Metro wire crews at work at 5th & Virginia
Metro wire crews at work at 5th & Virginia

King County Metro has been a hive of activity this week. Without further ado, here’s the news:

Contrary to widespread reports, the status of Route 2 has not changed. Yesterday, in widely-circulated emails and reports on Capitol Hill Seattle and Central District News (presumably from the same source), it was claimed that the current proposal of splitting Route 2 had been taken off the table. This is simply false. All options for Route 2 remain on the table, including the current proposal, a return to current conditions throughout the Queen Anne-Madrona corridor, or some possible alternative that maintains the current alignment of the 2S while still streamlining service in the rest of the corridor. (Since the publication of this post, Metro has released a statement saying that the Route 2 changes have, indeed, been taken off the table. We regret the error.)

Feedback from Ballard, West Seattle and Delridge. In an effort to get a sense of what non-STBers think of these changes and promote STB to a wider audience, I attended Metro’s open houses this week. Of the attendees in the Ballard, many seemed to be from North Beach, Blue Ridge and West Magnolia, areas where all-day service is being cut or restructured to (effectively) require a transfer to get downtown. West Seattle was relatively quiet, with the excellent suggestion of scheduling the 128 and 20 to provide a timed transfer for Admiral District riders losing the 55 being all that stands out in my mind.

Weak sauce in Delridge. At the Delridge open house, local transit advocates complained vigorously — and, in my view, absolutely correctly — that North Delridge has been shorted in the Fall restructure proposals, with most of the new service proposed for their neighborhood abandoned in favor of maintaining service in much less productive areas, on top of the 125 being cut on weekends. Delridge is a growing, top-performing corridor with lots of transit-dependent riders; in a rational transit planning universe, it would have been the southwest Seattle RapidRide route. Instead, that area will arguably be worse off after the Fall 2012 restructure than today.

More after the jump.

A better Route 20. Here’s something I’ve heard from many people: the proposed Route 20 should be changed back to the original Route 40 proposal, where it traveled east from Alaska Junction on Avalon and Genessee, then served North Delridge and before rejoining the proposed 20 and heading to Georgetown (sorry, I don’t have a map). Metro was concerned that the bus wouldn’t be able to safely turn at the intersection of Avalon & Genesee without a stop light. It turns out that the neighborhood has been working with SDOT to address that, and a light should be installed this summer. This change would trade in the “three junctions” frequent service corridor on California for a connection (which is otherwise impractical on transit) between the two densest neighborhoods in southwest Seattle. I think this is a great idea.

“Route 120 Transit Enhancement for Delridge Way/Ambaum Blvd Corridor”. Finally, some good news for Delridge: a grant from WSDOT to improve the 120. Metro’s Rochelle Ogershok has the details:

The scope of the project is to design, implement and install bus lanes, curb bulbs, stop consolidation, transit signal priority and other changes to improve transit speed and reliability along the Route 120 corridor between the West Seattle Bridge and the Burien Transit Center.  We received a WSDOT Regional Mobility Grant for $2.23 million, which will be used to help construct the improvements.

Different elements of the projects will be constructed on different schedules. For instance proposed bus stop spacing, bus lane conversion and bus bulb installation would likely occur in the fall of 2012.  Transit signal priority improvements would occur in the spring of 2013. Prior to construction, we plan to inform the community about the proposed changes.

Suggestions for queue jump locations (particularly at Orchard and Andover), stop removals and bus lanes came forth unprompted when I mentioned this project to 120 riders. Outreach may begin as soon as next month, and the project can’t happen soon enough for the people I spoke to.

Another idea for the 120. Here’s a great opportunity for our transit agencies to collaborate for the benefit of the public: Sound Transit cancels the underutilized SeaTac-West Seattle segment of Route 560 and gives Metro that money, which Metro uses to extend Route 120 nonstop to SeaTac. Most of West Seattle now has a one- or two-seat ride to the airport, without backtracking all the way to downtown.

My personal wish for West Seattle. That Metro would beg, steal or borrow layover space in Alki (and some money) to extend the proposed Route 20 out to the terminus of the proposed Route 50, connecting Alki to its neighbors and the southwest Seattle transit system. Alki isn’t a blockbuster ridership center, but it’s fairly dense and a destination for a lot of people in the city. At 30-minute headways on Route 50, it’s not strongly connected to anything, and only very weakly connected to the rest of West Seattle.

