The Mulch Stop
Disembarking onto a sprinkler head is one of the many premium experiences King County Metro offers.

Over the last few months, I’ve been on a tear of complaining, both directly to Metro and on the blog, about substandard Metro facilities, perhaps originally motivated by the number of them on Metro’s Route 40, which is one of my new neighborhood’s core bus routes. I’ve had some success with this, but I’m sure the problems which affect my routes affect others too, so I want to share some examples, and get a list of suggestions from readers about where else such facilities exist.

By substandard, I don’t mean lacking premium features like bus bulbs and realtime arrival signs — desirable as those are, they’re expensive, and aren’t going to make sense at every stop — nor even shelters and benches, which are desirable and cheap and thus should be standard everywhere there’s room in the right-of-way. Rather I’m talking about basic functionality like signs which have the correct route numbers printed on them, an absence of overgrown hedges that render riders invisible, and concrete landing pads, so riders can board without walking through roadside landscaping, and wheelchair users can safely board at all.

Here are a few improvements in the works for Ballard and Fremont:

  • In June, the notorious Hedge Stop (#18140) on Leary at Ione will be relocated a block north on Leary to a sane location outside Ballard Landmark.
  • The new Route 40 stop eastbound on Leary at 11th Ave NW (#28255), currently just a post in a wet, grassy verge, will be properly reconstructed this summer. We’ve previously reported that a new stop is in the works eastbound at 8th Ave NW.
  • The “mulch and sprinkler head” stop on Westlake, just south of the Fremont bridge (#26850), pictured above, has also been put on the list for repaving, but may not make it through the design process in time for this summer’s paving season.
  • Stops #29217 and #28415 are going to get proper Metro bus signs, not the blank ones they have now.

I’m also told that the new Route 21 stop at 3rd & Lander (#99232), currently a post in a grass verge, is also in line to be upgraded.

Metro staff have been extremely responsive and informative when I have complained about these things, and I sincerely thank them for their work, but I can’t completely let the agency off the hook here. Some of these stops are new, so it’s understandable that they’re still a work in progress, but some of them should have been taken care of years if not decades ago, and it’s really kind of an outrage that they weren’t. What was the agency doing with its money back when it wasn’t broke and understaffed?

Lack of basic comforts and dignity at bus stops perpetuate the corrosive notion that transit riders — bus riders in particular — are second-class citizens. If our local and regional governments are to stand a chance at achieving the mode-share goals they have set themselves, if we are serious about providing an alternative to universal car ownership, this kind of prejudice needs to die, which implies that this kind of substandard facility must precede it in death.

Enough about the past; let’s find things to complain about today. I’m taking suggestions in the comments for other stops that have problems such as those described above, and I will take them up with Metro. I’ll put only one condition on suggestions: they need to be in places with existing sidewalk infrastructure, because adding proper new stops in areas without sidewalks is likely to be very expensive. Every urbanized part of the county should have sidewalks, but there’s no way they’re going to get built out of Metro’s stop improvement budget, that infrastructure needs to come from the responsible municipality.

91 Replies to “Metro Adding Basic Facilities at Bus Stops”

    1. There’s a stop on Aurora northbound, the one just past Galer (can’t remember the name of the street there), that the nice lady bus voice always announces that people should exit through the front door, presumably because of shrubbery or something at the back door.

      1. Yeah, that shrubbery is impassable. The Pacific St stop is just annoying and muddy.

      2. Same for the southbound stop at Galer, which I believe is due to a guardrail that would make it very difficult (if not impossible) to exit via the rear door.

      3. That stop is front door only because of the guardrail that protects the pedestrian overpass from drunks crashing into it. It is front door only in both directions.

    2. With Metro’s new exit-from-the-rear policy, lots of stops have inadequate alighting space near the rear doors, such as shrubs, tall weeds, fences, etc. Metro and the respective cities need to work together to improve these stops in a systematic fashion; not just by responding to individual complaints. Staying “exit from the front at this stop” is not a long-term solution.

      1. I agree with Chad – I understand the situation at Galer, which is an exception, but there are many other stops where we’re going to need to have pads at both front and back door locations. There are several eastbound stops on the #2 on Union where this is not the case currently, particularly at 14th, 16th, and 18th Avenues.

