 40+ mph and then immediately head up a hill–all from a dead stop.
I suspect that many riders on the east slope of Phinney Ridge walk downhill in the mornings to catch a 358 and use the 5 to get home. But if the 5 is deviated through Fremont, those riders may find that the E Line is the best choice for northbound commutes, too. But I don’t think they’ll be wanting to risk their lives crossing Aurora.
Some of the people at the meeting were concerned about the safety of people waiting at the stops on Aurora because the accidents that happen along that stretch tend to be drunk people running into barriers rather than people running the light at 68th. So, they felt that no amount of safety upgrades to the crossing–even a pedestrian bridge–wouldn’t fix the safety problems of having a stop on Aurora. They had WSDOT accident data with them to try to support their arguments.
I am concerned about what I perceive to be a complete lack of investigation or impact study in how a stop on Aurora & 68th would impact traffic flow. Many 358 riders lobbying to dismantle the Linden Deviation argue that the traffic light at the offramp on to Woodland/Linden and the traffic stop at Winona to turn left back onto Aurora slow down the ride. But one must remember that on Aurora, there is the light at the crosswalk at 68th (which might need to be red longer to let E line riders cross the street and increase safety for other pedestrians). I don’t think there will be HUGE saving in trip time without the Linden deviation. Especially since they will consolidate the Linden stops into just 1.
I don’t have a lot of skin in this particular game since I rarely ride the 358, but it seems like if the Linden deviation is only going to serve one stop on Linden it’d be better to keep the bus on Aurora and figure out how to make crossing safer for all involved. Especially if the number of riders getting on/off at Linden isn’t expected to be that great.
What about the fact that a Northbound Aurora stop would require tearing up that portion of the Greenlake running path/garden/greenspace? We could get into a whole different transit vs. park debate.
Can someone explain Metro’s logic for considering the Linden deviation (adding travel time and potentially impacting reliability) at the same time it’s raising the ire of many #2S riders by straightening out and truncating that route to reduce travel time and improve reliability?
Maybe there’s some subtlety I’m missing, but on the surface it’s an inconsistency that makes it more difficult to defend Metro’s plans for the #2S.
The Linden deviation is the status quo on Route 358; it was inherited from the previous alignments when Routes 6, 16 and 359 were consolidated into today’s 16 and 358. Metro is considering eliminating the deviation, but there are concerns about safety with the northbound stop.
The issue with the 2S is somewhat different: the choice there is between giving riders to First Hill more frequent transfers, and making service on both 3rd Ave and Madison/Marion more reliable versus keeping the one-seat crosstown ride for riders in the Central District. It is not a safety issue.
Sorry, we’re not going to spend another 400 comments re-litigating the 2S split. For the purpose of this discussion, what matters is that eliminating the Linden deviation northbound could be considered a safety hazard to riders, whereas safety is not at issue in the 2S split. The end.
Given that the closest stops are at 45th st and 75st street, it seems like a 63rd st stop would split the difference better than a 68th st stop. If you put a stop at 63rd instead then pedestrians on the northbound side of Aurora can use the underpass to cross the street, rather than a crosswalk. It doesn’t look like there is much more development around 68th st than 63rd st, so it probably is a reasonable trade-off.
That’s what a lot of attendees said, that 63rd is the most-used stop and its walkshed doesn’t overlap as much with 74th.
A couplet at 63rd may be the best of all worlds. Northbound at 63rd/Woodland, it would serve the most-used stop. Southbound at 63rd-65th/Aurora, it would serve the farmers’ market which one resident thought would be a good place for a stop. Not having a northbound Aurora stop would avoid the expense of upgrading the crossing, which would be more expensive at 63rd than 68th. The only people left out are those coming from Greenlake who would have to use the underpass, but that’s no worse than the status quo.
I need to go look at that underpass more closely.
My concern about the couplet is that, based purely on my experience riding the 358, it seems like the northbound routing on Linden is really where there is a slow-down. Southbound you’re not waiting at any lights, but northbound you have to wait at that light before turning left and going under Aurora. So, to me, if you’re going to put the northbound stop on Linden, you might as well put the southbound one on Linden too rather than do a potentially-confusing couplet. But again, I have yet to see the data on estimated time savings…
I generally agree with this. Coming north, the Linden deviation offers the best walkshed. If its speed penalty is unacceptable, the additional safety and comfort of the underpass make it a better choice than 68th. Furthermore, it could be accompanied by pedestrian improvements around 63rd St improving access to the underpass’ north sidewalk from the south (which is really awkward at the moment).
