Note: This is the first and longest in a series of four posts describing the details of Metro’s proposed “Alternative 1” restructure, which would take effect at the same time as the planned March 2016 opening of Sound Transit’s University Link.  “Alternative 1” is the more ambitious of Metro’s two U-Link proposals.  Our overview of both proposals, and our short description of the minimum-change “Alternative 2,” is here.  Although these posts are under my byline, they owe a huge amount to the hard work of the entire STB staff, particularly Zach Shaner.

Frequent NE Seattle map
Map of frequent NE Seattle routes under Alt 1. Map by Oran Viriyincy.

There’s one essential fact about Alternative 1 in Northeast Seattle: It creates a real 15-minute grid, no excuses.  Overnight, there would be 15-minute or better bus service, all day, to almost every place east of I-5 and north of the ship canal—including neighborhoods far from a Link station, and a huge number of places that have never had 15-minute bus service, ever.  And the service would be in an easy-to-understand grid pattern.  Alternative 1 would establish all of these frequent corridors, spaced 1/2 to 1 mile apart, with newly frequent corridors in blue:


  • UW Station-University Way-Ravenna-Roosevelt Way (to Northgate): Route 67 (10 minutes)
    • (additional service south of N 65th St on 15-minute Route 45)
  • Roosevelt Way/15th Ave NE (north of Northgate): Routes 347/348 (15 minutes)
  • 25th Ave NE-Lake City Way: Route 372 (15 minutes)
  • 35th Ave NE: Route 65 (15 minutes)
  • Sand Point Way: Route 75 (15 minutes)


  • UW Station-Children’s Hospital: Route 255 (15 minutes)
    • (additional eastbound service on 15-minute Route 65)
  • Fremont-U-District-UW Campus-Children’s Hospital: Routes 31/32/75 (15 minutes)
    • (additional westbound service to UW Campus on 15-minute Route 65)
  • U-District-45th St-Market: Route 44 (15 minutes)
  • Wallingford-65th St-Sand Point: Route 16 (15 minutes)
  • Roosevelt-Green Lake-85th St: Route 45 (15 minutes)
  • Northgate Way-Lake City: Route 75 (15 minutes)
  • NE 125th St: Route 41 (15 minutes)
  • NE 145th St: Route 65 (15 minutes)

And remember, these frequency levels are before further improvements using the City of Seattle’s Proposition 1 funds.

Now that we’ve talked about the real 15-minute grid—did I convey how exciting this is?—let’s look at Alternative 1’s Northeast Seattle changes in closer detail.  In Northeast Seattle, it’s remarkable how positive the effects will be.  Some changes will force transfers, but very few will make trips significantly slower or take away service from riders—which is not true in some other areas within the scope of Alternative 1.

U-District to Downtown Connection.  The biggest gamble Metro is taking in this restructure is making U-District-downtown riders transfer at UW Station outside peak hours.  Current U-District express service becomes peak-hour-only, with 10-minute frequency.  Routes 71 and 72 disappear, route 73 is truncated to Green Lake P&R and reduced to peak-only, and route 74 stays unchanged.  Middays, evenings, and weekends, most U-District-downtown riders will use Link between downtown and UW Station, transferring to a bus for the last mile.    Fortunately, Metro is putting frequency in place to make this transfer fairly painless.  Between UW Station and the U-District, there will be better than 3-minute frequency running along Pacific Street and either The Ave or 15th Ave NE.

Those still determined to have a one-seat ride can use frequent, but slow, routes 49 or 70, or walk to the I-5/45th freeway station to catch frequent Route 512.  It’s worth noting that Alternative 1 provides for Metro-funded service on route 70 nights and weekends—one of the largest line items the City of Seattle is funding with Proposition 1.  It will be interesting to see how the city reallocates those Proposition 1 funds.