  1. I was going to say something like “Quit yer whinin'”, but felt that to be rude.

    Instead I’ll say that it’s fair that Metro is getting around to fixing shortcomings with their bus stops.

    Over here in Kennewick, most of our stops are like the one on Westlake mentioned above. Even with a bench.

  2. It is nice to see the word “verge” used in a proper sentence. You don’t see that much in this country (outside of the mindlessly repeated phrase “on the verge” of course).

    Points awarded.

  3. “has also been put on the list for repaving, but may not make it through the design process in time for this summer’s paving season.”

    hmm. Pull up in truck, dig out planting strip, pour concrete, smooth, and allow to set. Sounds like you’ll need a ten man crew, art installation, and a representative from the City’s Human Rights Commission…

    1. Pull up in truck, dig out planting strip, pour concrete, smooth, and allow to set.

      And then wonder why your shiny new landing pad is cracked and sunken after two years.

      1. THANK YOU for pointing out that bus stops and sidewalks and other concrete pads are often not simply a job of “just pouring concrete” in Seattle.

  4. It seems like the schedules at some of the stops frequently disappear. Like, the glass on the schedule holder thingy gets broken and the schedule is no longer in there. Or, maybe it’s just sketchy Aurora where this happens.

    1. This happens everywhere and is one of my pet peeves. On the other hand, while annoying, it’s a minor problem compared to some of the other things.

      1. Agreed, I mean, at least people can actually get on the bus there. I’m just wondering if there is a better system for posting schedules, like, do all cities have this problem or just us?

      2. @the358: A lot of cities don’t post schedules. In Chicago, for example, many metal bus stop signs have a simplified route map printed directly on them along with a brief description of frequency and span. That works there because they have lots of really straight, really frequent routes.

    2. Crowd-sourcing bad stops is not necessarily the most socially just approach to deciding which are the most important stops to invest in. It ends up leading to fanciness at the stops in well-to-do parts of town, while the higher-ridership stops where there are fewer pricey phone owners and fewer web-organized neighborhood associations will be left in the dust, so to speak.

      1. In that case, why not organize a transit meetup where we walk along a route in a less advantaged neighborhood and take note of problems?

    3. With most of us carrying cell phones should Metro even continue posting schedules at almost all stops? The savings of not having to update and maintain them could go towards service.

  5. The bus island at Railroad Avenue & King Street in Snoqualmie has signs in both directions, but the westbound sign only lists the 209, not the Seattle-bound 215.

    There are a number of stops on 215’s route through Snoqualmie Ridge which do not have an adequate landing area for rear exits; I’ve seen people walk from the back row of a 60-foot coach all the way to the front door to avoid stepping down into wet grass.

    1. Might as well wait for the 208 to start running for the signage change. One wonders if they will list the intra-valley shuttle at such stops.

    2. Between when I photographed the RR & King Street westbound sign two weeks ago and my commute home yesterday evening, labels for the 215 were added. Disregard my first comment — and job well done, KCM!

  6. I’ll repeat last week’s comment about “The Loneliest Bus Stop in Seattle” at Seward Park Avenue South and Wabash that is signed for route 39 (local and express). The facilities at that stop are in fine shape: no cracked pavement, no muddy verge or out of control shrubbery. The problem is that no bus has passed that stop for at least 6 months and the 39 hasn’t served that stop for several years. That sign needs to be removed. Also, most stops in the Rainier Beach area are still advertising service from deleted route 34, (which was the last route to serve the stop at SPAS/Wabash).

    1. Seriously? How expensive is it to take down a bus stop sign? I can understand why they aren’t fixing up stops, that costs a lot of money, but why aren’t they sending a dude out to unscrew the sign from the pole? If we’re too broke to pay for that, we are in some serious doo-doo.

    2. Metro’s printed and on-line schedules have lots of connecting route numbers in the maps for which the route hasn’t existed in months or years.

      The 132 schedule misidentifies a downtown stop as “South Park” and has “Boulevard Park” on the wrong route of the 131/132 joint schedule in various places.

      Even the cheapest fixes are falling by the wayside.

