Metro Route 31
Metro Route 31, an undeserving victim

When we last checked in on the King County Council’s erratic treatment of Metro’s budget crisis, the Council — after a veto by Executive Dow Constantine of a plan that would have postponed nearly all of the cuts without providing any new revenues, acting only on hope — passed a compromise ordinance which implemented this month’s cuts and provided for additional cuts, yet to be specified, in February 2015.  The ordinance established an “ad hoc committee on transit reductions” to make specific recommendations for those cuts, which (the ordinance provided) were to be consistent with King County’s Strategic Plan for Public Transportation and Metro’s Service Guidelines.

The ad hoc committee, consisting of Executive Constantine and Councilmembers Joe McDermott, Jane Hague, and Rod Dembowski, made its recommendation on the February cuts last week.  (UPDATE: Councilmember Rod Dembowski’s office reached out this afternoon to tell me that the ad hoc committee’s recommended cuts were entirely devised by Metro staff.) Yesterday, the Executive transmitted that recommendation to the Council, and Metro published the specific proposed cuts.  The cuts and restructures are generally similar to those proposed for February in Metro’s original plan, but there are some interesting differences which we will look at below, particularly for Wallingford and Fremont residents.

If the “Plan D” Seattle-only measure on the November ballot succeeds, then the Executive would postpone the February cuts to June 2015, in order to give Metro and the City of Seattle time to determine how to proceed.  The Seattle ballot measure includes language saying “the first priority for the funding is to preserve existing routes and prevent King County Metro’s proposed February 2015 service cuts and restructures.”  The cuts proposed yesterday continue to include multiple restructures, and it is not clear whether the City of Seattle would or could allow those restructures to be implemented with increased service levels at a later date than February 2015.

Some specifics of the new cuts below the jump.

At a high level, it’s sufficient to say that the new proposal implements the same restructures originally proposed for the following areas (links are to our article describing the last proposal):

The Fremont/Wallingford restructure has been moved up from its originally planned date of June 2015.  The proposed restructures for Northeast Seattle and West Seattle in the last proposal were slated for later rounds, and remain absent from this February-only proposal.  The Kirkland restructure, which was originally scheduled for February 2015, has been postponed.  Although the Executive’s statement indicates that the February cuts were “ rebalanced to distribute reductions geographically within each stand-alone service change,” the changes from the original February proposal are relatively minor except as described above.

Given this proposal’s similarity to the last, we won’t do another exhaustive overview of it.  There are a few differences worth noting, though, from the last proposal–both positive and negative.

The Good

  • Routes 5 and 40, originally to be cut to 20-minute frequency during the day, will both retain badly needed 15-minute frequency.
  • Route 8, originally to be truncated at Group Health Capitol Hill, is extended to Garfield High School via MLK Jr. Way and Cherry Street, restoring coverage to the eastern Madison Valley (portions of which are a steep hill and some distance from other north-south service).
  • Route 14, originally to go daytime-only, will retain weekday night service.
  • Revised all-day Route 28X, originally to run weekdays only, will run half-hourly on weekends.
  • Route 60, originally to be truncated at Beacon Hill, retains its full routing, with only night trip reductions.
  • Route 125, to become a peak-only route in the original West Seattle restructure, remains an all-day route, with only night service cuts. (UPDATE: As “M” points out in comments, this will also improve service for riders of current Route 22 outside of Arbor Heights, most of which is absorbed into Route 125.)
  • The restructure/cut in Kirkland, which would have severely reduced frequencies while requiring additional transfers for some riders, is postponed for the time being.

The Bad

  • Route 21, originally proposed to be unchanged until its absorption into Route 50 in the West Seattle restructure, will be reduced to 30-minute frequency weekdays off-peak and Saturdays.
  • Peak service on Route 30 is cancelled earlier than expected (off-peak service is scheduled to be cut in September), leaving only Route 74 peak service along 20th Ave NE and NE 55th St.
  • Service is dramatically cut in Federal Way and Kent West Hill, with all-day Route 187 being absorbed into a revised Route 901 with lower frequency; all commuter service serving Federal Way neighborhoods being cancelled, in favor of transfers from Routes 181 and 901 at Federal Way TC; and commuter Route 177 being slowed to accommodate passengers at Star Lake from the cut Route 190.

The (Still) Ugly

  • Restructured Route 2, now serving Madison Street, is still slated to have only 10-minute frequency at peak and 12-minute frequency off-peak.  It’s no surprise that we are big fans of a restructure to consolidate all east-west First Hill service onto Madison Street, but the premise of such a restructure is that riders will get much-improved frequency and speed in exchange.  At just 12-minute frequency, the new Route 2 isn’t a huge improvement from today’s 15-minute routes, and we have to make the restructure now while counting on improved frequency in the yet-to-be-determined future.  Riders along Seneca would retain service on revised Route 27, but with half of today’s frequency.
  • Revised Route 16, Wallingford’s core service to downtown, gets much slower with a stop in central Fremont.  There is no frequency improvement in exchange, and the heavily-used Dexter corridor will see a drop in midday frequency to 20 minutes.
  • Route 32, today a core frequent corridor connecting Interbay, Fremont, the U-District, and U-Village, drops to 30-minute frequency at midday.  Buses on this corridor often run quite full at today’s 15-minute frequency, and 30-minute service is likely to present major capacity challenges.
  • Route 33, the only remaining all-day route in Magnolia, remains an indecipherable and very slow loop.  It will serve Magnolia Village through a long deviation in both directions along Condon Wy W, a street subject to a 15-mph slow order.  The loop has been slightly revised in this proposal to avoid W Emerson St between 30 Ave W and 34 Ave W, which is not operationally usable by buses.  The result is that remaining service gets farther away from one of Magnolia’s pockets of density, along W Government Way near 34 Ave W.

