Rainier Beach Station:  easy to access from a bus stop
Rainier Beach Station: easy to access from a bus stop

After my piece about the impacts of Sound Transit running 6-minute headway when U-Link opens on bus riders, taxpayers, and Link riders, I have a plea for King County Metro to do its part to smoothe Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel operations.

It is important that Metro choose the routes it runs through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel carefully, to make the best use of money, and to not put so many buses in the tunnel during the peak that several minutes are added to travel time for most peak tunnel users.

The great advantage of running bus routes through the tunnel, instead of up at street level, is less travel time. That’s money saved or service hours left over to hold onto other service. This argument does not apply to routes that could simply head up to the Seneca St exit, and pass through downtown just once per loop. Nor does it apply to routes that don’t need to go downtown.

Four routes currently enter the tunnel via the SODO busway: 101, 102, 106, and 150. The February 2015 cuts package proposes that Route 106 instead enter downtown along Yesler Way. Some awesome suggestions have been made by Aleks and others regarding how to restructure routes 101 and 150 to allow many more riders to connect to Link without having to transfer buses or take an express bus all the way downtown. Route 102 could likewise just go to Rainier Beach Station, so that service hours are available to save local suburban King County service.

Another route that should not be going into the tunnel after U-Link opens is route 255. Riders coming from Kirkland and going to the University of Washington would benefit greatly from having routes 255 and ST Express 540 streamlined into one route with better frequency and an all-day span of service. Kirkland riders going to Capitol Hill or First Hill would also benefit greatly. For Kirkland riders going downtown, it would improve both frequency and reliability.

Indeed, no SR 520 routes should go into the tunnel after U-Link opens, given the poor connection when the express lanes are going the wrong way, and the option of transfering at UW Station. Sadly, instead of re-routing some of these peak expresses to UW Station, Metro is eliminating several of them entirely.

Sound Transit, for its part, could help make the transfer experience dramatically better by putting up wayfinding maps at each station, showing where the bus stops are for bus routes that serve that station, and post the scheduled stops for those buses. This enormous improvement would cost pennies in the grand scheme of Sound Transit operations.

Which routes should go into the tunnel? Zach and others have already spilled much ink on that topic. The bottom line, for me, is that the tunnel flow smoothly enough that there is less than a minute of “The train/bus is being held due to traffic ahead. The train/bus will be moving shortly” for nearly all trips throughout the day, and that Metro use the platform space wisely with buses that have no less-expensive option for their path. Routes 101, 102, 106, 150, and 255 clearly don’t meet that test after U-Link opens. The current number of buses going through the tunnel is causing too much slow-down as is.

106 Replies to “Give Link Transfers a Chance”

  1. While I totally agree with transferring, I have heard concerns that people do not feel safe waiting for buses at some of the Link stations, and that is what drives their opposition to transfers. Additionally, the buses would need to run very frequently to make the return transfer bearable. I really wish the UW would have gotten rid of some parking spaces and made a transfer center instead of making everyone cross busy streets to wait for the bus. (Even with the overhead walkway, it’s going to be annoying).

    1. I grant that Metro (and Sound Transit) put minimal effort into making the transfer experience workable for the route 50 reorganization. I hope those 50 stops by the stations can move to the front of the list soon for having an RTA sign and maps from the station. Also, the 50 stops at MLK should be exceptions to the rule, and stop ahead of the light, not after it. The great thing about transfers at stations is that there is more likely to be security and other witnesses around, especially if several riders are heading between a peak bus and a peak train.

      In the case of routes 101 and 150, Aleks’ plan would actually be feeding riders from four other routes into those routes, and moving their transfers from South Renton P&R and Kent Station, respectively, to Rainier Beach Station. I honestly don’t know what security is like at the current transfer sites. If Metro chooses to move the transfers, it really should address the myriad of security concerns, and not just listen and dismiss the concerns.

      1. If security is a problem with people who have to transfer, then it is a problem with people who walk to the station. If it is a problem, then it should be dealt with strongly, not ignored because it doesn’t effect people who stay on the bus.

      2. With Rainier Beach Station, I think a large part of the perception of security is that the area immediately around it feels empty- compared to Othello and Columbia City stations, it feels like there’s not as much going on. The area to the south of it is sort of industrial- and there aren’t as many people around- I don’t know what the boarding statistics are, but at night, it doesn’t feel like there are many people getting on or off the the train at RBS, and I don’t see many people on the street near the station..

      3. Othello and Columbia City are where the most reported violent incidents have occured, including a murder just outside Othello Station.

      4. I was catching Link at Rainier Beach Station a couple months ago and some City of Seattle folks were out asking people to help them understand if & why they feel unsafe and what a safer station area might look like. They actually asked me to draw a picture, which isn’t my thing, but I drew a station with lots of people at it and around it. So I agree the area needs to be more active with more pedestrian-oriented businesses nearby.

      5. The 150 as currently routed should qualify for routing to downtown. The fact is that those coming from kent east hill (Significant amount) and auburn have to transfer once already and truncating it at rbs would cause another delay for these riders. While I am not opposed to smart transfers, I do have a concern when one has to take several ( 3+) vehicles just to get downtown which may not necessarily even be their final destination.

      6. John,

        The 150 as currently routed should qualify for routing to downtown. The fact is that those coming from kent east hill (Significant amount) and auburn have to transfer once already and truncating it at rbs would cause another delay for these riders. While I am not opposed to smart transfers, I do have a concern when one has to take several ( 3+) vehicles just to get downtown which may not necessarily even be their final destination.

        I encourage you to read my article (that Brent kindly linked to from his article). You will find that I’m suggesting a significant change to many bus routes in the area. Taken together, these changes would ensure that no one has to take 3 vehicles to get to downtown. Instead, many of today’s bus-bus trips would be transformed into bus-train trips, where each leg is much more frequent than it is today.

      7. I’m definitely very sensitive to safety concerns. When I need to go to SODO, I take a cab, precisely because I don’t really feel safe waiting or walking there.

        Ultimately, I’m with Ross on this one. Rainier Beach is an important station in its own right. If people don’t feel safe there, we should work to fix that ASAP, even if it means posting security guards there 24/7. Otherwise, we’re effectively saying that it’s more important for people from Kent and Renton to feel safe than people from Rainier Beach, which strikes me as questionable.

      8. @Brent: Near-side stops for the 50 “because transfers” makes no damn sense. With far-side you’re more likely to narrowly miss a bus-to-train transfer, but with near-side you’re more likely to narrowly miss a train-to-bus transfer, and that’s a bigger deal because the train runs much more frequently.

        If there’s a specific, dominant directional transfer pattern it might make sense to put both bus stops on the same side of MLK. Otherwise… no.

      9. @Al,

        I’m talking about the 50 stops where most of the bus-to-train transfers will occur: westbound at Othello Station, westbound at Columbia City Station, and both directions at SODO Station.

