Bay A:  Waiting for the 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, and 316
Bay A: Waiting for the 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, and 316

People sometimes ask me, “what would make Seattle’s transit system even better?” Well, over the years we at STB have suggested hundreds of possible improvements to buses, trains and ferries. With apologies to BuzzFeed, here are nine things that would make Seattle transit service better, a few of which are incredibly cheap (or even free) to implement.

1. Add More Full-time Bus Lanes

Red Bus Lanes Euston Road
Red Bus Lanes Euston Road. Flickr user Ian Fisher.

Bus-only lanes are an incredibly cheap and effective way to make buses faster and move more people using the same amount of street. Sadly, many of Seattle’s bus-only lanes end abruptly or revert to parking lanes outside of the afternoon peak. That might make sense if everyone worked 9-5 jobs downtown, but in today’s economy people are on the move all the time. Bus lanes should follow suit. 24/7 bus lanes on Fauntleroy Ave SW, 15th Ave NW, and Aurora Ave N (home of RapidRide C, D, and E respectively, among other routes) would be a great start. Painted red, of course.

2. Un-suck Denny Way

Proposed Changes on Denny and Howell

Route 8 is so unreliable it literally drives people to buy cars. With thousands of jobs in South Lake Union, and thousands of new apartments right up Capitol Hill, things will only get worse on Denny Way in the coming years. Moving a couple of bus stops and closing off Yale Ave would help things significantly for relatively little cost. Redirecting some freeway traffic to our shiny new Mercer St. on-ramps could help as well. If we want to be more ambitious, there’s always the gondola.

3. Add a Link Station at 130th St NE

NE 130th Street High Demand Corridors
NE 130th Street Station – Linear, High-Demand Destinations

Light rail to Lynnwood is currently slated to open in 2023, but the location of the stations themselves have not been finalized. We think a station at 130th St NE makes a ton of sense. It would better serve Lake City and provide fast cross-town bus connections to Link. While not exactly pedestrian friendly, it avoids the traffic on 145th. Good bus-rail connections re key to Link’s success.

4. Put Bus Rapid Transit on Madison St.
As one of Seattle’s designated transit priority corridors in Central Seattle, Madison Street should have fast, frequent transit between Downtown, First Hill, and the CD. Fortunately we don’t have to dream about this one – this project is already underway.

5. No More Fumbling for Quarters!
Seattle’s buses are just too damn popular for riders to be fumbling for change when they board, especially in the afternoon rush hour. Agencies should ameliorate the slowness caused by the end of the Ride Free Area by reducing the need for cash payments from the system as much as possible. Giving riders a discount for using ORCA cards, lowering or eliminating the $5 ORCA fee, and moving to a proof-of-payment system would all be steps in the right direction.

6. Add a Bus Station to the Olive Way Onramp

Route 545’s Detour in Capitol Hill

What if there were a way for express buses to the Eastside to stop on Capitol Hill without having to make half-a-dozen left turns along the way? by putting a bus stop at Olive Way and I-5, buses would be able to pick up Capitol Hill passengers with minimal delay.

7. Put RapidRide on Delridge Ave
Delridge Ave is one of the top 15 transit corridors in the city, as identified by the Transit Master Plan. Route 120, which currently runs on that street, has the highest ridership in West Seattle (though RapidRide C is closing in – showing how BRT can boost ridership). Upgrading the 120 to RapidRide standards is an easy win for mobility in an area with high transit ridership.

8. Move Routes 3 and 4 from James to Yesler

Map of ideas described in post
Map by Oran

The 3 & 4 trolleybuses run through some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods – from Queen Anne, to Belltown to Downtown to First Hill and the Central District. Keeping them on schedule through all that traffic is not an easy task. One relatively simple way to improve reliability for these core routes is to re-route them on Yesler between 3rd Ave and Harborview.

9. Extend Light Rail to Ballard and West Seattle
Ok, so this one’s obviously a lot bigger than the rest of the items on this list. An obvious candidate for the next regional ballot measure, this project would transform the city, connecting most of the dense neighborhoods with fast, frequent transit. Ballard-Downtown, Ballard-UW or both? As for light rail to West Seattle, how far South should it go?

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments.

149 Replies to “9 Ways to Make Seattle Public Transit Better”

  1. 7bis. Swap RapidRide D and Route 24 through Queen Anne

    RapidRide is supposed to be a limited-stop approximation of BRT service. Yet its southbound routing gets stuck for several minutes at the Mercer Pl/Elliott Ave traffic light, and the northbound routing gets stuck waiting for pedestrians and other vehicles to clear the Queen Anne Ave and Mercer St intersection.

    Riders in Lower Queen Anne are well-served by a number of routes to downtown, and are close enough in to downtown that they don’t see any of the speed advantages that are supposedly part of RapidRide’s brand. Let’s restore Route 24 to its original streetcar routing through Queen Anne, and give the residents of Ballard and Crown Hill the fast access to downtown they deserve.

    1. +1. The Uptown routing looks like a political concession to add to the list of neighborhoods served. It is absolutely not needed for Uptown-downtown trips, especially if the 13 consolidation evens out the headways. But you’d still need something for Uptown-Ballard trips, and not a transfer in Interbay. Fortunately, Denny Way is only five blocks from Mercer, and can take you to Ballard. You might say, “Oh, but that’s too far from the current stops.” But people’s origins aren’t the current stops. Most of them are coming from Seattle Center, or from in between, or are transferring from the D to the 8, or doing any number of other things that would mitigate the impact of a different station location.

    2. Can Metro reroute the D without having to repay the federal grant? It would shrink the list of neighborhoods served, which might have been a condition of the grant.

    3. No need to slow up the 24. Here’s how you fix the D Line without harshing anyone’s Queen Anne mellow:

      1) Route the D Line along Elliott
      2) Keep the 24 like it is (well, at least between downtown and the Magnolia Bridge; there are all sorts of ways to improve it in Magnolia)
      3) Even out headways on existing Queen Anne lines (these could be as low as 7-8 minutes with current resources)
      4) In conjunction with un-sucking Denny, extend the 8 down to Elliott, providing a frequent LQA-Elliott connection and same-stop transfers to and from Ballard and Magnolia.

      You’d need to find a way to turn around the 8 on Elliott. I think that could be done by rearranging the area of 14th Ave W and W Garfield (at the foot of the Magnolia Bridge) just a bit.

    4. And until that time, fix the @#@%!*&%#*& idiotic traffic light at Elliott and Mercer Place. There was a time when it actually worked sensibly.

      1. Remember that? It used to be 15 seconds of green for every 45 seconds of red.

        Now it’s 45 seconds of green for 2.5-4 minutes of red. SDOT claims its to avoid Elliott/15th backups elsewhere, but in my experience it actually makes them worse!

        Anti-transit folks laugh at us when they zoom by a “rapid” bus sitting there with its tail between its legs. And they’re right to mock us — they’ll be well down Western or Denny before we’ve even moved!

        What is it going to take to get someone responsible for Seattle transit to actually give a shit about the experience of Seattle transit?

    5. +1 Just another cry/plea to re-route the D to Ballard. Ain’t nothing rapid about the current Rapid Ride. How many minutes are added on the Ballard/downtown commute by detouring through LQA? 10?

  2. Light rail from west seattle to ballard is smart and has been needed since the failed monorail proposal got 51% of the vote a couple of times. Since it was killed as a vendeta to get light rail 100% support, it will always be last out of spite. I expect to see it being seriously talked about around 2040.

