Fall 2012 Restructure: Proposed Changes to Routes 2 & 12
Fall 2012 Restructure: Proposed Changes to Routes 2 & 12.
Map by Metro.

My recent long-form post about restructures, which used the notorious “Bus 2” as an example, inspired renewed discussion of the Route 2 restructure itself. For those who have not followed the discussion, the restructure involves splitting Metro Route 2 and moving its First Hill routing from Seneca Street two blocks south to Madison Street.  Downtown, under current proposals (including the restructure planned for February 2015 as a result of Proposition 1’s failure), the revised route would use the live-loop currently used by Route 12 along Madison and Marion.  The restructure would speed up service to First Hill and consolidate two routes which run just two blocks apart, allowing buses to come more often for everyone.

Commenters who defended the current configuration raised familiar objections to the restructure.  One of these objections has real merit.  It is that the restructured downtown routing would not deliver riders to the part of downtown most of them want to reach, and at the same time make transfers to other service (including service to the rest of downtown) inconvenient and possibly dangerous for riders with mobility impairments.

The Center City Connector streetcar project, surprisingly enough, could provide a way for Metro to do the restructure while entirely solving this problem.  Details after the jump.

Madison and Marion Streets avoid the slowness and congestion of the current Route 2 routing using Spring and Seneca because they have much less freeway traffic.  They have even more potential for speed in the future, as the City of Seattle is seriously studying dedicated bus lanes there.  But Madison and Marion have two notable problems.  First, they are about three blocks from any entrance to the downtown transit tunnel, making transfers to Link (and, for now, tunnel buses) cumbersome for passengers with mobility impairments.  Second, every single stop on Madison and Marion is on a steep hill, which can present real safety problems for passengers with mobility impairments, particularly those in wheelchairs.  There is no reasonably flat stop along the downtown parts of Madison and Marion where those passengers can board and deboard safely.

Old Route 12 Downtown Routing
Route 12 through-routed with Route 10, as it was before the 2012 restructure.
Map by old-school Metro.  Ignore the blue line.

Route 12, which has used Madison and Marion for many years, used to avoid these problems with a “through-route” with Route 10.  (This bit of jargon means that Route 12 buses coming into downtown from First Hill continued out of downtown along Route 10 to Capitol Hill, and vice versa.) At left is a Metro route map, circa 2002, which shows how the through-route worked.  Using this old routing, passengers with mobility impairments could ride without a transfer between First Hill and the downtown retail core; board or exit at any of several safe, flat bus stops; and transfer to tunnel service at Westlake Station without a long trek.

But Metro discontinued the through-route in September 2012 despite these advantages because it had become very unreliable, especially southbound.  It caused serious delays along Routes 10 and 12.  Congestion in the Pike Place Market area meant that buses were sometimes unable to complete the turn from Pine Street to 1st Avenue for minutes at a time.  Southbound congestion through Pioneer Square on game days and weekend nights would often back up past Marion, stranding buses on 1st for up to 15 minutes.  Congestion leaving the viaduct and near the Market could affect northbound buses as well, although not usually as badly.  Reliability on Route 10 and especially Route 12 has markedly improved since the through-route went away; buses on both routes are now rarely more than 5 to 7 minutes late.  But, ironically, discontinuing the through-route likely increased mobility-impaired riders’ reliance on slow, unreliable Route 2, as newly reliable Route 12 became harder for them to use because of the lack of safe stops or convenient transfers.

The Center City Connector on 1st Avenue, as presented in October 2013.  Map by SDOT.
The Center City Connector on 1st Avenue, as presented in October 2013. Map by SDOT.

If built with dedicated lanes, the Center City Connector streetcar project could allow Metro to re-establish a version of the through-route, with its mobility benefits, but without the reliability problems that led to its demise.  This would be the best of all worlds, and would resolve the most significant and convincing objection to the Route 2 restructure.

The Center City Connector (CCC) is a SDOT project intended to “connect” the two existing streetcar lines, the South Lake Union Streetcar and the First Hill Streetcar (which itself will open later this year), using a new stretch of track through downtown.  After a public process, SDOT identified a First Avenue route (pictured to the right) as the preferred route for the CCC.  Questions still to be answered include the precise routing at the connector’s north end, and, much more importantly, whether the connector will have its own dedicated lanes along 1st Avenue (at the cost of some on-street parking).

