Map of Proposed C Line Change, near Alaska Junction
Proposed C Line Change

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition will engage with SDOT Engineer Jonathan Dong over the plan to straighten RapidRide C’s path through the Alaska Junction and therefore speed it up.

Neighborhood House Highpoint Center

6400 Sylvan Way SW, Seattle, Washington 98126

6:30-8:30pm

Bruce reported on this proposal last month, and the comment thread revealed a fair amount of resistance to this simple idea. Anyhow, if you are a C rider who would like the trip to be faster, you must help win many of these micro-battles. I encourage you to interact with your neighbors and express your opinion.

86 Replies to “Action Alert: Speed Up RapidRide C Tonight”

  1. Thanks for notice, Martin. I’ve never lived in West Seattle and no plans to move there, so no “standing” on this one. But early years full time at Metro, I did drive the 54 and 55 through the Junction fairly often. So would suggest that you and a representative each from SDOT and Metro operations do an experiment:

    At pm rush hour on a Friday, or whatever time traffic is heaviest, turn an ‘artic through the intersection at Alaska and California- both directions, and make the closest stops.

    Then, with SDOT controlling the signal at California and Edmunds, follow current route. Compare both running times and observe effects on traffic and boarding.

    And extremely important: claim professional courtesy in return for your significant contributions to transit, and have your seat be the one directly behind the steering wheel. The fact that the power pole on the SW corner will still be standing after your trailer clears will earn you Local 587 seniority for all your years of advocacy.

    You’ll also never again have to take any crap out of a single STB comment writer.

    Mark

    1. Important correction to my replacement: pole experiment most revealing on the inside of the right hand turn from California northbound to Alaska eastbound- putting the pole on the inside of your turn- which would count as the South EAST corner.

      Which will also qualify you on the Route 71- though think the pole inside right turn from 15th Ave northbound to 65th Street eastbound is closer to the curb. And since all 60′ buses from now one will probably be powered from the rear axle, pivot point will be same for whole fleet.

      Meaning, whole 60′ coach-length angled leftward from the curb before starting the turn- anything vehicle inside your turn to the right will 2-dimensionally shield the pole from both further damage and graffiti.

      Break a leg- I mean a plastic traffic cone!

      MD

      1. First: http://www.metro-magazine.com/blog/safety-corner/story/2010/09/getting-permission-with-bus-operator-pivot-point-training.aspx

        But meantime:

        “Pivot point.” Try this: run a pen along the left side of a computer mouse-pad with rounded corners, to represent a bus making the right-hand turn to go down the top.

        With different lengths of the pen beyond the upper edge of the pad, bring the pen around the corner, imitating a bus making the turn, and watch what the back end of the pen does.

        Then imagine the bus revolving around a pin stuck directly downward from the center of the wheel hub of the DRIVE AXLE closest to the curb. The reason that’s called the pivot point is that the bus actually swings around this point as it makes the turn.

        The drive axle is the one that powers the coach. On a 40′, always the rear. On every sixty-footer in our fleet, same. Our first 60′ fleet had the center axle powered, with the trailer wheels “steered”- meaning that a rod through the hinge turned the rear axle so the trailer followed the front section like a rail car, and could not drag across a curb.

        Meaning that on present “artic” fleet, driver’s first worry is what’s between the trailer and the curb. On the center-powered fleet, the trailer swung outward on every turn, with a blind spot to the outside at the worst possible time. Meaning: drivers had to put their buses in different positions before making the turn. I think our new trolley fleet will have the rear axle powered.

        Now: Keeping the pen parallel to the side of the pad, push it out about a half an inch, to represent usual distance from the curb. Then notice how far forward you need to push the pen before you can swing it to the right around the curb without going over the pad.

        Notice also that if you hold the back corner toward the curb and angle the pen outward, to your left, you’ll have an easier time getting the right rear corner of the bus safely around the corner. In practice, a driver angles outward until they can look to the right straight down the lane they’re going to turn into.

        The inside angle is called a “button hook”. Not only does it let you clear the curb with a lot less forward length, but it let’s you “protect your pocket”- avoiding a serious accident automatically the bus driver’s fault. The idea is to make sure that absolutely nothing gets between the curb and the right side of the bus all the way around the turn.

        If the driver does all these things and estimates the location of his pivot point accurately, the trailer will always clear the curb inside the turn- and everything on it, pole or person. But car traffic headed same direction of the bus will temporarily have almost the full length of the bus angled outward across their lanes.

        However the whole point of the hinge in a 60′ bus is so that the button hook does not require the full length to be angled outward through the whole turn. The pivot point will still be in the same place. But the driver can start to turn the bus and look down the lane sooner. Again, the bus will still swing around the pivot point and clear the curb.