The Just Plain Strange

All-day weekday and Saturday service on Route 27, currently slated to be cut in September, is restored.  The route would use Seneca St and 9th Ave, instead of Yesler Wy, between downtown and First Hill.  The routing change is likely in response to vocal activism in favor of continued service on Seneca St, despite its proximity to Madison St.  The choice to retain Route 27 is a bizarre one in light of some of the extremely painful cuts listed above, because transit service along most of the route would improve even if Route 27 were deleted completely.  Riders on Yesler Terrace will have new service on revised Route 106, running twice as often and with a much longer span than the current Route 27.  Yesler between 12th and 23rd Aves is two flat blocks from S Jackson St, where the same Route 106 will provide new 15-minute service (and where Route 14 will continue to run as well).  The Leschi tail of Route 27 has extremely poor ridership, and it is hard to believe that continued service there meets the service guidelines while heavily used corridors like 35th Ave SW, Dexter Ave N, and the Route 32 crosstown corridor absorb severe cuts. (UPDATE: Mike Orr correctly points out in comments a note I overlooked on Metro’s map: the Leschi tail east of 23rd would be served only during peak hours.  This presumably would allow the remainder of the route to be operated on half-hourly headways with only one extra bus compared to terminating the 33, the through-route partner of the 27, at the south end of downtown.  This significantly reduces the financial impact of retaining the 27, although I continue to think it’s an odd decision.)

The committee’s choice to retain Route 27 appears to contradict Metro’s previous planning work based on its Service Guidelines.  It illustrates well the perils of political involvement in the planning process, which we’ve decried before.  While the ordinance establishing the committee in theory required the committee to abide by the Service Guidelines, the committee is made up of politicians rather than professional transit planners.  Its work has been opaque to the public.  There is no way to understand its reasoning; to distinguish which of its decisions are driven by sound data and which are purely political; or to evaluate whether the requirement to adhere to the Service Guidelines has been met. (UPDATE: As noted above, Rod Dembowski’s office reached out to inform me that the committee’s recommendations were entirely devised by Metro staff.  There was no indication of that in either Metro’s or the Executive’s materials describing the recommendations.)

84 Replies to “Constantine and Council Members Try Again with February Cuts”

  1. The route 22 deletion got moved up from Sept 2015 to February. The 125 restructure covers most of the route but Arbor Heights is now peak only (as it should be)

    1. Thanks. Missed that one because the 22 has seemed like a dead route walking since the Sept 2012 restructure.

  2. All planning processes are inherently political. Even the ones set up by the service guidelines, whose creation is itself a political act. This idea that we can ever remove politics from decisions about transit (or any other public policy) is simply false and usually winds up silencing voices who have trouble being heard. Those same issues can crop up when politicians make the decisions, but at least they are accountable to the people, whereas a technocratic process isn’t.

    That all being said, we need to make sure these cuts don’t happen, and go all out to pass the November transit funding measure.

    1. Politicians are accountable to a long list of stakeholders which is not necessarily democratic at all in nature, not “the people.”

      I can’t imagine that even you would defend, for instance, Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s move a couple of months ago to restore contracted service (provided by an organization on the board of which she sits) slated to be cut this month, in preference to other service also being cut that serves vastly more riders, including more low-income and minority riders, at the same cost.

      She was not making that move because “the people” were holding her accountable, but because she has a special connection to a unique special interest. When politicians make service planning decisions directly, almost all of the decisions tend to follow that pattern, which serves “the people” incredibly poorly. When politicians determine criteria for service planning which professional planners can apply, the process is far more transparent and far more likely to benefit a broad cross-section of “the people” rather than a few special interests.

      Late edit: In other words: Of course the process is going to be political. But some political processes are more effective than others, and time and time again we have seen that the best role for politicians is to determine priorities rather than details.

      1. The issue with the service guidelines approach is that people still get screwed, they just have no way to fight back against it. Politics in a democracy is all about mobilizing and organizing people because at least that way people have some power over the conditions of their own lives.

        I’m not saying having politicians decide this is any better or any worse. All of these processes are inherently political. The service guidelines privilege some things and some people over others. Even if you and I agree with that prioritization, that’s still what is happening here.

        The answer is to not ever cut any bus route, to not play a rigged game, and to instead fight hard for more revenue.

      1. I’m thinking instead of the Native Americans who are going to lose access to Daybreak Star when the 33 is cut. They’ve protested and spoken out and their voice isn’t heard in the service guidelines process.

      2. Metro could provide a free taxi ride to each individual user who uses the Daybreak Star stop (which is already almost a half-mile from the center itself) at less cost than the extra bus it would take to extend the already bizarre restructured loop into the park. Ridership is really, really low there.

      3. Whenever I’ve ridden it from discovery park i often am the only rider on that bus until it leaves the park. Best use of money??