    1. The Seattle.Monorail project killed itself through mismanagement.

      A further issue from day 1 was the failure of supporters and the board to build political allies. This is one of the things that helped Sound Transit weather it’s own crisis in the early 2000’s.

      Taking cheap shots at Sound Transit and local elected officials at every opportunity really didn’t help on that score.

      There will be no expansion of Sound Transit service beyond what is currently planned as part of ST2 without rail to at least Ballard.

      1. There were multiple reasons the monorail failed, but I certainly wouldn’t say those doing the hard work to try to make it happen were doing it to stop light rail. Indeed, they chose the Ballard-West-Seattle path to complement, rather than compete with, Sound Transit. If anything, Sound Transit was wasting political capital running a rear-guard effort against the monorail. In the end, it was the projected insufficient revenue stream that killed the monorail, due largely to the legislature exempting new cars from the tab. The fact that the monorail board could project the revenue would be insufficient doesn’t suggest to me that they were incompetent.

        As for Sane Transit, which *was* using monorail to hurt Sound Transit, my recollection is that JF was one of the ringleaders in the group. The phrase “monorail insincerity” comes to mind.

      2. At this point I don’t really remember all the details. I agree accusing the board and SMP staff of mismanagement is unfair on my part.

        The project was somewhat doomed from the start as the project promised to voters really couldn’t be done with the revenue available.

        The people in charge of SMP were a bit slow to manage expectations downward. However that can be hard to do especially for a young agency taking a lot of flack at the same time.

        At this point the only useful thing is to try to learn the lessons and not repeat the same mistakes.

      3. The mismanagement accusation is accurate, but not because of any effort to compete with Sound Transit. The problem is that the monorail financial plan was inadequate from the start, without any hope of raising the resources actually needed to build the line.

    2. Who killed the monoral? The voters. Why? Mainly because they were alarmed by the financing plan. Some of that was justified and some of it was scaremongering, but Sound transit had nothing to do with it. Early on, ST rightly argued that one integrated mode is better than a mishmash of modes. But after the monorail was established, both ST and the monoral team refrained from making future lines overlap with the other’s initial lines. ST excluded Ballard – West Seattle from consideration, and the monoral team published a six-line vision excluding Northgate-UW-downtown-Rainier. (Instead for instance, it had a line on 35th NE/23rd S.)

      Because ST excluded Ballard – West Seattle for a decade, that left those neighborhoods far behind when the monoral collapsed. Seattle also excluded limited-stop bus alternatives, because again the monorail was going to take care of it. That left Ballard and West Seattle without any plans for an alternative except RapidRide, which is a lower level of service and was never intended intended to replace rapid transit.

      I supported the monorail throughout its growth, mainly because I was afraid light rail would get watered down to surface-everywhere as all the existing light rails in the US had been. But with Link being more grade-separated than I expected, and the instability of the monorail’s financing, and the advantages of one integrated mode, I realized several years ago I was wrong.

      1. The voters “mainly” opposed the monorail because of “impact” more than “cost” Mike Orr suggests. The design was faulty. Double-track was too complicated whereas Single-track was actually possible at a fraction of the cost. The single-track engineering perspective was haughtily dismissed by men in suits whose source of income otherwise has long been automobile sales and services. Drop dead GM.

    3. Do you want a monorail?
      Are you sure?
      Are you really sure?
      Are you really, really sure?
      Are you really, really, totally sure?

      Monorail killed by Seattle process. Nothing to see here; move along.
      Walk, dummy, you killed the monorail!

    4. It wasn’t wishy-washiness. The middle votes were very close, less than 500 or maybe even 200 votes between yes and no. The “No” faction kept filing initiatives again and again hoping one of those close votes would tip in their favor. I don’t remember their motivation but I think it was anti-transit; i.e., they weren’t willing to reinvest the money in light rail or other rapid transit, they just wanted the statud quo, and no unsightly elevated trains. Some of the motivation was nervousness about the financing, which really was flaky (partly because Eyman’s tax cut wiped away the MVET that was its primary source of funding, and partly because they were accounting on hope). Then finances got worse before the fifth vote and major features were cut (double tracking, and either the north or the south half, I forget which), that finally swung a few people to No and it failed. (Again, I voted Yes on all of them, which I regret now.)

      1. Of course it was “anti-transit”. That is all they care about. Propose Light Rail, they say “Oh BRT, BRT, BRT! It’s cheaper”. Propose BRT they say “Oh regular bus is better and cheaper. Don’t take lanes from cars”. Propose increasing bus service and they say “But look at all those buses that run empty!”.

        Basically they want to empty the city of lower income and tawny skinned people so that they can relive the 1950’s.

  3. Caveat: I have never lived in Seattle.

    With that caveat, idea #8 looks a bit suspect to me. It would make the two bus routes more circuitous. Moreover, if the congestion is caused by high traffic internal to the dense neighborhood, rather than just cars accessing I-5, then it’s likely there’s a lot of ridership coming from James, for which Yesler would be less convenient.

    1. Read the linked article. The traffic is not indigenous to the neighborhood; it’s cars draining out of downtown and getting on I-5.

      There really isn’t much of a neighborhood to be generating cars in those blocks anyway. It’s all freeway overpasses.

      1. Actually, there is neighborhood on Yesler. It’s called Yesler Terrace and Jefferson Terrace. Moving the 3/4 to Yesler wouldn’t just reduce its travel time. It would also serve one of Seattle’s least-affuent neighborhoods. BTW, that neighborhood is scheduled to become a lot more dense in the next few years.

      2. The traffic on James is severe and it’s mostly going to I-5. Almost all of Seattle’s traffic jams are around freeway entrances. This reroute would never have been brought up if most of the traffic were local and there were lots of bus riders between 3rd and 9th. In fact, Metro/SDOT has been planning to do this for a few years as the note in the bottom of the map says, and it likely would have been done by now if it hadn’t been for the recession.

        On James going east from 3rd Avenue, it’s a steep uphill. The only potential ridership is the jail at 5th and the apartments at 7th, but few people get on/off there. At 6th is a block-long freeway overpass with parking underneath and nothing else. When you reach 9th it’s flat again, with many apartments and hospitals and the Sorrento Hotel. The flatness allows people to walk any direction to bus stops, such as Madison four blocks north, or Broadway four blocks east (future streetcar).

        On Yesler, it’s a bridge from 3rd to 8th, so the fastest way around. and another bridge over the freeway. The incline is less steep than James. 6th is a little-used steep road to Chinatown, and there’s a pedestrian path east of it to the office complex and Kobe Terrace Park. 8th is where the bus turns to Harborview. East of that is Yesler Terrace, a low-density public housing project which is about to be converted to a high-density mixed-income neighborhood.

        I’m not sure of the merits of the reroutes east of Broadway, but west of Broadway it would be significantly better. Everybody east of Broadway has been suffering with the incredibly slow 3/4 for decades, and would welcome the change. Indeed, some of them take the 27 (on Yesler) to avoid the 3/4, so they’re already voting with their feet.

    2. Alon, the stops on James are responsible for very little of the ridership on the 3 & 4. Between 3rd and 7th the blocks on either side are either government buildings (including the county jail) or freeway ROW.

      The traffic on James is almost entirely going to/from the freeway interchange or using it as an arterial access point to Downtown. (Which is a fancy way of saying the traffic isn’t internal)

      By contrast Yesler and 9th have relatively light traffic. The area between the Hospital and Yesler is being developed as a high-density residential neighborhood.