        Hinge? Two pens end to end. With pens of different lengths, you’ll see that an “artic” with a 30′ front section usually has an easier time with a turn than a 40-footer. But there are some places the longer bus can’t go. And others that need a van.

        BTW: Has STB done a glossary yet? Google Seach works. Local 587 good source too.

        Mark

    2. The C-line buses perform a similar maneuver when it turns from Roxbury onto 35th for a stop just around that corner. The proposed turn from California to Alaska has a few more feet corner clearance depending where they want to stop the bus. They don’t stop at the RR shelter.

  2. I took the Rapidride D for the first time last week, southbound at Market. The first bus was packed like sardines, so I stepped back to take the one right on it’s tail and it was packed.
    At 2:30 in the afternoon, heading downtown.
    I’ll hesitate before taking it again.

    1. In San Francisco, this problem often occurs on trolley bus lines at crowded times. So while Metro can count turnbacks along route on less than one hand, every MUNI trolley route has several.

      At rush hour, supervisors will be stationed at switchbacks. If two buses arrive with first one packed and second one empty, supervisor will often send loaded coach on down the rout, and turn the empty one back. With pole-free Rapid Ride- no excuse for doing otherwise.

      Like DSTT, Rapid Ride needs its own coordinator.

      MD

      1. Fun fact: San Francisco’s Trolleybuses mostly don’t have the 2+1 seating arrangement that you guys are always raving about, so crowding problems are actually amplified compared to other routes. The fact that MUNI chooses run 40-footers on routes that need artics (and fails to buy enough of them) makes this even worse.

    2. The D is by some measures Metro’s busiest route right now, Walt, but there’s a pretty good chance that what you experienced was the Ballard High School Final Bell Unexpress, which takes over three consecutive buses that are intentionally bunched together at that exact time of day.

      There are many problems with the D’s routing that make it frustrating throughout the day, but the hyper-packed school bus vibe you witnessed is limited to that exact time.

  3. Right about trolley-bus loads in San Francisco. Still can’t remember how I managed to get off. Says several things about MUNI and San Franciscans. Doubtless much-justified appreciation for how hard their drivers work. I would’ve paid MUNI to let me see if I could take an uphill left turn on Russian Hill with a dead-spot five feet long.

    Also, trolleybuses tend to serve parts of the city where car-driving is less of a picnic than being in a standing load on a 40′ bus. The trolleys are really the only vehicles that come near the vertical ability of cable cars. Whose re-introduction could be difficult due to the fact that the Scots mining engineers who built the original lines used techniques and materials superior to modern ones-that nobody remembers.

    Part of the artic trolley problem- they do have some sixty foot Flyer trolleybuses- could be that they won’t pull some of those grades. Answer to that could be not only new forty foot buses, but advances in special work and lane and signal priority.

    Also still wish there was the same kind of contest- world-wide- for trolleybus-driving same event. Would be good for Metro’s image and ATU Local 587’s morale to compete not only with MUNI and Vancover BC, but also with systems in Sao Paulo and Recife in Brazil, and Odessa in Russia and the fantastic 50-mile long line in Crimea.

    Maybe Vladimir Putin himself would fly a Bear bomber over the Crimean event, like the jetliner in “Invictus.” And we could fly circles around it with Korean war jets of our own. But above all, Metro and 587 both would have a strong incentive to massively upgrade trolley training here. And also wire the Route 7 to Ellensburg. New world, new take on old transit.

    Mark

    1. That’s “same as diesel rodeo.” Can’t believe nobody has demanded a competition for trolley operations. No offense meant, but some unusual skills in the transit world.

      However, I’ve been warned by those who know Brazil that if I picked up any of their driving techniques and habits, Metro would have to tell Homeland Security not to let me back in the country.

      Whereupon, since my grandfather came from near Kiev, I really could end up on the eastern division of the Ellensburg line. Though I don’t think they have any 60-footers on that one.

      MD

    2. “Also, trolleybuses tend to serve parts of the city where car-driving is less of a picnic than being in a standing load on a 40′ bus. The trolleys are really the only vehicles that come near the vertical ability of cable cars. Whose re-introduction could be difficult due to the fact that the Scots mining engineers who built the original lines used techniques and materials superior to modern ones-that nobody remembers.”

      Actually, there’s no real tendency towards serving particularly steep areas. While the Trolleybus system does serve a number of very steep areas (Sacramento/Clay, Upper Noe), they’re actually fairly new compared to the original areas of the Trolleybus network (Mostly the later abandonments of the MSR Streetcar network). The Diesel Bus Lines serve many areas that are just as steep as what Trolleys serve.

