Dow presser

Yesterday, Dow Constantine, King County Executive and chair of the Sound Transit Board, along with other regional officials, unveiled a high-level plan to improve integration between the region’s various transit agencies. The report covers a number of areas — station design, wayfinding, bus-train transfers, better trip planning and realtime arrival information through smart phones and displays — and the ideas there seem laudable. High-level political reports are less important for their details (which politicos usually just aren’t versed in) and more important for their sentiment, which tell staff and management which direction they should be heading with their work.

To me, though, the most interesting part are some of the ideas around network design, and there are more specifics here. Here’s a few, which stand out to me:

  • Consolidate the 36 and 49 to create a connection between SE Seattle and the UDistrict via Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Beacon Hill. Some variation on the theme of strong north-south transit service on 10th Ave/Broadway/Beacon Ave has been floating around in post-2016 concept networks and the SDOT Transit Master Plan for some years. A complete amalgamation all the way from the U-District to Othello seems to me like it might have reliability issues, but at any rate, it’s good to have the idea explicitly on the table.
  • Extend the 271 to Northgate via Maple Leaf and Roosevelt. This sounds, more or less, like connecting the 271 and 67, a variation on an idea I published once with the 48N and 271. Unsurprisingly, I think this is a great idea, although the 271 is currently infrequent on evenings and Sundays, so either 271 frequency would need to go up (an excellent idea, if expensive), or turnback trips would be needed, to provide full-time frequent service on the Roosevelt/Northgate corridor.
  • Possible Route 8 revision to connect uptown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill and Madison Valley. This sounds like extending the 8 to service the 11 alignment in the Madison Valley. When Denny is uncongested, this will work amazingly well, but Denny is a disaster on most weekdays. I want to like this idea, but it will need to be coupled with changes in SLU, or with some other way to make sure Denny’s unreliability doesn’t ruin Madison Valley service the way it’s ruining Rainier Valley service today.
  • Provide opportunity to connect Link riders to South Lake Union and First Hill. This sounds like what the two streetcars we’ve built are supposed to do.
  • Restructure commuter service from East King County — routes 252, 255, 257, 268 and 311  — with ST Express Route 545. Could be good, but we’d have to see what the details are.
  • Extend some commuter service beyond U District to other areas such as South Lake Union or Fremont. The South Lake Union idea is excellent. The future 520 west-side reversible HOV ramp seems like a great way to provide great peak bus service to SLU from the Eastside, avoiding a three seat bus-U Link-streetcar ride that won’t compete well with driving. I’m less sure about Fremont — there’s no good way* to get between the U-District and Fremont in the peak without hitting a wall of cars somewhere.
  • Create better connections to U District and Link light rail service at University of Washington station for Laurelhurst, Sand Point and Ravenna. Good sentiment, but other than Childrens Hospital, not sure I’d consider Laurelhurst much of a priority.

Sadly absent are ideas about infill stations along the existing light rail segment, or about converting any of the “potential stations” on the Lynnwood Link alignment, notably at 130th St in Seattle, and 220th St in Lynnwood, into actual stations. Each one of these, while expensive, would offer significant access and connectivity improvements for local transit riders.


* Well, there is, if you can ride a bike.

107 Replies to “Constantine Pushes Agencies to Integrate and Innovate”

  1. Fremont is actually pretty easy from the U District. It means bailing on 15th Ave and Campus Parkway. Pacific-6th-40th-Stone are a breeze. No more than 10 minutes even during the peak.

      1. Cars back up at Wallingford and at Stone for one and two blocks at each light every day during the peak in both directions. I live there; I know.

    1. The 5-way 40th/7th intersection is frequently a disaster during peak, especially PM. Do you mean Northlake/6th/40th? If so, I agree, that’s almost always uncongested.

    2. EB in the PM peak, the 31/32 can get caught in the U-Bridge backup some days, it’s happened to me a couple of times.

      And still, Fremont is a fraction of the job center SLU is.

      1. True, but it’s still not an insignificant job center, as well as a transfer point to a lot of other places in the area. Certainly more than Laurelhurst.

      2. The point isn’t about Fremont itself, Bruce, and you absolutely know that. It’s about providing better connectivity for Ballard, Whittier, Phinneywood, Wallingford, Fremont, Frelard, Queen Anne, Westlake residents, and more.

    1. I’ve long thought that OBA should be integrated with a trip planner. Hopefully that’s what they’re intending.

    2. Yes, that page of the report had lots of interesting tidbits:

      – ST considering to join Metro’s low-income fare program (otherwise Link costs $1 more than the 7 or 8 if you are in the program).
      – Mobile ticketing is being officially considered.
      – Real-time Data on Link light rail (by 2016)!