    3. What about splitting routes 3 and 4 into two different routes through there? Since Item 4 is putting faster transit on Madison, you could put, say the 3 on Madison and come through Harborview from there. Whatever route isn’t moved to Madison would take the proposed Yesler route.

      1. The 4 is a redundant holdover from half a century ago. Metro has already proposed twice to consolidate it into the 3, including in one of the cut proposals that’s now in limbo. The 4 goes east on Jefferson to 23rd (that’s its only useful part), then turns south to Rainier & Walker. All that area is with walking distance of the 27, 14, 7, and/or 48, which are all faster than it.

  4. what would make Seattle’s transit system even better?”

    Lol. We are still not getting the basics down. *five* of my commuter bus runs to/from Ballard this week were no shows. No idea why but it caused the other runs to overflow. We can do all these things but if clunky behemoth Metro can’t put service out there, there’s not much reason. I would be happy with contracted transit service and our scarce dollars would go a lot further.

    I am starting the process of moving out of Ballard. Pie in the sky rail will be great but the transit service there is a complete joke today given scale of development. On the plus side I won’t have trouble finding a buyer.

    1. Metro has been letting the staffing level attrition, rather than lay operators off, in preparation for today’s service change.

    2. Samuel, my own reasons for escaping from Ballard this last winter had nothing to do with transit, since I was looking forward to working very hard to bring the place the electric rail and improved bus service it’s deserved for decades.

      Instead, I took off in a shower of hybrid sparks as I would from anyplace where the drastic shift of the local economy from light industry to heavy real-estate wrecked my home as well as my neighborhood.

      Lately- like since KC Metro started collecting bus fares in the Tunnel- I’ve started to share your thoughts about a change of agency- though any criticism of King County has to take into account two decades of desperation over losing the steady funding that Metro previously had.

      But would rather spend transit money repairing or building an agency where none of my effort and taxes go to CEO salaries and shareholders. Because such companies share a trait with their workers: work quality matching wages, and needing frequent replacement.

      Mark Dublin

    3. What Brent means is that Metro has been silently cancelling runs this month due to a shortage of drivers, and that could be some of your no-shows. But that went away this morning with the service change, so I would check the next week or two to see if it’s better. However, in general terms, Ballard’s service is atrocious for its population level and density level, with buses sometimes half an hour late and taking an hour to get downtown. So I wouldn’t blame you for moving out of there due to the current transit. But don’t think that earlier this month was typical.

      1. I say ditch the 40 and go back to the way it was before. Bring back the local 18 and 17 and the 75. There would still be service to Northgate (on the 75) but, with the 40 starting off at Northgate, it can be several minutes late by the time it hits NW 85th Street. The local 18, starting in Ballard, was always thus on time.

      2. At the very least, any replacement for the 40 should go through Fremont; the Fremont-Ballard-SLU connection is very useful. And I also think there should be at least some Ballard-Northgate service. Though, I’m not doctrinaire about connecting them… maybe the D could go to Northgate instead?

      3. No 17 on Nickerson! It was frustrating to be so near to Fremont and yet so far. And it was half-hourly so it was frustrating to go to those stops and maybe have to wait twenty minutes for your bus. And when I lived on 65th & 15th, I hated having to guess whether to walk to the 15 or 18 when they were half-hourly. You not only had to judge whether you could get to the 18 before it left, you had to take into account that either one of them could be arbitrarily late, so you could get to the 18 stop, miss it, go back to the 15 stop, and miss it too. Better to have a RapidRide that’s uniformly frequent with even stop spacing at the same stops.

        And the 40 has become very popular; there’s no way Metro is going to change it south of 85th. North of 85th, the D may replace it to go to Northgate someday, or it may be rerouted to 85th to Northgate, but besides those it’s unlikely to change.

  5. Excellent post. As usual, very well constructed and very well thought out. I hope Scott Kubly, (Seattle’s new transportation chief) reads these suggestions, especially the first eight. Number nine reminds me of the Sesame Street song (one of these things is not like the other…). Anyway, I would also add to this list:

    10) A full fledged transit center at SoDo. Here is a summary, as well as some other ideas that, as the author said, would pay for themselves very quickly:

    1. Oh, good Creator. Please don’t inflict another loop-de-loop transit center on my 132. Transit Centers are the Spawn of Eyman. They may create layover space, but they add incredibly to the trip time of anyone forced to transfer there. They are unpleasant places to wait, especially compared to a store-front commercial districts that would be a much better use of that land. I’d be quite pleased for the 124, 131, and 132 to simply serve SODO Station, and lay over somewhere in the neighborhood, or at base. Trucating these routes would improve their reliability enormously. I don’t want to get a smart phone, or have to go out of my way downtown, just to be warned that I will be waiting an hour for my 132.

      Since you bring up transit centers, I raze your +1 SODO Transit Center, and counter-suggest -1 on the Burien Transit Center. Move the 132 to Des Moines Memorial Way/128th/Military Rd, and send it to TIBS. The stretch of the 132 that would lose service consists of a park, a series of drainage ponds, more parks, and about a block of houses that already well within the walkshed of Burien TC.

      1. At 60 mph on I-5, ST 592 trip, with no stops in Tacoma, should take closer to one hour between Seattle and Olympia than present two hours. Three transit-center diversions of up to half a mile each would de-express anything.

        Whatever pro’s and con’s of transit centers in general, construction of new ones and retention of existing ones need to include relocations or ramps to keep “Express” from being another term for “Slow Blue and White Bus.”


      2. @Mark — I think you missed the point. A SoDo station would not be “a diversion”, but the destination. Buses would turn around at that point. If you want to go to some other part of downtown, you can walk or take the train.

        Otherwise, I agree with you. A bus like the 592 should take about an hour (finishing the HOV lanes should help). Likewise, a bus from Tacoma should take about a half hour. But how can do you do that if you spend 15 minutes (or more) stuck in traffic downtown? You could, of course, build another tunnel. But that won’t happen, and if it does, it probably won’t be for buses. The best solution is for buses to interact with trains. For the south end, the logical place for this is at SoDo. Any further south, and someone who transfers will lose a lot of time (from the south end to SoDo is very slow on Link). Every other station is just too difficult to get to. But with a few improvements (such as the ones suggested) you could have a largely grade separated run from Olympia to SoDo.

        There is another, not so obvious advantage to the SoDo station. Trains can’t go very frequently to the airport. Nor will they be able to go frequently over the lake. Meanwhile, the demand will be there for very frequent service from the UW to downtown. You could run extra trains in between the other trains and have them turn around at the International District, but you might as well have them turn around at SoDo, which is much easier to get to (if you have a way to get to the ID within seconds of leaving the freeway, I’m all ears).

        As to the other transit centers (or bus stations) they should be on the freeway. I think it makes sense to add one more stop to Link on the south end, by the freeway. The buses could get on and off without interacting with traffic. From there, a rider could take Link north, to SeaTac (or Tukwila, Rainier Beach, etc.). Of course, if they want to go much further north (e. g. Beacon Hill) they are better off getting off at SoDo and backtracking south.

        @ Brent — You say you want the routes to truncate at SoDo, but you don’t want a center there. OK, fine. Except a center means the buses can turn around more easily and spend less time in traffic. It is essentially an optimization of the truncation. In other words, buses like the ones you mentioned — buses from West Seattle, White Center, Burien, Tacoma, etc. — go to SoDo and turn around. You might find that “unpleasant” but a lot of people would prefer that over a dark, industrial area. In any event, if enough buses travel often enough on that route (e. g. we have a decent BRT system covering West Seattle) then either the buses will get bogged down on the surface streets, they will scatter, or we need a transit center. The first will mean the end of BRT (you can’t have good BRT without reliability). The second would reduce the value of BRT (transfers to other south end destinations would be problematic). The only logical solution is to spend a huge amount of money building another bus tunnel, spend even more on a train tunnel (which would probably only serve one area) or build a transit station.