        I assume you’re talking about 50 stops where most train-to-bus transfers will occur: eastbound at Othello Station, eastbound at Columbia City Station, and both directions as SODO Station.

        SODO Station is a special case. Going westbound, I would have it stop both on the east side of the Busway before turning onto Lander, and then have its second stop combined with the 21’s stop on Lander, since both are headed to West Seattle, and that stop is easier to find, with the 21 coming more frequently (at least until the restructure that might get reversed). Eastbound, there is no savings in crossing time by having it stop on Lander, so just keep its stop combined with all the other stops on the west side of the Busway, for the easiest transter to the other buses.

        So, yes and no!

    2. As far as buses by UW Station, yes, the path from the station to the stop by UW Medical Center involves a little walk, and crossing multiple streets. The service planners deemed UW Medical Center, rather than UW Station, to be a larger source of riders for SR 520 express buses. If the stops were all by the station, riders from UW Medical Center and further into campus would be rightfully complaining.

      Let me ask this: Do people not feel safe around UW Station, and in the area between UW Station and the stop over on Pacific?

      1. I don’t understand why Sound Transit didn’t create a pathway from the (underground) station directly to the side of the street next to the UW Medical Center. Not only does this make sense from a transfer standpoint, but from a destination standpoint as well. Very few people will want to exit on the east side (next to the stadium). There will be plenty you want to go north (to campus) but there will also be plenty going to the medical center.

      2. I, too, was disappointed to not have direct tunnel access from west of Montlake into the station. That said, tunnels are probably the least effective way to reduce safety concerns around the transfer experience. Visibility is just more reassuring.

      3. I don’t think there is a safety concern at the Husky Stadium station. I think two ideas got lumped together in the same paragraph (and it was a small paragraph, so I don’t blame the writer). Basically people are scared around the Rainier Valley stations (too many poor people) and the Husky Stadium station is too inconvenient. Two different things, really (although the Rainier Valley stations aren’t exactly a model of convenience).

      4. I’ll be honest: I really don’t think that 520 has a future as a transit corridor. During peak, sure. But once East Link opens, do you really think that people will choose to wait at the concrete temple that we call the Montlake Freeway Station, sitting on the ground (since there are no seats), listening to the symphony of 1,000 vehicles rushing by, when they could take the train instead? Consider that the train will be much more reliable than a bus ever could.

        I know that I would happily choose a pleasant 40-minute trip over an uncomfortable one that could be anywhere from 25 to 60 minutes, depending on the whims of the traffic gods that day. Back when I lived on the East Coast, I used to make this decision all the time. I would always pick the commuter rail and Amtrak over the equivalent bus service, even if the bus was supposed to be faster.

        Back to Seattle, there are just too many reasons why UW Station is never going to be a good connection point. First, the 520 bridge is on the wrong side of the water. The Montlake Bridge is up? There goes all of the time that you saved by not using I-90. Second, as we all know, the station was not designed as a bus terminal. Third, UW Station isn’t even really a good location for a terminal. It’s not at the end of anything. It would make a lot more sense for buses to continue west along Pacific, enabling a downtown-free 2-seat ride between the Eastside and every single neighborhood north of the ship canal. But alas, UW Station was simply not designed with that possibility in mind.

        In the long term, I would love to see a Sand Point-Kirkland crossing. That would actually provide a meaningful connectivity improvement compared to East Link alone. (If getting to Kirkland from my home in Greenwood were as easy as getting to Oakland from San Francisco, I would make the trip all the time!) But in the meantime, I think we should accept that the 255 will keep going downtown for a long time. The easy and realistic win is getting it out of the tunnel and onto surface streets, with *every other 520 bus*, where it belongs.

      5. I don’t think there were be another Lake Washington bridge built in our lifetimes. It’s too expensive. It disrupts views and navigation. It requires highrises for boat traffic. The SandPoint/Laurelhurst neghborhoods, will fight it. The areas are too low density to warrant it. It’s just not going to happen.

        Shifting Kirkland-downtown Seattle bus routes to terminate at UW will destroy that ridership and damage political support for transit funding from the Eastside. The Montlake bridge is a bottleneck that completely stops with sporadic openings, and the transfer has been designed to be unattractive with the bus stops in front of UW Hospital on either side of NE Pacific St. Today the scheduled time from the Montlake freeway station to 5th & Pine/Westlake station ranges from 8-15 minutes, and it can take as few as 5-6 minutes at night. It will take that long for a transfer to walk across the triangle, climb up to the overpass over Montlake Blvd, and then descend three levels. There is virtually no scenario where that will represent a time savings.

        We’ve already had a kind of experiment as ST-540 started off as a 7 day/week bi-directional service. I think it was even 15 minute headways in the peak periods. It never drew adequate ridership and has been cut repeatedly to where it is today, really a one-directional peak service with some reverse positioning trips. In the meantime MT-255 has turned into an all-day frequent service with 15 minute headways. That’s where the ridership is. It would be more productive and efficient to demand that WS-DOT build a freeway station that works as well as the Evergreen Point and 92nd Ave stations – allowing buses headed toward I-5 to stop without any traffic lights or cross traffic, and with exits and either side of Montlake Blvd, and perhaps adding an HOV connection to the express lanes at I-5. A transfer to UW Link would not take any longer by walking from a new Montlake Flyer station across the bridge the Link station, and it would save the level changes needed to cross the pedestrian bridge.

        The 255 should probably come out of the tunnel in any scenario since the connection to/from I-5 isn’t very good from the north end of the tunnel

      6. But…but… we [i]can’t[/i] build a tunnel under the street! That’s silly! Plus we already blew our Build a Tunnel Under the Street budget to get pedestrians across the gaping two-lane maw that is Broadway!

        (damn that was a stupid waste of money….)

      7. Capitol Hill station is right: entrances across the street mean greater ridership and more user satisfaction, and is common in London, St Petersburg, etc. UW station is wrong: there should be a pedestrian tunnel to Pacific Street and the hospital, and too bad nobody thought of it until after it was designed (or at least I didn’t hear any activist mention it, like I didn’t hear anyone talk about Summit, 15th, or 23rd stations until construction was underway). University Street station is also wrong: it should be a bit further south with an entrance at Madison Street and ideally a tunnel to the library. Westlake station should have an entrance at 4th & Pike where the eastbound buses are.

    3. There was a time when UW riders did not have to cross the street to catch an Eastside-bound bus. When the U-Pass program was initiated in the early ’90s there were commute-hour buses going through campus to/from various Eastside destinations: 273 Bellevue, 275 Kirkland, and 276 Redmond. Before that, most riders would either walk to/from the Montlake flyer stop or transfer to/from a 48 or 43. Then along came ST with the 540 and Metro with the 271, both supposedly an improvement on the other three routes. Not so sure if that was the case.

