3rd and Pine

Metro’s now-defunct cut proposals included some restructures that are worth implementing on their own merits. They aren’t scheduled because the County Council never approved them, but at the same time the council didn’t reject them specifically — it just rejected the cuts as a whole. So Metro could still propose the restructures again. It should go ahead with the good changes, while leaving the bad ones in the dustbin.

Here are the cut proposals again:  Feb 2015 revision 2 (10 MB), original proposals (25 MB). Both are ZIP files containing PDFs. (These aren’t the entire cuts, just the routes I downloaded at the time.)

Very Good Restructures:

Queen Anne. The strongest of all, Route 2N is consolidated into the 13, and 4N is consolidated into 3N. Both 13 and 3N terminate at Seattle Pacific University. This gives two frequent routes on upper Queen Anne Avenue, the center of the urban village. It fixes the schizophrenic pattern of two half-hourly routes six blocks apart, and two routes that go downtown on opposite sides of the street. The losers would be those near 6th Ave W, but they would have a flat six-minute walk to the 13, and they’d still have the 29 peak hours. Metro has tried to do this change twice now, the first time in 2012, so Metro thinks it’s a strong alternative.

Central District and First Hill. The 4S would be consolidated into the 3S, and the 2S would move to Madison from Seneca. The 4S is redundant with other routes on the same street and nearby, and is slower than those other routes. The 3S serves an otherwise-unserved part of the Central District, so it’s a good route to make frequent. Moving the 2 to Madison would, along with the 12, give full-time frequent service on Madison. I’m not wedded on Madison vs Seneca, but I want both routes on the same street to make the corridor more usable. Metro has also tried to do this change twice now.

8/106. Metro’s last proposal for the 8 was to terminate it at Garfield High School. That would preserve the north part of MLK, which is a steep walk up to the 48, and keep the connection between Denny Way and Madison Valley. The 106 would replace the south half of the 8, turning north at Rainier Beach Station and going on MLK to Jackson Street and downtown. That would almost reinstate an old route, the 142, and give Rainier Valley better access to Renton, where many residents have relatives and friends. The gap between these routes — the part of the 8 that wouldn’t have service — is Jackson to Cherry, or 10 blocks. That’s the lowest-demand part of the route, but maybe Metro could extend another route to that area.

Restructures Worth Considering

The Fremont restructure would switch the 5 to Dexter and the 26/28 to Aurora, making the latter all-day expresses. That would fill in evening/Sunday frequency on the 5, and connect upper Fremont to central Fremont. But it would make the already very slow 5 slower between Broadview and downtown. And it would put all-day expresses in single-family areas rather than in neigborhood centers. Still, if I lived on 15th Ave NW, I’d be glad for an all-day 28X if I can’t get a 15X.

The 70s restructure consolidates the 66/67/71/72/73X into a super 73, running like the 73X from downtown to 65th and then like the 66 to Northgate. The 71 becomes an east-west route on 65th from Roosevelt to NOAA. The 72 and 73 tails are replaced by all-day 372 and 373. The 70 adds Sunday service, so the 73 would be local only evenings. The bad part is the 71 being hourly: that would sabotage it because everyone would avoid it. But with more service hours it could become half-hourly, and the 70 full-time. Metro proposed through-routing the 70 with the 36; I don’t know if that’s worthwhile or not.

Other changes are bad and should not see the light of day.  The 60/107 restructure would terminate the 60 at Othello Station, making it a south Seattle only route. The 107 would take over part of its middle, going from Renton to Rainier Beach to 15th ave S to Mt Baker Station. That loses important connectivity between Beacon Hill, 12th Ave, and Broadway. Maybe the north-south part of the 60 should be separated from the east-west part, but only if something replaces the north-south part. In West Seattle, the 50 would skip the Junction and Alki and instead go down 35th Ave SW, not where most southeast Seattlites are going, and likewise most High Pointers want to go to the Junction or downtown, not to southeast Seattle. The rest of the West Seattle restructures look just as bad.

There are two important dates to keep in mind. June 2015 is when the Seattle enhancements start and the earliest a restructure could be ready. February 2016 is the start of University Link and Metro’s Capitol Hill restructure. Metro is taking ideas for Capitol Hill now, and will have a proposal in April. So I’d suggest leaving Capitol Hill for that process, and focusing on two or three of the other top changes for June.

Although key figures in city government assure STB that Prop 1 does not restrict Metro’s ability to restructure service, no doubt some people will claim that Prop 1 freezes all Seattle routes forever, regardless of how many people a service change can help. But if enough people tell Metro and the city council that they want consolidations and frequent corridors, it could focus Council attention on some of the restructures. People are awakening to the fact that consolidated frequent corridors are better for everyone’s overall mobility. But they’re not awakening fast enough or numerous enough or visible enough to counter the legacy-route advocates. That’s what we need to change to get good restructures approved.

80 Replies to “Save the Restructures!”

  1. Agreed. Writing e-mails to county council representative, county executive, and city council members to campaign for the 3/4 and 8. Debating an actual, paper letter or two…

  2. The 4N is worse than the 2N in my opinion because it backtracks so badly. When I used to ride the 3/4 regularly, I’d see a lot of riders exit along Boston and walk south towards the 4N tail because it was faster than actually riding the 4N closer to their destination.

    At least the 2N serves a distinct route in a direct way, even if it is fairly walkable to the 13.

    The other downside I see is that baseline off-peak SPU service would go from 2/hour (2x 13s) to 8/hour (4x 13s + 4x 3s) even though the existing 13 demand is weak. SPU just isn’t a big destination. SPU students are not commuters like UW students – most live near campus and many own cars. Ridership on the 13 tail beyond QA/McGraw was usually 3-5 people even at rush hour. 3rd Ave W also has poor walking connections to the surrounding streets because of the steep grades.

