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.