Other U-Link Transfers.  Metro, Sound Transit, and UW are still working out the final details of U-Link to bus transfers at UW Station.  Given how many trips will rely on U-Link, these transfers are critically important.  The current plan is as follows:

  • Montlake Blvd: Provide new stops along Montlake just north of Pacific in both directions, for Route 255 riders.  Provide an additional northbound stop near Hec Ed the Alaska Arena for Routes 65 (which turns onto Montlake from Pacific Pl) and 255.
  • Pacific St: Move current UW Medical Center stops to the east, to allow shorter walking distances for transfers.  The westbound stop would serve all-day routes 44, 45 (48N), 67, 70, and 542, while the eastbound stop would serve all-day routes 48, 271, and 542.
  • Pacific Pl:  The current layover zone would remain in place, serving routes 44 and 70.  There would also be a non-layover stop serving Route 65.
  • Stevens Way (UW Campus): Metro is seeking to re-space bus stops along Stevens Way to provide stops directly at Rainier Vista, which would be about 1000 feet from the UW Station entrance.  We have heard that the UW is resisting, because it fears imperiling Rainier Vista views.  This is an important priority for riders, though, and UW should accommodate the move.  The current stops are 300 to 500 feet further away than stops at Rainier Vista would be; they are over a quarter-mile from the station.  Wherever the stops end up, the westbound stop will serve all-day routes 31, 32, and 65, while the eastbound stop will serve all-day routes 75 and 372.

We’ve known from the beginning that UW Station transfers would be awkward, because UW Station is so far from the center of campus and from existing bus stops, and also because southbound Montlake Blvd is too unreliable to accommodate much bus service.  The agencies are doing a good job of optimizing transfers to the extent possible with existing infrastructure, but there will still be too many long walks and street crossings.  We continue to hope UW will become more receptive to innovative ideas that go beyond the current public right-of-way, even if they cost a few parking spots.

Roosevelt and Maple Leaf Consolidation.  All-day service on routes 66, 67, 73, and the Maple Leaf portion of route 68 would be consolidated into new frequent route 67, running every 10 minutes between UW Station and Northgate Transit Center.  The route would use The Ave south of Ravenna, and Roosevelt Way north of Ravenna, using Northgate Way to reach NTC.  South of 65th, service along the corridor would be reinforced by Route 45, running every 15 minutes.  New route 67 would be through-routed with Route 48 to the Central District and Mount Baker.

Roosevelt Way south of Ravenna Blvd would no longer have service; riders would walk three blocks to The Ave.  The City of Seattle may eventually restore service to this section of Roosevelt, despite its proximity to other service corridors.  A BRT trolleybus corridor along the southern part of Roosevelt is in Mayor Murray’s Move Seattle plan.  The city’s planned corridor would make sense once North Link opens.  Alternative 1 would send route 70 east to UW Station after reaching the U-District.  With North Link in place, sending route 70 north on Roosevelt to Roosevelt Station would be more legible.

In Maple Leaf, service along 5th Ave NE and 15th Ave NE would be peak-only.  Revised peak-only route 66 (to be further covered in our downtown/SLU post) would serve 5th Ave NE, and unchanged routes 77 and 373 would serve 15th Ave NE.  Current off-peak route 73 riders north of Northgate would need to use routes 347/348, transferring to route 67 at Roosevelt Way and Northgate Way.  (Thankfully, these riders would not need to endure the agonizing crawl to Northgate TC.)

Serve All The Places! New Route 16.  Thinking outside the box, Metro would replace the portion of route 71 running along NE 65th St with a heavily revised route 16, running every 15 minutes.  The route would connect Sand Point, south Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Green Lake, Wallingford, and Fremont, before heading into downtown using current route 26/28 routing on Dexter Avenue.  This routing would no longer provide a reasonable one-seat ride downtown for most NE Seattle riders, but would open up a tremendous number of frequent neighborhood connections throughout North Seattle.

Peak-hour downtown riders from Ravenna and Wedgwood would enjoy additional peak trips on route 76, but off-peak downtown riders would use newly frequent north-south service on routes 67, 372, 65, or 75 to connect with UW Link.  This change will bring more benefits when North Link opens in 2021; then, the revised route 16 will provide excellent transfers from many neighborhoods to Roosevelt Station.

The portion of route 16 connecting Green Lake and Northgate would be replaced by half-hourly service on an extended (and all-day) route 26X.

The revised route 16 would have some knock-on effects in Wallingford and Fremont.  Riders from central Wallingford would see their trip downtown slowed by up to ten minutes as a result of route 16’s move from Aurora to Dexter, but in exchange would get more frequency and a new connection to central Fremont.  On the other hand, both routes 26 and 28 would use Aurora rather than Dexter to reach downtown, speeding downtown trips for their riders, but losing the Fremont connection of route 26. For the first time in years, Downtown Wallingford and Downtown Fremont would have a direct, frequent connection.