      1. The 271 does what the 273 did and more often. The 540 does what the 275 did. The 542 does what the 276 did. And there is the 555/556 as well

  2. Good posting, Brent, except for last line. It’s not the number of buses in the Tunnel that’s causing the problem. I do think which routes use it is a legitimate question. Preference should be given to all-day service. If ST routes north to Lynnwood and Everett went in there, it would save a lot of operating time stuck on Olive between Fifth Avenue and the I-5 every PM rush.

    But DSTT operating problems are still best dealt with by improvements in coordination, communications, and training. After 24 years next month of operations, exact same deficiencies in coordination, communications, and training have remained constant from Day 1.

    In one sentence, “Don’t get anything out, but run it all right.”

    Mark Dublin

    1. Thanks, Mark, for your decades of service, and your eternal optimism that DSTT operations can get better. After 24 years, I think an expectation that they will get better, simply through better training, platooning, etc, meets the definition of “insanity”. (I’m not saying you are insane, just that it’s time to move on and and stop hoping doing the same thing over and over again will produce different results.)

      You are right that it isn’t just about counting buses. I’ve documented repeatedly that Bay A is overwhelmed, and causing a several-minute delay during peak. Better distribution between Bays A and B would help. Moving route 255 out of the tunnel would enable that redistribution.

      You also make a good case for keeping the 106 and 150 in, as they don’t ramp up outbound trips during PM peak. I still disagree with keeping them in, but I place a much higher priority on removing the 101/102, and connecting the 148 and 169 directly to RBS.

      That said, the total number of peak buses still needs to come down, as dwell time for the trains is going to go up, even if headway is held to 7.5 minutes. We are going to start seeing large numbers of train riders alighting in the tunnel and larger numbers of riders boarding the trains, once U-Link opens.

      I’ll tell you what: I’ll buy you dinner at the top of the Space Needle if we can get peak delay time in the tunnel reduced to a minute or less within one month of the first service change after U-Link opens.

      1. Brent,

        When I first applied to go full time at Metro, they made us take a multiple choice test, which I think are not only insane but also insulting, idiotic, and totalitarian, for the actual purpose of determining that we were indeed mentally unbalanced enough to spend our lives in a different space-time continuum than the rest of humanity.

        Fact that only Security at Sea-Tac still wear Star Trek uniforms tells the story. But also, officials and their psychiatrists had accurately cataloged the number of patients at Western State who had been tragically put immediately to late night runs of the Route 174 (the old 124 but worse) while the poor applicants were still sane.

        So missing bricks or bulbs is a given. But if you look at the history of many great civil engineering projects, 24 years is not an uncommon space of time. Excellent local example is the way Seattle spent 30 year arguing whether we should have transit at all. Forward Thrust lost twice. But also remember that once we got rolling, we had the DSTT and stations in three years, with first mostly for relocating utilities.

        For the present condition of Tunnel operations, I consider that all the years we’ve been working on our system count as positive learning time. We’ve got the equipment we need, and enough people with Tunnel experience we’re far from starting cold. From bottom to top- even if latter level are hiding the fact, we’ve got personnel to handle the job. It’s mainly a matter of motivation.

        Reason I don’t say “leadership”, is because there’s a habit of treating it as something to find with a blade sticking up out of an English rock or lake or sprayed on like shower gel. Instead of its reality: a tool for someone, or more, to pick up and use. Seniority isn’t automatically disqualification- but I doubt King Arthur, and definitely not King David, were near retirement.

        Thanks for the thanks for service- but remember that several of us charter members of the Advisory Committee were still part-time with two or three years time in grade. Still truly believe that national political problems are not ideological but generational- political habits and outlooks do have a shelf life.

        Of course I expect that increased train service will let correspondent numbers of buses be sent to the surface. Very large numbers. Think of the difference of speed and capacity between four car trains and buses! But what’s gotten old with me are 24 years of the system using future trains as an excuse for refusing to make any improvements at all in present Tunnel operations.

        As well as current unforgivable damage of putting bus fareboxes in the way of Tunnel surface! Financially, every wasted minute in either by persisting lame operations in the Tunnel or unnecessary rubber tires on surface streets until trains can take over service is lost revenue for all future operations.

        So make you a deal, Brent. Whatever outcome I’ll buy you dinner or lunch at the taco truck at Beacon Hill station, and coffee at the Station Cafe across the street. Cheaper and better food, and faster train ride.

        Mark

    2. It IS the number of buses going through the tunnel that is causing the problems, particularly the number of buses going through the tunnel during peak times.

      Metro needs to take a hard look at which buses they have in the tunnel and whether or not they really need to be there. And they need to accept the fact that soon the tunnel will be rail-only. They need to be moving in that direction and not simply dragging their feet every time a change is proposed.

      1. I haven’t heard anyone say they want Lynnwood/Everett buses in the tunnel. When I asked, riders from Snohomish, they said they wanted all the CT and CT-operated ST buses consistently service the same stops, just like we’ve been trying for years to get the 255 upstairs with all the other SR 520 buses.

    3. Since it came up elsewhere, I’ll also address the Lynnwood/Everett buses. The Snohomish riders I’ve talked to (other than Mark) want the 510-513 upstairs with the Community Transit commuter routes. That makes perfect sense to me.

      Obviously, moving the CT fleet downstairs can’t be done, both for bond-payment reasons and size problems, but I don’t think anyone was seriously suggesting that.

      A further problem would be that the CT-operated buses would either have to move upstairs again in 2019, or be staged for a couple years out of one of the Northgate Link stations.

      I think a better set of buses to try to move downstairs (if only ST would run 4-car trains, make full use of the platform length, and minimize dwell time by opening 16 doors instead of 8) would be Metro 312 and ST 522. Having the all-day ST 522 in the tunnel would reduce Metro’s share of the debt payments, and enable more Metro service to be saved. I expect these two routes will be staged out of one of the new stations when Northgate Link opens.

      When I lived in Lake City, I would have liked to have the 41 and 522 serving the same downtown stops, so I could take the 41 if the 522 wasn’t coming for a while.

      1. One definitive reason not to put ST 510-513 in the tunnel is that they are operated by Community Transit, er, First Transit.

        Every driver who operates a bus in the tunnel needs to report to, and be accountible to, Metro, or operations could get a whole lot worse.

      2. Would be nice if the 522 could make an additional stop at Lake City/15Ave NE to compensate for the 72/73 service that is poor on evenings/weekends now, and will be gone altogether next year with the Metro cuts.

  3. I completely agree with this post. Metro needs to stop assuming that a one seat ride is always the best solution to the problem. The main reason people like one seat rides is because frequency is so bad. It becomes a vicious cycle. Run buses so infrequently that transfers are terrible. People then want one seat rides, even if the bus spends half of its time on a route that is covered by another route (and often faster). Then stretch the system so thin that headways become even worse. Keep repeating this until people just assume that our bus system is designed only for those going downtown, or those that don’t have another choice.

