As part of the Eastside Transit and HOV project, WSDOT recently opened replacements for the Evergreen Point and Yarrow Point Freeway Stations. For the latter, Metro refers to the station as Clyde Hill/Yarrow Point but WSDOT refers to it as the 92nd Ave Transit Station. Regardless what name you call them, each of these stops are located in the center of the freeway and are a vast improvement over their former roadside counterparts. Evergreen Point opened June 16, and Yarrow opened July 14.
If you’ve used the freeway stops at the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station, you’ll feel right at home at the new pair of stops on 520. There is a small plaza connecting to the roadway overpass and a pair of platforms in the median below. All platforms are completely weather protected. The platforms can accommodate at least three 60 foot coaches simultaneously, and there is enough shoulder space for coaches to pass each other. I measured sound levels and each station averaged around 74 dBC during commute hours. Mountlake Terrace was about 3dB higher, or twice as loud. Mountlake Terrace is surrounded by 10 lanes of traffic versus Evergreen and Yarrow’s four.
Both of the new stations have an elevator to each platform. Design of the elevator is excellent: the elevators have two doors. Any wheeled device can be wheeled in and wheeled out without the need to turn around inside the elevator. The elevators are large enough to comfortably accommodate two bicycles simultaneously (and possibly three uncomfortably). My only gripe is that a control panel could be installed at both doors instead of just one. Metro announced the opening of Yarrow Point but neglected to include that the elevators would be out of service for at least the first day. The stairs are missing runnels which made it difficult for me to lug my heavy bike down the stairs.
Wayfinding at the stations is poor. Since construction is not complete on Yarrow’s plaza, I will save judgment for a future day. However, Evergreen Point is devoid of wayfinding save for a pair of small signs (approximately 12 by 6 inches) mounted six feet in the air on lamp posts. If you’re familiar with the local geography it’s easy to look towards Lake Washington and know that buses headed in that direction will be Seattle-bound, but if you don’t make that connection or miss the small signs, you’ll have to head down to the platform. At the opposite end of the stairs you’ll see the new standard Metro “Windows 8 style” stop flag with tiles which lists each route and its destination along with the schedule.
Initially WSDOT had no plans to install benches. But as Metro’s Public Affairs Coordinator Jeff Switzer explains:
There were bench placeholders in WSDOT’s designs. The benches are not the responsibility of the contractor though; they are for Metro to install once we had access, if not possession of the transit stop. The designs also include accommodations for adding other future amenities like off-board readers and PA systems for announcements.
Metro also plans to install benches at Yarrow in the coming weeks.
At Evergreen Point, the westbound stop is “temporarily closed” and the stop has moved just beyond the platform to the edge of the station. Metro added three of their shelters. This configuration seems odd, as there appears to be no difference in completeness between the platforms and looks like it is ready to be used today. WSDOT’s Media Lead Ian Sterling explains:
There is limited space for westbound buses exiting the transit stop to merge onto the new floating bridge. Additional space for acceleration and merging will be constructed with the new floating bridge. In the meantime, the westbound stop is temporarily located to the east of the permanent stop to provide enough acceleration distance for buses merging onto the existing floating bridge. The configuration will be in place until the new floating bridge opens in spring 2016.
During construction of the project, the contractor is responsible for maintaining and cleaning until the full project is completed between Lake Washington and 108th Avenue Northeast. WSDOT and King County Metro are finalizing an agreement in which Metro will maintain and clean the stop. This is a typical arrangement for freeway transit stops.
When the new Evergreen Point station opened, both of the former Evergreen and Yarrow Point outside stops closed. At the request of Metro, the project contractor operated a shuttle between Evergreen Point and Yarrow Point during commute hours. I saw one of the shuttles: it was a black Suburban with a “Shuttle” decal on the doors (possibly UberBLACK). WSDOT did not have any ridership numbers at the time of my request.
Evergreen Point has 47 free parking spots in the station’s plaza, replacing the 50 stalls at the previous lot.
A collection of photos of the new stations can be found here.
This post was originally written on July 16th, 2014.
85 Replies to “Rider Report: The New SR-520 Freeway Stations”
The main thing I like about the freeway stations (including I-90 and Rainier) is that the passengers expend a couple extra minutes so that through-riders don’t have to.
How do these new stations rate on security? WIll women feel safe waiting there?