    A lower-risk test would be to move the 4N tail to the 13 – that would double SPU service to 4/hour and remove the 4N tail oddity.

    1. I recall Bruce Nourish saying the cost of this routing is essentially zero because it’s not enough to require another bus and the layover space is already there. Apparently layover space is the biggest cost and issue when moving a tail. So the excellent service from SPU is “for free”. It also helps makes up for earlier service loss when the 17 was deleted, which left SPU with “inadequate” service so I’ve heard.

      1. I understand the desire for frequency, but access to central Queen Anne Hill is already pretty good. I don’t see how QA frequency and service is so bad as to avoid going there. Not nearly as bad as Magnolia or Laurelhurst for sure.

        Right now off-peak service is 4/hour at the south end of the Queen Anne business district at Queen Anne Avenue/Galer (2N+13) and 4/hour at the north end at Boston/Queen Anne Avenue (3N+4N). The new apartment buildings and most shopping/restaurants are between Galer and Boston, which is a distance of only 5 blocks. 2/hour service is already running along QAA as the 13. After the 13 stop removal project a few years back, there are only 2 sets of stops in those 5 blocks (Garfield and Crockett) so some walking is inevitable.

        So, if you’re coming to the core part of Queen Anne Avenue from downtown, the absolute worst case scenario today is that you’re walking 3 extra blocks to your destination along Queen Anne Avenue between Galer and Boston (if you get the 2 instead of the 3/4 or the 3/4 instead of the 2). If you just get on the first 2/3/4 that comes, the maximum walk is 5 blocks. Obviously if the 13 comes first, this is moot.

        In the reverse direction to downtown, you have an average wait of 7.5 minutes for either the 2/13 (at Galer) or the 3/4 (at Boston) after a maximum 3 block walk, assuming the 13 is not already coming. The restructure reduces average wait times at Queen Anne/McGraw where the 13 and 3N both serve the same downtown-bound stop (by Pizza Hut, if you know the area) and at QA/Garfield and QA/Crockett where the wrong-direction 4N and 13 stop currently. Besides those 3 stops and the 13 tail to SPU, service would be no better than before, while 2N, 3N, and 4N tail riders have much longer walks to the remaining routes.

      2. My support for the 3N is predicated on it not costing significantly more than the existing service. The last thing I want to do is steal service hours from the rest of Queen Anne for a redundant SPU segment.

        Going northbound, taking either the 2 or 13 and walking from Galer if it’s the 2 is tolerable if the headways are evenly spaced. It’s just an annoyance that the center of Queen Anne has half-hourly service while the 2 skirts the periphery. And I have had friends on 6th Ave W I visited regularly; they wouldn’t mind walking to Queen Anne Ave for frequent service.

        Going southbound, the problem is four different stops. Do I wait for the 13, or the 4, or walk to the 2, or the 3/4? Walking to the edge of the commercial district is anti-urban; there should be 4/hour through the middle of it full time (i.e., the 13). I’ve also been to the 4’s terminus: it may have made sense 75 years ago, but there’s not enough now to justify a separate route, and it’s an easy walk from there to Boston Street. I agree that the 3/4 consolidation would lessen the problem of four different southbound stops, and that may lessen the need to consolidate the 2. But I still think the 13 would make a better primary route than the 3.

        There’s another alternative for the 2, and that’s to extend the 1 coming back around it to 6th W & Galer. That would preserve a one-seat ride to downtown from 6th W with minimal cost.

      3. Access to Queen Anne is good from downtown, but not so good from the north. Getting to Queen Anne from pretty much anywhere north of the ship canal requires either busing to Fremont and walking up the hill or taking a huge detour all the way downtown. Part of the problem is that the 13 is a trolley bus and the trolley wire ends at SPU. Perhaps with the new buses that are capable of going a couple miles off-wire, the 13 could some day be extended at least to Fremont.

      4. If trolley wire were not a constraint, I would also argue for dropping the 32 through Interbay and, instead, having the 32 turn south at SPU, replacing the 13.

  3. I used to live on QA so this is very interesting to me :)

    There’s no frequency benefit for 2N tail riders if the 2N shifts to Queen Anne Ave. Right now they effectively have 15 minute headways (2/hour on 6th W and 2/hour with an ~8-minute walk to Queen Anne Ave). Future state, they would have 15 minute headways but always an ~8 minute walk each way.

    If the “new 4N” ran to SPU via Taylor+Boston while the 3N continued to its current terminus, SPU service would still be doubled, a new one-seat ride would exist for Taylor-SPU, and 3N riders would still have the same service level (actually a little better if they live near McGraw with the new 4N service).

    That doesn’t solve the central QA issue, however. Doubling 13 service to 4/hour (either with more $$$ or by instead converting the 4N to more 13s) would cause an uneven headway issue with the 2/13. 6/hour service composed of a 4/hour #13 and 2/hour #2 creates a 13-2-13-13-2-13 hourly pattern at 10-minute headways, which still leaves some 20-minute gaps for the 13. I’m not sure I’d sacrifice the 2N on the altar of even headways, but it would be one option.

    I’m not sure that having frequent service on the edge of the commercial district is strongly anti-urban. Given that QAA is so congested with 4-way stops, crossing pedestrians, tons of back-in-angle parking, and lots of cars (and now it also has rather narrow lanes), it is a slow route for buses. At rush hour, I’ve actually outwalked the 13 for two blocks of Queen Anne Ave. Unless your origin/destination is between Garfield and Crockett (which is pretty much Trader Joe’s, a church, ~6 restaurants, 3 banks, and a 7-11 plus some apartments), you’re already within a block of either the 2 or 3/4.