      3. Brent,

        I agree that “store-front commercial places” are nicer environments for TC’s. But there are no such places adjacent to the Link trackage south of downtown except possibly Othello which is buried deep in the Rainier Valley, far from I-5 with only MLK to access it. If the plans for Rainier Beach Station take off it might be a decent place to transfer, but the physical layout is pretty inconvenient without its own elevated bus platforms directly over the Link station.

        And, while RBS would be a reasonable place to intercept buses from I-5 south and southeast of 518, it would be a terrible backtrack for Burien, Des Moines and Arbor Heights riders. SoDo is better for a larger total number of riders.

      4. @Anadakos — I want to also add that on paper a Rainier Beach transfer sounds great, but unfortunately, there is a significant time and frequency penalty. The time penalty is due to the layout of the Link versus the freeway. The frequency penalty is not an issue now, but could be if we tried to optimize the system by having three minute headways from Northgate to SoDo (we would need a turnback station at SoDo to have that).

    2. There are legitimate arguments on both sides of light rail to West Seattle. But that’s precisely the debate we (Seattle and the region) should have. (I assume that the alternative to light rail is full BRT lanes.)

      1. I agree. But I mostly mentioned the last one as being different from the others because it is so much more costly. I think it is worth it (at least the Ballard part) but either way, it is a lot more costly. For the cost of Ballard to the UW light rail (which is cheaper than Ballard to downtown or West Seattle light rail) you could make all the other improvements and still have money left over to, say, build a bridge over I-5 next to the Northgate station.

      2. West Seattle bus commuters are so at the mercy of knuckleheads who get into accidents on the WS Bridge and 99N, not to mention increasing car traffic entering the bridge and larger slower queues entering 99N from the WS bridge resulting from the other dynamic of an increasing population residing in West Seattle served by more or less the same transit infrastructure architecture. West Seattle needs ROW options for public transportation in the worse way rather than homilies from Kubly that appear to extol the status quo in encouraging austerity–walk, bike, two people owning one car instead of two–to work with the present infrastructure and short term plans for link.

    3. Some additional attractions that would make the SODO TC more effective:

      1) Terminate RR D and RR E at the SODO TC which would provide even more options for connections to downtown and Belltown. This would provide at least 6 trains per hour and 8 express buses from SODO to downtown per off-peak hour. The wait for a transfer would always be less than 5 minutes (off peak) and less during peaks.
      2) De-couple the C & D lines; terminate the C Line in Uptown and re-route the D Line to Denny/Eliot. This would preserve RR service to Uptown (via C Line) and make the D Line about 5 minutes faster to Ballard.
      3) Build a serious bike share station at SODO with a dedicated bike path into downtown

      1. There has been talk both at Metro and at the state about decoupling the C and D, which would bring the D down to Pioneer Square to the delight of some Ballardites. But it requires more service hours and that’s where it got stuck. The state was talking about something in the transportation package or AWV mitigation for it, but both of those failed.

      2. I guess “failed” is the wrong word for the transportation package, since there never was a package to vote on. What failed was making the package.

  6. I don’t disagree with #6, but it has limited shelf life. Redirecting the SR 520 routes to UW and South Lake Union is under serious consideration for 2016. Very few routes going up I-5 north of SR 520 will remain after Lynnwood Station opens in 2023 or so. Once Overlake Station is open, that bus stop may not have any buses left to use it.

    Getting from Capitol Hill to the eastside will soon be via U-Link.

    If we have a pot of money to be used for such a stop, I’d prefer it be used to improve the connection between buses and UW Station.

    1. I think it’d still be worth it for reverse commuters on the 41, 71, 72, 73 until North Link opens, and for a 512 stop until Lynnwood Link opens.

    2. A stop on the freeway ramp is relatively cheap. It wouldn’t have to be in place long to justify itself in terms of saved service hours.

      1. Let it block traffic. That’s what the bus bulbs on Pine and Dexter intentionally do. There’s fifty people on the bus vs ten people in the ten cars behind it.

      2. WSDOT might be a little less enthusiastic about blocking an I-5 on ramp than SDOT is about stopping through traffic on a local arterial.

    3. It’s only widening the on-ramp, adding a walkway, and placing a shelter. How expensive can that be?

      1. Parsons Brinckerhoff: [Whisper]: “How expensive do you WANT it to be.”

        ‘Merican engineering can make the simplest-sounding project into $100 Million dollar concrete-pouring extravaganza.

    4. Getting from Capitol Hill to the eastside will soon be via U-Link.

      I wouldn’t count those chickens.

      This part of the Hill’s west slope is dense, and getting denser all the time. It is more than ten minute’s walk from the closest Link entrance. On a fairly arduous slope. In the wind and rain. At 7:30 in the morning.

      I think a whole lot of Link boosters will find themselves surprised which trips people continue to find not worth the access penalty.

      Microsoft shuttles will still pick you up near your home, and keep you dry the whole way, will they not?


  7. On #1, I would note that the RR C line already has a good deal of bus lanes marked in WS proper. What’s really needed (which is a bit more expensive) is a bus-only ramp from the WS Bridge to NB 99, where the current bus lane on the bridge ends at a reliably slow choke-point. This project would also be of great benefit for a Delridge RR line.

    1. As an alternate put in bus lanes the entire way along Spokane Street between the bridge and I-5 with direct access ramps to the I-5 HOV lanes and busway.

      See RossB’s comment about turning SODO into a full-blown transit center.

      1. I’ve read all the advocacy here about the SODO transit center over the past few months, considered it, and really hate the idea. If you live in West Seattle and ride transit, you have two goals – get downtown, and connect with fast transit. Guess what routes let you achieve both those goals most efficiently? The ones we have, made more efficient with dedicated bus lanes. For the love of God, don’t make all of West Seattle get off a bus and transfer in the middle of nowhere midway in a 4-mile journey. Or if there’s a transfer, put it in an actual place like King St Station. WS is part of the City of Seattle, but is geographically separate. Let’s not exacerbate that.

      2. +1. A forced transfer at SODO would be a terrible idea, and accomplish little except to waste everyone’s time. In fact, I would argue that some of the buses that do serve SODO, particularly the 594, should continue past it on the freeway and go straight into downtown. (They can still use the SODO busway without stops as an I-5 bypass those times when traffic on the freeway is exceptionally bad).

      3. Using that logic, we shouldn’t force a transfer from Lake City Way at 130th, let alone Northgate. The buses should simply get on the freeway and go downtown. SoDo isn’t in the middle of nowhere, it is within walking distance of the stadiums and Pioneer Square. it is much more of a destination than 130th will ever be. But in both cases, it makes sense to force a transfer so that the buses can be fast, frequent and reliable. If there was a way to get the buses to downtown faster I would be all for it, but so far, no has suggested a better solution (other than building another transit tunnel, which is probably too expensive).

        I should also mention that trains from SoDo to Northgate should have headways of three minutes. Based on that, I think a bus that skipped SoDo and went through downtown would be passed by the person who transferred, waited, then rode the train.

      4. Except that 130th is miles and miles away from the hub of every route anyone would want.

        How on earth would you sell this to voters? “Sodo transit center. A really long walk away from where you actually want to go! Or just get out of the bus and walk through the rain to a train and wait some more, cuz we’ve already demonstrated our talent at building easy transfers at Mt Baker!!”