      4. The 24 spends a lot more distance being empty along the far western reaches of Magnolia.

        What about cut the far distant end of the 24 to peak period only, and cut both the 24 and 33 to alternating once every two hours rather than the current half-hourly?

        Large loops like the proposed 33 really don’t work too well in a number of situations. I suppose it might in this case, but I’m not convinced of this.

        I am also not convinced of the need to have so much off-peak service oriented around Magnolia Village. People either drive or walk to get there from the surrounding neighborhood, even if they live close by. The existing bus routes are already inconveniently located for getting there. There are a couple of apartment buildings there, but I’m not convinced they will do much to generate mid-day ridership. There really isn’t enough parking around there for it to be a park and ride location, and encouraging park and ride visitors there is probably not going to be very welcome anyway.

        The taxi concept might work, but maybe it needs to be expanded a bit off peak, and make the whole Magnolia area a flexible route transit area? Operating off-peak this flexible route transit service would connect those west of Interbay with RapidRide D.

      5. I’ve been on route #33 trips that were standing room only on a Saturday afternoon, so there actually is some service demand there. It’s the 24 where ridership seems to be lighter.

        I’ve taken both the 33 and the 24 to and from Discovery Park several times. The #33 not going into the parking wouldn’t have much of an impact – I usually prefer the stop on Government Way anyway to get the combined frequency of the 33 and the 24, rather than depending on the 33 only. Based on my informal observations, most people who do ride the bus to or from Discovery Park are doing the same.

        That said, Metro’s proposal for route #33 here (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/PDFs/changes/route-033-apr14.pdf), which would be the only off-peak service to all of Magnolia, is not the answer. The one-way loop and deviation to Magnolia Village are going to turn a lot of current riders off. However, the truth of the matter is, if we really can’t afford to give all of Magnolia more than one measly bus per hour, I don’t think there is any good answer.

      6. People take the 24 from one part of Magnolia to another, even off-peak. The most common trips are from 28th to 34th, or from the north part of 28th to Magnolia Village.

        West of Magnolia Village, ridership drops precipitously. Usually I’m the only one on the bus. Last time there were two other people.

        A DART van route sounds like a good idea. But it would sometimes overflow, especially if it went to downtown. So would it be a shuttle from the D? Would 15th & Dravus be a good transfer point? The Magnolia Bridge has more ramp overhead, which pedestrians would have to walk around, plus how would a van turn around at 15th & Garfield?

  3. I always thought the real advantage of the 27 was that it ran on Yesler. It was the one route that was actually quick in an EW direction downtown. Yesler was designed for transit, and because there’s no access to I-5 it skips a huge amount of traffic. It’s a shame we aren’t using this street for transit except for a short piece of the streetcar run.

    1. If this restructure goes through there will be a frequent route up Yesler, the revised 106.

      Metro also plans to move the 3 (and 4 if there is no restructure) to Yesler, once money is found to build the wire.

    2. The 27’s Leschi tail is retained only peak hours. That’s consistent with the previous proposal to make the 27 peak-only. The net impact to riders is new service to First Hill and perhaps faster service to midtown, but no service to lower downtown or Pioneer Square.

      The 8 revision preserves most of the 8’s middle section (Madison to Cherry), but there’s still a 10-block gap from Cherry to Jackson. The 27 revision runs straight through the middle of that gap at Yesler, and also preserves a second route to the Douglass-Truth library at 23rd & Yesler. Although the 27 is primarily an east-west route rather than a north-south route, it coincides with the existing 8 betwen 23rd and MLK. The all-day 27 terminates somewhere around MLK or 31st; the peak-only 27 continues to Lakeside Ave.

      1. Thanks, Mike. I’ve updated the story as I missed that detail. That makes the 27 retention a one-bus change, provided that the 27 remains through-routed with the 33. I think one bus is probably an acceptable price to pay if it mollifies the Seneca activists, although it still smarts when we are facing a reduction to half-hourly service on the 32 corridor, which I just find horrible.

        I think the library and the area near 23/Yesler is served more than adequately by the new 106 and doesn’t warrant a separate, slower route two blocks away. For CD riders I think the new 27 is just as redundant as the current 4.

      2. The “Save Route 2” activism is across the entire route. Some people going from Seneca to downtown, others going from East Union or Madrona to Seneca or the library, and others going from Madrona to Uptown and Queen Anne. Only the first group of people will be mollified.

      3. Well E Union/Madrona-library riders will have the exact same walking distance, just in the opposite direction. It’s currently adjacent on Spring outbound and one block away on Seneca inbound, and under the restructure it’d be adjacent on Madison inbound and a block away on Marion outbound. There’s literally no distance difference for those folks.

      4. In case anyone is confused, we’re talking about two different libraries. The Douglass-Truth library is at 23rd & Yesler (current 48 and 8, proposed 48 and 27). The downtown library is on the 2, which would move to the other side of the library in the proposal.

        There’s also some misunderstanding of the 106. The current 8 detours to Jackson, 23rd, Yesler (at the Douglass-Truth library). The proposed 106 continues west on Jackson, changing that questionable little detour into a decisive turn, and giving eastern Jackson more east-west service that it has needed for a long time. It turns up to Yesler apparently around 12th or 14th (not serving the Douglass-Truth library).

