I was impressed and gratified by the reader reaction to my post last Monday introducing the Frequent Network Plan.  Almost 300 comments, lots of interesting and knowledgeable discussion, and not a single post needing moderation: this is what an online community should be, and STB readers rock.

The discussion helped me to figure out a few areas of the plan that I wanted to refine.  In this post, I’ll talk about one neighborhood in particular — covering both the general ideas there, and a couple of specific improvements I’ve made in response to last week’s comments.  That neighborhood is the University District.  Other neighborhoods warranting special attention — particularly Magnolia, northern West Seattle, Rainier Beach, Fremont, and Madison Valley/Park — will be covered in future posts.

FNP U-District Map
The revised FNP in the U-District

Details below the jump.

The current University District service pattern (as shown in Metro’s map below) is a bit of a jumble, and has a lot of redundant service.  Many half-hourly routes, some overlapping and others crossing each other, converge on either 15th Ave NE or the UW campus.  Traveling from east to west is awkward (although somewhat less so with Metro’s creation last year of a 15-minute corridor on routes 31, 32, 65, and 75).  Buses spend a lot of time winding slowly through the U-District on congested streets, and sometimes (particularly in the area of 45th and 15th) stack up to a degree that they create congestion on their own.  Even without Link, this can be improved; Link can make the improvements even better.  Below are a few details in the Frequent Network Plan that could help.

Metro U-District Map
The Metro system map of the U-District

U-District to UW Hospital.  The trip between the central U-District and UW Hospital is a huge ridership generator.  Link will make this into a 2-minute trip, and substantially reduce the need for the redundant service that now serves this trip (taking 7-10 minutes) on current routes 44, 48, and 271.  This frees up route 44 to take the much more logical crosstown path suggested by the city’s Transit Master Plan, continuing east to U-Village and Children’s Hospital rather than turning south at 15th.  It would have super-easy transfers to Link at U-District Station.  Service every 10 minutes on the 48 will be easily sufficient to accommodate those riders between UW Hospital and 45th for whom Link is not effective.

The UW Campus.  Another trip that generates big ridership numbers is the one from Campus Parkway onto the UW campus.  Link will partly help with this, by dropping some downtown and north-end riders off near the south end of campus who currently transfer at Campus Parkway.  Other riders, even with Link in place, will still want to ride directly onto campus from U-District Station or from the dense concentration of student housing and other residences in the southwestern U-District.  For them, the Frequent Network Plan takes a new approach to serving the campus.

Rather than being a slow bottleneck along a crosstown route, the U-shaped campus corridor becomes a destination and turnaround point for north-south service coming from both sides. On the west side, north-south routes 67 and 73 would both travel through the U-District on Brooklyn, picking up riders at U-District Station and along Campus Parkway, before going through campus.

On the east side of campus, those routes would be through-routed with north-south routes 65 and 75, both of which would primarily serve large numbers of campus-bound riders.  Most other riders from the service areas of routes 65 and 75, particularly those headed downtown or to the north U-District, will be served better by crosstown service connecting to Link, on routes 31, 71, 78, 40, or the north end of the 75.  Service through the campus along these routes would run every 7-8 minutes all day with articulated coaches.

Cleaning Up the Horrible Turn.  Right now, the area around 15th and 45th is constantly clogged with coaches — many of them simply headed to nearby terminals.  Current routes 43, 44, 48, 49, 70, and 271 alone send a total of 24 buses per hour — or as many as 32 during peak hours — through that intersection, while other service that is not terminating nearby sends quite a few more.  Making matters worse, 12 to 16 of those coaches each hour in both directions are making the time-consuming “Horrible Turn” between 15th and 45th.  An ordinary signalized intersection simply can’t handle that sort of demand, and the FNP would significantly improve matters.  Route 43 would be deleted.  Route 49 would be replaced by route 35, which would use an existing trolley turnback and layover zone along Campus Parkway, avoiding both 15th and 45th entirely.  Route 44 would avoid using 15th, instead proceeding straight along 45th in both directions.  Route 48, partly replacing 43 and 44 service along 15th, would proceed straight along 15th.  Only route 70, with 4 buses per hour (6 peak), would make the Horrible Turn.

Brooklyn Is the New Ave.  Of course, the U-District Link station will be on Brooklyn.  And the FNP revises a number of routes to serve it directly, while taking all buses off University Way (“the Ave”).  This is a decision with pluses and minuses.  The Ave is the area’s restaurant and shopping corridor, and the more natural destination.  But it’s also a very slow street that causes substantial schedule headaches to the buses that use it today — the 30, 71, 72, 73, and 373.  Brooklyn is a faster, less congested travel corridor, just one block away, and should speed up bus service.

Routes 31, 67, and 73 would use Brooklyn, while routes 44 and 70 would pass directly by the U-District Station on 45th.  Route 48 would remain on 15th in order to use the current route 70 terminal, which permits it to avoid the Horrible Turn despite terminating in the U-District.  In the long run, the Ave is one of the very few streets in Seattle that is a plausible candidate to become a pedestrian-only street, although some further economic development will need to take place before that will be a reasonable option.  Moving buses to uncrowded and reliable Brooklyn could further that goal, and in any case will be a good step in several respects.

Montlake.  After a hiatus of many years, the FNP would once again add a bus route to Montlake Boulevard north of UW Hospital: route 69.  The 69, running every 15 minutes, would provide a direct north-south connection to Link to numerous riders along 25th Ave NE and Ravenna Ave NE.  It would also be the primary service between UW and Lake City.  Although many riders from those areas will miss the one-seat ride onto the UW campus currently provided by routes 68 and 372, they will have either a frequent (7-8 minute) connection or a walk upstairs from Montlake which will not likely challenge most college students.  Routing the 69 along Montlake, and terminating it at UW Station, will restore a somewhat sensible connection between northeast Seattle, the Eastside, and Seattle neighborhoods east of downtown.  (Of course it could be even better if UW Station were better-designed, but that problem is unfortunately beyond the scope of this plan.)

University Park.  The first version of the FNP I presented last week eliminated service to University Park and NE 55 St, deleting route 30, sending route 31 down the 45th Street Viaduct, and retaining current routing on route 44.  Commenters Aleks and d.p. pointed out that my initial choices were a wasted opportunity, and I complained about the extra cost of sending the 44 east to Children’s.  To my surprise, after doing the math, I discovered there was no extra cost.  So, by sending the 44 east on 45th, I was able to revise the 31 to serve University Park, NE 55th, Bryant, and a small piece of Laurelhurst.  Ridership on this segment, mostly served by current route 30, is less than ideal — which is a bit of a mystery given the density along the western half of the segment.  I can only hope the Link connection, the restored one-seat ride to Fremont, and 15-minute frequency would turn a few more residents into riders.