    Queen Anne Avenue is much more dense than it was a few years ago, but it is still mostly a bedroom community for SLU, downtown, and other in-city job centers. Besides a few unique shops/restaurants and maybe Trader Joe’s, you’re probably not visiting QA from other parts of the city unless you know people who live there. There’s minimal “nightlife” and no major employment centers besides SPU, which doesn’t generate a huge level of transit demand.

    1. The goal is 4/hour on the 13. If we have that it doesn’t matter when the 2 runs, although ideally it would be 7.5 minutes after a 13.

  4. Realistically speaking, any reorganization that involves more than a trivial amount of service in Seattle is almost certainly impractical given the service maintenance of existing service language of the enabling legislation for Prop 1. Even if Seattle government is okay with the change [by no means a slam dunk], all it would take is one activist willing to litigate to make the whole exercise more trouble than it’s worth.

    1. I’m not so sure of that. The bill says that it is the first priority, not the only priority, and can even be argued that there are now no February 2015 service cuts and restructures because those were defeated by the King County Council. It also says that the hours are purchased in conjunction with Metro’s service guidelines. Once February 2015 comes and goes, that limitation is a dead letter.

      Owning up to the political realities, to be blunt, it means we’re probably not moving the 2 without a significant push from the transit riding community that wants to see it happen. The other restructures are not just needed, they’re rather well-liked and, in a couple of cases (the 3 and the 8) the maps are drawn as they are because of community input.

      I wish the bill hadn’t been written rather narrowly but I believe that there is more than enough in there to essentially let the city do what it wants. (Besides, money is fungible when not otherwise restricted. Seattle could simply decide to pay for some changes with other Transportation Benefit District funds and not from “Prop 1 money.”)

    2. Oh and besides, there’s nothing saying that Metro can’t do this all by itself. The changes themselves already went through the public comment and review processes.

    3. “there are now no February 2015 service cuts and restructures because those were defeated by the King County Council”

      That’s what’s unclear to me. The clause was intended to hinder cut restructures. So how much does it apply to non-cut restructures that may be identical? Metro did distinguish between network-improving restructures (#2,13), low-ridership routes (#12 tail), and desperate coverage preservation (#50,21). But the clause was intended to hinder all three kinds.

      But it can also be argued that the clause doesn’t have any real leverage because the city can only dictate routes that it 100% funds. It’s like putting a constraint on an attorney to argue what you want; it doesn’t restrict the judge from deciding either way. If Metro does the reorgs anyway, would the city withhold supplemental funding from the 13? That would be counterproductive and lose-lose.

      Re William Aitken’s comment: I’m not sure if he’s just making a prediction or saying we shouldn’t try because it’s a long shot. But if you’re running for office you don’t quit just because an opponent has entered the race; you try to beat them. You run because you believe you’d be better for the office, not because polls show you ahead of the opponent.

      Re route 2 controversy: it’s ironic we’re discussing it the most because it was the “Save route 2!” activists that scared the council into adding that clause, and it’s what inspired the title of my article. The comments show that even transif fans aren’t united about the 2, so it’s good we’re debating the tradeoffs. Even if we accomplish everything except the 2, it would still be a step ahead, and maybe the extra funds could add some frequency to the 13. We mustn’t let all the reorgs go down just because the 2N may have a legitimate exception. On the 2S side, Madison is two blocks from Seneca, not six.

      1. I agree that we still need to push for reorgs that make sense.

        Related, I also doubt that the language of the bill will be a blocker going forward. The Feb 2015 cuts are not happening and the bill says that its first priority is to prevent them. Hooray, they have been prevented. After the February 2015 service change, that paragraph is now moot. Any additional spending or restructuring or funds allocation would, very likely, be seen as a use of the Transportation Benefit District’s authority under both the passed bill and the overall powers of the TBD.

        In short, bring on the efficiencies. I am positively giddy at what an injection of over 250,000 hours of bus service will do for transit in Seattle.

      2. Does it specifically say February 2014? Because there were two more rounds after that, and I assumed it applied to them all.

      3. The language is “The first priority for the funding is to preserve existing routes and prevent King County Metro’s proposed February 2015 cuts and restructures.” That’s section 5A funding. There’s also section 5B funding (region partnerships, $3M) and section 5C funding (low income support, $2M). The enabling legislation then continues “After funding service hours as described above in section 5A and after funding regional transit service as described in section 5B and after funding increased access for low-income transit riders as described in section 5C remaining revenues may then be used to overcrowding, service-reliability or frequency within the City of Seattle through the purchase of additional Metro Transit bus service hours on routes with more than 80 percent of their stops within the City of Seattle limits and consistent with the Seattle Transit Master Plan and Metro’s Service Guideline’s.”

        The ballot statement is “The Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board passed Resolution No. 12 concerning funding for Metro Transit service benefitting the City of Seattle. If approved, this proposition would fund preservation of transit service on existing routes primarily serving Seattle that are proposed to be cut beginning in 2015. A portion of the funds collected would support regional transit service and improved access for low-income transit riders. This proposition would authorize an additional annual vehicle license fee of $60 per registered vehicle with a $20 rebate for low-income individuals and authorize a 0.1% sales and use tax. Both the fee and the tax would expire by December 31, 2020.”

  5. Most of the 70s Reorg makes much sense and it seems would in most instances increase much needed service, especially the 73/66 combo and all day service on the 372 and 373.

  6. Another option for the 2N. Stay on Queen Anne Ave north to at least McGraw Street, then turn west like the 3 and follow whichever path to 6th W (McGraw or Raye), then south to Galer and terminate. That covers the entire Queen Anne commercial center which I want, and preserves a one-seat ride from 6th that some others want.

    SPU doesn’t specifically need the 2’s trips because it would have more service on the new 3. And “north Queen Anne” which was going to lose the 3’s tail would gain most of it back again on the 2. The reoriented 2 could continue for a stop or two on Galer but I don’t think that’s necessary because the middle point will be three blocks from both the 2 and 13.