On the wayfinding topic, I have to point out: Wayfinding at most Sound Transit stations is nonexistent. Unless there is a transfer center right below or next to the station, you generally have to go on a scavenger hunt to find transfer bus stops in the vicinity of the station, unless you’ve done the scavenger hunt previously. That, or pull out your smart phone, which is an increasingly risky idea right when you just got off a train, and predators are waiting to pick off victims getting off trains and pulling out their smart phones. There is so much empty space at stations that 2-4 neighborhood maps showing bus stops and schedules seems like it wouldn’t be a space issue, and it makes transferring more accessible to the non-smart-phoned class. These wayfinding issues should apply equally to freeway bus stations, or perhaps more so when there is only one point of entry.
ST & Metro: Help riders keep their smart phones in their pockets at this point of high vulnerability.
Brent, have you been to Medina and Clyde Hill? I don’t think the stations have a problem with security. Medina has video cameras everywhere–it’s like London City. And Clyde Hill police love to sit on 92nd at the freeway entrances. It’s generally a safe area with a lot of ambient supervision.
This isn’t to say that people–not just women–are absolutely safe anywhere. But I think personal security is more of an issue at almost any other station in the system.
Other stations have cameras, security patrols, and roving police presence, and yet people still get mugged.
My apologies, Brent. I looked at the Medina crime statistics and apparently there was a burglary in 2007 and an assault in 2008. Yes, it’s a rough and tumble city.
I’ve biked through Evergreen Point most days this summer and have yet to see a cop anywhere near the station, except the time I saw one at 80th & 24th with a radar gun.
Actually, for the population of Medina, that’s pretty bad per capita.
Regarding the sound level measurments, does Montlake Terrace Freeway Station have sound walls? Also, 520 will have six lanes through lanes around the stations once the HOV lanes open.
While staying on Capitol Hill temporarily, I chose to commute to the Eastside by bus. And after the first day of switching from the 545 to the 255 at Montlake, I discovered if I continued to ride to one of these stations, I’d save $0.50 a day.
But, you gotta pay attention because if you miss these stops, you end up in Redmond having to take RapidRide back to Bellevue. Proving that no scheme to save pennies goes unpunished.
I notice the same thing getting my bike across 520: If the bus is white, it’s $2.50. If it’s not, it’s $3.00. If the bus says “To Terminal” it’s free, regardless of cost.
It is a crime that they charge to take bikes across the bridge. Rather, the crime is the lack of a pedestrian path on 520. It’s not Metro’s fault but Metro could help.
The intention was that bikers would take Metro across the bridge, and it was free between Montlake and Evergreen Point if I remember right. Maybe that has changed or maybe the drivers are inconsistent. It’s a major bad judgment that the bridge has no sidewalk but that was the mentality of the time. The major flaw is that Metro doesn’t run 24 hours and sometimes it runs hourly, and the stub “sidewalk” that exists for maintenance work is too narrow to walk on without getting hit by cars, although some people supposedly do it at night.
When the new bridge opens there will be a bike lane across the bridge, so you won’t have to pay to cross the bridge on a bike under your own power.
But it is absurd that we have two boards making and administering separate fare policies for publicly funded service along the same corridors. It duplicates work with the result being confusion and complexity for riders. It should cost the same to get from point A to point B in King County regardless of whether the bus number is in the 1-299 range or in the 500-599 range. Heck many of them are even operated by Metro, who also substitutes coaches on occasion so you cannot rely on the color! Seriously, one set of fare policies for trips within the county, one set of transfer policies, one set of fare media… Just do it.
I’m going to be a contrarian here… I’ve seen pretty long lines of people waiting to get bikes on in the summer, and getting skipped. It’s going to get much worse after the closure of the Montlake Freeway Station — the bike path won’t be open for another couple years beyond that, and once it closes the deadhead connection will likely never be available again. I’d rather see fares charged for demand management (I actually think a bike surcharge wouldn’t be inappropriate), and some serious secure bike parking installed before the Flyer Stop is closed to provide an alternative to the inherently limited resource of bike rack space. I take my bike on the bus across 520 all the time, but I might not if there was a place I could park the bike near UW where it wasn’t likely to get ripped off (I’ve already lost one bike that way).
Perhaps a better solution than a bike surcharge would be for Metro or WSDOT to run a bike shuttle with a trailer back and forth across the bridge during peak commute times, like Microsoft does.
