UPDATE: Metro has created a survey about the changes described here. Please take it once you feel comfortable with the concepts; our stories next week may help. Metro’s Jeff Switzer says: “The 200+ comments are great, and we’re reading them, but it would help to capture them for tracking and analysis via the survey.”
Yesterday evening, Metro and Sound Transit made public for the first time their proposals for restructuring bus service around Sound Transit’s University Link light-rail extension. The fully tunneled extension will add two new Link stations: Capitol Hill Station near Broadway and John, and University of Washington Station next to Husky Stadium. The trip between UW Station and Westlake Station should take just 6-8 minutes. As of now, U-Link is scheduled to open to the public in March 2016. A Metro and Sound Transit service change, when the agencies will restructure bus service, will happen at the same time. (UPDATE: Sound Transit’s Bruce Gray emails to say: “[This post] says U Link opens in March. Right now we’re still just saying First Quarter.” This leaves open the possibility that U-Link could open before the restructure takes effect.)
Metro is taking the lead on developing the restructures, because the vast majority of the impact is to Metro’s network. In a package of information released late yesterday, Metro is offering two alternatives for public comment. “Alternative 1” represents a major rethinking of bus service in several areas affected by U-Link, while “Alternative 2” seeks to keep change to a minimum. Metro designed both alternatives to be revenue-neutral; neither alternative spends an extra dollar compared to today’s bus network. Metro has created route maps of both alternatives, which include midday, peak, and Eastside route networks, as well as frequency maps.
One thing that is absolutely critical to understanding this proposal: Metro did not take extra funding the City of Seattle is providing because of Proposition 1 into account in designing either alternative. Prop 1 only provides 6 years of taxing authority, and Metro wants to build a network it can sustain indefinitely. So everything you will read below, in upcoming posts, and in Metro’s materials is purely funded by Metro, without Prop 1. Seattle’s Prop 1 funds would add to these proposals. The city has not yet decided exactly what to add, but its additions will likely resemble SDOT’s choices to improve the current network. Bill Bryant of SDOT’s Transit Division told STB’s Zach Shaner by email that the city would need to develop specifics by late summer or early fall.
Broadly speaking, the restructures cover four areas: Northeast Seattle, Capitol Hill, SR-520 bridge service, and to a lesser extent, Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union. In the coming days, we will have four posts that will go into down-in-the-weeds detail about what Alternative 1 would mean for each of these areas. For now, we’ll look at the big picture.
Alternative 1 is an aggressive investment in higher frequency, route consolidation, and network legibility, of exactly the sort we’ve long advocated. It continues Metro’s commendable recent history – first with their ambitious initial proposal for the 2012 west-side restructure, and then with their proposed 2014 cuts – of putting real network improvements on the table.
Alternative 1 doesn’t just tinker around the margins; it creates new, frequent, all-day connections in a large portion of the city. Oran’s before-and-after maps above (slide the white bar left and right) show Alternative 1’s headline feature: major frequency improvements on nearly every all-day route that connects to a U-Link station. We’ll go into route-by-route depth in our upcoming posts, but in this introduction we’ll think about corridors rather than routes. Here are some highlights:
- Northeast Seattle
- A true grid of 15-minute routes comes to all of Northeast Seattle, a quadrant of the city that currently has almost no frequent service. NE 65th St, 25th Ave NE, 35th Ave NE, and Sand Point Way would all gain new 15-minute service.
- Children’s Hospital and University Village would have frequent service to both the central UW campus and UW Station.
- The Roosevelt Way and 15th Ave NE corridors are consolidated to provide 10-minute all-day service between Northgate, Roosevelt, the U-District, and UW Station.
- Many urban neighborhoods get new frequent connections, including a new frequent line that connects Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, Roosevelt, Ravenna, and Sand Point.
- Alternative 1 creates an all-day frequent connection between Crown Hill, Greenwood, Green Lake, Roosevelt, the U-District, and Bellevue.
- Capitol Hill
- Alternative 1 creates 4 hubs that each allow 10 minute transfers where none exist today: 23rd/Cherry, 23rd/Thomas, Broadway/John, and Broadway/Jefferson (with a little help from the streetcar).
- There is a new 10-minute bus connection between North Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill Station, and the First Hill hospitals.
- Crosstown service between Uptown, SLU, Capitol Hill, and Madison Valley gets 10-minute frequency and is extended to Madison Park.
- There is a new 15-minute connection between the C.D., Madison Valley, Pike/Pine, and Upper Broadway. Live on Broadway but like to shop at Trader Joe’s? There would be a bus for that.
- SR-520 and Peak Service
- Ends all off-peak service into Downtown Seattle from SR 520, while asking many riders to transfer to Link at UW Station even during peak hours.
- Reorganizes peak-hour SR-520 service to create frequent routes serving many more destinations on both ends of SR-520.
- Creates a new, frequent peak-hour connection between the SR-520 corridor, the U-District, SLU, and Uptown.
- Creates a new, frequent all-day connection between the SR-520 corridor, Roosevelt, Green Lake, Greenwood, and Crown Hill.
- Creates a new peak-hour connection between the U-District, South Lake Union, and First Hill.
Given its ambitious scope, it’s no surprise that Alternative 1 implies some significant tradeoffs as well, and we will talk more about those in our next few posts. Generally speaking, these new connections and higher frequencies are purchased by consolidating all-day routes for the sake of frequency and by asking Link to carry a heavy peak load at UW Station.
By contrast, Alternative 2 is a true minimum-change scenario. It has no significant frequency improvements, a couple of minor frequency cuts, and only a few small route changes. It is not a less aggressive restructure than Alternative 1; rather, it’s not a restructure at all. While Metro will (as it should) put on its best poker face and treat these alternatives as equals, Alternative 2 simply doesn’t display the level of innovation and creative thinking that Alternative 1 does.
Alternative 2 makes just one major change from current service, which actually has little to do with U-Link. It consolidates current routes 66, 67, 72, and 73 into a single all-day route running between Northgate and downtown via the University District (the route we have called the “80X” in the past), and turns route 71 into an infrequent east-west shuttle route. Other changes can almost literally be listed on one hand, and include consolidation of route 30 and route 68 into a single milk run; a split of poorly used route 25 to allow infrequent connections between Laurelhurst and UW Station; reduction in frequency on an otherwise-unchanged 43; and straightening of route 16 in the Northgate area. This alternative is so simple relative to Alternative 1, and so similar to the status quo, that we feel no need to cover it in heavy detail.
Whichever alternative is adopted, Metro gets another bite at part of this apple in five years. North Link will open in 2021, with new stations at the U-District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. As we’ll discuss in the Northeast Seattle post, Alternative 1 is already anticipating North Link. Nevertheless, it’s certain that further restructures will be needed in 2021, and this gives Metro a valuable opportunity to correct any changes in next year’s restructure that do not work as well as expected.
We’ll cover the following parts of the restructure in more detail throughout next week, and will add links here as the posts go live.
Monday: Northeast Seattle
Tuesday: Capitol Hill
Wednesday: SR 520 Cross-Lake Service
Thursday: Downtown and South Lake Union
Alternative 1 is the most exciting development in Seattle transit in many years. While we’ve had a few internal debates about details, the STB staff is unanimously happy with the overall direction Metro planners have taken, and we hope Metro ends up implementing something more or less like Alternative 1 next March.
340 Replies to “Metro Presents U-Link Restructures”
Overall, the plan is a wonderful idea; however, I have a couple of concerns.
– Madison. Madison is a radial street that originates in Downtown, but the Metro restructure fails to respect that. There are three new bus routes on Madison (8, 38, and 49), only one of which goes downtown. Additionally, because Madison is a proposed BRT line, there should only be one route providing service on the whole street.
– Wedgewood/NE 65th St riders. The new 16, though frequent, will be very slow for downtown-bound riders. The best option would be to transfer to the new 26X in Green Lake, but that route only runs every 30 minutes. This won’t be a concern with Northgate Link opening a few years later.
– UW Station transfers need to be well thought out. So far the proposed bus stop locations leave a lot to be desired, and there hasn’t been much, if any, word about fixing that.
– SR 520. One of the three lines should go downtown instead of to UW. The 545 should be kept, with the 255 and 271 going to UW. Timed transfers should take place at Evergreen Point between the UW-bound 255 and downtown-bound 545. Once East Link opens, the 545 should be eliminated/replaced with 542.
– Maple Leaf. While having one high-frequency route on Roosevelt, having buses on 5th and 15th Avenues NE would provide better coverage. I think this is one area where having coverage might be better than frequency.
Under alternative 1, the 545 would still go downtown at peak hours only. That seems like the right thing to do to me if the service hours saved go to a more frequent 542.
They’ve also said it’d be a pretty broad definition of peak, so something like 5-10:30am and 2:30-7:00pm.
Also, without a Montlake freeway station, the downtown-bound 255x and 545 can skip stopping at Montlake. With a fancy new freeway station at Evergreen Point, that should be a pretty comfortable place to wait for a transfer.
Note that in exchange for a truncated 545 off-peak, you get a bus running twice as often on evenings and weekends. Also, current service is subject to very unreliable travel times getting from one end of downtown to the other, and 10-15 minutes by the time the bus finally gets on I-5 are quite common. Truncating the route would solve those problems.
sigh. the 545 and 255 should both truncate at UW station.
the montlake flyer stops are going away.
why in the world should people have to sit at uw station while downtown buses waste service hours sitting in I5 traffic?
even alt 1 seems really shortsighted.
100% agree with psf. The 545 & 255 should end at Husky Stadium. Almost everyone riding those routes is going downtown, and transferring to Link at Husky Stadium will be faster than being stuck in traffic on I-5, Stewart St., 4th Ave., etc.
Not to mention a lot of people who ride the 545 go to Capitol Hill, and transferring to Link at Husky Stadium will be a huge improvement compared to getting off at Denny & Stewart and hiking up the hill (or waiting for the 8…)
Sending the 545 downtown peak-hours is mostly about 2 things:
1) Prevent loud screaming from people who would lose their one-seat rides to downtown, which would scuttle the whole restructure.
2) The 545’s Capitol Hill stop is at Bellevue and Olive, in an awkward spot about halfway between the two Link stations. If the peak-hour 545 trips were truncated, these people would need to walk a good distance or transfer. If the number of on’s here were tiny, this wouldn’t be a big deal. But, this is actually one of the 545’s busiest stops on eastbound AM trips.
FYI they’re working on an Olive Way flyer stop for the 545 and others, but it won’t be ready by next year.
The Madison proposal for Alternative 1 is really confusing. If Madison really is the best BRT corridor, why would the 12 go away years before Madison BRT is implemented? That would leave 2 segments of Madison with no bus service at all (12th to 16th and from Broadway to the 2 “bowtie”). It doesn’t seem like the best way to develop a BRT corridor is to cut transit service.
Prop 1 was going to add more off-peak frequency to the 12, but now it would go away entirely under Alternative 1. Talk about bait and switch.
But all the Prop 1 money that was going to boost the routes Metro is now boosting on its own (to 10-minute service!) can be reallocated to the 12 if so desired. It’s not bait and switch.
The city is the one who wants Madison BRT. Metro has never made it a priority or expressed a desire for it, and I think Alternative 1 is their way of showing how they think Madison is less important than it looks, and I happen to agree with them. Walk between Broadway and 15th on Madison and you’ll see it’s almost an afterthought, sure with high traffic for cars, but few destinations, and few people walking compared to 12th, Pike/Pine, and Broadway.
As Alternative 1 is also a baseline network, this also may just anticipate the City pitching in for operating costs of whatever Madison BRT becomes, especially if it’s separately branded service (shudder). I sincerely hope that it just becomes an open BRT corridor instead, serving the new 49, the 2, and the 38.
Agree, Madison BRT is really the city’s show. When it is implemented I’m sure Metro will do some minor restructuring to accommodate it.
The cluster of apartments and stores at the top of the hill (Madison Market, Trader Joe’s) still gets service from the 38.
Seattle University is a pretty big destination, I’d say. I see a fair number of SU students on the 12. But it is the future that I am more interested in.
Looking forward a few years, the ~17-story apartments + Whole Foods building will be anchoring Broadway/Madison. The underdeveloped parcels on the north side of Madison (the blocks between the hotel and 12th, plus the BofA branch) are prime building opportunities, especially with a Whole Foods nearby. AvalonBay owns the SE corner of Madison/14th and will build a 100+ unit apartment building. I think the vacant lot on the north side of Madison between 14th and 15th is also slated for development. Bottom line is, thousands of new residents will be coming to that exact segment of Madison. Yes, today’s streetscape along Madison is not ideal, but with the new development and a street rechannelization it can become much more pedestrian-friendly.
The fact that the 2 would stay unchanged but the 12 would go away makes a mockery of this “restructure” on the Madison corridor.
The Whole Foods building and SU will get great service on the new 49. More people from that area will want to connect with CHS and the U-District than with destinations further east on Madison. I really like the new 49 proposal.
In the long term, I’m sure Metro is thinking about moving the 2 to Madison and giving it (or part of it) 10-minute frequency to alternate with the new 49. But not now. They are already biting off a huge amount with this restructure and didn’t need to face the wrath of the usual 2 suspects on top of it.
Just because a route passes a location doesn’t mean the service is actually useful. If you live at 19th/Madison and want to get to the future Whole Foods (or the hospitals or downtown), the new 38 is barely useful.
Not a single 12 rider would gain from this. Most if not all would lose. I’m willing to bet most of them voted for Prop 1 as well. In the height of irony, many 12 riders will have to switch to the much-inferior 2 simply because Metro is too afraid to change that route.
Pike-Pine loses badly in Alternative 1. No 11 or 12, which reduces access to Madison Park, south downtown, and cuts frequency (unless the 10 is massively increased) to the downtown area. Lots of 2-seat rides or longer walks for short trips, which can make riding the bus almost as slow as walking the whole way. The additions of the 49 on Madison and the 38 barely compensate. The 49 only replaces part of the 12 (the part that is already more easily walkable to downtown). The 38 doesn’t really add anything except for a more nearby 1-seat ride along MLK and a 1-seat ride to the light rail if you can’t walk to it.
I have a feeling the 10 will be a target of Prop 1 funds.
“Not a single 12 rider would gain from this.” I couldn’t disagree more. About 80% of ridership on the 12 is west of Broadway. All of those riders will see frequency improve from 15 to 10 minutes, and all of them will get a frequent connection to Link at CHS without having to go downtown.
I agree the small minority of riders east of Broadway are facing some tradeoffs, but keep in mind they are the small minority of riders. 19th/Madison in particular is so close to 19th/Thomas, though, that most riders will walk to the more frequent 8.
12 frequency is already 5-10 minutes during the AM peak from DT-Hospitals and 10 minutes in the PM peak. So 10 minute headways are not an upgrade at those times, when ridership is by far the strongest. The off-peak 10 minute headways are an improvement, although Prop 1 was going to put 15 minute headways on the 12 for much of that time, so again the benefit is rather limited.
In contrast to the minor improvements for west of Broadway riders, the east of Broadway 12 riders get much worse service. The new 8 doesn’t go downtown or to the hospitals, which are the main destinations for 12 riders living east of Broadway. With no 11, the downtown frequency has been halved (unless Prop 1 re-buys it, but that’s a really disappointing thing for Prop 1 to have to re-buy considering Metro was funding it for decades). You also are forced to connect or walk longer on more journeys, which on a 2-mile trip is a frustrating time penalty. And, as I said before, the “small minority” of 12 riders is still many hundreds, if not thousands of people, with many more likely to live along the corridor in the next few years.
There might be some rather disillusioned transit advocates if Alt 1 is implemented like this on Capitol Hill. First you vote for Prop 1 because you want to support transit and, as it turns out, it looks like your route is going to be getting more service. Great. Then, suddenly your route may instead be cancelled entirely and replaced with something much less useful or not at all. How do you explain to voters that despite raising taxes again, and promising service improvements from those taxes, your service is instead going to get much worse?
Alex, you seem to ignore the fact that Alt 1 does NOT include or use any Prop 1 funds. Any Prop 1 service is in addition to Alt 1 and is not represented at all on Metro’s proposal because the city hasn’t decided on it yet.
If people can’t get basic facts like this correct it’s not even worth having a discussion.
Oran, I think Alex (and more than a few other commenters) is responding/reacting to the uncertainty associated with the allocation of Prop 1 resources.
I know Alt 1 doesn’t = Prop 1. I’m not that smart, but I do know the difference. I just wish Prop 1 money didn’t have to potentially be used on fixing problems with Alt 1. Using Prop 1 to backfill 10/11 frequency or reinstate the 12 (things that Metro used to pay for) is not what this voter thought he was buying with Prop 1.
It works the other way around too, as in Metro paying for things in Alternative 1 that Prop 1 had already pledged to do, like operating the 70 frequently 7 days per week. So it does free up Prop 1 resources.
Shane, that’s a valid concern that I share but I have high confidence in the city to do the right thing.
I only wish that Metro and SDOT transit planning were more integrated from the beginning. It’s like we’ve taken one step forward with integrating Metro/ST planning for this effort and then one step back with the Prop 1 funds.