New Trolleybus Layover on Virginia. Route 36 is currently served during the weekday by a mix of diesel and electric buses, due to a shortage of wired layover space downtown. The number of diesel trips was reduced a few months ago with the addition of a wired layover space north of the triangular McDonalds at Westlake & Virginia. Metro is now working on a second layover, one block west, which will allow 100% weekday electrification. Metro’s Linda Thielke:

The project included providing two trolley layover spots primarily to move the RT 36 to an all-trolley service. The funding came from a federal energy grant partnership between the City of Seattle and Metro Transit.

The reason it was done in two phases is that the McDonald’s layover was fairly easy to install and was done early in the project. There were no underground pole foundations required. The other layover required new poles, foundations, and building attachments – and working around the Westin Hotel pedestrian bridge.

Also, during the project, a garbage truck raked the underside of the bridge and some of the existing wire and electrical insulation was damaged. The bridge was repaired last weekend.

Neighborhood-level restructure information packets are out. On the System Restructure page, you can now click a map of the city, and obtain a customized map and information packet for your area.

This is an open thread for discussion and questions regarding anything Metro related. New readers are particularly encouraged to chime in.

27 Replies to “Metro News Roundup: Route 2, Delridge and More”

  1. King county transit flags at half mast honors have been reserved for heros that have sacrificed their lives in service and protection of others… as much as I loved whitney hustons music, her career, etc. … honoring her struggle with drugs & death on the same level as our humble selfless hero’s is offensive.

    Jt

  2. Thanks for the post, Bruce, and it was nice meeting you last night!
    One detail on the Route 40/20 switch. We’ve heard from a number of metro planners that when they made the change from the proposed route 40 to the proposed route 20, they were under the impression that the Genessee/Andover light project had been part of the failed Prop 1 package. We heard last night that this was one factor in the decision to cut both of the proposed routes (40 & 128) on Genessee. This was very frustrating for North Delridge residents who have been working hard to get that signal put in. When the similar route 50 was proposed in 2009, Metro told us the same thing: Genessee and Andover was a no-go for metro without a signal. Since then, we have successfully lobbied the city to get that signal put in. We’ve done our part: now metro should do their part, correct the miscommunication, and restore the route that their planners originally desired.

    East-west service has long been a weakness in the growing and transit-dependent neighborhood of North Delridge. For years this has been seen as a problem by both neighbors and metro planners. Now is the time to correct that – let’s not let a past miscommunication get in the way of progress that is so badly needed. Thanks!

  3. Psyched to see 100% electric service coming to the #36.

    Also really appreciate the #2 update. The neighborhood’s been buzzing after the stories yesterday.

  4. My apologies, regarding flag honors and whitney huston… I misunderstood, it was not king county transit… flag honors were given for miss huston in new jersy, ordered by nj gov christy.
    Jt

  5. Living on the eastside, I take the B Line a lot. I have never once seen fare enforcement officers on the weekend or after around 6 PM. If I’m noticing this, other people are noticing this. Even if Metro doesn’t have the money to pay them to work all of the B Line’s service hours, they should at least have them occasionally work the weekends so it appears that they may board at any time, and not just during doctor’s hours.

  6. Any sense on what got the #2 camp buzzing? Did someone at Metro say something they shouldn’t have? Did someone mishear or only hear what they wanted?

  7. When are GPS’s going to be fully rolled out? Is there any way of accessing the GPS data on the web? Man I’m getting tired of phantom buses on OneBusAway (not OBA’s fault, it’s the data). The 27 often just disappears from the list and never shows up, same for the 7 and the 14 is often far off OBA’s estimate.

    What’s the status on getting new electric trolley buses?

  8. Something that I’ve kind of glossed over with each Metro schedule revision is the RapidRide D interim routing on the north end. Why is it needed and how long is interim?

    My assumption is, there’s no good layover/turnaround spots up at the end on Holman Rd. And since there’s talk of eventually extending it to Northgate, do they figure it’s not worth the time or money to construct/designate a layover spot at the current end, hence the interim turnaround?

    Also, I’ve noticed that it appears the RapidRides C & D continue through downtown as the other respective RapidRide. Has it always been this way? When I first heard of C & D, I was under the assumption that they were separate lines, since coming from West Seattle or Ballard causes severe delays downtown in the evening as it continues to Ballard or West Seattle respectively. I understand it’s hard to get layover spots downtown, but I feel as though the RapidRides would be a good exception to make.