  4. I was a big proponent of retaining bus service along 9th ave.

    Wrote to metro and all the council members as First Hill needs N-S bus service … and don’t say “but the streetcar” … that’s quite far away for most of the residents on First Hill. Also, all the hospitals do actually NEED bus service. Including Virginia Mason … People depend on it.

    Of course my idea was to move the 3 from James and have it use the existing wire on 9th … and at that point the 60 was to be truncated at Jackson St.

    Personally … they should have routed the 27 down James and done what I suggested with the 3 (would have been better for the 3 AND kept the First Hill – Downtown bus route that the ELDERLY RESIDENTS so vehemently want to keep.

    Metro had plans for BAT lane / TPS on Spring/Seneca to fix that congestion issue (for buses) but it was put on hold. Activate those plans with the 3 and then route the 27 down James … and everybody would win something (maybe not everything) (the 60 could also then terminate around Harborview or sooner when the First Hill Streetcar is finally running)

    1. I think it would be better to provide the N/S service through First Hill on Boren, which would allow a connection to SLU.

      Virginia Mason already has service on Madison, particularly if Metro would relocate the eastbound stop to 9th. The distance from 9th/Madison to the Buck Pavilion door is one short, almost flat block. Trying to improve Spring downtown is just throwing good money after bad because of the I-5 interchange; if you install a bus lane, the queuing cars that already block all the intersections will just block the bus lane as well.

    2. If Harborview and Virginia Mason are both served by only 1 route to downtown, those buses would be crush loaded on every trip. Anybody living east of Boren and trying to get to downtown would be better off walking.

      1. That would never happen unless Metro went completely out of business. Harborview scores high on both ridership and social metrics, and fills a good chunk of a 15-minute bus to downtown all by itself. So there will always be some incarnation of a frequent 3, separate from a Madison-or-Seneca route.

  5. Why not run the 106 to downtown via Harborview, 9th Ave. and Seneca and keep the 27 deleted? The 106 to Pioneer Square doesn’t add much to the transit network and the Seneca St./Virginia Mason boosters would be placated. Fifteen minute headways might seem extravagant, but the 3 will be operating at reduced headways and the 4 will be gone.

    1. Two reasons:
      1) That would make the core service to Jackson unbearably slow.
      2) You need a direct connection up the hill between Pioneer Square and Yesler Terrace. Eventually the 3 will provide that but not until the wire is built.

      1. 1) Jackson Street will still have plenty of core service. The 7, 14, 36 and a shiny new streetcar will be serving Jackson Street adequately. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 106 via Seneca and Harborview would get to 14th & Jackson as fast (or faster) than a 7 or 14 via 3rd Avenue and Jackson.

        2)Currently most of Yesler Terrace is a construction zone, particularly the area around Yesler Way. Once the construction is done, won’t the 3 be re-routed which would serve that corridor adequately?

      2. Nothing via Seneca/Spring will ever get anywhere fast. It currently takes the 2 12 minutes at PM peak to travel three-quarters of a mile along that corridor. Pioneer Square isn’t particularly fast either, which is why the new 106 is slated to use Yesler — the one street that can get you from 3rd to 14th in a hurry. The part of “Jackson” I reference is in the CD, not Little Saigon, and is served now only by the infrequent 4 and 14.

        In the long run, both the 7 and 36 should disappear from Jackson in any case. The 36 will turn into SDOT Corridor 3, and the 7 should really be combined with the 48 with improved transfers at MBS to get downtown. Jackson service as it exists today is a morass that eats thousands of service hours without really serving any passengers effectively.

      3. The 7, 14, 36 and a shiny new streetcar will be serving Jackson Street adequately,

        Jackson has demand for improved service all the way to 23rd. Most of the service you mention turns off at 12th or 14th. The 106 via 12th/yesler/3rd will provide that service faster and more reliably than if it wanders into the first hill timesink.

    2. Sorry, I just noticed that the 27 will be operating on 9th Ave/Seneca to downtown. That should be enough to placate the people who want direct service to Virginia Mason. The 106 can stay on Yesler.

  6. If the 60 is restored to its original routing and maintains 20 minute midday headways, why is the 107 still scheduled to be running on 15th S.? That’s way too much service (5 buses per hour) for that corridor.

    It also appears the 21+50 marriage has been annulled. Is the 50 going to maintain its current structure and will the 21 be heading downtown?

    1. Except for the 22/125 piece, the West Seattle restructure is not in this package. Metro originally scheduled it for Sept 2015 because it was so painful, and I think they are still hoping not to have to go through with it.

  7. What is the logic of consolidating service on Madison as opposed to Seneca? At first it seemed reasonable to me to consolidate service on Madison but as I thought more about it, particularly with U-link on the way in a year and a half, I think Seneca makes substantially more sense. If the long term goal is having a rough grid of frequent N/S and E/W routes then Seneca street would provide more even route spacing than Madison. In particular, once Capitol Hill Station is open it will no longer make much sense to run service in the Pike/Pine corridor. With that in mind a grid with a Denny/John corridor, a Seneca/Union corridor and a Jefferson corridor maintains almost exactly .5 miles between each E/W route (E of I-5). By running two blocks south on Madison, all else being equal, the effective walkshed of those corridors is reduced as the distance between the Denny/John and Madison corridor is closer to .65 miles. Moreover, it will be more difficult to manage a strong Capitol Hill restructure with that additional gap between service in the Pike/Pine corridor.

