King County Metro 125 at 1st & Columbia
King County Metro 125 at 1st & Columbia

Metro is moving ahead with a WSDOT-funded set of minor capital improvements on the Ambaum/Delridge corridor served primarily by Route 120:

A new bus lane will soon be under construction on Delridge Way Southwest to improve bus speed and reliability for Route 120 – one of Metro Transit’s Top 10 busiest routes. […]

[T]he half-mile-long northbound bus lane along a key stretch of Delridge Way Southwest will improve travel times approaching the West Seattle Bridge during the morning commute. The bus lane will operate 6-9 a.m. weekdays from Southwest Oregon Street to Southwest Andover Street and help reduce signal and queuing delays for Metro bus routes 120 and 125, benefitting more than 900 riders during the morning commute.

The roughly $170,000 bus lane improvements – striping, signs and pavement repair – are part of a larger $2.8 million Route 120 Transit Improvement Project funded by a State Regional Mobility Grant and King County matching funds. It is led by King County Metro Transit and coordinated with the City of Seattle.

More after the jump.

We’ve written previously about the 120 improvements package, which in addition to the bus lane headlined above, consists of eliminating overly-close stops, improving bus stops, and installing transit signal priority at several intersections. These improvements will take place over serveral months, coincident with SDOT repaving a large section of Delridge Way. This sort of unglamorous but relatively inexpensive work to improve the quality of local bus service is precisely what Metro and SDOT should be doing on more high-performing frequent-service corridors throughout the city.

As with seemingly every Metro proposal which goes through public process, this has been a little watered down. Out of the 21 stops originally slated for closure, five will instead be retained. I’m not sure of the reasons, but from the feedback I saw at the open house, I’m guessing it’s mostly riders grumbling about walking further to stops. This is a little disappointing, as even with the full slate of reductions, stops were still less than a quarter-mile apart on average, but overall this is still a significant improvement.

On the plus side, it seems that public feedback improved the headline rechannelization between Andover and Oregon, although I know we have readers from that neighborhood who know more  on this subject than me; perhaps they can weigh in with their opinion of those modifications in the comments.

30 Replies to “Metro Moving Ahead with Delridge Improvements”

  1. I’m pretty frustrated that the Hudson/Edmonds and Oregon/Genessee couplets of stops still remain. Each pair is only a block apart. From what I understand, this was mainly due to push-back from Youngstown folks, who were worried about losing the more accessible of the two stops serving their building.

      1. The plan was for the two inner stops to be removed, and a new one to be added in-between to maintain quarter-mile spacing. The more accessible stop is in a bit of an awkawrd location as far as spacing goes, so keeping it meant keeping all of them.

      2. On the bright side: The stops aren’t cemented in stone by county council ordinance, and the kept stop isn’t a ten-minute loop-de-loop through a parking lot, in line with crawling SOVs. Count your blessings.

  2. Funny that you put a 125 in your photo… 125 riders are getting absolutely shafted by this restructuring.

    The route has more riders than a lot of routes that are not losing their Sunday service or being reduced to 45-minute frequency.

    1. My understanding is that Metro planners would have preferred to convert the 120 rather than the 54 to RapidRide, but that political considerations prevailed.

      Both routes are heavily used, but the 120 is somewhat busier and makes much more sense as a quasi-BRT route.

      1. Plus Delridge loses owl service when the 85 loop is replaced by 2-way service to Fauntleroy on RapidRide C.

      2. Brent: That’s outbound. There are no inbound trips between about 1 and 5 AM. RapidRide C has 2-way owl service.

      3. And essentially all of the very limited legitimate traffic on those services is outbound. (On the loop owl routes, a majority of the riders are homeless and using the bus as a shelter.)

        That said, the first inbound trip is scheduled to arrive downtown shortly before 5:30. I’m sure there would be some demand for a trip that would leave Burien at 4:15 or so and get downtown by 5:00.

  3. I concur that Youngstown folks complained about losing their stop because of concern about access to their building, as well as for the community center and playfield across the street. What’s important to understand about Delridge is that there are only a few businesses that actually draw people to the area and around which people concregate. And, in a neighborhood that needs to ensure that is is friendly and considerate of business needs, its important to weigh the streamlining of the bus stops with the need to support local businesses by making sure folks can get to them by bus easily. Because, when it all boils down to it, recruiting more local shopping options that we residents can walk to is just as important as speeding up bus travel times-and, really smart city planning to boot.

    1. “Because, when it all boils down to it, recruiting more local shopping options that we residents can walk to is just as important as speeding up bus travel times-and, really smart city planning to boot”

      Huh – no matter what the bus does, local residents within walking distance of their businesses can always walk there – take away the bus entirely and residents can still walk to local businesses.

  4. (broken record wish)

    I still hope, as part of the restructuring around the F Line and ST’s planned reorganization of the 560, that the 120 reach to the airport, in place of the rather underutilized and poorly-interlined 180 and 560. With most of the West Seattle routes serving Westwood Village, it would be a perfect choice.

    1. (broken record answer)

      The connection between Westwood, White Center, and the airport is not in nearly heavy enough demand to justify tying up the number of artics required to serve it every 10-15 minutes. Those buses are better used elsewhere.