83 Replies to “Frequent Network Follow-Up: University District”

  1. Would the 69 be faster for Lake City riders north of 125th (wait+travel time) than catching a frequent bus to 130th Station, for trips to UW? Will it be 7 days a week?

    1. The 69 would run every 15 minutes on Saturday, every half hour at night (truncated to 145th with timed transfers to the 522), and (my guess is) every half hour on Sunday.

      I’d expect it to be the preferred option for those going onto the central campus itself. Given the length of the walk from U-District Station or UW Station to the central campus, the 69 would likely be quicker than a Link transfer for those folks. For people traveling from north of 125th to UWMC or the central U-District, Link would be the better option.

      For the 69 to make any sense, a stop diet would be needed from 80th/Ravenna northward through Lake City.

      1. I see the 69 is planned to go way out to at least Kenmore. Would you expect the 522 to still exist, with what frequency, and going where?

        I am kinda partial to the idea of having the 69, or some other northeast Seattle route, connect back up to Link without backtracking southward, for people who want to take advantage of the new northward connectivity on Link.

        BTW, why didn’t you skip the number ’69’ in the numbering scheme?

      2. I assume no changes in the 522 for this plan.

        As we discussed in the last thread, I didn’t add Lynnwood Link to this plan because the station locations are uncertain. When Lynnwood Link arrived, I’d expect to see quite a few changes. Off the top of my head the 522 would be truncated at 125th/130th and run more often; the 69 would be truncated at 145th (the cross-connectivity you’re looking for would be provided by the 78); and the 80s would all be massively changed.

        As for the number “69,” numbers are too valuable to worry about middle-school jokes. :) I chose it because it conveys well that the route is a replacement for the 68 and fits well with the other numbers in the area.

      3. Thanks. I do hope we can discuss the way this whole system will look once Lynnwood Link opens, and how that will impact the choice of station locations, some time soon.

        I have a bad feeling all your proposals won’t be much beyond the visioning stage by the time Northgate Link opens. (That’s not a comment on Metro, but on the pace of change at the county council.)

    1. Yes. 75 and 73 are through-routed. 65 and 67 are through-routed. In their common portion (which extends from U-District Station through campus to U-Village) they’d be scheduled to run every 7-8 minutes.

  2. Also … with regards to “The Ave” … couldn’t it be made into Transit Only? then bus service could remain on the shopping street so to speak … and the problem cars would be moved to 15th, Brooklyn, etc …

    The OCS on 15th could also be moved to the ave from 15th which would also help make it more like 3rd ave in downtown.

    1. A transit-only Ave is definitely worth considering in the long term, but would be a major capital project with major political implications. Short of rebuilding the Ave (again for the second time in about a decade), I’d keep the wire and trolleys on 15th and move the diesels to Brooklyn for front-door service to UW Station.

      As for the 70 and the streetcar, I would expect the 70 to be truncated somewhere around the Hutch if the streetcar were extended to UW. Service between downtown and Fairview would still be very necessary.

      1. I love the idea of a transit-only University Way, but I don’t like separating services like what you’ve proposed on Brooklyn.

        What if we separated and upgraded traffic facilities – like a fixed transitway, buses only, separate signals, etc – on 15th between pacific and 45th? It’s certainly wide enough for that kind of treatment.

      2. It’s worth noting that service is separated today between 15th and the Ave, partly because of roadway capacity.

        If only the U-District Station were on 15th (which would be a great location for it) I would have moved as much service as possible there, but even with transit improvements 15th could probably not handle all of it. Just with the FNP network, that would put 44 buses per hour through 15th, much higher than the current volume, not even counting the 271, CT, or any remaining peak-only routes.

        And with the station actually on Brooklyn, having all the buses on 15th would make for poor transfers. There is a hill between Brooklyn and 15th. So I moved the diesel buses to Brooklyn to be close to the station; put the 44 and 70 trolleys onto 45th; and kept only the 48, which has another LInk transfer option at UW Station, going straight through on 15th. I think this solution balances convenient transfers and capacity issues reasonably well.

      3. I don’t think a transit-only Ave would actually help much. As it is, car traffic on the Ave is pretty minimal. The likelihood of getting stuck behind a bus for several minutes, with no room to go around is enough that no sane driver would ever use that road as a thru-street. A large majority of drivers who do use the Ave. are probably searching for parking.

        I personally use the Ave as a thru-route when I’m on my bike, but only in the uphill direction – the steepness of the hill means I wouldn’t be able to faster on an adjacent street anyway, so I may as well take the one that’s the most traffic calmed, and it’s much easier to pass a stopped bus on a bike than in a car. Going down the hill, though, I use Roosevelt instead for the same reason a car would – it’s much faster.

        David is right, in that if we want faster transit, we need to move away from the Ave. If kicking cars out ever makes sense, it would be to reserve the street for bikes and pedestrians.

    2. Personally I like a pedestrian only ave better. It should embrace its market street appeal and remove cars and buses to parallel streets.

      1. +1

        Make University Ave. a shared space between 41st and 45th St. Ensure it is accessible to pedestrians at all times, and vehicles only during specified periods (I.e. mornings for delivery vehicles).

      2. The Ave is awfully wide for a pedestrian-only street. I think long-term it would work great as something like Pike Place–where cars still can and do use the street, but pedestrians are clearly prioritized.

      3. Precisely. With the sidewalks widened and the street shrunk to two lanes in the last revision, it has found its equilibrium as a slow-speed local strip, driven upon primarily for pedestrian drop-offs and business access.

        The only vehicles that attempt to use the street as part of long-distance through travel are the buses, which is why the buses shouldn’t be there.

        Heck, even the parking serves a valid traffic-calming purpose, by further slowing the anticipated speed of travel on the street. As long as this ceases to get in the way of bus riders trying to get somewhere else.

      4. The complaints about “slow” buses on the Ave are hysterical. I lived in the U District for 29 years, before and during the Ave’s reconstruction. For the past 9 years I’ve been commuting through the Ave every weekday. The trip from 55th to Campus Parkway is not unreasonable at all now, and is twice as fast as it was before the reconstruction.

        The only remaining problem is the overcrowding when twenty people get on at every stop and it takes forever to load. But that’s not the fault of the street or car congestion, and it wouldn’t be improved by merely moving the routes to Brooklyn or 15th. The only way to solve that problem is to build a high-capacity subway, which we’re also doing.