    And yes I get that the 6th ave intersections with route 2 are major problems, but they are also very fixable one’s. Same goes for the extra 3 blocks of wire needed to do live loops downtown.

    1. A few points:

      1) People keep insisting that it would be easy to get buses moving quickly on Spring, but I don’t see how unless the I-5 interchange goes away. Build a right-side bus lane? All the I-5 traffic will just drive in it, the same way they drive in the Howell St bus lane today. Build a left-side bus lane? Left-turners from 5th will block it, the same way they block through car traffic on Spring today. Also, because of light timing the jog from Spring to Seneca eastbound takes far longer than the jog from Marion to Madison.

      2) Seneca might make a more elegant grid on a map, but the activity centers in the area aren’t spaced evenly. Madison is really the center of First Hill. The largest hospital (Swedish) is on Madison, as is virtually all of the commercial activity, and the densest housing is almost all within two blocks on both sides.

      3) Madison has room to build permanent 24-hour bus lanes. Seneca, which is several feet narrower, doesn’t. If we ever want the core First Hill route to be fast, Madison is the only choice.

      1. On 1) Extend the Seneca street bus lane up to Hubbel place and have the outbound buses use it. This would also fix the jog problem. Alternatively I think really good enforcement plus a left hand bus lane on Spring could fix most of the problem.

        On 2) Obviously for the housing between Seneca and Madison, the location of the route is irrelevant. As for locations south of Madison: Swedish would not only still be adjacent to the current 60, a presumed 36/49 and the First Hill streetcar, but it would also be a flat two blocks away from a Seneca alignment. That’s an extremely manageable walk for most people I’m sure we’d agree. Given that extra service to Swedish and the ugly proposed route 27 that comes directly from VM’s complaint’s, I think the downside for Swedish is about matched by the upside for VM even though Swedish is bigger. And Pine and Pike streets, which are assumed to not have bus service after U-link opens and which both have a lot of commercial activity would be far better served by a Seneca alignment.

        On 3) That is a fair point. But is 2 reliability a big problem between 8th ave and Madison?

      2. I’m skeptical that WSDOT would permit a Seneca contraflow lane to interfere with their precious Seneca offramp. They already completely screw up the light cycle for every user of both Seneca and 6th because they are so worried about any backup from the intersection spilling onto I-5.

        As for a solution relying on enforcement… just no. SPD rarely enforces existing transit-only areas, and it would be fantasy at a Cruickshank level to think they will get much better at it in a location that is already one of the worst in the whole city for box- and lane-blocking.

        Madison is much easier to design, doesn’t need unrealistic enforcement or WSDOT cooperation, goes through the center of the neighborhood, has more speed upside, and is a flat walk from everywhere that matters. Even the tunnel transfer issue can be resolved – search “streetcar bus 2” and you’ll see my post about it.

      3. I am skeptical of WSDOT too, but I think it is plausible that WSDOT would ban left turns from I-5 to Seneca to accommodate the bus lanes. If they did that, they could probably combine the I-5 and sixth avenue light cycles with a little bit of clever engineering. And if anything, that solution could enhance the flow through the intersection and reduce the likelihood of backups on I-5.

        But I wonder if you’re missing the principal point of my contention. In the route 2 streetcar post of yours, the frequent route 12 interlines with routes on Pike/Pine. But I am arguing that once U-Link comes on board there would (or should) be no more routes on Pike/Pine. At that time all the Pike/Pine routes (10, 11, 43, 49) ought to be restructured to A. make a grid and B. serve Capitol Hill station. So such a through route wouldn’t make sense.

        Yes it is unquestionably more logistically difficult to run on Seneca. But if your First Hill service is on Madison not Seneca then you get much closer to needing to run some service on Pine, which in turn would mean less frequency on the 8, 2/12 and/or 3 corridors.

      4. I think there will still be service on Pine/Pike downtown, even if it doesn’t continue on Pine in Cap Hill. Without it, it becomes almost impossible to get between downtown and near Capitol Hill without a transfer and significant backtracking, which is not a good result given that near Capitol Hill is the densest part of Seattle.

        My next major +0% network proposal (which should be out sometime in 2014, although real life has been unusually complex and I need more time to work on its presentation) has just three east/west corridors originating in the CBD: Pine -> Olive -> John, Madison -> E Union, and Yesler -> Jefferson, each running with 10 buses per hour and faster than they do today. The first two are through-routed with each other, consistently with my 2/streetcar post. There are also 6 buses/hour along the 8 corridor and along SDOT Corridor 3, resulting in 1) very frequent service in every direction from CHS and 2) a super-easy trip between near Cap Hill and downtown.

      5. It will be interesting to see what happens to Olive vs Pine vs Madison. Even spacing says to rip out Pine, but it’s probably the most politically popular and productive corridor. But only Olive goes directly to a Link station. I’m also skeptical that the 8+transfer will fly as a substitute for the 43.

        When people talk about TMP corridors and SDOT corridors, could they please describe them more than just the number? I never remember what “Corridor 3” is or “Corridor 5” is, just that there’s a Madison corridor, a 23rd-Rainier corridor, a Broadway-Beacon corridor, etc.