    Link can, and should, break this cycle. Now we have a transit line that travels quickly and frequently through the core area. Routes should be truncated. But when a route gets truncated, frequency should increase. Otherwise, you will simply get more opposition. If you tell me I have to transfer, then I might complain. But tell me that my bus will come twice as often — so often I don’t need to look at the schedule — then I will actually prefer it.

    1. Here’s a real world example of why transfers at Rainier Beach Station won’t work. From University Street Station the trip time on Link is 24 minutes. Add on 5 minutes to walk the transfer and wait for the 101, then add another 15 minutes for the 101 to drive from RBS to Rainier and Hardie (that’s the Fred Meyer stop, just a few blocks from the Renton TC, where many riders seem to disembark). 24 + 5 + 15 = 44 minutes for the Link + transfer trip from downtown Seattle to downtown Renton.

      Now, compare that trip to the current midday 101 schedule from University Street Station to Rainier & Hardie: 26 minutes. The Link + transfer routing adds 18 minutes to the trip time which makes the trip about 70% longer. Who–even if frequency is increased–is going to want to make that trip? It’s hard to build ridership by lengthening trip times by 70%.

      There also is the problem of stop location and stop spacing at Rainier Beach Station that makes it even more difficult to visualize easy transfers that riders will appreciate. Othello would be a much better station for making transfers. But, as always, I think the best answer is to truncate south-end routes at SODO where it would be possible to quickly make transfers to Link trains and RapidRide buses to downtown.

      1. I think you are being too literal. Rainier Beach, SoDo, whatever. The whole point is to avoid sending buses through the tunnel. If the Rainier Beach station adds 20 minutes in bus and transfer time, then SoDo is the better stop. I’m not sure if it does, but whatever. The point is, from the south end, there are alternatives to sending buses through the tunnel (and SoDo is one of those alternatives). We should use them.

      2. My point is that transfers made at RBS add a significant time penalty to the total trip time. Transfers made at SODO would add time, but as much time as RBS and there are a number of ways to minimize the time penalty at SODO that aren’t possible at RBS. I’m all in favor of truncating routes 101, 102, 106 and 150 before downtown, but not at RBS. Feel free to check my time calculations; I’m basing my calculations on the published timetables and also using OneBusAway to fill in where the timetables don’t provide exact timepoints. I also have a fair amount of experience riding most of the routes in question.

        By my last count, the 101, 102, 106 and 150 used 71 tunnel slots in each peak period. If those trips were eliminated the tunnel would function much more fluidly and passenger trips would be shorter. But I don’t see the benefit of reducing a couple of minutes of time in tunnel but then adding a significant amount of time to the total trip by forcing a transfer at RBS.

      3. Transfers made at SODO would add time, but as much time as RBS

        should read Transfers made at SODO would add time, but NOT as much time as RBS

      4. There are a couple major holes in the typical analysis defending the 101. First, it is not a one-seat ride, except for the handful of brave souls who live along Sunset and cross the street (yikes!) to a normal bus stop. Most 101 riders are traveling between downtown and S. Renton P&R, where their cars are parked. Nobody is going out their front door to board the 101 at S. Renton P&R, or walking home from there. It is in the middle of a suburban strip mall / freeway wasteland.

        A small handful of riders stay on the 101 as it meanders down Rainer from Sunset, does its loop at S. Renton, and then meanders back up to Sunset and the Renton TC. That handful of riders are less likely to be doing a 2-seat bus-car ride. But that brings me to my second point: the routing of the 101 prioritizes 2-seat car-bus riders absolutely, at great operational cost.

        Aleks’ plan not only creates a 1-seat ride to Link for people living near a 148 or 169 bus stop, creating decent transit connectivity for non-car-drivers in south Renton and northeast Kent for the first time, but also removes that incredible waste of having nearly every 101 run go backwards between the two main Renton transfer stops.

        Aleks’ plan sacrifices a little convenience for a very narrow segment of car commuters, and opens up the transit system to a much larger swath of riders.

      5. I agree that the routing of the 101 needs to be reconsidered. The existing 101 gets pretty good ridership, but notice all the people that get off/on at Rainier and Sunset and walk to the Renton TC (2 blocks) rather than take the loop through S. Renton P&R (about a 10 minute deviation). The 101 should head to the RTC first and then continue on to the next highest ridership destination in Renton (I’m not sure where that is…The Landing?/, S. Renton P&R?). The 102 makes sense during peak hours, but an express from downtown to S. Renton at midday doesn’t.

        If Metro wants to extend the 169 Rainier Beach Station, I’d be fine with that, too. The problem is that a 101 running express from the Renton TC to downtown Seattle will beat the 169 + a transfer to Link at RBS by a significant margin.

      6. “Rainier and Sunset and walk to the Renton TC (2 blocks)”

        7 blocks. The first is a superblock covering 3 blocks, then 4 more blocks.

        “The 101 should head to the RTC first and then continue on to the next highest ridership destination in Renton (I’m not sure where that is…The Landing?/, S. Renton P&R?)”

        Rainier Avenue I guess. The SRP&R is little-used off peak, mainly for forced transfers (since the shortest transfer is 101+169 there). The Landing’s tail has an average 0-2 riders evenings & weekends judging from five round trips of mine in late July. Of course it’s a brand-new service so it may take several months to build up ridership.

        Interestingly, if you’re coming from The Landing, the 10-minute transfer cancels out the 101’s advantage, making it about equal to take F+101, F+150, or F+Link to Westlake. Southbound I took whichever came first, but northbound I took F+Link because OBA said it’d be a long wait for the 101, 106, or 150. (Once I took the 106 end-to-end for the experience, but that takes an hour, and transferring southbound from Link may require waiting 1/2 hour.)

      7. “the 10-minute transfer cancels out the 101′s advantage”

        By this I mean the travel time from The Landing to Renton TC, not the transfer time. It takes a surprisingly long time to go “10 blocks” to The Landing, but then the same thing is true for all of downtown Renton. I walked it once and it was half an hour, with very soulless blocks in between. so that’s not much of an alternative.

    2. And now, the real-world comparison for the 150 between Southcenter and downtown Seattle and a trip that requires a transfer at RBS..

      If you catch the 150 from University Street Station at 1004am, you will arrive at Southcenter at 1033am–a trip time of 29 minutes. The Link + transfer at RBS would work like this: catch Link at 959am and arrive at RBS at 1023am, then allow 5 minutes to walk and wait for the bus, allow 15 minutes for the trip from RBS to Southcenter. That’s 24 + 5 + 15 = 44 minutes. That’s a 15 minute penalty for the Link + transfer trip ( ~ a 50% time penalty). Does anyone really think that’s the way to build ridership?