    3. I think you will need to commission a very detailed traffic study before moving ahead with these changes. If Brooklyn becomes the new Ave, then how will you ensure that the Ave’s problems don’t just move to Brooklyn. By my count, removing the 30, 71, 72, 73 takes 20 coaches per hour off of the Ave; but routing the 31, 67 and 73 to Brooklyn adds 24 coaches per hour to that street. If 20 coaches per hour can’t get through the Ave successfully, how will 24 coaches per hour manage on Brooklyn? Brooklyn and 47th looks like it could become a “Horrible Intersection”. Currently, the biggest delay for buses on the Ave seems to be the long wait to cross 45th Street which I think is because the light is timed to allow cars and buses to pass on 45th without long back-ups. If you have fewer buses passing on 45th, it may be possible to shorten the wait for N/S traffic on the Ave, in which case it might be better to keep the buses on the Ave, particularly the 73. Also, I think turning the 73 at 47th & 15th and then again at 47th & Brooklyn would qualify as an unnecessary deviation when its current routing is much straighter and direct.

      Route 69 will be stuck in traffic for a huge part of the day between the hospital and 45th St.; there’s a good reason Metro avoids that corridor.

      1. One good principle of transit planning is to keep transit bottlenecks and car bottlenecks separate. Car traffic on Brooklyn is a good deal lower than car traffic on the Ave, allowing more room for buses. 47th is used for all of those turns in my plan specifically because it has a low volume of car traffic. I looked at having the 73 stay on 15th, but decided the 7-8 minute common corridor between the front door of the U-District Station and campus (as well as connectivity between Link and the high-density residential near 15th) warranted the deviation.

        Of course if a traffic study told me I was full of bull, I’d reevaluate things.

        As for the 69, yes, that delay can be bad, but that’s why the route ends (with recovery time) immediately after the delay. It’s only really severe between 3 and 5:30 p.m., although it can add a couple minutes at other times. The delay requires me to compensate for it in recovery time but shouldn’t inconvenience too many passengers, especially since the other option would be to send those passengers (who want to get to UW Station) all the way through campus.

      2. I ride past Montlake on the Burke-Gilman trail on the way to work. Southbound, it can sometimes have congestion in the morning between 7 and 9. After 9, it’s usually clear. Weekends too, are usually clear, but there can be occasional backup there too resulting from events at the UW or openings of the Montlake bridge. Northbound, Montlake is smooth sailing pretty much all day every day, with UW football games being about the only exception.

        In general, I agree with David that Montlake is not congested often enough to warrent buses avoiding it at all cost, at all times of day, when it’s so much faster than alternatives. Especially since the route ending there would prevent congestion from causing people further down the route to occasionally spend 20+ minutes waiting at bus stops.

        It should also be noted that #69 drivers could be given the flexibility to wind through campus just like the 372 does today when traffic on Montlake is really bad, yet stay on Montlake when traffic is moving. This would at least create an upper bound on delays through area at around 5-10 minutes. Since it’s the end the route, these stops would be drop-off only, so no issues of people waiting at the wrong bus stop during a traffic reroute.

      3. “…especially since the other option would be to send those passengers (who want to get to UW Station) all the way through campus.”

        How realistic would it be for UW Station passengers to take a bus running through campus and get off at Rainier Vista?

  3. one more comment …

    if the SLUT is ever extended to the U District (Campus Parkway) wouldn’t that kill the rt. 70? if so how would that fit into the mix?

    1. What are the chances of this happening in the near term (SLU to UW)? I get the sense that the powers that be really want this but that the public is significantly less enthusiastic about giving the U District more high capacity transit before it reaches the rest of the city (given that it is about to get a light rail station).

    2. The SLUT would certainly replace the 70. That’s not really a factor in this proposal, which considers only rail lines that have been approved for construction. You can look at all the frequent routes as streetcar-ready, and if any of those routes are not where a streetcar would go (assuming the price/incline/density were right), then there may be a defect in the route we need to consider.

  4. The U-district to UW hospital corridor is currently exceptionally well served by that redundant service on 15th. Even with your proposed reduction I bet most of those trips are quicker on bus than they would be on Link. Getting from the UW station to the hospital will wipe out most of the savings in travel time.

    1. I made this point on the last thread… I can’t possibly see how you think it will take 5-8 minutes (the travel time difference between Link and those buses, assuming northbound buses don’t get stuck at the Horrible Turn) to cross a street and walk a couple hundred feet.

      1. I would also like to add that making it easier to “cross a street and walk a couple hundred feet” is something the city could do, and do well. To combat the traffic situation, on the other hand, would require a huge amount of money. The end result might be something like the Mercer fix: a bunch of money and the fundamental bottleneck still exists. The only way to make that stretch better is build to overpasses, viaducts or tunnels. They decided to build a tunnel and put a train in it.

      2. It is crossing two streets at lights. The wait to cross Montlake is pretty long. You will also have to wait for an elevator. I would be shocked if you could walk off the train and into the hospital in 5 minutes. For almost everyone in the U-district there will be a bus stop you can get to quicker than the Link station. And the bus frequency on that corridor is amazing. Time will tell which of us is right. Lets have a race in 2016.

      3. The answer might depend on where exactly you are in the U-district and how far you would have to walk to get to Brooklyn Station. From right at Brooklyn Station, I’m guessing the train would win. From 15th and campus parkway, the bus would likely win if the wait is reasonably short.

  5. One of the many reasons I like this plan is that it fits in well with improvements that the city makes. I’m not a fan of streetcars, but I think the FNP and streetcars compliment each other really well. For example, imagine a new streetcar running from 50th Ave to Pacific along the Ave (University Way). Now consider the old 73 versus the new 73 (just as an example). With the new 73, you have the option of chopping it off at 50th and allowing it to turn around there. The city could change the streets a bit somewhere in there to make it easier for buses to turn around or maneuver in there. At first glance, this seems like an annoying burden on 73 riders (to have to transfer twice or walk five blocks if going downtown) but what if it translated to much more frequent service (say, 10 minutes instead of 15)? Perhaps more importantly, what if translated to more reliable service? I know more that one person who gave up on the 73, and buses in general, because they were so horribly unreliable at night. Shorter routes can lead to more frequent and reliable service which more than makes up for additional transfers.

    Now consider a streetcar with the old 73. The streetcar is simply in the middle of that (and many other) lines. The streetcar is simply redundant.

    I’m not saying that this will actually work; it might still make more sense to have the buses meet by the station. You can take a good idea too far. But it opens up the possibility for further improvements. Like Downtown Seattle, the University District is both a destination and a transfer point. For example, I would ride the 73 and then transfer to the 31 to get to Fremont quite easily (and reliably) if the FNP was working right now (years before North Link). If the buses were even more frequent and I had to make an additional transfer (to a frequently running streetcar) I would like the run even more.

  6. I especially like the work you’ve done in the U-dist to make sense out of the current bowl of spaghetti. I’ts assumed Link @45th is done, and love how the 70 terminates near 45th. What happened to the 49’s? Link can’t replace those from CapHill.
    Also, keeping the 44’s going E-W, and staying out of the muck at Husky Stadium is brilliant. So many more destinations in the village, than at the med ctr.
    This is really clean!