    I don’t think this is necessarily a great way to spend service hours and add a few blocks of trolley wire, but it does address both the urban village’s needs and the one-seat riders. You could also people making short trips from 6th W to Queen Anne Ave, as people do on the D between different parts of Ballard, and on the 24 between different parts of Magnolia.

  7. Would the new 2 still serve its current tail, just getting there differently? When/how would it leave Madison? John?

    1. I think the 2 still needs to go to its current tail – it serves a big area of the Central District. I don’t think any restructuring would touch that.

      EB I think it would just be on Madison and turn right onto Union and continue on its current route.

      WB is more complicated since Union only has eastbound wires off of Madison. The current WB route turns north on 13th Ave to make the left onto Madison. I think that would have to remain.

  8. Hey STB … STOP TRYING TO FUCK WITH ROUTE 2.

    The 2 serves a completely different group of people than the 12 … especially those who don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere on Madison St. It directly serves a number of Retirement Communities AND Virginia Mason Hospital … and don’t give me the BS about walking one block. MANY OF THE RIDERS CANNOT EASILY DO THAT … We already have 15 minute service on Madison during the weekdays and the 30 min service on weekends is MORE than adequate.

    NOBODY is asking for it to be moved … NOBODY.

    Frequency matters ABSOLUTELY ZERO if you destroy the UTILITY of a bus line.

    so please. STOP.

    1. If “NOBODY” is asking for more frequency on Madison, you wouldn’t be here having this argument.

      But the City of Seattle IS asking for more fequency on Madison, and turning it into a BRT corridor.

      1. I’m not sure why the conversation on STB continues to be “improve service on Madison by reducing service on Seneca.” I get that Seneca is not ideal for a multitude of reasons, but Gordon makes a valid point… it serves retirement communities and Virginia Mason, if you’ve ever had a loved one with mobility problems (common in your senior years) you know it’s not easy to make them walk one block.

        STB should well know by now… this is not an easy fight to win. With the Prop 1 funding the conversation should just be “improve service on Madison.”

        Also here’s another bold suggestion since we have new funding… why not move the 2 to Madison… and find a way to create an all-day shuttle route on Seneca between 3rd and Madison? That way people on the eastern half of the 2 get the benefits of the extra speed… and we still serve the population along Seneca.

      2. Every time Virginia Mason comes up, I point out the following.

        The Virginia Mason complex is a huge, multi-beast.

        The entrance on Seneca is for the hospital – this is only used if you are checking in for a procedure (surgical) or going to visit someone in the hospital.

        If you are going to the clinic you enter on 9th Ave, around the corner. The 2 does not provide front door service to this stop. The 12 is only one block away from this stop. Once you are inside Virginia Mason, unless you ask for wheelchair service, you will most likely have to walk a long ways to your appointment, lab, x-ray, etc. These distances inside the clinic/hospital, are huge.

        Look – I understand the concerns people have with the distance. But no transit service provides door to door service. For instance, how far do these individuals who can’t walk from Madison have to walk at the other end of their trip? No one ever addresses this issue. We’re talking about a distance of two blocks over a relatively flat distance.

      3. Thats not what I said. Madison is Madison. First Hill doesn’t deserve to lose its only bus service to the center of downtown. Madison can get more service that isn’t at the expense of the 2.

        Why is this so difficult to understand? First Hill has the second densest population in Seattle … and is one if not the heaviest user of transit / lowest level of car ownership in the city. It’s the only area east of i5 zoned for 20 or so story residential buildings … at least 3 of which are being planned along the route 2.

        Everyone here is really nice … and y’all are all really smart … but STOP TRYING TO SACRIFICE UTILITY FOR FREQUENCY. the 12 serves a major hospital AS WELL AS a number of retirement communities. These people actually USE the bus … why do y’all want to punish them just because you can draw a thicker line on a fricking map?

        Both the 2 and the 12/future Madison BRT can easily co-exist just like they have all these years.

      4. The Transit Master Plan has only Routes 11 and 12 on Madison, not Route 2. Putting Route 2 on Madison is inconsistent with the adopted TMP.

      5. Brent, while I can see the justification for a heavy-duty line on Madison, do you really think that Madison has enough room for two fully-reserved lanes between Broadway and Downtown?

        I do wonder, though, if the traffic congestion already there makes that stretch very hard to use as a motor traffic arterial either. Maybe Seattle could move up the future by about fifteen years and make those blocks into a transit-and-pedestrian plaza.

        Wondering the same thing about nearby blocks along Broadway. Couple of days ago, noted that on one block, it looked like a streetcar would always get stuck in traffic. Did neither project officials, community, SDOT, ST, or anybody else catch this?

        Or did they really not care about a permanent delay or blockage? Idea no southbound wire is fixable: keep a couple of million dollars worth of copper wire in a warehouse ’til it’s needed. But widening Broadway at that point seems impossible.

        Anybody got any more knowledge of thoughts on that? Because I think BRT on Madison couldn’t choke like that.

        Mark Dublin

      6. Those are just placeholder lines in the TMP corridor showing how the existing routes could be acommodated with the fewest changes. So it’s a starting point for route discussions, not a mandate. The 12 bending back from 23rd to 19th is especially silly; it probably won’t do that. But solving that depends on the disposition of 19th Avenue service: will it go away, remain with the 12, or be attached to another route? That’s still to be decided: what routes will run in the BRT and where will they terminate?

    2. BTW, if the proponents of the 2 are listening, may I suggest an alternative strategy: Support some of the other reorganizations to help find the service hours to upgrade frequency on Madison, while keeping current service levels on the 2.