      1. Only two more years until we’ll be able to tell if it’s worth the trip to the Link station or if we should stay put and take the bus?

  2. best part the 36/49 combo … is already wired and ready to go. Stops exist. OCS exists. They could even kill the 9X completely then.

    1. Yep, this route could start painlessly, all the way from Othello to UW. Nothing but signage to install.

      1. Double that, Zach. Also, don’t see anywhere near the problems Rainier Avenue has for staying on time over distance. However, some signal and lane priority would help at 12th and Jackson- only real- and pretty bad- choke point.

        Also, though, if Metro ever decides Rainier Avenue could handle or need electric express service, would be get another look at 20 year old plans to ramp the Route 7 out of the Tunnel on wire E-3 to Dearborn- at least ’til Eastlink gets finished.

        If plans have been lost or otherwise destroyed, I’ve got a copy of detailed plan for E-3 Dearborn ramp. Would definitely give transit a bargaining advantage when dealing with Mercer Island parking demands.

        Which will also fade swiftly as other corridors get trains. This trait is definitely in our DNA, probably best evidence of our roots as monkeys: best way to send people crazy to get something new is give it to somebody else first. Instinctive screeching and biting will also be great to watch!

        Mark Dublin

      2. The 9 turned from 12th onto Jackson (and vice versa)–it never crossed Jackson in the north-south direction. Installing new wire shouldn’t be a deal-breaker though.

    2. Any bus routing from Beacon Hill to Capitol or the UW through downtown, one has to question what its purpose is? If you’re going to go through downtown anyway, you may as well ride Link, which would be quite a bit faster.

      What’s missing is a bus that takes the direct route from the Ranier Valley to Capitol Hill, down Ranier, Boren, and Broadway.

    3. I think the 9X is hanging around only because University Link hasn’t started yet.

      There’s a huge market for people going from south Seattle to Broadway and the U-District to Broadway, because it’s not just the shopping district but also the colleges and hospitals (including Providence) and all the tiny little businesses nobody knows about excep the people going there. That’s why the 60 is so successful. The 49 and 9X cover part of this, but the 49 turns away at Pine Street, and the 9X has limited hours and frequency. Metro seems to be hinting it wants to turn the 60 into a south Seattle route, If so, this 36/49 would cover the other part of the 60’s service area.

  3. Bruce … think you could talk to the folks at SoundTransit and see: 1. if any infill Link stations are possible. 2. if so what it would cost, and 3. where they would put one (Graham & MLK?)

    Would love to know the “official” answers to that.

  4. Wasn’t the whole point of the 49 to maintain reliability on the Downtown-University District portion of the old 7? How does now combining it with the 36 align with wanting to maintain that reliability?

      1. They needed to make it clearer that when they said they were combining the 36 and 49, they actually want to create a new route from Othello Station to University of Washington Station. Those two are not the same thing.

      2. I don’t think it’s going to UW station. It would surely keep the current U-District routing.

        But it is confusing to say they’re combining the 36 and 49 if they’re excluding downtown. It would be clearer to say they’re reviving the 9-local, but on Beacon instead of Rainier.

    1. It has been a while since I lived on Capitol Hill, but the route now numbered 49 has always been a route serving passengers travelling downtown. The extension to the U-District was a Metro innovation–does anyone else remember dashing across traffic from Eastlake and running up the stairway to catch the Broadway bus looping back on Martin?

      Is the direct service from north Capitol Hill to downtown to be sacrificed here? Remember the death of the Summit (47) was partly justified by the idea that many folks could just walk up to Broadway to catch the 49.

      1. Broadway is within walking distance of Capitol Hill Station and whatever buses remain on Olive Way and Pine Street. 10th Ave E is significantly less dense and lower ridership, so it’s hard to justify a special one-seat ride to downtown for it. The only reason was history and the existing trolley wires.

        The south part of Summit can use the 43. The north part of Summit is kind of screwed, but it wasn’t using the 47 much outside peak hours anyway.

        I do think the 43 is a better long-term route than the 49, because it goes all the way across the hill and covers all the neighborhood centers: Summit/Denny, Broadway, 15th, Montlake, and also Miller Community Center.

    2. As a regular rider of Rt. 36 on Beacon Hill, I can tell you the service is unreliable already. Platooning is common, even during non-peak hours. Imagine what it would be like if they stretched it all the way to the U District, across a bascule bridge?!

      1. But what’s causing it to be unreliable? Are there any significant slowdowns on Beacon Avenue or 12th or 14th? Or is the unreliability caused by 3rd Avenue and Jackson Street, both of which will be bypassed?