It seems like most of the comments on this thread are from people who don’t live around the area in question. It would cost way too much money to build a safe stop on Aurora for the northbound riders just to save a minute or two. If you want the best compromise, then have the northbound bus go on Linden and have the southbound bus stay on Aurora Avenue. If you want to have as much ridership as possible, then why is anyone recommending the northbound to go on Aurora? If you want to cut a minute here and there, it is much better to get rid of a few stops like 95th, 152nd, etc.
I live on the 358 route.
“If you want to cut a minute here and there, it is much better to get rid of a few stops like 95th, 152nd, etc.”
False dichotomy—it is possible to get rid of those stops and the Linden deviation.
As a county taxpayer, I am annoyed that I voted for RapidRide, and the City of Seattle, by allowing cars to do a sit-in in the transit lane at all times except peak hour, and then still getting to do it in the counter-peak direction, are violating the will of the voters.
How much would it cost the city to tell the business owners along Aurora that the transit lanes belong to the public at large, not the businesses that own the adjoining property?
If the city doesn’t have the backbone to respect the vote for RapidRide, then we can at least find out which businesses are allowing parking in the lane, and boycott them. Anti-social behavior (like allowing cars to do a sit-in in a transit lane) comes with a price.
You’re right about this additional case of officials allowing public streets to be used for private parking lots.
I wonder how many voters, with what organization behind them, will be necessary to convince the Seattle City Council to start giving transit the priority the 21st Century requires?
But like I said, for transit to call itself “Rapid” and not get laughed at, arterial transit lanes generally need to be located like LINK on MLK, where service won’t have to dodge cars turning in and out of driveways and waiting for pedestrians to clear so they can turn right.
This configuration can also be paved with “blockouts” cut in the concrete, so rail can be added when ridership finally justifies. Meantime, if “hush mode” can be added to propulsion, might be good to put those new 3-door artics in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.
Current hybrids there have always been one door short.
Yeah, parking on Aurora is ridiculous. There’s no reason to allow on-street parking on that sort of road.
The Aurora business community has advertised itself as the car-friendly retail street in Seattle, the last holdout in Seattle’s “war on cars” and paid parking. They market Aurora as an inexpensive place for businesses to set up shop, with plenty of free parking for their customers. They have resisted losing parking or general-purpose lanes for at least a decade, which is why the 358 got only a small amount of BAT lanes in the last round of upgrades. Underlying all this is Aurora’s reputation as a seedy, unsafe place full of prostitutes — which is the reason Aurora remains unchanged in spite of the last housing bubble that densified Ballard and other places. And “unchanged” here means keeping its 1950s automobile-centrism, which replaced its earlier Interurban streetcar suburb.
So that’s the background on what Aurora is, why the car-dominated businesses flocked there, why they resist change, and why the city is reluctant to make more than a few little reforms.
I’m not sure if the problem is really street parking, because are there really any businesses on Aurora that don’t have parking lots? The only parts I can think of are the oldest section around Beth’s Cafe and the residential part around 90th. But surely everything north of 100th has parking lots? I can see an exception made for 34th to 100th Streets because it’s the oldest/densest past of Aurora. But north of that should be BAT lanes all the way.
I think there a few businesses between 100th and 105th that don’t have parking lots, like, does the futon place? Or the pet store near that strip club? Maybe they have parking in back?
Seriously, the Aurora Avenue Merchants’ Association is the problem here, and I really don’t get why they have such clout with the city. Aurora is a major north-south route and the city should be more concerned with its ability to move people along that route than with businesses’ ability to have their customers park for free. Seriously, are businesses in Shoreline suddenly failing because of the median and the left-turn lanes? No. AAMA’s position is just totally illogical, and as someone who lives near Aurora, I find it really frustrating that AAMA is able to block improvements. That they buy some bikes or put up some security cameras to try to fight crime really doesn’t outweigh the damage they do to the neighborhood by blocking redevelopment.
There’s one glaring issue here for me: the city is using a sub-par pedestrian crossing as a reason to divert a bus route. Shouldn’t the sub-par pedestrian crossing instead be a reason to fix this crossing so that it’s safe? After all, pedestrians will use it whether there’s a bus stop there or not. Then we wouldn’t have to even talk about a diversion!
Or perhaps I’m being too simple-minded.
Sub-par pedestrian crossing is ONE of the reasons, and the crossing is okay, it’s the cars that are the problem. Should we switch this argument to getting rid of all the cars?
