Swift-II-map
Map by Oran

If Boeing’s needs are a truly a major consideration in crafting the next state transportation package, then lawmakers may give serious consideration to what Community Transit is provisionally calling “Swift II:”

The proposed Swift II line under study would serve Boeing-Everett at the north end, wind east across Airport Road/128th to 132nd, then turn south at the Bothell-Everett Highway. There are two options of a southern terminus: just south of Mill Creek Town Center or Canyon Park.

According to spokesman Martin Munguia, CT is in the middle of a feasability study that could enable Federal Small Starts funding. Half of the $200,000 cost of this study was provided by the legislature in 2012.

There no capital cost estimates yet, although Munguia expects that, being shorter, it will come in under the $30m cost of the first Swift line. The House’s last attempt at putting together a transportation bill last spring included $10m over 12 years for this project, before Boeing became a priority, but no one knows what will happen next session.

Of course, there is also the issue of operating funds. Community Transit has already made the painful cuts King County Metro is trying to avoid, including the elimination of all Sunday service besides Sound Transit Express. Even with the capital money, it’s inconceivable that CT could operate this line without new authorization from the state, a (substantially new) CT board, and the voters.

Swift is generally agreed to the be the best example of BRT in the region, with full off-board payment, direct routing, partial right-of-way, and uniformly high-quality stops. CT should be commended for continuing to seek improvement in terrible fiscal headwinds.

75 Replies to “CT Studying Swift II”

  1. Anything positive is good at this stage. But really hope Swift, and Rapid-Ride, and everything similar will take some serious measures toward getting non-transit traffic out of its way and also some signal pre-empt worthy of the name.

    It would be good to get present “bait and switch” feeling cured. A streamlined bus with advanced fare collection is still like a car in a commercial filmed in Iceland: could really be fast if it could move.

    Mark

    1. Have you ever ridden Swift? It’s got all the BRT goodies and really is just as fast as driving the same corridor. Community Transit got it right and it’s a shame we never hear enough about how good the service really is. I bet CT has watched RapidRide’s rollout and they’re not about to destroy their sweet brand identity by half-arsing it.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the main reason that Swift is so much better than Rapid Ride D is that it sticks to bus only lanes for almost its entire length (99 up in Snohomish county has shared bus only/turn only lanes for its entire length unlike 99 down in Seattle which has starts and stops with this).

        This alone gives Swift so much more room to be awesome, whereas the Rapid Rides we have in Seattle are not put in such transit positive infrastructure. Hopefully Rapid Ride E will be comparable when it opens… though it does have that weird “zoo” loop in the middle.

      2. SWIFT can credibly be called “rapid” in a way that RapidRide can not primarily for two reasons: it runs on a fast (mostly 45 mph limit), wide arterial with long blocks (which is actually kind of horrible for pedestrians), it stops about once a mile (which it can do because there’s a local underlay bus service stopping every quarter mile), and the off-board payment also deals with cash (rather than just ORCA, which is the least problematic form of on-board payment). Bus lanes are not really that important in this case, although I certainly won’t complain about their existence.

        Aurora in Seattle is fairly fast (mostly 35 mph), as is 15th Ave, but unfortunately, RapidRide D & E have few of the other conditions that make SWIFT a success. Moreover, that failure is not really that of Metro management, but an intrinsic failure built into the Transit Now package, which did not set aside enough operating or capital funding for RapidRide to do things like a local underlay service.

      3. Swift pretty much doesn’t go through any place where traffic congestion is as common or severe as Seattle. That’s a pretty big factor. The same things that make Swift fast (road design and land use) limit its ridership. A lot of CT’s local routes maintain pretty good speeds even on smaller roads with much closer stop spacing just because there isn’t much traffic or many boardings. If station areas get built up in ways that attract lots of riders, though, Swift certainly will be prepared to add riders without much associated delay.

      4. Let me put on my d.p. hat for a moment…

        I admit that I’m still not convinced that a local shadow would be the best use of money, at least at the frequencies at which we run things around here.

        Right now, Google Maps says that the D takes 17 minutes to get from 85th to Mercer Pl, while a car would take 11 minutes (in current traffic). So we can say that 6 minutes is the upper bound on how much time we could save by making fewer stops, at least for that portion of the trip. RapidRide currently stops about every 1/2 mile, so stopping every mile would skip half of the stops, and thus save about half of the time — or about 3 minutes.