This will be hard for people to swallow, as they’ll have to trust SDOT to do the right thing and sign off on a plan in the absence of that assurance. I have full faith in SDOT, and especially Bill Bryant and his team, but the timing of all this is awkward and confusing to the general public. Once Metro refines the alternatives for outreach later in April/May, SDOT would do well to telegraph how they propose to supplement the service. That’d go a long way into assuaging people’s concerns.
What else does SDOT have to spend the money on? If Metro is paying for evening frequency on these routes, then that frees up some money. If fewer buses are stuck in freeway traffic and DSTT traffic, then SDOT won’t have to fund so many standby buses for reliability, and that frees up more money. There should be plenty for some level of 43 and 12 service. 43 daytime and 12 peak should go a long way in alleviating the concerns.
From the 50,000 foot viewpoint, It seems critical to keep the #12 operating. The City needs to immediately come up with a “what we would do with Prop 1 money if Alternative 1 is adopted” program, including the #12.
I have long-wondered how practical the Madison BRT project is east of Broadway. Route ridership on Union and Cherry Streets are higher east of Broadway. Also, the northern halves of the blocks in the segment east of Broadway are not that far from Capitol Hill Link station and that will draw riders away from Metro going to and from Downtown Seattle.
Alternative 1 provides awesome frequency for BRT west of Broadway. To save face, the City only has to construct the west half of the project.
If Roosevelt is used as in the proposals, a major choke point during rush hour is southbound at NE 80th St. This intersection will need to be evaluated to see what can be done to make it flow more smooth to prevent delay of all the busses that would be using it.
Concur 100%. That intersection and the companion one at 5th are very problematic at peak times.
I live 3 blocks from 80th & Roosevelt. It is bad, much worse than the backup on 5th. The southbound intersection at 75th & Roosevelt is problematic as well.
A further concern is the intersections at 5th NE & Northgate Way, and Roosevelt & Northgate Way.
For whatever reason 15th doesn’t see the same backups.
Amen, brother. That is a TERRIBLE intersection, and there’s really no room for a bus jump queues. The street simply isn’t four lanes wide. Maybe if the lanes go zig-zag (e.g. the center lines to the south and north of the intersection aren’t aligned so that there’s room for a queue.
But they’ll need to work hard to keep cars out of the queue lane and give the bus about a four second jump so it can pull over into the main lane ahead of the cars lined up beside it.
Even then, the congestion just two blocks south at 75th will make such a southbound jump pretty useless.
While there’s a lot to like about putting the bus on the business street 80th and Roosevelt is no place to run high frequency buses.
A few things that could be done for 80th/Roosevelt:
* Ban all left turns
* heavy enforcement of “blocking the box”
* re-time the lights at 75th and 80th to favor southbound movements.
* remove parking between 75th and 90th to allow room for a bus queue jump/BAT lane
The problem with Madison is that, while service all the way on Madison would be very legible, it disrupts the rest of the grid and doesn’t actually get many people where they want to go. That’s why Madison is currently divided into the 11 and 12. The BRT is very unlikely to go all the way to Madison Park; the city is looking at Madison as far as 23rd, but there are other options as well (and Metro’s restructure may point toward a scenario where “Madison BRT” is a combination of the 49 and the 2).
NE 65th St. Most of the current 71 riders will be better served by using close-by north/south service (67, 372, 65), which is now much more frequent. You’re right that the new 16 is really oriented to North Link.
SR 520: the issue is that running one of the three all-day routes downtown would require cuts to something else. Unlike in Seattle where we will get further improvements from Prop 1, what you see is what you get on 520. There is now at least a through-route with a Seattle route that reaches the westside (271/45).
Maple Leaf: there is coverage of 5th (66) and 15th (77 + 373) during peak hours when those corridors are highly used. The reason to shift focus to Roosevelt is that the only urban-ish part of Maple Leaf, and most of the high-density housing, is there. All Maple Leaf residents are still within half a mile of frequent bus service.
Overall Alternative 1 seems pretty good. I do wonder if there will be enough bus service to UW from the Northeast. The 68/372 are very crowded during the morning rush to UW and fairly frequently have to pass up passengers at 55th and Blakeley. Will the 372 run start running local between UW and Lake City with enough frequency if the 68 and 72 are deleted?
Another thought – during the evening rush, the whole 25th Ave / Montlake / 45th St / Pend-Oreille Road intersection complex gets very backed up (it can take the 25/65/75 10 minutes to get from the HUB to U Village). I wonder what will happen to that once U-Link opens.
Metro is adding peak frequency to the 372 in this restructure which should be enough to make up for the loss of the 68.
i wish the 75 could somehow work in a way to stop in front of Husky Station for those folks that want to proceed downtown/airport. Carrying luggage from HUB is a bit of a chore for older folks.
Alternative 1’s 255 does exactly this, at least for the parts of the 75 that get the most riders.
255 doesn’t do Laurelhurst so not sure what you’re talking about
Lauralhurst doesn’t matter because virtually nobody rides the bus there. Those that do can walk to Sand Point Way for frequent service. What matters is the Sand Point Way corridor going near Lauralhurst – which the new 255 does do.
The 65th situation is a valid concern, as the frequent 16 really anticipates a convenient transfer at a Roosevelt Station that doesn’t yet exist. But I would note that Alternative 1 adds 6 peak trips on the 76, for 22 total (11 each way). Second, Metro’s background report shows that the 71 tail failed to meet service standards for the ratio of time spent serving the area to the % of boardings that segment generates (38% of the route’s time for 15% of its boardings, a ratio of 2.56, when Metro’s service guideline is 1.2). So if the 71 tail wasn’t really working at a half-hourly level , it’s probably best that most Downtown riders use frequent service on LCW, 35th, 25th, or Roosevelt to access the UDistrict for a frequent transfer to Link or the 70. But it also probably would be reasonable for Prop 1 to buy mid-day service on the 76 until North Link opens.
+1 on mid-day 76 service from temporary Prop 1 funds, with the 76 being retired when Roosevelt Station opens.
I am not assuming Alt 1 is really the plan for post-Northgate-Link opening, but just the plan for 2016-2021, without being presumptuous about how the City will spend its transit funds. But mid-day 76 service seems like a far better use of those funds than back-filling the emptiest routes.
As it stands, none of the routes that reach 65th east of 15th Ave NE get any closer to UW Station than Stevens Way. That’s not a “transfer”.
The 16 addresses one other problem: the almost complete isolation of northeast Seattle from the rest of north Seattle. Yes, the 75 and the U-Village routes break the barrier but there are gigantic gaps around them. 65th is right in the middle of the gap. The 16 creates a one-seat ride to Roosevelt, Greenlake, Wallingford, and Fremont. And a faster transfer to the 44 for Ballard, and to the 45 for Aurora and Greenwood. That’s major. And it avoids the severe bottlenecks in the UW Campus and Northgate.
Agreed, the new 16 is a godsend for the usefulness of local service in north Seattle. The off-peak downtown connection is the only weakness, and it’s only a weakness near Roosevelt. Further east few people using the 71 tail anyway, and those who were get double the frequency to sweeten a Link transfer instead. The new 16 is a great proposal, but I do think mid-day 76 service would be appropriate if the City can afford to buy it via Prop 1.
Metro is looking a relocating the bus stop on Stevens Way to be slightly closer to the station. It will still be about 5 minute or so of walking, but it’s at least a direct route with no stoplights, crossing Montlake via a bridge.
I like the idea of an all-day express from Roosevelt to downtown via I-5 until Roosevelt Station opens, although I’m not sure the route needs to go all the way to View Ridge, duplicating an already-frequent #16.
Another interesting option would be to split route 67 into two routes, sending some of the buses down I-5 to downtown from 65th P&R. Perhaps 15-minute frequency to the U-district, 30-minute frequency direct to downtow instead of 10-minute frequency to the U-district.
It seems that Metro could relocate the Stevens Way and Okanogan (Eastbound) and Garfield (Westbound) stops to right by Rainier Vista once the construction’s done. That would make them closer to the hospital and UW station, at the expense of being a bit further from some of the campus buildings. Seems like a reasonable tradeoff.
We talked about this on the Sounding Board. Metro very much wants to move the bus stop at Stevens Way and Okanogan to Ranier Vista by the time Link opens. It will only save about 1 minute of walking, relative to the current stop, but it’s at least something.
Of course, such a stop relocation cannot happen without the UW’s permission, and there is some concern from the UW folks about buses blocking views of Mt. Ranier from further up campus.
“Additionally, because Madison is a proposed BRT line, there should only be one route providing service on the whole street.”
I don’t see how that necessarily follows. There are multiple bus routes taking advantage of the E Line’s sometimes-dedicated lanes, and it doesn’t hurt the E-Line.
Having frequent connections to Capitol Hill Station from as much of Madison as possible (which Alt 1 pretty much accomplishes) seems more important to me than having a single Madison line.
Once the City invests in and builds Madison BRT, the question may need to be revisited. But that may be a few years off. Alt 1 guesses neither about the use of Prop 1 money, nor whether the City will end up building Madison BRT.
There’s nothing stopping the Madison BRT bus from going all the way to Madison Park, even if the road is not improved that far. East of 23rd there’s no congestion to slow the bus down. It just requires the city to come up with operating funds and trolley wire.
But that gets into neighborhood opposition. In the 60s Madison Park got Metro to take down the trolley wires and there may still be some significant opposition to them. Also, Madison Park asked to be excluded from the Madison BRT study area, like Magnola did regarding Ballard Link. They’re afraid that a BRT corridor would lead to pressure for upzones, so they’d rather just stick to their existing level of transit, thank you very much. So if Madison Park doesn’t want BRT, that contradicts a frequent all-Madison route.
But then you mention unfunded capital costs outside the scope of the project, an additional 2 miles of service not included in the design, and very wealthy neighborhood recalcitrance. That’s not ‘nothing’. :)
If Madison Park doesn’t want BRT, then that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s a much wealthier neighborhood that, in comparison to other parts of the city, doesn’t need a bus going through every ten minutes. If it should be built, turncating BRT at 23rd leaves more resources to spread around.
Although the new 16 routing would be slow for downtown-bound Wedgwood dwellers, it provides much needed, long overdue all-day service between areas in between. The downtown-bound can take other fast bus directly to LINK.
Alt 1 is indeed a great alternative and Metro deserves credit for even proposing it. We’ll have to wait and see how much of it makes it through the public/political process, but it is a great start and there are subsequent opportunities to tweak it if it gets too watered down at initial implementation.
That said, I wouldn’t call Alt 1 “the most exciting development in Seattle transit in many years”, I’d reserve that statement for the opening of U-Link. Fast, reliable, congestion free travel between the U, Cap Hill, and DT will literally change the Seattle Transpo world.
Also, regardless of which alternative gets selected, it is highly important that bus ops in the DSTT get significantly improved. U-Link won’t be able to hold in the tunnels north of Westlake, so the potential for a DSTT bus issue to cascade into a general transit FUBAR is very real. Bus olps in the DSTT need to be solid and dependable post U-Link opening.
The above problem will go away when the buses leave the DSTT.
U-Link is certainly exciting, but the fact is that most of Seattle will be relying on buses for most of our lifetimes. Bus improvements have been very hard to come by in the past, even harder than expensive new trains. Alternative 1 would be a genuine and major improvement for something like one-quarter of the entire city, and shows the way in toward an actual, usable frequent gridded network elsewhere, that could make getting around all of Seattle by transit a real option.
Alternative 1 wouldn’t be occurring ii not for U-Link. It might be possible to argue it *should* happen regardless of U-Link, but it is U-Link that is the facilitator in this change.
Alt 1 is a bit out of character for our normally stodgy Metro. I see Dow’s fingerprints all over this. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Metro suddenly seems to get religion and wake up shortly after Dow lays down the law on going after better integration and utilization of resources.
Without going into too much detail, I see this as more of a result of happenings within Metro than as a result of anything the Executive’s office has done (although they’re great on this stuff).
I would have to agree with Lazarus that light rail connecting the UW, Capitol Hill and downtown will be huge — bigger than anything we have done since the original bus tunnel was built (if not bigger). But this is really big, and I agree with David, that Metro seems to be using the new Link stations as an excuse for changes, rather than being driven by it. Consolidating north end service (73/67) onto Roosevelt is by no means a given, with the new stations. The simpler thing to do is simply change the south end of all those routes to simply swing by the station. But even alternative 2 doesn’t just do that — the 73 is forced over to Roosevelt, and doesn’t serve Pinehurst. I personally have problems with some of the suggestions, but feel like a lot of the ideas have nothing to do with Link.
I think David Lawson hits the nail on the head. Service between UW and downtown? Woohoo! Those of us living in all the apartments within that 1/2 mile walkshed of the UW station will really enjoy walking to the station for a one-seat ride to work. Wait, what’s that? The entire 1/2 mile walkshed is devoted to empty space for storing cars, a giant freeway, and a green hill for geese to crap on? Oh dang.
Maybe the other direction will do something. Now UW students can finally opt to live in an even MORE expensive neighborhood than the ones surrounding UW: Capitol HIll or downtown! Hooray! No need to settle for slumming it in the U District, Ravenna, or Laurelhurst to attend UW.
Link goes further south than downtown. :)
I wouldn’t be surprised to see University Link’s opening inject some adrenaline into the real estate markets in Beacon Hill (and SE Seattle in general) as students move into those neighborhoods to escape U-District – without blowing their budget.
You wonder how many might try for cheap apartments way far south outside the city (TIBS, Angle Lake, KDM) or far north (Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood) once the entirety of ST2 Link is open in 2023.
Of course these perhaps won’t stay cheap for long, especially housing to the North as there will now be fast access to much of the city.
No because 80% of suburbanites drive, and for most of those the reason is not lack of transit to Seattle. The number of people looking for apartments near stations is dwarfed by the number of people who value a yard and parking more than a station. We’re building transit for the swing people who want it, and for those who are priced out of the city, and in expectation that the majority will start using transit more over time, and because the freeways are full and can’t fit any more cars. The apartments around TIB are still much less than Seattle, because even with the station there the area is not a paradise. That could change it Tukwila got serious about walkable development in the underused parcels, but Tukwila is only taking baby steps toward it and that’s on the other side of town.
Seems like some of the transfers and bus stop issues could be resolved if a branch of the station bridge were extended north across Pacific Place.
The UW is lidding Pacific Place as an extension of Rainier Vista. You can walk from campus to the rail station without waiting for a pedestrian signal or worrying about cars.
Huh? First I’ve heard of this.
You can see a portion of the lid at the left edge of the drawing at the top of the post.
I’ll try to dig up a link to the project. It is part of my frustration at all of the construction going into the Montlake area between WSDOT, Sound Transit, SDOT, and the UW and yet we can’t get the pedestrian, bike, and transit connections right.
Hmm, I guess you’re right. Lid or at least bridge.
It’s still hard to overlook the vast expanses of rain-soaked nothingness that must be traversed to get to the station entrance from anywhere.
link, with uncropped rainier vista lid renderings.
I was thinking of something along the lines of a bridge appendage aimed a bit further north off the existing bridge project, so there would be a more direct bridge route towards the college of engineering and other east campus locations. If the Rainier Vista landbridge is what they want then I guess that is what they get.
The satellite view of the construction site makes it look like they are putting the Montlake Triangle Parking Garage above ground or something:
While I’m very happy with the changes in general, the SR 520 changes are clearly the most lackluster part of the whole thing.
First — I recall there being a discussion around connecting 1 or more 520 route to a Seattle route. For example, connecting the 271 to the 48N (aka the 45). This is a brilliant idea and now is the perfect time to do it. Why is that not included?
Second — there is far too much emphasis on peak-only service here. One of the most basic changes I expected was the consolidation of the 271, 555 and 556. Or the 540 and the 255. Instead this confusing service pattern is even worse, with the 255x being added. Also, the reduction of the 545 to peak only is very worrisome.
More importantly there are almost good ideas here : for example the 311 going to South Lake Union. Too bad it’s peak only!
The baseline requirement here should be to create a all-day network that has maximum connectivity, this change doesn’t really enhance that.
I would instead suggest something like this, with 3 all day routes that get extra trips at peak, but the service pattern doesn’t change:
Route A : Totem Lake -> Kirkland -> U-Link -> Wallingford -> Fremont -> Uptown (aka the 255/540 + 32)
Route B : Issaquah -> Bellevue College -> DT Bellevue -> U-Link -> U district -> Northgate (aka the 555/556/271 + 67)
Route C : Redmond -> SLU -> DT Seattle
This provides an all-day connection from Kirkland to SLU, or Redmond and Fremont, with a single transfer between frequent routes, and maintains the strongest route in the system (545) for now, with transfers to 2 U-Link-bound routes being very frequent.
“Connecting the 271 to the 48N (aka the 45)” is happening, please read the map carefully.
Sorry that wasn’t clear from the map. Interlining, while good, is really the “easter egg” of public transit.
It’s hard for riders who aren’t extremely familiar with the system to take advantage of it, and in this case, it’s a very important connection.