  7. Crowd-sourcing bad stops is not necessarily the most socially just approach to deciding which are the most important stops to invest in. It ends up leading to fanciness at the stops in well-to-do parts of town, while the higher-ridership stops where there are fewer pricey phone owners and fewer web-organized neighborhood associations will be left in the dust, so to speak. The 132 has some notoriously scary, wet places to stand and wait for a bus, and some of these require traversing puddles to get to. Never mind that we aren’t in on where those stop codes are hidden amidst a series of other numbers on all our old-style signs.

    Also, it isn’t just Metro that needs to hear about the stops where investment should be a priority. SDOT needs to be in that loop, as they are responsible for some of the improvements. In particular, SDOT needs to help Fill in the Gap at some of the existing corridors while charging forward with its own list of new corridors. RTA signs, seating, shelters, and lighting at connecting stops by train stations should get onto the capital improvement list.

    1. What would you suggest Bruce or STB community as a whole do to be more ‘socially just’?

      1. My comments are not about STB or Bruce, but about how Metro prioritizes neighborhood improvements, which, in general, is that the sqeaky wheel gets the grease.

        And the most organized sqeakers tend to not correlate with the most-used routes or the messiest stops. Bruce and most of the STBers, at least, try to get the big picture, and prioritize at that level.

  8. I think it is good to tell Metro about substandard stops so they can respond, but I think Bruce is too harsh to Metro on this. There are thousands of stops, and remember that in these days of tight budgets at Metro–at least the last 5-6 years–one of the first things to be cut was support staff to handle issues like this.

    1. The 40 is one of Metro’s workhorses, the result of a very recent and very major restructure.

      Shrubbery Station has been a problem for EONS. A little over two years ago, Metro constructed an entirely-new station just one block to the south, complete with a shelter. They could have ripped out the Hedgerow stop at the exact same time.

      1. There should be an official policy that those who plan and make decisions about the addition and removal of bus stops should be required to actually ride the route in question at least once before making a decision relating to community feedback.

        Drivers provide feedback on stops as well via an “operator service request” form, and sometimes the planners pay attention to these as well.

  9. Two stops without a good spot to exit at the rear are the northbound Ravenna Blvd & 12 Ave stop and the 80th & Roosevelt stop.

    The stop at Ravenna could also use one of those rider activated solar powered flashing lights as the curve of the road and parked cars makes it hard to spot passengers. I’ve been passed in the evening there due to the driver not seeing me.

    Though in this case there is another stop at 61st & 12th about 2 blocks away, perhaps a stop diet for the 66/67 between 65th and the ship canal is more in order. The stop spacing in this section is currently about every 2 blocks.

    1. Stop consolidation on ALL routes. I like the standard someone here once set regarding whether you can toss a baseball from one stop to the next. If you can – you have too many stops.

      1. Get rid of the 111th Lane stop on NE 124th Street in Totem Lake. If the light is with you you can walk to the stop for 113th Ave and beat the bus. If you need to cross NE 124th you have to use the signal at 113th anyway. West it’s another short hop to the barely ever used 107th Ave stop but at least that one has a nice although not signalized crosswalk. Would it really be so hard to go by with a set of decals and put up stop numbers on signs? 113th for example is a well used stop with a shelter but no stop number or even schedule info posted.

  10. Stop #3820 is one of those stops where getting on or off the coach requires hopping through hedges and getting muddy feet. Given that it’s adjacent to a small pocket-park, I’d imagine the landscaping is the work of Seattle Parks & Recreation, but it needs to be tweaked to better fit the curb’s primary use. Stop #3460, across the street, should probably have it’s shelter removed entirely and replaced with a small bench. As it is, it’s regularly occupied by the inebriated or homeless peoples that roam the area, and completely unused by anyone else.

    Beacon Ave S is a perennial frustration of mine. What a horribly designed street – the part around the Link station, at least.

    1. Many stops (thousands, probably) were designed before the introduction of 60 foot coaches, and regardless of the condition of the stop from curb to sidewalk, the rear of an articulated coach can’t reach more than a few feet close to the curb. Stop improvements should include lengthening of zones so that passengers can step from coach to curb without risk of injury – a significant cost to County voters when someone takes a fall.