      “Part of the artic trolley problem- they do have some sixty foot Flyer trolleybuses- could be that they won’t pull some of those grades. Answer to that could be not only new forty foot buses, but advances in special work and lane and signal priority.”

      We also have some Skoda artics, but the New Flyer trolleys are about to be retired. A big part of the reason why the Artics aren’t used where they’re needed is really more that there aren’t enough of them, as there’s only like 70 available (used to be 93 Trolley artics, and 150 Diesel artics, but the mid 90’s New Flyers, both Diesel and Electric, are coming to the end of their useful lives), and the Mission and Stockton corridors hog most of them.

      Good thing is, we’re finally getting New Articulated Trolleys next year, which will be MUNI’s first low-floor Articulated vehicles, and will probably feature the “even more open than ever before” floor plan of the 40′ Xcelsiors we’ve already gotten. And the Diesel Artics won’t be far behind, as we’ve 73 coming in over the next several years, with options for up to 160 more. (Which means that there might finally be enough for routes like the 28, 29, 44, and 71 to get them full-time)

      1. Thanks for setting me straight, DRW. Was mostly guessing from observation- confirming my suspicion that it’s time for another visit to San Francisco and some more intensive investigation. Speaking of which:

        This last trip, I was much impressed with the view through the windshield of the Route 24 Divisadero up to Pacific Heights. I remember seeing a particular piece of special work featuring a piece of special work turning left from the Route 24 wire to- I think- the Route 1 California.

        Looking steeply uphill, I instinctively snapped back to my own trolley-driving days of “reading” overhead, and tried to estimate what I’d have to do to get through that switch. It seemed to me that I’d have to use my power pedal very precisely to use enough power to get through the switch, to avoid taking down the wire.

        However, in the time I had before we cleared the switch, I couldn’t ascertain whether the wire would be alive or dead when the shoes of a coach turning left as the coach made the switch. I really hoped that the turn wire would be alive all the way through. Is that right?

        Either way, it seemed to me that it would the the ultimate test of trolley driving skill to get through that turn smoothly. What do you think?

        Mark

      2. Mark Dublin”

        “This last trip, I was much impressed with the view through the windshield of the Route 24 Divisadero up to Pacific Heights. I remember seeing a particular piece of special work featuring a piece of special work turning left from the Route 24 wire to- I think- the Route 1 California.”

        The 1-California and 24-Divisidero don’t have a wire connection; they cross each other, but to go from one route to the other at that point you’d have to drop the poles. Given that you mention a Steep Hill, it might either the Divisidero/Jackson junction, or you might be misremembering what line/part of the city it was.

        “However, in the time I had before we cleared the switch, I couldn’t ascertain whether the wire would be alive or dead when the shoes of a coach turning left as the coach made the switch. I really hoped that the turn wire would be alive all the way through. Is that right?”

        I’m not really knowledge about the technical side of how MUNI does things, so I’m not really the right person to ask about that.

        But speaking of the 24-Divisidero in general, it’s one of the routes that I think really needs Artics, as does the 1-California, MUNI’s single most frequent route on the segment East of Presidio Ave. (Other corridors have more total service (Market, Geary, Stockton, Mission), but have that service split across multiple routes)

  4. I am a regular C rider and I am opposed to this change. The minor time savings, even multiplied by the number if trips/riders is not worth breaking up a well functioning transit hub. I presume the real time rider information displays would move with the C stop, diminishing the rider experience for those who continue to use the current stop.

    Once SDOT figures out a way to diminish vehicle traffic east of California enough to move all the buses there, then we can talk about this change.

    1. I tend to agree with C-Rider. You’re going to have lots of people jay-running across California Street to transfer to the C-Line from the TC.

      1. So, why not have those connector lines cross California Ave SW?

        And then make the transfer center property available for TOD?

    2. This is why we can’t have nice things.

      There are hundreds upon hundreds of busy transfers that involve crosswalks all over Metro’s service area; I use some of them quite frequently. And yet, somehow, I pretty much never hear anyone calling for one bus to take a pointless journey around the block to ease the transfer. I wonder why that is? Perhaps because even thinking about applying this principle broadly makes clear how insane it is.

      So there must be a special reason this unusual routing is necessary for this stop. But no one in the other thread could come up with one; it’s just mindless resistance to change and weird West Seattle tribalism.

      1. Perhaps because even thinking about applying this principle broadly makes clear how insane it is.

        Game, set, match.

      2. djw, why don’t provide some comparable examples instead of making your point by waving your hands around? It shouldn’t be hard since there are hundreds of situations where a single high frequency route is separated from multiple feeder routes by a busy intersection. I will come back in a few hours to see what you or anyone else comes up with.