New Children’s and U-Village Connections.  As we’ll cover more fully in our SR-520 post, frequent route 255 (which today connects downtown and Kirkland via SR-520) would see a major change.  Rather than serving downtown, most trips would exit SR-520 at Montlake and force downtown passengers to transfer to UW Link.    But, since there is no layover space planned near UW Station beyond the trolleybus layover already used for Route 44, the revised route 255 has to go somewhere else to lay over.  Metro is electing to send it north and east on Montlake Boulevard, to a new terminal at the southwest corner of Children’s Hospital.  This would radically improve weekday transit accessibility for both Children’s and U-Village, possibly at the cost of reliability for Kirkland-bound riders because southbound Montlake is so prone to afternoon congestion. If Children’s pays for some of this 255 service in lieu of their current shuttles, the 255 change may even be a revenue positive move, freeing up resources to beef up the rest of the network.

In addition, route 65 would provide further connectivity between UW Station and these destinations by using a new live-loop at its south end. Southbound, it would go through campus; then it would use 15th Ave NE and Pacific St to reach UW Station, and proceed northbound on Montlake.

New Eastside Connections.  UW Station would gain all-day frequent service to Bellevue, Eastgate, Kirkland, and Redmond.  Route 255 would be modified to serve UW Station and Children’s Hospital, as described above.  Route 542, connecting the U-District and Redmond, would become frequent all-day service.  Route 271 would connect Bellevue with Roosevelt, Green Lake, and much of northwest Seattle, as it would be through-routed with route 45.

Detailed Route-By-Route Changes.  The following list explains what would happen to each current route serving trips within NE Seattle under Alternative 1.

Route 25.  Deleted.  Connection between Children’s Hospital and UW Station replaced by frequent, much more direct route 255.  Connectivity between Children’s Hospital and U-District replaced by higher frequency on routes 65 and 75.  No replacement service to Laurelhurst loop or western Montlake, but those areas currently see an extremely small number of riders.

Route 30.  Deleted.  Peak-hour service provided by route 74.  Off-peak, riders would use newly frequent north-south service on route 75, 65, 372, or 67.  Sand Point riders could also use revised route 16.

Routes 31 and 32.  Largely unchanged, except for serving Wallingford Ave to reach Fremont instead of 40th/Stone.  All trips would be through-routed with route 75.

Route 41.  Unchanged.

Route 44.  Unchanged.

Route 48.  Split in two.  The south portion would be through-routed with route 67, preserving service to Roosevelt without a transfer, and would improve in frequency to 10 minutes.  The north portion would be renumbered as Route 45 and through-routed with route 271 to Bellevue, but otherwise unchanged.

Route 64.  Unchanged frequency and routing in NE Seattle.  Downtown, routing would change to serve SLU and First Hill via Mercer, Fairview, and Boren.  Downtown riders may need to walk a few blocks, or transfer to and from very frequent downtown service at Stewart/Olive and Boren.

Route 65.  Would gain 15-minute all-day frequency.  New routing in the U-District; would live loop counterclockwise via the UW campus, 15th Ave NE, Pacific St, and Montlake Blvd.  Most northbound riders would need to board at new locations.  Routing unchanged outside the U-District.

Route 66.  Would become peak-only, and would be revised south of 65th to serve SLU and First Hill via I-5/Mercer/Fairview/Boren.  Off-peak service would be replaced by route 67, running on Roosevelt Way in Maple Leaf, and on The Ave south of Ravenna.  Off-peak downtown riders would transfer to UW Link from route 67.  Service along Eastlake would be replaced by more frequent route 70, which would also run nights and Sundays.

Route 67.  Would become 10-minute, all-day service.  Routing would be heavily revised, to serve Roosevelt Way in Maple Leaf and The Ave south of Ravenna.  Would connect to UW Station via Pacific St, rather than serve the campus loop.  Would be through-routed with route 48 to 23rd Ave and Mount Baker.