  11. Sometimes when you exit through the rear door at northbound Fremont/34th you exit directly into a giant utility pole. Probably can’t move the pole. But if/when the parking/loading change on that block goes through it would be nice to set up consistent spots for buses to stop at where the rear door area is clear.

    1. Similar, but even worse:

      At the southbound RapidRide, etc. stop at 3rd & Cedar (stop #2220), the construction scaffolding has been carefully designed with gaps that align with a RR vehicle’s three doors… if the driver aligns the front doors with the start of the scaffolding.

      But instead, drivers pull all the way up to and align with the bus-stop sign, making it nearly impossible — and frankly dangerous — to squeeze off the back doors and shimmy sideways between the bus and the barrier of metal.

      This happens every time. Not a single driver appears to have figured this out. Which doesn’t particularly fill me with faith in the adaptive intelligence of those we entrust with our fates.

      All that would be needed to fix this is a single mass e-mail: “Dear drivers: At 3rd & Cedar, please open your front doors just past the beginning of the construction scaffold, so that your back doors will align.” Is that really too much to ask?

      1. It’s especially dangerous when they pull away from that stop before you’ve made it up onto the sidewalk. I had visions of being crushed when that happened to me last week.

      2. Not to get too much on drivers’ cases about this… on every train system I’ve seen there are consistent markers at stations showing operators how far to pull in, and hitting that mark is the primary operator concern. We often don’t have so much control over obstacles in bus stops and other stuff happening on the road… but we’re getting more control over more stops, and we should come up with standard markings for stop locations for 40- and 60-foot coaches where we can (at zones that can board two coaches at once, two standard locations, of course). I wouldn’t count on a temporary directive regarding one stop as much as a systemwide standard.

        I think Swift does this, and I don’t think RR does… it’s one of those “symbol of quality” things whose impact is hard to measure, but I think having enough control over the stops to do it universally should be at least a goal of the RR program (the sort of goal that’s tracked until completion, not the sort that’s just a wish).

      3. Don’t buses just generally stop right at the flag? Or maybe that is because that’s where people are standing…

      4. Standard policy at downtown zones is to pull all the way to the front of the zone, so in this particular case Metro needs to remind its drivers to stay back so the openings are aligned correctly. My view is that one reminder flag actually at the stop would be worth more than a million notices on the reroute board, which you forget about as they age because when you look at the reroute board you are looking for new information.

    1. Cool. The winner will probably be some stop nobody uses. Or where there are the most people waiting to board that the complainant doesn’t like to hang around with.

  12. In the event that metro has been working diligently behind the scenes on this stuff, the PR folks would do well to better publicize this information. Something as simple as a “This week: Metro will add a concrete landing pad at Stop #### at [place], a new shelter at Stop ##### at [other place]”, and so on.

    Everyone likes a bit of good news, but one might wonder if never hearing about your stop might get a bit frustrating.

  13. Maybe Metro should start an “adopt a stop” program…get people/businesses involved in providing direct upkeep to their local stops. It seems like I have seen a few stops that take advantage of benevolent neighbors.

      1. That announcement is ancient and needs to be examined as to whether the “cost reduction” is still necessary, or if there’s a way to mitigate costs. Thanks for pointing this out. Maybe STB can organize a campaign to reinvigorate the program? Good idea.

  14. I would like to nominate my stop(s) for deletion. I live near NW 83rd St. and 24th Ave NW in Ballard/Loyal Heights. There is a NB/SB stop couple at the corner of 83rd and 24th. As much as I love my stop, I think Metro could do without it and perhaps speed the 18x and the 40 up a bit.

    Both the 18 and the 40 serve NW 80th and 24th. That’s not actually 3 blocks away. Because of the way the Loyal heights blocks were oriented (anything north of 65th) to be longer N/S than they are E/W (basically a 90 degree turn from the older Ballard blocks (south of NW 65th), its basically one long block. Thus, I’m thinking that even if you removed the stop, walking distances from either the 80th or 85th stops would still meet Metro’s guidelines.

    1. Headline in Ballard News Tribune (future edition): “Residents of Crown Hill rally to save bus stop at 83rd and 24th. Metro capitulates”.

      Isn’t that one near the pot dispensary?