        It is simply too close yet too far away from the King St transit hub. The transfer penalty is ridiculous at that location – it does not compare to 130th. Build some exclusive bus lanes all the way up 4th, do a good job on the Columbia St bus lanes, and get me where I actually want to go.

      5. jw,

        Read the linked post. The transfer would be vertical and the bus facility above the Link Station would guarantee no rain below. So the transfer from the bus to the train would be dry, and if you’re going anywhere else than the south end of downtown (say up to Madison) you’ll get to your destination faster and more comfortably even with the transfer.

        Now if you don’t put a roof on the second level you’d be waiting for the bus in the rain on the outbound run, but you would have done that downtown anyway. Given that there would be no conflict with pedestrian traffic as there is downtown, I’d advocate that each of the three or four bus platforms had a Link-style canopy.

        By the way, SoDo offers a GREAT place for turnback because it’s only a minute and a half from the loop at the VMF. Trains could reverse direction without requiring the operator to change ends.

      6. East link and the new streetcar line (and Sounder for that matter) all meet at King St. Truncating inbound WS bus lines at Sodo, taking a train 1.3 miles and then transferring again is a.good idea?

        You’re putting a suburban solution smack in between two urban nodes, only because it’s “easy” to build. By forcing that transfer, you’re pushing WS farther out of the City. It won’t sell here.

      7. One more thing – I do realize why this might be a decent solution if you’ve come up the freeway from Federal Way, let’s say. My specific objection is that it’s a horrible solution for West Seattleites. The distance is too short between nodes for this transfer.

      8. 130th is a different situation. It’s not to torce a transfer; it’s to give Lake City access to Link.

  8. I would add: Remove the buses from the downtown tunnel.

    The slow pace of our light rail trains through downtown is an embarrassment. If bus service was moved to the surface, we could have fast and reliable service. I don’t think we should have to wait until 2019 — as currently planned — for this to happen.

    1. Better idea, Conrad:

      Take the communications and coordination capabilities of the DSTT out of mothballs, start giving operating personnel training and motivation to run it as designed, and above all, put it under the consolidated control that any industrial system in the world absolutely requires.

      And get those damned bus fare boxes out from under the wheels down there, or give operations to an agency that can- or will. No choice about public- Veolia’s shareholders aren’t interested in working this hard for so little return.

      That way we won’t have to wait until 2019 (if we’re lucky) to make the either rail or bus service work through Downtown Seattle. Will also cure present management habit of greeting every single suggestion for DSTT improvement with reminder of “it’s only temporary until we get trains.”

      Your argument would have a lot better chance given one condition- the permanent all-day transit lanes this posting suggests. Without them…have you been in Seattle long enough to remember the “Wall of Buses?” Much like the way the Washington DC police used a whole fleet of buses parked end to end to save the White House from protesters in the ’60’s. Which moved faster than the other memory.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Every time someone points out that bus operations are what slows down the tunnel,you come out and say it’s only bad because they’re not doing it the way your committee told them to, yet you never provide specific criticisms.

        What exactly is deficient about the “coordination” in the tunnel? Because to my eye, the biggest problem is the buses themselves.

      2. Any discussion of the problems in the tunnel that doesn’t begin with an examination of why the trains dwell for over two minutes, and why there’s a minute of dead time around each one is just an exercise in finger pointing.

      1. Clearly buses are the problem. It takes forever to people to board, an unfortunate consequence of the end of the ride-free zone. But it’s also due to a blocking system that only allows either trains or buses in any section of tunnel or a station (direction independent)…and the sometimes 10-15 second delay for the light to turn green once a vehicle of a certain type has excited a section. Metro often touts that it’s the only agency in the world that operates buses and trains in the same tunnel…it needs to take a hint and acknowledge that this is a *bad* thing. That said, downtown needs right of way improvements before a glut of buses are dumped back onto the grid.

      2. Pittsburgh has been operating trains and buses in the Mount Washington tunnel since 1973. I’m not sure exactly how frequent it is, but I think they have some 7 frequent bus routes through there, plus both light rail lines. However, they don’t have any tunnel stations. The busway and light rail lines split before the stations at each end.

  9. With or without Prop 1, the Metro cuts are going to cause crowded buses to become even more crowded. Seattle is growing, and Metro is not. We need to make crowded buses liveable, even if it means that not everyone will have a seat on a half-full bus.

    – All door boarding on all buses, with ORCA readers at each door. San Francisco does this, and it works great.
    – Make all new buses have 3 doors. Speeds boarding, and lets people spread out in the bus while still being close to a door.
    – More floor space, less seats. Make standing a workable option, and leaves room for people to move around the aisle, even if there are other people in the aisle

    1. The seats should count no more than eight, all for ADA riders. The rest of the bus for Straphangers!

    2. You realize rear-door ORCA readers cost a lot of money — which is exactly what Metro doesn’t have and why it’s cutting.

      Three doors on new buses would be nice, and I hope at least the trolleybuses have them.

      2+1 seating would be the best.

  10. +1 on making the UW station a real transfer facility, but the key is to do it right. This means giving buses a dedicated lane down the Montlake exit ramp, and doing it in 2016, not after the hypothetical funding for the proposed Montlake lid. (If buses need to merge with regular traffic to cross the Montlake bridge, that’s ok – where the queue jump is really needed is the exit ramp). Besides just 520 buses, the UW station should also be a transfer point for north Seattle. We need route providing Wedgewood and Sand Point a direct-route connection to the station, without detours to the Children’s Hospital or the U-district.

    Of course, making any of this happen would require Metro to secure new layover space from the UW. And, when the land that all these buses would need for layover spaces currently provides the UW thousands of dollars a month in parking revenue, in a parking lot that was just rebuilt without enough maneuvering room for a 60-foot articulated bus to turn around, this is going to be difficult.

    1. For anyone traveling West of about 20th in North Seattle except maybe right along Pacific UW station isn’t a great transfer point for anything other than the 520 bus routes. Much better transfer points open in 2021 and 2023 for people headed to other destinations.

      Forcing current downtown bus riders to transfer at UW station is a good way to get more than a few to switch to cars.

      While I agree Ravenna, Wedgewood, and Sand Point should have good access to the station, forcing say Maple Leaf or Roosevelt riders to transfer there just means we’ll drive instead.

      1. To be clear, by using the UW station as a transfer point for north Seattle, I did mean Ravenna, Wedgewood, and Sand Point, not Maple Leaf or Roosevelt.

        That said, outside of peak hours when the 76 and 77 are running, the existing level of bus service to those neighborhoods is horrible, and if the cuts go through, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Metro’s current plan is to get rid of the 66 and force these riders onto a rerouted 73. It will at least be frequent, but it will be slow as hell – door to door, a trip from Maple Leaf to downtown would take about an hour. I don’t see anything that could be done at reasonable cost to make Maple Leaf not suck before 2021. Realistically, their best hope is that prop 1 passes and their 66 is preserved.

      2. I do not understand this thinking. Will choice riders really desert the system because of a new routine?

      3. It’s a seven-minute walk from UW Station to the current bus stop in the middle of campus. That’s what would make people switch to driving. The northeast buses go west through campus to the U-District, which is also a major destination and transfer point to northwest Seattle. Rerouting those buses to UW Station would help people going downtown or to the south end, but it would hinder people going to campus or the U-District or northwest Seattle. So it’s a tradeoff.

