As part of the process of updating its Transit Master Plan, the City of Bellevue has published a “Transit Service Vision Report.”  The report is the culmination of a year-long public process intended to help the City of Bellevue identify its future transit priorities.  The report includes proposed networks for 2030, 2022, and 2015, modified for each of three funding scenarios.

Bellevue Vision Map
Part of the map for the “Growing” funding scenario

The unifying theme of the proposed networks is “Abundant Access,” which incorporates goals of frequency, convenience, efficiency, simplicity, directness, and effective regional connections.  The networks include only  service that serves Bellevue destinations, although the maps cover almost the entire Eastside, so some mental “filling-in” will be necessary as you look at the maps.

At a high level, the proposed networks are outstanding examples of frequent, gridded network design.  High-ridership lines connecting major destinations are improved, with more frequent routes than exist today even in the Reduced funding scenario. Coverage to extremely low-ridership neighborhoods is mostly eliminated in the Reduced and Stable funding scenarios, with priority given to services that accommodate high numbers of riders.  Construction impacts from Link are taken into account in the 2015 and 2022 scenarios.

Some specific changes in the 2030 proposals, below the jump, are likely to get riders’ attention.

  • 108th Ave NE becomes a frequent transit “spine” in downtown Bellevue, with many more routes than serve it today.  This would enable the city to focus appropriate transit treatments on NE 108th, such as TSP, dedicated lanes, and possibly partial restrictions on private vehicle traffic comparable to those on 3rd Avenue in Seattle.
  • Off-peak service to Seattle on SR-520, including routes that correspond to today’s 545, 555/556, 255, and 271, is presumed to terminate at either UW Station or BTC, requiring off-peak riders to transfer to Link to reach downtown.  In exchange, that service becomes more frequent and faster.  Trips using Link would likely be faster than current one-seat service at certain times of day, but slower at others.
  • In all three scenarios, a new RapidRide-like line connects Bellevue, Kirkland, Juanita, and Totem Lake.  This is a corridor which has much lower ridership than it ought to today, despite having 15-minute service (although not on the same route) throughout the corridor.  Can the overall network improvements generate ridership on this corridor on the scale you would expect given the importance of the destinations, and on the scale needed to justify RapidRide-style investment?
  • Service between Bellevue and Issaquah is redesigned such that the frequent, all-day connection between the two cities is a freeway express bus, instead of today’s meandering local.  This is a win for 90% of riders along this corridor.
  • In the Growing scenario, RapidRide B is split at Crossroads, and the north-south portion is extended south to Eastgate and Factoria.
  • The RapidRide B deviation to nowhere at Overlake is eliminated.  But service to The Village is maintained on a frequent local route mostly oriented toward 148th Ave. NE.
  • In the Stable and Growing scenarios, frequent local service comes to Bel-Red Road.  Is it better to have the service on Bel-Red, rather than on Northrup Way and 20th along with Link?  The same route offers new frequent service in far west Kirkland.
  • The high-ridership service between Renton Highlands, Newcastle, and Bellevue currently provided by Route 240 becomes frequent and much more direct.
  • The plan assumes the improvements to Snoqualmie River Road, near Bellevue Community College, which Martin wrote about in 2011.
  • S Kirkland P&R, Eastgate P&R, and S Bellevue P&R become major transfer points, each served by multiple local frequent routes.  Of course, anyone who favors increased residential and commercial development around major transit nodes will find this bittersweet, as none of these three locations will ever be central or have much going on around it.  Nevertheless, quick and easy transfers at these locations should make many local trips quicker, with less waiting than today.

This is exciting work — the most serious, credible proposal for a major restructure toward all-day frequent networks that is currently on the table in the Puget Sound area.  The City of Bellevue deserves enormous credit for making this happen.  I can’t wait to watch Bellevue, Metro, and Sound Transit work toward these ideas as Link’s opening approaches, and I hope this work inspires other local jurisdictions to take a similarly cohesive, comprehensive approach in their own transit planning work.

64 Replies to “Bellevue’s 2030 Transit Service Vision”

  1. Great news! This should all be available just about the same year when I’m so old I’ll have to stop driving : )

    1. That’s an interesting experiment…can you live “carfree” in Bellevue right now?

      I would guess if anywhere, it might be along the 156th street corridor, say from Crossroads up to 140th.