      1. You could put a bus exchange near the station then that could save time for passengers doing the trip.

      2. As it is, the 150’s ridership is already shifting elsewhere, including to the F Line. There are only four outbound 150 trips during the peak-of-peak hour. It doesn’t bother me that much keeping those trips in there, as long as the park&ride express route 101 gets kicked out, and whoever decides which trips belong at which bay doesn’t get confused on the joint-destination principle this time around.

        To wit, all the routes serving a particular destination ideally ought to serve the same stops outbound from downtown. For example, the 255, the 545, and all the other SR 520 buses make huge sense to be together at the same stops on 4th and 2nd. Having the 255 in the tunnel has been a great disservice to 255 and 545 riders.

        Likewise, the 301 and E Line also should serve the same 3rd Ave stops. Any riders who shift to the 301 are reducing the peak operational cost for the E to meet ridership demand between downtown and Shoreline.

        But not all the buses serving the same stop have to be going to the same destination. We see that in spades on 3rd Ave. Whoever decided to keep 8 routes serving Bay A in the tunnel, while only the 255 serves Bay B, caused PM peak northbound travel time through the tunnel to take a few minutes longer than it would take if the routes were distributed more evenly between the bays. It’s not as if all the Bay A buses are going to the same destination.

        The same principle should apply if the 150 stays in the tunnel, and the 101, 102, and 106 leave. Mercer Island can and should get its own bay, that includes the 554. The other bay can serve Issaquah and the 150, without violating the principle of routes going to the same destination using the same stops.

      3. “the 150′s ridership is already shifting elsewhere, including to the F Line”

        More about this, please. What kinds of trips are people shifting to the F for? The F runs crosswise to the 150 with little overlap.

  4. But you are talking about a plan that will be in effect in 2016 & will be changed in 2019, correct?

    The real issues come once all busses get booted from the tunnel & East Link to Bellevue opens in 2021. With the latter, several east side ST routes such as the 550 may no longer need to enter downtown Seattle. Those routes should be feeders to East Link & travel deeper into the suburban communities they already serve.

    I wonder if Sound Transit or Metro have ever considered purchasing double decker busses. Several transit agencies in North America have done so including one in the PSR. They are most noted in Las Vegas http://www.rtcsnv.com & Go Transit outside Toronto http://www.gotransit.com.

  5. …riders going to… First Hill would also benefit greatly.

    HAHA NO.

    You do a gross disservice to your argument when second transfers to infrequent 2-mph POSes start getting described as advantageous. You should probably just do all of us a favor and strike this line.

    1. I said nothing about the First Hill Streetcrawler. I expect an armada of Lyft and Uber drives to be waiting at the station, ready to make good money off of all the doctors.

      But seriously, when FHSC is exposed as a dud, it can’t be that hard to have a First Hill circulator shuttle waiting at the station to pick up First-Hill-bound riders, and do the hospital loop. The hospitals can pool their money and run a very efficient, and dependably-timed, mosquito shuttle fleet.

      1. Interesting — you think the FHSC will be a dud? I agree that its a far cry from a subway line — but a dud? Seems really unlikely to me. What ridership numbers does it need to be a success in your eyes?

      2. Transit is not and will never be about bodies wandering into the vehicle as it ambles along. It has to be about cumulative person-minutes saved, and about permutative trips enabled. The FHSC does neither.

        Have you not seen the track/lane geometry problems already well on display at the line’s crucial intersections? Platform-blocking is the least of it — many evenings, traffic in the single Broadway lane backs up all the way from Pine to Union, in both directions. You can look forward to a routine 5 or 6-cycle delay for this cling-clang dud to go 2 blocks!

        Real mobility scales, changes habits, alters attitudes. Symbols and toys hold interest for 5 seconds before the public ignores them and moves on.

        If the higher-than-Link fare is readily enforced, you can look forward to a nosedive in “opportunity” (i.e. “was walking that way anyway”) boardings.

    2. Easy d.p., I wouldn’t include “or First Hill” in that sentence either, but it isn’t a crazy idea. To get to First Hill from downtown, you have to either transfer to a bus anyway, or walk up a pretty steep hill. Personally, if I was going to, say, Swedish First Hill, then I would get off at the Broadway station and just walk it (while looking over my shoulder to see if the bus is coming). That’s why I would simply remove the “or First Hill” phrase, and just let “Capitol Hill” be fairly vague (vague enough to include part of First Hill). It’s also possible that Metro could modify the routes a bit to take advantage of the station (run buses from other parts of the Central Area to the “college”* (AKA SCCC, AKA SCC)). In that case, perhaps the best phrase to replace “or First Hill” is “or nearby locations”.

      * As Sir-Mix-A-Lot called it in is famous song “Posse on Broadway”.

      1. Bus, streetcar, trolley, whatever. My guess is I would probably walk the entire distance before being passed by a public transit vehicle (I walk fast).

  6. At first I thought terminating the 545 and 255 in the U-district serving U-Link was a great idea. But thinking about both the variability of Montlake bridge openings and the poor interfacing of Husky Stadium Station with bus transfers makes me more wary of the idea. I’d be more inclined to send the 70Xs down there than the 520 buses for that reason.

    Either way I think the most important tunnel routes to keep in there (assuming they exist) are the 41, 550 and 255. Most of the other routes (and maybe the 255) should be restructured anyways to service Link and enhance frequency.

    1. I hope Metro isn’t stupid enough to truncate the 71/72/73 at UW Station. The shitty stop locations combined with congestion along Pacific make this a really bad idea with a significant time penalty (at least for riders traveling in peak direction).

      Sure you can make the students put up with nearly anything, but you lose all of the choice riders on campus and from further north.

      1. This is an interesting problem. I agree that in the peak direction when the express lanes are open, truncating the 71/72/73 (soon to be just 73) at UW station does incur a time penalty of several minutes–I believe it was about 6-7 min last time I did the calculation, but I could be wrong. However, it should be noted that during these periods, the “tails” of the 71/72/73 are served by other peak expresses (76, 77, 312, etc) so travel time for those living north of 65th will not change. A peak only version of the 73 up to 65th St could still be useful though.

        In the afternoon southbound direction however, I feel like it would be a mistake to *not* truncate those routes. Yes, congestion on Pacific is bad, but it is not nearly as bad as slogging on surface streets all the way downtown, and a connection to Link would be faster and more reliable. The location of the stops is admittedly a problem, but the walk shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Also, truncating the 71/72/73 would allow for increased frequency in Northeast Seattle, which would be VERY helpful.

  7. As far as which buses should use the tunnel, and which buses should not, I think it is important to remember that the next round of light rail doesn’t include the U-District. For this stage, this is how I see it:

    101, 106, 102, 150, 255 — I agree with the author; they shouldn’t use the tunnel

    71, 72, 73, 74 — These pose the biggest challenge from a routing standpoint. I assume that it is very difficult to get from University Way to Husky Stadium. If we can find a good way to get there (and back) then we remove a huge number of buses from the tunnel while providing good (and possibly improved) service to the area (assuming we increase frequencies on those routes).