I would strongly recommend that they call it 1 route if it’s actually implemented as 1 route. I know that interlining gives Metro the option to take a bus out of service when transitioning between the 2 routes, but that’s actually a bad thing — I can’t rely on the service if there is some non-deterministic behavior.
It’s a relief if the only thing we are arguing about is nomenclature.
Runs that don’t go all the way can be designated 271-limited, or something like that, so riders know to look and make sure the run they are planning to catch really does go all the way to their destination.
But given the likelihood the 271/45 would run out of East Base, it may be a moot point.
It’s also worth noting that the new 45/271 would have added span of service, running Crown Hill to Bellevue until midnight. And its reliability would improve greatly as the 271 would not go to Issaquah, but would stop at Eastgate. The Eastgate-Issaquah milk run would be a new hourly route, the 207.
It does need to be more prominent in the article, not just a footnote in the map. The article hints at Eastside-northwest Seattle and Eastside-SLU connections but doesn’t say which routes, or even difinitively that they’re one-seat rides. It was only when I read David’s comment that I got confirmation on the 45/271. And that still doesn’t explain how a 520 route would get to SLU, or how it could possibly do so without getting caught in narrow streets with traffic bottlenecks.
You can see how the 311 will get to SLU in this map. I don’t think it will be very fast…
There’s no reasonable way to get from 520 to SLU without doing the death-defying Mercer weave. With a direct access lane from 520 to the express lanes on the new 520 getting to CPS station (while it lasts) will be much easier.
Metro will not allow buses to go from 520 to Mercer, citing safety concerns. Hell, I think cars shouldn’t be allowed to do it either.
I would have placed an interlining hint like  closer to where it happens but there wasn’t room for it.
Actually, 271 will be interlined with the 45. It’s only listed on the individual route page.
48 and 67 will also be interlined (and honestly should just have one route number) for a 10-min frequent route from Northgate to Mt Baker.
As a denizen of the Central District, I take back every negative thing I’ve ever said about splitting the 48 if we get the 48+67 through-route to Northgate. Finally, a route proposal that actually gives CD residents something in exchange for splitting the 48 instead of just saying “yup, your route gets cut in half, sucks for you that there’s no easy way to get to something north of the ship canal anymore even though it will still have to sit in traffic at Montlake.” Northgate is a destination for shopping and for the ability to transfer to almost everywhere on the north end, so much better than making the slog through Greenlake into “almost kinda sorta Ballard.” It also nicely tees up for having the 67 go away once Northgate Link opens, which is the most sensible.
The 67 won’t go anywhere when North Link opens. Stop spacing on North Link is wide enough that a local route is really needed.
You don’t want the combined 48 and 67 to have one route number. Only because, eventually the 48 will be electrified (ETB) and the routes will have to be separated eventually. Easier to have two separate route numbers for that reason.
Agreed, but even with separate route numbers they can have the interlined route shown via the headsign, much as the 2 does today when you board “Seattle Pacific via Sea Center W” all the way out in Madrona.
My biggest concern is service reliability. Even with several choke points to navigate the 66/67 are pretty damn reliable. The 48 has the “forty-late” reputation for a good reason. While it has gotten much better since the 8 took over service south of Mt Baker you still see bus bunching and very late buses.
Using University Way through the U-District doesn’t help any.
@Chris Stefan: The thing is, the 48 is probably unfixable at the moment because of the road it takes but, on the other hand, it’s gotta go somewhere. This is a problem that most of the bus routes in and through the Central District have: our road grid is very congested down here. The 2 is legendary, as is the 8, the 3/4 get stuck next to Harborview, the 48 comes to a crawl at the ship canal and through the S Jackson area. All that said, I think they can do it reliably if Metro is willing to add more “relief” buses during peak times to pick up either side of the through-route. Maybe that’s why the route doesn’t have a single number, so they can have peak buses serve each route individually to carry some of the load.
While I initially had the same reaction to 520 service I actually have since warmed up to it. IMO it’s stikes a good balance of network connectivity/consolidation while also recognizing the difference between the all-day market and the commuter market. If you think about it from that perspective the service structure is actually a very elegant solution. Long term I think the express service should go away but only after the bus routes can be truely seamlessly integrated.
The fact is that demand patterns today prevent any real improvement in the 520 all-day network without new resources. There’s just too much stress on the system at peak, and too much peak demand, to shift resources to all-day routes. Today’s 255 and 545 both routinely pass riders up, and there is little extra capacity on the peak 271.
I’m mostly satisfied with this solution… IF–and this is a big IF–U-Link transfers are reasonably painless and quick. The one really big disappointment, which I’ll cover further in the SR 520 detail post coming Wednesday, is that the 271 kept the Medina routing which prevents it from using Evergreen Point Station. Without easy transfers to and from the 271/45, what looks like a killer peak 520 network is significantly less attractive.
Yes — this is really bad. I know there was originally a plan to move the 271 to 112th Ave NE and have it use the 108th Ave HOV onramp. What happened to that? You could then extend one of the less frequent routes (aka the 246) for coverage service in Medina. It’s not like Medina justifies an extremely frequent all-day route.
I hope Metro can be convinced to re-route the 271. I’d even go so far as to say it should use the current 555/556 routing between Bellevue Transit Center and the 520 bridge.
The only stops that see many passengers between the Mall and the highway on the current route are those just West of the Mall and those just off 520.
I agree that the 271 should switch over to 108th, but for different reasons. The 271/45 connection would still exist in the U-district, so serving Evergreen Point Freeway isn’t that critical.
What’s more important is that switching to 108th Ave. would make for more reliable service for #67 riders down the line. Lots of westbound SOV drivers use the 271’s current route as a bypass for congestion on 520 and, sometimes it can take a good 15-20 minutes of sitting in traffic just to get to where the HOV entrance ramp finally picks up. If we have a dedicated bus route that avoids all this congestion, the 271 should use it, and reliability for 67 riders headed to Northgate is ultimately more important than coverage to Medina (which could probably be served just fine with a peak-only shuttle from BTC to Evergreen Point Freeway Station, operated via a 12-person passenger van).
“The 271/45 connection would still exist in the U-district.” It’s not quite that simple; there will be no common stops in the U-District for a number of 520 routes, and that also leaves out the downtown routes.
One thing that does concern me a bit about SR-520 service is that downtown->Kirkland riders would be required to wait for a not-very-frequent bus coming from southbound Montlake. Meaning that if southbound Montlake is backed up, downtown->Kirkland riders could be left standing at the bus stop for quite awhile.
Adding in a 20-minute layover at the UW station for southbound trips would go a long way towards solving this problem. This way, when Montlake is backed up, only those actually going through the backed up area would be delayed. It would be a bit of an inconvenience for those going all the way from Childrens to Kirkland, but on days when Montlake is actually moving, they could transfer at the station stop to the #255 bus in front of them, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. (Perhaps this service pattern could be branded as two separate routes that happen to thru-route in the northbound direction only).
During Husky games, however, I think the 255 has to go downtown, for the simple reason that that the Montlake exit ramp alone would likely take more time than going downtown. But I think that’s a solvable problem that can be addressed with a temporary reroute and “rider alert” signs.
I am quite fearful of what will happen to eastside-UW riders if northeastside-downtown remains the major all-day service pattern.
Having service to downtown be the major routing all day will mean a lot of UW riders riding downtown to transfer to U-Link and backtrack. Having downtown riders transfer at UW Station may be a small inconvenience (becoming less so as SR 520 and I-5 become more and more gridlocked mid-day), but it avoids a huge inconvenience for UW riders who don’t just give up and buy a parking permit.
At this point, I have no reason to believe any architectural drawings from WSDOT about how Montlake will end up. The drawings are all based on money that hasn’t been found or appropriated. Ditto with the ped/bike lane across the lake.
I think the ped/bike lane on 520 across the lake is fully funded. The floating bridge will be done soon, and the West Approach Bridge North is being built. I’m actually liking how this will turn out for 520 service, even if there is no Montlake Freeway station in the future.
Which alternative will be better for elderly and disabled?
Who cares? One should not design a transit network solely around the needs of the elderly and disabled. That might make sense in Podunk where the only people who ride transit are those with no other choice, it should be way down the list of priorities when designing a transit system for a major city, particularly one that is #7 in terms of transit mode share.
Don’t feed the trolls, especially with careless remarks like that. Disabled riders have federally mandated Access service, and Metro will soon have an all low-floor fleet. The elderly and disabled benefit as much from frequency and reliability as anyone else.
don’t feed the troll.
So I don’t know the backstory here, but Sam’s question is completely reasonable, and Chris’s reply is appalling. Maybe it’s intended a snarky response, but it doesn’t read that way.
As to Zach’s points, Access and low floor buses are good – but they are a poor substitute for having nearby service. You can’t just ask the elderly and the disabled to walk further to get their bus during the day.
This restructure is not well thought out and is not going to survive the political process.
Thankfully, Robert will be outvoted.
Robert, if you think certain route paths that would go away entirely need to be saved, then advocate for Prop 1 money to save them. But don’t take the hours out of the lines that will have the highest ridership. A shorter walk for a few riders doesn’t justify leaving hundreds of riders at the curb as full buses pass by.
Let’s save the details for the four posts next week, and then we can dive into the weeds.
I can hardly wait until you get old or disabled and wonder if you will be singing the same song.
Sorry to everyone but Sam for the snark in my reply above.
The point buried in the snark is those who are transit dependent (which includes the elderly and disabled) benefit as Zach says from frequent and reliable service just as much as anyone else.
Overly focusing on the elderly and disabled leads to infrequent and unreliable service with too many stops that winds all over the place in order to provide one-seat rides everywhere and stop at the front door of every medical facility, social service agency, or retirement home. For specific cases look at the fights over the 42, the VA loop, and moving the 2 from Seneca to Madison.
While this is a true statement, I don’t think it’s the right answer here.
There are two kinds of accessibility. You can design something that requires the ability to do X, and provide an alternative for people who can’t do X. Or you can design something that doesn’t require the ability to do X in the first place.
Consider the experience of boarding a transit vehicle. If it’s a regular Metro bus, then a rider in a wheelchair must use a lift or a ramp to enter the vehicle. Then they must be strapped in by the driver. It’s an arduous process even when it goes well. By contrast, if it’s a train, the rider just rolls on and rolls off. Level boarding works for *everyone*, without any special accommodations needed.
To the extent that people need to walk further (or on more difficult terrain) under Alternative 1, that *is* a weakness of the proposal. But there are very few people who truly lose service; I’m pretty sure that fewer than 1% of all current riders would have to walk to a further stop (mostly thanks to extremely low ridership on the streets that are losing service). And this loss is more than compensated for by the other benefits of Alternative 1 for the elderly and disabled (and everyone else!), like making much better use of Link (which is a much better experience for people with mobility disabilities), and minimizing the amount of time that people have to wait in the cold, and dramatically increasing the number of places that non-drivers can access in a reasonable amount of time.
Taking a DART van and not rerouting an entire bus line?
Alternative 1 for most of them, because it puts frequent routes near a larger number of housing units where elderly and disabled people might live, and gives them better transfers in all directions to many parts of the city. Alternative 2 may be better for a few people who live near legacy low-density bus stops. And alternative 2 may be better for a few specific destinations, such as from Madison Valley to Pine & Bellevue (which is me, by the way). But we can’t revolve around a few people or a few trip pairs. There are a lot more elderly/disabled throughout the city, and they’re going to multiple destinations, not just one.
I hope when the elderly and disabled ask Sounding Board members similar questions as mine, they don’t dismiss their concerns as trolling, or have a “Who cares?” attitude, or simply hand them the phone number to DART. Mike Orr, thank you for the thoughtful answer.
I’m pretty sure the elderly and disabled are represented on the Sounding Board.
For the first time in months, Sam is actually asking a reasonable question.
That said, the answer is clear. Alternative 1 is far better. Here are some reasons why:
– Alternative 1 replaces many bus-bus trips with bus-train trips. If you have a mobility disability, trains are *much* better than buses. You get level boarding, without any need for ramps or lifts. There’s plenty of space for a wheelchair or walker without having to make people move. You don’t need to wait for the driver to strap you in, as a crowd of people stare at you awkwardly.
– Alternative 1 makes the network much simpler. This is good for anybody who might have trouble understanding a complex network, or whose vision might make it hard to read a detailed timetable or map.
– Compared to the general population, the elderly and disabled are much more likely to depend on transit for access to destinations other than downtown. The current downtown-oriented network is great for office workers (which is why Seattle is #5 in the country for transit mode share among downtown commuters), but it’s terrible for getting between neighborhoods. An able-bodied 30-year-old can simply drive instead; a disabled person may not have that option.
– The elderly are especially sensitive to the weather, and so it’s especially important to minimize the amount of time that they spend waiting outdoors, which Alternative 1 does much better than Alternative 2.
I could go on…
And the elderly would also like a place to sit at bus stops, even if it is a one-seat thing built into the schedule-stand. Even something like the new butt-rests now used at Campus Parkway would be good. Shelters, on the other hand, are not that crucial since most people are dressed for the elements when they are riding the bus.
I totally agree with you that the lack of seats at bus stops is a huge problem. That’s another reason to favor quality over quantity when it comes to bus routes. I dream of a day when every single bus stop in Seattle has a shelter with seats, and a raised platform (so that people with wheelchairs/walkers/luggage can roll onto the bus without needing a lift or ramp). I would happily get rid of a few stops, if it meant that Metro could afford to upgrade the remaining stops to a much higher standard.
This is extremely bad news for Pinehurst: the entire Route 73 is being cut from Pinehurst. Many people use this route. My kids use it to get home from school.
People who ride through on the 73 today will have a frequent transfer at Roosevelt and Northgate Way between the new 67 and the 347/348.
Right. That doesn’t get people to Pinehurst. This means my kids walk 4 miles or I buy them a car. Others in the ‘hood are even more impacted. This is unacceptable.
How does that not get people to Pinehurst? The 347/348 run along Pinehurst Way and then 15th. Depending on how far north you are, the extra walk is anywhere from 3 blocks to nothing at all.
Explaining my kids: Right now they take one bus – the 73 that they catch on 15th and that takes them directly to Pinehurst. The new proposals would force them to take two buses. Walking or driving would be much faster and frankly safer than having a 13-year old girl waiting to transfer at Northgate Transit Center.
Fortunately, the transfer’s not at Northgate Transit Center; it’s at Northgate and Roosevelt.
Also, if your kids are riding to school, that’s probably during peak hour and the 373 will do the trip without a transfer or any longer walk.
So many in Pinehurst are impacted by the 73 changes. My issue is frankly minor as I can buy the kids a car. Evening service is also a concern. We will organize in our response.
To be honest, I feel such organization would be driven by incomplete or misleading information.
If your children are old enough to drive a car, they can probably manage to transfer from one bus to another.
Like I said, the issue is greater than my kids. It is seniors, people who choose to live car-free, people who can’t buy cars, people who rely on the night buses.
Adding some additional trips to the 373 would probably help out with this, but I’m not sure where the money would come from.
SDOT has been reluctant to use Prop 1 for short-turn trips to date, but I think some short-turn 373 trips funded by Prop 1 would really ameliorate some of these concerns. When Prop 1 expires, North Link will exist and solve the problem for good. (I also like the idea of extending 76 span using Prop 1 for the same reasons.)
“Like I said, the issue is greater than my kids. It is seniors, people who choose to live car-free, people who can’t buy cars, people who rely on the night buses.”
One thing I learned from the millions that were wasted on the 42 is that there are often advocates for riders who don’t exist. If a line already exists, and real riders on those lines will be harmed, I’d rather address their concerns than assuage someone hypothesizing their existence.
So, finding those riders will be a great service.
Already on it. Two of them are also speaking here now.
The Alt 1 proposal looks pretty good to me per service in Pinehurst.
Everyone has their favorite route and aversion to changing it, but the opening of U-Link is going to result in a lot of change for a lot of us. Alt 1 looks like a huge win for almost everyone.
This network is a great start at providing valuable and overdue peak service to SLU. Under Alternative 1, there would be frequent all-day service along Aurora, Dexter, Westlake, Denny, and Fairview, in addition to the streetcar. The new 311 would provide a whopping 44 trips per day between SR520, the UDistrict, SLU, and Uptown, meaning 10-15 minute service and the first-ever bus service on Mercer connecting SLU and Uptown. The 64 and 66 revisions would join the 309 to provide peak service between almost all of NE Seattle, SLU, and First HIll. It’s exciting stuff.
First off, let me thank Metro for coming up with some interesting proposals, and for presenting it in a very nice, easy to read way. None of this is easy, but I think they did a good job. Also thanks to David for assembling and analyzing the data. A few things jumped out at me:
>> Prop 1 only provides 6 years of taxing authority, and Metro wants to build a network it can sustain indefinitely.
Sorry, but I think that is crazy. Northgate Link is scheduled to open in six years, so the timing couldn’t be better. They should be designed with the funding in mind, and the assumption that it will have to be redone again once Link gets to Northgate (and redone again once Link gets to Lynnwood). They should have an eye on the future (since closing or adding bus stops costs money) but we shouldn’t pretend that we have already built Northgate Link, or that it will never be built. As of today, there is nothing special about Roosevelt or Northgate. OK, to be fair, both have a fair number of people, and both have some express buses to downtown, but neither provide the fast, frequent connection to each other, the U-District, Capitol Hill or downtown that they will in a few years.