The Linden Diversion better serves the residents that live on the West side of Aurora, including church goers and people who use a food back on that side of Linden. It protects Greenlake from getting turned into a bus station.
People who ride the 358 North of the Linden Diversion should really take a ride through this corridor in a car: you will see that at rush hour, traffic slows down and stops in this area because of both the 68th light and the Winona light. There is congestion. There would be even more if they had to increase the time of red light for bus riders to cross safely.
There are many neighborhoods along the Aurora corridor that would benefit from diversion of the 358. Should we follow your argument to its logical conclusion and make the 358 snake through all neighborhoods which border Aurora? There are many businesses, residents, and churches in those as well. The problem is, the route as a whole would be penalized by that.
I’m interested to see you attempt an argument against this that doesn’t also serve as an argument against the Linden diversion.
Oh, and I’d personally love to get rid of the cars, and replace Arora with a rail line and a bike path! But improving a pedestrian crossing is much more politically feasible :)
In response to LWC’s comment below, good point, but: Aurora is already one big chain of bus stops, EXCEPT for the stretch of that is flanked by Greenlake and Residences. Small walkshed on both sides. Greenlake is a park. That stretch of road was made 100 years ago, without the vision of a 6 lane state highway going through. Try walking around there sometime.
Oh, I do walk around there, a few times a week. And I have used that crossing many times. I ride the 358 often (though I’m usually trying to get up to 85th). The small walkshed in this region is even more reason not to divert the 358 through this stretch! Why divert the bus to serve so few people?
“at rush hour, traffic slows down and stops in this area because of both the 68th light and the Winona light”
I was going to point that out, that at the same times of day that the Linden arc slows down (the northbound left turn from Aurora) are when that northbound Aurora backs up at Winona.
If you consolidate riders of the 73rd, 68th & 63rd stops, eyballing from Bruce’s ridership chart,
the numbers do not look so tiny. They look as plentiful as those that use all of the other main stops (85th, 46th, etc.).
“Lindenites” don’t mind consolidating the Linden stops, or for that matter, even putting the stops further down Aurora, closer to 66th, or 63rd. If there is money to put a pedestrian bridge, a decent infrastructure can be built to accommodate accessible stations in areas that are not residential and don’t infringe on the park or endanger riders waiting for the bus.
I live on Linden near the current 67th/68th street stop. As I write this post I have seen 8 cars drive up, park and riders get on the 358 to go downtown. I am not opposed to the “park n ride” nature of the 358 but it seems to me that putting the bus on Aurora would not impact those folks (they can just drive closer to whichever stop they choose). Most, not all, of the morning 358 riders are “park n riders”.
I have been thinking a lot about Linden since the meeting, and a few things have occurred to me. First, those of us who want the E Line to be faster and more efficient have been complaining a lot about the lack of stop removal in this plan. But the one neighborhood that actually IS losing stops is the Linden neighborhood. They’re already being asked to give up stops in their area, so having them also have to cross a 6-lane highway at 68th to catch the bus, while the rest of us get to keep our stops, does seem a little unfair.
Second, I haven’t seen any data about the time difference between having the stop on Aurora and having the stop on Linden. Are we talking a lot of time saved, or just a minute or two? Because, if it’s not a lot of time saved, I don’t see why we’d spend all that money to build stops on Aurora and make the pedestrian crossing safer, when we could use the money for something else. If it is a lot of time saved, then I think that makes sense to invest the money to build a good stop on Aurora.
Third, I really think the stop should be at 63rd if it stays on Linden, and Metro should explore the feasibility of putting it at 63rd if it’s on Aurora, depending on what that underpass is like. I haven’t looked closely at it either, but isn’t it fairly similar to the underpass at 46th, only with less cars on the road?\
Moving past Linden, I really really wish they would get rid of my stop at 125th. There isn’t ridership to support keeping it. Same with the stop at 95th, there just aren’t that many people getting on/off there. I understand that the City of Shoreline is all about keeping their stop spacing, but why are they doing the same in Seattle? It’s just silly.
Like most problems in life, this could be solved by a skybridge. Keep the line on Aurora.
Some of the Linden folks were saying that their worry is about safety while at the bus stop (i.e., drunk drivers smashing into people who are waiting at the stop) in addition to safety while crossing. They had traffic data on accidents along that stretch that they felt supported their claim. So they felt that a bridge wouldn’t solve the problem of safety for a stop on Aurora. I am not saying I necessarily agree, just sharing what some of the folks at the meeting were saying.