Route 68.  Deleted.  Service along Roosevelt in Maple Leaf would be provided by frequent Route 67.  No replacement service along NE 75th St; riders would need to walk to newly frequent north-south service on Route 67 or 372.  Service along 25th Ave NE would be provided by newly frequent route 372.

Route 70.  Would be expanded to run 7 days per week, and also on evenings and weekends. Its routing would change in the U-District to serve UW Station rather than the northern U-District, using Campus Parkway, 15th Ave NE, and Pacific St.

Route 71.  Deleted.  Downtown riders to the U-District or Roosevelt would use routes 73/74 at peak hours.  Off-peak, they would transfer between route 45 or 67 and UW Link.  East/west riders along NE 65th Street would use frequent route 16, now running east/west between Sand Point and Green Lake, or walk to newly frequent north-south service on routes 67, 372, 65, or 75.

Route 72.  Deleted.   Downtown riders to the U-District or Roosevelt would use routes 73/74 at peak hours.  Off-peak, they would transfer between route 45 or 67 and UW Link.  Riders between Lake City or northern Ravenna and the U-District would use newly frequent route 372. Riders between Roosevelt and Lake City would have two-seat rides on frequent service, which could be routes 75 and 67, routes 372 and 16, or routes 65 and 16.

Route 73.  Would become peak-only, and be truncated to Roosevelt.  Off-peak, downtown riders would transfer between route 45 or 67 and UW Link.  Peak riders north of Roosevelt would use unchanged routes 77 or 373.  Off-peak riders north of Roosevelt would use route 67, running on Roosevelt Way rather than 15th Ave NE.  Off-peak riders north of Northgate would use routes 347 and 348, with a transfer to route 67 at Northgate Way and Roosevelt Way.

Route 74.  Unchanged.

Route 75.  Would gain 15-minute all-day frequency.  Unchanged routing.

Routes 76 and 77.  Unchanged, except to add a few trips on route 76.  Downtown, both of these routes will move from the tunnel to the surface in September, a change that is separate from the restructure discussed here.

Routes 347 and 348.  Unchanged.

Route 372.  Would gain 15-minute all-day frequency, run nights and weekends, and gain additional peak trips to make up for lost capacity on route 68.  Would be truncated to end in Bothell, but routing otherwise unchanged.

Route 373.  Unchanged.

Route 522.  Unchanged.

Route 542.  This route would be truncated to the U-District, but gain 15-minute frequency and night and weekend service.  Replacement service to Roosevelt and Green Lake would be provided by very frequent routes 45 and 67.

Route 556.  Unchanged.

200 Replies to “Alternative 1: Northeast Seattle”

    1. In the next restructure I might like to see it become even more grid-like. Instead of making the 45 be the east-west route on 85th/65th west of Roosevelt and the 16 be the east-west route on 65th east of Roosevelt, make one route go that whole way. That would make one fewer transfer for people traveling between NE 65th St and the already grid-like northwest quadrant of the city. The direct connection to the U-District would matter a lot less when there’s a convenient transfer at Roosevelt station for southbound riders.

  1. “Route 48. Split in two. The south portion would be through-routed with route 67, preserving service to Roosevelt without a transfer, and would improve in frequency to 10 minutes.”

    I filled out the entire Metro survey on this and wrote happy words all over it regarding alternative 1. The above quote, for middle-city denizens, is the money quote. Roosevelt is the only real north-side destination worth having on the 48 right now (though the scenic tour of Green Lake is…well, scenic). Previous proposals to split the 48 would have it stop at the 70’s terminus because it would get electrified.

    That brings up an interesting question: how does through-routing to the 67 work if the route goes ETB? I assume one of these two would not happen. It seems to me that the smarter move would be to put off electrifying 48S until Roosevelt and Northgate stations open. Then the 48 can stop near University and transfers to both of those happen with ease.

    1. I concur with your comments about the scenic trip along Green Lake that is the current 48(N), but I’m concerned about the proposal to thru-route the new 45 with 271 to Bellevue.

      Won’t this make it too easy for ne’er-do-wells and individuals with nefarious intentions to get from Bellevue to Green Lake? I anticipate an increase in crime in the Green Lake neighborhood if this occurs….. :-)

      1. Green Lake and Greenwood residents should maintain a careful lookout for takeout bags from national chain restaurants if this restructure goes through.