Though, is it really as urgent as you say? I was under the impression that Montlake Freeway Station wouldn’t be closed until the currently-unfunded Portage Bay Bridge was rebuilt, but the bike path will be open as soon as the Lake Washington bridge is finished.
The policy hasn’t changed since it was implemented, as far as I know. Deadheaders are free; everything else pays the posted price.
I ride between Montlake and Evergreen Point, and whenever I tap my $2.50 pass on a Metro coach I’ve yet to have an operator question the “Owe $0.50” message.
Most I’ve seen waiting at a stop is four, and I’m doing the “Eastside during the day, Seattle at night” commute so maybe it’s different in the other direction. Frequency is generally high enough during peak commute times that I rarely wait more than 5 minutes at Evergreen. Montlake is a bit different since I don’t want to lug my bike down the stairs so I only have three routes to choose from. 271s often pass me with a full rack but the 540 is usually empty–both in terms of the bike rack and the passenger load.
The empty 540 is one reason that the elimination of the efficient Montlake Flyer station is a great loss. Those service hours should beef up the 255 and the riders going to the U-District transfer to 43/48. But with the stop on the lid, with multiple traffic lights and then having to fight Montlake Blvd congestion and bridge openings… it’s just a crappy solution all-around that will mean less/worse service and higher operating costs – because WS-DOT isn’t maintaining transit infrastructure that has served the community well for 40+ years. The roadway will be substantially wider – and transit infrastructure through Montlake will be worse. It’s an insane outcome on a $4 billion project. I have no doubt that the Montlake Flyer station could be retained with current performance (i.e. grade separation, no traffic lights) within the footprint with no more than a few percent of the project cost – if the political establishment prioritized it. Remember this portion is unfunded, so nothing should be set in stone. Why aren’t the city of Seattle and Metro and Sound Transit demanding that the function of the flyer station be retained – given that it seems pretty clear there will be no second Montlake Bridge and no workable transit solution that terminates Eastside routes in this area.
@William C – the Microsoft bike shuttle, as currently implemented, is much slower than the 542 and 545, in spite of making zero intermediate stops (the bike shuttle spends several minutes waiting for stoplights to get on and off the freeway in both directions; the 542 and 545 don’t). The result is that it is usually faster to take your chances with the line for a 542 or 545 (or get on the 542 back in the U-district or Green Lake P&R) than it is to ride the bike shuttle. The bike ridership on the two services largely confirms this.
@Carl – Thanks to the delays in the 520 bridge construction, it is looking more and more like U-link is going to open before Montlake Freeway Station closes. Assuming this is the case, having the 540 replace the 255 completely and drop downtown riders off next to the Husky Link station is the obvious solution. The time spent waiting for the train would be made up by the train getting into and out of downtown quickly. Meanwhile, the new bus route would be much shorter, which means the existing service hours should support much higher frequency. The additional buses taking the Montlake exit could even be used as a justification to get a much-needed bus lane added to the Montlake exit ramp.
There are several reasons why I think replacing the 255 with the 540 (or redirecting the 255 there) will not happen, and is not a good idea with the current plans.
First of all, it wouldn’t terminate at the UW Husky station but would proceed into the University District. There isn’t really an extra layover space in the U-District area for more buses – and the time that it takes on the routing would eat up much of the service hour savings.
Second, the transfer between the bus routes and the Link station are horrid. The closest stops are on either side of NE Pacific St in front of the UW Hospital. So from Link you rise up from platform through mezzanine to street level to bridge level, then cross Montlake Blvd, then walk across the triangle, then cross Pacific Street on a signaled crosswalk, then walk down the block to the stop in front of the Hospital. It’s not a very good experience. In the reverse, you have one less street crossing, but still 4 level changes.
Third, there isn’t the investment being made to give transit priority or reliability across the Montlake Bridge. The Bridge is subject to openings, there aren’t dedicated transit lanes, transit needs to cross the general purpose lanes, etc. It means a lengthy and unreliable ride and an awkward transfer. I don’t see that happening.
A design to unify Eastside bus transit to connect with Link instead of continuing downtown would have a bridge coming from the 520 HOV lanes to a landing in the Husky parking lot, with a transit center above the Link station, and then buses continuing in a straight line down NE Pacific St. That would be a good, fast, viable design. I have no idea why it’s not being done.