      3. 3rd & Pike.

        15th & Market.

        About every major transfer point in the U-District.

        Yikes, that was easy.

        Wanna send all of those routes on elaborate multi-block detours so no one ever has to cross a street to transfer?

      4. DJW Have you been to the area in discussion?
        The business district, the ridership, as well as West Seattle residents
        as expressed last night at the WSTC meeting do not see this proposed re-routing as a
        “nice thing”.

        Try something besides knee-jerk for your response, go look at what is proposed, in the area it is proposed, and see why it is evident that the proposal will poossibly’save 60 seconds’, but will wreak much disruption in doing so.

        Many suggestions were made last night to improve the overall flow of the RRC line, from improved signal prioritization to explicit bus only lane makings which would gain more than a minute in overall flow, but the bureaucrats seemed to be fixated on this micro-slice of the route, trying to implement a piece that was rejected by the neighborhood/business district years ago,during planning prior to the implementation of the RRC.

        People in WS are aware of the needs of transit, have suggested many ways to improve and implement upgrades to the transit service, yet are regularly ignored.
        Remote cube dwellers with maps and models try to implement plans divorced from a reality they refuse to examine.

      5. …Just venturing a guess that “C Rider” usually gets on at the Junction or slightly inbound from it, and therefore doesn’t have to suffer through the ridiculous detour loop on his regular journey.

        The cumulative experience of such intentional time-wasting is a big part of transit’s 2nd-class-citizenry problem in this town.

      6. “…Just venturing a guess that “C Rider” usually gets on at the Junction or slightly inbound from it, and therefore doesn’t have to suffer through the ridiculous detour loop on his regular journey.”

        Is this an accurate use of language, DP? Suffer? You demote your self to the level of a shrieking hysteric.

      7. “Suffer” is an appropriate word for everyone who has to spend an extra couple minutes on their commute, in perpetuity, for the sake of a smaller number of riders who could cross the street and catch the next inbound bus, thereby reducing their own commute by a half minute. Those same riders who think they are benefiting save a half minute from the permanent diversion at the Junction on the outbound trip, but the net savings is neglible.

        The net cost for through riders, though, is real.

        This also impacts capacity, since buses have to take two minutes longer to do the round trip. More riders could have gotten seats, if the Junction boarders hadn’t gotten their way over all other riders.

      8. dp, I do not think those examples are comparable to the situation in the Junction which I described in my comment.

        15th and Market certainly is not. The D/15 and 44 stop on different sides of the same corners. SB/WB and NB/EB transfers just have to walk around the corner. At the Junction, the proposed change would require all transfers going to or from the C to cross the intersection.

      9. And people transferring in other directions in the above examples have to cross the street twice!

        I’ve spent enough time in the Junction to be unable to understand for the life of me what makes this crosswalk more foreboding than any other.

        Nor can I understand, even for a rider catching the bus at the Junction proper — and therefore not having to sit through the deviation — why there would be any appeal crossing west of the intersection to catch a bus eastbound. That’s counterintuitive, and likely to set you up to routinely miss buses you otherwise would have caught.

        In general, I object to the doubling down on “transit centers” in poor locations, which affects not just the C, but most other riders coming to or through the Junction as well. There’s just no compelling reason for every urban grid-ish route to be squirreled away to 44th forever and ever, just because someone made the mistake of dropping shelters there in the past.

      10. *And I see that you’ve said pretty much the same thing down below: eliminate the transit center, eliminate the “dogleg” it causes to multiple routes, and you will eliminate your objection.

        I wholly agree!

        Sadly, the WSTC has now arrived to fret about how buses on the main drag constitute a threat to the “insane” number of pedestrians!

        That’s so suburban-ridiculous I can hardly even engage.

  5. C Rider, here’s how the phemonen works.

    When underutilized stops are proposed for consolidation, the one or two users who would have to walk farther turn out and make noise. The hundreds of other through riders who would benefit remain silent.

    When bus lanes get proposed, the half dozen people who park in those lanes scream that they don’t have anywhere else to park. Why do I know this? Because it happened in West Seattle. Businesses adamantly opposed the bus lanes on the C Line. I’m glad some businesses are finally coming around to support them.

    Straightening out the line to benefit West Seattleites who live south of the junction, or any riding by the junction is not exclusive with all the other wonderful ideas that were suggested last night, and I am relieved to see they are finally gaining traction.

    I would also urge a little less venom for the “bureaucrats”, who supported many of last night’s suggestions all along, and were blocked by some of your vocal neighbors and business groups when they did try to push dedicated bus lanes.