        The buses that come down the west side of campus, from Maple Leaf or Roosevelt, are a different situation. Currently they’re the 71/72/73 express that go straight to downtown. Rerouting them to UW Station would require a 10-block crawl on Pacific Street, which is already full of buses and near capacity. When Link is extended to the U-District in 2021, those routes can be truncated. They could possibly be rerouted or truncated before then, but it’s unlikely. And as asdf said, one of the cut proposals was to consolidate the 66/71/72/73 into a single route on downtown-UW-Northgate. But it wasn’t mentioned in the latest February revision so I don’t know where it stands; it would be in a later round which may be cancelled or restructured again before it goes into effect.

        I’m pessimistic about Montlake Blvd. I crossed it last week on the 75 at 4:30ish PM, and the two southbound lanes were backed up solid eight blocks from 45th to the station. Converting two lanes to transit lanes would leave only two lanes for general purpose — this on a state highway that’s a main route to 520. I can’t see anyone allowing it to be reduced to two general-purpose lanes, causing the backup to extend ten more blocks to 55th and blocking the west entrances to University Village.

      4. Three responses:

        1) Traffic on Montlake is not that bad.

        Yes, every once in awhile, it can be that bad. But unless there’s residual backup from a Montlake bridge opening, this pretty much happens only during afternoon rush hour, and only in the southbound direction. Northbound Montlake is free-flowing at virtually all times of day. We should not force everyone into a slower route at all times of day because traffic is occasionally backed up on the faster route. If necessary, bus drivers can choose to reroute the bus through campus on days when traffic on Montlake is exceptionally bad, since the only stops affected would be drop-off only.

        2) Many riders from NE Seattle have to already transfer to reach the 71/72/73. If you’re going to make a transfer anyway, why not connect to Link, rather than a slow, crowded, and unreliable bus.

        3) During peak hours, there should be enough buses to go around to have some take the Montlake route, and others the campus route. So people can do either.

        4) If nothing else, the peak-hour 74 would be an excellent candidate for truncation. It would save those going downtown considerable time, plus enable higher frequency in the peak-direction and service to the Children’s Hospital in the reverse direction. Since anyone headed to the U-district would still have the 30, the adverse effects from such a change would be minimal.

  11. #2.5 un-suck SB Westlake/9th approaching Mercer.

    Not sure what it would take but during afternoon peak the #40 can take as long as 45 minutes to go 3 blocks.

    Ban turns at Mercer, aggressively ticket anyone blocking the intersection, eliminate parking and put in a bus lane. Anything to nuke this choke point and the similar but less severe one at Dexter.

      1. That’s quite the answer, Brent. Not sure its all that accurate.

        One of the benefits from doing the C Line as a Rapid Ride line was the associated restructure for West Seattle. If they hadn’t done the C Line to force this issue, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

        The restructure that created the 120 had happened just a few years before Transit Now went to the ballot. From a network structure perspective, the C-Line really needed to happen. The 120 could use the upgrade, but at this point, they’re just infrastructure improvements.

      2. Metro staff wanted the 120 to be the RapidRide route, because it has heavily growing ridership and serves a working-class, more bus-dependent area. Affluent interests wanted RapidRide to serve the Junction, and multimodal interests wanted it to serve the ferry terminal. Guess which ones won out?

        The ferry factor is especially egregious: 3/4 of the runs don’t even have a ferry, and the routing makes it take several minutes longer to get to Westwood Village which is a bigger transit market (and future transit center and urban village). The multi-modalhood looks good on paper but is ludicrous on the ground. Put a timed shuttle from each ferry to the junction.

    1. There was a plan to make the 120 a Rapid Ride as part of the transit mitigation for the AWV tunnel. Governor Gregoire vetoed that funding. I think that was about the time of the RRC planning, so I suspect it may have had some influence on the decision to give RapidRide treatment to the 54.

    2. Also, I should mention that in talking with KC Metro reps at various public meetings over the last few years, it sounds like they’ve been taking an “everything but the paint” approach with the 120. In the last several years, they’ve consolidated stops, added signal priority, added transit priority lanes, and upped frequency while other routes experience cuts.

      From what I’ve seen, a RapidRide treatment for the 120 would only add a couple elements: increased evening frequency, onboard wifi, and offboard payment. Oh yeah, and pretty red paint.

      1. And they also slowed the 120 down by adding a Westwood Village deviation through what used to be a straight shot down Delridge.

      2. Also, the 120 still runs only half-hourly on Sundays. That is another difference between it and the RapidRide standard.

  12. You ftotally left out better bike lanes (segregated from bus only lanes) and an expanded bike share network so that we can actually get to the other forms of public transit in the first place.

    1. You forgot to include better bike lanes and an expanded bike share station network so that we can travel from our busless neighborhoods to the other forms of public transit (bus/lightrail/streetcar/rail).

    2. Now that 2nd Ave has the improved bike lane, please outlaw bikes on 3rd Avenue! Whenever a bicyclist uses 3rd as a climbing lane hundreds of bus riders ate delayed.

      1. That won’t happen with bike share coming in 2 weeks. That’s why segregated bus and bike lanes are not only critical but urgent.

    3. Speaking of bike lanes, Seattle police should write tickets to bikers not riding in bike lanes, similar to how they write tickets to jaywalkers.

      If the city is going to invest all of this money in new bike lane infrastructure, bikers should be required to use them.

  13. Great list. How about some sort of off board payment at Pike/4th stop especially now that it is the only outbound downtown stop for the 10,11,43,49 since the Pike stop at convention center is closed. Ill watch it take 5 minutes to load an articulated bus having all 100 people pass through the front door and tap or feed the farebox. Also some sort of improvements to get these Pine/Pike buses turned around quicker as they terminate on Pine and need to get back over to Pike for an outbound.

      1. Make the one-way fare to/from airport at least $5. Even that would be a great bargain, compared to other cities. (Airport workers and others with Orca cards would thus not be affected by this.)

  14. What would be the best one could hope for on Madison BRT especially as the open houses start this week? Is something like that Chicago Ashland BRT even possible with center bus only lanes, although preferably with right side islands to use regular fleet buses? I fear the best we can hope for are shoulder lane bus lanes.

      1. The current Madison proposal is also not the BRT in the Transit Master Plan. The Master Plan had only a handful of stops, while the City is designing several more. Also, if the 2 moves to Madison and turns off on Union at 14th Avenue, the segment between 14th and 23rd would get such infrequent service that calling it a BRT is truly laughable.

  15. I keep hearing about little projects to add small amounts of overhead, like Denny around 2nd, 23rd Ave and now Yesler Way. Is there any serious plan to add overhead to Denny between LQA/Belltown and Capitol Hill for the 8 bus, seems so much of that route already has overhead wire anyway?

    1. You want the 8 electrified? I’m not opposed but this is a new idea to me. New overhead on Denny serves routes 1, 2, and 13 southbound. The city is examining the possibility of allowing this northbound, but this will likely require Yet Another Signal on Denny. Fat chance on that…

  16. Great ideas, a few more:

    * Stop diets. A number of routes are in need of stop diets. For example the 5 has stops every few blocks & 4 stops for the zoo. RapidRide in particular needs fewer stops.
    * Selective off board payments. Ever try to ride the 124 during a summer afternoon? You’ll sit at museum of flight for 5 minutes while everyone pays in cash.
    * Board at any door.
    * Take an executive on your bus. Allow us to take KCM leadership on our route so they can see what we deal with daily.
    * Better cross town routes and/or connections. Not everyone works in downtown.
    * Study bus choke points. Analyze some of the realtime data and figure out where buses aren’t moving and why.