      Say a person working at Microsoft, shopping at QFC Crossroads, getting entertainment from the restaurants along 156th. You could live a whole life up and down that street…

      1. It should be pretty easy to live carfree in downtown Bellevue. As you say, it would be pretty easy around Crossroads too.

      2. Yes, I could easily live car-free in downtown Bellevue. There are a few convenient bus options from downtown to Microsoft but I tend to take the private Microsoft shuttle when I use transit. I try to bicycle more often (even though there’s no decent north-south bike route) but I end up driving more than I should.

        If I moved to Bing, or any of the downtown businesses, I could easily live car-free. There are four groceries in easy walking distance (QFC, Safeway, Whole Foods, Uwajimaya) and more entertainment options (restaurants/bars, movies, some questionable live theatre and a jazz club) than I need.

        It ain’t Pike Street but it ain’t bad.

      3. The tiny interns that flood Redmond (and now the U-District, I hear) every summer basically live car-free, i.e. car-free with rental car allowance, bike subsidy, and friends who have a car for the summer. Don’t underestimate the ease with which one can roll down the 520 trail from 156/40 to Downtown Redmond for entertainment and recreation (and pop the bike on a bus on the way back).

        If I had to live on the east side car-free, though, I would far rather live near 156th and 40th / Crossroads than DT Bellevue, where the streets scream “Not made for you, puny squashable human”. For example, crossing 405 on foot going from City Center to Uwajimaya, is four unsignalled freeway on / ramps in a place where there are so few pedestrians that you don’t know the drivers are paying attention. Usually I’m fine with crossing streets unsignaled by using swiftness and a firm gaze, but I can’t do that if I don’t think people are looking.

        [More difficult with children, possibility of urgent family matters, or a job not within walking distance, of course.]

      4. The best place to live car-free on the eastside depends somewhat on where you work. Assuming you work at Microsoft, I would recommend simply picking a home near Microsoft that is a reasonable walk to work. A reasonable walk to work is also a reasonable walk to the 545, by far the quickest service to Seattle. The sidewalks near Microsoft are in good condition and are wide enough on the arterials so that you can feel safe using them. There are even signalized crosswalks that flip the walk sign on quickly when you press the button.

        Two big things that are missing from the area near Microsoft, though, are grocery stores (or places to shop in general) and car sharing. Taking these things into account, the best spot would probably be the apartment complexes along 156th near 20th St., which are within walking distance from both Microsoft and Crossroads Mall, as well as having direct service on the B-line.

        Looking towards the future however, the best car-free place to live on the eastside for a Microsoft commute will probably be the apartments that go up at the old Group Health Site – Microsoft, Safeway, Fred Meyer, and a whole shopping center nearby, plus a Link Station and good bus service on 156th, for quick travel in any direction. For bike travel, the 520 trail will be close by as well. Rent will probably be expensive, but living car free on a Microsoft salery helps with that.

      5. @aw, no I don’t plan on commuting to Microsoft when I’m too old to drive. But I’ll appreciate access to the UW and downtown Seattle.

        As for buying a house next to Microsoft, there is a counter argument. If one’s career is vested in one corporation, does it make sense to also tie one’s largest capital asset to that corporation? I imagine if Microsoft went sour that houses in Redmond would quickly lose value.

  2. Impressive work. I believe Bellevue hired Jarrett Walker recently and his firm probably helped with this.

  3. LOL@ corridor 4 (the 545!!!) including South Kirkland P&R. Let’s just throw more service hours down the drain waiting at stoplights and looping around P&Rs. This whole region is horrifically bad at this stuff. Where Northgate TC’s location was chosen for its access to freeway express lanes, it’s hard to say why South Kirkland P&R’s location was chosen. I bet it’s because the land was cheap. Whatever the case, it isn’t a good place to stop a Seattle-Redmond express route. If we had it together when the 520 rebuild was being planned we could have really done something there. A flyer stop for routes going near South Kirkland, and one more along the northern edges of Bel-Red, a place that’s expected to grow, has no direct transit access to Seattle, and where 520 doesn’t really block off the major streets. This ridiculousness isn’t just eastside-related — it goes hand-in-hand with the removal of the Montlake Flyer Stop. Want to travel from north of downtown Seattle to Redmond? You’ll go all the way through downtown Seattle and Bellevue (or the surface streets of the U District and South Kirkland), and you’ll like it! Actually, you’ll do that once, then your next transit trip will be on the 372 to a car dealership.