      1. both the 12 and the 2 are already going to get a boost from Prop 1 and NOT at the expense of some other line/community

      2. Both the 12 and the 2 are already going to get a boost from Prop 1 and NOT at the expense of some other line/community

        Every line operates at the expense of some other line/community. There is a fixed total number of service hours we are buying with Prop 1. Every dollar spent (or as many north-Seattle conservatives would say, “dollar wasted”) on redundant first-hill bus lines a block apart is a dollar not spent improving a crush-loaded line elsewhere in the system, and provides ideological ammo of “inefficiencies” to those who seek to defund and deconstruct our transit system.

        The 12 is overloaded. The 2 runs parallel, a mere block away. Moving the 2 by one block puts more buses on the overcrowded Madison line, improving capacity and reliability, allowing daily commuters to get to work on time without being passed-up, and without costing the taxpayers a single new dime.

        I live on the 120 now. There’s plenty of retirement homes near me on that line. None of them have front door service; even the ones with front-doors on the same street as the bus have a block (or more) walk down the street to the nearest stop. They’re not getting any special dispensation from Metro – people that can’t walk the block either have to call Access or a taxi, just like people have to virtually everywhere else in King County. On this end of town, our HOSPITAL (Highline) is a half-mile walk from the nearest bus stop. It DID have closer service a year ago, but that route got axed in a prior round of “efficiency” cuts, in part to pay for continued redundant, inefficient service elsewhere in the system.

        The people living in Horizon and Exeter have no idea how far out of the norm their level of service is, compared to what the rest of the city & county are expected to cope with as a matter of course.

    3. It isn’t so much that we think Madison Street is more worthy of service than Spring; it’s that buses crawl up Spring being stuck in freeway traffic taking half an hour to get several blocks, and Madison offers a way around that. What’s more, the city is seriously considering adding bus lanes on Madison, while there’s no room on Spring.

      I’d be glad to continue serving Spring if the buses can do so without ludicrous delay.

      1. Gordon – that’s great news if they’ll actually help. Based on previous discussions, though, I’d be surprised if much will change unless they mark out a bus lane or change the I-5 ramps. Do you have a link?

      2. There are plenty of opportunities for eastbound busses on Marion to be gummed up by
        traffic, and west bound Madison at rush hour is simply a parking lot. The BRT idea seems
        to be causing some enthusiasts to anticipate that plan by putting more busses on Madison now.
        But, to do so means that First Hill loses service into the shopping precincts of downtown (as
        well as Belltown/Queen Anne etc). Do any of the folks who keep wanting to “rationalize”
        our First Hill service to Madison only have a clue as to where many passengers originating on First Hill want to travel? Very few are keen to go down to a series of inconvenient transfer points on the slopes of Madison.

        At the BRT open house last week, one of the BRT alternatives was a loop involving a
        counter-flow on Seneca St.. If a counterflow would be desirable for the BRT on Seneca,
        what’s to prevent a retained #2 from benefiting as well?

      3. “Do any of the folks who keep wanting to “rationalize”
        our First Hill service to Madison only have a clue as to where many passengers originating on First Hill want to travel?”

        I used to have the 10, 11, and 14 turning at 3rd & Pike/Pine for one-seat rides between Capitol Hill, lower downtown, and south Seattle. Now none of them do. The only one-seat ride is the 7/49 evenings and Sundays. Why is it more important to keep the 2 together than these other routes? Ultimately Metro wants to eliminate turns on 3rd between Stewart and Yesler. The 3/4 are moving to Yesler-8th-Jefferson as soon as the trolley wire is installed (although I don’t think it’s funded yet).

    4. I am not taking the 2S or the 12 up the hill when they’re half-hourly; I’m going to Pike Street instead because there’s more guarantee of a bus within 10 minutes.

      I know people who have trouble walking two blocks to a bus stop so I have sympathy for that. But the transit network has to serve everyone, not just disabled people, and be competitive with cars. There are disabled people on the non-bus streets in Leschi and Latona and northeast Seattle and north Ballard but we can’t put a route every two blocks everywhere. Perhaps a First Hill shuttle or van could help people on Seneca. Or perhaps an Access 2 for people who don’t need full wheelchair service but still have trouble getting to the regular bus stops. That would be better than keeping parallel routes five blocks from other routes, which makes them both half-frequency and less useful to the overall transit-riding public.

      1. I said Access 2; i.e., a second tier that may be less expensive to operate. People with walkers or canes don’t need as much space or help as people with wheelchairs, so it may be possible to serve them with a less expensive service. Maybe not, but it’s at least worth looking into. That would help address the in-between dilemma of “Access is expensive” but “Parallel bus routes with stops every two blocks make the transit network less effective”.

    5. Is Seneca street a really big corridor? Are there a whole lot of businesses on Seneca street? Not as much as there is on Madison. And considering that Seneca street is just 2 blocks from Madison street, I think it makes more sense to have the 2 riders grow some legs and make the 2-5 minute walk than to leave the 12 by itself (with its peak crush loads) to handle most of the downtown-first hill load.

      1. It is so easy to say the “2” riders need to grow some legs and make the 2 to 5 minute walk to Madison Street. Well I can hardly wait until you get old and need a cane or other assistance to get around and when that happens you will be singing a different song.

    6. First off this is a guest post and not an “STB” editorial position so please calm down. Yelling at people isn’t going to solve anything. Second, I think everyone who lives on First Hill agrees that the speed and reliability of pretty much every First Hill route isn’t where it needs to be. And third, I disagree that 15/30 minute service on Madison is adequate and I know that you know better than that as well.

      I’m hopeful that Metro/SDOT can figure out a solution for both corridors but I think everyone is going to need to give a little to make it work.

      1. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTURBANTRANSPORT/Resources/Quito-factsheet.pdf

        Brent, and Adam, because I know you’re savvy enough to understand how important tape-measurements and vertical conditions are to the success of any idea, we need to note that stretch of Madison itself.