A replacement of the 255 with the 540 doesn’t need to be an exact clone of today’s 540 – in particular, it doesn’t need to meander through the U-district like today’s 540 (and even if it did, traversing the U-district still takes only about 10 minutes, compared to 20-30 minutes to traverse downtown).
While the Montlake bridge does have occasional openings for boat traffic, they are relatively rare, and almost never happen anywhere near rush hour. The real bottleneck, as it turns out, is not the Montlake bridge, but the Montlake exit ramp. The Montlake exit ramp already has enough shoulder space for about half a lane, and the adjacent space is already owned by WSDOT, so a bus-only queue-jump lane could probably be built for a relatively cheap price if the will existed. Even if buses had to merge with regular traffic right before the turn onto Montlake Blvd. (ideally before the crosswalk, for pedestrian safety), it would be sufficient to get buses past the bulk of the typical congestion.
There is another bottleneck at the stop of Montlake and Pacific, in which buses are unable to serve the stop because another bus is already serving the stop and the stop only has enough room for one bus. Again, this is only a problem if the new 540 uses the same routing through the U-district as today’s 540. If instead of turning left onto Pacific, the bus simply went straight, it could drop off passengers right at the station. Better connection, less congestion, everyone wins.
The only real problem I can see is the lack of layover space. Considering the vast amount of underused surface parking in the area, it really shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. The problem is that with the UW being a public institution, Sound Transit can’t take any land from it via eminent domain. The UW is grudgingly allowing a Link station to be built on its property because of the huge benefit to its students and football fans. However, the UW has zero interest in people passing through the area that have no affiliation with the university. Hence the space next to the Link station is going to surface parking for people who don’t want to ride Link to park their cars, rather than layover space for 520 buses.
This is a very shortsighted attitude, as it is going to result in the university getting much less bus service from across the lake than it would otherwise be getting. What I am most afraid of, and which nobody is talking about, is what is going to happen during the period of several years when the Montlake lid is under construction. If the freeway station is closed, but the top-of-the-lid stops hasn’t opened yet, and a route truncation is not possible, what happens? Does everybody headed between Kirkland the UW when the 540 isn’t running have to backtrack all the way downtown? Get off at Evergreen Point and walk 1/2 a mile to catch a half-hourly 271?
The only problem I see is that the only Seattle destination it serves is the Husky Stadium Station, forcing a transfer to get anywhere else more than a reasonable distance away.
Don’t worry, If the denizens of this group get their way the premium for the one seat ride will go way up.
Any idea what the purpose of the traffic light in this photo is for? Ramp metering? Avoiding bus traffic jams (enforcing bus following separation)?
That light also exists for the general purpose lanes at the same point. If I had to guess it would be to stop traffic while the bridge is closed for boat traffic. That way instead of waiting on the bridge people wait on the land (which is safer?).
The lights exist to prevent vehicles from entering if there was an emergency or fire under the lid. Technically, the lids are considered tunnels due to their lengths. If you look at I-90, traffic lights are also mounted in the Mt Baker tunnel and the Mercer Island Lid. They’re more difficult to see because they don’t have reflective outlines.
Great post! This kind of in-person reporting is very refreshing.
Evergreen Freeway Station never seemed to be a heavily used station, as compared with, let’s say, the heavily-used Eastgate Freeway Station. For a lightly used freeway station, this seems to be overkill.
My expectation is that the new Evergreen Freeway Station will get a lot more traffic with people changing busses. I frequently used it as a transfer station: take any bus you can catch across the bridge, then any appropriate bus from there. People also use Evergreen as a kiss & ride or pickup spot.
I don’t think that both stations needed to be as gloriously built as they are. They both serve essentially the same routes and thus duplicate any transfer functionality that they offer. But the area demands beautiful stations, doesn’t it?
I cannot wait to see the new Montlake stations. WA power brokers tend to retire in Madison Park (a lot of former governors, at least) and the UW obviously has a huge amount of influence with Metro and Sound Transit. I expect to see gilded escalators and chamber orchestras.
The new Montlake station will be on the surface. No escalator needed. A chamber orchestra would be nice, but then the folks in Media and Clyde Hill will want one.