    1. The 49 turns into my 35, which terminates at Campus Parkway rather than winding through the U-District. It’s hard to see that on the map because so many lines overlap at Campus Parkway.

      1. Good. Instead of making a 180 at the end of Campus for the turnback, consider going north on 15th, left on 43rd and south on either the Ave or Brooklyn with new wire. That’s gets 49 riders withing walking distance of Link, and makes a difficult 180 3 lefts and a right.
        43rd avoids the congestion on 45th.

      2. If I were going to propose new wire, I’d do that the other way — left on Brooklyn, right on 43rd, right on 15th, right on Campus. A left at 15th and 43rd would just replicate the Horrible Turn a block further south.

        As it is, I think the 180 on Campus Parkway (which is easy; I’ve done it multiple times with out-of-service buses) is just fine for the 35 (49 replacement). Riders up on north Capitol Hill have a Link connection much closer to them, at CHS. The riders who will ride down there on the bus once Link is open are the ones trying to get to campus. Campus Parkway, which allows super-easy access to the Red Square bridge as well as transfers to my extra-frequent 67/73 corridor, is a perfectly good portal to campus.

  7. Here are a few of my initial reactions. I wonder what other people’s thoughts are.

    – The walk from the UW to U-District Station is about 20 minutes or about 10 minutes from each. I think your assumption that everyone will walk is a bit optimistic… therefore I don’t believe 10-minute headways will be able to served the combined through and local demand of 15th/Pacific corridor.
    – Per above the 44 acts like a local circulator between I-5, NE 45th, Campus and the Medical Center currently. I think keeping it on its current route and extending it to SR-520 would allow it and the 48 to provide frequent local circulation between the two stations, campus and 520.
    – I think access to U-Village and Children’s needs to be improved but I think that should come in a different way.
    – The reason there isn’t service on Montlake (your 69) is because its so incredibly slow and unreliable, especially compared to the more rider oriented Stevens Way. Unless there is an HOV lane built I think this service will be pretty slow.
    – Brooklyn Ave is falling apart currently (http://goo.gl/maps/o9S2y). Because of that and the residential nature of it, I see the Ave as the primary local route for N/S buses into the future.

    1. Thanks for your comments. A couple thoughts in response…

      – The 48 along 15th/Pacific is not going to serve all or even most of the local demand by itself. Most of the people who won’t want to walk are going to be headed into the central campus (which is the furthest major destination from Link). They will be better served by the 67/73, running every 7-8 minutes from Brooklyn through the campus on Stevens Way. The 48 will serve demand to the west end of UWMC and the southwest corner of campus, which is meaningful but not the same as the demand to central campus.

      – The 44 used to terminate at 520 when not through-routed with the 43, with a turnback at the Montlake Market. It was moved to the current Pacific Place terminal specifically because crossing the bridge twice in quick succession killed reliability for the entire route in the westbound direction.

      – The Montlake unreliability shouldn’t affect the 69 too badly. It only adds 5-8 minutes, at worst, to travel time, for a couple hours in PM peak. During hours when Montlake is busy, the 69 would have recovery time at Pacific Place in order to start northbound trips on time. Using the Montlake routing addresses a major problem with the current network — it is exceedingly cumbersome and time-consuming to get anywhere southeast of campus from anywhere in NE Seattle.

      – Brooklyn would need rebuilding in order to accommodate this volume of buses, but it will need rebuilding in the near future anyway. I use it because 1) it’s so much faster than the Ave and 2) it allows campus buses to serve U-District station so conveniently.

      1. Here’s a random thought:

        – Make the Ave pedestrian-only.
        – Add northbound trolley wire on Brooklyn.
        – For all buses that go through the U-District, run them northbound on Brooklyn and southbound on 15th, turning around (with 3 right turns) at either 45th, 47th, or 50th.

        Here’s what this gets you:

        – Live-looping with no left turns and no cross traffic (possibly except 45th).
        – People using buses to get to or from the Ave can get to their stop without ever crossing a street with traffic.
        – A single pattern for buses, which means a single place to wait.
        – Easy access to U-District station — even southbound, 43rd and 15th is only 0.1 miles away, and people who don’t want to walk that far can use the live loop. (Once buses hit Campus Parkway, they would change their sign to indicate their outbound destination.)
        – No need to reroute buses during events like street fairs.

        As an example of what I mean, see Jarrett Walker’s piece on inverted couplets

      2. I like the idea of the inverted couplets, especially if all service here were designed to help people reach destinations on the Ave. Unfortunately, the U-District subway won’t be on the Ave, and the plan would therefore leave southbound buses unacceptably far from the transfer point.

        Meanwhile, people really need to stop throwing out well-meaning but misguided pedestrianization proposals.

        The Ave possesses all the hallmarks of American streets closed a generation ago to disastrous effect: It’s very wide (building-to-building), with a low height-to-width ratio. Its cocktail of uses and its target audience are not quite broad enough for all-hours activity generation; the sidewalks are already underutilized 18 hours per day and four days per week. And the area already fights a “sketch factor” that can only be exacerbated by fewer eyes on the street and more open space “ceded” to non-bustling uses.

        Superficially, it’s tempting to compare the Ave to the handful of successful U.S. models: Madison, Boulder, Burlington, Ithaca, college-oriented places all. But none of those are in big cities: each is one of only a handful of business districts in the entire city, and therefore attracts a diversity of uses that reaches beyond the university demographic, while also maintaining a monopoly on students’ recreational activities. Meanwhile, social-service issues in tiny cities are either easier to contain or less rampant in the first place.

        And in each of the above examples, the pedestrianized space is limited to two or three short blocks, into which a disproportionate amount of commercial activity is then concentrated, often at the expense of adjacent blocks. The Ave, nearly a mile long and with a surprisingly low density of storefronts on certain blocks, cannot be similarly isolated. At least not without causing its collapse.

      3. I like the idea of the inverted couplets, especially if all service here were designed to help people reach destinations on the Ave. Unfortunately, the U-District subway won’t be on the Ave, and the plan would therefore leave southbound buses unacceptably far from the transfer point.

        It depends on how you define unacceptably far. The distance between stops would be 0.1 miles. In addition, because of live-looping, walking-averse riders could catch northbound buses and ride them around the bend, adding at most a minute or two to their journey.

        And in each of the above examples, the pedestrianized space is limited to two or three short blocks, into which a disproportionate amount of commercial activity is then concentrated, often at the expense of adjacent blocks. The Ave, nearly a mile long and with a surprisingly low density of storefronts on certain blocks, cannot be similarly isolated. At least not without causing its collapse.

        I’m not sure how you’re defining the Ave, but at the absolute extreme, pedestrianization would close the Ave between 50th at the north, and 41st St at the south, with a break for cross traffic at 45th. That’s more like half a mile.