        To make bus transit approach “Rapid” in any sense, operations require a particular kind of lane: one with very little else allowed into it. BAT lanes- man, how I always see folded up creatures sleeping upside down above piles of guano- just can’t be called BRT.

        Do we yet have anything like construction map showing a section view of the proposed transitway on Madison? At representative locations? For starters, I’d also like to see the steepest gradient run by BRT anywhere in the world?

        The impressive PDF above about the electrified busway in the capital of Ecuador, seems to list every condition except the gradient. Though pictures suggest terrain very similar to the parts of San Francisco served by surface light rail and articulated trolleybuses- a level or rolling valley floor.

        With steeper hills put to regular trolleybus. But none of the pictures look like Madison between Broadway and the Waterfront. For a main east-west First Hill corridor, we need first to figure out the vertical element.

        Which might well renew some unpleasant by necessary discussion of Sound Transit’s decision not to put a NorthLINK station at Swedish Hospital. Not for blame- but to figure out design transit around planetary, and not political, constraints.

        Mark Dublin

        ;

      2. Do we yet have anything like construction map showing a section view of the proposed transitway on Madison? At representative locations?

        Yes, a few years ago, we got that as part of a corridor study, at least as far north as Broadway. It basically boiled down to: One reserved transit lane each direction, one general purpose lane each direction. Left-turn lanes at a couple intersections where the ROW allowed it, left turns heavily restricted otherwise. Current off-peak street parking was removed anywhere it still exists, to make room for the 24-hour transit lanes.

        The PDF may still be on the city website somewhere.

    7. It is pretty amazing to me how many posters are passionate about moving Route 2 when they aren’t riding it daily. My guess is that it is somewhat driven by a segment of people that don’t like to be late for occasional doctor appointments at Swedish. No daily user on Route 2S that I’ve ever met wants to see it move off of Seneca and Third Avenue to Madison and turn around at the ferry terminal.

      I still contend that Route 2 needs to run on Third Avenue for several blocks to allow for level boarding for riders and to provide convenient transfer distances to Link. The thought of one of those people who ride Route 2 using walkers or wheelchairs (often observed at at least one on every bus) careering down Madison Street or worse yet trying to board on a very steep Marion Street is heart wrenching or comical depending on your level of cruelness.

      I again repeat a more reasonable approach: Let’s wait and see what happens when Capitol Hill station opens on Link and the First Hill Streetcar is running before we restructure. There are HUGE changes to transit services due within the next 12 to 18 months! Demand on all the CD/Capitol Hill bus routes will change because of it – some routes will lose a high number of riders and some may gain. I think it’s obvious that Route 10 will lose riders, and Route 8 will gain riders, for example. Let’s just chill out about Route 2 until the new services open and demand patterns change!

      1. There’s a lot more than just Swedish on Madison. There isn’t much more than Virginia Mason on Seneca (though in my experience a lot of people eastbound on the 2 tend to get off at the THS building near Swedish).

        I’ve suggested in the past that the 2/12 head north on 1st a few blocks, then turn around and head south on 2nd to Marion, past the Benaroya transit tunnel entrance. The ferry terminal service isn’t ideal, but you get your level boarding and other benefits.

      2. There are many high-rise residential towers on Seneca Street and on University Street — 15 to 20 stories tall. Route 2 also provides direct service to the supermarket and pharmacy at Union and Broadway.

      3. I used to live near Union & 22nd, the primary complaint I had about the 2 was the slow crawl both ways between 3rd and E Union. Anything to speed this up would have been a huge improvement.

  9. As a southender, I have to disagree with the dismissal of the 107 restructure.

    There are a lot of students and faculty at Cleveland High School who have to transfer in the Georgetown saloon district to continue on to neighborhoods south of S Albro St. Indeed, probably half of the student and faculty body are in that category. The 107 proposal would have removed that nuisance for hundreds of riders, giving them a direct ride to a long stretch of southern Swift Ave S and Beacon Ave S.

    I like my direct ride to Beacon Hill Station via the 60, with no more having to waste 10 minutes crawling around in general traffic in the VA parking splot, but the cost for South Parkers is minimal if the 60 goes away. Getting the 132 to SODO Station is even faster. Indeed, I’d rather have one route connecting to Link near downtown with high frequency and all-day/all-night span of service than two low-frequency routes that close down for 6-12 hours a day.

    Executive Constantine proposed having the 36 continue up to Capitol Hill, with a path that would probably be faster than the windy 60.

    The proposed cross-town 60 would have been a step in creating more of a gridded network, with direct connection between Othello Station, Georgetown, South Park, and White Center, with its heavy Vietnamese population similar to the Othello District. South Park also has enough of a Vietnamese population that Vietnamese gets included on a lot of the public signage.

    That said, I hope Metro doesn’t shut down the process of suburban reorgs. The 132 is long overdue for being shortened and connecting to TIBS, now that getting to Burien is merely an F-Line ride away.

    1. That may be. I was going to put the 107 in the middle category but I coudn’t think of any benefit of it, and breaking the Beacon – Broadway connection seems really bad. I looked at an apartment on 15th south of Spokane, and the 60 is the only nearby route and access to Broadway (the largest commercial district in east Seattle) is important. The 36 was a 20 minute walk away, and it gets further away as you go further south.

    2. The 132 is long overdue for being shortened and connecting to TIBS, now that getting to Burien is merely an F-Line ride away.

      As a Burienite, I have to chime in that connecting the 132 to TIBS wouldn’t significantly shorten it – it’s about the same distance to either terminus, from 128th & Military, and probably not nearly enough of a savings to be able to drop a bus from the schedule. It would basically just move existing service off of Des Moines and on to Military.