Based on both the open house presentation and subsequent conversations with SDOT personnel, I am confident that SDOT and the administration recognize the importance of dedicated lanes to the CCC’s own usefulness.  But what is less appreciated is that the dedicated lanes also hold the key to solving the Route 2/12 conundrum.  Using the dedicated lanes, buses could once again be through-routed between the Pike/Pine and Madison/Marion corridors along First Avenue, but this time with near-perfect reliability.  Given the speed with which buses reliably could cover the distance between Pike/Pine and Madison/Marion in dedicated lanes, it would be possible to accomplish this at minimal extra cost compared to the live-loops used in these corridors today. The map below shows how it would work.

Through route map
How to through-route buses reliably: build a streetcar with dedicated lanes.

There are a few issues that have to be solved to make this concept work, but none of them should be a deal-breaker.

First, the buses could not use the streetcar stops on 1st Avenue, because the streetcar lanes and stops would be in the center of the roadway, with the stops on the buses’ left.  But that is really not a big problem.  The CCC is currently planned to have stops at Madison and Pike.  Buses using the dedicated lanes could serve almost identical stops to the CCC, by stopping just off 1st Avenue.  On the Pike/Pine side, a former bus stop could be re-established on Pine between 2nd and 1st, and a new bus stop could easily be established on Pike at 1st, where there is light car traffic and a wide, flat sidewalk.  On the Madison/Marion side, another former bus stop could be re-established on Madison at 1st, and there is an existing stop on Marion at 1st.  (Stop spacing and transfers on Marion could also be improved by moving two other stops, as pictured in the map.)  Northbound buses using the dedicated lanes would miss the stop at University Street currently served by vestigial Route 99 and dropoff-only viaduct buses, but that stop is not necessary to achieve the goals of the through-route (or, for that matter, of the CCC itself).  Pike Place Market would be directly accessible from the 1st/Pike and 1st/Pine stops. Westlake tunnel service, the retail core, and 3rd Avenue buses would be accessible from the stops between 3rd and 4th.  All of these stops are flat and easily accessible for all users.

Second, some complex engineering would be necessary to either 1) allow separate overhead wire for streetcars and trolleybuses to coexist or 2) allow streetcars and trolleybuses to share a “hot” wire.  This is not an insurmountable problem, as the FHSC installation along South Jackson and Broadway already shows (not to mention lots of European cities where trams and trolleybuses share both power sources and right-of-way), but it could increase the cost of the CCC project.

Third, some signal revisions would be necessary at the Pike/Pine end of the project, to allow buses to turn right directly from the dedicated lane of northbound 1st onto Pike Street, and also to allow buses to turn left from the right lane of Pine Street directly into the dedicated lane of southbound 1st.  Queue jumps in both locations programmed to respond only to buses could accomplish this.

Finally, there is a gap on the Pike/Pine side of the through-route.  Under the currently planned restructure, five to seven buses per hour (five on Route 2, zero to 2 on Route 12) would be on the Madison/Marion side of the through-route.  If service were restored to today’s levels, there would be eight buses per hour. But Route 10, on the Pike/Pine side, only has four buses per hour.  There are three options for the remaining buses: 1) continue live-looping from Madison to Marion (like today’s Route 12), making the through-route less valuable; 2) turn around at the currently unused 8th/Pine trolley turnback rather than continue as Capitol Hill service (which would cause additional cost and congestion); or 3) continue as other Capitol Hill routes, such as the 43 or 49.  None of those routes is a great fit to be through-routed with Madison/Marion service, for varying reasons of reliability, type of bus, and frequency.  Nevertheless, the problem is solvable.  Without having done detailed analysis, I think Route 43 could work with minor changes to its schedule, particularly if funding were restored to current levels.  (That could also free up the current 43 layover zone for use by the 49, saving a few service hours which the 49 currently wastes on its serpentine route to and from Virginia Street.) And the issue could become even easier to solve with a restructure of Capitol Hill service.

