Current Queen Anne Service Map
Current Queen Anne Service Map, by Oran

With Friday’s unfortunate announcement that Routes 2 and 4 will be remain largely unchanged, we’ve lost one of the best parts of the Fall 2012 restructure, with anything beyond “small adjustments to the frequency and running hours” on the 4 ruled out. As I pointed out months ago, the eight-terminal network that now serves Queen Anne to Madrona is intrinsically less efficient and comprehensible than the three terminal network that was proposed; with restoration of the 4, most or all of that is probably lost.

While it’s all water under the bridge now, it’s worth noting that Metro had an unpublished draft plan that would have kept the crosstown Route 2 on Seneca (with a one-seat ride to the Seattle Center) while still improving Route 13 to all-day frequent service and providing service every 5-8 minutes during the weekday from Downtown to First Hill (it would also have raised the south part of the 2 to frequent service on weekday evenings). The thousands of people who use those buses daily — far, far more than who use the tails of the 4 — who will pack onto overloaded buses on James St or suffer the woefully inadequate service on Queen Anne Ave to Seattle Pacific are the real (but evidently unpersuasive) human cost of inertia.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of minor changes that would noticeably improve Queen Anne service, cost nothing overall, qualify under the rubric of “small adjustments … to running hours”, and upset almost no-one, thus fitting quite well with what’s left of the Fall proposal.

Abolish the Night-Sunday Routing of Route 4. All day Sunday, after 7:15 PM Saturday, after 10:30 PM Monday-Friday and for a handful of early morning trips each day, service to East and North Queen Anne is provided by driving buses in a giant “dog bone” path on the top of the hill. Metro’s timetables describe it thus:

Special Service Info
Service from Downtown to Queen Anne Hill – Route 3 (North Queen Anne) does not operate during Night & Sunday service hours. Instead, it is served by Route 4 buses (signed “4 to East Queen Anne via Nite-Sun Rt”). The Route 3 terminal (1st Ave W & W Raye St weekdays, Queen Anne N & McGraw St weekends) is served first, then the Route 4 terminal (Nob Hill Ave N & Galer St), from where buses return to downtown. Direct service to downtown from the Route 3 terminal is not provided.

Having spent many nights and Sundays on Queen Anne Ave, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of riders I’ve seen who sit through this little jaunt all the way to the turn for Nob Hill at Blaine St (they get off on Boston St and walk — it’s quicker). These special 4 trips should be turned into 3 trips. It’ll save money and I’m willing to bet almost no-one will even notice.

Fix late night service on Route 13. When Route 8 was original created, daytime frequency on Routes 10 & 12, and late night service on Route 13 were cut, in order to offset the cost of the new service. The legacy of this is inferior late night service on Route 13 compared to Route 2N, as can be seen from this table of last trips inbound to Downtown from the terminals:

Route Weekday Saturday Sunday
2N 1:29 1:27 1:27
13 12:13 11:50 12:04

The makes no sense if you know the area: Route 13 serves a dense (and getting denser) “Main Street” full of apartments, bars, restaurants and shops (including a 24-hour grocery store), while the unique segment of the 2N covers a quiet, mostly single-family neighborhood. The late-night 2N/13 schedules should be reversed, to put the buses where the people who are awake will be. This would get more riders, and cost very little — and the cost could be offset by the savings from the above proposal for Route 4.

38 Replies to “Salvaging Minor Improvements for Queen Anne”

  1. Maybe if all who care to comment could be privy to the draft plan discussions it would be a bit helpful to earlier discussions. Draft plans that are never presented perhaps had other sets of problems. How does one become a member of this select group to look at draft plans? And, please remember to do it while there is time for real analysis .