    In order for corridor 5, Bellevue-Kirkland, to be a popular transit route (something I think is really important), it has to be faster than it is; to be faster it has to be direct. Moving it to 108th north of South Kirkland P&R is pushing peas around the plate — not significantly better or worse. South of there it crosses 405 twice and does a loop around the P&R. Once you’ve decided to serve South Kirkland there’s apparently no point in even trying to be direct or fast. Alternate proposal: use Bellevue Way/Lake Washington Blvd/Lakeview/State, burn South Kirkland P&R to the ground, and let some coverage route handle the Giant Autocentric Hospital District.

    1. In their defense, they did talk about having many buses running on 108th Ave NE and using the on-street stops there to avoid turning into BTC.

      Re corridor 5, I don’t see the point behind using 116th Ave NE to get between S. Kirkland P&R and BTC. It seems like 108th/112th would be a much more direct route. It would still have decent access to the hospital via the NE 10th St. bridge.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. Unless the are around South Kirkland P&R undergoes a drastic makeover to allow buses to service it without such time-consuming loops and stoplights, this is a perfect example of a “transit center = delay” problem. In a bid to promote connections, the proposed map imposes significant delays on everyone traveling through the area around the connection point, including those that are traveling in a straight line and shouldn’t need to connect to anything.

      Given the current configuration of South Kirkland P&R, I don’t think there’s any choice but to operate the 542 and 255 as separate routes. Although, the 255 doesn’t necessary have to run all the way to Brickyard P&R – it could be truncated at Kirkland TC, or at least Totem Lake. Similarly, it could truncate at Montlake with a Link connection, rather than running all the way downtown.

      Also, as Al said, one big reason why ridership suck so much today between the downtowns of Bellevue and Kirkland is that the service is just way to slow. Go east to Overlake Hospital, then back west to 108th. Then loop around South Kirkland P&R. Granted, with the way the roads work, there is no great solution for this. The best option I see would be to have the 535 (depicted as corridor 2 in the diagram) stop at Houghton Freeway Station on the way between Bellevue TC and Totem Lake (I don’t understand why it doesn’t do this today – there are no stoplights or long delays to contend with by serving this stop), and using a connection to corridor 12 (currently, the 245) to reach downtown Kirkland. The key to the viability of this proposal is that the connection, especially heading towards Kirkland, needs to be frequent, and during the times of day that it isn’t frequent, it absolutely must be timed. If done right, this could be a fair bit faster than the 234/235 today. The downside is, if done wrong (e.g. untimed connection with long waits), it could be worse.

    3. Wow. I didn’t believe that could be correct.

      ….A cross-lake connection to the University District
      is available at the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride via
      Frequent Express Route 4—a route meant to be
      similar to existing Route 545 on the Eastside and to
      Route 540 in Seattle. Note that Frequent Express
      Route 4 is not included in these route profiles, ….

      Why not have the 545/542 diverting from the dedicated inside HOV lanes to the worst designed (and newest ) park and ride in Bellevue, loop through five lights, then right back on to the most backed up onramp on 520.

      That is possibly the only way to guarantee that Link will be faster from Seattle Redmond.

      If this is the quality of the analysis, the rest isn’t worth reading.

  4. There are certainly a lot of good ideas in here, and I understand the ridership versus coverage tradeoff, but I’m somewhat disappointed that there will not be any service at all to the Forest Dr/Cougar Mountain/Lakemont area even in the most optimistic scenario. (I’ll admit that I’m biased, as right now I’m a 20-minute walk from the nearest bus stop and many people are even further, and even that bus only runs every hour on weekdays only. Also, I’m not old enough to drive, and I’m far from alone in terms of being unable to drive, even in this low-density area). Even the cities with very successful transit (Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Zurich, for example) still provide basic service to the entirety of the continuously-urbanized area, and providing an extra coverage route costs a pittance compared to all the frequent services that are planned.