This is a good example of maximizing the political value of our transit investments.  If bus passengers can see real, concrete benefits from reserving dedicated lanes for the Center City Connector, that’s one more reason to make the political lift to reserve the lanes, and one more group of possible supporters who can help counteract the inevitable gnashing of teeth about lost street parking (despite abundant off-street capacity in the area).  The benefits to buses could help ensure not only an improved bus network, but success for the CCC itself.

50 Replies to “The Downtown Streetcar Could Solve the “Bus 2” Problem”

  1. The Center City Connector website indicates that the draft locally preferred alternative would be presented to the Council and Mayor in February. Any word on the delay?

    1. Nope, but I suspect the mayoral election may have had something to do with the delay.

      Its possible that some parts of the city were waiting to see what new direction the city was going to go in before proceeding with the study.

      Murray did ask them to finish the study though… not sure where that puts the timetable now though.

    2. I emailed SDOT’s Tony Mazzella about this a few weeks ago. His reply:

      Hi Will,

      Thank you for your interest in the Center City Streetcar Connector. The project team has spent the last several months developing a capital and operating/maintenance finance plan, and briefing the Murray administration on various aspects of the entire project. We are still in the process of responding to questions from the City Budget Office. The operations and maintenance finances are made more complex since it is our intention to run the three lines – South Lake Union, First Hill and the Connector – as an integrated system which involves O&M agreements with King County Metro and Sound Transit. Once the Mayor’s Office/Budget Office are comfortable with our plans we will begin individual briefings with members of the City Council. Our goal is to present before the Council Transportation Committee on 6/10.


  2. So we’re taking a past, failed revision of the 99 and throwing millions of dollars on it? Even if it has dedicated tracks, who is going to ride it?

    That money would be better served adding service to productive, in-city Metro routes that are getting slashed over the next year and a half (although I’m sure there are a thousand caveats on any money dedicated to the streetcar).

    1. Easy answer to that one, Rapid. Compare ridership stats on Route 99 on rails with Route 99 on rubber. ‘Course it wasn’t just wheel-coverings. The streetcars had their own right of way most of the route, while the bus could barely move for the traffic at worst times for service.

      Read the posting again. David is seriously talking about probably the first effective and intelligent ways to improve bus service to appear in years. Money? A stuck bus sucks up as many operating hours as a moving one, and more fuel, for less productivity.

      A the expense of a huge fleet of buses stuck in traffic could pay for a lot of streetcar track.

      And one really good reasons that people will ride streetcars is that a standing ride on a rail vehicle is hugely more comfortable that even on an express bus. On a local bus- cattle industry wouldn’t allow those conditions for Holsteins.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Yes, it is completely germane to compare the ridership between an expensive one-track tourist service to nowhere and a confusing split-cliff looping bus. (Hint: both numbers objectively sucked.)

        The Center City Streetcar is dumb because, no matter how much laneage it gets on 1st, it will represent a massive deviation from anywhere to anywhere, it will sit through a dozen of Seattle’s patented overlong light cycles, make multiple right-angle turns, and absolutely crawl on its east-west Achilles’ heels. And if the broken FHSC pledges are any indication, it’ll come along just as freaking rarely as the Benson did.

        We’d be better off just demanding bus lanes from Pine to Marion, and implementing David’s idea in the absence of all the corollary overhyped, ill-connected bullshit.

        That said, I might note that, as David mentions, there are no designs for streetcar stops between Pike and Madison. This is because the five-block distance is not especially far. The familiar canard about the Madisontunnel transfer is easily debunked when one remembers the block length halves below University.

        Madison to the Seneca elevator = Pike to Pine. Really. No further. The whiners are wrong. You’ll spend more time on the overbuilt tunnel access route than on those two short blocks.

        Meanwhile, as imperfect as hill stops are, I have seen plenty of lift usage on the downtown 12. Low-floor vehicles will make boarding even easier. Move the 3rd Ave stops as close as possible to the intersection, and most passengers will be fine.

        Frankly, I’d like to see Seattle innovatively adapt the SF cable cars’ mid-intersection stop protocol to Madison BRT — all other signals go red, flat raised platform bulbs on the corner and in the street median line up with doors — than to continue tossing millions of clickety-clack streetcar funds down the First Avenue sewer.