      1. I do go to the open houses and discussed several plans. I always have and no one ever showed me any plan to add anything the #2s. There were only subtractions. And, in the case of the 2s, no concerns were addressed. The presenters talked about the increased frequency along Madison west of 12th or the reliability. However, the concerns about losing any relevant destinations was not addressed, and no added service for the #2s ever presented to me

      2. Did you ask Metro staff if they had any alternate plans?

        The statement that “no concerns were addressed” is flat-out wrong. In between the November and February proposals, Metro added a deviation to the 27 to serve Horizon House. That may not have been everything YOU wanted, but it was a serious effort to address the concerns raised, and pretending it wasn’t suggests bad faith or unseriousness on your part.

      3. The 27 revision plan was incredibly smart. Those with limited mobility were served with front-door service not just to Horizon House and Virginia Mason, but also Swedish, Harborview, and other housing along the Boren corridor with high concentrations of seniors and the disabled (all of whom are missed by the current 2).

        The scheduled 27 service would have been frequent enough to meet seniors’ daytime needs, but not as frequent as more efficient routes like the proposed “new 2,” which would have been a huge improvement for the much larger proportion of riders who prefer speed and reliability. Fewer buses stuck in traffic; more buses moving more people quickly.

        Did you think every single Virginia Mason patient lived on the 2, Joanna? Did you think Horizon House residents — for whom you frequently claimed to speak — cared if their downtown trips had a number “2” or a number “27” on the front?

    1. In fact, this draft plan was (perhaps unknowingly) alluded to emails that went out on the “Save Bus 2” list, so I certainly wasn’t the only one who was told:

      Planners do not know at this date whether or not the #2 will continue to serve Uptown on Queen Anne Ave. N. and 1st Avenue North, or will go on 5th Avenue on the eastside of the Seattle Center. The #2 will definitely go to Mercer, whether on the east or west side.

      1. I don’t remember seeing or hearing anything that would have given #2s more frequent service than is currently provided anywhere. “…(it would also have raised the south part of the 2 to frequent service on weekday evenings).” Yes, and the statements to which you refer were spoken at a meeting where only a few were reporting on what was said and there seemed to be uncertainty on the part of the staff of exactly how it would be done. I was one of the first to email for written confirmation of what was actually intended and meant. By the evening of the next day is when the email from Metro arrived; therefore I had no idea of these were just statements of uncertainty or some actual thoughts.

      2. “I don’t remember seeing or hearing anything that would have given #2s more frequent service than is currently provided anywhere.”

        Did you ask? The 3N is currently frequent-service on weekday evenings and the 2S is not. If the 2S might have gone to the east side of the Seattle Center, it must been through routed with the 3N, which means that either the 3N had to be downgraded or the 2S upgraded.

      3. Regarding the #2s more frequent service. Certainly, I remarked that more frequent service on Madison, did not equal more frequent service for most #2 riders and there was no mention of any more service for the #2. No, I did not specifically ask about weekday evenings since they weren’t one of my main concerns. I did have a discussion with one person where I suggested the peak hour service really only entails maybe one or two extra buses on the route, not a lot and that it might be as productive to take those one or two buses, especially in the afternoon and run the every 15 minute service a little later. And, at no time did a planner raise the more frequency for weekday evenings. I have not looked at the figures to see if the ridership on weekend evenings justifies adding service, although I noted the #2s off peak service at all hours is high Those initial discussions were very frustrating for all.

        Meetings are a better way to get information as not every individual has to ask every question and planners do not have to repeat the same information so often. Meetings where all can hear the answer to everyone’s question is a better way to distribute information or some combination of the open house and meeting format. There was a fairly large Seneca group at the initial open house at the downtown library. And, the planners seemed to prefer to talk to either one person or a very small group one at a time, rather than opening the circles to larger participation.
        The extra frequency on weekend nights would have addressed many of the concerns of the current ridership. It would have at least been a bone. Remember the #2 is not really a drag on the system, our ridership is excellent. Sometimes if feels like everyone wants a piece of this very excellent route. With a few minor, not dramatic improvements it could be even more efficient.

      4. CORRECTION:
        The extra frequency on weekend nights would NOT have addressed many of the concerns of the current ridership. It would have at least been a bone. Remember the #2 is not really a drag on the system, our ridership is excellent. Sometimes if feels like everyone wants a piece of this very excellent route. With a few minor, not dramatic improvements it could be even more efficient.