      6. It don’t think the downtown backtracking is a particularly big deal. Most of the westlake part of downtown is a short walk from that area. And for folks going further south to the university st. area riding the 2 wouldn’t require backtracking at all. And the 8 or 2 would facilitate extremely reasonable transfers to basically all metro CBD routes.

        I still think geometrically, (even given where the uses are) having 3 cordidors makes more sense than 4. And I suspected it was not something considered when prioritizing the Madison street corridor which is why I brought it up. But I don’t think that 4 corridors is a terrible outcome even though there are frequency trade offs.

        With that being said I am not sure pike pine needs 10 buses per hour. (I’d put more of that service on the 8) But that discussion is not very topical.

      7. The 10 is a good compromise to leave as-is. That can be the Pine service. It should be full-time frequent though.

        Even headways would be better than the spaghetti we have now. But the current service is not “10 buses per hour”. It’s five routes to Boren (eastbound) or Bellevue (westbound), which is on the very edge of the residential/commerical area. Only a few people can use those stops easily. Then it’s three routes to Broadway and two routes to 15th. Both of those routes drop to half-hourly evenings and Sundays, and one comes five minutes after the other. So you’re really talking half-hour service east of Broadway.

      8. Personally I would leave the 43, but either way it should be service that takes the Olive Way routing. West of Broadway the walk to Bellevue Ave is short and East of Broadway the 12 or link become more logical services. There definitely is no need for service in that section of Pine.

        Care to elaborate d.p.? For Capitol Hill, Broadway and John seems to obviously be the best location for a subway station. It connects to the Broadway corridor and the John/Denny corridor and the 15th ave corridor can easily be restructured to access the station.

    2. The Route 2 restructure has had lots of comments on many posts. Everyone has an opinion.

      My big issues with it isn’t Madison versus Seneca. It’s Ferry Terminal versus Link, and almost all stops at steep slopes in Downtown versus people with mobility problems! Route 2 has one of the most productive routes in the system and lots of people transfer Downtown. Metro should really put a little more work to routing differently through Downtown if it is no longer supposed to run along a flat Third Avenue and by Link stations. I think Metro staff are being either lazy, being too self-concerned about prioritizing Ferry riders or they just enjoy being cruel to Route 2 riders.

      1. “Ferry Terminal vs. Link”

        That’s why you through-route the Madison route with Pine service, with dedicated lanes on 1st to avoid the delays that plagued the old 10/12 through-route. Stops along Pine are accessible and directly over a tunnel station. Fully mobile passengers can get off at 3/Madison and walk to USS, while passengers who have difficulty using steep stops or walking a couple of blocks can ride to 3/Pine with only a very minor time penalty.

  8. So what to do about service changes proposed here that, regardless of how service hours are taken into account, are actually positive route restructures? I look specifically at the 8 and 106.

    The 8 is well-known for its suffering in that it essentially leads a double life as two separate routes slapped together today (North, from LQA to Madison Valley/CD, and South, from the CD to Rainier Beach). Splitting it up at Garfield High School not only makes more sense than truncating at Group Health, it will probably improve reliability and, when taken together with the new 106, the unchanged-in-the-CD 3, and the entirely unchanged 48, leaves many fewer people out to sea on a much smaller segment of MLK than was initially projected.

    I think all this makes great sense; however, I would like to see plans of this sort implemented even if the funding ballot is passed in November.

    1. I’m not quite convinced of the 106 revision, but several other people think it will be a popular one-seat ride between the entire Rainier Valley and Renton. It also preserves a one-seat Renton-downtown milk run for those who hate Link or transferring, yet it goes through a denser area than the existing milk run so it should have better ridership. One-seat riders complain bitterly when a downtown route is split, but they don’t care how long the milk run takes or how frequent it is, so we can take advantage of that by keeping the milk run but running it through denser areas that would have a route anyway.

    2. Another thing about the 8, not many people get on or off in the middle segment but a significant number of people ride all the way through it; e.g., from Columbia City to Capitol Hill or Seattle Center. Those trip patterns aren’t otherwise well addressed in Metro’s network, although Capitol Hill station will become a faster alternative for some of them.

  9. The thing that frustrates me living in Federal Way is that they originally said that the 181 would have its night service cut (of course passing up an opportunity to keep night service on 181 as a matter of consolidation, I guess Metro thinks people west of Federal Way Transit Center don’t deserve night service anymore, but that’s another matter), then they specifically said that the extra peak service would happen in February, while they would wait until September 2015 for the night service, to spread the impact across the year. Then on Tuesday they changed their mind again, now they want to cut night service in February again, because now they decided it would be better to cut service in each area at once instead of softening the blow, now we get to suffer the full wrath of cuts while some other areas get to wait until later. Good grief, why not just do all the non-Seattle cuts this month and get it over with, then. Or at the very least, stay true to what you said earlier, and don’t flip flop.

    1. Federal Way at least since ST started service in 1999 has always been a somewhat strange area. Without going into history, there have always been a lot of P&Rs with dedicated express buses to Seattle, various overlapping services on I-5, although that has gotten better. and various strange routings and services around NE Tacoma with both Metro and Pierce. In regards to the glut of P&R capacity, some simple things to “spread out the load” would be to route the 57x series buses to 320th St P&R, and try to balance out the capacity at least on the weekdays where FWTC is full. I would also recommend that the 578 make the Star Lake and K-D Road freeway stops as well, which I’m sure will fill a few more seats on an already productive service, and will provide a non-peak way back for those who may have parked there, without a major impact on the schedule.