        Let’s say that you’ve got some new service hours. You have two choices:

        A. You can upgrade RapidRide to 10 minute frequency.
        B. You can maintain it at 15 minute frequency, change the stop spacing, and run a 30 minute local shadow.

        Both of these scenarios involve running six buses per hour; I’m hand-waving and assuming that the service hours saved from the stop reductions are roughly equivalent to the service hours spent by making lots of extra stops on the local shadow.

        Going back to our trip from 85th to Mercer Place, we have the following times:

        A: 5 minute wait for a 17 minute trip, for a total of 22 minutes.
        B: 7.5 minute wait for a 14 minute trip, for a total of 21.5 minutes.

        This is the best possible case for scenario B, and the worst case for scenario A. Let’s consider the trip from Market St to Mercer Place, which currently takes 6 minutes by car or 11 minutes by RRD:

        A: 5 minute wait for an 11 minute trip, for a total of 16 minutes.
        B: 7.5 minute wait for an 8.5 minute trip, for a total of 16 minutes.

        Or the trip from 85th to Leary, which currently takes 5 minutes by car or 7 minutes by RRD:

        A: 5 minute wait for a 7 minute trip, for a total of 12 minutes.
        B: 7.5 minute wait for a 6 minute trip, for a total of 13.5 minutes.

        And all of these trips are between stop pairs that are served by the express service. What about a trip from 80th to Leary (80th being a stop that is sure to be deleted)?

        A: Roughly the same as the last scenario — about 12 minutes.
        B: Two terrible choices. Either the same as the last scenario plus a 5 minute walk (18.5 minutes), or a 15 minute wait for an 8+ minute trip (23+ minutes).

        If a 5-minute walk doesn’t sound so bad, consider that all of these trips start and end on 15th. Someone coming from 11th is already walking a quarter mile just to get to 15th. As far as I’m aware, most transit planning assumes that people will max out at a half-mile walk even for SkyTrain-level service. Are they going to walk over half a mile for a bus, even a really good one?

        Now, there would probably be a stronger argument for running a local shadow if the whole street looked like the portion in Interbay: a whole lot of nothing, occasionally punctuated by important intersections. But in practice, it seems like we could get 95% of the benefit of wider stop spacing simply by deleting a couple of the lesser-used stops along 15th Ave, even without running a local shadow. That’s just good old-fashioned stop consolidation, based on the recognition that Interbay simply isn’t a strong traffic generator.

        Finally, you’ll of course note that all my sample trips stop at Mercer Place. I continue to believe that the biggest problem with RapidRide D is that it makes a left turn from a wide and fast arterial onto a narrow, congested street. Removing this deviation would potentially save 5 minutes per trip, and it would save that time on every trip, not just ones that started at the northern terminus. I know that this is unlikely to change, and so I try not to bring it up often, but I think that adding a shadow local would be just as radical of a change as removing the deviation.

    2. SWIFT is the closest thing this region has to “real” BRT. It’s a pretty good system other than it serves a mostly non-residential and pedestrian free corridor.

  2. What is along this route besides Boeing, park n rides, and office parks? I expected Swift II to be along 196th or 200th from downtown Edmonds to Lynnwood TC (or Alderwood Mall or something further). This route doesn’t seem to reach any transit center or highway 99 or any other major all-day destination. (But I’ve only been on the Bothell-Everett Highway once because I don’t think it has off-peak bus service, so I only remember a little bit about what’s there.) Or do the cities plan to upzone these streets?

    1. I’d imagine the eventual goal is to connect it to the planned 405 BRT at canyon park. Two seat ride from Renton plant to Everett plant? Not much demand to ride the whole length but both plants would be accessible from a very wide swath of the east side.

      With the new express toll lanes and direct access ramps, we can have a very productive and fast BRT on 405. And given that it’s part of the official WSDOT corridor plan, a great target for significant state funding.

      1. 405 BRT is just an idea and a preliminary sketch, it’s not “planned” in the sense of being definite or even knowing when an opening date would be chosen. Of course, Swift II is only an idea too, so maybe they can be solidified around the same time, but 405 BRT also depends on widening 405 (at least for the WSDOT BRT sketch), so it’ll probably be several years away if ever.