        I don’t have a strong opinion about whether the Ave should be closed to motor vehicles on a full-time basis. However, it’s already the case that the Ave is semi-regularly (if not frequently) closed to motor vehicles for events, like the U-District Street Fair. It’s also the case that, of all the N-S streets in the U-District, the Ave has the highest commercial density (by far), and is the most amenable to walking.

        Even if the Ave weren’t closed full-time, I think there’s an argument for closing it more frequently than it is now. For example, the Saturday farmer’s market could be moved to the street, and on Friday/Saturday nights, the Ave could be closed to cars (like Granville in Vancouver).

        All of this leads me to a few observations:

        [a] Buses, especially trolleys should be placed on streets that are designed for fast travel, and that are not regularly closed to motor vehicles.
        [b] The Ave should not be designed for fast travel, and the Ave is regularly (if not frequently) closed to motor vehicles.
        [c] A plurality of U-District riders are heading to/from the Ave, so bus routes should be designed for this.

        As a point of comparison, I think it’s a good thing that buses run on Leary Way, rather than Ballard Ave.

      4. I read a really great blog post a couple of weeks ago about the 1970s pedestrian mall boom and how it failed. Now I can’t find it. Anybody know what I’m talking about?

      5. The Ave will need to develop considerably more before it could possibly work as pedestrian-only. More retail, more restaurants, and (finally) some housing on top of all of it. And I think the only stretch that would work would be between 42nd and 47th, closest to the campus. It is indeed a bit wide.

        In the meantime, leave it to the parkers. The biggest reason it’s so. damn. slow. for buses is the car drivers parking and turning. (High volume of pedestrians and the long 45th light are contributing factors.)

        Aleks, I get the theory behind the inverted couplet, and it’s a neat idea, but I think it’s a bit too complicated to be truly legible. I also think the hill between the Ave and 15th is too steep to make a Brooklyn -> 15th transfer really effective.

      6. I don’t see the Ave ever being “ready” for total closure, David. It will forever be a wide street, and it’s unlikely ever to hit enough requisite “pro” checkboxes to compensate for the many proven “con” checkboxes it situationally meets.

        Aleks: of course I have no problem with the temporary closure of non-transit streets for scheduled events. By definition, such events cross the critical-mass threshold for large-scale space activation: the Sunday Farmers Market is the best time to be on Ballard Ave; the Capitol Hill Block Party takes over much of East Pike (and none of East Pine) for good reason!

        That is very different from proposing permanent closure under the misconception that an area sometimes busy with foot traffic will magically get busier. All precedent points to the opposite: an area that is at any time empty/quiet/sketchy will grow emptier/quieter/sketchier.

        One of the great, lingering, mysteriously-retained failures of the pedestrianization-happy era is Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Old, skinny streets; major transit junction. It doesn’t matter. At 6:31 PM the place drops dead. The floor drops out from “good” activity, and all that is left is “bad” activity, without the benefit of “neutral” eyes driving through. And it is the last place in a three-mile radius that anyone wants to be!

        Meanwhile, the closure of prominent surface-transit streets should be avoided as much as possible, as it renders the transit system illegible and inefficient. I don’t find the Granville Mall or Robson Square closures in Vancouver sensible from any angle. Granville is so wide that crowds tend to hew to the normal pedestrian spaces, even on busy nights; the busway is mostly reserved for public puking, which isn’t the greatest space activator. Meanwhile, Robson Sq was activated by… a handful of benches and some ugly umbrellas? Behold the throngs!

        Chris: the studies and articles deconstructing why most pedestrianization schemes failed are legion. And the failures aren’t just American. Though cities in Europe and South America were more likely to have the necessary characteristics to support street closures — in particular, skinny streets with already-high pedestrian demand — those continents saw their share of failed implementations too.

        And yet, nearly once a month, I still encounter the same terrible “pro-pedestrian” notion: “Hey, let’s close Pine at Westlake again (even though it failed before)!” “Hey, let’s shut down all of First Avenue!” “Hey, the Ballard Sunday Market is awesome. Let’s permanently quarantine the street!”

        It happens especially often in Seattle, because we have so many well-meaning post-car-dominance advocates who are ostensibly allergic to research. But dead space is dead space, no matter how badly you wish it not to be.

        ————-

        As for the 15th->Brooklyn transfer matter, I agree with David. It’s not just the 600-ish feet. It’s the hills, the experience of traveling multiple blocks, and most importantly, the total lack of wayfinding: remember that Brooklyn station will not be immediately visible from 45th, with visibility from 43rd only slighty better.

        Meanwhile, only one of David’s proposed Brooklyn routes actually live-loops in the U District. The other two are through-routed, which would mean no direct transfer if you put the southbound trips two blocks away.

        Your proposal is roughly on par with the SLUT transfer “at” Westlake, the FHSC transfer “at” Olive, or the Bellevue Link transfer “at” the BTC. I’d rather not create any more of those.

      7. “I’m not sure how you’re defining the Ave, but at the absolute extreme, pedestrianization would close the Ave between 50th at the north, and 41st St at the south, with a break for cross traffic at 45th. That’s more like half a mile.”

        Erm, I would think the “absolute extreme” would be 50th-Pacific, though you could convince me of 50th-40th with a break at Campus Parkway for thru traffic (which may or may not be the same as 50th-41st or 50th-Campus Parkway, I don’t know what you mean by that). Also remember that block lengths get much longer south of 45th.

        Also, Brooklyn is not really of “residential nature” between 50th and 43rd, certainly not between 50th and 45th.

      8. Erm, I would think the “absolute extreme” would be 50th-Pacific, though you could convince me of 50th-40th with a break at Campus Parkway for thru traffic (which may or may not be the same as 50th-41st or 50th-Campus Parkway, I don’t know what you mean by that). Also remember that block lengths get much longer south of 45th.

        41st is the southern edge of the U-District street fair. The street fair is the time of the year when the Ave has the most pedestrians, by far. If on this day, they have decided that it’s not useful to close the Ave south of 41st, then I think it’s safe to say that it’s not useful to close the Ave south of 41st.

        To me, the fact that the Ave is closed regularly once a year is reason enough not to want to use it for buses. In addition, if there weren’t buses on the Ave, it could be closed more frequently, such as for the weekly farmer’s market. Brooklyn seems like a perfectly reasonable place to move the buses. But we all seem to agree on that point.

      9. “the total lack of wayfinding: remember that Brooklyn station will not be immediately visible from 45th, with visibility from 43rd only slighty better”

        It just needs a sign with an arrow, and presto visibility. ST also has an opportunity to make 45th look like an “entrance” to the station, if it chooses the right kind of decorations around the walkway.

  8. The posting bears seriously on the subject of the last one, about transit efficiency and social justice. There really should be no conflict between these two goals. An efficient, frequent core transit system will both generate and save enough revenue to permit the flexibility that decency requires.