    2. The 40 does not stop at an 85th & 24th stop, in either direction.

      You shouldn’t delete the 83rd stop without moving the southbound 85th stop a few dozen feet from the intersection so that turning 40s can reach it, or without installing a northbound stop either before or after the turn. (Which is, of course, what they should really be doing, rather than preserving the status quo.)

      1. Turning 40s can reach that stop S/B at 24th and 85th.

        The 75 stopped there for years.

        However, because that was a layover zone for the 18 in the afternoons, the zone was frequently occupied, so the 75 quit stopping there. Now that the 18 is gone, the zone is always clear, and the 40 should stop there.

  15. One more: back door at 12th & E. Pine (stop #11520) invariably opens onto haphazard plantings and/or muck.

    1. And farther along (on the number 11), the back door opens to shrubbery at the northeast-bound stop at E Madison St & 22ND Ave (in front of the Safeway, stop #12376). Every stop that encourages people to exit through the front is one more reason not to get in the habit of using the back door.

    2. Yes, as well as being an incubator for potential lawsuits for the first person (if it hasn’t happened already) that does a header onto the sidewalk. Not sure if Metro is the more responsible or City of Seattle, but maybe it’s time for a committee (don’t care which municipality) to look at the issue.

  16. NB 26 stop at 45th & Latona – usually only the front door clears the landscaping adjacent to the mattress store. If you leave via the back door you’re typically wading through 2-3′ high shrubs.

  17. You mean there really was a time when Metro wasn’t broke and out of money??? As long as I’ve been riding Metro I’ve heard the whine that they don’t have money and they’re going to cut service.

    1. Well, there was that time they promised to add 590,000 service hours, fix the entire core network, and unveil a game-changing service to provide a “rapid ride” along major corridors… if only we gave them an extra 0.1% sales tax in perpetuity.

      We voted, we paid, we’re still paying. And what hours did appear were chosen so poorly (read: extra 25 trips) and spread so thin as to make little noticeable difference.

      Note: the base bus fare was $1.25 at the time of the TransitNow measure.

      1. What would you have done differently, given the extreme downturn in the economy? In other news, the recent vote to increase sales tax revenues via internet sales to out of state buyers could bring as much as $19 million in additional revenues to transit in the next few years.

      2. Look, no other agency has the protection via percentage guarantees that Metro Transit enjoys. We don’t automatically fund police services at a fixed percentage level when there’s and economic downturn. Is it expected that there will never be a bursting of the balloon? That seems to be the assumption that Metro Transit operates under. Nice work if you can get it. The only way I can reconcile the claims about 25% “cuts” is the funding granted is that much less that the expected Metro increases. It’s an old tried and true method in D.C. Anything less that the increase you ask for is played as a cut.

      3. 1. Actual route consolidations and network streamlining. Using the hours added in 2006-2008 to give the improved network frequencies that mean a damn for people making connections (rather than just sprinkling them uselessly around on various milk runs).

        2. 40/40/20 needed to be gone before that went on the ballot. The measure needed to state clear service goals — including addressing underserved parts of the county — but having 40/40/20 in effect up until the moment the economy crashed basically guaranteed that TransitNow did zero good where it was needed most.

        3. RapidRide was to be only 1/5 of the TransitNow hours. Even with the downturn, they needed to not mess that one up.

        4. “Front door only” should have disappeared years ago. Seriously, can you believe that just 9 months ago we were still wasting all that time on a such a dumb, disproven method of operation? The end of that policy is the only palpable improvement in Metro service in my nearly seven years of living in Seattle.

        5. Fare hikes should have been applied to premium services before they trickled down to the base fare. As it stands, long-distance express commutes rose only 50% while a basic in-city journey nearly doubled. The least needy now receive the greatest transit subsidy, while across the board the poor get disproportionately nicked by the permanent additional sales tax.

        6. Don’t overpromise and under-deliver, or you risk the wrath of voters and taxpayers at a later date. Frankly, TransitNow was such a fraud even before the 2008 downturn that the extra sales tax deserved to be up for a recall vote. Just don’t habitually lie! Is that really so hard?