Agree completely on incorporating Prop 1. They’re going to have to redraw the map when North Link opens anyway. Might as well show reality.
On the other hand, maybe they put this out there as a wish list, and any (legitimate) gaps that remain can be spackled over with prop 1 money. That would be okay with me.
Yeah, I guess, but generally speaking, a grid makes more sense when you have lots of service, and more direct routing makes more sense when you don’t. I’m not saying that prop 1 money is enough to make the difference, but I would like to see them assume that it does. Taking a three seat ride is no big deal if every bus is fast and frequent, but if they aren’t, then the current system looks better to a lot of people.
Incorporating Prop 1 money is essential.
The most glaring problem with this map is the deletion of the #12, which should undoubtedly continue running at current rates (possibly even more often). Presumably Prop 1 money could bring it back.
When NorthLink opens, just being able to get rid of the 41 and 73X will free up a large number of service hours for other routes.
Once the Northgate extension is complete, Metro should provide feeder routes from the neighbouring communities to the Northgate station – such as Haller Lake, Pinehurst, Victory Heights, Olympic Hills and Lake City.
I am not comfortable at all with all of these regional connections to downtown Seattle (read: transit spines, you know, big important things) being severed. Take the 255 and the 545. People on these routes don’t take them to the UW. Yet, they will now have to transfer to get downtown.
I’m surprised that they didn’t take this further. Why not stop the 512 at UW while you’re at it? How about the 522? The 41? Why give the region a connection to downtown Seattle when they can transfer to Link? You’re taking away the off-peak downtown Seattle express from both Kirkland and Redmond, why do Woodinville and Lynnwood get to keep theirs?
Because the 512 and 522 are already on I-5. They’ll get their chance at truncation in about 6 years.
During peak periods the 255x and 545x will still run to downtown Seattle.
Because the UW Station is much more out of the way for a bus coming down I-5 than a bus coming down 520. Especially with the 41 already in the express lanes, which has no U-district exit.
Actually, the 512 does stop at 45th for part of the day and it is an awesome connection to get to spots in North Seattle that would otherwise take a transfer downtown. There is simply no reason to force riders to stay on the freeway into downtown if it takes longer and is less reliable than connecting to Link. Travel to spots further south will be much faster and more reliable by transferring to Link sooner. Trying to keep all the downtown bound buses would cost additional, duplicative dollars and doesn’t help reduce pollution while taking up precious space downtown. What if someone is heading to Capitol Hill, Union Station, SODO, Columbia City, the airport and all spots in between? Those trips have been untenable for many folks coming from points east of Seattle but a better connection to Link can tip the scales.
I’m sorry – I fail to see this as a good idea if you live in North Capitol Hill. You basically get hosed here multiple ways.
Live near Stevens and take the 12? Screw you, you’re rich, hire an Uber every day. Live down in Montlake or east capitol hill and take the 43 downtown? Sorry buddy, no bus for you – go walk over to UW!
Live in near St Marks or towards Roanake? HAHAHAHAHAHA! 49 now goes somewhere else that doesn’t help you.
The only solution is basically the 10 on 15th, or walking miles to work. Or, uselessly, taking a couple different buses making what was a 20-30 minute commute into a 1 hour commute.
WTF. Not everyone can take light rail, and with the explosion of office space in SLU and downtown (yes, I know, everyone hates techies) that’s where the buses should be running. At least with a bunch of buses running down Pike/Pine it’s close to where all the companies are locating.
I’m more supportive of transit than most people I know – hell, I even like the streetcar (generally). But this is a sharp stick in the eye for lots of folks and will result in more car trips.
“Live in near St Marks or towards Roanake? HAHAHAHAHAHA! 49 now goes somewhere else that doesn’t help you.”
Huh? The 49 still serves the area, still goes downtown, and is more frequent (10 minutes) than it was before. If you want to go to the retail core, transfer to Link at CHS. Link is so much faster than the surface bus that you’ll actually save time in most cases.
If you live in Montlake or eastern Capitol Hill, you can take the 48, with improved frequency, up to the light rail stop. The 8 will still go to Denny for access to SLU. The 49’s northern routing appears unchanged to me; it just goes down Madison instead of Pike/Pine and that’s not near Roanoke.
No, not everybody can take light rail (at least Capitol Hill gets some light rail; your eastern neighbors get squat) and this isn’t the final draft that’s going to be implemented in a year. What are your suggestions for improvement?
Don’t kill the 12 – a transit route that’s been in existence as long as Seattle has had buses, also stranding people or forcing them to walk up to 7 blocks up to 15th (big hills there). Because remember, the 43 doesn’t exist anymore.
Don’t kill the 43 – the 48 to the 8 is not a substitute.
Don’t make the 49 go down Madison – there’s no reason for that change other than this nebulous “alignment” concept. I see no one clamoring for that.
None of these changes to the north capitol hill/montlake area make any sense in the short term. Launch light rail, let’s see what people take it, and then if those buses are empty, fine – re-route them, but because light rail only stops one place on Capitol Hill and then again at UW it’s not a substitute, at all for these buses.
Adding transfers for all the people between basically Montlake and North Capitol hill will kill their transit usage. These people (myself included) live close enough that a 20-30 minute commute via bus (vs a 10 minute drive) is acceptable, but a 45-60 minute commute with the complexity and wait time of transferring is a deal killer.
Stop arguing “you can just hop off and transfer” – that’s the kind of talk that makes everyone think transit lovers don’t understand the lives of real people.
“Adding transfers for all the people between basically Montlake and North Capitol hill will kill their transit usage”
What about the people who aren’t being served now because their buses are not frequent enough to use, or they don’t go the coming Link station? With frequent service on fewer corridors you lose some riders but gain others, and you may gain more than you lose because it lowers the barrier to using transit, which makes people more willing to incorporate it into their everyday life. Alternative 1 brings us toward the kind of network that cities with much more transit use and carless households have: San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago, New York. There may be specific holes in Capitol Hill that can be addressed, and luckily we have Prop 1 money to supplement it.
jcricket, transfers do work in a city that does them well. You’re right to think poorly of them if Metro’s past experience has been your guide. But with trains coming as often as every six minutes, transfers to Link will be absolutely blissful compared to the existing bus-to-bus transfers.
None of the trips mentioned are under 30 minutes to Downtown (Pike/Pine) during peak hours. Link is 6 minutes CHS to Downtown. Almost any combination of walking, bus, pronto, uber, whatever + link is going to be faster (and MUCH more reliable) than current service for riders east of Broadway.
That’s bunk. I’ve taken the 12, the 10, the 43 – including with walking I get from where I’ve lived to downtown in 30 minutes.
Everyone will just start walking 30 minutes – 2+ miles in the rain? Or taking uber (is that really what you’re suggesting? And all the not-hipster college people will start bike sharing! Yeah, that’s great.
This is the worst kind of transit proposal – takes something that isn’t even live (light rail), projects way into the future and cuts off transit for people who are already taking it.
Get it through your thick skull, no one who takes a single 20 min bus ride with 5 min walk on either end is turning that into a 2-mode commute with 10-15 minute walks and a transfer in between.
This proposal is DOA
This. jcricket is advocating to keep a bus (the 43) that’s so slow that riders along 23rd/24th would have faster trips by backtracking to Husky Stadium to catch the train.
CHS to downtown is 2 minutes not 6.
David, very true. Even today to go from 23rd & John to Westlake it is often faster to take a bus to Montlake and transfer to either a 255 or a 545 than to take the 43 directly downtown.
The thing that amazes me about the 43 is how many people seem to ride it between downtown or Broadway and the University District. For these riders telling them to use Link instead is no hardship.
Just a friendly reminder that we wouldn’t be having this conversation if Link were a properly designed urban subway.
The reactionaries are wrong on specifics, but they are correct on the problematic psychology of a very short trip, distance-wise, suddenly requiring two modes with non-intuitive twists and turns and non-perpendicular transfers.
But with multi-mile Link spacing, less intuitive outcomes with fewer obvious benefits became inevitable.
It’s worth sketching out that this would mean stations at Bellevue, 15th, 23rd, and Montlake. That would follow the 43 and serve most of its market.
Or First Hill / Broadway / North Cap Hill / Pacific. Or any number of possible permutations.
The point is that the very same people who bemoan the laboriousness of Northgate Transit Center as a transfer point have to understand that Single Center of Gravity Capitol Hill Link has exactly the same effect, distorting much of the network around it and making subway access for many more hassle than the (supposed) time savings will be worth.
The difference is that there are no superblocks or freeways to walk around on Capitol Hill.
That’s exactly my point.
Grid or no, if bus access requires labyrinthine approach routes laden with traffic and difficult turns, then it has lousy network consequences.
Sure, CH has an genuine city walkshed while Northgate doesn’t. But when you only build one stop to serve 1/7 of the city, having a better immediate vicinity isn’t enough.
Thus the mediocre connective outcomes. Thus the non-negligible downsides to any restructure. Thus the pushback.
I’m afraid even if link perfectly covered the 43s route with half mile stop spacing we’d still have a horde of people bitching.
See the save the 42 crowd, those who whine every time dropping the VA loop is proposed or the firestorm that arises any time changing the 2S is suggested.
In general people hate change. Seattle transit riders (at least those who care enough to attend hearings or otherwise be vocal) especially so. There is a strong bias toward one seat rides and against transfers no matter how fast the improved service is.
There is hope though, over time the bus network has been much cleaned up from what it used to be. Especially on the Eastside which used to be a tangled mess of every 2 hour buses that all went to downtown Seattle.
As a long-time transit user both here and in Japan, I understand where the “bias toward one-seat rides” comes from. At least to me, being able to stay on one bus (or train) all the way to my destination is preferable to transferring, even if transfers mean a faster travel. That’s true especially for bus-to-bus transfers, where you end up waiting for the connecting bus in an open area. A bus-to-train transfer would be much more comfortable, but most transit riders in this area don’t know that until they start using the Link service regularly.
I live near Stevens and commute on the 12. I’m happy to walk an additional two to three blocks to better service on 15th (or 23rd, on the other side). Can’t say I see a major problem here.
Also, lets be honest – even at peak hours the bus is practically empty on 19th. After 19th and John its basically crickets, two or three riders per bus even in evening rush.
Metro’s data sheet for the 12 shows 1,047 daily on/offs along 19th Ave.
I don’t think that conflicts at all with what I’m meaning to say, although maybe I misspoke a bit. The ridership along 19th is not necessarily evenly dispersed. Stevens is way at the end of the route.
Included in the Metro numbers are a very busy stop at 19th & Madison, a somewhat busy stop at 19th and Denny (two blocks away from 19th and Madison)), and a busy stop at 19th and John/Thomas (4 blocks away from 19th and Madison). Those few blocks are heavily used. Then the bus runs another mile plus out to Stevens, and that part of the route, in my experience as a daily rider on the line, seems to me to be very lightly used. Now, there is more stuff going in around 19th and Republican/Mercer, so maybe that part becomes worth it to serve, but we’re still talking three blocks on either side of John.
Maybe jcricket is luckier than me, but I certainly haven’t been making it from Stevens area to 3rd and Madison or back in 30 minutes on any but the most auspicious of days.
Alternative 1’s Capitol Hill restructure depends on 2 things: getting community approval for the 8 re-route and the user-friendliness of Capitol Hill Station. I like the new 8 routing, but it will have to be sold to the community. If Capitol Hill Station is an easy station to use and transfers are easy to figure out, then I would support the Alt 1 restructures. But if Capitol Hill Station turns out to be user-hostile and transfers are a pain in the ass, I think we’d be better off with Alt 2. But I’m hoping that Alt 1 is chosen.
With both the 43 and 12 being deleted under Alt 1 there is a large area of Capitol Hill that will lose direct service to downtown.. The ridership stats for route 12 (look under the tab marked “For Transit Geeks”) show quite a few on/offs along 19th Avenue. Maybe enough to warrant peak hour service?
I’m 99% certain that all 4 Broadway/John bus stops will be relocated. Both John stops will move to the east side, and both Broadway stops will move to the south south side. It’ll be basically front door service to the north entrance of Capitol Hill Station.
@jcricket THIS. I do not know why it is so hard for some people to understand. I went from questioning whether I really needed a car after Prop 1, to realizing that I will almost never take transit again if Alt 1 happens.
I do not care how frequently the 8 or 48 run, they are two of the most unreliable routes Metro has. Without doing anything to make them more reliable, getting rid of all other transit service is insulting.
I wonder where the people who think these deep service cuts are a good idea actually live.
The splitting of route 48 and 8 will help insulate/reduce the reliability issues the both routes currently experience. That is exactly why Metro is proposing to split them.
In fairness Eastbound 8’s are going to have huge problems with reliability at peak, because reliability cannot be maintained on Denny way during peak. 10 minute frequency mitigates this issue somewhat but maintaining a peak hour route 11, and 43 along the Madison corridor (with Prop 1 funding) would probably be called for to fix that problem.
While Alternative 1 has some upsides, it has poison pills that will ensure it is killed either by the King County Council directly, or by a Seattle City Council that cannot justify spending money to cut off riders from service. Specifically, cutting out bus service to Laurelhurst, restricting the 73 corridor in Maple Leaf to peak-only, and cutting lower Roosevelt out are all going to be non-starters for residents and businesses in those areas. I would not expect Rod Dembowski, or the various candidates running to represent Districts 4 and 5 for the Seattle City Council, to stand for this.
If a restructure means people lose service, that means the restructure has failed and the planners need to try again.
For a reality check on Robert’s “poison pills”…
1) Fewer than 15 people per day ride the Laurelhurst loop. We could provide each one with an Uber SUV for an order of magnitude less money than the bus costs.
2) There is alternative off-peak service on Roosevelt Way, 1/4 mile away, and it’s three times as frequent as the existing 73.
3) There is alternative service on The Ave, three blocks away, and it’s roughly twice as frequent as today’s 66/67.
And my replies:
1. We should never be in the business of cutting off neighborhoods from transit service. Since when did transit advocates start doing that? Since when did we say that automobiles are better than buses? Our goal should be to make transit as convenient as possible for every Seattle resident, no matter where they live.
2. That’s not an easy walk for people who are not able-bodied young people. It’s uphill and much of that area lacks sidewalks. Further, no justification has been offered for removing all day service on 15th Ave NE.
3. That alternative service isn’t on Roosevelt, which has major destinations that people with disabilities will have a harder time accessing. Plus Roosevelt is a very dense corridor – I thought people here wanted buses to serve dense streets. I guess not.
Mark my words: this restructure will not survive. Nor should it.
Robert, I can’t take any reply like your #1 seriously until you tell me exactly which full bus you would cut so that a bus driver can enjoy the scenery driving an empty bus around Laurelhurst all day. We are not in your paradise of unlimited money.
For #2, the justification is where the people and the ridership are. Roosevelt is a relatively high-density corridor with multi-family on both sides and a growing commercial area. 15th is strictly single-family on large lots. Off-peak, the ridership provides more justification for keeping service on 5th NE (which would also lose it) than 15th.
As for #3, there is a possible solution, although it would split a very frequent corridor to create two mostly-frequent corridors. The 45/271 combo could use Roosevelt rather than The Ave between Campus Parkway and Ravenna. I’d support that if it meant we could get most of Alternative 1.
David, we don’t have to make that choice. We made Prop 1 possible precisely to escape that kind of situation. You cannot get more people to ride buses if you don’t put a bus in their neighborhood in the first place. If we are going to make any meaningful impact on CO2 emissions we need to get as many people in Seattle to ride transit as possible, rather than accepting a right-wing ideology that tells us we can never have enough money to do what we need.
I do not understand this desire to slash bus service to single family neighborhoods. It is very bad policy and even worse politics.
Robert, you are emitting more CO2 by having a bus serve the Laurelhurst loop than everyone who rides through the loop would emit if they all drove SOVs. At some point, buses just don’t work, and the Laurelhurst loop is past that point.
But you can make more people ride buses if you make existing services more useful to them.
Fewer than 15 people per day ride the Laurelhurst loop.
Please tell me this is an exaggeration for effect. Why on earth wasn’t that in the first round of cuts?
Robert’s logic–once someone has access to a service or benefit provided by the government, it should never, ever be removed no matter how unjustifiable or inefficient–reminds me a great deal of people who think they’re entitled to restrict and/or raise the cost of housing for others, in an effort to protect an imagined permanent easement for car storage adjacent to their property. When you advocate successfully for wildly inefficient and wasteful use of transit resources (or any public resources) you run the risk of the taxpaying public noticing, and reducing or withdrawing political support. It’s a terrible approach to advocating for transit.
Not an exaggeration for effect. About 25 boardings past the Children’s terminal, and half of those are at the 45th/42nd stop that’s not really in the loop (and is one long block from where the Alt 1 255 terminal would be).