      2. d.p., I think you (and I in the past) are a little bit too glib about the issues with hill stops on the 12. Part of what drove me to come up with this solution was reflecting on some of the scary lift usage I’ve seen (and been part of) along Madison and Marion, and also remembering as I thought about it that I had lots of 12 lift passengers who rode around to Pike/Pine to get on and off. I largely agree the distance isn’t insurmountable (although it’s aggravating) but the hill stops are a real ADA/accessibility issue.

      3. How many people even remember the 99 is not a one-way loop anymore? I didn’t until I looked at the schedule today. That’s another problem with multiple configuration changes. People just remember that the 99 is “bad”, not that it has gotten slightly better. (If “better” is the word for removing it from its primary original function, which was waterfront circulation.)

        In any case, the streetcar will probably be through-routed to Broadway, so it will actually go somewhere. The gap between 1st Avenue and Broadway is wide enough and hilly enough, and the east-west buses are slow enough, that some people might find the streetcar an acceptable/preferable alternative even if it’s not a bullet train. And even more so if the line is extended to Belltown and Seattle Center and is thus a one-seat ride to there.

      4. I agree that just building the bus lanes without the streetcar would be the best solution. But I think DavidL’s proposal was thought up under the resigned assumption that like it or not, the streetcar is going to get built and we are going to spent a ton of money on it, and assuming it indeed gets a dedicated lane (which is a huge if), we may as well make the most of it.

      5. In general, I’m known as a streetcar skeptic, albeit not an extreme one. But I’m actually somewhat bullish on the CCC, especially if I ignore the opportunity cost. I see it as a better line than either of the others, and as a pretty good local amenity. It connects major destinations in a very legible way, particularly if (although I don’t think this will happen, unfortunately) it uses Pine between PPM and Westlake. I think it will have absolutely massive tourist ridership from Day One and will also be popular with locals. And I think it has a reasonable chance of finally jump-starting Pioneer Square from its doldrums.

        But it won’t work well at all unless it has dedicated lanes on 1st. (It should have on Jackson and Westlake as well, but that boat has sailed.) And if we are going to have dedicated lanes for the streetcar, it’s very worth leveraging that investment for buses as well, and facing the minor to moderate technical problems needed to do so head-on.

      6. David,

        While I will forever strike back at the “distance” canard, I agree that the grade of Madison stops is an issue worth brainstorming over. I wasn’t kidding about the in-intersection stop idea — though SF’s cable cars are not themselves accessible, their mid-intersection stops exist to address the same steep-alighting issue.

        So why not innovate a design that combines SF’s street-blocking, Curitiba’s aligned doors, and Dexter’s platform islands into a system that lets people board and alight along the core route’s primary street?


        You continue to provide only proof that the streetcar doesn’t go anywhere in a useful fashion. That anyone would ride from 1st to Broadway via Jackson & 14th is the most delusional fantasy you’ve ever espoused. You could be stuck on the worst traffic-logged Spring Street bus 2 for fifteen light cycles and still get to Broadway faster than on this streetcar. It’s going to be a 30-minute slog, the literal equivalent of Portland’s East Bank Loop debacle that is famously slower than walking (complete with an insane routing around Yesler Terrace to match The LLoyd’s).

        At least Portland has the courtesy to charge only $1 for sub-crawl transit. Seattle’s is pegged to a quarter higher than the bus fare. No one in their right mind will ever make your trip electively, and a tourist suckered in by the streetcar’s “legibility” is likely to reach Broadway pissed off and convinced that Seattle is the dumbest city on the planet to have built such a thing.

      7. Another thing that happens in 2015 is the First Hill streetcar opens, so we can see how many people actually ride it rather than just guessing, and whether d.p.’s prediction of doom about the one large block between 12th and 14th becomes a deterrent.

    2. You can’t compare a sometimes peak-only, sometimes-hourly, sometimes a one-way-loop bus route with a frequent streetcar. People don’t ride it because it’s infrequent.

