A few months ago, I wrote about the Southend Transit Pathways project, Metro’s effort to decide the alignment of the currently-Viaduct-running West Seattle and Burien routes, once the Alaskan Way Viaduct is shut down in 2015. That process has moved steadily along, and of the four options I discussed, Metro has eliminated one, modified another and is now soliciting public feedback via an online survey on the resulting options. To avoid needless repetition, I’ll assume you’ve read that previous post, so head on over and do so if you haven’t, or refresh your memory if you need to.
The main change is the elimination of Pathway 4B, which used 4th Ave S, Edgar Martinez Dr, 1st Ave S and the Spokane St Viaduct to access the West Seattle Bridge; Metro tells me this was due to speed and reliability concerns, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. It also appears that Pathway 5A, the alignment most similar to today’s Viaduct routing, has been modified from a couplet on Marion and Columbia to be two-way on Columbia, a modification that implies a switch to two-way traffic on Columbia.
To represent the two Pioneer Square pathways, the survey shows a map of Pathway 3A, which uses a Main/Washington couplet to connect from SR99 to the 3rd Ave transit spine “likely using bus-only lanes”; but the text also notes the possibility of using Main St in both directions. Asked if Metro had a preference between the two, I was told “Metro’s preference is for a two-way Main Street, and we are continuing to discuss that with Pioneer Square stakeholders.” My question about commitments from SDOT about transit priority were referred to SDOT, and I have an email in to them for comment.
I’ve personally been a unabashed fan of the two-way Main St alignment from the start, as it maintains the integrity of the 3rd Ave transit spine as far south as possible, serves the heart of Pioneer Square, avoids ferry queueing traffic, avoids creating a couplet, provides the best overall regional transit connectivity, and seems to me to hold out the strongest possibility of workable bus priority treatments, such as peak-period restrictions on car traffic on Main St, just as 3rd Ave now enjoys. But this isn’t just about what I think! This is about what you think, so you should go and take the survey. Metro is particularly interested in the opinions of regular riders of the West Seattle and Burien routes.