If we are going to make any meaningful impact on CO2 emissions
There are some philosophical views on transit that could be used to justify running empty buses through Laurelhurst. This is not one of them. If you want to get people out of their cars you’ve got to use the resources you have efficiently. If CO2 emission reduction is your primary goal, cutting the Laurelhurst loop would be a big win even if we didn’t redeploy the service hours to boost service where it might matter, because buses emit a fair amount of CO2.
I would argue that there is actually a decent justification for maintaining coverage to Laurelhurst (i.e. as a shuttle to UW Station every 30 minutes) in Alternative 1, especially if the addition of Proposition 1 means that we can create a frequent grid without cutting people off from transit completely who my need it.
1. Given how astonishingly poor the service is on the 25 currently (an hour-long trip to Downtown that only runs every hour!), it is highly likely that the users of the Laurelhurst loop, while few in number, do heavily rely on it and have few other options. Forcing these people to walk up to 30 minutes (according to Google) just to access the nearest transit stop to get anywhere is ridiculous and severely cuts down on economic and social opportunities for those who really depend on the service, such as seniors, young people, the disabled, and people who are unable to afford a car.
2. The alternative 2 option of operating a shuttle from Laurellhurst to UW Station would likely result in trip times from Laurelhurst to Downtown that are faster than driving (thanks to U-Link’s 6-8 minute travel time from UW to Downtown). This means that there is the potential to attract a significant amount of choice-riders from Laurelhurst. While this route will likely never achieve high efficiency, it will not be nearly as bad as it is now.
For what it’s worth, it’s been a decade since I drove the 25, but when I drove it, all the riders I picked up in the loop fell into two categories: a small number of professional peak-hour commuters riding to the U-District or downtown, and middle- and high-school-age kids.
If Alternative 1 were what we had today, and what we have today were what was being proposed instead, would you oppose that too on account of people losing service?
“People on Broadway depend on that connection to Trader Joes, it’s unacceptable to take it away.”
“People on 10th Ave E work at the First Hill Hospitals, and they depend on that 10-minute connection. It’s unacceptable to take it away.”
“Hey NE Seattle, we’re cutting your bus service in half and none of you can expect better than 30-minute service. That’s unacceptable.”
“People count on frequent, all-day service on Roosevelt. You’re telling Maple Leaf that their service will be cut by two-thirds, with 3 half-hourly routes instead of frequent service? That’s unacceptable.”
As for the Laurelhurst loop, it accounts for 5% of the total boardings on the already-anemic 25 in a neighborhood where not a single house is selling for less than $3m.
+1 !! This is what I mean that some people will lose but others will gain. What we really need to focus on is whether the gains are larger than the losses and serve a wider cross-section of the population.
Also, people’s residences and travel patterns will change over time, and if it’s an especially good network that people want to be on, they’ll move toward it and find more of their destinations along it.
Robert, why aren’t you out there organizing for frequent service from Denny-Blaine to Madrona Park? Or a Medina-Clyde Hill circulator? Seniors in Denny-Blaine depend on the health benefits that come with beach walks, after all.
If they split the 48 into the 48 and 45, they REALLY need to turn the 45 down to Ballard. It’s a short diversion with a pretty big ridership potential.
Or turn the 44 up 32nd. As someone living near 80th and 24th, having a second option from the U District without having to transfer/walk up the hill from lower Ballard would be awesome.
The 44 can’t go up 32nd due to lack of trolley wire.
I’m more thinking that the new 45, with it’s terminus in downtown Ballard (where the old 75 layover was?), would open up a much needed east-west connection to a bunch of residents, rather than terminating at the sparsely populated northern entrance to Golden Gardens.
+1 to RapidRider. I’ve been saying they should turn the 48 down 32nd ever since they axed all-day service on the 17.
Yes! That the core of the Greenwood urban village is not connected with central Ballard is a major failure of the network in NW Seattle. (I still don’t see why the 40 shouldn’t be rerouted to Greenwood in the meantime).
Because then it would only make sense to send RapidRide D to Northgate, which is where it should have gone in the first place but which we apparently don’t have the money for.
32nd has no ridership to speak of. 24th makes more sense but that already has the 40.
The ridership on 32nd isn’t the issue; it’s the connection from Greenwood to downtown Ballard that needs service.
I understand but I’d rather not over serve a corridor if possible to avoid wasting service hours.
For that matter a transfer to/from the 40 or RR D accomplishes the same thing. Sure it isn’t a one seat ride but all routes are frequent enough that shouldn’t be a real problem.
It’s fundamentally a question of time. Even with 15-minute frequency, riding a bus one mile, then waiting for another bus to go one more mile makes for an excruciatingly slow trip. Also, from the perspective of Greenwood->Ballard trips, if 32nd Ave. doesn’t have a lot of ons and offs, that simply means a faster trip, again not an entirely bad thing. It would also help connect Ballard to neighborhoods such as Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, and Roosevelt, not just Greenwood. I’m not saying that this extension definitely should happen, but it’s definitely worth costing out.
Another nice aspect about 32nd Ave. having so few riders (or traffic) is that such an extension would be doable without compromising the reliability of the rest of the route.
The 40 does not go to Greenwood, which is centered around 80th and Greenwood. It goes to Carkeek Park. 105th and Greenwood is not the heart of Greenwood.
Kyle, you miss my point. For someone who wants to travel between Greenwood and Ballard they can take a 45/48 and transfer to either a RR D or a 40.
I understand the attraction of a one seat ride, but such routings run counter to the idea of building a gridded network. In an ideal gridded network you only get a one seat ride in two cases. One where the orgin and destination happen to be on the same corridor. Two where there is such demand to a particular destination that it justifies direct service. Greenwood to Ballard is neither cases one or two.
Right, but this is why asdf’s point above is so important.
BallardGreenwood is the perfect example of why “15 minutes is frequent” bureauspeak is bullshit, day or night, and pushes people to default away from transit for the vast majority of trips.
[didn’t like my bi-directional arrow, apparently]
@Kyle Here is the Google Maps trip options to get from Ballard to Greenwood, leaving at 7 PM on a Friday. I chose 20th Ave as the starting point so that it didn’t throw bias towards the 40 vs the D.
So between 30 and 40 minutes to go 2.5 miles from one urban hub to another, each with decent transit. The transfer penalty is ridiculous, even though most routes are 15 minutes or quicker frequency at that point. Seems like a fail to me.
The funny thing is that the quickest option on the list is to walk to the 28, take the 28 a few stops to 85th and then walk to Greenwood.
My second concern is that this seems to ignore speed. Speed and frequency go together and are essential for a gridded system. If buses are stuck in traffic, then you can’t add enough frequency to make up for the transfers. For example, all the buses in Pinehurst (the area between Northgate Way and 125th) head to the Northgate Transit Center. There are a decent number of people there (the census blocks show a higher concentration of people than on Maple Leaf) but folks there are expected to veer to the Northgate Transit Center. Even the bus that serves Maple Leaf (the 67 on alternative 1 and the 73 on alternative 2) swings around and goes to the transit center. As was said above (https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/03/06/metro-presents-u-link-restructures/#comment-598190) this will greatly slow down the bus, leading to less reliability and much worse transfers. I have no problem with transfers, and will happily trade a fast three seat ride for a slow two seat ride. But this seems to emphasize the Northgate Transit Center way more than necessary, and takes the slowest possible route to get there.
The most important N/S transfer at Northgate does not require anyone to go way out of their way to the Northgate Transit Center. It’s the transfer between the 67 and the 347/348, which happens at Northgate *Way* and Roosevelt. Other transfers near Northgate can also happen along Northgate Way. I feel this point is one that we will have to keep emphasizing over and over, because you’re absolutely right that having to actually detour to NTC would be terrible.
The area around 15th NE may be the biggest flaw in this proposal, and hopefully Prop 1 will address it.
Getting people to recognize Roosevelt & Northgate Way as a transfer point and to happily use it really depends on the transer infrastructure and amenities there. Will the bus stops be close to each other so you don’t have to wait for two traffic lights and walk a distance and miss your bus? Will the shelters be extra visible so that it looks like a “transfer station” and not a two-bin bus stop? Will there be real-time arrival signs?
The same issue applies to 23rd & John. People would be more willing to transfer if the points look more like transit centers and less like uncoordinated afterthought stops. Otherwise it’s like, “Northgate has this great transit center and I have to transfer at this lousy bus stop.”
“The area around 15th NE may be the biggest flaw in this proposal”
Why did Metro reject an all-day 373? I thought that was the plan for replacing the 73. Is it just that the budget couldn’t fit it, or did Metro decide it would be a weak route?
@David — I’m sorry if I implied that the transfer between the 67 and the 347/348 would occur at the Northgate Transit Center. It would at Northgate Way, as you mentioned (and is pretty obvious by looking at the map).
But my point in the comment is about the speed of the buses, whether they are carrying passengers or not. Time equals service hours. So the time that the 67 spends cutting over to Northgate means less frequency (for a bus somewhere).
But there are people effected by the change directly. Those that are actually headed to and from Northgate. If you are on 5th Ave. NE and NE 85th, for example, and headed to the transit center, you had a pretty quick ride (on the 66). Now you have to walk a couple blocks, and take the long way around. Even if you are on Roosevelt, my guess is it is quicker to walk west and take the old 66/67 rather than take the new 67. Likewise, those that live close to the transit center now have a much slower ride to Roosevelt and the U-District. This seems like a tough pill to swallow for those that are renting apartments mainly because they like the convenience (being able to get downtown, or to the U-District, or to Roosevelt very quickly).
That aspect of this seems to be jumping the gun, and maybe Metro tipped its hand already when it said it didn’t want to make these changes again in six years. Once Link gets to Northgate, cutting off service to 5th makes a lot more sense, but now it just seems like a bad tradeoff.
@ Mike — As of right now, that transfer (at Roosevelt & Northgate Way) would not be great. It isn’t that the area is ugly, either. The details of the transfer are bad. For example, If you are headed from the U-District towards Pinehurst/North City, the bus leaves the stop at 108th, and works its way over to the left lane and waits a while for the signal to change. As the bus makes the left turn, you see the 347, heading east on Northgate, moving over to the left turn lane, to make the turn towards North City. Now what? You still have to cross Roosevelt. The left turn light changes before the straight light, so either the driver waits for you, or you are just out of luck. You just spent five minutes watching a slow motion missed transfer, and now you wonder if it is better to just walk home. Going the other way is a bit better, because the 67 is more frequent and the pain of the missed transfer will be over much more quickly (since there will only be right turns). Metro needs to add a bus stop, but when they do, riders will still have to cross the street (and no driver will wait a full light cycle for a rider waving from the other side).
But that isn’t the worst of it, in my opinion. If the 347/348 was a lot more frequent, then I would welcome it, but it isn’t. Nor is the 67 extremely frequent. It is a bit more frequent than the 66/67, but not that frequent when you consider that it replaces both of those buses, the 68 and the 73. In other words, this might not be too bad if the 67 had five minute evening frequency or was extremely reliable. I can’t help but think the route through Northgate is the reason it won’t have either.
The advantage is that you increase the bus travel through Northgate/Roosevelt to the transit center. I can see the value in that. But with the 75/347/348 covering that entire section, and the 41 covering the rest, I don’t see that as necessary. Until Link gets to Northgate, it really isn’t a highly sought after destination. If you want to go downtown, then you will take the 41. As of right now, the only bus stop on Northgate Way between 5th Ave and Roosevelt is close to Roosevelt. So I doubt anyone living on the south side of Northgate Way and 8th Ave will cross Northgate Way and head towards Roosevelt, then transfer at the transit center (or before) to get downtown.
I’ve got the same concerns as when this leaked earlier. Though I still need to dive deeper.
In both cases large swaths of Pinehurst, Victory heights, Jackson Park, and Olympic hills are losing access to the UW and therefore the Link light rail. We’re creating FEWER connections to light rail in these neighborhoods. And many alternatives are a mile+ walk. A mile and a half in some extreme cases.
I understand pushing people to two-seat rides when light rail is involved. And I support that very strongly. But pushing people to two-seat rides just to GET to light rail for the last 6 minutes is crazy. Until we’ve got Link further north we need easier connections to the UW still.
Also, losing the 66 in Eastlake/SLU seems sad. Expecting anybody to do 347/348 -> Northgate for the 67/73 -> UW for the 70 to Eastlake or SLU seems crazy. That’s not going to happen. And those are both areas that need expanded service. There are way too many people trying to drive there because there aren’t good enough alternatives.
“Expecting anybody to do 347/348 -> Northgate for the 67/73 -> UW for the 70 to Eastlake or SLU seems crazy.” I agree.
At peak hours, the revised 66 will do the SLU trip in one shot, and do it very fast — much faster than today’s 66. The rest of the time, I think the best way to go Pinehurst/SLU would be to walk to the 41, 67, or 372, depending on where in Pinehurst you are. Each of those would give a frequent two-seat ride to get to SLU.
Eastlake to SLU will have a 7-day frequent 70.
UW to SLU will have 22 peak trips on the 311.
Jackson Park, Wedgwood, Northgate, Green Lake, Roosevelt, Ravenna…they all get gobs of peak service on the 64X and restructured 66X.
I did miss that the 66 still hits SLU. Thank you. I saw it off of Eastlake and didn’t realize that it cut back in further south. Though it’s still another trip back north to Eastlake but that’s certainly smaller demand than SLU.
But I still can’t believe how much mid-day service is being cut from areas of Pinehurst, Victory Heights, Jackson Park, and Olympic Hills to the UW. Especially around the denser apartment buildings. A lot of two bus trips are becoming three bus trips. And Light rail is harder to get to and involves transfers. We’re not restructuring to make it easier to get to light rail. We’re just cutting service here.
And honestly, I’ll personally still find ways to make that work. I just know there are a lot of people in my neighborhood who won’t. I’ve already seen the discussions on our neighborhood forums.
Except for the 73, I’m not sure I understand what you see as being cut. The 65, which serves Jackson Park and Olympic Hills, is getting its frequency doubled. The 372, which is an easy walk from the very eastern part of Pinehurst, is getting more frequent. The 41, which makes a lot of good two-seat connections at both Northgate and Lake City, isn’t going anywhere. The 347/348 to 67 transfer preserves the 73’s service to UW with just one transfer (actually better, because the 67 gets closer to more of campus). There are a few more two-seat rides, but no three-seat rides anywhere near UW. I think there is more fear than is necessarily justified, just because people aren’t familiar with the alternatives.
It’s basically the 73. That’s my main concern. And nothing seems to be changing to help it.
The neighborhoods (centering around 15th) are just getting worse service. There are exceptions along the edges but it’s a 20 minute walk with lots of hills from 15th down to Lake City for the 372. And flatter but still not a short walk for much of the area down to Northgate/Maple Leaf for some of the others. And most of it doesn’t have sidewalks. It will take two buses to get to the UW or Link now for a lot of people. And that’s a really short distance to jump through those sorts of hoops.
My concerns about the 66 along Eastlake to SLU were explained. I had just missed how that was skipping Eastlake. Which isn’t great but not as big of a deal. The traffic there is awful so I can understand it.
Yes, the new 66 would avoid most of the traffic by only using the express lanes.
And if the city filled in the 73 service with the Prop 1 money it would solve a lot of these issues. That would basically be until Northgate opens I think and we’re looking at another re-structure then anyway. But I don’t know how likely that is.
That happening depends largely on the organizing of those involved. Squeaky wheels get greased, and even if I like the 73 tail deletion from a network perspective, I begrudge no one who looks out for their interests, organizes, and succeeds. That’s democracy.
I agree with Phillip on this one. What is weird is that the area gets short changed in both proposals, which is crazy, in my opinion. Alternative 2 is simply worse for the area, while alternative 1 is more complicated. But I still think it gets the short end of the stick. Consider a couple simple trips:
U-District to Pinehurst — Right now, that is a one seat ride. With the combination of the 73/373, it has roughly 15 minute service until about 7:00 PM. With this change, it is a two seat ride, and it involves the 347/348, which has almost the exact same frequency as the 73/373) and the 67. So, basically, you have the same frequency on the tail end as your entire old route. Since a transfer is required, this ride is worse (and could be really bad if the connection is missed).
Fremont to Pinehurst — This is really a variation on the above situation. Right now, you would take the 31/32 to the U-District and then transfer. If you do the same sort of trip, you have a three seat ride, and (as mentioned) it is simply worse. But you do have an alternative. Now you can take the 26 to the Northgate Transit Center, and transfer to the 347/348. I am guessing that is slower than the current approach, though. The 26 is probably pretty slow, and the 347/348 is slow coming out of the Northgate Transit Center. The new 26 isn’t extremely frequent, either. The 31/32 is much more frequent. So again, you have a route that is probably slower and less frequent.
What is true of Fremont is true of most areas that connect to the U-District. Even some of the great changes, like the 16, are made worse by this. If you are in Wallingford headed to Pinehurst, you would take the 44, then the 373/73. Taking the 16 speeds things up considerably. But then, again, you have two more buses to catch before you are in Pinehurst.
As I said above, I’m all for moving the 67 to Roosevelt (even though it will probably be a bit slower), but having it curl around to serve the transit center costs is speed, reliability and convenience for those in Pinehurst. That is the only significant thing I don’t like about this.