      2. Since Sound Transit will be the lead agency for I-405 BRT, it will require passage of ST3 to implement.

      3. “[A] great target for significant state funding”.

        Ha-ha! What a wonderful jest, sir. State funded transit operations! In Washington State! (Slaps knee!) ROTFLMAO!!! Har-Har-Har! You are SOOOO FUNNY!

    2. A few tweaks I would like to see coming from someone in the north end that uses Swift. First, a firm location on where exactly the Boeing terminal would be. As Paine Field becoming a passenger airport is always a future possibility, this would be a logical termination point for BRT. Stops should be included or planned for both the Boeing workforce and future passengers. I would be okay if CT deferred this station but at least acknowledged it in the plans. Also, I would like to see this routed down Casino Road after leaving Boeing. This would serve a much larger population than on Airport Raod. It could also make use of the existing Swift stops on 99 from Casino to Airport Road, thereby saving capital costs and improving the ease of transfers between the two lines.

    3. They already have a direct route on 196th from downtown Edmonds to Alderwood mall. A swift route would not make any time difference, it would still be caught in traffic, no room for transit lanes.

      Bothel/Everett hwy 527 has all day service now with route 105 all the way to uw bothell from Mariner p/r, ahd #115 from 164th to Mariner. It is a busy hwy, with lots of riders

    4. I think there were potential plans for an East-West Swift route from Edmonds to Mill Creek along CT 116. It would have served Edmonds Ferry Terminal, Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood TC, Alderwood Mall, Ash Way P&R, and Mill Creek.

      It would have had high ridership, but there probably wouldn’t be any BAT or bus lanes, and it would have made multiple turns.

    5. I’ll save a longer post for when I have a real keyboard, but Canyon Park is an interesting example of how Seattle’s sparse single-use office parks aren’t as bad as some cities’. There’s some housing around there and a bunch of retail that’s pretty miserable on foot. The transit station’s walkshed is wasted on parking and interchange hell, but it could be worse…

      1. OK, so Canyon Park is a place where an upzone alone wouldn’t cut it. “More stuff” here would just mean more cars and more traffic in the short term (see comments about traffic on 196th west of here — some of the intersections along Bothell-Everett Highway are already getting congested). Real planning and infrastructure improvements are necessary. Local street network connectivity is unusually poor — most local streets are just trivial, single-land-use loops off the widely-spaced arterial grid. This takes a toll on walking and cycling, because it means the only ways to get anywhere are along these mega-arterials.

        Were the general Canyon Park area to be upzoned, I think we’d have to basically concede that nobody’s going to walk across 405 along 527 and focus on each side of the freeway separately. Around Bothell-Everett/228th there are currently strip malls, grocery stores, and hotels, with housing a little farther away. Pedestrian connectivity between these businesses, existing housing, new housing, and transit is weak.

        Farther east (northeast of the freeway) there’s a big, sprawling office park (I used to work there), some apartments, and farther east and south houses. Better connections between the offices and housing would be great, though some (fairly rustic) trails exist. It is not very intense infrastructurally, but it won’t take much more traffic to convince local planners they need bigger roads and more complicated intersections. But that traffic is limited to peak-of-peak — without more use mixture more infrastructure there would be wasted the vast majority of the time. There are some little cantinas in the park that mostly serve the lunchtime crowd, restaurants closer to BEH, and last I was there a megachurch was opening. It will need more than that.

        The all-day destinations (groceries and other stores and services, restaurants open in the evening, etc.) are in the BEH/228th area I mentioned previously across the freeway. Crossing the freeway on 228th is fine (there’s no interchange and no elevation change), but it’s really indirect to access from areas directly north of it; crossing at the P&R can be pretty indirect, too, and the P&R is in the middle of a dead zone. I’d say improving connections to 228th from the direct north would be the best improvement for that.

        Also notable is that the North Creek Trail (a MUP) is making its way through Canyon Park, providing a nicer bike route between Canyon Park and the Burke/Sammamish River Trail. Its design is inconsistent. At worst, it’s more like the new West Lake Sammamish Parkway stuff (not very good) than the Burke. At best… well, some parts don’t have too many intersections, so there’s nothing to screw up, and they’re pretty nice.