Regardless of using Linden or Aurora, the N and S bound stops need to be somewhere between 63rd or 65th. Judging by the placement of the stickers at the open house, there seemed to be overwhelming support for having 64th be the stop. Even people whose walk to a stop at 64th would be longer seemed to realize that it made more sense. Stopping there has several advantages over 68th.
1. There is much more open space at 64th. South of the ‘Farmers Market’/U-haul/abandoned gas station there is city property that could easily accommodate the larger ‘Station’ type stops that are planned. At 68th on both Linden and Aurora there are narrow sidewalks that would not be appropriate for a Station.
2. It bears repeating that a stop at 64th maximizes the walkshed coverage by keeping everyone on Linden within no more than 5 blocks from a stop. It also keeps a stop within a reasonable distance to the Zoo and the ballfields at Lower Woodland.
3. There are no homes near a stop at 64th.
I can’t think of one reason why a stop at 68th would be preferable to 64th.
A variety of comments on what’s been said:
@ Mike Orr: I doubt that light rail will ever be built “on” Aurora. Street-level was rejected by ST as too expensive, and elevated, e.g. overhead of the Interurban Trail, as too complicated and expensive (essentially).
@ Mike Orr: I used to work at the zoo, and the extra lane was necessary. If I got down the hill at 7 or later, when parking is allowed in the segment north of Green Lake, it meant an extra 20 minutes getting home. It was a great incentive for me. And that was about a decade ago…no doubt, it’s gotten worse. I’ve wondered whether a public parking lot would ever be possible, e.g. behind the storefronts, if sufficient property opened up.
Variety of Linden comments. The purpose of BRT is streamlined service, which led me to favor the “all on Aurora” comments. However, that traffic light on Aurora that’s reference is already overly long. I wondered about a station/stop along the lake, north of the offramp intersection, where it’s wide and the road continues back to Aurora, and having folks use the underpass, but my recollection is the sidewalk’s narrow plus it’s dark under there. That’s a fairly good walk, though I walk 1/2 mile to my stop – and it’s not flat, unlike this area – further up Aurora. If they can’t make the walk safer, the “stop on Linden north – I wonder if there is any room for one north of about 63rd/64th, though – and SB on Aurora. I think the deviate also included old route #360, intended to be an “express” route, but it took almost as much time as the #359, then the slowest was #6. I called them “slow, slower, and slowest.”
@ Mark Dublin: attempts were made at access management, but for some reason, planners get weak-kneed even with the idea of reducing 3 driveways to a single business to 2. And, business owners get surprisingly-demanding when there’s the prospect of getting their frontage areas fixed up (by taxpayers). Further north, senior drivers shy away from the BRT route due to the vehicular conflicts.
The “rapid” is really a misnomer when there are 12 stops planned for Shoreline’s 3 miles. With the BRT minimum standard at 0.5 miles, that means 1/2 of Shoreline’s stops should be axed. Even if you don’t count the stops at either end, a few of ’em should go. I’ve suggested to Metro that since new routes aren’t possible, re-route an existing one to cover the “local” stops, which has proven extremely successful up north. Perhaps the best candidate: the #345, which could – instead of duplicating the #316 and #346 routing between N. 115th and 130th – can, going NB, go west on N. 115th, then north on Aurora, either be route-deviated to Four Freedoms (on demand) or go that way, then continue north, east to Aurora on N. 135th, then north to N. 160th (or even N. 165th) and into Shoreline CC.
Another reason why a 68th and Linden shelter should not be implemented and the 63rd location should be developed is that the 68th location penalizes home owners and the 63rd area does not. At the open house, the Metro rep stated that the 68th and Linden shelter locations had not yet been specifically identified, just that generally 68th and Linden was proposed. But the method that would be used to add stops at this location would take 2 or more cars worth of parking from the street to build a pad for the shelter out into the roadway. The bus would not deviate from the lane when making a stop as it does now. The residences on Linden are very close to the sidewalk and a 68th and Linden shelter would consolidate 3 stops worth of riders right in front of home owner’s front doors. Shelters look to be about 16 feet wide and nearly as tall if you count the flags. Placement of these these shelters in this area would be a penalty, most certainly devaluing the homes close to them. Developing the existing stops at 63rd in front of the church would not impact home-owners directly and would space the stop more appropriately, about 10 blocks from the prior stop.
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