    Looking forward to watching LINK take over express service.

    In the early ‘nineties after the DSTT opened, I had mixed feelings about the University District and Renton runs I drove. The local part of both services was excellent practice in driving the Breda buses in diesel mode. One of my life’s proudest moments was looking my right-hand mirror and watching my trailer leave a utility pole still standing on the corner of 65th and 15th as I put the pedal down eastbound for Ravenna.

    But I also knew it was ridiculous to make that prehistoric monster of a bus (giant sloth family in diesel) do neighborhood service. A quarter century is plenty of time to admit Seattle is a big city, and adjust transit accordingly.

    Mark Dublin

  9. A couple questions:
    1. Why move a lot of service to brooklyn but not the 48? Wouldn’t it be better to consolidate all service to a single corridor. Then you could add TSP / BAT lanes to that corridor easier.
    2. What is the purpose of the 65? Once you have the 31 w/ frequent service the bottom end of the 65 is well served via that, at the middle by the more frequent 71, and the top by the 78. People in that area that want frequent service downtown can just take the 71 to link, and if you want frequent service to udistrict you can walk a little further to the 69 or transfer to any number of routes that take you right to the u district.

    1. 1. Because the 48 would hopefully be a trolley route, and I wouldn’t build new wire on Brooklyn for the moment (there are already way too many proposals for new wire in the plan). But that could be a worthwhile project.

      2. The 65 exists to take massive numbers of current riders from Wedgwood and Bryant into the UW campus. It would give those riders (who currently fill 65 buses to load factors of over 2 at peak hours) a much faster trip than transferring to Link and walking all the way from U-District Station. Riders further north would get more advantage by transferring to Link, and they would have the 78.

      I looked hard at eliminating the 65 altogether, but it just left too many riders with slow trips.

  10. You may have addressed this earlier (or maybe it should be addressed when talking about Magnolia) but is the 31 too long? On the one hand, I like long, east west routes. Plenty of people will take this route and sit on the bus a good while. But I can’t imagine it would be very reliable. There are just too many bottlenecks in there, as far as I can tell. Even with 15 minute frequency, I could see two buses arriving right after each other. I think it makes sense to split it into two. One place to split it would be Fremont. The eastern 31 wouldn’t have to cross the bridge and would start and end in Fremont (great reliability for folks leaving Fremont). It would still have to deal with Fremont and UW traffic, but that is about it. Meanwhile, the western 31 deals with traffic on 15th (if the bridge was just up) as well as Nickerson (during rush hour) and crossing the Fremont Bridge.

    The main drawback, of course, is that some folks will have to transfer. With 15 minute frequency, this could be a big problem. For example, if you wanted to get from the UW to SPU with the current FNP map, you would take one bus. Maybe it gets bogged down somewhere, but you would get bogged down anyway. With the route split, if the bus gets bogged down getting to Fremont, the other bus would leave before you arrive. Fortunately, there is some redundancy built into the system (in this case, the 13) that would provide for an alternative.

    Another alternative would be to split the run in the U-District. This would provide most of the benefit of having a one bus ride from east to west, while avoiding (probably) the worst bottleneck (the U-District). The western 31 could turn around at Pacific or the transit station. Pacific makes sense if traffic bad through UW or it is difficult to turn around close to the station. One advantage of starting and ending the route here is great reliability for people leaving the UW. Basically, if you commuted to Fremont via North Link you could time it within a few minutes (e. g. get on at Northgate at 8:17, off at the UW at 8:22, walk five minutes to catch the 8:30 31 bus). The same would be true for folks trying to get to Children’s. The more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense to split the route there.

    1. My 31 shouldn’t be too bad as far as reliability. Keep in mind it’s shorter than the current route, which is through-routed with the 65 (or occasionally the even longer 75). And reliability on the current route is pretty good.

      Westbound, it will be golden; the only serious bottleneck is the Fremont Bridge, which will affect almost exclusively riders already on the bus (the exception being the small but consistent number of students commuting between Magnolia and SPU).

      Eastbound is a bit more of a mixed picture. Dravus at 15th could tie it up for a couple of minutes. 15th itself will be OK, because the bus will be in the BAT lane and won’t be affected by bridge traffic. (That’s one major reason to use Dravus instead of Emerson.) The approach to the Fremont Bridge can be a bit of a nightmare in the early afternoon, and even worse on Saturday. And occasionally the bus can have to wait a few minutes in the queue at 40th and Northlake. But on balance I think it’s short enough and the corridor is valuable enough that I’d rather risk the occasional eastbound delay than split it in two.

      1. Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. Good point about Dravus instead of Emerson. I forgot about the BAT on 15th, which helps things immensely. You are right about Fremont and the weekend, that is often when things are at their worst. That is a small price to pay, though. I think the only folks that would be hurt bad are the ones that want to get to Childrens via North Link. I’m not sure how to rectify that problem, though. I’ve looked at your routes and just don’t see any simply way to connect the UW hospital to Children’s. Maybe the UW Hospital will add a shuttle to Children’s (although the shuttle only works on weekdays right now).

        Or, if we really want to get fancy, a gondola would actually work really well for that piece. It isn’t that far, traffic can be terrible and there aren’t that many people who would complain about the gondola over their head (the route would be mostly over swamp land). Then again, eventually Children’s should be a spot (if not the terminus) on an east west subway from Ballard.

      2. Under the FNP, people wanting to travel between Children’s and UWMC would have two options:

        1) Walk to Stevens Way and use the 65/75;
        2) Take Link or the 48 to 45th and transfer to the 44 or 31.

        Those are not ideal but they are comparable to the options that exist today.

    2. I can only hope the Link connection, the restored one-seat ride to Fremont, and 15-minute frequency would turn a few more residents into riders.

      I’m pretty leery of that sort of transit planning. The eastern end of the 31 looks like something that I– the fountain of bad ideas–would be accused of proposing. Either the ridership is there or it isn’t and “hope” isn’t a great tool for transit planning.

      1. Frankly, I agree. It’s a bit of a kludge to provide east-west service to a high-density area that’s very hard to serve, which is the area (both the top and bottom of the hill) between University Park and the multifamily housing north of U-Village. Giving the folks at the bottom of the hill only the 69 left many of them with no decent way to get to the U-District or any connecting east/west service.

        The service east of 25th is much less important and is there basically because it’s fast and essentially free.

      2. The other thing to mention is that usually, when a segment has low ridership, it’s immediately easy to see why — for example, it serves only a wealthy single-family neighborhood; it duplicates better service; it’s cut off from walkshed by water or a freeway; and so on. With the western segment of the current 30, the low ridership is harder to explain. It connects a very dense and not wealthy residential area with a nearby commercial center, and there’s no obvious reason it shouldn’t do better than it does. That’s the kind of situation where sometimes providing better service can actually have a meaningful positive effect on ridership.