The university street tunnel station already has a horn player practicing his orchestral excerpts sometimes. Would that suffice?
or maybe just a 271 that stops there; +1 @Stephen below
I’m fairly sure the stations are fully funded by WS-DOT as mitigation for the construction impact and widening. You could say the same about the three lids which have been built.
I suspect that the Yarrow Point/92nd station will have the more significant role as a kiss and ride as it will have a dropoff crescent right by the stairs/elevators.
Interestingly there also seems to be a bus bay built on top of the lid. Perhaps it is there if when the 271 shifts to staying on 520 to the 108th exit, that there will be some Medina/Clyde Hill circulator route replacing the 271 which terminates at Yarrow Point for connections.
PS: If the Montlake community cared about transit infrastructure in their community, they could be a positive force for better solutions at Montlake. But they don’t seem to care or have other priorities.
There already is a Clyde Hill circulator route, the 246, but it terminates 1 mile south of the Yarrow Point Station. With the old station, I can guess that this was done because the junction of 92nd Ave. and 520 had no room for a bus to turn around. However, with the new roundabout on the 92nd Ave. lid, this is no longer the case – the 246 could easily be extended to terminate there, and use the bus stop on top of the lid as layover space. Unfortunately, if the extension would require an extra bus, it would have zero chance of happening anytime soon, with big service cuts looming.
Evergreen Point has always been the place to transfer, if you wanted to do that. At Montlake flyer stop you can’t transfer to the U-District buses, but all of them stop at Evergreen Point. I usually avoided it because freeway stops are very unpleasant places to wait. But I was usually coming from Bellevue which had full-time buses to both downtown and UW so I didn’t have to transfer on the freeway the way people from the northern Eastside did.
Robert Reid’s comment below reminded me that the 271 doesn’t stop at Evergreen Point anymore, so it’s not completely universal. And that does start to reproduce the dilemma at Montlake where some buses stop at the flyer station and others don’t.
If WS-DOT goes ahead with the current Montlake plans, then not only will service stop on the Montlake lid, and other service won’t, it is highly likely that for full time routes like the 545 and 255 it will vary by time of day and maybe even direction, based on whether routes like the 540 and 545 are running at that time. In addition, if the 255 and 545 stop on the lid, they will have to cross 2-3 signaled intersections in each direction (as well the 540/542/271 – including a signaled intersection with general purpose traffic exiting WB 520 and headed south, and then intersections at Montlake Blvd. It will be much slower that today’s flyer stations.
I wish the Montlake community cared more about lobbying for better transit infrastructure in their neighborhood but that does not seem to be their priority.
Outside of rush hour, the 271 is the only U-district bound bus that crosses 520. Which means that, with the 271 not stopping at Evergreen Point Freeway Station, there is zero reason for anybody outside of rush hour to be using it as a transfer point.
One the Points trail reopens it’ll only be a 2/3 mile walk from the 271’s first Eastside stop to the Evergreen Point station!
The entire bellevue-to-medina lidding & beautification project is complete overkill. The station matches the scope of the rest of the highway project.
Whatever the eastside wants, the eastside gets.
But if Seattle wants a simple curbside flyer stop at Montlake so that one of Metro’s busiest routes can get a transfer to freeway buses, well, there’s just no way that can happen.
I find it frustrating that no one in Seattle has lobbied for better Montlake infrastructure. Not the Montlake neighborhood. Not the Seattle DOT. Not Metro. Not Sound Transit. When no one takes a stand, what do you expect to happen?
My observations about the Westbound 520 freeway stations:
On sunny summer afternoons, both Montlake and Evergreen Point provide very poor shade, despite the copious shelters. This is ok — much better than no shelters and getting misted on in the winter.
Yarrow Point, however, is a champ at shadiness; the tradeoff is that Yarrow Point is not yet on OBA and due to the shape of the stop, you can’t see up the road to see if your bus is coming. This also makes it imprudent to zone out with a book, since buses come “by surprise” around the corner.
It’d be lovely if there were bikeshare at Evergreen Point and Downtown Bellevue so people could get there without sitting through 405-520 cloverleaf purgatory, but demand would probably be too one-directional for this to be practical.
I haven’t heard anything about the bike parking plans of either of the two stations, but there really some be some at both – preferably cages, rather than relying entirely on open racks.