      2. I don’t know what the problem is. Waiting for a NB bus at Dawson St. the other day, just a mile or so north of the Othello terminal, and two buses came by a block apart. Same thing on a different day SB at Lander. In the PM peak, the SB problem is getting through downtown to 12th Ave., but I can’t grasp why two buses would leave a terminal less than a minute apart.

        I just shudder to think how the service will operate after extending all the way to 45th St. across an opening bridge.

      3. Wait, I just reread the thread. Is the idea to connect the 49 and 36 via 12th Avenue, and not serve downtown or Chinatown at all? That’s just nuts! Someone should look at the ridership on the 36 — those are mostly Asian riders, many of them elderly, going to and from Chinatown for shopping and socializing.

        Are we seriously proposing to cut those folks off, tell them to ride to Lander St. and transfer to Link if they want to go to Chinatown?

      4. its downtown and jackson slowing down the 36.

        however, the 60 makes it clear that the problem won’t get better by trundling through cap hill – not to mention yet more duplication of service.

        take the streetcar, people.

      5. RDPence, yes I believe that’s the idea, but to get from North Beacon Hill to Chinatown there are 3 options, in descending order of speed: a <7 block walk down Jackson, a transfer at 12th to the 7/14/FHSC, or backtracking to Link at Beacon Hill Station. It’s Corridor 3 in the Seattle Transit Master Plan (page 3-19). Interlining the 36 and 49 through Downtown would be an 11-mile route, while a direct routing via 12th is 1.2 miles shorter, at 9.9 miles. It would also be much more reliable, and there’s enough room on 12th IMO for a Dexter-style treatment with bus bulbs if the political will could be found to eliminate street parking there. Consolidating those resources and creating those efficiencies could easily turn what are now a 10-minute and 15-minute headway routes into one 7-minute route with frequent service transfers at Beacon Hill Station, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Pine, and Campus Parkway. All while serving the C.D. and SeattleU in an entirely new way without having to climb the 100’+ hill near James Way.

      6. I’ve seen plenty of mostly empty NB 36s at 12th & Jackson in midday and afternoon, sometimes even 3 or 4 in a row…

      7. Maybe they’re going to/from the base? The 7 has a bunch of runs that start or end at 12th & Jackson on the timetable.

      8. The idea is to make the transit system more of a grid rathe than having it be all radial one-seat rides to/from downtown,

        With the new routing existing 36 riders heading downtown can transfer to Link at Othello, Beacon Hill, or Capitol Hill station. They can also transfer to the streetcar and 7/14 at Jackson, the 106 at Yesler, 3/4 at Jefferson, 12 at Madison, 2 at Union, 10/11 at Pine, and 8/43 at John.

  5. This report overall is taking the two agencies in the right direction.

    However, I am disappointed that other than the reorientation of Kent East Hill route schedules to connect with Sounder (and the elimination of the 158/159; a change that should have happened a decade ago) we don’t see any plans to orient south-end service to existing LINK and Sounder services (for instance the 106/107 restructure (or a variation thereof) that we’ve seen outlined on this blog.

    1. There’s nothing about south King County at all. Since Constantine is the county executive, I wonder if Constantine did say something about it and it just wasn’t included in the report. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for a 101/106/150 restructure. It would probably be some lesser things.

    2. The report mentions new bus connections at Beacon Hill Station. The 36 and 60 already connect there. What’s left is the proposed restructured 107, taking the place of the 106’s downtown routing. So, yes, the 106/107 restructure is included in the report, just not by name.

      BTW, I strongly support this new 107 routing, regardless of what happens to the 60.

      if north Beacon Hill riders balk at restructung the 36 to head up to First Hill/Capital Hill/U-District, extending the 107 to ID Station might help sell the 36/49 restructure.

  6. Lake City resident here. I’m not going to give up on 130th station, but what about a completely Lake City Way BRT line that gets to the Roosevelt station when North Link gets up and running? Or to preceed it, a ST/Metro joint BRT line on 522?

      1. I’m not sure many 522 riders would be happy giving up their one-seat ride to downtown for a transfer at Roosevelt. Currently, once you’re past 125th you’re on express service the rest of the way downtown. Transferring at Roosevelt would likely add time to the trip. So I suppose the question is whether riders would consider the accessibility of the light rail station to be worth the time lost in having a transfer.

      2. The issue is what’s best for the overall network and most travellers. That could be meeting Link at 145th, 130th, or Roosevelt, but I’m not sure. There’s an argument that Lake City Way is too far away from Link to reasonably truncate it, like the 150. But the “going to downtown” is really only peak commuters and a few others. Other people are going other places, which Link can facilitate. And peak commuters are what peak-only routes are for.

        But what we think is best for the network and what Sound Transit thinks are two different things, and ST is keeping mum about what it things. We’ll probably hear in 2019, to give it two years for hearings and implementation.

