Route 110 in Renton
Route 110 in Renton, and the possible F Line extension to The Landing

While Metro won’t be making any changes in north-central Seattle with the opening of RapidRide E next September, the agency is proposing some minor changes to the bus network in Renton with the concurrent opening of RapidRide F. The F Line will replace Route 140, boosting peak headways to ten minutes, and extending frequent service into the evening and weekend; Metro is also seeking funding for an extension of the F Line to The Landing, an urban village development a couple of miles north from the 140’s eastern terminus at Renton Transit Center.

The are five routes near the 140 alignment which Metro proposes to modify or delete:

  • Deleting Route 110. This seems to be a Sounder-Boeing commuter shuttle with very modest ridership numbers, which duplicates the 140 for much of its length, and is within a quarter to a third of a mile of the Landing extension for almost all the rest of its length.
  • Deleting underperforming DART route 908, replacing most of its fixed route with minor changes to DART 909 and Route 105.
  • Converting the little-used hourly Route 155 to a DART route.

These changes seem straightforward and sensible, and I hope Metro is able to come up with funding for the Landing extension, as it looks like a cheap and east way to boost ridership and mobility in that area. I particularly like how Metro staff have, for the 110, shown the number of boardings along segments of the route which don’t directly overlap the F Line. Getting real ridership data out to the public in an understandable form is essential for having intelligent public debates about spending transit money.

Metro is having two open houses on this subject, at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, Nov. 27
Renton Technical College

Room C-111
3000 NE Fourth Street
6-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 29
Renton High School

400 S Second Street
6-7:30 p.m.

You can find more information, including maps and a survey, at the Have a Say website.

Finally, not a Metro proposal at all, but something which I think would be a huge mobility improvement for area: a concept I outlined on the blog a while ago, to restructure the 8 and 106. This would double the daytime frequency of the 106, and much better connect riders in Renton to their neighbors in Skyway and the Rainier Valley, at minimal cost to Metro.

54 Replies to “Restructuring Renton Service for RapidRide F”

  1. I just don’t understand why the lesser obvious routing is preferred. Park Avenue is superior considering proximity to all housing and employers. On top of that, all other Metro routes use Park Ave which support high-frequency headways. The 110 should have been deleted long ago in favour of the 566 and/or 140.

    1. I’m torn on Park vs. Logan. Park seems the better choice because of its better access to Boeing-Garden Plaza, Kenworth, PACCAR, etc.. and the likelihood of continued service on the 240, 342, 560, and 566.

      Logan currently has no transit at all, but I assume the big prize for RR F on a Logan alignment would be front door service to the (rapidly expanding) 737 plant. Combined with frequent service to/from Tukwila Sounder, maybe RR F can capture more commuters than the 110 did.

      Also, with the Strander Blvd extension and the removal of 140/RR F from Grady Way, the F-Line will offer all-day frequent service between the Boeing offices on Oakesdale/16th and the main Renton plant.

      1. I think Logan is probably a better choice. The major reason for the RR F extension is to serve The Landing. If that is the goal then Park could be used but the deviation to serve PACCAR and Kenworth shouldn’t happen (that kind of diversion should never happen on an RR line anyways). If you take that diversion away then Park will be a slower (and less reliable route thanks to Bronson and I-405 traffic) than Logan.

        If your objective is to serve the most employees then the route should focus on Boeing Renton. Boeing Renton probably has 2-3 times as many employees as Kenworth/PACCAR and I’d bet has a much better TDM program to get employees on transit.

        So to me either way you look at it Logan is better.

      2. I wasn’t suggesting that RR-F deviate off of Park on the 110 alignment, but rather comparing Logan to RR-F running on Park straight to the Landing as the other 4 routes do today. If Boeing turns out to heavily patronize the line — and they do offer a decent transit subsidy — I agree that Logan could be a better choice.

      3. “and the likelihood of continued service on the 240, 342, 560, and 566”

        Oh god, please kill the 342 between Renton and BTC. That route is a perfect candidate to be converted to a linked transfer using the “Connection Protection” feature mentioned in OBS training but so far unimplemented. The 560 can easily carry passengers from the 342 and link at BTC. Almost every time I drive the 560 I end up playing leapfrog with a 342 travelling to BTC. All of the passengers on our two buses can fit on a 40′ coach. (And lately, I’ve seen 342s running 60′ coaches – Ugh)

      4. The 342 is one of those routes that exists because a few commuters promised to blow up the King County Council if they lost their one-seat ride. It survives because it has *just* enough productivity not to be at the top of the list for cuts. Yes… shorten it to Bellevue (there is no replacement between Bellevue and Bothell center) and have people transfer from the 560.