      2. I haven’t seen Canyon Park in particular except once at night, but in general there’s an argument for mixed-use zoning even in the far suburbs. If one person can park and go to a supermarket and a variety of other shops, and another person can live in a townhouse/apartment next to it and do that shopping on foot, then the neighborhood has benefitted even if people have to drive to the location.

      3. @Mike: Yeah, absolutely. I’d say that more than an “upzone” Canyon Park needs an “in-zone” (along with more walkable infrastructure). Is “in-zone” a thing? It should be a thing.

        I’d apply that statement equally to pretty much all of Silicon Valley (another place I’ve worked, and one that is generally much worse than Canyon Park despite being denser).

      4. Silicon Valley is a worse mess than Pugetopolis. But the mixed-use island I was suggesting is modeled on one in Santa Clara where the Montague Expressway crosses Agnew Road. It’s like a combination of Safeway, a mini Kent Station shopping center, parking in the middle like Westwood Village, upscale apartments across the street, and townhouses going north along Agnew Road.

        A light rail station is 0.8 miles east (the same as distance from Link’s 155th Station to Aurora Ave). There may be a bus south and east but there’s none north and west where I was staying. I had a 20 minute walk to it, but when I got there I could walk to a nice Asian restaurant (recommended!), Safeway (for provisions), and game shops (although they’re not my thing). If I lived in one of the apartments or townhouses I could walk to the complex. Even though I’d have to drive to get out of the area, or walk most of a mile through a lower-density space to the light rail. If I had to live in Santa Clara, this would be one of the most convenient places.

      1. Can you explain this a bit further? CT manages to surmount the county line when travelling downtown or to the U-District. I presume they are able to do so on the grounds that such service is of value to residents of Snohomish county. Would service to Bothell not also be?

      2. What’s the issue with the county line? CT already serves downtown Bothell and UWB, which is in King County. Also, remember that the segment of Swift in Everett is actually Everett Transit’s territory and they cooperated to get Swift all the way to downtown Everett instead of forcing a transfer to an ET bus like on the local shadows.

      3. When CT sends a bus downtown or to the UW now, they have goofy boarding rules so that CT can avoid subsidizing King County service – no picking up inbound riders after crossing the county line, no dropping off outbound riders before crossing the county line. This works for a commuter express, but wouldn’t make sense on a route like Swift.

        We’d need collaboration between Metro and CT, like with ET for Swift in Everett, and it would have to involve Metro paying CT for the King County part of the route. I don’t see that collaboration happening anytime soon, or Metro parting with any money to make it happen.

      4. I don’t think the commuter restrictions apply in this case.

        Community Transit already operates routes 105 and 106 in the SR 527 corridor to downtown Bothell. I’ve ridden it a few times when I went to UWB/Cascadia. Metro doesn’t run any buses there, so there is no competition or subsidy issues to worry about.

        I’m not convinced that extending Swift II from Canyon Park to downtown Bothell is a high priority. There isn’t much in between other than Country Village and a Safeway.

      5. “What’s the issue with the county line?”

        You guys are obviously newcomers to the area.

        I remember…
        When Metro and CT didn’t even talk to each other !

      6. @Oran: It’s not what’s in between (which is indeed not much), but what’s there: the town of Bothell, a couple colleges, and connections to destinations that aren’t available elsewhere (Woodinville, Kenmore, Lake City). Because there isn’t much in between the 105 might even be replaceable without adding a local shadow, unless CT is planning truly extreme stop spacing. Without going to Bothell they probably have to keep running the 105, which means running 6 buses per hour in the section where they overlap.

        The idea of running frequent transit to the Boeing plant is a lot more questionable than running it to Bothell. There are parts of the proposed route that don’t have any transit service at all today, and the Boeing plant has only a tiny amount of off-peak service (a couple odd trips to Everett Mall, and trips every 45 minutes to downtown Everett that barely extend into the evening). What has changed that now makes it such a big all-day destination? I’m sure Mill Creek Town Center is growing, and maybe even some of the areas between there and Boeing. I don’t think that adds up.

    6. The Bothell-Everett Hwy / 527 corridor is basically a scaled-down version of Pacific Hwy / 99. You would expect the N/S trunk of this route to have the same kind of ridership characteristics as Swift on 99, except slightly lower ridership across the board due to the lower level of development. This is kind of unavoidable in SnoHoCo, though – nothing outside of downtown Everett is as developed as the 99 corridor.