      5. 1. You enjoy misreading charts. The 2’s ridership is not that good.
        2. Slow service is a drag no matter how many people are on it. In fact, the more people on the bus, the more people you’re “dragging” down.

      6. “Certainly, I remarked that more frequent service on Madison, did not equal more frequent service for most #2 riders”…

        Joanna – you did more than that. You remarked that it was a “fact” that E. Union service frequencies would be reduced, without any data to support that assertion. And that’s why I have a hard time taking anything else you say at face value…

        I never once saw a “my bad” or “mea culpa” from you about that bogus “fact” (although there was a lot of traffic on several different blogs around then, so I apologize in advance if you did fall on your sword and I missed it…)

      7. As for the conversation regarding frequencies on E. Union, it was in that conversation that the planner indicated that the service would be about the same and that he supposed that aligning it with the #12 could end up with a little less service at certain times of the day. He did say that he did not believe it would be significant. He did not promise equal.

      8. Obviously I did ask how the alignment of the #2 and #12 would affect the #2, and in the final proposal there would have been a loss of service on Saturdays. There wasn’t data to promise one way or the other, only a conversation, and I clearly stated that it could result in some reduced service and it did. I know that this is not significant to you.

      9. As Bruce has pointed out, the initial plan involved ZERO loss of frequency.

        When the plan was revised to keep front-door service to Virginia Mason — something for which you advocated — the additional cost required a slight reduction of Saturday service on the 2.

        But the original plan, the one that first instigated your hissy fits, had a 0% reduction. Z-E-R-O.

        Keith, Joanna never admits to being incorrect or to spreading misinformation.

        At one point, she tried to justify her indignation by claiming that the 2 was a “profitable” route for Metro.

        When proven wrong — pages 29, 32, and 34 of http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/2009/2009-RtPerf.pdf and yes, Joanna, that includes the appropriate user share of monthly-pass revenues — she backpedaled a bit (“Maybe when they say it pays its for itself, they mean a route pays its fair share”) before falling all over herself to claim that the 2’s revenues had probably shot up dramatically since then. Then she posted an utterly irrelevant chart from 2010 for the umpteenth time.

        “I was mistaken” is not in her vocabulary.

  2. Bruce,
    You may find this hard to believe, but I think your suggestions (in the post) are excellent and I support them 100%. Also, I think Metro should route all Route 3 trips to SPU. If the 17 is diverted away from Nickerson, there will be a net loss of service from SPU to downtown unless the 3 runs to SPU.

    I hope Metro continues to look at service to the top of QA and that a more workable (for riders) and efficient (for Metro) plan evolves.

  3. Why did metro back off the changed in queen anne as well? Couldn’t they have still routed the 4 along with the 3 to SPU, and replaced the 13 with the 2, and had it run up Queen Anne Ave?

  4. I suppose this will be a bit off topic and deleted. I am wondering why there was so little discussion of why and if you agree with these updates in February. No proposed change: 17X*, 18X*, 26*, 28X*, 31*, 48*, 355X*, 773*, 775*

    It would have been interesting to see some discussion of how and why these were taken off the table since I am mainly only really familiar of the intricacies of the #48. Further discussion here would have been an education.

    1. Joanna-

      My understanding is that they had proposed some routing extensions for the 17X and 18X that they aren’t moving forward on at this time. The 26, 28, 28X, 31, and 355X were all bounced to the Rapid Ride E discussion/restructure in 9/13.

      1. In talking to some of #26 riders it appeared that it was also due to community outrage. Why were they proposed and then bounced? Did you agree with that decision?

      2. Joanna-

        There was a huge uproar about it in the Wallingford, Green Lake, and Fremont neighborhoods. I think Metro made the right decision in backing off until the Rapid Ride E conversation. I still think they’re going to have a tough time making cuts in neighborhood bus service with RRE – there’s only one stop that serves Fremont and Wallingford (at 46th and Aurora) and the proposed service isn’t any better than the 358 as far as I can tell.