      3. Even if for downtown riders, it becomes a wash (added frequency vs. transfer overhead), it’s important to remember that not everyone along the 522 corridor is going all the way downtown. A stop at Roosevelt Station would be a huge win for access to virtually anywhere in Seattle north of downtown.

        The transfer point at Lake City simply doesn’t cut it. The connection buses do not run frequently, and the 3 U-district-bound buses tend to be bunched together, so you still end up waiting nearly 30 minutes for a connection. And, you are still expected to transfer yet again to reach Fremont, Ballard, or anywhere in north Seattle, west of I-5.

        It is also important to remember that, at many times of day, including reverse-peak trips on weekday afternoons, when the I-5 express lanes are running in the wrong direction, the 522 gets stuck in quite a bit of traffic on the freeway. For those trips, a quick transfer to a train with 5-minute headways would likely actually be faster.

      4. I just read the report. All the talk about feeders and shorter routes being more reliable seems to hint pretty strongly at truncating the 522. ST and CT have already said they’ll truncate all Snohomish County routes at Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace, and I-90 routes at Mercer Island, so I can’t imagine they’d be less enthusiastic about the 522.

        I still don’t have a strong opinion where it meets Link. My thoughts on 130th or 145th station are assuming significantly improved east-west service, not the existing routes. For instance, the 75 could go to 130th station and Aurora, instead of Northgate.

      5. Mark – I understand that. I catch the 522 or the 312 at 125th. It is sweet if you catch the 522, maybe get a seat (lately an impossible dream!) and the trip on 1-5 is a smooth 20 minutes. As soon as you are standing in the aisle, its not a 1-seat ride anyway. And the 522 is in the midst of traffic on I-5. Means that catching that light rail where even if you stand at least the ride is smooth and dependable.

        If you are waiting for it in Kenmore, I can see your argument.

        Riddle me this: why is there no entirely Lake City Way route? The 312/522 cut out at I-5, the 75 only gets on it between 113th and 125th, the 72/372 cut off of it at 92nd. Say what you want about the E or the old 358 but went all the way down Aurora.

      6. As a former frequent 522 one-long-nauseating-stand rider, or occasional stairwell-by-the-driver sitter, I have to say the number one issue with the 522 is capacity, and has been for a loooong time. With the decrease in Metro trips, it is about to become much worse. I hope Kenmore and Bothell can cut a deal with Seattle to save some of those trips.

        Restructuring the 522 to make it shorter may be the only viable long-term way to help it meet productivity standards, even though it is interminably packed to the gills (during peak).

        145h/Bothell Way cries out for combining the 522 and 372 into a high-frequency BRTish line going over eventually to Shoreline Community College.

        As a former peak 522 downtown commuter, my vote for keeping the 522 going downtown is Hell No. Barf.

  7. Connect Laurelhurst to U-Link! Why not? As you point out, we’ve got Seattle Children’s, plus Sand Point Way is lined with a solid number of dense condo and apartment buildings beyond the hospital, all the way to the north end of Magnuson Park. Could it be denser? Yes, that’d be great. But I seem to recall a recent link on this very blog about how little sense it makes to say “don’t run transit there, it’s not dense enough”.

    If people here had a bus running at decent speed to U-Link, without meandering off on a 30-minute detour into Ravenna with stops every 1/2 block (cough70scough), and then a 10-minute ride to downtown on LINK, believe me, tons of us would leave the cars at home.

    Fundamentally, if you spend billions to bore a high-capacity transit tunnel through a city, you should cough up a little extra to grant decent connections to the neighborhoods adjacent to the line.

    1. “Laurelhurst” is two different things. The commercial area on 45th to Children’s needs high-quality bus service. The residential area east of Sand Point Way is where the ridership is lacking.

      “Create better connections to U District and Link light rail service at University of Washington station for Laurelhurst, Sand Point and Ravenna.”

      This seems to hint at the often-suggested idea of rerouting the 65, 68, and 75 to go down Montlake Blvd to UW Station rather than going through campus to Campus Parkway. I don’t see how the can serve UW station otherwise. But how would that create better connections to the U-District? It seems to create worse connections, if people would then have to transfer to the 43/44/48/271, which are prone to bottlenecks.

      1. Actually, the current routing of the 65/68/75/372 on Stevens Way does serve UW Station somewhat already, although a 5 minute walk (according to Google Maps) will be required to make this connection. Is requiring a 5-minute walk acceptable for downtown connections*? This is a subjective question, but if these buses are rerouted down Montlake, people going to the UW and U-District would also have an additional 5-minute+ walk or a transfer. Also, even with this 5-minute walk, connecting to Link to get Downtown would still be significantly faster than the current connection to the 71/72/73.