    Not really money saving ideas:
    * Better holiday service for party holidays. New Years and 4th of July should see increased service over normal not decreased. This won’t save money but will help Metro’s image.
    * Better use of technology. Buses should be easy to more accurately display in apps like OneBusAway. Unplanned reroutes and bus stop closures should be easy to access and understand. E.g. You pull up the app to see when your bus is coming and it gives you an alert about the change. Shows you a map of the new route and stops highlighting the closest stop to the users current location.
    * Enforce no smoking policy. I’m consistently getting smoke blown on me at bus stops and recently people are smoking ecigs onboard buses.
    * Improve your image. Serious work is needed to understand the anti-transit folks issues with Metro so they can be converted to Metro supporters even if they refuse to ride it.

    1. +1000000000000 on take an executive to work day. I would love shepherding politicians around the bus system.

      (This is the biggest reason I’m sad Mr. Conlin failed to regain his council seat; I know he took the bus to work. I drove him.)

    2. Link and the streetcar have been getting extra service on holidays, even if the buses haven’t. That’s interesting, that they’re actually promoting the trains and using them to their potential.

  17. Question re: Madison Street BRT: fear that tape measure will prove that reserved bus lanes will necessitate demolishing some pretty tall buildings. Or making Madison a transit mall between I-5 and Broadway.

    Another necessity: put a “No Rendering” clause in any design contract. Artistic imagination has its uses. But for serious public works, method encourages non-technical decision makers to think that what works in pastel chalk will also serve for structures and machinery.

    Until somebody invents diesel “cat” with a giant rubber eraser on the blade to deal with design mistakes.

    Or failing total ban- at least make everybody in rendering put in two hours with a tape measure for every hour at the board.


  18. I’d add one other low-cost high-impact idea: fix the tunnel entrance at 9th & Olive/Howell. So many tunnel buses get caught at this intersection: often, NE-bound SOV traffic on Olive will block the intersection for several light cycles in a row, causing huge slowdowns for all the University & 520 buses in the afternoon.

    Easy Tiny fix: paint the intersection so that cars realize they are blocking it. It’s actually not obvious when driving on Olive that the intersection extends past the CPS driveway.

    Slightly bigger (but still easy) fix: add a transit priority lane along those two block of 9th avenue from Stewart into the tunnel. This would be a HUGE time saver for the inbound afternoon express routes.

    1. Put a cop there writing tickets. Enough $75 tickets and drivers will get the message pretty quick. All of the Mercer intersections between Aurora and I-5 need this too. Block the box, get a ticket.

      1. Normally I’d agree, but here it’s simply a case of bad road design. From an offending driver’s viewpoint heading NE on Olive, it looks like you *have* cleared the intersection. Check out the streetview image:
        That area beyond the crosswalk is where stopped cars will block buses. I can certainly forgive drivers who don’t immediately realize that! A few tickets will not make a difference: there needs to be some road design change giving a visual indication that that’s not a legal place to stop.

      2. Chris, Metro Transit Sheriffs went out there one day a while back and wrote a whole bunch of tickets for blocking the CPS entrance. What followed was a grievance filed by SPD against these King County Sheriffs for doing traffic enforcement in Seattle and taking work away from SPD. Yet SPD won’t come do it. It’s all BS to me. Who cares who writes the tickets, if SPD refuses, allow the MTP/KCSO to do it..

  19. Rerouting 3 and 4 trolleybus most caught my eye. Trolleybus overhead wire can be minimized on several e/w routes between Mercer and Jackson. Trolleybus hill-climbing efficiency is worth keeping. I’m not impressed with the new bus order, though. The same rattle shake roar bus that can’t be the best possible; business as usual. The new order of PARATRANSIT vans are the same old same old. High-floor diesels. GM & FORD owe the nation a Low-floor Hybrid paratransit van design, now, for our seniors and disabled. You’re welcome, GM, for your bailout and restructuring. Still making, selling crappy cars I see. The plug-in hybrid conversion modelling is your better bet. All-electrics overload regional utility grids routinely.

      1. Those last 2? There’s no way you would be able to collect fare on those. The problem of a low-floor van is how far forward the drivers section is from where the door is.

  20. My short list for improving public transit in Snohomish County:

    1. Sunday service.

    2. Better connections between Everett Transit and Community Transit at places other than Everett Station

    3. BAT lanes where possible / I-5 HOV lanes up to Marysville

    1. Near term:

      4. Get the stops and schedules listed on Google maps. Even some tiny agencies, like Butte, Montana, have figured this out.

      5. Get real-time arrival information on OneBusAway. The buses already have automated stop announcements, so they must already have GPS equipment to drive it. It’s simply a matter of getting different systems to talk to each other. Pierce Transit has managed to do this, in spite of their dire budget situation, so lack of money should not be an excuse.

      6. Better-timed connections to and from the 512. For instance, the bus to Mukilteo should not be pulling out of Ash Way P&R 2 minutes before the #512 from Seattle is scheduled to arrive. Similarly, buses leaving Edmonds should be timed with the ferries.

      7. Truncate the 201/202 at Everett Station and re-deploy the service hours to increase the frequency of other routes. The stretch of the 201/202 between Lynnwood and Everett served a role when the 510 and 511 were separate routes. Now, these buses pretty much duplicate the 512.

      8. Sunday Service

      Long term:

      9. Extend Swift another couple miles to to connect with Link in Shoreline.

      10. Some way (outside of two rush hour trips per day) to get from Snohomish or Monroe to Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, or Woodinville, without taking a gigantic detour all the way through Everett and downtown Seattle.

      11. Better pedestrian infrastructure to access the stops. For example, why is there no crosswalk here?,-122.3355554,3a,75y,358.71h,82.46t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sz1uZhJaVjsf_M1ElPS-Vvg!2e0

      1. Regarding 5 and OBA integration, didn’t KCM buses also need a new radio system to communicate the GPS information to a central location?

      2. While I don’t disagree, you can only have one route make timed transfers so many times. Does the bus to Mukilteo leave before the 512 arrives because it is meeting a ferry? So that means the 512 schedule should be adjusted instead. But now you’ve thrown off connections up the line so those schedules need to be adjusted. But those buses had transfers…

        Unless you are going to build in a lot of padding, it’s going to be impossible to have timed transfers at every major route intersection.

      3. If a choice needs to be made where the timed connection should happen, the 512 should trump the ferry. When push comes to shove, Seattle is a much bigger destination than the Olympic Peninsula, and much easier to serve with transit.

      4. What would serve Alderwood Mall and the area between it and the Ash Way P&R if the 201/202 were truncated?

        Not everyone on the 113 is going to the ferry. Some of them are just going to Mukilteo. That’s a good reason for timing it with the 512. But how often is the 512 late ,given that it’s a freeway bus? Right now the 113 is timed with neither of them; it’s in its own little hourly world.

  21. Does the ORCA reader have to be next to the driver? Could it be located on the right wheel well so that passengers tapping their card are not blocked by those paying cash?

    1. ORCA readers can be anywhere on the bus. Early on many riders needed operator assistance with their use. Should be easy to remedy with experience and education. The possibility of rear door readers prove this.

      It would have been great if DSTT bus routes required riders to tap on before going down to platform level and then tap off when leaving the bus either on board (any door) or at Transit Center/P&R locations where more ORCA readers could be installed. Combine that with requiring cash riders to buy a ticket from TVMs before boarding at downtown stations would remove the farebox delay problem from DSTT operations.