    Yes, I’m aware that the 219 which partially served the area had very low ridership, but I would argue that this was because (1) there were only five trips per day during peak hours only, and not even on a clockface schedule and (2) it only went to Factoria: 2 connections were required to get to Seattle and 1 connection to a slow local service was required to get anywhere else. If there was a direct bus line from South Bellevue Station along Forest Drive to Cougar Mountain that ran all day at 30-60 minute frequencies, there should be enough ridership to justify coverage service, especially since there will be fast connections to Seattle, DT Bellevue, and Microsoft on Link and a frequent “rapid bus” connection to Bellevue College and Crossroads.

    1. Hey, we’re both in the same boat (or ferry, because I’m a ferry nerd)! Sometimes I also wonder why this area really gets low-frequency bus service. The service cuts that were just made on the 246 had such a bad impact, and now I guess we know who’s next to go in the service cuts. The student/non driving population is also huge (if you’re not convinced, see the NHS bus stop at 2:35 every day) but dispersed throughout the whole neighborhood, but, hey, we can walk more and don’t really mind.
      Something about this area that make it such a popular place to live is its vistas, which are provided by, you guessed it, big steep hills (I know that since I bike them up every day). In fact its really similar to the service areas of the 240, yet there is no similar service. Perhaps a lack of connections to other places? Just connect Lakemont and Issaquah TC which also replaces the 241 on that segment.
      A route doing S Bellevue (or better yet, Bellevue)-Factoria-Forest Drive-Lakemont-Issaquah could boost a good ridership if it runs at least at a 45-minute headway.

      Also, since we’re on this subject, lets talk about Factoria. Perhaps one of the best areas with potential development, along with crossroads and the auto row. All of this parking-and-mall land is ripe for developement as a multi-use neighborhoods/TOD. All three have (or will have) good access via Transit to DT Bellevue, DT Seattle, and to a certain extent, Microsoft, so I could see it turned into vibrant neighborhoods as times goes on.

      Something that I also hate is areas served by somewhat direct, medium frequency (30 min) peak expresses to DT Seattle that don’t get anything at all during the rest of the day. Cougar Mountain is the prime example for that (aside from Sammamish). It just doesn’t make sense. Put a local bus for a 2-seat ride to DT Seattle first, then see if there is enough demand for a peak-express, not the other way around.

  5. I LIKE IT !!!

    But since most of this revolves around non rail service why wait ’til 2030?

    Seems to me items #5 and #6 on this map could be considered for street car treatment…

  6. The obvious missing piece of this puzzle is ST3. If this is indeed a 2030 vision, where is the light rail connction to Kirkland & Totem Lake via the east side (ex-BNSF) rail corridor? And where is the rail connection south-eastward toward Factoria & Issaquah? It’s a very substantive proposal to be sure, but it basically says that Bellevue planners believe that East Link is the only rail that will be on the east side in the next two decades. That’s pretty surprising, especially given that a) they have very aggressive mode split goals, and b) the old rail corridor is fuilly secure in public ownership.

    1. Please no on the ex-BNSF rail corridor. It doesn’t actually connect destinations where people are seeking to go; it connects random points 3/4 to 1 mile away from places where people are seeking to go. Please leave it as a bike trail.

      1. I’ve never been a huge fan of that idea. But the more I think about it… the more I think we could do a lot worse on the eastside. The BNSF rail corridor is (endemically) in the wrong location, but it’s not in the wrong location by as much as 405 is, and 405 BRT is the alternative. Here’s what I think about the corridor:

        – It misses downtown Bellevue to the east (by a fairly large amount and more than 405 BRT — it looks smaller than it is on a map because there isn’t much to look at between the two places, but it’s a long, smelly, noisy walk), but it should be possible to build good transfers to Link and the B Line. 405 BRT would get off the freeway and go to Bellevue TC, probably with reasonably fast (if fairly expensive) ramps to do so.