        *It goes without saying that this connection walk must be well-lighted, covered, and signed clearly. Moving sidewalks, if possible, would also be nice.

      2. That’s my plan for a downtown to Lake City commute in 2016! Try out the light rail and catch the 65,75,372. Gotta be faster than the 41.

      3. Remember in 2021 Link will be the preferred connection to the U-district. Perhaps there will also be the will to work with ST and the UW to improve the bus/bus and bus/rail connections at UW station.

      4. So, now the Metro 252, 255, 257, 268, and 311 — the only survivors of the SR 520 recrowding bloodbath — are under consideration for re-routing to UW Station. Metro is working with ST!

        The next question, then, is whether ST is working with ST, and pushing all the 545 service into the 542 (or into a new SLU express). If the 545 stays, it is going to be overwhelmed with riders transfering from the 252, 255, 257, 268, and 311 east of the lake.

      5. That will be one amazing way to solidify Eastside opposition to any future transit funding initiatives. Eliminate all downtown Seattle service for residents of Redmond, Kirkland & Woodinville. Tell them all that if they want transit they have to sit in Montlake Blvd & Bridge congestion, then walk across the Triangle in the rain before going up, and then down multiple levels.

    2. But I seem to recall a recent link on this very blog about how little sense it makes to say “don’t run transit there, it’s not dense enough”.

      It’s actually the reverse. Don’t use inadequate transit as an excuse to not have density.

      1. Fine, fine, my motivated self-serving reasoning got my to twist it around. That and I always see it as a chicken and the egg question going either way between transit and density. Yes, there is a big gap in the density from City People’s all the way east till Radford Court, and I suppose no bus service could really definitively beat the BG trail. Plus, as Mike Orr pointed out, the routes through Ravenna and the U District do reach a lot more people. Montlake, from 45th Street to the Montlake Bridge, is actually a home/destination desert, so there’s not much reason to run the buses down it. Especially when Montlake into a congestion debacle every morning and afternoon in the direction of the bridge.

        As an aside — does anyone know the reason for that? Just yesterday at 4pm I was driving toward Cap HIll and the signs warned it would be 25 minutes to traverse the ~1-mile stretch of Montlake Ave to reach 520, so I looped around campus via 45th st and 15th Ave to bypass it in 5 minutes. I think there are some seriously mistimed lights giving too much time to Pacific Place, or else they did it deliberately to make sure all the bus traffic on Pacific reaches 520 in reasonable time. Or to keep the ambulance routes in/out of the UW hospital open?

      2. I was not talking about Sand Point Way, just the end of it. “Laurelhurst” can’t possibly extend to City People’s or Magnuson Park. The right way to serve all the denser part of Laurelhurst and beyond is with a frequent 75. The undense area between 70th and 125th is justified as being on the way to Lake City.

    3. I read “Create better connections to U District and Link light rail service at University of Washington station for Laurelhurst, Sand Point and Ravenna” as a question of whether any line in the 70s should stop near the stadium station in the U-District. 71,72,73,74,75,76… It’s not a matter of “laurehurst/sandpoint: who cares” its a matter of questioning whether Laurelhurst etc keeps a one seat ride into the bus tunnel vs requiring a transfer to rail sooner rather than later, later being when the tunnel becomes all rail when east link opens.

    4. One idea I’ve floated around as an option is to reroute the #74 to turn left from 55th onto 25th, then take Montlake down to the UW station. It could either turn around there, for continue on to Brooklyn and Campus Parkway if that’s where it has to go to find layover space. The new 74 would offer significantly more trips than the current 74, but not needing to go all the way downtown. On days when traffic is really awful on Montake, the bus could simply do a reroute through campus and drop people off at the stops on Steven’s Way instead.

      Another interesting question is how the children’s hospital should be served. A non-stop shuttle connecting it to the UW Link Station feels like the ideal option. This could be done, at least during the peak, by putting otherwise deadhead #74 buses into services. Alternatively, it could be done as a shuttle operated completely by the hospital, with no involvement from Metro, whatsoever. The Children’s Hospital already operates shuttles to the U-district.

      1. Yes this. Many riders here in Ravenna ae seeking a faster more reliable connection downtown. South of 65th, service is poor. Off peak is a joke; unusable if you value time. Our community association will write a letter in support of the 74 re-route

      1. How about population control by limiting immigration?

        And building out more of Inland Washington?

      2. John,

        For many of the same reasons you don’t already live in “Inland Washington”, very few people want to live there. Yes, there are some beautiful days in the spring and fall, but summer is hell and winter is Canadian, so there’s no “there” there. (Except in Walla Walla, and who wouldn’t like to live in a town that feels it has to say its name twice to be heard?)