      West of Pacific/99, though, it’d basically just be a Boeing shuttle with zero churn. But if the legislature is looking for a way to give Boeing infrastructure, that might not be a bad thing.

    7. At first, my curiosity was the same that of Mike’s. Along Airport Rd is mainly clean industrial complexes and offices, much like West Valley Hwy. But if Metro can get high ridership on the 150 through W. Valley, then maybe a CT bus can do the same on Airport Rd. The potential for ridership may be there. Bothell – Everett Hwy, on the other hand, is a busy corridor littered with new condos and development. It is often congested from 405 to SE 208th St, and there is ample room for a BAT lane.

      However, as a CT 115 & 116 rider, there is a much greater need between EDCC and Mill Creek. Swift II ought to focus there first. But I suspect the big problem is the current infrastructure. 200th St is merely a single lane from EDCC to the LTC. 196th St SW is severely congested during the afternoon peak with no room to add another lane. Besides, the City of Lynnwood had a cow when CT wanted to put a much needed bus stop at 48th Ave W. So I don’t believe they would be willing to accommodate a huge transit project on 196th.

      Perhaps CT may be on to something in choosing the SR 527 instead.

    8. There are about a dozen large apartment complexes along Bothell-Everett Highway, where I used to see lots of folks working in the office parks and shopping centers riding to work on CT 105/106. (I don’t ride that stretch much since switching to the 532.)

  3. Something tells me this isn’t the best Swift line CT could build in terms of ridership, but they are doing it as an olive branch to Boeing. But if I were Boeing, and on the one hand I’m looking at a region that is electing politicians who want to confiscate Boeing property, and on the other hand I’m looking at a token bus line as a gesture of goodwill, the former will overshadow the latter.

    1. I’m pretty sure Boeing’s lawyers have read the Constitution and know that a politician wanting to confiscate their property is like me wanting to be the QB for the Seahawks despite not having played football in decades – it isn’t worth a second’s thought.

      1. Especially when said politician is merely a city of Seattle council member, who has absolutely no say over any land issues in Snohomish County.

    2. Boeing is not in the least surprised that the most liberal district in Seattle voted for a socialist. And it’s not like those confiscatory ideas are spreading to other politicians in King County and Snohomish County. They might of course, but it’d be a long time before they reached an Everett district, or even Renton.

  4. I like the concept of making this service (somewhat) perpendicular to SWIFT I (grids are good systems, even if they are turned 45 degrees)– but I’m concerned about its connection to the regional transit system. At the south end I would extend it to downtown Bothell — this would allow 1 seat transfers to 522 or 372 to get to Lake city, downtown or u district. In the middle, we should add a stop for the 512 at Mariner P&R. That would serve express service for SWIFT II riders to get to Everett, Lynwood or DT Seattle.

    Also, I don’t know if it would generate enough ridership but ideally this could connect to downtown Mukilteo. That way there would be good all day service for that area to the regional transit spine, plus for sounder trips, people would have somewhere to go once they get to Mukilteo.

    1. I was going to say the same thing about Bothell. The existing Bothell-Everett Highway route goes to Bothell, though I don’t think it goes this far north. I actually don’t know if there’s a route directly analogous to this one now or not. Canyon Park, unfortunately, isn’t much of an anchor.

      Obviously downtown Bothell and UWB are in King County. I think some King County residents would benefit from this service down to there, too; maybe King County should consider collaborating on this part.

    2. Swift II should definitely travel to Downtown Bothell, and possibly to UW Bothell/Cascadia CC as well. Both places would generate good amounts of ridership, and connections with Metro and ST would also be useful. The parallel CT 105 serves both places.

    3. Bothell was the first thing I thought of when I saw this route. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for CT to come into King County: Swift I has been going to Aurora Village since its inception, and it sounds like it will be rerouted to 185th Station when that opens. Metro has a bus going to Mountlake Terrace TC (347), and an earlier incarnation went to Lynnwood TC. And part of Bothell is in Snohomish County anyway. So the only issue with sending Swift II to Bothell is the cost of the distance.