      4. d.p., you’re again falling into the facile habit of saying that because many things are still wrong, nothing at all has improved. I complain when you do this because it makes pushing for further improvements look foolish, when in fact progress is quite possible (just typically on a slower timeframe than we want and with occasional steps back). Don’t make people who might consider pushing for positive change feel like chumps.

        If you moved here in 2006, despite not ever having been here in a strong financial period for Metro, you’ve seen many more concrete improvements than just the end of the Ride Free Area. You’ve seen new legible frequent service corridors added in the central city (8), West Seattle (21 and 54/RR C, which both used to be half-hourly), North Seattle (31/32), and Sodo (131/132), as well as quite a few more in the suburbs. You’ve seen entirely new connections added in south Seattle and Kent, without taking away any existing connections. You’ve seen a very effective comprehensive restructure on the Eastside. And you’ve even seen a slow whittling away at ineffective one-seat commuter rides… a disappearing 79 here, 191 there, and 266 over there eventually add up. Saying you’ve seen no meaningful improvements is just silly, or maybe it betrays a narrow focus on a small part of the network which you are using to judge the whole thing.

      5. I said that the end of “front door only” was the only major palpable improvement in the speed, quality, and ease of service in the time that I’ve lived here — the only revision that offered an immediate and true across-the-board improvement in mobility — and I stand by that statement.

        It’s not that I don’t think some individual corridors haven’t incrementally improved. The 40 is the best thing ever to happen to the northwest quadrant of the city, at least in the daytime, and that’s in spite of remaining bottlenecks, scheduling overkill, and the new route’s adoption of the 17’s membership in the Reroute Of The Month Club. Meanwhile, Bruce’s two-year tenure on this blog is a monument to the power of identifying individual flaws and then going to bat to fix them, to the gradual benefit of the system as a whole.

        But it’s not my job to help equivocators and advocates for Third Way measures that preserve far too much of what is dysfunctional and financially unsustainable feel good about themselves. My role here is basically to call a spade a spade, and to encourage people to hold transit agencies’ feet to the fire by insisting that sub-par transit for second-class citizens can never achieve this city’s stated mobility goals.

        The truth is that most transit trips still require infinitely more planning and 5-7 times the time window that they probably should.

        The truth is that even a hyper-optimizing algorithmic thinker like myself — on many trips, I’m likely to check 7 or 8 different permutations of route ETAs on OneBusAway, often adjusting my strategy mid-trip — can’t avoid total system fuck-ups where every option is a bad one.

        The truth is that lots of extra cross-town trips don’t matter if your only cross-town routes are in FUBAR traffic six hours a day, and there is no better optioon because your “rapid” in-and-out alternative takes every detour and hits every red light.

        The truth is that a 50% cut in late-evening service to anywhere in blossoming young-urban northwest Seattle is training another entire generation to believe that transit is a worthless option for life after sundown.

        The truth is that the unprecedented success car2go has seen in Seattle is the direct result of a city where people crave the ability to live without a personal vehicle but know that the transit system is grossly inferior to getting behind the wheel of a car.

        I know you understand all this, David, as you’ve said you’re working on a proposal for a de novo redesign of our entire urban network, which will certainly address many of the issues above. I, for one, can’t wait to see it, improve it, and advocate for it.

        But defending past “progress” that has merely transformed the system from “unusable” to “grossly undesirable” — and so unsustainable that the fares to use it are the highest in the nation and there’s still a revenue crisis every five seconds — seems to me like a worthless exercise in splitting hairs.

        A spade is a spade. When it demonstrates the slightest interest in becoming an backhoe, I’ll let you know.

    2. Yes, there was a time, and I happened to work for Metro during that time. Metro recovered well from the initial I-695 hit in 1999 and 2000. From 2002 to 2005, Metro added a significant amount of service, and made a number of investments that are still paying off today… that is when they were able to do the 7/49 split, to make the 48 a true frequent service route, to increase the 3/4 from 10-minute service to 5- to 7.5-minute service, to increase the 194 and 150 to 15-minute service (which was a big deal before Link), to get rid of a whole bunch of night shuttles, and so on. In 2004, Metro cancelled a planned service expansion not because of lack of funds, but because they couldn’t hire new drivers fast enough.