      2. Designer handbags are another tip-off one may be dealing with someone from the wrong side of the Lake.

      3. @DL,

        Good gawd, I hadn’t even thought about all the fast food detritus that will now be scattered about. I can feel my anxiety level rising already……

  2. Changes to the 255 and 271 are covered in the text, but they don’t appear in the route by route list of changes???

    1. The list covers “each current route serving trips within NE Seattle.” Check back Wednesday for the SR-520/Eastside post, where we will cover the 255 and 271 in a lot of detail.

      1. It’s not worth arguing about so I’ll say just one more thing and then shut up about this.

        It makes sense to me that it would be useful to reiterate the changes to the 255 and 271 as they relate to NE Seattle. I expect you will talk about the changes to the 545 in both the Eastside and Downtown posts and would expect the route to appear in each post’s list of changes.

        If this series of posts are to become reference posts, the route-by-route lists are an import, concise summary of the changes.

      2. It is worth arguing about. Kirkland is getting hosed, so U Village gets a big bonus in service.
        If anything, leave the damn 255 alone and turn the 271 to go out to Childrens. At least it wanders around the U-district now, so a change in layover isn’t a huge deal.
        It also makes more sense when East Link starts up.
        271 from Bellevue to U Dist is ~20 minutes depending on time of day.
        East Link will be ~30 minutes, or take 50% longer for the same trip.
        I’d take my chances on the consistently faster 271.

      3. I am a Kirkland resident and daily Kirkland-downtown rider of the 255 and I do not feel Kirkland is “getting hosed” in the slightest. There is more capacity and frequency at peak hour when the 255 is busting at the seams, and getting the 255 and 256 out of the tunnel and the 255 off I-5 promises better reliability for both. I wish for more frequency nights and weekends but have to recognize the demand really isn’t there to support it.

      4. Interesting (and probably should hold for 520 article) – you think the 256 (255X) will be more reliable since it is out of the tunnel than the 255 is today? Is the tunnel slower than the surface streets in rush hour?

      5. Yeah, we’ll talk more about that in the 520 article, but the combination of joint ops and I-5 congestion inbound creates a real problem at PM peak, and bunching on the 255 at PM peak is more the rule than the exception.

      6. Yes – I’ve often waited for one in the tunnel for a while and then had two follow each other north, bumper to bumper. That seems common with many routes in the tunnel at PM peak, but I guess all that is short-lived. They can bunch on 4th instead!

      7. I’m a bit concerned about the 255’s reliability due to southbound Montlake traffic. Perhaps it will prove any worse in the scheme of things than I-5 and joint ops, perhaps not. A mid-route layover at the station stop would go a long way to alleviate this concern.

      8. I work in Kirkland and live in Wallingford. I think ending the 255 at the Link station is fantastic… Currently, if I want to go downtown after work, the bus inevitably gets caught on 520 West of Montlake, or merging onto I-5, or on I-5, or trying to get past Steward/Denny. Ending at the Link station for a probably-always-faster trip downtown, then using the hours the 255 spends in traffic for more frequent service, or other routes is a big improvement.

        My only concern is how to deal with the Montlake bridge, or the 520 off-ramp, running out of space to get buses on & off the highway.

  3. Metro never learns from its mistakes. This happens every time. They come up with the idea of a longer route (271/45), only to have to split the route years later due to schedule problems. Or worse, the won’t admit their mistake and just leave the chronically late route as it is. Here’s an idea. Why not just not create the too-long route in the first place?

    1. so where do you terminate the 45 if it is not thru-routed with the 271? Could thru-route the 45 and 65 together as another possibility (just my idea), to avoid the 271 affecting the 45 performance. Though that means the 65 would no longer operate thru the campus???.

      1. Having ridden both routes I’d be more concerned about the 45 causing reliability problems for the 271 than the other way around.

        The 271 would be truncated at the Eastgate P&R which should help the few reliability issues from the Eastside.

        The U District is short on suitable layover space which is why through routing the 67/48 and 45/271 is attractive (along with the 31/32/75)

        An alternative would be to keep the 45/48 through route and through route the 67/271. The problem there is the frequencies don’t match between the North and South halves.