    1. Why do you focus just on the cranks??? Good God there are 120,000 people here from ALki down to Burien’s line. All you do is whine about the cranks ruining everything. maybe if STB fought as hard in advocacy for the untrendy unhip parts of the city, like us, SDOT wouldn’t defecate all over us and would be fixing our problems? I mean God, do we have to beg and sacrifice live dogs to the urbanism gods or what

      1. There are 84,000~ people in West Seattle since by law that was the division for the seven districts in our new system. So that’s accurate. There are an additional 30-40k between White Center and all of the North Highline/Ambaum area down to Burien, and the person said,

        “there are 120,000 people here from ALki down to Burien’s line.”

        So that’s pretty accurate.

      2. C Rider’s comments indicate anything but crankiness. S/he is the only one here I’ve seen give an actual reason not to straighten out the C Line. As an equal-opportunity critic of transit center diversions in the middle of routes everywhere, I happen to disagree.

      3. The remaining unincorporated area west of the 509 divide covers roughly from Roxbury to 128th (b/t 509 and 12th Ave SW), and from Roxbury to 116th (b/t 12th Ave SW and 30th Ave SW).

        All told, it covers about 2.5 square miles.

        If it contained, 30,000+ people, it would be one of the densest places in America.

      4. A quick Google says that White Center contained 13,500 people before it was partly annexed to Burien. A lot fewer now. You’re lucky to find a few thousand total in the non-White Center-defined part of the unincorporated holdout.

      5. Why do you focus just on the cranks???

        Because they’re the ones showing up here and elsewhere making terrible arguments in opposition to common sense transit enhancements.

    2. Brent, that was pretty condescending.

      I actually live far south of the Junction, near Westwood Village. My trips on the C typically go through the Junction, though sometimes I use the C to go to the Junction or transfer there to go someplace like Alki.

      I admit that I have not done a count, but I am pretty sure there are more than one or two people transferring between the C and other routes at the Junction.

      For the record:
      I supported the full bus lanes on Avalon even though I would probably have to walk farther to get to Luna Park. I still hold out hope that they will be completed some day. And I hope to see more bus lanes in West Seattle.

      I supported stop consolidation on the route by my house, even though I lost a stop half a block away.

      I also support bus bulbs that cause buses to block the travel lane so they are not delayed merging back into traffic — even if I am in one of those cars being delayed.

      That said, as a C rider, I still say the proposed reroute is a bad idea.

      1. I apologize for my tone, and thank you for sticking to debating policy rather than personalities. And also for standing up for riders when other comment sections are filled with opposition to all the sorts of transit improvements you list here.

        Are there fixes on and around California that would make straightening the C Line feasible, IYHO?

  6. This proposed change is irresponsible. SDOT stakeholders, planners, community stakeholders and planners, and Metro stakeholders and planners ALL rejected this over the years. Key reasons and takeaways:

    1. Buses will be impeded and delayed by the free crosswalk mid block for pedestrians between Alaska and Edmunds. Pedestrians there in new configuration have automatic and instant right of way. I was at the SDOT meeting last night and some of their board members asked if they studied the crosswalk and pedestrian rates, especially during AM and PM commute hours. SDOT indicated they had NOT. That crosswalk is constantly busy.

    2. The question came up of if they had studied the parallel parking on the east side of California impeding buses. The West Seattle Junction Association had indicated that SDOT in the past observed these spaces had a VERY rapid turnover. Every single parallel parking change will delay a bus.

    3. Every one of the above will overflow light cycles for both buses and cars and bikes back behind the light at California and Edmunds, pushing traffic back on light cycles south on California, turning an already at times glacially slow arterial into molasses for all modes.

    4. Many people asked after the status of many other nearby improvements that were estimated by participants and SDOT in previous discussions as able to shave off (as one SDOT person said last night) a total of 3-5 minutes in bus times at best. None were looked at, even though those were possible easier. Examples were fixing the deformed/now failed intersection at Morgan and Fauntleroy, which is now rated by SDOT as one of the worst performing intersections in the city. Also, dedicated bus lanes from the Junction all the way to the Bridge. Also, maximum signal priority for every intersection east of the West Seattle Junction all the way to the Bridge, which is not operational today.