While this is an apples to sledgehammers comparison–note that Car2Go has a somewhat lopsided demand: Downtown Seattle has cars a plenty during the day but is devoid of them at night. If you watch the patterns they appear to be used a lot for commuting.
I don’t know how much demand there is for leaving Evergreen Point in the evening, and I don’t know if it’s enough to matter.
Does anyone know when metro is going to revise the 271 to use the freeway station. I’m 90% sure that someone from metro said a year ago that once the 108th st HOV onramp was opened the 271 would go up 112th, onto 520 at the HOV onramp, and then be able to serve the freeway stations.
More recently though, I haven’t seen any indication that’s happening.
I just did a back-of-the envelope calculation on if you could move the 271 to 108th Ave and still have service to Medina (on some other route). I think the answer is yes.
271 would save ~6 minutes, and at 77 trips that’s 7.7 service hours
Extending the 241 from DT bellevue through Medina to the Yarrow Point station would add ~14 minutes @ 27 trips per day so 6.3 service hours
You could also extend the 246 to Yarrow Point, which adds ~4 minutes @ 14 trips / day, or 1 service hour
So in a roughly service-hour-neutral way you would get faster trips on the 271, with transfers at Yarrow Point + Evergreen Point to other routes. Medina / Clyde hill would get ~40 trips per day from Yarrow Point station. This is a significant loss in service, but honestly those areas are mostly SFH, so I’d guess the ridership isn’t great there.
I had also read that Metro plans to reroute the 271 to serve the 2 freeway stations and then use the 108th Ave ramp. I don’t know if the intention is then to use 112th Ave to Bellevue or double back to Bellevue Way – which might negate the time savings although it would serve more of Bellevue.
Extending the 246 wouldn’t really replace the 271 service along NE 8th/12th & 84th Ave and wouldn’t get anywhere close to Medina. Routing some bus from the Bellevue Transit Center along the current 271 route and then up Points Drive to Yarrow Point station would replace that service and allow for connections in both directions at Yarrow Point. I believe that Bellevue buys bus passes for high school students for school transportation, and that Bellevue High serves Medina/Clyde Hill, so they need to do something if they reroute the 271.
Yeah — I was thinking of both extending the 241 from BTC up the existing 271 route and having it go to Yarrow Point (as opposed to getting on 520), and, extending the 246 to Yarrow Point as well.
If the 246 can be extended without needing any more service hours, that would make it a no-brainer and make it infinitely more useful since riders could connect at Yarrow Point toward Redmond and Kirkland as well as Seattle and U-District – vs. having to backtrack to the Bellevue Transit Center. But I wouldn’t expect enough ridership to warrant spending more service hours given that we are in cut made.
I think they will need to do something to make up for 271 elimination through Medina, though at lower frequency and probably less span of service. Especially since there is no P&R at Yarrow Point and very little at Evergreen Point. Currently there is park & hide along 92nd Ave at NE 8th St for the 271 and also along some other segments of the 271 route. There is some park & hide along Points Drive at Clyde Hill/Yarrow Point but it already stretches quite a distance from the stop, and it probably cannot absorb the existing 271 parkers. I don’t think S. Kirkland P&R has capacity either, made worse by downgrade at Houghton.
I think the 246 extension could be done without increasing service hours, although it gets a little iffy during rush hour. Right now, the 246 is run with 2 buses, each with a 120-minute cycle time (for hourly service). Google Maps claims that the distance between the 246’s current Clyde Hill terminus and Yarrow Point can be driven in 3 minutes, so it shouldn’t be a large issue if it is possible for buses to turn around at Yarrow Point.
The difficult part is that one 246 trip at the most congested part of day is scheduled to take 54 minutes end-to-end, which would increase to 57 min with the Yarrow Point extension. This could get problematic if the bus is delayed. However, the bus is faster in the other direction (46 min >>> 49 min after Yarrow Point extension) so if schedules are tweaked, it seems like a 120-minute cycle with enough layover time should still be possible (although I’ll have to defer to people with more knowledge of bus operations than I do on this).
The Yarrow Point lid has a Roundabout, which I believe can accommodate a bus turning around. But there isn’t really layover space, just a bus slip.
On weekends when 520 is closed, there is no shuttle from Bellevue Transit Center to Medina (the part of the 271 route that is skipped). The rider alerts posted at Bel TC indicate that the reason is because ridership is low.