      1. Not only is it not unprecedented, it’s in practice today along Bothell-Everett Highway with routes 105 (a major corridor service with 30-minute midday frequency along BEH from UWB/CCC to Mariner P&R) and 106 (a peak-only shadow that dips into residential neighborhoods and the side of Canyon Park that isn’t convenient to the highway). I assume these routes wouldn’t go away! I don’t know what parts of them perform well, though.

    4. I’m a bit surprised that the proposed Swift II route crosses I-5 at a point that doesn’t connect with the 512. Because of this, getting from anywhere along this route to anywhere in Seattle is going to involve at least two transfers, one of which will be nothing more than an hourly milk run.

      Is the idea here that Link will stop at I-5/128th St. when it extends to Everett? If so, we’re thinking very long-term.

      1. Who knows? But to be honest, who’s to say ST wouldn’t be open to modifying ST Express 512 to serve I-5 at Sw 128th Street (Everett)? One thing ST does a really good job at is coordinating with it’s partners to develop service to best meet the needs of the community.

      2. It seems like a simple bus stop for the 512 could be added on the ramps to 128th St for almost no cost, although it would cost 1-2 minutes (?) extra for people going to Everett. This should be worth it, given that it is preposterous to have two rapid transit-like lines (Swift II and 512) intersect without allowing for a connection, and adding a stop here would improve trips from Seattle to Boeing, Everett to Mill Creek, Seattle to Mill Creek, Lynnwood to Boeing, etc. Of course it would be ideal if a freeway station directly accessible from the HOV lanes could be built there (like Eastgate Fwy Station), but that would cost considerably more.

    5. Stephen is thinking the same thing that I have often thought (or dreamed) about. An express stop at 128th St SW for ST. Currently South Everett riders are forced to travel to Ash Way or connect to an awful, low frequent ET route at S. Everett Fwy Station. But right now, a freeway station at 128th is pie-in-the-sky talk.

      Extending Swift II to downtown Bothell or UW Bothell is a great idea. Many riders already use UW Bothell to connect to Metro & ST. But like Everett Transit does in the current Swift line, Metro would have to contribute to funding Swift II for operating in King County.

  5. If I were Boeing, looking to expand my workforce, I would be concerned most of all about the high cost of living in Washington State combined by the still horrific traffic conditions.

    I would want transit and roads not only to existing neighborhoods, but to new areas with much lower cost housing. That means much more extensive travel with longer routes and faster throughput.

    Can Washington deliver? It hasn’t yet.

    1. Then they should be supporting density in cities and urban centers and high capacity/grade separated transit systems and last mile feeder solutions.

      1. No John, You can’t have viable high capacity transit without urban centers for them to travel between. And if you don’t have last mile solutions, you end up building very cost prohibitive roads infrastructure and parking facilities and more and more sprawl with its attendant environmental and ecological consequences. And further exacerbates our dependence on foreign oil and attendant balance of payments challenges.

    2. Why do you always argue for increasing the average trip length? Your paradigm requires long trips for everything, down to grabbing a gallon of milk.

      Longer trips mean more congestion on the highways, compared to the same population with shorter trips. Longer trips mean more lane-miles required for the exact same level of service, and higher maintenance costs for every mile of lane (at a time when we’re not financially able to maintain the highways we already have!). Longer trips mean more energy use, and transportation is already the average American family’s biggest use of energy. Longer trips mean a bigger carbon footprint for each and every family. And longer trips mean more freight and transit stuck in SOV traffic.

      Also:

      If I was Boeing…

      Boeing doesn’t care about it’s workforce, and they don’t have to. Caring about the workforce is the union’s job.

      Can Washington deliver? It hasn’t yet.

      …Unless you count Sammamish, Duvall, Monroe, Covington, Maple Valley, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Arlington, Sultan, Bonney Lake, Orting….

      1. Why do you always

        I don’t “always” do most anything. It keeps people guessing and from following me around.

        However, longer trips are simply recognition that we live in the 21st century, where 300 mph travel is not only possible, but used in daily commutes in places like Tokyo. To continue to deny this is madness!

      2. Tokyans also live in high density. They have high density and bullet trains because the population is so enormous. You seem to be arguing for, for example, a metropolis like a huge Maple Valley. There is one existing for comparison, called Silicon Valley, and that’s what we do not want. Is it what you want?