      As for Federal Way local services, I really think KCM, PT, City of Tacoma and Federal Way need to come together and re-evaluate their services and really redesign them from scratch. I think most of NE Tacoma gravitates towards Federal Way, and their bus service should as well. I think a joint venture involving a modified and combined 62/182 serving more of NE Tacoma would be a good start. This could be route like the 497, where Metro and others fund the operations, and its operated by PT (as their contribution of the operation). While overall its a very small part of metro’s service, extra attention should be paid to partnership opportunities to try and maintain and improve the service that is remaining.

  10. Interesting note:

    The 61 (which is getting canceled?) has had its number removed from all of the bus stop signs, but I have witnessed a few 61 buses still running. Its a weird ghost run at the moment.

    1. Metro can’t physically change every sign that needs changing for a major service change in one day or even one week. Sometimes the changes happen early.

    2. When it first debuted, the 61 at least offered an auxiliary and seemingly (at certain times) schedule-coordinated transfer between Actual Ballard and RapidRide.

      But for at least the last year, it has been operated solely by drivers who do not give a shit. 5-10 minutes late in both directions, at all times, with no passengers and the drivers’ personal belongings blocking the front door.

      I hope every single 61 driver is being deleted along with the route.

    3. For each stop getting modified metro should post an alert at the stop indicating that certain routes still service the stop until a certain date.

    4. Well, nobody rides the 61 anyway, and those that do already know it stops there. Metro will have to put up a Rider Alert sign about the service change anyway, as it does at other stops when routes change there. Maybe it just didn’t put the sign up fast enough. Or maybe it’s omitting the signs because of budget cuts.

      1. I wonder why the 25 hasn’t been deleted yet. I do ride it from time to time since it goes through the UW campus and gives me a direct very scenic, meandering ride downtown. Unfortunately there have been only three or four people on board the times I have ridden it, so financially no reason to keep it.

      2. It’s going away this month too. It was slightly restructured a year or two ago, which is how the campus routing started. It hung on for this long because of coverage and to avoid offending affluent status-quo advocates in Laurelhurst and Lakemont Boulevard. Also it serves two emerging segments: 45th between 25th and Sand Point Way, and Eastlake south of Mercer. Both have grown businesses and riders over the past few years.

        But the entire route as a whole is one of the very weakest routes. Who wants to go from downtown or Capitol Hill to the U-District by going north almost to the University Bridge, then southeast to the Montlake Bridge, and then finally across? Only the few living between the bridges; it slows everyone else down.

      3. The 25 is my most convenient and closest route. It’s also a historic bus route which apparently goes as far back as at least 1945 (presumably under Seattle Transit which predates Metro) 

        Here’s the quote:
        “My parents bought the family home on Boyer Ave. in 1936 and in 1945 when I was 4 my mother and I took it to Frederick & Nelson for the Santa Claus Christmas photo. I still own the home.”

  11. Woah, the 8. This is really cool, I think, and now I’m officially torn on the Seattle measure. I really, really want to vote yes for bus service but I look at many of these restructures and would really like to have them, just with much more frequency. The 8 is a big example of that. I’m normally not a fan of splitting long-distance routes (see also: the 48), especially if they’re split where one side suffers all of the traffic and the other gets much better. In the 8’s case, all of the traffic is on Denny and the MLK service area has other options to get to the north part of the city, or will when U-Link opens.

    I really wish that we could get an answer on what voting yes will mean for these good changes, but an answer probably won’t be forthcoming because of the politics of the situation…

    1. Voting yes doesn’t mean you vote no to reform. Metro could shift resources around as needed to match ridership. If you have any ideas you are always welcome to contact your councilmember or metro (either way gets your voice heard but not the same process).

      No reason to vote no unless you like less service.

      1. I still plan on voting yes and campaigning for a yes, but man, some of these restructures would be really nice to have. I fear that we won’t be able to push them through outside of a major situation like this.

      2. I’m with Lakecity.

        Of course Metro could shift resources around in the pursuit of a better network, John, but history suggests that they don’t. Not even when under the funding gun. And only begrudgingly when under the funding bazooka.

        As long as there’s instructive text floating about that directs the agency to Cruickshank against any and all changes, as its top priority, no matter the deleterious effect on the usability or sustainability of the network as a whole, it becomes really hard to support the measure wholeheartedly and without equivocation.

      3. d.p., Metro (or, more precisely, a few people within Metro) can be an obstacle, but in this case it isn’t the biggest obstacle. I know that Metro and the King County Executive are on board with these restructures whether extra funding is delivered or not. It will be the City of Seattle, or possibly the County Council, that either enables or scuppers the restructures.

        My impression is that the mayor and the city councilmembers who are engaged on this issue do understand the value of the restructures, but are scared by the vehemence of some of the activism against them. This is new territory for them, as previously the county council has absorbed all of the restructure activism. So we have an ability to change their course by engaging in counter-activism.