A couple weeks ago I rode an eastbound 271 in the morning and there wasn’t any churn between Montlake and 100th in Bellevue (not that trip is a representative sample).
I suspect that segment of the 271 mainly draws riders who are commuting to the U-District, and possibly transferring to downtown Seattle
I don’t understand why the stops are in the middle of the road. This forces the buses to leave the outside lane to get over to the stop. Was there a major logistical problem with the earlier stops? I’m not sure what they were like before as I’ve just started commuting from Seattle to Bellevue daily.
I think the idea is that the buses won’t be in the outside lane, but the inside lane. This is different than the way it used to be, but better. The outside lanes are shared with SOV trying to enter or exit. Once a bus manages to work its way into an inside HOV lane, it should be able to cruise without being slowed down by SOVs. If you click on the picture of the WSDOT page, it shows this (both the temporary situation and the long term one).
Before construction started there was a pretty decent stretch of 520 on the eastside with outer HOV lanes. The outer HOV lanes and stations had some good features: a bus could enter the freeway (from the outside like the 271 does) and be ready to pull into a stop immediately, and being on the outside meant the freeway stations could be simpler and narrower. Part of the reason the Montlake Freeway Station couldn’t be rebuilt is that the median stops would take up more space than the current ones do.
The problem with the outer HOV lanes was that they got all messed up at interchanges. During congestion the HOV lanes moved much faster than the other lanes, but at interchanges people entering and exiting had to get across them. This didn’t just slow down the buses, it also led to a lot of near misses and hard-braking situations. The center HOV lanes are a smooth ride, and particularly nice for routes like the 255 that can enter directly into them… though the extra direct access lanes enlarge the interchanges.
I once had a westbound 542 driver who, during a period of extremely heavy traffic, had the foresight to exit the freeway at 108th and immediately re-enter it using the direct access ramps intended for the 255. It worked wonders. However, this one driver has, so far, been the only one to do it, which means the driver probably thought of the idea himself, rather than Metro policy. Metro needs to educate its drivers on this option. When traffic through the area is crawling at 3 mph, there is no reason why every single Metro and Sound Transit bus should not be doing the off-and-on-again trick.
I had a 242 driver do it once too, and I’ve suggested it at Metro’s twitter a few times. Hopefully drivers spread the word amongst themselves.
It’ll be a moot point once the construction is done and there are HOV lanes the whole way, though.
Some of the 555 operators will jump ahead of a half dozen cars by passing on the shoulder when merging on to 520 from 405.
That would get on my nerves if I were one of those cars, but when there are 60+ people on the bus I don’t mind so much.
Too many drivers don’t seem to mind ignoring state law and not yielding to buses.
I believe what the Metro drivers are doing is illegal–it’s not that the cars are failing to yield.
I’ve seen Metro drivers doing a similar thing on I-405 when they are serving the 70th St/Houghton freeway stops. They bypass traffic at the NE 85th St interchange by using the cloverleaf collector/distributor lanes. WSDOT actually posted a sign that explicitly said only transit buses are allowed to do that.
That speaks to the uselessness of the I-405 HOV lanes – aren’t they headed toward the left exit at 128th?
Inside HOV lanes are coming; hopefully your Seattle to Bellevue route will use them.
When the project was promoted to politicians and the public – and in the Environmental Impact Statement – there were supposed to be continuous inside HOV/transit lanes from at least 148th Ave NE in Overlake all the way cross the bridge. However WS-DOT recently said that the inside lanes will end at the I-405 intersection and there will be outside lanes between the 124th NE exit and points further east. Especially westbound that is certainly suboptimal since the rightside lanes are always congested approaching I-405, and buses will have to weave from the right lane to the left lane approaching I-405. I don’t know where the center HOV lane will start, but it is probably past I-405, so if the approach to the bridge is backed, buses will be in the back-up until the start of the center HOV lane.
Last time I was at Evergreen Point eastbound there was a Metro system map there… but it was the Central area map. Evergreen Point is in the far upper-right, and 520 quickly disappears to the north, so any place you’d be going directly isn’t on the map. The Northwest map is probably the most useful one they could show at the westbound stop.
Hm, I didn’t pay much attention to the stop flags, and Oran is probably yelling at his monitor for that.
Somewhat ironic that right after opening these new stations Metro will be eliminating 19 peak period trips/day when the cancel the 243, 250, 260 and 265. Will there be enough room on the 252, 255 and 545 if the riders of the cancelled service shift over?