      2. The 48N/45 is slow, and suffers frequent minor delays along 85th, but it rarely gets 20+ minutes behind like the inbound 271 can on a bad afternoon.

      3. Drivers have been complaining about lack of bathroom facilities at Loyal Heights terminus. Can the route be extended down to Ballard centrum?

      4. One thing Metro could do to improve the 271’s reliability is to send it to 520 via 108th, rather than 84th Ave. and Medina.

        When 520 is backed up, the 84th Ave. entrance ramp is often used by SOV drivers in an attempt to bypass congestion on the freeway. The result is that the last half-mile or so leading up to the freeway can sometimes take as much as 15-20 minutes of inching forward in stopped traffic. (The HOV on-ramp helps some, but the bus still has to sit in considerable traffic to get to the point where the HOV on-ramp picks up). By contrast, the 108th Ave. entrance ramp reachable from northbound traffic is HOV 3+ only and goes straight to the HOV lane on the left side of the freeway (no need to cut across multiple lanes of stopped traffic). SOV drivers find 108th unattractive to other options, such as Bellevue Way, so for the bus, 108th Ave. moves nicely.

        I believe that the reliability difference for not just 271 riders, but also #45 riders down the line is more important than the few ons and offs the 271 gets in Medina. A peak-hour-only shuttle route (operated with a 12-person passenger van) between Bellevue TC and Evergreen Point Freeway Station should be more than sufficient for the Medina community. (Anyone who lives there can easily afford Uber or simply paying the toll and parking downtown the rest of the time).

      5. Even better might be to use the 555/556 routing between Bellevue Transit Center and 520. That route uses the direct 520 ramps to/from NE 8th/10th.

        Drop the Medina routing and servitude it with a circulator if you must. There is nothing between the mall and 520 on the current 272 route that justifies the level of service.

    2. I hate to ever admit that Sam has a point, but this time he does. There is a part of the 271 that is unreliable during PM peak, which is the routing through Clyde Hill/Medina approaching the 84th Ave NE interchange with 520. There is an extra lane there that is supposed to serve as a lane for HOV and local traffic but it often gets backed up with general traffic changing lanes at the last minute.

      As we’ll discuss on Wednesday, there is a solution to this which doesn’t require breaking the routes up, which would also solve another big problem: the difficulty of transferring from some Eastside routes to the 271/45.

      1. I assume this involves moving the 271 off of the Medina/Clyde Hill routing.

        One thought would be to follow the 555/556 route between Evergreen point and BTC. This also gets the 271 out of the mess on NE 8th.

      2. I’d just note that a widened 520 bridge is supposed to be opened in 2016, so there will be only a few months of merging headed into Seattle at most. I’m not sure how the buses will operate when the bridge opens.

        I think a bigger congestion issue is around the UW Station. It is going to be horrible. The area has severe congestion several hours a day, and it’s really awful on beautiful weekend afternoons too. The draw bridge is terribly disruptive too. I suspect that drastic actions will be needed once the station opens.

    3. There has been a persistent request for a better connection between the Eastside and deep into north Seattle. A 48N/271 route had been suggested by some STB readers and by Metro planners, and the latter may have gotten the idea from the former.

      1. Even if nothing is done to improve the 271’s reliability, the 48 sets such a low bar to begin with that it’s hard to imagine things getting that much worse. Montlake Blvd. approaching 520, alone, can be just as unreliable as the Montlake exit ramp.

      2. And the thru-route connection is definitely a great idea. It’s great to see a network that finally recognizes downtown Bellevue as an employment center that people in Seattle commute to, rather than just a bedroom community where everybody commutes to Seattle.

    4. This is actually a legitimate concern. Anecdotally, southbound 48s are often bunched by the time they get to the U-District already, and if nothing is done about this, the 271 would experience significant relability problems eastbound in the afternoon (possibly leading to many missed transfers). Unfortunately, this kind of unreliability is not unprecedented (southbound 48 riders already deal with this), and given the lack of layover space at UW station, I can’t think of a better option.

      Fortunately, the removal of the Issaquah segment will substantially improve reliability in the morning towards UW. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with removing weekend service to that area entirely (or with going down to hourly service, which is extremely inconvenient), but given the very low ridership I understand why the hours could potentially be used for greater benefit.