@Phillip would you say that your concerns would be addressed with the 65 being split into to the 65A and 65B with the 65A taking 145th and 30th to get from 145th and 15th to Lake City and the 65B taking 15th and 125th to get between those two points? Because that would be revenue neutral and address half the 73 corridor, although people disagree on that frequency coverage trade-off.
I’ve thought about the Pinehurst issue a bit. Requiring a transfer to make a turn is one thing – that’s what you get out of any sensible grid-oriented system. But requiring a transfer to continue in a straight line seems questionable except in very special cases (e.g. significant differences between ridership or road characteristics that necessitate different service patterns on each side of the train; using a bus as an extension of a rail line; etc.). Looking at Roosevelt at Northgate Way, I don’t see any of these special situations. There is no Link terminus at that point, nor is there any significant difference in ridership demand between points along Roosevelt a mile north of Northgate Way vs. a mile south of Northgate Way.
I’m also a bit bothered by the extra looping on the 67 to get to the transit center vs. the 66. Essentially, anyone wanting to go west from Northgate needs to go north, then south, then north again, before going west. With no crosstown service whatsoever between 65th St. and Northgate Way, I’m concerned a non-trivial number of people may get forced into this.
Unfortunately, Alex’s idea doesn’t really help all that much. While it technically does maintain the one-seat ride between Pinehurst and the U-district, it’s a circuitous one-seat ride that would take much longer than the old 73, and would probably be slower than just transferring from the 347/348 to the 67. It also doesn’t do anything for those not going all the way to the U-district.
As an alternative idea, how about splitting the 67 into two pieces at Northgate – one piece would continue down Pinehurst Way to 145th St., the other branch would turn left onto Northgate Way, then take Meridian to 92nd to the transit center (the long loop that network 1 proposes to eliminate from the 16).
The assumption behind the idea is that very few people would actually need to get from Roosevelt to Northgate Transit Center, as the western branch would provide a connection to the 40, 345, and 346 in a far less circuitous manner than going through the transit center, and many people that would otherwise be making connections could just walk to wherever they’re going from Meridian. Meanwhile, Pinehurst maintains it’s one-seat ride to Roosevelt and the U-district at similar frequency to what they have today, all while still preserving the new frequent service corridor between Northgate Way and the U-district.
The purpose of the 66/67 (and the 305 before it) is to provide a connection between Northgate and the UW/University District.
Northgate Way between Meridian and 5th NE is a car sewer and heavily congested with freeway traffic. There is a reason Metro is trying to keep buses out of this area.
The traffic is so bad for much of the day that taking the as-proposed 67/73 to Northgate Transit center then transferring to the 40, 345, or 346 would be faster than slogging to Meridian along Northgate Way and transferring there.
So why is Metro proposing to put the 67 into that sewer when it has a much better route now?
The portion the 67 would travel isn’t that bad and is only 5 blocks long. The portion near the freeway is the part that is a horrible sewer.
Remember the 68, 75, 347, and 348 all currently use Northgate Way between 5th and Roosevelt.
And on those three transfer cases, it’s the distance that makes it seem crazy. It’s six miles from Pinehurst to Eastlake. That’s averaging 2 miles per bus transfer.
I too have concerns about the 73. I live in Pinehurst and often go to the U-District during off-peak hours. Obviously, the 10-minute service frequency on 15th Ave NE they are talking about won’t extend north of Northgate Way NE.
I often get the feeling that if SDOT were somehow acquired by Metro Transit, Metro would start by closing Rainier Avenue, MLK Way, Broadway, and most of the avenues in Downtown Seattle, because Interstate 5 goes to the same places.
What routes would directly serve the Husky Stadium station? I can’t tell from the maps.
All-day routes 44, 45/271, 48/67, 65, 70, 255, and 542, and peak routes 311, 540, and 556 would stop either on Pacific or Montlake, very close to UW Station.
All-day routes 31/32/75, 65, and 372, and peak route 373, would stop on Stevens Way about 1000 feet from UW Station.
As far as I can tell, the UW link station is really close to Husky stadium (in fact, it should probably be called “Husky Station” instead of “UW Station”), so basically every bus that gets moved to UW Station (and of course Link itself) would go close to Husky stadium.
It’s called “UW Husky Station” in the frequency chart that was posted in the leak article. So apparently Metro thinks the word “Husky” is necessary to make average people understand where the station is. Maybe ST should take a hint.
It absolutely SHOULD be called Husky Station.
For a system to have a University Street Station, a UW Station and a U-Dist Station is beyond crazy and will lead to all sorts of confusion for out-of-towners and those who are ESL or don’t speak any English at all. No other system would do this, and they certainly wouldn’t do it all on the same line.
ST should be more sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society and change the name to Husky Station immediately.
I disagree lazarus. U-District station should be called Brooklyn-NE 45th St. station.
I would leave University Street Station as is, change UW Station to Husky Station, AND change U-Dist Station back to Brooklyn Station. It just makes no sense to have 3 stations on the same line with such similar names.
Per Brooklyn Station, it was UDPA and the local business association that forced the change. They think being called “U-District Station” will be better for business than being called Brooklyn Station.
Some 75% of the feedback was for U-District Station, so it was not just a few businesses. I was for Brooklyn Station but it seems democracy won out.
Basic system design should not be subject to a popularity poll or vote. After all, if we did that most “concerned taxpayers” would vote not to fund ADA compliance — and clearly that would be a bad thing.
ST should change the names to something (anything!) less confusing.
If the UW wants to pay ST to brand the station with the rather profitable Husky sports brand, then we should consider renaming the station Husky station.
Until then, Montlake would be an appropriate and less ambiguous name.
I think we should try to have as many Link station as possible have the words “University”, “Rainier”, “Hospital”, “Bellevue”, and “Overlake” in them as possible.
Or we could name them like hurricanes: “Alice”, “Bart”, “Cindy”, “David”, etc.
More meta: we could name them like Bart, Marta, Elle, …
What is the word on changing University Street station to Symphony Station?
Most people I know refer to it as Husky Station, as do I.
“University Street Station” should be “Seneca Street Station”. Look at its address, people!
3rd Ave & Seneca St., Seattle, WA
The station names should accurately reflect their locations, not wishful thinking about system progress. For this reason, the stop on 45th _should_ be called University District. People I talk to who have heard of a new uw station are inevitably surprised and disappointed to find out it’s nowhere near 45th. The about to open stop should be called Husky Stadium, or better yet “just barely past the Montlake Bridge.”
How does Brooklyn-NE 45th St station not convey its location? It does so a lot better than U-Distict station.
My comment was aimed more at the “not really UW station by the bridge.”. 45th and Brooklyn is certainly accurate, although I think the U district tag is also helpful. And Brooklyn is more significant as “1 block from the ave” then on its own. Maybe “45th / U-District”?
Hopefully, ST will incorporate cross street names and parallel streets into station wayfinding and station annoouncements better than they do today. I mean, if I go to IDS, do I really care if the International District is sometimes called Chinatown, or would I be more interested in the fact that the station is near S. Jackson St. and 5th Ave. S.
I would much prefer the stations have symbolic names that tell you which area/neighbourhood they are located. The International District / Chinatown station _is_ in ID/Chinatown. If it was named 5th and Jackson, I’d have to know the location of the crossing streets to know whether it’s the right station to get off in order to go to Chinatown. The same goes for the Stadium station. I’d be clueless where it would be if it was called “6th Ave and Brougham.”
It reinforces neighborhood identities and helps people find the neighborhood. Over time there’s a tendency to name the neighborhood by the subway station, so “Othello”. That doesn’t work if the station is called “43rd & Brooklyn” or “130th & 5th Ave NE”. Which is why Pinehurst Station might be a good name for 130th since there’s no closer neighborhood. Although “Jackson Park South” does have a nice ring to it.
Hmm, I guess that’s contradictory since Othello is named after a street. But the point is that the U-District, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Roosevelt, Rainier Beach, etc have strong neighborhood identities that should be reflected in the station names, so that when people go “to the U-District” it’s obvious which station it is and they can walk from there. But th eOthello area has pretty much lost its identity (Hillman City, Brighton), so much that I guess nobody cared to recommend those names, plus those are really centered around Rainier Ave which is a half-mile away. So Othello is just as good as any as a name for the emerging urban village centered on MLK. “Brooklyn” was probably chosen for the street, but it was the original name for the U-District so I thought it was a good one. But U-District is also good too.
The streets can be in small letters under the names on maps. It’s not either-or.
In NE Seattle, it’s dead easy to find the station using numbered streets and avenues. It doesn’t work so well in SE. If I want to get to some particular place by subway, if I have a street address, I should be able to easily figure out which station to use. When I’m wandering around in the U-District and want to get to the station, I can look at a street sign and figure out which direction to walk if I can orient to the cardinal directions.
I don’t really care what the name of the neighborhood is. They seem to change names and boundaries over time anyway. The streets aren’t going to move around much.
“The streets can be in small letters under the names on maps. It’s not either-or.”
I agree on this. Looks like a win-win for both parties.
My third concern is with alternative 2. If it was designed to make alternative 1 look good, then it did a great job. I think it is worse than our current design. As you said, it seems to ignore the addition of a new station at Husky Stadium. At the same time, it makes things worse for folks in Pinehurst (the area between Northgate Way and 125th). Although that area hasn’t seen the growth that the Northgate area has, it has roughly the same concentration of people as of the last census (which is more than Maple Leaf). To get to the U-District, these folks have a two seat ride (via the 347/348) and 73, or the peak only 373. With the current system, riders in the area have their choice of a 73 or 373, which resulted in pretty good frequency. Likewise, getting downtown is worse, for much the same reason. Right now, a rider can take the 347/348 to the Northgate Transit Center and transfer to the 41 (an option that is unchanged). But a lot of riders take a one seat ride to downtown via the 73. That route is gone by either proposal. I can understand the shift to Roosevelt (to go through the heart of Maple Leaf) but going the opposite direction (right into the some terrible traffic) while skipping the apartments in Pinehurst seems like a step in the wrong direction.
It seems to me that a third alternative is in order, which focuses on the addition of the new station, without making the dramatic changes that alternative 1 does. For example, keep the 73, but only run it downtown during rush hour, and only when the express lanes are going its way. That is the only time of day when avoiding Pacific makes sense. This would make for a faster bus (since it wouldn’t slog its way downtown) and provide much better service to the UW hospital and Capitol Hill. There would be a transfer for folks headed downtown, but a very quick one (if done right). Of course, that means lots of variations on the 73/373, which means that a long overdue number change is in order, to handle the combinations:
— 73 to Cowen Park and downtown
— 73 to Jackson Park and downtown
— 73 to Cowen Park and Husky Stadium
— 73 to Jackson Park and Husky Stadium
— 373 (same as before)
I would do the same for similar buses (72, etc.). I think with such a proposal, you have a clear contrast. This alternative would keep roughly the current design, but take advantage of Husky Stadium Station to speed things up, add a bit of frequency and provide connectivity. Alternative one is a more bold rework of much of the routes. Right now, alternative 2 is, in my opinion, neither of these. It is worse than the current system and ignores the addition of new light rail stops.
I agree completely – we need something in between Alternatives 1 and 2. And I predict that is precisely what we will get once the King County Council and Seattle City Council are finished with this.
Tho I disagree with you on a lot of this, surely that was the intent. Alternative 2 adds no value, Alternative 1 probably goes just a little too far in a pre-North Link world. If Metro wants a final sausaged product it can live with that still meaningfully moves the needle toward more frequency and leveraging of our billion dollar investment in Link, proposing the Hot and Cold versions of Goldilocks’ porridge makes perfect sense.
RossB, Renee, and Phillip: how about this alternative:
Instead of having the new 67 terminate at NTC, send it north on Pinehurst Way and 15th to 135th, where it would terminate at the old 73 terminal. (Note: I wouldn’t have it go all the way up to 145th and around like the 73. Just a right turn on 135th and left on 16th.) Have it go around the block and proceed back south from 135th.
At very close to the same cost of Metro’s planned 67, this would preserve one-seat UW service for everyone in Pinehurst and Jackson Park south of about 145th, and provide *same-stop* transfers to the 347/348 for those going further north.
Then move the 67 to NTC once North Link is there.
Would you organize in favor of that solution?
I personally love this idea and I think it solves the problem for others I have heard from. RossB and Phillip?
If the neighborhood would be behind that idea, I’d be happy to do what I can to publicize the concept. It preserves a lot more of the benefits of Alternative 1 than just keeping the 73 the way it is, while also avoiding a barrier at Northgate Way for off-peak Pinehurst and Jackson Park riders.
That makes so much sense.
Thank you, David! And, thank you for brainstorming solutions.
Note that you can’t negotiate with people who start the discussion by stating one-seat rides are a requirement.
“Save the 42”
Those people are antithetical to a useful, cost efficient transit system.
At first glance I REALLY like that idea. I’ll follow up with the neighborhood to see what the reaction is.
It maintains the UW connection in the meantime and even helps suggest how to restructure in the future once North Link is open. I also like how changing the number (instead of keeping the 73) helps people understand that it wouldn’t continue to be a one-seat ride downtown but it still solves the connections issues that would have required three busses to cover a short distance North-South.
It also continues to generally serve student populations getting to Roosevelt HS.
That solves the Pinehurst problem but also means that no one in NE Seattle except 75 riders has a Northgate connection. Would you replace the 67/NTC with something else?
TBH, I don’t find the NTC connection on the 67 that useful or essential without North Link. The worst outcome will be for people trying to transfer to the 41 to get downtown. Except for the 40 to Aurora, all other connections you could make at NTC could be made just about as well from somewhere along my proposed 67. 347/348 are through-routed with 346/345. 41 or 75 to Lake City are easy from my proposed route. For Crown Hill, transfer to the 45 at Roosevelt. For Bellevue, just ride south instead of north and transfer to the 45/271.
What about people in Roosevelt who want to go to Northgate? Are they really less numerous than those who want to go to Pinehurst?
psf: It’s not just the one-seat riders. I also felt that the area around 15th NE was the largest hole in this proposal. It’s a reasonable question to ask whether the 67’s tail should be switched, and it’s worth comparing the two lines to see which way is overall better.
The fact that the 67 goes up to Northgate Way rather than 100th means it will get caught in a traffic bottleneck that it currently escapes. On the other hand, it means that for those going to Northgate, it’s not out of the way to transfer there since they’ve already lost the back way on 100th. And there probably is growing ridership between Pinehurst and the U-District that should not be neglected, since it’s a lower-cost multifamily area.
I’m not a fan. It cuts of Maple Leaf, Roosevelt, and the U-District from Northgate. Sure it keeps a one seat ride for a few people but it adds a transfer for many more.
I’m not thrilled about either 15th or 5th losing all day service in Maple Leaf but this makes the situation much worse.
The real solution as I see it is to give the 373 the same service span and frequency as in alternative 2. (Which is to say all-day weekday service)
Absolutely not a fan of this. Northgate folks on the west side of the freeway lose big. Losing the 16 was acceptable with the compensation of having access to the boosted 67. In the version you propose, we lose both the 16 and the 67 and gain… a slightly boosted 75 milk run?
I am more in favor of restoring the 73 as far as the college.
Thanks David, for the suggestion. I think Chris has a very good point. While I (and plenty of other people) would personally benefit greatly by that change, I think it hurts too many other connections. I think Chris has the right idea, but I would modify it a bit.
But first, a little background. There are several reasons why I don’t like the new 67. It spends precious service hours going on Northgate Way and 5th. Second, the new 67 is not an especially convenient way to get to Northgate (see the third paragraph here: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/03/06/metro-presents-u-link-restructures/#comment-598371).
Third, Pinehurst (between Northgate Way and 125th) is fairly populous and is isolated with this change. It is just about as densely populated as Northgate. Like Lake City, it is easy to ignore because the apartments aren’t huge, and are sometimes hidden from the street, but the apartment buildings (and the people) are there.
But I agree with Chris. More than anything, I think it forces a tough choice. I don’t want to lose the connection to Northgate from Roosevelt (and the UW) just to suit Pinehurst riders. But if the point is to help out the first set of riders, then going via Roosevelt (instead of 5th) really isn’t that good. This is why I suggest the following:
1) David’s new 67. Even if it has fewer riders (and I’m not sure it will), it will be much faster (since it avoids the Northgate mess). But I would call it the 73, since I would …
2) Resurrect the old 67. You could modify it to serve the station (instead of the campus).
Now, obviously this dilutes the service north of 80th. I don’t think this is a big deal. It really is too different worlds after that. 5th is within the “orbit” of Northgate. Once you are on 5th, you are headed there. But Roosevelt, like 15th, is for folks headed north and south. Plus, as stated before, Maple Leaf (with all its charms) is not very populous. It is only the areas to the west (Northgate) and north (Pinehurst) that are.
But more importantly, this is a clear win for everyone. You connect Northgate to Roosevelt and the UW. You connect Jackson Park/Pinehurst with Roosevelt and the UW. You do all of this very quickly. Someone who wants to get to Northgate from Roosevelt doesn’t spend half of his or her time making a series of soul sucking left turns, which adds over a mile (and about 50%) to the journey. Meanwhile, Maple Leaf gets more frequent service to Roosevelt and the UW (and thus downtown). Pinehurst and Jackson Park come out ahead (or at worst even).