      1. Of course there is no demand for rides between a shopping mall and an airport, as demonstrated by the mostly-empty 560. But what about the unserved demand of a non-painful commute from the somewhat-dense Delridge corridor to job centers, such as the airport, without a wait of up to half an hour in Burien?

      2. We’ve been over this, but the airport is not a major job center. It has some jobs, but there is not that much immediately around it (and because it’s so big the stuff that is “nearby” is often not walking distance).

        Connections from Delridge to Southcenter and the Kent Valley, which are major job centers, are more important. And those will be the same whether the connection is made at White Center (128), Burien, or the airport.

      3. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the US if not the world and is thus a tourist destination in its own right, while every large city has a Southcenter.

        SeaTac airport has the largest number of workers under a single roof in south King County, with the possible exceptions of Boeing and Southcenter. And it’s the largest transit/transportation hub in the northwest, unless you consider all of downtown as a single unit.

      4. But what about the unserved demand of a non-painful commute from the somewhat-dense Delridge corridor to job centers, such as the airport

        Forget the airport, what about getting to Link/RRA? Burien transit center is frustratingly close. Take it to the airport or to TIB station, I don’t care which, just make it get that last 2.5 miles.

      5. What’s the purpose of getting to Link besides getting to the airport? Travel between West Seattle and the Ranier Valley is an edge case and if you want to go downtown, you may as well take the one-seat bus that goes downtown.

        As to transfers to the A-line, again, how many people actually make such trips? Given that 99% of the people who make such trips probably drive and will continue to drive no matter what service changes we make, how much ridership will this really generate?

    2. This is just a symptom of the screwed-upness of the whole system just south of Seattle. There’s too many small transit hubs that aren’t interconnected enough. From west to east, there’s Burien Transit Center, Tukwila International Blvd Station, Southcenter Mall, Tukwila Sounder Station, South Renton Park & Ride, and Renton Transit center. Only a handful of buses hit each, so odds are that if you’re commuting in the area, you’ll end up with a 3-seat ride, having to ride a low-frequency connection to scoot between them.

      Hopefully RRF will improve the situation, but navigating that area by transit is generally a disaster.

      1. A lot of people think it’s an emerging major corridor, which is why it was chosen for RR F and is on the shortlist for a future Link line. The question is whether they’re right. Will it become a major all-way travel corridor with improved service? Would it help to connect the rest of south King County’s routes together? Or will it really function as two interlined routes because almost everybody’s going to Southcenter, and it’s still not fast enough to effectively connect southwest and southeast King County? Do the nodes (except Southcenter) really have enough destinations to attract people to them?

      2. I don’t hold out high hopes for it being a huge corridor on it’s own. But the transit network in that area is pretty much broken without a single high-frequency trunk line connecting the scattered local hubs. There’s major employers or major residential developments on just about every connecting route, even if there isn’t anything unusually compelling on the F corridor itself. I’d be happy to lose every one of the “stops” on the plan, and have it simply as an express from one “station” to the next – but I doubt the stops will slow it down too much.

        If we’re going to have a system that makes SW-SE county trips into 3 seat rides, making one of those seats be on a reliable high-frequency route is the least we can do.

      3. While it could still stand a few improvements, at least the 140 runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and serves all the destinations except the South Renton P&R. I wonder what the ridership is on this route?

      4. Hopefully when it is rapidrideified, we’ll see better weekend headways and maybe a trip or two after 10 pm?

        I wonder what the ridership is on this route?

        Peak-time it has below-average ridership, staying just barely above Metro’s underperformance standard.
        Offpeak it has completely average ridership.
        Nighttime it is in the top 1/3 of all south subarea routes, with well above average ridership.
        Those comparisons are all with respect to the south subarea, and are based on Metro’s 2009 route performance report.

        The underperformance in the peak is likely due to the fact that at peak time there is more transit operating in general, with peak-only routes and improved headways giving people more direct 2-seat or 1-seat options. As the day drags on and the peak-only service falls away, leaving only the area’s disjointed core network operating, more people start riding the 140 hub-to-hub. At least that’s my interpretation.

      5. Calling any bus that follows the 140 route “RapidRide” is a disgrace to the RapidRide brand across the whole system. Take a look at that map and observe how the bus is constantly twisting and turning, deviating to serve this interest or that interest. There is absolutely no way any bus running that crazy of a route can be even remotely considered “Rapid”. While none of the RapidRide routes are really “rapid”, the F-line looks like it’s going to become the slowest of all of them.

        If we want to improve service to the area, we should just call a spade a spade and announce we’re simply adding trips to the #140 bus. The RapidRide brand should be limited to routes that at least have the potential to become somewhat rapid in the future, should political will exist for additional signal priority/stop reductions that doesn’t exist today. But calling a route “RapidRide” for which being rapid is a geometric impossibility simply tarnishes the branch.

  5. Sorry I didn’t see this sooner. The Neighborhood Council played a significant role in providing feedback on the rechannelization, and Jake Vanderplas in particular helped to shape the improvements to the new peak bus lane. We were particularly concerned about traffic operations through the Andover & Delridge intersection, which are already rather complicated.

    On a side note, we received confirmation about the 26th Ave Greenway, with bike improvements to be made at this intersection to help guide bikes from the West Seattle Trail at the Bridge to cross the intersection and come over to 26th.

Comments are closed.