      3. I think the circuituous routing caused by the steep hillside deters choice riders from moving to the area, so the non-student population is mainly people who drive everywhere anyway. Students rarely go further than the U District, and for that short distance the route is convenient.

      4. There may be some similarities between 15th-to-25th and the west side of Phinney Ridge. Both areas are nominally close to urban villages, but both have steep hillsides that force buses to travel on a few convoluted and slow routes. That makes it feel far and steep to walk to a bus stop or the neighborhood center. The 30 has the additional problem of infrequency.

      5. I live in the western segment of the current 30 and there are several reasons why, I never ride it, despite the fact that it’s the closest bus route to me on the map, I travel up the hill to the U-district frequently, and I don’t own a car.

        The reason, simply put, is that the #30 bus is not really time-competitive with my feet. With a brisk walk up the hill (including the large staircase at 52nd St.), I can be at the corner of 50th and University, door to door, in as little as 10 minutes, or at 15th and 43rd in just over 15 minutes. After walking to the bus stop and including buffer time to wait for the bus, travel time by bus is about the same as walking. Only with walking l get to leave whenever I want without worrying about timing my schedule to match a half-hourly bus or, if I have another bus to catch in the U-district, I can time my schedule to match the bus there I am trying to catch, rather than a shuttle, which would likely leave me sitting at a bus stop in the U-district for 10-20 minutes.

        Furthermore, if I want to go downtown, the 510/511/512 are much faster than the 71/72/73 when the express lanes are closed, or when local routing is in effect, but the 30 today is routed to connect to the 71/72/73, and not the 510/511/512. Even though the I-5/45th St. freeway station is 1.1 miles away, if I want the fast ride downtown, walking to the stop is the only reasonable option. Long term, of course, Link will be a faster way to get downtown than the 510/511/512, so this argument will eventually go away.

        How is it that for a trip as long as a mile, the bus is no faster door-to-door than walking? Well, it’s several reasons. First, the total distance traveled is actually a bit shorter walking, due to the cut-through staircase up 52nd and the diagonal shortcut across the UW campus, rather than having to go around campus at right angles, like the bus does. Walking is also a door-to-door most-direct route, with no out-of-direction travel, even as little as a block or 2 to reach a bus stop. Walking also has no delays at bus stops and way fewer stoplights than the bus has to go through. Walking to the U-district along the route that the 30 travels would take quite a bit longer than walking the route I actually take.

        That being said, no matter how you slice and dice things when 10-15 minutes is required just to access the core transit network – before you even get on a bus that goes anywhere useful, competing with driving on travel time is almost impossible except in very special situations (for example, taking Link downtown during periods of heavy traffic). That is why, when I really care about getting somewhere quickly, I will bike all the way or, occasionally grab a Car2Go. But when I have a relaxed schedule, I consider the transit vs. driving time difference to be ok, as long as most of the difference is spent getting exercise.

      6. Thanks for the great explanation, asdf.

        Do you think you would ride a FNP 31 more often than you ride the current 30? On the one hand, the routing remains indirect, and there’s nothing I can do about that. On the other hand, it’s twice as frequent, connects to Link, and gives you at least two useful one-seat connections (Wallingford and Fremont).

      7. The routing can be significantly more direct than it is today; so many times when my mom has driven to and from the north side of U-Village she has used the through route down the hill on 54th. Going that way even theoretically improves walkshed by being farther away from Ravenna Park. The only reason I can imagine why the 30 goes all the way up to Ravenna Blvd is if 20th north of 54th or that segment of Ravenna is particularly dense, if it’s trying to extend its walkshed across the 20th overpass, or if 54th is just too steep for a bus.

      8. 54th has far too extreme approach and breakover angles for a bus. Even if that weren’t true, it also would require a traffic signal (or at least a 4-way stop) to allow buses to safely make the left turn from westbound 54th onto southbound 20th.

        If 54th were passable for buses, the 30 would be using it.

      9. asdf, remember that you’re in the top 5% of people willing to walk such a distance and up such a steep hill to the Ave on a daily basis. Not to mention walking from 25th & 55th (or wherever your house is) to 45th & I-5, which is two miles away and a godawful freeway stop. I’d be surprised if you can find even one neighbor who’d consider that a reasonable alternative.

      10. To be clear, I am not saying that the current route 30 shouldn’t be covered because everyone can just walk up the hill. Just because I find walking it better doesn’t mean it should be the only option.

        Also, to be clear, I can unequivocally say that I would ride the FNP 31 quite a bit more than I ride the current 30 today. Going somewhere useful (Fremont) that is actually far enough to make the bus considerably faster than walking makes a big difference.

        Finally, with respect to Mike’s comment about the 45th St. freeway stop, the actual walking distance from the northbound freeway stop is about 1.1 miles, not 2 miles. Door-to-door, I can walk home from the northbound freeway stop in about 20 minutes, compared to 10 minutes from the nearest 71/72/73 stop, at 50th and University. When the 71/72/73 aren’t using the express lanes, the 510/511 easily save more than 10 minutes in travel time, so they come out ahead.

        The southbound freeway stop is a bit further and can involve long waits at stoplights to cross the freeway. For this reason and others, I generally use the 510/511 approach more often to go from downtown than to go to downtown.

        “I’d be surprised if you can find even one neighbor who’d consider that a reasonable alternative.” – I have found that it is best not to worry about what other people think and decide for myself what’s reasonable and what isn’t. Limiting yourself to what the average person believes he/she can do is not a good way to live. I know that I have walked home from the 510/511 numerous times and felt fine, and that’s good enough for me.

  11. Thanks for another great post!

    If the horrible turn is so horrible (and it is), why do any buses continue making it? For example, why not have the 70 use the same terminus as the 49; or turn onto Pacific and use the old 44 turnback; or something like that?

    Also, as an aside, I’m curious if there’s anything in your map that would be significantly different if there were no constraints about trolley wire. For example, imagine if the 35 or the 70 could continue north on Roosevelt, turning into the 67. I’m not saying that’s a good idea (it’s probably a bad one, since it skips the Link station), but I’m just wondering if there’s anything where you feel like you were forced to make a suboptimal choice because of the lack of wire.

    1. Honestly, if I were in charge of Metro, I’d make a few changes today to reduce the impact of the Horrible Turn. The most important would be to shorten the 49 to Campus Parkway, exactly as I do with my 35. I think it wouldn’t be so horrible if buses weren’t more frequent than the cycle (which they are today in the afternoon).

      I keep the 70 up there to provide a connection (albeit very imperfect) between Eastlake and Link. Harvard/10th riders have that connection at CHS.