    5. Aggressive, constant, and forceful enforcement of bus lanes on the corridor, which is totally non-existent today.

    1. What organizations have formally come out in favor of the dedicated bus lanes? (other than Seattle Transit Blog)

  7. I would be curious to know how many of you actually come over and see these areas, outside of online maps, and outside of events like “inaugural” rides for a new Rapid Ride. We’ve been screaming and hollering for all sorts of improvements for YEARS, but all you all like to do is crap all over us because our area’s local cranks get more of platform due to us having our own dedicated news resources down here, that cover everything, for better or worse. YEARS people in these damn groups have been fighting with SDOT and WSDOT and the damn Coast Guard and ignored, ignored again and again. but that’s Ok focus on the NERD idiots who wanted to make sure their one neighborhood installed parking in some buildings, and paint us all as the village idiots who can barely get out of their own way for not walking your defined straight and narrow path. They don’t know any better, screw them.

    Where is your advocacy work on our behalf, or is it only when your members get their egos pricked does it become a thing>????

      1. It’s extremely narrow. Aside from analyzing the configurations of light rail or BRT possibilities to West Seattle, what other real advocacy has been done here for West Seattle, compared to other parts of the city? Scant precious little, being honest.

      2. Writing about rail configurations, bus possibilities, and zoning is what we do. I have no idea what “real advocacy” you see us doing for other areas that you don’t see for West Seattle.

      3. Look, we disagree over one configuration issue. We agree on the bus lanes. There has been far more support for the bus lanes on this blog than anywhere else. We agree on a lot more than we disagree on. Now, can we treat each other as human beings working (most of the time) for the same goals?

      4. Oh, and there is the post right before this one, trying to get funding for more service on the 120. But what else has STB done for West Seattle?

      5. Oh, and there is the Prop 1 money. Yeah, we’d be in a real mess if Ben hadn’t convinced the City to put Prop 1 on the ballot.

        Okay, besides Prop 1, the continuing mitigation money from WSDOT, the bus lanes (such as they are), the upgrades on the 120, the light rail study, the straightening of the 131, getting those stops together at Westwood Village, getting the 60 extended to Westwood Village, that low-income fare, and that nifty crosstown 50, WHAT ELSE BROTHERS (and sisters) AND SISTERS HAS STB DONE FOR WEST SEATTLE?

  8. Having read this and the previous fiasco of a discussion on this, there is a valid point. Seattle Transit Blog does tend to focus, in particular in the comments but also in it’s editorials, on a coy dismissal of and slamming of West Seattle. The general tone is that the handful of mouth breathing NIMBYs here who are sadly very effective at leveraging local and citywide media attention, and social media, somehow run this area. They do not. They’re not representative of West Seattle, White Center, or North Highline, and sadly Seattle Transit Blog legitimizes them by honoring them or carrying the myth that they have any real power.

    They have no power. Really, they don’t. The other people posting here today need to lay off of the meth pipe in their presentation and phrasing of their advocacy for West Seattle, but the point stands and appears valid: maybe, just maybe, Seattle Transit Blog should do some local research of the “problems on the ground,” before acting like pit bulls on the hunt in regard to the opposition to this one particular configuration change. A little honest Seattle Transit Blog advocacy could help to fix a lot of problems down here.

    Or, go on and keep belittling the majority of us who are sane and not on meds, like you do the crazy fringe.

    1. Biscotti or any of the others who have jumped in saying the same sort of thing – Just a suggestion, but have you considered getting a Page 2 account and launching some of that advocacy? I think most of us would be glad to join in if you let us know about the battles.

      1. I may not have the time due to career and travel commitments but I will recommend that to others. What are the qualifications and requirements?

    2. Trying to understand your statements:

      * STB should advocate more for West Seattle
      * STB is mis-focusing: There are issues that need advocacy, and these aren’t the same issues that the “handful of mouth breathing NIMBYs” so loudly oppose.
      * By covering only the events that the loud NIMBYs oppose (and bringing all their opposition), STB paints an inaccurate picture of West Seattle
      * Legitimate opposition to changes is then tarred with the same loud-NIMBY brush.

      Is this an accurate summary? It’s not one I’ve heard before, so the chances of me misunderstanding are high.

  9. Treating a minute or two of time savings as the holy grail when it won’t have any measurable benefit to the reliability of the route is silly. There is enough variability in travel times on the C that a minute or two is lost in the noise.

    1. But C, that’s the same argument that gets used to keep each block of parked cars in the bus lane. A minute here, a minute there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real time.

      (with apologies to Yogi Berra)

      1. But the bus lanes would actually help improve overall reliability. This proposed change just moves the battleground.

      2. Time savings and reliability are both good independently. Better together, but each worth pursuing for any bus route, but especially one you conned the feds into funding by calling it “rapid”.

      3. No, I don’t really have any fingerprints on RapidRide. I recall that I sent a comment early in the planning process pleading with Metro to extend the route from the ferry terminal to Westwood Village, but that is pretty much it.