      3. John, another point. Silicon Valley has a light rail, and it has the lowest ridership of any LRT system in the country. People attribute that to the valley’s low density. Many stations are at large superblocks, two of which have exactly one office park each (with large setbacks from street), and the other two have two-story buildings. In other words, few destinations, no mass of housing, and peak-oriented trip patterns. The area also has several expressways, and three commuter rail lines. These of course are used at peaks, and Caltrain off peak. People without cars complain heavily that it’s hard to get around because transit is so minimal, although some use bicycles. Is this where we would be headed with your 300 MPH trains through low density?

      4. Also, the only reason the 300mph trains work at high enough frequency to make them worthwhile is because they link high density areas in Tokyo. You can get a high speed train from Tokyo to Osaka or Tokyo to Sendai because a lot of people live in both locations and frequently need to move quickly between them.

        There are no high speed trains between sprawling suburban locations because there is not enough demand to make the service work. It would be a tremendous waste of resources to build such a silly thing.

      5. Sorry, I keep forgetting that European/Asian speeds are km/h. So a 200 km/h European train is comparable to a 125 mph American train.

  6. Who are the target riders of this route? Where will they begin their non-automobile trips from? Are there apartments along the route? Will they transfer from another frequent route somewhere (which one)? I can see an unlikely case for driving to a P&R and taking Swift to Boeing. I can’t see a case for driving to a P&R and taking Swift to an office park, not in the land of plentiful free parking. I could maybe see people coming from King County on the 512 and 522 and transferring to Boeing but where would they transfer at? What about Snohomish County’s non-drivers and poor; is this route in an equitable location like Swift I and RapidRide A, B, and E? What about the significant number of people on Swift II who would naturally want to transfer to Swift I, and when they hear they can’t they’ll ask, “What is the value of Swift II then?” Is it mainly for people going to Boeing? If so, it would have ridership spikes at 7am and 3pm, and maybe another kind of service would be more appropriate.

    1. 1) Boeing Everett
      2) University of Washington Bothell
      3) Cascadia Community College
      4) Microsoft (packaging/warehousing operations)
      5) numerous apartments and residential areas
      6) numerous other businesses

      This is a high growth area and we might as well try to give some incentives for it to develop in a more urban fashion.

    2. “I could maybe see people coming from King County on the 512 and 522 and transferring to Boeing but where would they transfer at?”

      That’s the main problem I see with the current Swift II routing: there are no all-day bus routes from Seattle to transfer to. Mariner P&R & Canyon Park P&R have peak buses to Seattle, but they travel in the wrong direction for Boeing commuters. The 512 would need to stop at Mariner, and Swift II would need to be extended to Downtown Bothell to reach the 522.

      Interestingly, there already are connections for bus routes from the Eastside. The bi-directional peak-only 532 & the all-day 535 stop at Canyon Park. Having the 532 stop at Mariner would also help.

      1. King County Metro’s 952 connects at Ash Way for those coming from Seattle (952 originates in Auburn). and continues to Boeing. So riders would likely take the 512 to Ash Way and then transfer.

      2. The 512->Ash Way connection just sounds awful. It looks reasonable on paper, but if there’s any kind of wreck on 405 that the 952 has to go through before it gets to Ash Way, you could be stuck waiting for a very long time. For that matter, if there’s any kind of wreck on I-5, the 10-minute cushion can disappear in a heartbeat. If you miss the 952, there’s no next one. At that point, it’s either call a cab, wait for some patchwork of local buses and likely arrive at work an hour later, or just turn around, go back home, and call in sick.

        At least in the afternoon, the frequent service of the 512 makes the connection somewhat doable. Unfortunately, if Boeing cares about their employees being at work on time consistently, it’s the morning connection that’s going to screw you over.

        I don’t get why the Eastside gets the one-seat ride to Boeing, but Seattle riders are expected to transfer. I would think it would be easier to get riders from Seattle than from Bellevue and Kirkland. The trip from Seattle would also be cheaper, since tons of buses are already deadheading from downtown to Everett every morning and back from Everett to downtown every afternoon. It would also allow the number of miles on the route to be significantly cut back. People commuting all the way from Auburn to Boeing should be riding Sounder and transferring downtown. I find it hard to believe that this market has enough people to justify a special bus providing an extremely long (2 hours, one way) one-seat ride just for them.