  18. Stop #3810, across the street from the Beacon Hill Link station, the rear doors are basically unusable if it is raining–there is usually a puddle about 3 inches deep, so everybody uses the front door. This is usually a very busy stop due to all the people transfering to Link, amd there are a lot of people taking luggage off, all through the front door.

    1. There has been neighborhood discussions of installing crosswalk lights there, as in the version where pedestrians would have to wait for a stop light, which would be a big nuisance to riders trying to catch a bus, and riders already on the bus as the bus waits.

      But it is also a safety hazard that riders can jayrun across the street *in front* of the buses picking up going south.

      I think the best would be to move the southbound stop a little southward (which the library patrons would love) and have a crosswalk with Renton TC-style automatic asphalt-level flashing lights two bus lenths north of the stop sign, and even with the station elevators.

      1. Brent, seconded. There is nothing scarier than passengers in a hurry running suddenly into traffic in front of a stopped bus. Positioning the bus stop so that the natural crossing point is behind it is pretty much always a good thing. (One more reason farside stops are good.)

        When I was a driver, there were two stops in the system where running in front was so endemic that I’d actually stop outside of the zone in order to position the bus so that running in front was awkward. Given the choice of a remotely possible PR against a guaranteed severe safety problem, I chose to risk the PR.

  19. Just think if you were riding your beloved streetcars back in the day when you boarded and deboarded in the middle of the street. Nice and safe.

    1. Back then, pedestrians and horses actually had the right-of-way, before cars stole it.

  20. The stop at Montlake and 520 southbound has several issues:

    1) The back door of all the the smallest buses sticks out into a traffic lane, so that stop is effectively front-door only

    2) Only one bus can use the stop per signal cycle, which is on the order of 2-3 minutes long. Simply having two buses ahead of you in line can result in a delay of 6 minutes or so, even if each of those two buses is just loading or unloading one or two passengers.

    3) A single car in the right-hand lane waiting for the light means the bus has to wait a full cycle for the light to turn green just to get to the stop, then another cycle to move, as the light will be red by the time the bus finishes with the stop. (The right lane really needs to be restricted to buses and right turns only here).

    Needless to say, I do not expect any improvements here of any significance until WSDOT comes along and rebuilds the entire interchange.

    1. I second this stop being a major problem. Hopefully the rebuild does the right thing. Also, the light is regularly missed due to people asking the driver questions, or struggling to put bicycles on the rack. Each time this happens is a 2-3 min penalty.

  21. I’m sure you mean well, but that last proviso just pisses me off. You can damn well improve stops in the less desirable, sidewalk-less parts of town.

    Maybe if I hadn’t just gotten the same run-around from SDOT last week when they were searching for a place to put a bike rack.

    “I know! My kid’s school is desperate for one!”

    “Sorry, no sidewalks, so no place to fasten it.”

    It just looks like an easy excuse to redline, from my perspective.

    Here’s an idea – instead of beautifying already pretty decent infrastructure, maybe we focus on making sure all folks actually have infrastructure to tweak.

    1. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you can make a good case for the bike rack, document the steps you’ve tried to make it happen, the response you received then position it in a way that fits the City’s Bike Master plan and then send it to the Mayor’s office. We’re a pro-bike City and chances are you and other parents can help make it happen.

      1. Good suggestion, and I’ll work in that direction. I just wish there was a more thoughtful and judicious process for deciding who gets the money.

        There actually is some semblance of a sidewalk, just not enough to use as a “pad” for a rack.

        I guess that’s where I will start. A pad.

        Sorry for the OT.

        I really do need to try to be more positive. I’ll add a suggestion below that’s more on-topic.

  22. #50 stop on Lander that connects you from SoDo Link station to West Seattle–no schedule, no bench…considering this is THE main connex between light rail and West Seattle, situated in a lonely and industrial part of town with a bus that runs every 25 mins, I don’t understand why there isn’t a little more here. The stop that goes the other way, from the station to Columbia City, is decent, has a shelter, schedule, everything (in fact the first time I rode this route I went there, thinking that was the stop I needed b/c the Lander stop was virtually invisible). The next nearest stop on Lander is similarly bare but at least it sits in front of the Seattle Public Schools headquarters, which at least lends the illusion of more safety. But having a stop leaving light rail that at least has a schedule and perhaps a bench for those who are less able to stand for an indefinite period of time would be a start to making it feel more welcoming since the location is what it is and can’t be changed.