    212, 218, 550, — This is a tough one. The only alternative I can think of is for the buses to unload people on the south end of downtown (maybe by the Stadiums). This really doesn’t make things better for those riders. It would likely cost them some time, while only shrinking the bus route a little bit.

    41, 301 — I assume that it is even more difficult to get from I-5 over to Husky Stadium. These might have to continue to use the tunnel (until North Link is complete).

    1. ST3 is DOA in East King, probably by a large enough margin to kill it ST wide, if moving the I-90 buses out of the tunnel happens early enough to influence the election, and before there is meaningful on the ground progress with EastLink.

      1. BTW, the 212 has been out of the tunnel for almost two years now. The remaining I90 tunnel buses are the 550, 216, 218 and 219.

      2. If 101, 102, 106, and 150 get kicked out of the DSTT, I think there is enough room to have a bay for all Mercer-Island-bound buses (included the 554), and another bay for all Issaquah-bound buses. The Eastgate buses should stay upstairs, regardless, lest we have half-empty buses continuing from Eastgate to Issaquah, and not enough space for Issaquah riders coming from Seattle.

      3. “ST3 is DOA in East King”

        Such strong predictions usually reflect the speaker’s bias rather than the subarea’s average. There has been no poll that I know of (although ST is probably polling quietly), so there’s no reason to believe the results will be substantially different than ST2. We don’t even know how large ST3 will be or when, or what else will be happening at that time — all major factors.

        “if moving the I-90 buses out of the tunnel happens early enough to influence the election”

        It’s unclear what effect if any that would have on the election. The number of people who like it and the number of people who dislike it may cancel each other out.

      4. Frankly, if there is one single bus route that should continue using the tunnel, it’s the 550. Not only is it serving as a precursor to East Link, but it’s got a nonstop bidirectional route to the tunnel from the express lane ramps. I’d rather route the 41 on surface streets, since it needs to go there anyway when the express lanes are in the wrong direction.

        (And also, I agree that pushing it out of the tunnel would be a political negative for ST, even though I’m not sure how much of one. East Subarea voters ride the 550 much more often than they ride Link.)

    2. Hopefully Metro and the City of Seattle follow through with the proposed restructure for NE Seattle. This would replace.much of the current downtown service with a new frequent 73 covering part of the 71/72/73 route between Downtown and Ravenna and the 66/67 route between Ravenna and Northgate.

      1. Except the new 73 wouldn’t follow the 66/67 route. It’d continue straight on Roosevelt to Northgate Way and then double back to the transit center through incessant traffic jams. There’s definitely an argument to be made for serving north Roosevelt, but it hugely worsens service to Northgate TC.

      2. Will the new 73 still meander through the Ave and have three variations of routings to downtown? The 66 serves the UWMC Roosevelt and has a consistent route to downtown via Eastlake.

      3. Even while we wait to see what happens with the “new” 73 (which I hope gets its own new number — something not in the 80 series, lest people assume it is a night owl — and does not get undone by the City of Seattle), moving the 71-74 immediately to Bay B would bring immediate improvement to northbound travel time through the tunnel.

      4. And then once U-Link opens, drop the U-district-to-downtown express portion, or just have it become the Eastlake local route. Riders from the U-District wanting to head downtown will hopefully have frequent service to UW Station. If not, extend the new 73 down Pacific in 2016.

      5. It’s really the Roosevelt/Brooklyn U-District stop that will make the 73 family express routes obsolete, isn’t it? The hospital/stadium area isn’t the heart of U-District ridership – the only current routes in that portion of campus that go downtown are the 43 and Montlake freeway station routes. Though I suppose using the HUB as an example, they can walk down to the stadium station instead of walking over to the Ave. But destinations on the western part of campus and in the U-District itself are rather far form the stadium station, especially during our damp seasons

      6. Realistically about half of the new 73’s riders will shift to Link during the 2016-2021 interim. The other half are going to the U-District, northwest campus, or transferring to another bus. I predict the 73 will continue to run but at half frequency (i.e., 15 minutes).

        I’m also pessimistic about the 65/68/75 being rerouted to UW Station, which means some of their downtown-bound riders may also be on the 73. (Reason: Metro deferring to campus-bound riders, and the through-routing with Fremont which actually is a significant advantage of the current routing given the nonexistent crosstown alternatives.)

        “Will the new 73 still meander through the Ave and have three variations of routings to downtown? The 66 serves the UWMC Roosevelt and has a consistent route to downtown via Eastlake.”

        A Metro spokesman commented here earlier that there would be no significant changes to the 71/72/73 routing or loss of frequency. They will run express when the 70 is running, and local when it isn’t. The main difference is that the 70 will add Sunday daytime service, so the 73 will be express daytime seven days a week.

        That “consistent routing” is not an advantage when it’s nonstop (so it doesn’t matter where the bus goes) and Eastlake is slower than I-5. It adds ten minutes to the trip. I revese-commute every day at different times and suffer when it’s on Eastlake.

        The main losers in the consolidation are those on Eastlake between Denny Way and Mercer Street (who will lose both the 66 and 25 and have to walk to Fairview), and those going from the Eastlake 66X stops to north Seattle. I was going to physical therapy at Eastlake & Mercer earlier this year and then going to the U-District, and discovered it is significantly time-consuming to walk to a 70 stop compared to taking the 66. But that’s what cuts mean.

      7. A few years back at one of the open houses, someone from ST said Metro planned to have the 44 turn around in front of UW Station.

      8. The 44 already turns around at the Montlake triangle (most of the time, when it is not through-routed with the 43)

      9. Roughly half the 44s continue as 43s, but mostly in the early morning and late evening. Of course, the 43 ought to be going away with the opening of U-Link, but I haven’t seen any hints from Metro as to whether that will happen.

        It would take a moderate service-hour investment to match the 44’s frequency to U-Link’s, especially if headway drops to 6 minutes.

      10. Link doesn’t replace the 43. There are tons of stops along 24th/23rd, Thomas, John, etc. which are nowhere near a Link station. People along its route use it to get to/from both the U-District and downtown. Almost no one uses it to get between the U-District and downtown, a few may use it between Capitol Hill and downtown or the U-District, so a few riders may have Link as an alternative, but most will still ride the 43

      11. Deleting the 43 assumes that people will take the 48 and transfer to the 11 or 8 (or whatever routes succeed them). That would require a significant frequency increase on all those routes (which deleting the 43 frees up service hours to do). However, I’m not that convinced it would free up enough hours to make it work without people waiting 10-20 minutes for a transfer. It would also disrupt one of Capitol Hill’s most popular and productive routes. There should also be a more pleasant transfer station than just a random residential intersection. Then there’s the people who would feel unsafe transferring on 23rd at night. Whether or not it’s really unsafe, those riders would avoid it and be discontent, and only a well-lit station and police presence would have a chance of assuaging them.