      You could probably make an argument that Military needs the service more, but then there would be no Metro service at all to North Seatac Park, one of the largest/most popular parks in the area.

      I personally rarely ride the 131/132 except for when the 120 gets so FUBAR that it seems to stop running entirely, and I’m stuck downtown.

  10. I’d really like to see a 70s restructure, because NE Seattle is one of few parts of the city with a regular enough street grid that a gridded network would work really well. But gridded only works if headways are short, and so the inevitable transfers don’t matter too much. The 71 at once an hour is the opposite of that. It would no longer go anywhere directly, and be a hellish transfer, so it would become useless. If it was every 20 min, it would start to make sense. Every 15 min or better and it would be great (and get is ready for the roosevelt station).

    1. The idea of all-day service on the 76 after U-Link opens has been floating around. But frequent 71 service just to the Roosevelt Station area (connecting to the 48, 71, and 73) sounds better to me, and would need fewer service hours. Would most riders going downtown near the 71’s path just catch the 372 or 65, if those stopped right next to UW Station?

      1. The tail end of the 71 needs to be shortened considerably, the way it meanders through View Ridge forever. I rode it for ten years when I lived in Wedgwood and never saw many View Ridge folks ride it during the day. It could go via 40th or 35th instead. Those long articulated buses are not meant for quiet neighborhood streets. Make much rattling noise when they are empty.

    2. Considering that we are so close to the opening of U-link, it probably does not make sense to do any significant restructuring of the 70’s before that time. After U-link opens, more substantive changes can be considered.

  11. I’m fine with splitting up the 8, but I’d prefer that instead of terminating the “8N” at Garfield High School, it continue to the logical endpoint of Mount Baker Transit Center, and go via 23rd and Rainier to eliminate a truly silly bend (IMHO) in the current route (MLK>Yesler>23rd>Jackson>MLK).

    Doesn’t fix the problems the 8N will have on EB Denny during the rush, though.

    1. Agree with killing the 23rd & Jackson deviation, but otherwise think the 8/106 restructure is a terrible idea for Rainier Valley residents. Until U Link is open the 8 is by far the quickest way between Capitol Hill and the Rainier Valley. After all the bellyaching about the 42 sticking around as long as it did, why reinstate it? Perhaps if the 9 was frequent all day, this would make sense.

      1. My only concerns are minor: 23rd to Rainier to MBTC introduces two potentially-troublesome left turns into the southbound route (and provides a neat opportunity for q

    2. I assume it would wait until U-Link opens because that’s only seven months after the earliest restructure date.

      The 42 was a mixed bag. Metro originally intended for the 8 to replace the 42 when Link started, but the county council gave it a long demise. The 8 was a noble idea, pushing downtown trips to Link and creating crosstown service. That’s what we want Metro generally to do. But the 8 has been non-optimal with its out-of-the way and low-density middle. Many times I’ve wished the 48 continued to Rainier Beach rather than the 8, as it did before Link. The 48 is a more direct route with more ridership, even though it doesn’t go directly to Broadway as the 8 does.

      Anyway, the goal of cutting the 42 is done: Link is established and people are taking it. And the point is not to reinstate a Rainier View-downtown route. It’s to reinstate a Renton – Rainier Valley route, which happens to continue downtown for the adamant one-seat riders. Metro has been doing that where it can: making better crosstowns and feeders but still leaving a slow back way to downtown. The 106 has arguably become that, after being downgraded from an express to an Airport Way milk run.

      And the 106 is really the descendant of the 142, which went downtown-MLK-Renton. It was moved to I-5 when the DSTT opened because MLK was too slow. But that was before Link was available. Since the 106 was created in 1990, many former Rainier Valley residents have moved to Renton so people go back and forth for friends and shopping and church. So a Renton-Rainier Valley connection is more important than it was before.

      Ultimately I’m hoping the new 106 would get 15-minute service so that it would be viable to transfer from Link southbound. Currently you risk waiting 30 minutes to transfer, but if it’s 15 minutes that would be less of a problem (and it would make it easier to restructure the 101). And you could see the 106 from Link in the middle of the valley if you’re about to miss it, and you might overtake it because Link is faster.

      1. The other issue is that Georgetown would lose some downtown service if the 106 is rerouted. Upping the frequency on the 124 would not be cheap since it’s a pretty long route.

      2. That was the original intent of putting the 106 on Airport Way, to create a new corridor between Rainier Beach, Georgetown, and downtown. How successful has it been? My assumption was it hasn’t been, and it has just a fraction of the ridership Renton-MLK would have. When I’ve ridden it occasionally on Saturdays there have only been 3-4 people on the bus.

      3. Unless Renton kicks in some money to match the Prop 1 funds, I’d say keeping the center of Georgetown from dropping to hourly service at 10:30 should be a higher priority than the Renton connection to MLK.

      4. Existing service hours have the resources to provide Renton with frequent service to Ranier Beach. Currently, it’s spent on 101. This provides a faster ride to downtown on paper. In practice, the combination of 30-minute headways, 20-minute slogs down surface streets within Renton, and poorly-timed connections with other routes at the transit center make the current 101 no faster from the TC to downtown than a frequent and reliable 106, with a Link connection.

        The F-line’s awful twists and turns also leaves much to be desired.

    3. Moving the 8 onto 23rd would lose the Madison Valley connection… a place people in LQA/SLU/CH are actually likely to want to go. I’d rather keep the current routing and terminate it at either MLK & Madison or in Madrona (essentially turning the 8 into a strictly east-west route).

      As for Denny, it really needs the same BRT treatment Madison will get – 2 dedicated bus lanes. I wonder how many people the 8 currently carries at peak, vs the number of people carried by a lane of cars?