        – It misses downtown Kirkland to southeast, but by less than Bellevue (it looks bigger on a map because there’s a granular street grid and lots of small buildings in between… it’s a hilly but pleasant walk), and it crosses or connects to any likely Seattle-Kirkland or Kirkland-Bellevue bus route in a couple places. Downtown Kirkland’s biggest problem is that it’s too small, and extending its connected street grid and mixed-use profile in that direction would be a pretty good thing. There’s already some office construction going on in that area and I don’t think mixed use is implausible at all on roads like 6th St S with lots of existing commerce. Surface rail to downtown Kirkland would be uselessly slow (surface buses are pretty darn slow already, there isn’t room for exclusive ROW, and a train that had to stop in exactly the right place in mixed traffic and couldn’t maneuver around stopped vehicles would be even slower) and probably opposed by almost everyone for safety reasons; can you even imagine trying to bring a subway tunnel or elevated rail there (cost, views, noise, etc.)? By comparison, 405 BRT is much farther and with even less TOD potential. It’s either a long, unpleasant walk up to the freeway or a long, slow bus ride on streets with little hope for reserved ROW.

        – The corridor goes through a corner of Totem Lake, and not the corner with the stuff or the transit… but there’s room around there to leave the existing corridor and send the train right where it needs to go.

        – North of there, do whatever — there are lots of wide corridors around. Woodinville via the existing rail corridor plus [insert hand-waving to get to get across the river and into town], then Bothell along 522? It’s a pretty indirect way to Bothell but probably faster than any likely transit option to go to Real Bothell (I don’t think anyone else has used this one, so I claim it as my thing). If you want to go to Everett or Lynnwood (as current routes 532/535 do) follow Bothell-Everett Highway to 405 then do whatever.

        If this line is ever the most effective way to get from downtown Kirkland to downtown Bellevue that would be quite the indictment of our other transit service. But you wouldn’t take the 358 from lower Fremont to downtown Seattle, and that doesn’t make it a bad route. Woodinville, Bothell, and (sigh) even Totem Lake aren’t going anywhere, and encouraging a focus in those places around transit that can doesn’t get stuck in Kirkland surface traffic or spin around in P&R loops might be a good idea. I’m not totally sold on the Eastside Rail Corridor, but I’m less opposed than I used to be, and I think it would be a million times better than 405 BRT.

    2. Bellevue probably didn’t want to make its plan dependent on future ST decisions which are uncertain. That’s basically the same reason why David L’s network assumed Link to Northgate but didn’t depend on it beyond that, because it’s still uncertain where the stations will be. In Bellevue’s case you’re talking about a line which doesn’t even have any official alternatives yet. When/if a light rail alignment becomes more certain, then Bellevue can update its plan.

  7. I see a lot of … “Great news! Yes, your future bus alignment will stop nowhere near your home, but it will be more frequent and faster! If you somehow figure out how to get to it, you’re in for a treat.” For example, I doubt all the people who live along the current route 271 will be excited to hear it might become a freeway route. Local buses, like the high-ridership 271, are an essential ingredient in our transit recipe, and don’t need “fixing.”

    Speaking of recipes, all of this reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man, where the aliens convince the humans they are there to help them, when they are secretly plotting to eat them. Except in this scenario, the “experts” tell us all this restructuring is really for our own good, but their ultimate goal is to get people to move into cities and along high density transit corridors. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 2030 will be here sooner than you think! Moving transit away from residential communities in the name of “efficiency” is a plot to get people to move out of their homes and into apodments next to rail lines!

    1. The local part of the 271 between Bellevue and Eastgate has frequent replacement service, which you would know if you had looked at the map.

      The local part of the 271 between Eastgate and Issaquah may have high ridership on Planet Sam, but in the real world is mostly a waste of bus hours; practically every rider on it is on for the whole way between Eastgate and Issaquah. Nevertheless, it retains coverage service except in the Reduced funding scenario.

  8. If someone works at Google Kirkland, what will be the best way for them to get from work to Seattle? Take a bus to UW Station, then the train to downtown? Or take a bus to Overlake Transit Station, then take East Link to downtown?

    1. If they’re traveling at peak, there will be a bus direct from UW Station to downtown Kirkland.

      If they’re traveling off peak, they will probably want to take the new RapidRide-like #5 to Bellevue and then the train from Bellevue to downtown. Or they could do a three-seat ride transferring at S Kirkland and UW Station.

      Honestly, Kirkland-Downtown is one of the weaknesses in this plan… but it is a City of Bellevue plan. I don’t think the off-peak replacement service for the 255 will quite cut it.