      5. “(there is no replacement between Bellevue and Bothell center)”

        They can take the 535 from Bothell P&R to Bellevue but that’ll make it a three seat ride for some.

      6. RapidRide is not intended to serve “the most employers” in the peak-commuting sense. It’s intended to reflect and strengthen corridors with all-day ridership. If it happens to pass by Boeing’s door and smaller companies’ doors, great. But it shouldn’t go out of its way to serve peak-commuters: that’s what peak-only routes are for. Some have pointed out the RR B’s northern segment seems to fail this test: it goes through office parks rather than Redmond Town Center, and thus loses that off-peak ridership. The main issue with businesses and RapidRide is, do those businesses get clients and colleagues arriving by bus throughout the day? Do their workers come and go at different times rather than all arriving at 8 and leaving at 5? Then they’re a better candidate for RapidRide attention.

        Re Logan vs Park, I don’t know those streets well but I assume Metro is right that Logan is generally faster.

      7. @Mike I’m not saying that RR’s purpose is to offer all-day service for areas with peak demand, I’m just saying that if that is an argument than Boeing is probably a better area to focus than Kenworth and PACCAR.

        I think access to The Landing is more important than either.

      8. Park is never unreliable. That’s simply untrue. I took the 566 for 6 months and never encountered delay.

    2. I have ridden most all the routes that run along Park. Northbound, most boardings/alightings (sp?) occur at the transit center then near 6th and Park. Not much in between. But this is anecdotal – in real numbers I trust.

      1. Your anecdote matches with my experiences driving 240s, 560s, and (long ago) the 342 in that stretch during rush hours. I rarely picked up outside those zones.

  2. Good route…the Landing is a great little urban village and has been adding to its array of shops and eateries. On any given night its filled with people going to the cinema. It also presents a very walkable, town square style open air mall development that people should visit. It has winding streets, wide sidewalks, traffic calming like circles and outdoor seating for summer weather. Meantime, Renton per se has not been sleeping and it presents a traditional grid style urban center that is do for a boost in my opinion.

    Just look at its location on the map! It’s a tri-corner for the east and west sides of Lake Washington and the routes to South King County…so yes, linking the two commercial centers is a really good use of transit.

    1. I don’t have a whole lot to say about whether or not the Landing is great. But it’s a great example of the ridiculousness of the term “urban village”.

      1. I agree. Multistory apartment buildings on top of an imposing parking garage with no street level retail does not make a “great urban village”.

      2. I mean… I’m going to hold off on the value judgments. When you’re building anything in Renton there are pretty strict and severe limitations placed on what you can do based on the fact that, at least in the initial phase, every trip that anyone makes will be done in a private automobile (or close enough to make no difference in parking and street volumes). Building a plausibly walkable internal commercial street is at least a start, and frequent transit service is a continuation. If they keep going maybe one day they’ll fill in those giant parking lots with things that actually serve the community.

        But “urban village” has to be the most pretentious phrase I regularly hear in Seattle, and that’s saying something.

      3. Well, I was just following the leader since it was in the original post.

        Urban Village was a term that floated around Seattle in the Norm Rice days of the early 1990s. The idea is they would distribute moderate amounts of commercial office space from downtown throughout the city. So a typical urban village would have been a Wallingford with some 3 story office buildings around the supermarket…idea is that people could have shorter commutes and not all cram into one downtown to work.

      4. It’s partly about its future potential. Now that Renton has designated The Landing as an urban village, it’s up to Renton and Metro to support it, and that means adding more transit-oriented housing and businesses over time. And it’s up to us to hold Renton and Metro to that commitment.

        I don’t know what Rice specifically said in the 90s, but urban villages were not about attracting businesses from downtown. It’s about attracting them from suburban office parks. And it’s not so much a case of businesses moving, but of where new businesses establish themselves. Urban villages provide a third place that’s neither downtown nor in sprawlsville. It resurrects the town-center model from the streetcar-suburb past.

    2. Seattle Fights Urban Sprawl With `Villages’
      May 2, 1994

      The plan defines three categories of urban villages: Five areas would be dense, commercially oriented “urban centers” where 45 percent of the city’s 60,000 anticipated new housing units would be built over the next 20 years. Seven less-dense “hub urban villages” and 17 “residential urban villages” would account for another one-third of expected growth.

      By concentrating growth in these areas, Rice and his planners argue, the suburban swathes of single-family homes that cover much of the city will remain largely free of development.