      3. You mean there are others in transit-illiterate Seattle who express a desire for better transit but who instigate near-riots when you propose revisions to a grossly inefficient route?

        Who would’ve thunk it?

      4. There were several sets of proposed changes, and some sets were better quality than others. The Ballard, Queen Anne, and Central District changes were the highest quality in my opinion: they created full-time frequent routes in the right corridors. The Fremont, Latona, and Sand Point changes were the lowest quality: the distribution of frequent routes, express routes, and destinations seemed arbitrary. I’m leaving out West Seattle because I know the area less.

        The Ballard changes are both good and succeeding. The Queen Anne and Central District changes are good and failing. The Fremont and Latona changes are mediocre and failing. I think that’s why we’re talking about Queen Anne and the CD. Metro and the feedback are more or less in consensus that the Ballard changes are good, and the Fremont and Latona changes need further thinking. But the feedback is sharply divided on Queen Anne and the CD, and half the feedback is at odds with what Metro wants to do. So that’s what people are talking about now.

      5. As I recently discovered, most non-work trips in West Seattle stay in West Seattle. So to the extent that the proposal shifts away from lots of infrequent all-day routes to downtown, and towards intra-West Seattle service with a transfer to RRC, I think it’s fantastic.

        I agree with you that the N/NE Seattle changes were a bit premature. I definitely think some of the proposals should happen (like rerouting the 5), but I also see how it would make more sense to wait until RRE.

    2. AFAIK the only real changes anyone ever suggests for the #48 are splitting it in the U-District (like was done with the #43 long ago), electrifying the Southern portion on 23rd, and perhaps turning it into a corridor route by combining it with the 7 South of MB station.

      As for the Wallingford/Fremont changes I mostly supported them.

    3. I’ve been talking here about the 355 since it goes to my neighborhood–on days when I can’t face a crackhead-filled commute, I take the 355 instead of the 358. I was very excited by the proposed changes that have since been taken off the table. My understanding from reading comments here is that the 355 changes were nixed because there aren’t great connections from Greenwood/Broadview to UW, since the 48 stinks. I personally don’t think the ridership warrants keeping the route’s detour through the U-District, especially in the morning when it adds a LOT of time, since the detour goes all the way over to Roosevelt before getting back on the freeway (although the evening detour can be painfully slow too due to congestion). I am hopeful that they will eventually go ahead with the changes to the 355 once Rapid Ride E happens, but still not holding my breath, having seen how many Metro decisions appear driven not by data but by political outrage.

    1. In the “interest of facts,” the 2010 report does not include any cost-recovery metric.

      In the “interest of facts,” the lack of information in the 2010 report relevant to any point you are trying to make has been pointed out to you repeatedly.

  5. [Captains Log *2012*] The Pro/No transit warriors have punched themselves out once again on the battlefield, each dragging their wounded back to camp as the the death star of change, ‘Beauracratica’, escapes unharmed into the darkness.
    Kirk out.

  6. Right when we think we’ve memorized when and where all the buses go, it changes.

    This is why we need rail, once you’ve memorized the rail map and where the stations are, they will never change for a century at least.

    1. Rail routes can change a little faster than that. But moving railway stops requires building stations, so it is indeed a slower process.

  7. Changes to 2, 4, and 27 officially dead. Email alert says, “After getting feedback from riders, Metro has decided to postpone making routing changes to routes 2, 4, and 27…. feedback already received from current riders has helped us understand how important some of our existing service is to their lives and neighborhoods. We’ve heard that there are factors that deserve further review, analysis, and understanding. So we’ve decided to postpone making any changes to the routing of these three routes. Instead, we’re now proposing to make only small adjustments to the frequency and running hours of routes 4 and 27 to match the demand for service.”

    I hope that’s really a postponement till next year, and not a sign it’ll never go through.

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