  4. With the 70 changing its northern terminal to UW Station and the 49 changing its southern alignment to Madison, there woudn’t be any all-day 1-seat ride to 5th/Pine from, say, 45th/15th. Plenty of 2-seat rides or 1-seat plus walking, of course, but that will be an adjustment for some riders. I’m guessing that ride would be ~13 minutes of transit time on bus+Link plus whatever walking and waiting time, so it is probably equivalent or slightly slower for current 71/72/73 riders depending on where they start and end their trips. There would be a modest reliability improvement with Link, though somewhat offset by the variability of bus transfers even if they are every 3 minutes.

    Do we know will be done on UW football gamedays? That area is quite the mess for 5-6 days each season.

    1. The 45th/15th to 5th/Pine *problem* will be moot in 2021 when Link is extended to Northgate (same with my question about 65th/Roosevelt to downtown), but during the intervening 5 years there are some serious gaps in service and coverage. There may need to be some interim adjustments to the plan like maybe an all day 73 Express that goes from downtown to the University District and up to 65th/Roosevelt.

      Once Link is running to Husky Stadium, getting to the game from anywhere south of Montlake should be much easier on the train–provided there are plenty of extra trains available. Link won’t eliminate all the game day traffic problems, but it will provide an alternative. And once Link service is available from the north, congestion should be reduced even further.

      1. Seems like, since Roosevelt and 12th have already lost service directly to downtown except at the peak maybe it’s time to give residents of the Roosevelt corridor a peak at SDOT’s Roosevelt trolley BRT plan. Of course, it can be a trolley, but running essentially an all-day 67 express just to 65th and Roosevelt/12th would be a good use of Prop 1 funds. It gives east end 16 riders a quick way downtown with no double back and provides mini-BRT service the a thriving corridor which is losing its link to the northern Ave. 12th and Roosevelt aren’t that far away.

        So stop at 42nd, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th and 65th plus the existing express stops south of 40th.

        Show ’em what you can do Seattle Transit!

    2. I don’t know if I’d call it a problem. The average trip will remain about the same duration, but will allow leveraging of the U-link infrastructure to improve reliability.

      Yes, some people will lose their 1-seat rides, but I’m guessing most would happily make that trade in exchange for mostly traffic-proof durations.

      1. well, if not mostly traffic-proof, significantly more traffic-resistant than they currently are.

    3. I thought that too at first, but the 71/72/73X are so bad that transferring to Link at Husky Stadium will be often be faster most of the day because it’s much more reliable. The buses are regularly prone to 10-20 minute delays, especially southbound. And Metro is saturating the 45th-to-UW-Station gap with the 45 and 67 as well as the existing 44 and 48, and partially the 70 (to Campus Parkway).

    4. Basketball games are a mess, too. It does make sense to have a backup plan, and I’m sure they will come up with one.

  5. Hope that there will be a 372 LOCAL and EXPRESS versions. Having all 372 trips run express will not help those who take the 68 and 72 along 25th Ave NE and Lake City Way. Obviously, the express (limited stops) run in the peak direction only during peak hours with a once every 30 minutes local version running (the local peak version can start and end in Lake City, like it will during the weekend).

    1. I don’t have specific stop lists, but my understanding is that the post-restructure 372 will land in the middle. It won’t preserve every current 68 and 72 stop but it won’t have its current 1/2 mile stop spacing either. If I had to guess I’d guess that Metro will aim for 1/4 mile stop spacing, as they do when planning stop diets to existing routes.

      1. David is right. On the Sounding Board tour on Saturday, it was mentioned that the 372 would probably add a stop or two to serve some of the current 72 + 68 stops, but not all. My guess is that they would stop at all the 68 stops south of 75th, and add one 72 stop on Ravenna Ave NE, probably at 86th. The goal would be solid, 1/4-1/3 mile coverage without being held to historic stop patterns. But that is all on the table, and your comments could make a difference.

    2. Is there a feel for how much peak 372 service will increase to compensate for losing the 68/72? At present 68+372 is barely sufficient during peak times heading to UW even without any new 372 riders who used to take the 72.