  3. Does Metro have enough RapidRide buses to run the full proposed length of the F Line at peak 10-minute headway, even while adding several more buses than originally planned to run the C, D, and E lines?

    The abandonment of the E Line restructure might be due to the overload of detractors on the C/D Line restructure, or perhaps Metro now realizes that the E Line will be at capacity without having more routes feed into it.

    1. Metro should have plenty of RR coaches for the service.

      I think the E line restructure is being pushed back just because of restructure fatigue. Metro wants to wait another year or two, and hopefully get both the C/D and the E actually working as intended, before it asks the public to swallow another restructure.

      1. What he said.

        Few of the restructure ideas for north-central Seattle would have involved feeding in to RapidRide anyway.

      2. Bruce, do you have any idea of what those north Seattle restructure ideas were? I am relatively new here and live in north Seattle but commute frequently to west Seattle so I would be directly effected by this. I think any restructure would be appreciated due to the infrequency of current routes.

      3. Proposals for North Seattle restructuring have been blogged about extensively. Search under ‘358’ and ‘E Line’ for example, and you’ll have lots to read. The official proposals were part of the North Seattle restructure around the D Line.

        The question is what are you willing to give up to get more frequency? Too many went into the restructure thinking service hours grow on trees, so many were disappointed that the restructure didn’t result in keeping all the current routes, just with more frequency.

      4. It’s a good question, but I don’t want to derail this post, which is primarily about Renton. I’ll write about those ideas at some point.

      5. There were several restructurings for Queen Anne, the Central District, Fremont, and Magnolia that died during the C/D debate. Especially for QA and the CD, Metro indicated it would come back with smarter proposals next year to coincide with the E. If E restructuring is now off the table, that suggests those restructurings will be delayed for at least two years and maybe several years.

        There were several STB articles about this over the past year, but essentially it would have made the 13, 4N, and 3S frequent, moved the 2S to Madison, and deleted the 2N and 4S. In Fremont it would have put the 5 on Dexter and made it frequent evenings, put the 28 on Aurora, deleted the 26, and attached the Latona tail to another route. It would have connected Magnolia to Ballard by combining the 24 and 61. There were objections to some of the deletions and movements.

        Any new proposals would have to be modified or scaled down to withstand the opposition, but the pro-reorganization side is hoping that someday the frequent 13, 3S, and 5 will be realized, the 2S will participate in Madison BRT, upper Fremont and lower Fremont will be connected (5), and a Magnolia-Ballard route will exist (24/61).

      6. Just to clarify: the 5 proposal is considerably more controversial than the rest even among pro-restructure folks. I fully support the 1/13/3N proposals on Queen Anne and the 2S/Madison proposal on First Hill. I (and quite a few others) strongly oppose the effort to put the 5 through lower Fremont, but there is also vociferous support for it.

        The lack of consensus on the pro-restructure side may have played a part in making Metro decide it was wise to hold off.

      7. I’m rather a fan of it, if it’s coupled with a restructuring of the 355 and 5X, and reliability improvements through Fremont.

        But again, this is for another day. Let’s talk about Renton for now.

  4. If we can’t through-route the 101 and 169, then how about through-routing the 106 and the 169? Then, have the 107 take over the segment of the 106 between RBS and Georgetown, and cancel the segment north of that, since the 124 covers it. If you can believe the schedules, the 106 is only about seven minutes slower than the 101 would be at getting between RBS and RTC.

    1. I like Bruce’s 106/8 idea better (although not with the Convention Place extension… using Olive past Cap Hill Station would destroy a lot of the reliability benefits of splitting the 8). I think there’s more Skyway/north Rainier Valley/CD demand than East Hill/Skyway demand, and it would still be faster to transfer at S Renton to the 101 to get downtown from East Hill.

    2. Another possibility would be 101/8. (Renton – MLK – John – Pine) That would have the advantage of one route staying on MLK consistently.

      Of course you could also do 8/169. That would be quite a long route. To be maximally creative we could extend it even further, subsuming the 180S to Auburn.

  5. Oh goodie gum drops. Another route that makes the 3 Snohomish Mayors look like Walkers Transit Rangers.
    C’mon. The 110 is a peak only shuttle van with 2.2 riders average at any given time. And we’re going to elevate that to BRT-lite, with 10 minute headways on an artic.
    Oh wait. It gets even better. Let’s run it up Logan, which is a virtual transit wasteland with few houses, some play fields and a jet factory that lets out… um… about every 8 hours. The Landing is a nice development but in big boy land, very tiny (count the cars in the sea of surface parking around it). Another wasteland.
    I take back everything bad I ever said about Sounder North. This RR-F is a real winner!