  9. Any news on Bellevue’s bicycle infrastructure. I remember a few years back they produced a master plan that was way ahead of anything else around here, in scope and proposed funding.

    Also, Bellevue has much fewer hills.

    1. Bellevue has loads of hills, dude. Take it from someone that bikes through Bellevue pretty often. Downtown and Bel-Red are flat, the rest is hilly.

      The last Bellevue bike master plan I saw was sort of disappointing, actually… Bellevue, like most hilly places, has natural transportation corridors that go around the hills. But they’re taken by busy roads, and the planners had no interest in making room for bikes on them, so they planned some really important bike routes up and down steep hills (i.e. on 108th south of downtown Bellevue instead of along natural flat corridors like Bellevue Way and 112th), and left some significant gaps in the network.

      On the other hand, Bellevue’s concrete plan (I think they’re starting work pretty soon) for the 520 trail “missing link” (between the existing 520 trail and the new segment over Lake Washington that will open soon) is really good. Because of the interchanges in that area it doesn’t really make sense to follow the freeway, and the proposed route, bike lane configuration, and intersection treatments all look really solid to me.

      1. What Bellevue needs is a bike ramp next to the 10th Street on-ramp to 520. Imagine if you could hop on a protected bike path and go from downtown to Redmond or Seattle.

        Sadly, this won’t ever happen.

      2. That part of the 520 bike route is going to be on Northup, probably permanently because it’s a good way to avoid the interchange mess around 520/405. Because of the interchange mess the best way of heading out of town to the north will be along 112th but will need a lot of work. For subsequently going east along 520 it would be nice to stay east of 405 (to avoid going out of the way north and west like 112th does)… maybe Bellevue will pick up where the Cross-Kirkland Corridor is leaving off (getting to Northup would require a ramp, grade might be… interesting).

      3. 116th Ave. between 12th St. and 520 could use a road diet and a cycle track. It currently has two travel lanes per direction, but not nearly enough cars to warrant it. Just like Nickerson, the only people who would be adversely affected by a road diet here are the gross speeders.

      4. A 116th bike route would be great (of course, at least one of those giant CAR PIPES across 405 needs some sort of bike accommodation as well). Or maybe Bellevue could pick up where the CKC leaves off (otherwise the connection from the east part of the 520 route to the CKC will be really suboptimal, relying on a steep, narrow, busy part of 108th that I avoid even though I like the rest of 108th.

      5. I’ll second the 116th Avenue proposal. As for crossing 405, I’ve done it several times on the 12th Street sidewalk. It’s pretty wide, and always rather empty… which says some unfortunate things, but at least it makes it nice for biking.

      6. Bellevue did a great job with the sidewalks along 10th and 12th St. across 405 – they are plenty wide enough for both bikes and pedestrians and I have no complaints. Now that the hard work is done, all adding bike facilities on 116th to connect things together is all that’s left.

        On the other hand, the 8th St. bridge was and still is a poor crossing for anyone not in a motor vehicle. I personally use 10th instead of 8th, whenever I’m either walking or biking, even if it’s out of the way.

  10. Question. When you say “The RapidRide B deviation to nowhere at Overlake is eliminated. But service to The Village is maintained on a frequent local route mostly oriented toward 148th Ave. NE.” Which B deviation to nowhere at Overlake are you talking about?

    Secondly, if Bellevue wants to try to keep buses out on 108th Ave, rather than having them turn into the BTC, isn’t that going to make the connection between buses and East Link that much more difficult?

    1. There is only one RR B deviation to nowhere: the deviation from 156th Ave NE onto 152nd Ave NE to serve Overlake P&R and The Village.

      You raise a good point about the 108th Ave bus corridor, especially since transfers from Link to north/south service will become more important under this plan.

      1. Ok, that’s what I thought you meant about the deviation to nowhere. But when East Link has a station at the north end of 152nd (Overlake Village Station), right before it bends and climbs a little hill, won’t the B Line making that deviation be more important than ever? In other words, yes, that deviation right now is a time waster. But when OVS is up and running, won’t it be essential to have bus routes making that deviation to service that Link Station?

      2. Sam, if you want to get to RR-B (or the new growth scenario corridor from Downtown Park to Crossroads), why wouldn’t you transfer at Overlake TC or Hospital Station?

