Delridge Open House Attendees
Delridge Open House Attendees

Last night, I dropped by Metro’s open house for the proposed Route 120 speed and reliability improvements, and chatted to Metro staff and neighbors. Much of the public feedback consisted of fairly predictable requests by neighbors to save their favorite stops, but I noted a couple of items of information or concern:

  • Whether the northbound queue jump rechannelization near Andover will work. Currently, the north end of Delridge Way provides two general purpose lanes in the northbound direction. Local residents were concerned that the loss of a general purpose lane at that intersection would make traffic congestion significantly worse and provide little benefit, as, in the morning rush hour, Delridge is often gridlocked north of Andover. They proposed shortening the bus lane so that the bus would merge south of the intersection.
  • The 125’s detour to serve the Chelan & Spokane stops under the viaduct will likely go away. This detour is classic Metro: sending a bus a minute out of its way to save a very small percentage of riders a five-minute walk; getting rid of it puts the 125 on the same alignment as the 120, and is a big win for most riders.

Metro’s Have a Say website has all the details about the proposed changes, along with contact information and a survey for feedback; comment deadline is this Friday, April 27th.

12 Replies to “Delridge Open House Report”

  1. Are you saying the bus has to merge into the single general-purpose lane, or that cars get to “merge” into the bus lane (even if they aren’t making a right turn)?

    I oppose either idea, but the way you describe it seems off, and would obviously cause more congestion.

  2. As someone who regularly catches the bus at Delridge and Andover, I believe the bus queue jump would have little effect on traffic. It does back up badly when there is congestion on the bridge, but adding a queue jump and having a bus only lane would delay relatively few people. About three cars currently fit in the extra lane where the bus stop is. I would remove about three parking places to the south and make the bus lane a bit easier for the bus to get into. There are far more people on the packed 120 and 125 than are in those cars.

    And I am not sure that the deletion of the 125 detour is that big of deal. It really doesn’t take long and serves a park and ride under the WS bridge. As for the win for riders by duplicating the routes, it doesn’t exist. Andover is the last stop on Delridge and both the 120 and 125 stop there, so they already offer more frequency.

    1. I agree with the @realitybasedcommute. The bulk of the AM northbound traffic is merging onto the WS bridge, and most backups seem to stem from this slow single lane. Though I don’t claim to have any traffic engineering background, it seems to me that losing a lane at Andover will not change backups significantly. It will, however, certainly make things much smoother for the often standing-room-only 120.

    2. I don’t know if I agree with you about the 125 detour. Those folks that use that park and ride will still have several routes to use to get over there.
      The big win for riders isn’t the duplicating of the routes, it’s the time saved not having to go through that detour when nobody’s using it.

    3. I agree that impact on traffic will be minimal. I also agree with Jake that the impact on the buses will be significant.

      One point I was surprised about was the complete removal of parking on the southbound side of delridge between Andover and Oregon. That will make a significant impact on the residents and community center activity. This is something that most folks are not fully aware of because we seem to be so happy with the northbound changes.

  3. Another agreed that the queue jump is just fine as is. The street is already only one lane northbound anyway (with a center turn lane and parking on either side) as you can see in the proposed schematic. It doesn’t serve much of a purpose and really only allows aggressive drivers the opportunity to gun in around everyone else from the left lane. As a cyclist, it would be a good bonus too, to have no drivers behind me in the mornings while I wait at the light and wonder if they will run me over or not. That’s always fun.

    I’d really like to see the addition of a bike lane extending north from Andover as well since Delridge is very wide north of Andover and there’s plenty of room for one.

    As for the 125 stop – the walkability between Delridge/Andover and the lower bridge is really, really terrible. It’s dark even during the day, there’s few businesses, few people, and poor pedestrian crossings under the bridge (have any of you tried to walk under there?). Unless something is improved there the 125 should remain a stop.

    1. Edit: Delridge just south of the Andover intersection is already one lane until just before the bus stop…I realize it’s split into two lanes just before the intersection.

  4. It’s hard to describe this without pictures:

    In the current configuration northbound at Andover, the street splits into two traffic lanes just south of the intersection, and allows for the bus to stop in-lane at the curb. Moving north, the curb lane and majority of traffic heads up onto the West Seattle Bridge, while the left lane continues underneath the Bridge for Harbor Island and West Marginal Way. There is also a high level of heavy truck traffic from the steel mill and bicycles turning left from Andover.

    The proposal is to have only one traffic lane and one curbside bus lane with queue jump: PDF

    One problem is that now most of the traffic will be trying to jump from the left-hand lane into the curb lane to go onto the bridge, and will be in conflict with the high level of commuter traffic coming down the hill from the East.

    In addition, the queue jump gains nothing for the bus. When there is a significant backup in the morning, there is a need for a bus lane from Oregon Street (at the bottom of the proposal) all the way up to the bus stop at Andover, because traffic backs up that far or even further south sometimes delaying the buses by 15-20 minutes. But when a backup exists, traffic from the Bridge or underneath usually comes up to the intersection or even backs up into the intersection — especially if the large trucks are turning. The jump doesn’t work, because there will be no space for the bus to jump into.

    Of more minor concern, is that this rechannelization causes the loss of a de facto bus lane southbound at afternoon peak. While this should only delays buses by perhapp 1-2 minutes, it is something that most drivers utilize. Of course, with the added new Route 50 which will be traveling southbound here and turning at Gennessee, there will be a higher frequency of buses, and buses now needing to turn right rather than just continue through the intersection at Gennessee.

    *SIGH* See, this is rather complicated…

    1. Mickyme, I may be misunderstanding you, but I think that the queue jump will work as proposed. When Delridge backs up, there are times when it takes the bus several minutes to traverse the few blocks from Oregon to Andover. With the new bus-only lane stretching this whole distance, the 120 will have clear sailing.

      Once the bus is stopped at the Andover light, the traffic dynamics will remain largely unchanged: SOVs will go around the bus in the left lane and merge right on the other side of Andover, and the bus will progress forward when ready.

      1. No, Jake… Getting the light first is pointless if there is no space to move into, which is often the case in a bad backup.

        As you’ve pointed out, our problem is getting the bus from Oregon to the bus stop at Andover, not from the bus stop to the Bridge.

  5. The stops below the West Seattle bridge are a bottleneck at rush hour. The 57 would be much faster if it did not have to service that area. Horrible cork in the bottle…perhaps get a shuttle to service that low ridership area.

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