The Houghton Park & Ride won’t have very attractive service toward Seattle.
And the myth of TOD at the Overlake P&R is nearing its death. Wonder whether Metro will take the opportunity to straighten and speed Rapid Ride B and keep it on 156th Ave NE and eliminate the silly deviation to 152nd Ave NE.
What’s happening to Overlake TOD?
Many years ago, the Overlake P&R had quite a lot of transit service, including Metro 250 which ran about 12 trips each way, Metro 253, Metro 263, and some other routes. That was before the Overlake Transit Center existed. Then King County paved over the P&R and built housing on it and named it TOD. Ever since the transit service there has diminished to the point that I don’t know why they bother maintaining a P&R there nor deviating any routes there any more.
Yankee Doodle went to town just to ride a pony. / He stuck a feather in his cap and called it
Yeah, but I think that Rapid Ride B deviates from 156th Ave NE in the Overlake area on every trip, adding ~5 minutes to trip time and increasing operating costs, just because this was King County’s TOD project. It’s actually on the eastern half of the property and if there is a walkway on the eastern side, residents could access a stop on 156th Ave instead of 152nd, and the RRB could eliminate several signals and multiple left turns, and could get through the lights at NE 24th & Bel Red in a single synchronized cycle.
If this has not been a county project I don’t think RRB would have deviated.
Are there a lot of RR-B riders from west of the deviation, from the offices along 152nd NE and Microsoft buildings west of SR-520? On a recent walk along that area, I saw several people waiting at the stop opposite the P&R.
If the single story buildings west of 152nd are redeveloped, maybe. In the meantime, why not walk to 156th? Eventually East Link will have a stop here.
It’s uphill. The East Link Overlake Villiage station won’t be open until 2023. Maybe when some office buildings are built at the east end of the Group Health site, it would be enough reason to eliminate the deviation.
It’s uphill to 156th and downhill back down. Many years ago, I used to walk from the stop at this P&R up to Microsoft through the Group Health parking lot to the north of the P&R. It’s not hard or far if there aren’t fences or walls in the way.
I think the main reason for the 250 to serve Overlake P&R is that the parking lot at Overlake Transit Center is filled to the brim on weekdays, with no room for expansion. I think Metro also wanted some option suitable for people who would have difficulty walking from the transit center to the freeway station in the morning. (The westbound 545 only deviates into the transit center on weekday afternoons).
The B-line’s deviation is just plain stupid. I have many times jogged from Overlake Transit Center all the way to Crossroads Mall in less time than it would take to wait for, and ride, a B-line bus.
The 250 is being deleted in September so the Overlake P&R will have no service to speak of, other than RRB
There’s still the 249, if you care to count something hourly.
An increase of 3dB is not twice as loud. It’s twice as much energy, but the ear does not perceive it as twice as loud. An increase of 10dB is generally considered twice as loud.
Sound Engineer I am not. Martin pointed that out to me, and I believe at one point he was–or at least worked in close proximity to–an RF engineer.
Yes–this is pretty much correct. dB is a measure of sound intensity (watts/cm2). “Loudness” is subjective and therefore not measurable, but the rule of thumb is that a change of 10 dB doubles or halves the perceived loudness. Doubling or halving the distance to the sound source results in a change of 6 dB. A change of 3 dB is just perceptible.
Spent lots of cold days standing at the Montlake Station with other contractors.
Nice to see a bit of shelter, although I understand around here nearly any cover will be turned into a permanent residence!
I’ve commuted Seattle to Bellevue via bike for years. Having been frustrated by the gravel path temporary access to both sides of the Evergreen Point station (where I get off the bus and back on to my bike in the am and get off my bike and on to the bus in the evening) I have been anxiously looking forward to the new bus stops at Evergreen Point. While a huge improvement in terms of size, protection, and security, I have one quibble. How hard would it have been to add a bike wheel channel adjacent to the stairs so cyclists could use the stairs without having to shoulder their bikes? I know there is an elevator and I, too appreciate the size and double doors, but i would prefer to use the stairs.
I’ve looked at it, and I think it wouldn’t be too difficult to add a runnel on top of the drainage channel. The only tricky part would be ensuring that the drainage channel doesn’t get blocked.
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