    2. Good point, Sam. The bus-train linkage is then four blocks. Again, the train is way too far east. Blame a lack of chutzpah all around.

      1. Four blocks? For me, I get (110th NE) – (108th NE) = 2 blocks. Add a half block further to access the platform and it’s two and a half blocks.

  11. I took a round trip from Beacon Hill to Factoria this morning (36-554-245 and vice-versa). Six buses, 4 transfers including 2 “just misses”–it would have been nice to be able to ride Link to S. Bellevue P&R and transfer to a frequent bus to Factoria.

    1. BTW, even when there’s East Link, won’t you still have to ride a total of 4 buses and 2 trains for a trip from Beacon Hill to Factoria and back?

      1. Yup, but the headways will be much shorter and there won’t be any 19 minute waits on a freeway overpass. I did like the brass salmon at Eastgate Freeway Station, however.

      2. This goes back to the problem of why we need timed connections, rather than a hodge-podge for 30-minute-headway routes that pass by each other at random times, with long waits.

        Also, any local buses that connect to the 554 at Eastgate must offer a guaranteed connection so people don’t get stranded. Meaning that if the 554 is running late, the connecting local bus must wait (within reason).

      3. The problem is that the 554 runs every 20 minutes (off-peak) while most of the connecting local routes run every 15, 30, or 60 minutes :( Perhaps it might be better for the 554 to run every 15 minutes as far as Eastgate, and then every 30 minutes to Issaquah, if ST is serious about promoting timed connections to local service?

        Nevertheless, like asdf I’m mystified as to why Metro barely even tries to operate timed-connections even when the frequencies match up. Yes, we can’t time connections to everywhere, but at least trips to DT Seattle and potentially other major regional destinations should be prioritized, and these timed connections must be published in timetables.

      4. This was my first trip to Factoria via transit. My first inclination was to take the 550 to S. Bellevue and transfer there, but the bus from S. Bellevue to Factoria (241) runs at 30 minute headways and I didn’t want to take a chance on spending 29+ minutes at S. Bellevue P&R.. So I decided to take the 554 instead. I also considered walking from the Eastgate Freeway Station to Factoria, but decided to make the transfer to the 245 or 241 at the Eastgate P&R. The walk from the Eastgate Freeway Station to the Eastgate P&R is pretty bleak, although both facilities feature some pretty nice artwork and landscaping.

      5. I think the 20 minute frequency means, “We want to make it 15 minutes but we don’t have the money, but when we do we will.”

      6. I have generally found the walk from Factoria to South Bellevue P&R to be generally more pleasant than the walk to Eastgate Freeway Station, although the distances are not close – you are looking at about a 30 minute walk to either destination. Bus-wise, Eastgate P&R has better frequency of shuttles to and from Factoria, at the price of worse frequency between the P&R and downtown Seattle.

        Honestly, though, there’s no sugarcoating it – when the 212 isn’t running, transit between Seattle and Factoria is not good. Door-to-door, you could probably bike all the way there down the I-90 trail (which goes right to Factoria) in quite a bit less time than all the bus transfers would take.

      7. @asdf: Really the only really decent transit from dt Seattle to Factoria ior s provided by the 210/217. Otherwise you either have to walk from one of the P&R’s or wait for an infrequent transfer.

      8. GuyOnBeaconHill: it reminds me of the time I lived on Somerset and went to Bellevue High School. I could take the 240, 340, 226+210, or 252. The shortest walk (10 minutes) was 226+210 but I had to transfer at Mercer Island. The 252 mean a 20-minute walk, the 240 a 30-minute walk, and the 340 a 40-minute walk (but faster bus). Or I could transfer from the 240 or 340 to the 210, but the 210 was less than hourly so it was often longer than my 40-minute walk. What I ended up doing was, in the morning I’d take the 210+226 because it was the shortest walk and shortest transfer. In the afternoon I alternated between the 240, 340, and 252 so that I wouldn’t get bored with the same walk every day.

    2. How can the ST 554 have guaranteed connections with any of the Metro routes at the main Eastgate P&R when it’s at least a 5 minute walk away from the freeway stop?