  22. I lived in Seattle for 13 years and Kent for 15 years.

    Transit in Kent is much more rational, more available and can run me to the things I most want to use it for.

    Transit in Seattle is pervasive, however, it’s also difficult to use and ultimately failed to get me to the places I wanted to get to most.

    Someone else commented how it’s now easier to take the Sounder from Kent Station to downtown than it is to get there from Ballard. I remember trying to take transit from Wallingford to Bellevue/Redmond and it was a lifetime experience in and of itself, not merely a ride.

    The problem of Seattle starts with topography. It’s an isthmus. It’s got water boundaries everywhere. And it’s hilly. Sad to say, adding more density merely compounds an already bad problem.

    The problem is not transit. The problem is Seattle. It’s a nice pastoral place. Good views of the Bay and mountains. But it’s terrible for basic living, getting of goods, moving between businesses.

    The time has come for a non-Seattle approach and a pro-Regional approach. We’ve tried to twist this thing every which way and it still comes out wrong after billions spent. That’s because the foundation of the concept is sand..literally, sand hills.

    I say, give Seattle it’s rightful place, as a tourist destination, but concentrate on building out rapid rail and bus regionally and consider relocating major destinations all throughout our Region.

    1. “it’s now easier to take the Sounder from Kent Station to downtown than it is to get there from Ballard.”

      Not really. During rush hour, you would be looking at the 15/17/18X, not the D-line. Travel time to downtown is comparable with Sounder from Kent, but frequency is better. Also, with the Sounder option, don’t forget the time to get from King St. Station to the part of downtown you are really going to, plus however long it takes to drive from home to Kent Station and search for parking. And with the train running only every 30 minutes, you’d better allow plenty of time for searching for parking because you do not want to be stuck at Kent Station for 30 minutes, waiting for the next train. During non-rush hour, Sounder doesn’t even run at all, and the D-line, for all its faults, still beats slogging it out on the 150, all the way from Kent.

      “I remember trying to take transit from Wallingford to Bellevue/Redmond and it was a lifetime experience in and of itself, not merely a ride.”

      For this, and many other trips between Seattle and non-Seattle regions, the weak point is not the regional service, but the local service within Seattle. The fix is not to just abandon Seattle, but to invest in fixing the local part of the trip. For instance, if there were a Ballard->UW Link line that stopped in Wallingford, your trip would become a quick transfer between a frequent train and a frequent bus down 520.

      (Even with the current network, the trip is not that bad if you do it properly. The trick is to ride a bike down the Burke-Gilman trail and connect with a regional express bus going down 520).

    2. Ummm, no. Seattle is here, it exists, and it’s not going anywhere. If you’re not a fan of the hills and water, I hear Bakersfield CA is nice this time of never.

  23. What’s the brown line on the #3 map? Do mine eyes see a Lake Forest Park – Lake City – Pinehurst Station – Aurora (130th to 160th) – Shoreline CC route? A possible rerouting of the 522? I’m surprised nobody has mentioned it yet.

    It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure how strong it would be as a single route, since it would make more sense to connect Shoreline CC to 145th Station. But it does go through the entire Bitter Lake urban village, which is something.

    1. Mike,

      True, it’s farther to 130th than 145th, but the trip between Greenwood and the freeway is much faster and more reliable on 130th. Thus the request for a station there.

  24. In my opinion, the best thing Metro has done is to provide direct service between Fremont and Ballard, and Fremont and the U-district. I used to live in Fremont so I know whereof I speak.

    1. Those have been extremely popular moves, even more so than the 8. I’m repeatedly stunned at how full the 31/32 get, and think of all those decades when it didn’t exist and they had to walk up to the 44.

      1. When I lived in Fremont there was a route 30 that went from SeattlePacific to Laurelhurst via 45th and viaduct that served UW campus and U Village. Never could figure out why it was discontinued, it was very popular eith UW folks even if they had to detour via 45th.

  25. The Ballard line should have a transfer at a Zoo/Wallingford station for downtown as well as transfer option at U-Dist.

    Sound Transit needs a East-West line from Ballard and continues through U-village/Ravenna/Sandpoint/Wedgewood/Lake City

    ST also needs a North-South line from 130th station and continues through Bitter Lake/Greenwood/Zoo/Freemont/QA/Belltown/W Seattle line

    Breakdown of 4 Seattle areas as contributing neighborhoods to job centers. Some are job centers/tourist destinations in themselves (Childrens Hosp, U-ville, Zoo and etc) and hence have a higher bi-directional flow.

    I. 2010 Population
    Wallingford 16,014
    Freemont 15,626
    Greenwood/Phinny 23,948
    Loyal Heights/Sunset Hill 13,902
    Licton Springs 8,875
    Greenlake 14,212
    Bitter Lake Broadview 13,557
    QA 35,458
    Belltown 8,601
    Ballard 6,739
    N Ballard 11,861
    N Beach/Blue Ridge 11,433
    Interbay 9,802
    Magnolia 12,383

    Ravenna 24,187
    E Lake City Way 12,798
    W Lake City Way 14,587
    Sandpoint/Laurelhust 10,479
    Wedgewood 14,837
    76,888 (increases significantly when considering Lake
    Forest Park, Kenmore, etc)

    W. Seattle/Gennesee Hill 17,713
    Fauntleroy 13,723
    Roxhill 12,392
    Alki 10,542
    54,370 (increases significantly when considering Buriean,
    Des Moines, etc)


  26. Have the D Line bypass Queen Anne entirely. It’s not a Rapid Ride when Mercer is involved. Follow the 15x route, add a few stops along Elliot and you’ve got a winner. There are plenty of lines that go through Queen Anne to downtown, it really shouldn’t be a problem. As a person who rides from Ballard to Lower Queen Anne frequently, I’m willing to walk a bit or switch buses.

  27. I know North Sounder doesn’t have a lot of fans on here but what about infill stations at Belltown and Ballard-Locks/Golden Gardens?

    1. Poor access points + poor walkshed + poor transfer potential + poor frequency = poor value.

      Really, this has been rehashed and rehashed. It’s a bad idea.

  28. Coming home to Lake City, I use the DSTT to catch the 41 at Pioneer Square, just like that the first picture. It often feels like watching a ball spin and pop into the slot.

    How about having a person simply list any and all buses by number (or in the case of the 41 by either 41LC or 41NE) as they head into the DSTT, and publish that on the big board per each stop as opposed to the usual “light rail arrive in 2 minutes”. Its not they are going to pass each other or anything.

    Then when the bus came at Convention, someone would remove it from the list. Or after 10 minutes, it disappears.

    If groups of us waiting in the DSTT know, say, that what is coming next (because a Metro supervisor in the ID kindly did it) and the order is 316, 72X, 77, 41NE, 255, 41LC, 41NE, 550 … well then it would help to alleviate the tendency of everybody overloading the first bus, one could get into first or second position for their bus, the supervisors can assess loading each bus.

  29. Centralize some functions amongst the transit agencies. Fare-setting and grant-writing are two that come to mind. Instead of corraling staff and manager from several transit agencies in the room to decide ORCA policies, the staff would be loyal to the same organization. Instead of several fiefdoms of grant staff competing against each other, one set of grant staff competes for the region’s best interests. Other functions might also make sense, from human resource management to bus, train, paratransit, rider facilities.

    In addition to this partial centralization, a minimum level of transparency, such as audio and/or video of all meetings where final decisions are made, staff reports available before the start of those meetings, meeting minutes within 5 business days of those meetings, progress reports on major projects (% of cost, % of completion, short narrative explaining variances), etc.

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