    3. What Mike Orr said. I drove for Metro when the 15/18/21/22/56 were all on 1st. Those services ran every 7-8 minutes (peak), 10 minutes (day), or 15 minutes (night). They were extremely well used by tourists and locals alike, despite the unreliability at some times of day which ultimately forced Metro to move them to 3rd.

      All the 99 proves is that useless transit is useless. It doesn’t prove there’s no demand on First.

      1. Seattle City Light had to relocate some facilities related to the AWV project and the deep bore project messed up 1st Avenue South; that is why routes 15-18-21-22-56 shifted to 3rd from 1st Avenue. Reliability improved. Until the Seneca and Columbia ramps are closed, 1st Avenue will remain quite congested. With the southbound AWV reduced to two lanes at midtown, the Elliott on ramp is jammed; traffic seems to be using 1st Avenue to reach the Columbia ramp.

  3. Excellent post, David, and excellent ideas for using right of way and equipment to the max. Three things further:

    1. Dedicated lanes, and signal pre-empt for all transit vehicles, would work just fine for South Lake Union too. Should be done immediately- and turn that signal system back on too!

    2. If there is any reason for the trolleybuses to make stops on First, direction could be “crossed-over” at entrance to the transitway, like at Bellevue Transit Center, so all vehicles could use center platforms.

    3. Why is any car traffic allowed through Pike Place Market at all? Speaking as a motorist, for personal enjoyment and the lowest maintenance expense on my car, my independent and most freely-made choice is to keep it out of anyplace like that.

    However, this is a perfect example of the unbreakable connection between local and regional transit considerations. The farther away someone can leave their car and still get to First Avenue and the Market comfortably and fast, the easier a good resolution on parking there.

    Mark Dublin

    1. “Why is any car traffic allowed through Pike Place Market at all?”

      I couldn’t agree more. They should just close the street to cars and only let permitted vehicles (vendor’s trucks) access. It is a horrible experience for out of towners who don’t know that once you turn down there you’re stuck.

      1. Car traffic is allowed through because it’s better for business. Its important to note the the business objection to making Pike Place a promenade isn’t the loss of parking, its that its significantly harder to sell things to people in the middle of the streets. Festival days are often (counter-intuitively) some of the slowest days in the summer for many vendors. If the building was expanded into the street, and the walkway through tightened up, it could work.

      2. Also, the traffic is almost entirely due to the intersection at the end of the market with Western. The market has been asking SPD to station an officer there for years but…. I guess the Pacific Place parking garage is a way bigger priority.

    2. I would be in favor of service vehicles only for the pike place market street. Especially during hours when the market is open.

      Cars driving through there have a horrible time getting through unless the market is deserted.

    3. Mark, STB’s own Matthew Johnson suggested the counter-directional solution to me as well. I didn’t adopt it because I think it would be more difficult to design well (where well means no safety hazard), while it’s unnecessary with the currently proposed streetcar stops. But if the stops were moved, it might be the way to go.

      As to Pike Place, I’m fine with the cars in there — they don’t really cause any trouble because pedestrians rule the area anyway. It’s Seattle’s only woonerf. But what I do want is to ban left turns onto Pike Place from northbound First.

      1. On the contrary, the non-vendor cars driving through Pike Place Market essentially fall into to three categories – 1) tourists who want to drive through in their rental cars to say they’ve seen the market, but aren’t willing to get out of their cars and pay for parking. 2) People who don’t know any better driving through the market in search of parking and, except for the extremely lucky, not finding any. 3) Drivers who don’t know any better taking a wrong turn.

        Neither of the above categories of drivers is spending any money at any of the market businesses, and most of them would probably have done better getting where they are trying to go if Pike Place were just closed to cars altogether. There is a 4th category – pick up and drop off trips, but any driver with any since is already picking up and dropping off at the corner of 1st and Pike anyway, not driving through the market itself.

    4. Cars are allowed in the market because it’s what the vendors want. It’s important to note that the big sticking point isnt parking. Its that on festival days, when Pike Pl turns into a promenade, people spend way more time walking around and a lot less time spending money. Those days are some of the slowest in the summer for many vendors. Its hard to sell something to someone who is in the middle of the street. The cars help push people out of the street, onto the sidewalks and into the buildings, where the sales people can sell to them.