      Lots and lots of things about my map would be different in the absence of trolley wire constraints. :) Few of those differences, though, would be in the U-District. I’d send the 70 up Brooklyn; that would be about the only big difference. I’d consider sending the 48 up Brooklyn as well, but at that point there would be severe danger of overwhelming the Brooklyn/45th and Brooklyn/47th intersections.

      1. The Horrible Turn and 45th Street will still be impacted by CT buses until 2021 or 2023 unless there’s a way to re-route those buses onto another corridor.

      2. 2023. Terminating the buses at Northgate would require significant new exit-ramp and layover-space infrastructure that would be obsolete two years after it’s built.

    2. I used to regularly transfer between the 49 and the 66/67 when I lived near Roosevelt. I could transfer to the 66 (only) at Harvard and Eastlake, but if that didn’t work I could ride the 49 to its terminus that just so happened to serve the same stop the 66 and 67 used to serve 45th. (The transfer to the 67 at Campus Parkway was substantially kludgier.) From the 70’s terminus I’d either be backtracking to 50th and going down the steep hill from 12th to 11th, or negotiating the same hill on 52nd, which might not be the best street to be on at night. Then again, I’ve pouted at people who wanted to cut the 66 and 67 because the 70-series was within walking distance on the Ave…

      1. In this plan, to make that trip, you’d transfer between the 35 and the 67 at Campus Parkway and Brooklyn. (That’s assuming that your 49 trip isn’t within walking distance of CHS — if it is, then you’d transfer between Link and the 67 at U-District Station.)

  12. I’m curious, in your proposal you have routed the 65 back onto the cemetery stretch of 35th Ave, which was deliberately changed in 2011 to better serve Seattle Childrens’ and the people-denser 40th Ave. (See http://metro.kingcounty.gov/up/sc/plans/2011/65/) – was this deliberate, or a whim? Do you think the rerouting was a bad idea for ridership and why? I believe the opposite so I’m curious to hear your reasoning.

    1. This was deliberate, to improve simplicity and speed. For trips between Children’s and the U-District, there is quite an increase in service in my plan even with the removal of the 65. The 75 would be doubled in frequency, replacing the missing 65 trips, and the 44 would be added. There would also be the 31, as a slightly slower option from the east side of Children’s.

      For trips between Children’s and points north, there would be direct coverage on the 31 to 55th, and good frequent connectivity in several places to other routes traveling further north.

      I know the Children’s deviation meets Metro’s deviation criteria, but I’d be stricter than Metro…

  13. Bike share is coming to the U District, so you’ll want to factor that into your plan as well.

    I’d really like Brooklyn Ave NE, from the Burke-Gilman all the way up to the Roosevelt Station, to be a greenway/bike boulevard, complete with diagonal diverters like on 15th Ave E and Republican, and dead-ends like at 15th Ave E and Mercer. Ideally it should be safe enough for kids to ride their bikes to Cowen Playground.

    1. I think there may be people thinking about a greenway either on 12th or Brooklyn. Brooklyn can extend to Roosevelt High School but 12th is, even more than Brooklyn even today, the forgotten street.

      The bigger bike impact on David’s plan has to do with 47th. There has long been call for a pedestrian/bike bridge over I-5 at 47th that would make 47th, and possibly 46th, through Wallingford and the U-District a natural neighborhood greenway choice. That might put it off-limits as a way for the 67 and 73 to get to Brooklyn.

      1. If 47th were a greenway, you could make the turns on 50th. It would just slow down the buses by a minute or two because 50th tends to have heavy traffic.

      2. 12th only runs between Campus Parkway and Ravenna Boulevard. Brooklyn takes you from Roosevelt HS all the way down to Agua Verde! If you put in diverters, and can’t drive more than two blocks north-south, Brooklyn will be sleepier than 12th (and it’s already pretty mellow). Brooklyn is also a block closer to the action.

        I know there’s a lot of wishful thinking around new development growing around new infrastructure, but I really think a family-friendly, high-class greenway on Brooklyn would be a great attraction.

  14. I’m a choice rider living along the 30 route north of u village. My ride to downtown is sadly time consuming. The 74 takes almost 20mins just to wind through the U district to reach the express lanes, then 15 more to downtown, on a good day, plus waiting is 45 mins. Pm is usually worse. the service runs only every 1/2 hour, but ends at 6:45, which is not late enough for me sometimes. Taking the 30 and transferring at campus drive to the 70s (or the reverse) takes just under an hour. Time is valuable to me, so I end up driving frequently, even though I’d like to ride the bus. I have been thinking that if only there were a bus running along montlake with any frequency, I could connect to the montlake flyer and hop a 255 or other from there. As it stands now, my fastest transit routers driving to the I-5 park n ride and taking 76/316 from there, but with the same span of service issue. At any rate, big fan of the 69 plan here!

    1. This plan would give you either the 69 -> Link or 31 -> Link option. Which was faster would depend on the time of day and how long your walk is to each line. Both would massively beat the current 74 (the hours of which were absorbed into my revised 31).

    2. I really find it hard to believe that people on the east part of the 74 consider it an “express” or a great route. I’m stunned that it doesn’t get off the freeway at 65th and then turn down to 55th at say 25th. I’m also surprised that it has survived this long.

    3. One really simple change I really wish Metro would do the minute the UW Link station goes online is reroute the 74 to to south on 25th, and take Montlake to the station, just like the FNP #69 does. Because the 30 would remain, no coverage would be lost, and the time savings would allow the #74 to operate at least twice as many trips each day. I’m not holding my breath that this will actually happen, though.

      That being said, my interim suggestion to Chris is to do what I do and use the Burke-Gilman Trail as a human-powered alternative to the #69 bus that doesn’t exist. From 25th and 55th, a bike ride to Montlake and 520 should take about 10 minutes. I do this this nearly every day to catch a 542 or 545 to Redmond.

  15. David,

    I sat on a 31 yesterday afternoon making the turn under I-5 – not the turn onto Northlake, but the one before, when headed eastbound toward UW campus.

    I like much of what you’re proposing. I would love it if someone could figure out a way to either (a) reroute the current 31/32 away from that particular turn (which requires northbound traffic to get out of the way for an artic to make, in my experience as a passenger) or (b) fix the intersection geometry.

    1. Unfortunately there are only a few options in that area, none of them appealing.

      There is the current routing. I can confirm from personal experience that it is possible to make the turn you’re talking about cleanly with an artic, but not every turn is executed perfectly. On balance, though, I think that routing is the best because it’s better than the alternatives.

      Alternative #1 is to continue straight on 40th; left with the curve of the street onto northbound 7th; right on 42nd; right on Roosevelt; and left onto Campus Parkway. This requires you to wait through what is often a long line eastbound/northbound at the stop sign at 40th and 7th.

      Alternative #2 is to head all the way up to 45th, a disaster for obvious reasons. There is no other way through.

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