      3. And a state, city, or region limiting immigration is against the federal constitution, as well as being unethical.

      4. Limiting domestic immigration is unconstitutional. Limiting international immigration would not cut Pugetopolis’ growth much, because it’s mostly people coming from other parts of the US or having kids.

        Inland Washington would love for people to buy the underused houses that aren’t selling well. You don’t need a government plan for that, you just need people willing to move there. “People”, as in the same people you expect to live in those areas. Not the artists and country-loving folk because they’re already there. Oh, and they’ll need a job too, and most won’t be able to telecommute. If there was a huge spontaneous migration to inland Washington, then the state would have to adjust its growth management targets before those areas reach their capacity. Then you could have more development there. But it should be dense neighborhoods like the old streetcar suburbs, so there’s that bad evil urbism.

      5. Many European cities built just the sort of cheap density that Bailo is promoting, and they typically built it outside the urban core in exactly the way Bailo promotes. Of course these cities were most often Eastern European cities operating under Stalinistic regimes and laboring to meet 5-year goals. But hey, progress is progress.

        So if Bailo is onboard with Stalinism then I certainly won’t criticize. He knows Kent better than I, and that is where many of these centrally planned apartment blocks would likely be built.

      6. ” limiting immigration”

        Seattle and many Washington cities are “sanctuary” cities, meaning they turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. That needs to stop.

        “Many European cities built just the sort of cheap density…”

        Mexico did this as well — build low cost apartments outside Mexico City — and from an article I read in the NYT a few days ago, it’s been doubling in population!

        “Stalinistic regimes …”

        The Marxism in place now is forced urban density into Seattle center.

        This benefits nearly no one except the few city bureaucrats who can lay claim to more taxes and higher salaries.

      7. I’ve been in those Stalinist apartments in outer Moscow. There’s nothing in Seattle even near that low quality. The strangest thing I remember is that the bathrooms have a single faucet on a swinging hinge for both the sink and bathtub. Wouldn’t want to waste money on two faucets. They didn’t have kitchens originally, just “warming shelves”, to encourage families to eat at the union cafeteria. By the 90s they had been retrofitted with kitchens. Beyond the Stalinist ring is the 1960s Kruschev ring. Still minimalist modern concrete, but a bit more normal looking and comfortable.

      8. MO,

        Ha, I had completely forgotten about that. I stayed in one of those Stalinist style complexes outside Plzen once and they had exactly that — a swinging faucet that served both bathtub and sink. Everything was very cheaply made, and I do mean VERY.

        If Bailo wants this kind of construction as some sort of improvement to Kent, then he is welcome to it, but I really don’t see it happening outside of the central planning type system he seems to be advocating for. Because if you take the zoning obstacles to increased density away, then the natural tendency of the free market is to build more density in the urban centers. Ya, there can be growth in the burbs too, but it certainly wouldn’t be dense growth if left to the free market.

      9. Orr and Lazarus:

        I said “Mexico” not “Moscow”. I realize they have the same first letters, but …

        What Density Doesn’t Tell Us About Sprawl

        Many urbanists admire places like Boston, New York and San Francisco, which give their residents a wide range of transportation options and have charming multimodal streets. Many urbanists admire Los Angeles as well, of course, but recognize that it is often a difficult place to walk, bike or use public transportation. However, planners who seek to emulate Boston or New York, or to avoid the less desirable elements of LA, will go astray if they simply focus on increasing density. The urban form of older metropolitan areas is one of great variance, not great density. The New York urbanized area offers its residents both a super-dense, vibrant core and a low-density suburbia. The places where land is used very intensively in the center often see it used much less intensively on the outskirts. While it is possible to have an area that contains nothing but extraordinarily high density, such places are unusual, and often islands (think Hong Kong or Singapore).

        Acknowledging these land use patterns should make us question some conventional planning goals. We might say we want more density or less sprawl. We might even say that we simply want more places to look like San Francisco or New York. But what exactly are we trying to accomplish by doing this? Do we want super-dense urban centers, or very-low density suburbs, or both? These aren’t easy questions to answer, and standard measures of density will offer us little help in trying to answer them.

        It is also important to realize that no measure of density, no matter how comprehensive, can capture every dimension of sprawl. Much of what we consider sprawl is determined less by the density of people or jobs, and more by how buildings and parking are arranged on the street, and whether streets are designed in a way that makes walking and biking safe and comfortable. Nevertheless, in the future planners and policymakers might find it useful to assess the perceived density of the places they are trying to improve. Policymaking is about people, after all, so perhaps we are better off examining density as people experience it.

  8. I’m glad to see some discussion about feeding light rail in 2016. It’s in our best interest to get rail ridership as high as possible for both presenting how the system can be productive (for demonstrating the value of the investment to the public for votes as well as to Federal and state funding strategies and competitive grants).