      1. I suppose, but if there were no cars, you could have additional vendors on the street itself.

  4. The route re-structure fails to address all the riders on Route 12 east of 15th & Madison. In the morning, most seats are filled with riders before the bus even reaches 15th and in the evening I am frequently standing well past 15th & Madison. Cutting tails of routes is an easy paper exercise but not necessarily based on actual experiences.

    1. That’s what cuts mean. Riders don’t have a bus or can’t get onto full buses. That’s why we were trying to prevent them.

      Although people living on 19th must understand that a separate route from there to downtown can’t continue forever, not with its low population and several nearby frequent routes on 15th, 23rd, John, and Madison.

    2. This post isn’t about what happens east of First Hill, but since you asked…

      1) Most of those riders you are referring to are at or south of 19th and Thomas. Under any restructure scenario I can imagine (including Metro’s cut scenario), all of them have very close-by service without a 19th Ave route. The 11 runs along Madison between 19th and Pine (which includes the busiest area east of 15th). The 43 and 8 run along Thomas in that area.

      2) North of Thomas, there really is very little ridership. Most able-bodied riders should have no trouble walking 1/5 of a mile in either direction to 15th (the 10) or 23rd (the 43 and 48). There are a few longtime senior and disabled riders in the area who would be inconvenienced. But we can’t run expensive frequent-service routes to serve a tiny number of riders when other routes (including the south part of the 12 itself!) are full to bursting. If you’re familiar with my past posts you will know that I support paratransit grandfather programs to serve the very small number of riders in a deleted corridor who 1) lived there before the service was deleted and 2) cannot access nearby service.

      1. Just to clarify, the 8 won’t be running on Thomas at 19th anymore once the cuts go through. It’ll terminate at 15th/16th.

  5. Has it been stated by Metro or SDOT that a (trolley) bus can’t fit under the Convention Center on 8th Avenue? It would be more effective, cheaper and easier to run the 2 on 8th Avenue to the Pike/Pine couplet. That routing avoids most of the congestion, delivers most riders to where they want to go and provides a level boarding surface for people with disabilities.

    1. 8th Ave is a great underutilized street but I’m doubtful that diverting Madison corridor route this way has legs.

    2. Not a bad idea if we have to keep service in the Seneca corridor, but I’m not sure it would deliver the promised runtime savings (with a new baby at home, I don’t have time to do the math to find out). Perhaps more important, it would forestall any opportunity for any through-route.

      If all service is moved to the Madison corridor, I agree with Adam.

  6. I hope this central connector has dedicated lanes. I don’t understand why American cities spend so much money on streetcars without dedicated lanes. The cost is similar. The resulting performance is far far worse.

    1. Because if you so much as think about repurposing public rights of way for different purposes than conveying private automobiles, you can expect to find yourself out of a job next election cycle.

  7. Seattle, and by that I mean the greater metro area, is at a crossroads. Because voters declined the increase in revenue deemed necessary to continue the status quo Metro has to change. And let’s be honest, it would never happen otherwise and Prop 1 was really asking for more of more of the same. I guess in a way it’s brilliant that Ben has waited patiently for something approaching an actual crises to bring the Seattle property tax increase to a vote. A good dose of gridlock DT will be the only way the mayor and council have the political cover to create dedicated transit lanes at the expense annoyance of SOV drivers.

  8. The CCC is years away, has not been approved for construction, and has no financing plan yet. How does that help the 2 in seven months?

    1. It doesn’t help the 2 in nine months, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered.

      It’s probably pretty clear that I drafted this post well before Prop 1 failed. But even if Prop 1 cuts go through without any mitigation, we don’t have to give up on any and all future improvements to the post-Prop 1 network. If we have to use the Madison live loop for a little while and then restore service to Pine when the CCC is finished, that’s better than never restoring service to Pine at all.

      1. Why shouldn’t it help the 2 in nine months?

        The wire is already there for the trolley buses. The only real “construction” that would need to happen to start operating this way is change the paint on the street to give the trolley buses dedicated lanes.

        If/when the CCC happens, additional changes could happen.