      1. The Metro routes that connect with ST 554 have their stop in the wrong location. Instead of stopping in the bus bays, all routes that continue through across the bridge (e.g. 240, 245) should be stopping on the bridge, right next to the freeway station. If the sidewalk isn’t wide enough to permit a bus stop there, widen the sidewalk.

        While I am firmly opposed to time-wasting detours to get a couple hundred feet closer to a connection point (e.g. a hypothetical diversion of the 554 into the Eastgate P&R bus bays), this is a completely different story. When the most logical route a bus could take to get where its going goes right by a connection point, it is completely crazy to not have the bus stop there, or not build the roadway to accommodate a stop there.

      2. @asdf: all else being equal, I agree wih you. However, the Eastgate Freeway station is a very challenging environment. If I recall correctly, the bridge predates the Freeway ramp by over a decade. It is very narrow, and I suspect that retroactively widening it would have been extremely expensive. The sidewalks are narrow — in the case of the western one, it is really too narrow for the amount of foot traffic it gets when a bus arrives in the evening peak.

        For buses headed north, there is a stop at the north end of the bridge serving BCC. For buses headed south and west, I believe that there is a bus stop just around the corner on 36th [I may be wrong on this]. Like all the westbound stops on 36th, waiting there would require a certain amount of bravery, but I do wonder if some sort of improvement could be made to allow a bus to wait here, and to improve the pedestrian experience.

        In the morning peak, travelling north over the bridge can take 20 minutes because of poorly timed lights, traffic conflicts at the 4 way stop sign at the North end of the bridge, and buses stopping by BCC.

        I do wonder a bit about how fast people walk. I don’t consider myself fast: on the contrary, I tend to amble, but 5 minutes to the P&R or 30 to Factoria [here, we may be thinking about somewaht different destinations] seem very slow to me. I’d guess closer to 2-3 and 15-20. (in the latter case, going from Factoria to Eastgate is a bit of a slog).

      3. Fortunately, any new addition to the bridge structure would only need to be able to handle the weight of people, not cars or trucks. That should reduce the cost considerably.

  12. I’ve been looking at some of the coverage routes in the short-term network, and there are some really odd ones, like:

    Generally, the purpose of Route 249 is to provide
    coverage service to several areas of Bellevue and
    neighboring communities that are currently served by
    existing Routes 249 and 271. Neighborhoods served
    by one or more of the variants include northeast
    Bellevue, northern Bel-Red and southeastern Bridle
    Trails, Medina, Clyde Hill, northwest Bellevue, Enatai,
    and Beaux Arts Village. Route 249 connects these
    areas to routes in the frequent network at centers
    including Overlake Transit Center, Overlake Park and-
    Ride, South Kirkland Park-and-Ride, Yarrow
    Point Freeway Station, Bellevue Transit Center, and
    South Bellevue Park-and-Ride.

    I’m not sure if I could think of a more dispersed set of neighborhoods and transit centers in and around Bellevue if I tried. Although maybe the route should go to Eastgate and Newcastle too.

    1. The 249 is a weird route whose purposes is to stitch together a random collection of neighborhoods that would otherwise have no service at all. It is full of twists and turns and you can’t ride it for more than a couple of miles or so without being forced to detour out of the way.

      The latest service change cut its off-peak frequency from twice an hour to once an hour. If the 17% cuts happen, I would not be surprised to see the route deleted entirely.

    2. I’ve ridden the 249 between downtown Bellevue and 148th Avenue several times when my bike was in the shop. It isn’t too bad in that section, actually, if you’d rather detour through South Kirkland P&R than walk south from Overlake TC. Still, except at peak of peak, there were never more than a half dozen people on the bus.

      Of course, the rest of the route is a joke.

  13. I like these frequency definitions: (page 20)
    60 min: service unattractive to all riders

    Here’s to hoping Metro will adopt these too.

    Also, I like the plug for rebuilding the Bellevue College roadways to allow buses to serve it without detouring. (pp. 18-19)

    1. Argh, it swallowed my entire table.

      * less than 10 min: passengers do not need schedules

      * 10-14 min: frequent service, passengers consult schedules

      * 15-20 min: maximum desirable time to wait if bus/train missed

      * 21-30 min: service unattractive to choice riders

      * 31-60 min: service available during the hour

      * greater than 60 min: service unattractive to all riders

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