  10. The 50, 55, and 128 also make a funky dogleg to stop at the Junction, in addition to the C.

    What can be done to straighten out all or most of theses routes in the Junction and provide a rider-friendly transfer environment? That would be something I could probably advocate for.

    1. “What can be done to straighten out all or most of theses routes in the Junction and provide a rider-friendly transfer environment?”

      I was hoping you would have an answer to that question.

      But since you bring up the 50 and the 128, I’d like to asterisk the previous proposal to have the 128 go all the way to Alki Beach. The 50 is crushloaded during that short segment during the summer (and empty once it passes Youngstown). What would you like to see happen with the 50, 55, and 128, overall?

      1. If we could get the cars (mine included) off Alaska on that block east of California, maybe we could move all the buses there and not just the C?

        Oregon is already a busy route for cars going in and out of the Junction. Edmunds is less so, but I think that could change with all the development under construction there. I don’t know if they have the capacity to absorb traffic from Alaska or not.

        Maybe banning turns at Alaska/California and removing parking on that one block of Alaska would be enough?

        Ultimately, I wonder if bus routes should instead be converging at Alaska and Fauntleroy instead. That is turning into the new center of activity. SDOT is looking hard at changing Fauntleroy there to be less of a car sewer. I do not know what kinds if changes would be needed to allow routes to converge there, but now would be a good time to figure that out.

      2. I would like to know what pro-transit organizational efforts are going on in West Seattle that one can support. It seems there have been conspiracies to get the parked cars out of what should be bus lanes, but the conspiracies have not been talking with each other.

        Likewise, as Amanda brought up, there have been efforts to keep the mitigation money going, but they have not been coordinating with each other. Cross-conspiracy communication could lead to a larger, more effective, conspiracy.

      3. Bus routes converging at Alaska/Fauntleroy? If people don’t want to cross the street at Alaska/California they certainly won’t at Alaska/Fauntleroy.

      4. Brent, I would like to keep the 50 for Alki an let the 128 continue to serve North Admiral. The 50 is a small bus but aptly fits the off-peak needs of the Alki and Admiral neighborhoods. I ride the 50 from Alki to Beacon Hill at around 8 am. What you see in ridership eastbound is a thinning out after 1st and Lander when about 8 Starbucks employees de-board. Then you pick up a few riders (employees and patients) on the SODO Busway heading to the VA Hospital. Heading downtown on the bridge, the 50 gets a longer bus-only lane to the 1st Avenue exit and can be on the surface connectint to the Link or Sodo Busway buses for transfers. Frankly, I’d rather do that than be on a loaded C or 56 on the viaduct that is about to fall down. The Sodo Busway opens up other options to go south (Renton, Kent, Tacoma, Olympia) and east to Georgetown and Beacon Hill) besides offering access to downtown and points north. Call me selfish, but since I already have to travel north, then south a couple of miles, then north again just to get from Alki to the West Seattle Bridge, I would rather not add another mandatory transfer to the trip or have to go all the way downtown to turn around and head south once again. Since Seattle Prop 1 passed I hope this reorganization suggestion will not be implemented. As far as West Seattle activism is concerned, you can count me as one who wore a sandwich board and handed out hundreds of flyers at the Bellevue Transit Center, Mercer Island Park and Ride and Renton Transit Center encouraging King County voters in those areas to support the car tab, unfortunately, to no avail.

      5. @C Rider: Nothing in SDOT’s plans suggests they’re going to deprioritize vehicle capacity on Fauntleroy much. OK, so they’ll probably complete the crosswalks, but those new crosswalks will have really long waits because the dominant signal phase will still be “green on Fauntleroy plus right-arrow for southbound traffic”, to avoid backups.

  11. Hey Guys! I co-founded the West Seattle Transportation Coalition with some other awesome advocates to collaborate on the different mobility challenges we face. We started out focused on the 27% bus cuts (17% for everyone else + 10% additional for WS because of the end of SR99 mitigation money) that WS was facing, and we advocated hard to keep certain routes! And get the mitigation money extended! And we did! Because we organized and we were loud.

    SDOT hired a consultant that last night admitted did not even ride the route on the bus. The “obvious” change IS the straightening of the route! The l”ook, see! It’s easy.” But there are so many other considerations that need to be considered. Including the insane amount of pedestrian traffic that is seen in the Junction now – and the addition of hundreds more when all the new apartment / condos are filled.

    I am not a fan of Martin Duke’s attitude, and I surely don’t understand it. If he has ever been to a WSTC meeting, I am unaware. But I invite him to come! Do yourself a favor and join our next meeting on January 22nd. We are wonks – but we are active ones that are pushing for better connectivity for the Peninsula. And really, isn’t that something we all want? Better connectivity?