      2. The not-quite-stated thesis underlying this post is that reserved lanes for buses alone are too heavy a political lift — if they weren’t, given the congestion that 1st Avenue buses have suffered for years and years, they would have been in place a long time ago. The city believes, likely accurately, that the way to get political support for dedicated transit lanes on First is to build a shiny streetcar that acts as an obvious amenity. I want to make sure that such dedicated lanes are used to their maximum potential.

      3. Because it’s not “for the CCC” at that point, it’s for a bus route. If you ask them to do this for the CCC now, they’ll say thw CCC route hasn’t even been decided yet.

  9. I do have a question… According to the map, this would run on First Avenue. In Pioneer Square, there only is one lane of traffic, plus one lane of Parking, both ways.
    So would you drop the parking lane, or the traffic lane? And since there are only 2 lanes to begin with, I’d have a hard time justifying losing one.

    1. From the plans I have seen, the streetcar would take the center lane, an the parking lane would revert back to a general purpose lane.

      Given that one of those two lanes is parking right now anyway, and given the availability of off street parking in the area, I don’t see how losing street parking is a big loss… I would wager that it would improve mobility as people would not be stopping to parallel park.

    2. The parking would disappear. There is tons of unused off-street parking capacity throughout downtown Seattle, so I’m not concerned by the loss of some on-street parking.

    3. Assuming the CCC does get built. The passenger’s transferring from the ‘live loop’ of Madison and Marion on the #12 or # 2 or whatever, will still face a challenge. Has anyone noticed that for the downhill bus to make the loop, the bus moves to the left hand turn lane beyond 2nd, stays in the center of 1st Avenue to make the left turn on to Marion. There is no stop on 1st Avenue.

  10. the leading SDOT alignment for the CCC on 1st Avenue South in Pioneer Square was on the outside to save the trees. it would serve center stations further north. at the last open house, SDOT seemed headed to an overlapping, but not completely iinterlined service pattern: the SLU line would extend to South Jackson Street; the First Hill line would extend to Westlake. there were issues yet to be worked out: the interaction with the ETB overhead, the Stewart Street alignment, funding the capital, funding the service hours.

  11. d.p. is correct. The Center City Connector is not cost-effective. last year, he termed it the redundant option. There is no where in the state with more transit service than the north-south corridors in downtown Seattle. Why would Seattle want to fund additional trips with funds they do not have? Given diminishing marginal utility, would not any such new service hours attract more new riders on any of the other TMP corridors with longer headways and waits?

    the CCC would miss all the DSTT stations except IDS and Westlake that the streetcars already serve. SLU routes 26, 28, 40, and 70 are atop the DSTT.

    U Link will open in 2016 and be a transit game changer. It will extend to the UW Stadium Station and have six-minute headway. Link will connect the north end of the First Hill line with the south end of the SLU line. the south end of the SLU line and the south end of the First Hill line are already connected by the transit network: Link and DSTT bus service; 3rd avenue routes 1-14, 7, 36, 26, 28, 40, 70, 5-21, etc; ST service on 2nd and 4th and also on 4th and 5th avenues.

    another game changer will the the new low floor electric trolleybuses. dwell times will be reduced and speed of service improved. they are expected in 2015.

    if SDOT is willing to remove parking, provide in-lane stops, and provide TSP for the CCC streetcar, they could do that for ETB routes shifted to 1st Avenue. they could do the plan suggested in this post and use the $110m needed for the streetcar for better uses. they have improved the flow of routes 7 and 44 and will study Madison Street.

    there are several electric trolleybus route structures that could provide the service suggested in the this post and that would meet the objectives of the CCC. U Link provides an opportunity for SDOT and Metro to consider them. When will Bertha get going again; when will 1st Avenue get unstuck?

  12. Taking transit away from Spring and Seneca would be real shame for patrons of the downtown library. Especially for the many people who have trouble negotiatating the steep grades, the library is a real lifeline.

    1. Madison too touches the library, with a stop directly across from the main 5th Avenue entrance.

      Marion is closer to the building entrances than Seneca is, and the walks along 4th and 5th are relatively flat.

      There cannot be a dedicated bus from the front door of everywhere to the front door of everywhere else.

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