    1. For once I agree with the doom-and-gloom crew. The RR F doesn’t justify 10-minute peak service, or 15-minute midday service with artics. Current service levels on the 140 are fine.

      That said, a 140 extension to the Landing (but along Park, not Logan!) would work better than I think mic thinks.

    2. Don’t worry. If the extension flops, all it takes is a vote of the county council to undo it (after the county council votes to set the routes and stops on the F Line).

    3. The Landing routing is bad, but it should go to The Landing. I still agree though, this RR route is altogether a joke. It will fail massively.

      1. Massive fail is a matter of perspective. If you ask the people riding the C/D Line, they probably have a much lower opinion of that route that the people riding the A Line have of that route. And yet, a lot more people choose to ride the C/D Line.

      2. I’m considering the ridership potential of it, which just isn’t there. Plenty of other routes could have been given an enhanced bus service like RR elsewhere instead of the 140. It’s ridership is likely to be more abysmal than RR-B between RedTC and Microsoft.

  6. What would RR-F do between Renton Transit Center and the Landing that the 240, 342, 560, and 566 can’t do currently?

    I don’t get it. There is a plethora of transit service now between Renton Transit Center and the Landing, and adding F into the mix doesn’t allow any of them to be deleted. It will just reduce the efficiency of all the routes in this corridor. If Logan has great transit potential, then why aren’t the 240, 342, 560, and 566 moved to that route?

    1. Be frequent and have consistent headways, that’s what it would do. It’s a public benefit to have a few frequent, straight, easy-to-memorize routes, rather than schizophrenic overlapping service that each comes half-hourly or hourly and stops at different stops near each other.

      1. Then the right answer is to consolidate and coordinate the 5 existing services between these 2 locations, not add a 6th service.

        Expanding on my thoughts, the Landing should be a node along Renton-Bellevue transit service, not a duplicative add-on to Burien-Renton service. RTC and BTC are strong anchors for the end of a line, and that line is the 240 for local service (15 min frequency during the day) and the 560/566 for freeway service.

      2. There’s a low-density hole between The Landing and Bellevue; that’s why there’s no RapidRide there. In the future we can perhaps reorganize the 240 and move the segment to it, but for now the important thing is to establish a frequent route between The Landing and its city center, which is Renton not Bellevue.

      3. Ha, LOL, a low density hole? I thought at first you were referring to the 6 mile, no-stops, light rail line from Henderson to Seatac/Tukwila. (Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark)
        Why do we have a 6 lane freeway (wanna be 10 lane by WSDOT) connecting the outer ends of the hole? Oh, and don’t show your face in Factoria for a while, as they think there a destination and not Scmucksville.

    2. The sum total of inefficiency created by running the 101, 148, 153, 167, and 169 between South Renton P&R and Renton TC is probably even larger. Is there really a market for trips just between the two?

      The biggest chunk of waste is having the 101 back-track to Renton TC, and then double-back to S Renton P&R.

      The 167, of course, should go away with the opening of U-Link.

  7. Wait, wait, wait(frantically waving arms over his head).
    Special RR-F-CR coaches, with drop down flanged wheels to mount the tracks at the Landing. Then it’s off to Bellevue.
    Another first for Seattle in transit oddity-land.

  8. Just switch funding for RR F / 140 to the 169 ;)
    The 140 is never completely full, and it becoming an 60′ ft bus is not smart at all. A RR from Renton-Bellevue would probably work a lot better.

    I wish there was a 169X that skipped Valley Medical Center and just went straight up Talbot Road(w/o the detour). Then continuing to The Landing. Now that would be a great route.

    Renton isnt doing much to improve its downtown. A library and transit center doesn’t bring people there. All the buses terminate there, but no one is actually going to Downtown Renton, they are transferring onto another bus. The 155 should just be cut instead of it becoming a DART. the 155/156 should be one route from Renton-Southcenter-Seatac following the 176th/180th St. changing it into a DART line wont help with anything(might I add, its one of the new Orans right now when it is usually the 30′).
    Just my 2 Cents.

  9. Ideally, I would say that the money spent on the F-line would be better spent making the other 5 lines better, like running every 10 minutes all day.

    The problem is the feds don’t pay for operating costs – they only pay for new buses when you decide to call something “BRT”. Thus, the current spread-too-thin-watered-down RapidRide is all about leveraging federal money as much as possible, rather than having to eventually replace aging buses with local funds.

  10. Don’t forget. The plans also call for increasing the frequency of the 105 to every 15 minutes.

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