      3. Doesn’t Boeing pay for the 952? I thought all buses in the 900-series were sponsored by someone, like how the 980-and-up series are all paid for by Lakeside and Evergreen Schools.

      4. “I would think it would be easier to get riders from Seattle than from Bellevue and Kirkland. The trip from Seattle would also be cheaper, since tons of buses are already deadheading from downtown to Everett every morning and back from Everett to downtown every afternoon.”

        Now that’s a good idea. CT’s bus bases are located near Boeing Everett, so many deadhead buses are already traveling between Boeing Everett & Downtown Seattle. Turning those into commuter runs should be viable depending on ridership.

  7. I can’t understand why there is so little service from the Boeing Plant to any points south. There’s a custom bus 952 that comes 4 times a day and lets off at 405 park and rides, but that’s really it. If you want to get cars off the road, specifically during rush hour, wouldn’t you start at the worksite where 30,000 work, most driving single occupant cars?

    1. If Boeing were as pro-transit as Microsoft, there would be more transit and station-shuttles to its plants now. The high ridership would encourage transit agencies to put frequent routes there, and Boeing would be paying for part of the infrastructure at an accelerated Everett Link station. And the area would have been designed with more retail that people could walk to, and thus more destinations for the same bus routes.

      1. Mike B, it’s been a couple of years since I rode Swift, and clearly remember repeated instance of standing on a cold windy stop watching rocket-ship shaped bus approach, and then stop full cycle at light before crossing cross-street to my stop.

        Also remember bus continually having to either stop, slow, or dodge out of lane due to “business access” transit in front of it.

        Will check for update next chance.

        Mark

    2. Jason,
      There used to be a quite a number of buses from south Snohomish County, Seattle and Federal Way to the Everett Boeing plant. They were cancelled because of low ridership I would guess.

  8. There used to be more peak buses from Boeing Everett to points south. I have a “Bus Plus” from September 2000 which has these routes:
    107 McCollum Park P&R-Mill Creek-Canyon Park P&R [2 trips/direction]
    167 Ash Way P&R-Lynnwood P&R-Mountlake Terrace P&R [2 trips/direction]
    207 Marysville-Smokey Point TC [2 trips AM/1 trip PM]
    217 Marysville-Smokey Point TC-Smokey Point Church-Arlington P&R [1 trip/direction]
    227 Marysville-Smokey Point Church-Arlington P&R-Arlington [1 trip/direction]
    247 Marysville-Stanwood [4 trips/direction]

    Here are the current Boeing routes:
    177 (now ET 70) Mukilteo Ferry Terminal [4 trips/direction]
    227 Marysville-Smokey Point Church-Arlington P&R [2 trips/direction]
    247 Marysville-Stanwood [2 trips/direction]
    277 Everett Station-Snohomish-Monroe-Sultan-Gold Bar [2 trips/direction]

    Interestingly, the 107 mostly followed the path of Swift II. For some Boeing commuters, Swift II is a service restoration.

  9. I think extending swift 2 to uwBothell via 527 to the existing southbound 405 access ramp stop, then 405 the campus could be done. Skips downtown area, but quicker and more go to uw anyway.
    The only problem for swift 2 is the terrible backups on 128th both directions approaching I 5, that can slow the buses by 15+ minutes, try riding the 115 or 105 leaving Mariner at peak pm times.

  10. @ Charles B: there is 1-2 mile segment between 148th SW in north Lynnwood to Airport Road (the Everett city limits) that doesn’t have the third lane…plus the bridge over SR 104 at the Snohomish/King County line is only two lanes. And, of course, about at 41st and Rucker in Everett, parking is allowed in the third lane.

    Miscellaneous other. Presently, there is no logical turnaround up at Boeing, so there could be some change at that end. There is a lot of density between SR 99/Airport Road and I-5. The agency is interested in a freeway “flyer” stop at the 128th offramp, as they’d like to avoid the extra time that it takes to get over to the Park & Ride, then the driving time to Ash Way. Almost to the very end, there was a direct access ramp to/from this location in the ST 2 proposal.

    Hopefully, this line will make it at least to Canyon Park, and it would be intriguing to see that line continue to UW Bothell/Cascadia and downtown Bothell, both areas of considerable expansion in the next several years.

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