        As for the county council… we have the usual situation there. Some councilmembers are on board with most of the restructures but are inclined to block a particular one in their districts. Other councilmembers don’t have a holistic view of the system at all and are just interested in their pet routes or services. It’s a matter of trying to find a proposal that will get five votes as a whole, and Metro is actually pretty good at that after years of trying.

    2. I’m wistful about the good reorgs too, but we must absolutely preserve the service hours. Metro is already falling behind the rising population and risiing ridership, so we should be adding hours, and definitely not subtracting them! When you dig a hole unwillingly, you have to spend the same amount of energy to refill it later — over several years — before you can start building a hill. But the 13 consolidation and the 2S consolidation and the 3 consolidation need to happen, so that people can go to one bus stop and have consistently frequent service with even headways. And the 106 consolidation may be a promising new corridor in MLK-Renton. It’s also the old 42 in disguise (ssh! don’t tell anyone except ACRS).

      1. My next proposal has a similar route to Metro’s 106 proposal, but using Rainier (north of MBS) to Boren to SLU rather than MLK to Jackson/Yesler to downtown. I actually am numbering it “42.”

      2. Before the 106 was created, the 42 went to Skyway early mornings, and the 142 went to Renton all day. So it’s really more like the 142.

  12. Metro also provided its recommendations with the full proposal. It is folly to believe that the new package was not the result of political influence.

  13. When will the center park shuttle finally get the chop? How much does that thing cost? How many people does it serve? With everything Metro has released I haven’t seen ANYTHING about center park. I’m getting the feeling there’s dirt under the carpet.

      1. SHA paid for the service back in the 1970’s, but when budgets were cuts in the 80’s, SHA’s funding dried up and Metro picked up 100% of the cost. 100%!!! It’s been that way ever since. These are service hours that Metro is putting on the road, but hasn’t been disclosing to the public.

    1. It’s about 2000 hours/year. Not zero, but not a huge amount. And if you think the activism that Metro endures over things like the 2 is bad, just imagine what would happen if Metro tried to reclaim those hours. About the single most painful accusation for a transit agency from a legal standpoint is “You are discriminating against people with disabilities.” And that claim would happen, loudly. There is a long and effective tradition of activism at Center Park. I think they are making the reasonable calculation that trying to reallocate those hours is not worth it.

      1. If ridership is so low, why is a large bus used instead of smaller van-type vehicles, such as the ones ACCESS uses?

  14. The 16 switches to 92nd Street, which several people here have advocated. That will speed up Wallingford – Northgate trips, so it’s not all bad news for the 16.

    1. The new proposed routing of the 16 via downtown Fremont makes much sense. Especially since both the 26 and 28 will be deleted. Since the current 16 routing via North Seattle College and Northgate Way will be deleted, it makes sense to have the 75 cover this area, to allow better access to the college, to make a faster transfer to the 40 for passengers not wanting to detour via the transit center, and for current 16 users who are using this routing. But bigger buses are needed on the 16, the ones used now are way too small.

  15. Yep, Magnolia remains f**ked in this world. No big surprise.

    We’re a good neighborhood, with people who WANT to ride the bus. My wife is a saint who is willing to spend 2 hours each way to get to West Seattle on buses. I am not.

    I don’t care what Capital Hill or Beacon Hill or whatever is doing, if it takes me >45m ON AVERAGE to get home from 1st and Denny, that’s not bus service. And add in the fact that many magnolia buses show up now just to turn people away because they’re already full.. Add in the fact that they are removing the 19 — one of the worst-performing routes in the system. Good, right? Except they’re stealing the 24 to serve THE EXACT SAME ROUTE, and drive an even more out-of-the-way route. And then they’re “fixing” the 33 to serve the 2 busiest routes: 28th and 22nd. This means the 19 has basically been renamed the 24, and the 33 is picking up the old 24 plus the old 33, with less frequent service… on a route that was often standing-room-only or turning people away…

    I just can’t, in good conscience, vote for King County Metro funding any more. We keep paying more, in tabs and property taxes and all this other crap, and yet our service gets destroyed every time there’s cuts to be made. But god forbid Ballard or Capital Hill have one full bus that leaves people behind…

    Just last night I had the experience that finalized it in my mind. I was leaving Kirkland at 5:30. Right in the middle of rush hour, and taking 520 to get to Magnolia. My wife was downtown at the time I left Kirkland. I was able to get across 520, snake across Seattle, go to the Metropolitan Market for some dinner, and when I pulled into our driveway, I saw my wife getting off the bus. It is literally faster to drive across 520 at rush hour, and across the entire city of Seattle (east-west, the worst) through the Mercer Mess, than it is to take a bus from Downtown to 28th and Manor. I don’t know what planet KCM thinks they’re serving, but it’s clear that Seattle is not a priority for them. That was a complete and abject failure of a mass transit system. And I can’t keep saying yes to money while they continue to decimate our service. I’ll vote for a communist before I’ll vote another dollar for them.

    1. If Magnolia buses are jam-packed and turning people away, it must be only peak hours. We need to keep peak-hour needs and all-day needs distinct, because they are often quite different. You mention the 24 and 33, which are all-day routes, but you seem to be talking about a peak-specific problem. So the answer may be more peak service of some sort.

      But remember that peak service is the most expensive to provide, because all the buses are in use, the most drivers are working, and congestion saps the service hours. So Metro can’t provide all desired peak service to everyone everywhere, not without extraordinarily high taxes.

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