    1. Actually, the 50 now runs every 20 minutes during most of peak, and 30 minutes the rest of the time except Sundays (when the demand for rides to Alki Beach overwhelms its hourly buses). I wouldn’t have noticed until you said something about the schedule, indicating lots of other would-be riders are still staying away because they aren’t aware of the peak schedule improvement. Flashy “Now running every 20 minutes during rush hour” signs at all the stops might bring back some of the ridership. Would Metro permit guerilla signage? Of course, 20-minute headway doesn’t mesh terribly nicely with 7.5-minute Link headway. It needs 15-minute peak headway, and a signage campaign, before judgement can be passed on the long-term viability of this route.

      Columbia City Station still needs to become a time point, so that the 50 is waiting there a couple minutes after the regular scheduled arrival time of southbound Link. With 15-minute peak headway, 50 riders transfering from southbound trains there would have essentially no wait after every other train, and an average wait of only 4 minutes!

      If the same could be done at Othello Station for southbound trains and the beginning of westbound 50s, that would be eudomonia, but I’m not sure such a schedule is feasible.

      And hey, I’ll gladly donate my 60’s service hours wasted on the VA knot to the 50. :)

      As for that second stop in front of the Seattle Public Schools hq, that’s still only for the 21. Keep asking for the 50 to stop there, and I’m sure Metro will gladly oblige, turning that joint stop into a gateway stop for West Seattleites.

  23. This reminds me, there is also the issue of ADA accessibility. There are still stops in our network, frequently in places without sidewalks, that are not wheelchair accessible. Those are obvious stops to upgrade. (And before anyone says this is a special interest, let me point out that making a route wheelchair accessible also makes it stroller accessible for families, accessible for people with luggage…that is to say, we all benefit from wheelchair-accessible routes.)

    1. Yeah, that’s huge. Walkability and accessibility should go hand-in-hand. There are some stops in non-sidewalk areas where there’s a short stretch of sidewalk just covering the bus stop area, which I just think is so disappointing on the part of SDOT and the area property owners, because we know that ultimately every arterial and every street with a bus route needs consistent sidewalks on both sides.

  24. Two stops I don’t understand – this one on SE 36th St in Bellevue:

    See how people are waiting on the shoulder? Not only do a lot of cyclists use that, but it’s a very busy street and I routinely see cars drive partially into the shoulder. Also, you see people jaywalking despite how fast the cars are driving, due to the stop placement.

    This one on Eastgate Way:

    Another case where people jaywalk across this very busy street, although there is slightly more room to wait.

  25. 123rd and Sandpoint, north-bound. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a sidewalk, but there is one leading almost to the stop, just not quite there. Maybe Metro could do something about extending it and trimming the “verge” to make for a less bush-whacking experience getting on and off.


    1. That is around the corner from my house, and I walk past it every day on my way home. The shoulder where you have to wait (60 feet past the end of the sidewalk) is quite narrow. It seems like in order to wait for the bus you have to position yourself to get run over by the bus.

  26. Last time I checked, westbound Montlake freeway station had incorrect signage which claims the 542 stops there, which it does not.

    Also, the bus lane is extremely close to 60 mph car traffic – enough so you have to be careful not to let you arm stick out past the end of the bus when you load a bike on or off the rack.

    The stop is also incredibly noisy too. The future stop, on top of the Montlake lid, looks to be a much more pleasant place to wait for a bus than the current location.

  27. Those stops are luxury stops compared to the ones on 33/31 in Magnolia.

  28. Metro does not own sidewalks or roadways and must seek permits from each jurisdiction for all bus stop improvements. Survey, design, public process, permit process, construction. Ka-ching. Stop consopidation projects – initial evaluation and plan, public process involving posting stops, public meetings, revised plan, cost for jurisdictions to remove the stops (curb paint, posts and signs, update curb use – remebr they own the sidewalks and roads). Ka-ching. It’s surprising how involved and costly simple bus zone improvements can be.

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