  8. As a daily rider of the 255 I’d gladly give up a one-seat ride for a more frequent and reliable two-seat ride to downtown. With that said I think there are a issues that need to be address to make this work.

    – The transfer at the Triangle needs to be improved with a short walking distance and preferably no street crossings. I don’t consider the current design adequate since it will add too much walking time to the transfer.
    – 255 frequencies should mirror link frequency, with coordinated schedules when frequency is >12 minutes.
    – 255 reliability must be addressed particularly into Seattle.
    – Some express service (peak-hour, peak-direction) should probably be provided between SLU/Denny Triangle and the Juanita/Totem Lake neighborhood.

    1. I honestly can’t offer much solace regarding the transfer situation. Our pleas have gone unheard for years, and the two agencies didn’t have reps attending each others’ open houses to try to get an improved transfer plan together.

      But we can improve travel time for 255 riders simply by moving the stop at S. Kirkland P&R out to the street.

      1. I’m hopeful that ST and particularly Metro are finally paying attention to these issues. After tonight’s bus-rail integration meeting for East Link we’ll have a better picture.

      2. The transfer conditions that the present design creates are unacceptable for terminating the 255 at UW or sending to the U-District. You’ll just repeat the ST-540 saga as ridership dissipates. Montlake Blvd & the bridge are far too congested, not just at peaks but at random times throughout the day and evening and weekends, plus the bridge can open at any time other than peak, blocking traffic for 10 minutes and leaving congestion in its wake. Goodby making plans or appointments. Then the transfer conditions are terrible. Had there been a good faith effort to 520 routes here, there should have been a transfer center built on top of the Link station in the stadium parking lot, and maybe even an HOV bridge from 520 landing next to the stadium. No agency promoted or created the conditions for terminating or redirection 520 service here. Frankly a 520 route to Link transfer will be more reliable when Link opens in 2016 with the existing Montlake Freeway stations. Zero incremental bus time vs. a bus that has to thread its way through several traffic lights and bridge congestion before stopping at UW Hospital, a walk to the Link station and arriving two levels above the trains which likely doesn’t take any more than the walk across the triangle, then rising to a pedestrian bridge and then needing to go down three levels.

  9. The idea for Sound Transit to post a wayfinding map with nearby bus stops is something that has been needed for a long time. Transport for London has long done this at each Tube station, showing all bus stops within a 1/4 mile radius of the station. The maps give each bus stop a letter, and show which routes stop at each. Then the stops themselves have that same letter placed atop the pole that the sign is attached to, so that you know that you’re at the correct bus stop.

    1. I work for the company that produced those maps in London. They bid on Sound Transit’s signage manual update last year but didn’t get the job. I am curious to find out what the winning team came up with that’s an improvement over the current system but so far ST has been really tight-lipped about it when they were questioned on Twitter.

      1. Any idea on what the timeline is for the roll-out of new signage? Was it mentioned in the RFP?

  10. Too bad Convention Place doesn’t have a way to transfer from bus lines to Link. If there were, some of the routes from the north at peak periods could end there, and riders simply transfer to Link or a remaining route.

    It’s as if it were designed to serve as a major bus to rail transit station, but without access to rail.

    1. Early on in DSTT plans, I remember at least theoretical plans to do just exactly that, breaking through the wall at the west end of CPS to permit passengers crossing. That was 30 years ago, and LINK was expected to have a Swedish Hospital stop. Has elimination of that stop shifted the right of way so CPS transfer can no longer be done?

      Though it’s also possible that future development plans for time after Tunnel buses are completely gone make CPS LINK stop not only unnecessary and in development’s way, but also too short a distance from Westlake to be worth doing. I also suspect that whole project was supposed to go faster- at least that we’d take less than nineteen years to get any trains at all.

      Would be surprising if tectonic pace of development didn’t change other things too.

      MD

    2. With trains in the tunnel every 6 minutes, plus buses, it makes me think that the current tunnel should be able to manage one train every 3 minutes. Light rail trains should not require the same ventilation as a diesel bus – even a clean one.

      So, how about a branch into CPS that serves routes terminating there?

      It seems to me that after the 100% rail conversion of the tunnel, there will still be a need for some routes to have good cross-platform transfer to Link.

      I think this will be very apparent the first time there is a situation requiring a partial tunnel closure, and the need for a bus bridge arises.

      Development happens just fine above stations. Witness Penn Station in New York (and yes what they destroyed to make Madison Square Garden was a magnificent structure). However, the fact remains stations and development coexist reasonably well.

      1. Oh, I should say that if this were possible, you would get core train routes on the current tunnel once every 3 minutes, and keep the previous 6 minute headways for the rest of the tunnel. The local trains then replace all buses in the tunnel during peak periods. Transfer time becomes nearly a non-issue at peak periods as the longest anyone should have to wait is 6 minutes at CPS, and 3 minutes at SODO or Royal Brougham and elsewhere. Link then becomes more like an elevator between various bus routes.

        Off peak the buses would probably need to be back in the tunnel, due to the less frequent service.

        My hope would be that having light rail dominate the tunnel would allow somewhat faster speeds.

      2. I like the idea you present, Glenn.

        There is a tail track south of Stadium Station that could easily facilitate a three-minute train turnaround. Given the proximity of bus storage near that station, Stadium Station would be a good interim transfer point in this shuttle train scenario.

        I”m not sure if the CPS rail operation could work, If it wouldn’t, we are close to having the U-Link open so a shuttle that terminates there could also be a solution. As I understand the need for six minute headway, it’s mainly for the expected heavy loads between UW and Downtown Seattle so we could even have Link at 3.75 minutes only through the tunnel, and leave the 7.5 frequency alone south of Stadium Station.

        Once 2023 comes around and East Link trains fill the tunnel, It would probably need to go away. Which reminds me — there will need to be an alternate plan in place as East Link gets constructed. We may not have much choice but to take out I-90 buses from the DSTT once construction starts because tracks will need to be put on those access ramps.

  11. Transferring and Transfer Stations is an area that Metro has never been good at. Sound Transit is little improved in that regard as well. In the south, most metro owned facilities are comprised of a bus platform, and a typical boxy bus shelter in some dark color, possibly with wire grating in the windows. An inviting and welcoming experience when you are alone, even more so in the elements with strangers. Sound Transit’s facilities are little better, most of the early facilities bus transfers were an after thought, and the design shows. the LINK stations were not designed for bus transfers at all for some unknown reason (some internal disagreement a decade ago and now this?), and the ones that were, or were added after the fact seem to be an afterthought, and at places like TIB they are not a welcoming experience. I think metro’s attitude towards transferring comes from the days of STS and Metropolitan, where you ran a suburban bus into the downtown core, the city routes also did not offer much in the way of transferring, and like old streetcar lines, again ran into the downtown core. Old habits and “trains” of thought carry on to this day. it will be interesting to see what the agencies work out, I think there are a lot of opportunities with modest investment to improve service for everyone. I can think of several ideas that I feel would be worth considering, however that’s another subject.