Since all of these runs are fast, they use less service hours. I would try and get some of the new money to beef up the frequency. I have no idea what this would mean in terms of frequency, and how to fairly distribute it. But I could easily see good frequency on both. I would love it if someone “ran the numbers” on this. Worse case scenario, you have something a bit better than today. You have much better frequency from Roosevelt to the UW (which is the bulk of the ridership) and good service north of there.
I meant “two” different worlds (damn homonyms).
Also, I should add that folks on Maple Leaf who want to go to Northgate can transfer, or simply walk a couple blocks over to 5th. Buses won’t do that, because buses (like cars) are discouraged from going between 5th and Roosevelt. Which kind of proves my “two different worlds” point (if 100th was an arterial, then this would be a completely different discussion).
The suggestion of keeping the current 67 could work, it solves a few problems:
* service to Roosevelt between 42nd and Ravenna
* keeps fast access to Northgate via 5th and 100th
* avoids Northgate Way and the congested left turns at 5th and Roosevelt
* the service hour neutral version halves frequency north of 80th. Still not great for those trying to get to/from Northgate. Though to be honest the resulting frequencies would be similar to today.
* A bit of a service gap around 5th & Northgate way for those coming from the South. Given the number of buses through there (41, 75, 347, 348) it is a minor issue.
* Sill no off-peak service on 15th NE between Ravenna and Pinehurst Way.
A good alternative would be to add all-day and weekend service to the 373. Unfortunately there is no obvious service hour neutral way to do that.
“a series of soul sucking left turns”
I think this phrase has to be reserved for the 150 in Southcenter.
I agree. As to the downsides, I would say this:
* Less frequency from 80th to Northgate.
Maybe, but a lot faster ride.
* Service gap around 5th and Northgate
I agree, this is a minor issue (with all the other buses).
* Still no off-peak service on 15th NE between Ravenna and Pinehurst Way.
The choice between 15th and Roosevelt is an interesting one. The only reason that 15th is better is because it is marginally faster. To me, this is an easy choice. Go via Roosevelt. The 73 (and 373) were diverted while the bridge on 15th (over Thornton Creek) was being rebuilt. It really wasn’t bad at all (although someone else could come up with some data on this). If memory serves, the only bad part was the zig-zag further south, between Roosevelt and The Ave. This would have that zig-zag either way.
But I could go either way on that. If it can be shown that buses are significantly faster on 15th, I say go on 15th. That is a bit awkward to avoid the “heart” of Maple Leaf, as well as a lot more apartments, but it really isn’t far to either street (5th or 15th). Either way, this is a side issue.
As far as simply running an all day 373, that would be simple, but I see a couple of downsides to that. First, it spends a lot of time outside the county (about 40% of its time — http://metro.kingcounty.gov/schedules/373/n0.html). Second, I don’t think it picks up that many riders (again, I could use some data). The population density really drops off after you get past 125th, and the 373 doesn’t even make that many stops (it really is an express north of there). Third, it is outside the city. This makes it more difficult to grant hours. I’m all for using city money for cross city rides, but this isn’t it. The 373 serves Aurora village (not Shoreline College) and is not a huge destination for Seattle riders.
I think between the extra money from prop 1, and the time savings by avoiding the Northgate mess and the quick turnaround that David suggested, we could get decent frequency on both. I’ll try and do some “napkin math” to get a rough estimate.
After reading all the comments and feedback in this particular thread, I like Chris’ last suggestion best – to delete the 73 and turn the 373 an all-day route. That would not affect the other routes such as 347/348/67 and still maintain mobility for the people on the 15th Ave corridor.
@Dai — Like I said, I have no problem with making the 373 an all day run. But I like David’s truncated 73 better. Again, three reasons:
1) It is shorter, and thus you can run it more often.
2) It stays within the city boundary, so you can add service to it more easily.
3) It still covers most of the people who live close to the 73 route.
I would rather have a 73 every half hour, than a 373 every hour and a half. That is without prop one. Just to be clear, this would be a 73 that would not go downtown, but go from the UW to 135th.
I tend to forget the current 373 takes a scenic tour of Shoreline. My intent is more a route with the northern terminal of today’s 73 and the southern terminal of the 373.
For serving Maple Leaf no question Roosevelt is the right place to consolidate service.
For access to Northgate TC from the South 5th is better.
15th’s real advantage is a lack of backups and not insignificant ridership between 80th and 65th.
In an ideal world buses could use 92nd, 95th, 100th, or 103rd between the transit center and Roosevelt. Unfortunately they are all narrow residential streets between 5th and Roosevelt. Even if they were upgraded to allow transit access you’d have to do something to discourage SOV from using them as a cut-through as well.
@Ross I agree. When I said turning the 373 into an all-day route, I meant to say transfer the service frequency of the current 73 (i.e. every 30 min) to the 373. In terms of the route, yes, the new 373 (or 73, what’s in a name) should do well by stopping at or near the Husky Stadium station so those who wish to go to downtown can easily transfer to the Link.
Just to be clear, this is what I propose: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-ZcpzpzqRA0.k8DORg1mMdvU
Now some napkin map. According to Google, going to the Northgate transit center via Roosevelt and Northgate Way is 5.5 miles, versus 4.4 miles if you go via 5th. So that makes the math relatively easy. Instead of 6 per hour (of the proposed 67s) you run 7.5 per hour. But you don’t. You take one run per hour, and give it to the new 73. Now, I think the new 73 (a run from 135th to the UW) is a bit further than the 67 that goes from the UW to Northgate. I will assume (just so the math works out) that two and a half 67s, equals two 73s. So, basically, without a dime from prop one, you have:
New 67 (red on the map) — Every 12 minutes
New 73 (blue on the map) — Every 30 minutes
Compared to the alternative one, you have:
* Faster bus ride between Northgate and Roosevelt or the UW.
* Less frequent ride between Northgate and Roosevelt or the UW (12 minutes versus 10 minutes.
* Additional service to Pinehurst and Jackson Park.
That seems like a very good tradeoff to me. If you get prop one money, you could easily add back the service to the new 67, or add it to the new 73 (giving you twenty minute service).
Yeah, I think we are all on the same page. It is hard to keep the numbers straight, that’s for sure.
I do wonder how many people take the 373 from Shoreline. When I get on, there don’t seem to be that many people, but it isn’t empty, either. I would love it if we truncated all of the 373’s (turned them all into 73’s) just to save the service hours, and provide better coordination. Often you’ll have a 73, followed by a 373 five minutes later. This made a big difference when the 373 skipped stops, but the 73 went on a stop diet, and now it is just as fast. The big difference, of course, is that the 73 goes downtown, while the 373 does not. That difference will go away, making the difference even smaller.
But I don’t want to take away anything from the folks further north. I don’t know if there are alternatives, but it seems like a silly way to go for as many stops as there are.
@Chris — Yeah, the city really doesn’t want you to cut through: 103rd and 100th are one way (out) from 8th. 102nd doesn’t go through. 98th bans trucks. Basically the city is screaming “go around buddy, go around”. Oh, and I’m sure buses would have a fun time turning left on Roosevelt or 5th (neither of which have turn lanes).
Looking at the alternate one transit map, I can see why consolidating on Roosevelt is so appealing. But having two parallel lines (which diverge eventually) is not unprecedented. On Queen Anne they do the the same thing (Aurora, Westlake and Dexter). It is pretty much for the same reason — the steep hillside led to parallel streets, without easy cross streets. As much as I would like more of wide grid (like everything west of Green Lake) I think it makes sense to have a couple runs through there (one on 5th and the other on Roosevelt or 15th).
Not to divert you from the main topic, but is everyone okay with the 73/373 switching from 15th Ave NE to Roosevelt? As a cyclist who often bike commutes from Pinehurst to downtown via Roosevelt, I dread seeing many more busses going on Roosevelt with the current state of the road. The south-side downhill from 85th to 80th is particularly troublesome as the section has no bike lane (only sharrows). Bus drivers tend to be much easier to ride with than the average drivers, but I’d still prefer not having to deal with more traffic if I can avoid it.
Clearly SDOT would have to change some things to allow buses to use one of the E/W streets between 80th and Northgate Way. I don’t see left turns as any more problematic than the current ones at 80th. Indeed 92nd, 95th, 100th, and 103rd all have the advantage that the route wouldn’t need to turn on 5th at all and could turn either on 1st or directly into the transit center.
Really just a thought exercise as I’m sure residents don’t want increased traffic and SDOT doesn’t want through SOV traffic.
@Dai — I could go either way on Roosevelt versus 15th. I think Chris covered the argument fairly well. Roosevelt goes by more people north of 80th as well as more destinations (Maple Leaf Park, Judy Foo’s, etc.). 15th is faster, and provides different coverage between Ravenna and 80th. I was leaning towards Roosevelt, but now I’m leaning the other way. The difference in coverage between the two alternatives is not enough to make up for the difference in speed.
As for the streets themselves, I think this is another argument for having the bus take 15th. The city will continue to do things to slow down drivers on Roosevelt. They can continue to emphasize bike and pedestrian safety over smooth driving. But 15th doesn’t get that many pedestrians (or bikes) so it will be a much more consistent, faster bus ride. The only rough spot on 15th is where it crosses Pinehurst. The city is changing that area, and putting in a light (for pedestrians, as well as vehicles crossing) would eliminate that little problem spot.
I don’t really see the buses as a problem. A bigger issue is the large number of cars using Roosevelt as an I-5 bypass. Buses every 10 minutes aren’t going to make the situation for bikes any worse.
Between 80th and 85th 8th NE provides a quiet alternative to Roosevelt and 5th for bikes.
The problem for Maple Leaf is you can’t just push all the service to 15th (or 5th). Roosevelt is central enough to serve the entire neighborhood but 5th is too far West and 15th is too Far East to consolidate all service there.
I wish there was an easy answer to get the I-5 bypass traffic out of the neighborhood entirely or at least encourage it to use 5th and 15th instead.
Note that the Southbound PM congestion on 5th is mostly caused by the 4-way stop at Banner Way.
@Chris — Agreed. If you have only one bus through Maple Leaf, then it has to be on Roosevelt (not 5th or 15th). But I think a combination like this would work fine: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-ZcpzpzqRA0.kMvCq8B57yjg
What I like most about this is it is fast. The part from Roosevelt to Northgate is much faster than the 67 as specified on alternative 1. Meanwhile, riders from Pinehurst have a much faster ride to Link (or just to the UW) than alternative 1, even without the saved transfer. To me, that is the key. For a grid system to be successful, you have to have lots of frequent, fast bus service. I think there is enough service hours to have that on both the new 67 and the new 73 (as I call it on the map), even without proposition one money (and prop one money just makes it that much better).
Even though my original Frequent Network Plan looked a lot like that, I’ve come around to the view that you have to have service on Roosevelt. Roosevelt is both 1) where all the current development of any significance in Maple Leaf is and 2) where all the future development will be.
I’m still thinking about the best solution to this. Most of what has been proposed by you and others here would cost more than what Metro has proposed. What wouldn’t cost more would be to just split the 67 between 5th/NTC and Roosevelt/Pinehurst without any other changes, but then you’d only have a trip on each every 20 minutes (and 30 at night), which seems like a horrible outcome. (Everyone loses.)
But one thing I still do think is that, in the absence of North Link, the UW connection will benefit more Pinehurst riders than the NTC connection will benefit Roosevelt riders. If we have to choose between them, the UW/Pinehurst connection wins. That math completely changes when the 347/348 are connecting to North Link instead of buses.
I agree that the additional buses on Roosevelt won’t be an issue as long as we can somehow divert the commuting drivers away from there. I just don’t think it would be feasible to place more buses on Roosevelt on top of the existing vehicular traffic bypassing I-6 during peak hours.
Your solution is not acceptable. It cuts off Maple Leaf, Roosevelt, and most importantly the University District and UW campus from Northgate and the NorthgateTC.
Furthermore it sends every 10 minute service into an area that simply doesn’t have the ridership to justify it, especially when the other frequent service in the area is factored in (41, 75, 347, and 348). Outside of peak Pinehurst gets 30 minute service to the UW and downtown. Ridership is fairly light even then (though low ridership may be partially due to low frequency) as this is mostly a residential neighborhood with peak oriented travel patterns.
Your solution here would work, though I’d advocate for less than a 50/50 split for service hours. Maybe 2/3 to NTC (67) and 1/3 to Jackson Park (73). Prop 1 money could be used to boost the 67 branch back to the Alt 1 levels and to boost the 73 branch to the frequencies proposed for the 373 in alt 2. The 73 branch needs to go all the way to 145th, you might as well serve the business district and transfer point rather than stopping a few blocks short. I’d also say leave the 67 portion on Roosevelt between Campus Parkway and Ravenna.
With the modification to stay on Roosevelt between Campus Parkway and Ravenna the 67 almost exactly mirrors the city’s TMP corridor 12 south of NTC. Unfortunately this more or less undoes what Metro was trying to achieve by consolidating corridors.
Negatives are reduced service frequency on University Way
Under alternative 1, route 43 would be deleted. One of the alternatives is “use link.” Interesting. I didn’t know link was going to go up 23rd Avenue. Unless they’re talking about the people that ride the 43 end to end, in which case, they were wanting to take the scenic route anyway.
There is a considerable portion of 43 ridership that uses it as a very slow one-seat ride between downtown and Montlake or UWMC. Those riders will use Link.
And those 43 riders who use it as a ride from Capitol Hill to Montlake are screwed.
Not really. Even today it is faster to get between 23rd & John and Westlake station via the 48 and either the 255 or 545.
Given link and increased frequency on the 48 this will be even more true once UW station opens. Heck getting between Broadway and 23rd & John might even be faster with a transfer at UW station than the 8 or 43.
I know historically Metro does a horrible job at transfers but when both routes are at less than 10 minute frequency it really isn’t a big deal.
This is a bus route restructuring proposal, not a general transportation plan.
You say you want roadways expanded, fine, but hich neighborhoods do we sacrifice to the cause of wider roads? Whose businesses and homes do we tear down to make room? Where does the money to pay for it come from? Where do those cars park once they get wher they are going?
Which neighborhoods are being sacrificed for a slow-moving, outmoded, form of transportation (streetcar/railroad) that does nothing more than get people out of buses into slow moving trains?
Did you miss the part about Link being underground and running up to 55 mph? Even the MLK segment, the slowest part of Link, is as fast as buses and has more signal priority. And one of the main reasons we’re building University Link is that buses regularly get caught in 10-20 minute traffic jams.
I don’t see and neighborhoods being torn down or cut in half to put in either light rail or streetcars.
I’ll grant you the implementation on streetcars has so far been poor, but then again metro hasn’t exactly restructured service around them either and there really isn’t that much even once the FHSC opens.
As for Link light rail what about it is “slow”? I’d challenge you to beat Link with a car most times of the day, particularly north of Downtown.
As someone who claims to want to speed up traffic and build more capacity for cars how exactly do you propose to do that in Seattle without tearing things down in order to widen roads?
First off, how exactly will Prop 1 funds interact with the proposed restructure? Will SDOT postpone the allocation of Prop 1 service hours until after the reorganization ordinance has been passed by the County Council? This strikes me as short-sighted; the amount of available service hours has a direct bearing on the strength of a gridded restructure, and on the strength of such a restructure vis-à-vis the status quo baseline.
I’m surprised that people are defending the Capitol Hill restructure. I find it fairly disappointing: the route structure feels less gridded and less legible than the current one, which isn’t a terribly impressive baseline. At times, the proposal seems to draw lines on a map to see how many streets can have “frequent” service without regard for providing fast travel times, direct service, and sensible transfers to where people want to go! The most egregious offender is the zig-zaggy “core” proposed route 38, which serves virtually no one well. But, hey, it covers areas on the map! A Madison-Broadway 49 makes less intuitive sense than the current Pine-Broadway route, and, as mentioned before by others, covering the Madison corridor, a highly useful diagonal, into a spotty patchwork of three routes (49, 38, 8) that needlessly frustrates straight-line travel. Some specific observations:
-It seems like Metro never even considered combining the 49 and 36 via 12th Ave (which would entail creating a short 36 that would still run between Beacon Hill station and downtown), because the latter route is outside of the “study area.” Even Seattle’s (occasionally wacky) TMP proposed this corridor, which is the only logical north-south grid line in the long term.
-Lately I’ve thought the most sensible thing to do with the split 8N would be turning it north at 23rd to go north to UW station. Yes, 23rd north of John would be over-served, but current 43 riders are placated with a direct route to Capitol Hill station and UW, and there aren’t many other options for the 8N other than terminating at 23rd and Madison or going to Madison Park (proposed here, which I think will both over-serve and raise the hackles of Madison Parkers).
-The 10 is the most logical candidate for continued local service on Pine, so here I agree with Metro’s proposals. SDOT should consider funding the operation of the 47 at least every 15-20 minutes with a limited daytime span, seven days a week. This is one area where a “coverage” route for people who would have to backtrack to Capitol Hill station would actually be patronized.