      1. Metro already asked about doing exactly what you propose. However, a lot of people pointed out that Garfield students and the western part of the Central District also want to go to places like Capitol Hill. Right now, getting from Garfield HS to “one neighborhood over,” Capitol Hill, takes at least two buses, both with poorly-timed connections and a bad transfer point.

        To alleviate this, Metro proposed sending the 8 to the 3 and 4’s junction at 23rd and Jefferson. People seemed to like that idea. It makes a lot of sense to me since it preserves service in Madison Valley to Cherry, links a couple of major destinations back into Capitol Hill without a 5-block walk (the current distance from 23rd/Cherry to the 8), and chops a very long end off of the 8.

      2. The 8 is not moving to 23rd. Metro’s proposal was to keep the current route on MLK between Madison and Cherry, and then turn west to 23rd.

  12. I used to live at 6th Ave. W and W. Galer St. It is not a flat walk over to QA Ave, the road goes downhill and then uphill.
    At 6th and W. Galer there is a block long older brick apt. house where many bus riders live. Lots of other multi family housing is in the area. The area is a nice mix of all-ages people.

  13. If I remember correctly, Metro actually proposed to send the 16 to Dexter, not the 5. I thought this was a mistake, and I still do, so I’m happy to see you pushing for the 5 instead. I just wanted to make sure it was intentional. :)

    With regard to the 5, it seems like Prop 1 should allow us to have our cake and eat it, too. Metro proposed to replace the existing 5X and 355 with a single route. The new 355 would use Greenwood/Phinney through 46th St, then Aurora to downtown. Metro could run this bus as an “extended peak” express: from 6 AM – 10 AM in the morning, and from 2:30 PM – 7 PM in the evening. The exact hours aren’t important, but the goal is to provide express service whenever there might be traffic delay, and when ridership is high enough that Metro doesn’t have to choose between frequency and coverage (at least for that route). Ideally, the 5 at noon would be about as fast as the 355 at peak.

    Also, FWIW, I still think the 5 is mainly slow because it stops every 2 blocks. If stop consolidation sped up the route by 5 minutes, I would happily spend those 5 minutes on serving Fremont.

    1. No way running the 5 through Fremont will only add 5 minutes.

      I agree the 5 needs stop consolidation (badly); it is one of the only major routes that has not had this occur.

      If you are living north of 105th, it is already a painfully long haul to downtown. While there is quite a bit of trip time variability right now on Aurora due to the Mercer St reconstruction, there is even more trip time variability going through Fremont (Fremont bridge opens more than the other three, backups on Dexter at Mercer, etc etc etc).

      Of the restructures pushed by the STB brain-trust, this one makes the least sense. You’re connecting Fremont to Phinney (a reasonable idea) but making one of the longest, slowest routes in the system even longer and slower. I don’t think the 5 can handle that.

    2. I happen to like having the 355 take advantage of the bus lanes for as long as possible. Oh, wait, there are a couple dozen cars parked in those lanes. Doh!

      Adding a pull-off stop on the 355 at 46th might be justifiable.

    3. I don’t think all the Fremont proposals were the same, so the 5 may have been in the earlier one but not the later one. The later one dropped the 26-local so the 16 had to fill in for both Latona and Dexter riders. Or I may be remembering it from an unofficial proposal. In any case, the 5 through Fremont should be considered again. I’m still concerned about the travel time from Broadview to downtown, but now that RapidRide E is running maybe it’s a sufficient alternative.

  14. For us commuters from the south, I think the 193’s long routing through first hill should be simplified, especially that weird loop around in the morning. Maybe right on Madison, right on Boren, left on Jefferson, and done. And maybe ditching the Tukwila stop was a good idea after all, since I usually find myself taking the 577 and walking (or taking the 2 or 12) to potentially save time.

  15. First the 48 went all the way down MLK, then they shortened it to improve reliability. Then the 8 went all the way down MLK, but now they’re talking about shortening it to improve reliability. The 106 under this plan would be an incredibly long route (maybe an hour and a half end to end?) and would have huge reliability issues. I feel like it’s not a good idea.

    1. The 8’s unreliable segment is Denny Way. The 48’s unreliable segment is Montlake. The 106’s unreliable segment is downtown Renton. MLK is reliable so exchanging it between routes doesn’t make them any more or less reliable. This is not about improving reliability because all three routes have unreliable segments outside Rainier Valley. It’s about connecting areas that are believed to match the most people’s travel patterns. The 8 in its current form is convoluted: it has an out-of-the-way, little-used middle. If the goal is to connect lower MLK and Capitol Hill, it would make more sense on 23rd or Rainier-12th where it would probably have more on/offs in the middle. Right now it has to work as a stopgap, but that will go away with U-Link, and then we can ask whether the 8N and 8S might work better in some other configurations.

  16. I like the 8 and 106 just as they are. They make it easy to get to a lot of places from rainier and henderson.

    1. Once University Link opens, you can go to roughly the same places (except Madison Valley) from a couple of blocks over at the Rainier Valley Link station. I wouldn’t bet on the 106 or the 8 changing before then, though I kind of hope they do because I’d really like the 8 restructure.

  17. The eastside had some restructures that also made a lot of sense. Without having to remove hours (honest, this time we’re really going to cut… we mean it… higher taxes or else) they could dramatically improve service. The routes I’m thinking of are the 234, 235, 236 and 238. The 236 as it exists is a slow ride to nowhere. Meanwhile, Houghton P&R languishes 50% empty because few meaningful routes stop there. At the very least change it up so at least one route continues on from Houghton to Bellevue TC instead of DT Kirkland. And renumber the 255 that ends at Kirkland TC (don’t get me started on the 255 terminating at three different places. Are numbers really that scares?) and instead run it up Old Redmond Rd. to Houghton and then direct to DT. As it runs now it’s usually running about 1 minute ahead of the morning bus that continues on to Totem Lake TC; a total waste.

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