  12. I think if KCM and ST make people transfer to Link light rail it should be no addition cost to rider in 90 minutes because people would not be choice riders since it costs more to get Downtown then it currently does. So, they need to work out fare structure that let’s that happen before this plan occurs like introducing zones for passengers that are bus and rail excluding Sounder.

  13. If Rainier Beach is to become a transfer center, it should have a “second story” for the buses. Buses approaching from the south on MLK would rise go through the intersection, then turn right into a rising “corkscrew” ramp of 270 degrees’ curvature within the power line right of way then curve left into a raised two lane station with covered platforms and escalators and stairs down to Link platforms. The two towers right at Henderson might have to be replaced with somewhat taller ones to maintain a safe distance under them.

    They would then exit the station down a ramp to the Merton Avenue south of Beacon.

    Buses coming from the east on Henderson would turn right on Renton then right into the block between Renton and Henderson and join the corkscrew about half way up the grade.

    Using Merton Avenue allows the buses from Henderson to turn left at the light there and return to Henderson.

    This would be a European quality bus interchange station which could be easily secured by one officer.

    1. Can you offer a preliminary cost estimate for that structure? I’ll guess that whatever it is, that money could be spent on more productive projects.

      RBS can work as a transit node–a place where a few transit lines cross and transfers can be made–but trying to turn it into a true transit hub will be a very expensive project. The various plans proposed by STB writers or the real world transit planners at MT/ST would require layover or transfer facilities for 12 buses per hour from Renton/Skyway (106, 107), 8 buses from Southcenter (150), another 8 buses from Renton (101) and at least 6 comings and 6 goings of route 7. That’s at least 40 bus movements per off-peak hour at RBS, even more at peak hours with the 9 and 102 added in.

      Combining the 8 + 106 is a very smart move by Metro. There is a significant amount of ridership that already transfers between those routes, so those riders will be happy. Also, 106 riders between Skyway and downtown will be able to transfer at Othello instead of RBS. At Othello the bus stops are located next to the Link Station. No long walk or double crossings required.

      1. The entire bridge project is a $4 billion project, I believe. At one point it included building a second Montlake Bridge, which would be another way to remove that bottleneck. And various alternatives included structuring the Montlake interchange such that the exit would land north of the Montlake cut. I don’t have any specific costs, but within the scope of the project, had it been made a priority to design it such that transit routes could efficiently terminate at UW, I have to believe that objective could have been achieved within the scope of a $4 billion budget. As it is currently designed, the design fails completely if terminating eastside routes at the UW station were a realistic objective.

      2. Oops – I thought you were addressing the question of an HOV or transit-only structure from the 520 bridge that landed in the stadium parking lot and provided a transit center at UW Husky station to allow terminating Eastside routes here. I responded to an email with the comment without looking at the thread. Sorry.

      3. I’m sure it would cost at least $50 million. The alternative for a bus transfer facility is to build the omitted station just south of the Boeing Access Road with a similarly effective bus treatment. I expect that would be more costly, though it does certainly have greater value because of the flexibility the added station would provide.

        I’m sorry, but I can’t agree on the idea of interlining the 8 and 106, unless the 8 is to be broken in two somewhere in the CD. While it would be great for through riders northbound, southbound it will be a bus-bunching nightmare.

      4. Also, buses using the elevated structure I proposed would essentially “live loop” there. Breaks and recovery time would be at the other end of the respective lines or an activity center close to it.

        The 7 trolleys would not use the elevated structure; they’d make the proposed loop around the block with the corkscrew detailed in a post several months ago.

      5. The 8 will be broken in the CD, heading downtown at Yesler, according to Metro’s reorganization plans.

        There are a couple of problems with turning back the 7 at RBS. If the terminal is located on Trenton St., the first stop inbound would be somewhere east of Renton Ave., which is a considerable walk from RBS. There’s also the problem of the driveways and curb cuts eastbound on Henderson that would force the stop even further east. Also, the current 7 terminal holds as many as 3 buses at one time; there may not be enough room on Trenton to layover that many buses.

      6. The 8 is not being “broken”; its middle segment is being deleted entirely. The 106 will go from Renton to Renton Ave – Rainier Beach – MLK – Jackson – (3rd Ave?). The 8 will go from Uptown to 15th & John (Group Health).

  14. I’ll just comment on the 255 since it’s “my route”. I agree that after U-Link opens it shouldn’t use the tunnel. The damn trains already make the Bus Tunnel unreliable. The 255 has bunching problems to begin with. When the stupid trains make a bus 6 minutes late because of the ridiculous following distances it’s even worse. Despite Link costing billions more than advertized it’s take over of the bus tunnel is another example of how it’s made transit worse for the region. East Link… don’t get me started. “Will my bus be cut” is a gimmick on the side of a lot of buses. Nobody talks about how ST sucks up the same tax base as Metro and burns it moving suburban and exurban commuters in luxury.

    1. Buses boarding passengers with pay as you enter, and the occasional wheelchair user cause much more of the congestion than do Link trains. And if your bus is waiting for a Link train, it is because the Link train is waiting for bunched buses ahead of it. Link’s dwell times aren’t long and there is never a wheelchair ramp wait. One thing they could easily do is to stop the stupid sweep of the train at Westlake, which will go away when the University segment opens. Who cares if a rider fails to exit at Westlake. At worst that rider will get a 10 minute tour of the stub tunnel and then return to Westlake.

      I don’t mind of the 255 returns to the surface. At least then it can have common routing downtown with the 545, although it makes 255-Link transfers slightly more painful in both directions. You should be more worried if some crazy proposal to combine the 255 with the 540 were to become reality, and you now how to cross the Montlake bridge and triangle in order to reach downtown.

    2. ST didn’t decide to compress 35 outbound peak-of-peak-hour trips into Bay A (more than the bay could handle, even if the platooning were perfect), causing a few more minutes to be added to your daily 255 trip.

      Metro has control over whether to repaint the bay signs, and move the 71-74 and 76 to Bay B, which would result in much more efficient usage of the bays (22 peak-of-peak-hour outbound buses at Bay A, and 21 at Bay B), which would not violate the principle of combining all the routes going to the same destination at the same stops.

      Metro could gain more credibility regarding its ability to run more buses than originally planned in the DSTT when U-Link opens, simply by moving routes 71-74 and 76 to Bay B on September 27, 2014, causing northbound tunnel operations to suddently be a few minutes faster during peak.

      1. They would also need to do a decent job of assembling “fleets” so that 1-2 A buses run before 1-2 B buses

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