    1. It looks like Metro is waiting for SDOT to finish improvements along 7th Ave NW, just north of Holman Rd.

      Metro’s Have a Say website (under the pdf for the 15, 15X) states that the interim routing is until mid-2013.

      And, this postcard was sent by SDOT last year to residents near QFC:
      http://goo.gl/nWzKW

      1. Yikes, I can’t believe I missed that. I didn’t notice until yesterday when I was listening to Dow Constantine talk about how “the RapidRide” was going to go by the proposed stadium. I checked a map to make sure I wasn’t crazy (I did and he’s completely wrong) and that’s when I noticed the through routing. I’ve always concerned myself with the stops north of downtown that I never paid attention to the downtown routings…

  9. Way to go, traveling to all those disparate open houses!

    When I couldn’t make the Ballard High School event, I pledged to myself that I’d make it to Union Station next week as a substitute. Perhaps it’s good that the false “route 2 plan withdrawal” and the subsequent blowouts on Central District News and Capitol Hill Seattle happened in the intervening days. It gives me even more reason to be vocal in support of the changes regardless of where I show up.

    Is there a major or highly visible minor outreach event that I should be prioritizing over the downtown/Union Station one?

    1. The major one to be checking out, IMO, is the one Monday the 27th in the CD, 6pm at Washington Middle School.

      This is both the one that all the #2 & #4 activists will be showing up at, and the final one scheduled (By far!). Washington Middle School is 2 blocks from 23rd & Jackson, a huge neighborhood transfer point between the 4,14,8, & 48. This will finish the public comment period with a bang. If any deals to “save” the 2 or 4 are made, they’ll probably be announced here.

      This is my neighborhood of 10 years, and I really want to go to stand up for the changes. But I have social anxiety and am utterly terrified of the possibility. I’ll try to stop by the much smaller, little advertised “information table” they’ll have set up at 23rd & Jackson next Wednesday 8-10AM instead. I think I might have to be at an inventory that morning, but if I make it I can register my support for most of the changes and opposition to the peak frequency reduction on the 14 – and ask for 14/27 to share a common e/w segment through the CD.

      If I were going to the meeting at WMS, I’d like to get a show of hands for who in the audience has a monthly pass. I have a hunch that much of the opposition is made up of occasional riders and non-riders – the actual frequent transit users of the neighborhood are underrepresented.

      1. Thanks, Thereof. They must have added the Washington Middle School event after I first perused the listings, and once they realized that the C.D. was the most contentious battleground.

        Anyway, I guess it’s moot now. Though if they hold the meeting anyway, perhaps I should show up, explain how difficult it was to get there, and thank the morons for keeping things that way.

  10. I hope, at the end of this outreach process, Metro doesn’t water down nearly every proposal that it has made due to the objections of a very small number of people.

    1. One of the problems is that there is no organized first-hill contingent arguing for their *free* improved consolidated local service. There are a ton of very large apartment buildings within a 3 block walk of Madison, yet I have not heard a single peep out of those people.

      This is very much neighborhood vs. neighborhood, but one of those neighborhoods hasn’t even shown up to the debate.

      1. The vast majority of people haven’t shown up for the debate. That’s the problem in Seattle. Everything is decided not through election platforms, but through community meetings where a tiny fraction of the population actually shows up, and an even smaller fraction of the people who show up know what they are talking about.

      2. “Seattle: Every Opinion Is Equally Awesome.”

        “Seattle: We’re This Close To Inventing The Wheel!”

        “Seattle: 2 + 2 = Let’s Take A Survey.”

  11. Another idea for the 120

    Yes, yes, 1000 times yes. The 120’s Ambaum section is Burien’s densest and and most transit-dependent corridor outside of Downtown. It’s pants-on-head retarded for that route to dead-end 4 miles from a Link/RRA connection, forcing a transfer to the 140/180 just to get to the transit spine on the other side of the airport.

    Losing the 560’s half-hour peak-only service is a small price to pay to add that missing link.

  12. So the 70 is supposed to reelectified this spring, as far as I know. Right now, the lines just end at Fairview and Harrison. Are they going to put new line up? Or is that not the original routing of the 70?

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