    I’m glad to see the interest in feeding Capitol Hill light rail station by maintaining Route 8 into Madison Valley. This is going in a different direction from earlier Metro staff proposals to cut Route 8 at 15th Avenue E. This station will really affect bus ridership on both Capitol Hill and neighborhoods to the east in ways that will surprise us. I will be curious how Metro will adjust Capitol Hill bus services that will be affected by it before or after it is opened.

    There are a few specific routing ideas about U-Link opening but not about Angle Lake Station. Angle Lake will be the easiest station on the system to reach from I-5 for regional buses and is fairly easy to reach for Kent buses. Is a strategic service restructuring for South King County under consideration? Is there a way to make the restructuring effort more public or is Metro going to do it the way that they normally do — and avoid a strategic public input process?

    1. There just isn’t much stuff that can be terminated at Angle Lake. I-5 HOV is a fast one-seat-ride, particularly when the buses use the Seneca left-exit. Sounder is the fast peak-period service for South King.

    2. from the plan: Connect with Link light rail at Othello, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations

      No mention of Rainier Beach Station or Mt. Baker Station I guess they’ve realized that those stations are useless for forcing transfers.

      1. Or because the 48 already provides service to near-Ballard and the U-District from Mount Baker Station because the first part of that section says “creating a connection between southeast Seattle and the U District.”

      2. I’m hoping that Link will be able to beat the 48 to the UD from the Mt. Baker or Beacon Hill stations.

      3. It’s talking about the 36/49 route. The 36 terminates at Othello, and it doesn’t go near Mt Baker. The part of Beacon Avenue south of Othello looks like it’s all within walking distance of Othello.

      4. The 48 is slow enough and unreliable enough that even today, I usually prefer to ride Link to downtown and transfer to a bus, rather than ride the 48 all the way. Link is also a lot more frequent, especially on Sundays, when the 48 is down to just one trip every 30 minutes.

    3. Would extending the 8 to Madison Park come at the cost of eliminating the 11 entirely? I think that would be smart, but it might not be popular.

      1. Eliminating the 11 in favor of a full-time frequent 8, with a transfer at CHS, has the crucial benefit that it’ll be substantially faster than the existing bus service, if the SLU segment of this 8-11 doesn’t destroy the reliability of the rest of the route.

      2. The proposed 8 MADISON PK/QUEEN ANNE route would take about 40 minutes end-to-end. The existing 8 QUEEN ANNE/RAINIER BEACH route is scheduled at about 85 minutes end-to-end during peak periods. The shorter route should be easier to keep on schedule if there is sufficient recovery time allowed at the terminals.

      3. It says Madison Valley, not Madison Park. So it could mean terminating at MLK & Madison, as one of the truncation alternatives would have done. As for the 11, it might be subsumed into Madison BRT. That wouldn’t duplicate the 8 I’ve outlined; they would only overlap in a small part in the middle (23rd to 28th).

      4. A shorter scheduled time/distance will help reliability on the east/south end, but some streets are worse than others for reliability, and Denny has got to be the pits. It’s completely possible to out-walk the 8 on a bad day. You can’t fix that with scheduling. You might be able to fix that with peek-a-boo trippers starting at Olive, as Metro did/is doing for the C/D Lines in the peak, but that would require a hitherto-unseen commitment to service quality on that route from Metro.

      5. FWIW the revised cuts proposal for the 8 has it continuing past 15th to Madison Valley and south on MLK as it does now, but then turning west again to terminate near 23rd & Cherry (Garfield HS).

        I really wish SDOT and Metro would start publishing more details about Madison BRT planning.

  9. i’m not sure if I like the comment “not sure I’d consider Laurelhurst much of a priority.”

    Though the areas of Laurelhurst, Sand Point and Ravenna.are not the most densely populated areas, when you consider that U-Village sits somewhat between Laurelhust and Ravenna and you consider the number of bus riders from UW up 25th to Lake City, and the number of employees commuting to Childrens and SandPoint, and also consider the high property values of Laurelhurst (property taxes paid) then I would reconsider your comment.

    Median household income in 2011:
    Laurelhurst (Sandpoint): $134,409
    Seattle: $61,037

    1. I can’t comment on relative worth of Laurelhurst priority, but I can say that public transport has long been a service used more by the poor and paid more by the rich. As long as we continue to see the massive income disparities, it will likely stay that way. If Laurelhurst ridership really doesn’t justify additional service, maybe they could buy extra service, sort of like Seattle is thinking about doing.

    2. Lauralhurst is not really at that big, at it is not unreasonable for people who live there to walk to Sand Point to get service. The density is simply not there to justify a special bus going right to people’s front doors, when frequent service is available a 10-15 minute walk away.