    1. Thank you for all you have done for West Seattle, and for transit, Amanda! I’m confused what you don’t like about the post (as opposed to some of the comments), other than disagreeing with Martin’s position on the issue of the re-route.

    2. I have to say I’ve reread the post a few times now and am having trouble discerning the “attitude” Amanda is offended by.

      1. Martin – Your statement of “Anyhow, if you are a C rider who would like the trip to be faster, you must help win many of these micro-battles”… implies that the people of West Seattle want to see their trips take longer, and any resistance to this “simple idea” must be a battle to be won. By whom? At what cost? That is the attitude I reference.

        The WSTC in fact suggested several route improvements that would decrease travel times significantly – more than 1 minute proposed. Because honestly, it seemed to us, that the consultants seemed a little lazy on their study of this route.

        As for the “insane” hyperbole – you are right. Sorry, I just get carried away sometimes.

      2. It isn’t clear to me that Martin implied anyone wanted their ride to be longer. Rather, there are people who don’t ride, and want the buses out of the way of their cars, or don’t want to lose their parking spots in what would be much better used as a bus lane, or want buses to detour in front of their businesses, etc. Most harm done to bus routes is done by people who don’t ride the route. (That is not to say that only people who ride a given route have the right to work on improving it. That would be self-defeating.)

        A lot of progress on transit has happened in West Seattle with the support of transit advocates from other parts of town. Don’t chase off your closest allies.

    3. Including the insane amount of pedestrian traffic that is seen in the Junction now – and the addition of hundreds more when all the new apartment / condos are filled.

      The implied argument is that pedestrians and buses don’t belong together. This doesn’t make any sense to anyone who has, for example, spent time in the U-District or Capitol Hill. Pedestrians and buses are go together just fine. Why do you think they don’t? What’s the theory as to why this is dangerous or unreliable, and what’s your evidence for that theory?

    4. One of the reasons non-West Seattle folk sometimes see West Seattle’s boosters and advocates as parochial is the prevalence of bizarre, exceptionalist claims about West Seattle. The Junction’s “Insane” pedestrian traffic is a great example. There are many commercial districts with similar amounts of pedestrian activity in Seattle and its suburbs, several with much more, and of course most of us have visited other cities with vastly more pedestrian density than Seattle could dream of.

      It is, of course, a good idea to make sure that turns and traffic signals work out in favor of the change, as SDOT and Metro expect. It’s a very good idea to make sure general principles apply in this specific environment. But I think the reasonable expectation is that we’ll find that California Ave is more similar than different to streets in other broadly similar US neighborhoods where buses run through on the main drag. That West Seattle doesn’t spin on a different axis from the rest of the world, that people that don’t live there can mostly understand it by applying more general principles.

      1. One less common element on this stretch of California (compared to broadly similar US neighborhoods), and the source of concern, is the unsignaled mid-block pedestrian crossing. The crossing is fairly busy now. With 291 new apartment units going in on that block right now, some think it will get busier. It isn’t clear that SDOT accounted for it in their travel time analysis.

        While ‘insane’ to describe the pedestrian traffic is hyperbole, there is plenty of that common in comment threads here.

      2. The Ave, with much higher pedestrian volumes, has a few mid-block crossings. Lake City Way has at least one. 45th in Wallingford has one or two. I think Greenwood Ave (maybe the most similar street to California Ave in Seattle) has one just north of 85th. Madison has one on the way into the Madison Park commercial district. Dexter has several, and though they aren’t in a commercial district like Alaska Junction, they are near decently well-used bus stops and get plenty of use. Similarly, there are several around Green Lake that are well-used by joggers.

        It would be ridiculously parochial, generally, to describe any place in Seattle as having “insane” pedestrian density, and Alaksa Junction doesn’t even have uncommon pedestrian density or pedestrian features by Seattle’s mediocre standards.

  12. While I am glad SDOT was making efforts to improve travel time on the C line, I found the proposal rather puzzling with no reference to what would happen to the west/southbound routing. Do I infer that the loop to 44th would remain for the southbound C? If so, why did they propose to straighten out the route in one direction and not the other? It would be great to see a real transit mall for all the routes that serve the Junction (say on Alaska Street between California and 42nd Avenues or even better on both sides of California near Alaska), but this would take a lot more road engineering than was being proposed, perhaps even banning more parking, car lanes or at least left turns from the intersection and the block between Edmonds and Alaska. I think this would be a great bold plan, but would bring on a real battle. We’ll eventually come to this in West Seattle when we finally figure out there just isn’t enough room to give so much roadspace to cars instead of people.

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