-Metro should propose an all-Madison route, which nicely dovetails with Madison BRT planning.
-I’ll admit there isn’t really an obvious solution for the 8S, but I can’t imagine the proposed 38 ever being part of a useful long-term network. If frequencies on other routes (8N, 48) are improved, 23rd and Madison might be an acceptable terminus and transfer point. Or maybe accept a bit of duplication and send the route to Capitol Hill Station?
As many have noted, it’s Sound Transit’s poor stop spacing that exacerbates the difficulties of redesigning the network. A 23rd and Madison station on the way to UW would have greatly assisted a legible, graceful bus network that speeds up a lot of trips.
That should read:
“…covering the Madison corridor, a highly useful diagonal, with a spotty patchwork of three routes (49, 38, 8) needlessly frustrates straight-line travel.”
Sorry for the verbose comment, but this was actually the edited version…
While I like the 49-Madison idea, I do agree that if there were a 49+36 restructure, we could be more creative with Madison BRT while mitigating the loss of both the 12 and the 43. Imagine a line that ran from Downtown to UW Station via Madison, 19th, Thomas, and 23rd. All you’d need to install is one trolley switch, and you’d provide coverage for 90+% of #12 and #43 riders, and it’d be electric from Day 1. In an open BRT system, you’d still have the freedom to run another Madison route to 23rd or Madison Park or wherever the community demanded.
As for the 38, I thought it was crazy the first time I looked at it, but I’ve warmed to it significantly. It ties Broadway and and the C.D. together for the first time, connects Link with 17th/Madison (Coop, Trader Joe’s), and provides coverage for east-central Capitol Hill while allowing for a super-frequent 8 to connect the grid across Denny/John/Thomas/Madison.
Creative thinking – I like that “12/43” hybrid concept.
I’m guessing that the switch would be needed at 19th/E Thomas? The alternative would be to use 23rd to Madison, but that would require 1 block of new wire on 23rd between John and Madison, plus associated switches. That alignment might be a little faster for thru riders, but it would be less useful for 12 tail riders and the capex upfront would be higher.
Madison’s diagonal usefulness is also its downfall. In a street network that is otherwise gridded, diagonal streets wreak havoc. Like freeways, they are disproportionate traffic magnets. They destroy intersections. They induce a disproportionately high level of traffic on certain connecting streets, and a disproportionately low level of traffic on others.
Over the past few years, NYC has actually converted Broadway from a major arterial into an ambling boulevard. The result is better traffic flow, fewer collisions, and a street (Broadway) that’s far better for non-motorized uses.
I would love to see Seattle do the same thing to Madison, especially between 12th and 23rd. The section of Madison between 12th and 15th is especially pointless, given how close it is to Pike and Pine. Converting that to a woonerf would be wonderful for everyone who lives/works/plays in Capitol Hill, and it would be better for drivers, too!
I think Metro is absolutely right to want to avoid this section of Madison. It’s just too close to alternative service. Madison BRT sounds good on paper, but in this case, I think Metro has the better idea.
Is there a link to a full page version of the side by side slider map?
There’s also a printable version linked to in the paragraph just under the map.
Thank you Oran!
The westbound 520 offramp to Montlake Blvd. is frequently backed-up due to bridge openings and overall congestion. As a sometimes 255 passenger to downtown, it’s going to be maddening sitting in that backup, trying to slowly inch our way to the UW Station in order to take the train to downtown, all the while knowing that I’d I could already be at my destination if the bus had just stayed on the freeway. But I’m not complaining. I know this is supposed to be progress.
No more bridge openings, ever! Not a thing anymore.
I think he is talking about Montlake bridge openings (not 520 bridge openings).
Oh, yeah. Those can be dodgy, sure. (They do try to limit openings during peak hours, right?)
Some of this will get better once the new 520 bridge is done. The plan is to have two exit ramps, and a light on Montlake Boulevard. The light is the huge part. No longer will cars have to fight over that lane after the bridge opens. Vehicles will just take turns.
Congestion is a different matter. The biggest problem is traffic headed the other way (towards 520) in the morning. That is a problem, and there are several good ideas to improve the situation (https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/01/30/improving-bus-rail-integration-at-uw-station/). But when there is a lot of congestion (during morning rush hour) there is also a lot of congestion just getting from I-5 to 520.
Keep in mind, it is one or the other (heavy traffic or the bridge going up), not both.
During peak, you can ride the 255X (I saw it called the 256 too) and go straight downtown.
Off-peak, we have to hope the planned and theorized improvements to the Montlake Mess make a huge difference. Otherwise, Uber is your friend.
It’s not just planned and theorized. The montlake exit ramp is being widened to two lanes this year and construction on it has already started. That alone should help a lot. Once you get off the exit ramp, a bus-only lane takes to as far as the Montlake/Shelby bus stop.
After that, you have the choice of either staying on the bus as it turns left on Pacific or getting out and walking. My theory is that getting off and walking from Shelby will actually be faster because staying on the bus one more stop would only save a couple hundred feet, but force you to wait for the light to cross Montlake twice (once on the bus, once again on foot).
How does a two-lane Montlake offramp work exactly? Are they putting a signal where it connects to Montlake Boulevard? Or is it a two-lane ramp that eventually narrows down to one, so that it just prevents backups from reaching the through-lanes of 520?
They are putting a signal where it connects to Montlake Boulevard. That alone will help quite a bit, especially after a bridge goes up.
Remember once 520 is done there will be HOV ramps so buses won’t have to sit behind the rest of the traffic.
Seems like a lot to like here. The revised map for the 48 states “Route 48 continues on regular routing to Rainier Beach.” I’m assuming this is an error.
I think it’s safe to say that, for a majority of south-end riders, the reliability improvements and increased frequency from splitting the 8 & 48 will more than compensate for the loss of a (very long) one-seat ride to Seattle Center or Loyal Heights.
Alternative is quite intriguing. It’s good to see some original thought put into this network!
I have a concern: Has anyone begun to look at the bus loading and circulation requirements around Capitol Hill and UW stations? They are getting lots of routes. Some of these approach streets will have buses at close to 3 or 4 minute frequencies — where there will be a frequent occurrence that multiple buses will need to use the same stop even if they are through-routed.
While I’m very happy to see increased frequency and a truncated 8, some additional changes could be made by SDOT to improve reliability of this route (and general safety and sanity along this busy corridor):
1. Provide a queue jump and bus/right turn only lanes at Broadway and John along with a modified signal cycle with protected left-turn signals for cars turning onto broadway. This would reduce car-pedestrian interactions and smooth traffic movements. Emphasize short signal cycles to preserve pedestrian crossing frequency.
2. Reduce Denny Way to one through-lane eastbound starting at Westlake with dedicated right-turn lanes onto Boren and Yale, where backups frequently occur due to cars entering I-5. This would prevent competitive lane-changing and cars stopping to turn from general purpose lanes, and create more predictability for eastbound buses and drivers. Call it a road diet, but it’s really just creating a more controlled, safe, and predictable street rather than reducing capacity in any meaningful way.
3. Restripe Olive Way westbound between Broadway and Denny to delineate turning and through lanes, and add a right turn signal and “no turn on red” sign at Westbound Olive and Denny. Currently it’s a guessing game for drivers and creates a safety hazard for pedestrians.
Does anyone have a recommendation about how to best get these recommendations heard by SDOT?
248 comments and counting. This may be a record.
Bellinghammer’s comment above about what would people be saying if we were going in the reverse direction and proposing to replace alternative 1 with the current network reminded me of a couple things…
Other cities have gone through major controversial restructures and ended up with better networks, and over time people forget the old routes and wonder how they could have lived without the new network. Portland’s was several years ago, Spokane’s was fairly recent, and Houston’s is just a little ahead of this one.
Likewise in Seattle, there was a time when the 71X and 72X were peak only. When the 65, 68, and 372 didn’t exist. When there was no UW-Fremont service and you had to walk down from 46th. When the E was three different routes, one of which sauntered on Stone Way. When Bellevue had three hourly milk runs to downtown, two on one bridge and one on the other. And even just three years ago, the 40 didn’t exist, nor the C or the 50. All of these changes occurred in restructures that were just as controversial as this. But only a few people lament the loss of the milk runs from Rainier View and Alki and Arbor Heights that allowed it to happen, while many more people are using the frequent corridors that were created.
So I’m trying to figure out how difficult the offpeak trip from 65th Street to downtown would be under proposal #1. What does the easiest/fastest path look like under the plan. A #16 to the 372x with a walk from inside to the campus to Husky Stadium and then a Link trip the rest of the way?
If I understand the Metro maps, it depends where on 65th St you are. If you’re near Roosevelt Way you can take the 45 or 67 directly to Husky Stadium. If you’re near 25th Ave, 372 to Stevens Way and walk. If you’re near Sand Point Way, 75 to Stevens Way and walk. And if you’re near 35th Ave, the 65 goes through Canvas, then hangs a U turn and goes down to Husky Stadium. I assume walking from campus will be faster than staying on the 65 for when it turns around. Or a 16 to
But 1 thing I’m skeptical about is if people need 3 rides to get downtown off-peak. 16-XX-Link doesn’t seem to be a great option.
*Campus, not Canvas. Clearly I have UW on the brain…
The number of people on 65th that would actually need a 3-seat ride to get downtown is quite small. It’s only one tiny section along 65th about halfway between 35th Ave. and Sand Point Way. The area is entirely single-family homes, and does not provide a great deal of #71 ridership today.
Even in the worst possible place served by the current #71, a #65 stop is only a 15-20 minute walk away, so for those willing to walk, it’s still a two-seat ride. Also, the new #16 is a frequent route, and you would have lots of choices for what to connect (e.g. OneBusAway says you just missed a #65, you can try again and hope for better luck with the #372).
It should also not be ignored that Wedgwood is getting additional trips on the #76 direct to downtown that they don’t get either today or under alternative 2. The 76 current operates peak-direction only, which means a lot of deadheading in the reverse-direction. There are probably low-cost opportunities to put some of these deadhead buses into service to get people attending evening events downtown more quickly.
It wouldn’t be faster, and off-peak downtown service from 65th is one of the main weaknesses in an otherwise good plan, IMO. I think the city could fund mid-day 76 service to fill the gap until 2021, after which the new 16 is a perfect connection to Roosevelt Station.
Alternative A appears to have numerous spacial gaps, which impact the convenience and attractiveness of a transit network, especially for customers with limited mobility. At a policy level, radial routes should be spaced 1/2 mile apart, which results in no theoretical customer being more than 1/4 mile air-distance from their nearest stop. In NE Seattle, the most logical Google-Earth-level spacing is to structure routes on every north-south [X]5 street, or 5th, 15th, 25th, 35th, 45th, and Sand Point Way (of course, the road network and other network design principles mean this isn’t fully achievable in practice). In Maple Leaf, the proposed #67 should be divided onto a 5th and 15th, with one route retaining the current Route 66 alignment along 5th Ave and 80th St and expanding Route 373 to have a full schedule south of 135th St.
In Wedgwood, with a “perfect” grid 45th and 55th Ave routes would exist; as this grid does not exist certain modifications have to be made. In this area, “radial” has to be defined as east-west instead. Half of the Proposed Route 16’s trips should follow the current alignment of Route 71 north of 65th St; this would result in Sand Point and 75th St having a bus every 20-30 minutes, while preserving the frequent grid where there are other frequent routes to connect with.
Laurelhurst and Portage Bay should receive a “policy minimum” level of service, or headways of 30 and 60 minutes peak and off-peak, respectively, with a weekday-only span of 6a-6p. These two “off-grid” networks can be serviced with a modified Route 25 with a 2 and 1 peak and off peak vehicle requirement, respectively. In comparison, Routes 25 and 62 in Alternative 2 appear to require 2 all-day coaches.
I-5 means the walkshed of 5th NE is limited to the West. The hill limits the 15th NE walkshed to the East. Roosevelt is the highest density corridor with the most businesses between I-5 and the 372 route.
Except for peaks ridership along 15th NE between NE 80th and Northgate way is rather low. Both Roosevelt and 5th have higher off-peak demand.
>>Crosstown service between Uptown, SLU, Capitol Hill, and Madison Valley gets 10-minute frequency and is extended to Madison Park.
Service on Denny Way needs to be not just more frequent, but faster. In fact, if you made it faster, you could make it more frequent without adding buses. How. Im not sure. But maybe some kind of reserved centre-running lanes would work.
With no more 71-72-73 service along Fairview late at night, I assume that means the 70 is going to run until 1am every 15 minutes. Right now it think it stops service at about 8pm. Does anyone know for sure.
Span of service on the 70 in both proposals would be 6 AM to 1 AM 7 days a week.
Yes. See Metro’s route sheets It runs 6am-1am every day. 10 minutes peak, 15 minutes daytime and weekends, and 15-30 minutes evenings. I assume “15-30” switches over around 10pm.
That sucks. Right now the 71-72-73 combines for 4 trips per hour right up until about 1am. That would mean every 15 minutes, not 15-30 minutes to retain the same level.
CC, generally correct. The 70 will run until late, every 15 minutes up to a point. I haven’t seen the schedules, but if it’s consistent with other routes of its general ridership it might go half-hourly after 11 pm or so.
What happens to Route 84?
There’s a lot of good stuff in here. I wonder if they considered having a single route serve the east/west portions of both the 45 and 16, going all the way from Loyal Heights to Magnuson Park. I think a true cross-town route would be great for the overall network, enabling lots of grid-based connections.
That might be an idea worth in 5 more years, but for now, severing the one-seat ride between from Greenwood and Green Lake to the U-district would likely generate enormous opposition.
At least until Roosevelt Station opens, I think the 48 pretty much has to go the U-district.
A NW 85th/NE 65th route looks good on paper but it ignores the enormous draw of the U-District and the fact that there are practically no destinations on NE 65th and only a moderate number from Greenlake on west. That’s the scourage of low density: people don’t want to go there, they want to go somewhere else.
But it’s possible to visualize the 45 not as an L-shaped route but as a northwest-southeast route. That’s what it does well, and Greenlake in the middle makes it possible. The 16 is ingeious because it complements it: a northest-southwest route. That matches people’s travel patterns better because Fremont and Wallingford have jobs and interesting shops that people want to go to, and right now it’s hard to get there from most of northeast Seattle.
I think the new proposed routing of the 16 is the best invention ever. Will even be so when the Roosevelt station eventuslly opens.
One concern, however: Since there will be a wide lost gap lost on Northgate Way if and when this restructure happens, could the 75 take over this former 16 portion, instead of turning left on 5th Avenue that has much service already. That way the many North Seattle College students riding the 75 would not have to transfer at Northgate. Other 75 riders would also benefit, they could make a faster connection with the 40 to Ballard and beyond on Meridian without a long Northgate detour.
After some review of the documentation and thought on the subject, I have some concerns. First, I realize that the Prop 1 funded service has been excluded from the Alt 1 proposal. This is understandable, as these projects were developed in parallel, however some modification might need to happen before everything goes “live”. A couple of comments, First I’m not totally sold on the elimination of the 43. It seems like too busy of a route to eliminate outright, although with adjustments to travel patterns and transfers i’m sure it could be done. Secondly, The Madison street modifications leaves some to be desired. With SDOT’s desire to install BRT on Madison, the funky dual routes on Madison and no direct downtown connection is curious at best. My preference, would be to use electric trolley coaches and extend the wire on Madison to MLK. the low ridership ends of the 11/12 could be eliminated or turned into peak only. The rest of the route could than be rebranded into a RapidRide going downtown.
Judging from the ridership sheet, the “low ridership” end of the 12 has very solid ridership.
#12 service requirements need to look forward vs backward. Significant development has occurred along 19th Ave E, bringing in new bus ridership that has not yet been accounted for. In addition, developers of these new buildings have relied on a DPD exemption to get out of building parking, so they built more housing units and less (or zero) parking. This rule explicitly requires <= 0.25 mi of walking (on streets, not as the crow flies) to frequent service (every 15 min) in both N/S and E/W directions. The #10 line exceeds the max walking distance for residents that live 19th-23rd. Get rid of the 12 and, according to DPD, you will have more residents who are not going to walk it (and I assume will have to circle the neighborhood looking for a parking spot).
Here's the DPD ruling used by developers in the 19th Ave corridor
questions I don't have answers for–What about those families south of madison whose kids were assigned to stevens (40% FRL) and then had their bussing removed… do they take metro–oh wait, they can't anymore. What about Country Doctor staff and patients? Are we honestly saying that we should make sick people haul it up the hill?
Metro, most notably their management – starting with Kevin Desmond, the “cream of the crop” and underpaid relative to the other transit execs in the region, deserve a ton of credit for this work. I commend their planning staff, their graphic arts people, their website design folks, their outreach team, and others who have gotten this information assembled and put out there in a genuine interest for our feedback.
We should insist that all of the transit agencies should be as transparent and open-minded in their approach as Metro has been and as willing to subject themselves to scrutiny as they are, while continually improving via independent, comprehensive performance audits and peer reviews. I’m still hoping that they’ll continue to follow-up on their initial work on fare policies from last summer, for there are opportunities to save millions of dollars there as well.
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