      What Lauralhurst does need, though, is more frequent service on the 65 and 75, plus some express runs that go straight to the UW station.

    3. I don’t consider U Village part of Laurelhurst. I agree it’s a mid-level ridership center, worth serving better than we do now, but that wasn’t what I got from that sentence in the report. If they meant U Village/Childrens, they should have said so.

      1. I was taking it in the context of “Create better connections to U District and Link light rail service at University of Washington station for Laurelhurst, Sand Point and Ravenna”

        Parts of U village lie next to Ravenna

      2. do students shop at U-ville? maybe QFC and SBs but that’s it. the high-end stores target Laurelhurst clientele more than university folk. U-ville is integrated with Laurelhurst whether you like it or not..

      3. I sometimes shop at the U-Village and I do see students there occasionally. Although, very few of them take the bus to get there. Those that have cars probably drive; those that don’t just walk. It’s actually not a bad walk from the U-district – straight down 45th, much more direct than any bus route.

      4. There’s student housing next to and in the vicinity of U Village. I was an occasional rider of the 372 when I attended UW and would see many ride down the hill from campus and exit there. The UW surplus store is also across the street from U Village though much of the stuff you get there requires a car to move.

      5. There are huge floods of UW students, staff and faculty riding the 68 and 372 along 25th avenue. I don’t think I’ve been on either route in the morning while the UW was in session where riders at the last few stops on 25th weren’t passed up.

        While Ravenna has a reputation for being a high-income SF neighborhood there are a fair number of relatively inexpensive apartments in the corridor as well.

  10. I am disappointed with the lack of attention to south king county specifically, I think there are some opportunities for improvement, consolidation and rationalization of south I5 service that does not appear to be given specific attention. Including expanding ST service to serve metro P&R lots providing mid-day and night service that metro is unable to provide. I also think there is opportunity for metro and PT to work with addressing service to NE Tacoma.

    1. Which specific P&Rs are unserved off-peak? I think they are all served, just not necessarilty with a 1-seat/stand ride to downtown.

  11. I wonder what this means: [I]Restructure commuter service from East King County — routes 252, 255, 257, 268 and 311 — with ST Express Route 545[/I]

    Metro is already eliminating much peak hour commuter service to Seattle with elimination of routes like 250, 260, 265. That pretty much means the Houghton Park & Ride and Overlake Park & Ride are useless for commuting to Seattle.

    While the 520 project could have included a facility for a 545 stop near S. Kirkland P&R, in WS-DOT’s wisdom and ST/MT’s lack of input, it doesn’t, so the 545 cannot serve S. Kirkland P&R without a huge time penalty. Eliminating 252/257 would make Totem Lake have no fast service toward Seattle.

    The only thing in this that seems applicable is that route 268 duplicates most of ST 545. But the rest seems random.

    1. I was wondering that too. There has been talk about the South Kirkland P&R becoming a significant transfer point so, is the 545 really going to go to it and slow down all the Redmond riders? It would make more sense to consolidate the Kirkland routes with the 540.

    2. Wild and crazy idea: Have the 545 serve South Kirkland P&R on weekends only. Currently the 545 and 255 both run half-hourly then; without any changes, that could give South Kirkland 15-minute service. Or, if we consolidate the 234/235/255 between Kirkland and South Kirkland, maybe the 545 could even be upgraded.

      This has the disadvantage of differing service patterns on weekdays and weekends, but given how many routes don’t run at all on weekends, I think that wouldn’t be too bad.

      1. I don’t like it. Even on weekends, serving South Kirkland P&R is still a huge time penalty. It’s not worth it just to increase frequency to an isolated P&R lot with nothing around it.

        Also, the only people who would benefit by such a move are those that drive to South Kirkland P&R. Those that catch the 255 further north would be no worse off, but no better off. Redmond riders would clearly be worse off, as they would see significantly slower service, but no increase for them in usable frequency. If the idea is that Redmond riders should be driving to South Kirkland P&R to catch the bus on weekends, this idea could make sense, but this is not the direction we should be moving in.

      2. It’s really too bad that WS-DOT didn’t make the HOV ramp at 108th Ave NE bi-directional. Then there could be a stop along the ramp for the 545 and 542, maybe even 252/257 and 555/556. One benefit of such a stop is also connections to downtown Kirkland and Bellevue for Redmond riders.

  12. Pike/Pine goes from 5 lines today west of Bellevue Ave (10,11,43,47,49), 3 east of Bellevue Ave (10,11,49) down to 2 west of Bellevue Ave (10, 43) and 1 east of Bellevue Ave (10). Theres still a ton of transit oriented housing stock there and also under construction, seems that new service reduction wont be adequate.

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