      I’m also reasonably optimistic about the 65 being routed off-campus eastbound. Getting from Pend-Oreille Road to U-Village at rush hour is painful, involving 3 fairly long lights (25th Ave, Montlake, and then the light at 45th St which backs up traffic far enough to stop the bus from getting to the stop) Avoiding those lights will make the 65 more attractive.

      1. Metro is promising “5-8” minute peak frequency, which should roughly add up to a combination of the 372 and 68 today.

      2. Weekdays, yes. Weekend service will terminate at Lake City and force a transfer to the 522.

    3. Having the ST 522 make an additional stop on Lake City Way/15th would also many folks in that area get downtown faster when the 72/73 go away.

      1. Except the 522 is already passing up riders at 125th, even off peak. The 306 is missed.

        Lake city needs more than a passing thought. And that thought needs to be something other than “transfer at northgste in 10 years.

        Love the improved frequency and the 65 going to the new station.

      2. Having the 372 go to 15-minute headway will relieve overcrowding on the 522 considerably, and probably pull the rug out from under off-peak 522 ridership.

      3. Pull the rug out seems like an overstatement, no? A non trivial number of trips are too and from downtown, I’d imagine.

      4. The 372 serves all the 522 stops between 125th and UW Cascadia. If it comes twice as frequently, how many riders will let a 372 pass them by and wait for a 522 that might come in the next half hour?

        I’m not pushing to remove 522 trips, but I’m telling you now, its off-peak ridership will go down noticeably after the 372 becomes frequent. If I were a betting man, I would bet that the off-peak 522 will no longer exist when 2020 rolls around.

        Think of the 120 and the 560. Riders are choosing the frequent 120 over the fast 560 hands down.

      5. The new 372 will only parallel the 522 on weekdays. Weekends, the 522 is it.

        As to how many riders will let a 372 go by to wait for a 522, I’m guessing more than you might think. If you’re really headed downtown, the 522 is substantially faster than 372+Link.

        I still think the 522 should serve 15th and Lake City Way, at least off-peak. I’ve been told Metro has asked this of Sound Transit for years and been refused. Part of the problem is that route 522 is largely controlled and paid for by the interests of Bothell, Kenmore, and Woodinville, who have no interest in visiting the Roosevelt neighborhood (at least not by bus) and don’t want an extra minute added to their trips to downtown.

    4. This is one of my concerns as well. I am encouraged to see that this issue is being addressed and I look forward to finding out what the solution will be. Anyone that uses the areas the 72 and 73 cover near Ravenna are getting a major reduction of service if the 372 doesn’t make more stops in that area.

      The idea of a 1/4 to 1/3 mile coverage area is also encouraging. When I see 1/2 mile or more between routes I think about people who can’t walk very far due to one of a large number of possible issues. A 1/4 trek is manageable for many, but extending it much more than that and a group of people won’t be able to use transit at all. I wonder if this aspect is being considered overall, especially in the NE Seattle area? The new coverage maps for Alternative 1 seem to leave pretty big gaps in service area.

  6. Without a functional Roosevelt/65th Link Station riders on the e/w portion of route 16 and most 67 riders will have a tough time buying into this proposal (Alternative 1). More service on route 76 will help during peak hours, but off-peak those riders will have a long and painful journey to downtown. Would it be possible (or maybe necessary) to create a downtown to Roosevelt/65th Station express bus route that would simulate Link service until the real thing arrives?

    1. Maybe that’s something City funds can pay for. Sort of a “sneak peek” at Roosevelt/Eastlake BRT?

    2. A couple of folks speculated on the last thread about using Prop 1 funds to pay for infrequent midday 76 service. That seems like a sensible way of bridging the gap.

      1. Half-hourly 76s between 9-3p would be really useful and not that expensive, but it’d be pretty illegible from a network perspective if you had unidirectional peak service but bidirectional off-peak service. It seems either or…pay for bidirectional service peak and mid-day, or leave the 76 alone.

      2. I agree the all-day 76 would be completely illegible no matter how you cut it, but I still like it as a temporary gap-filling measure. I’d run it with some peak service, but I don’t think you’d need to cover full peak in both directions, especially AM when traffic is light. Have the first outbound bus leave downtown around 7 a.m. and the last inbound bus leave Roosevelt at 6 p.m.

      3. I think the 76 should at least run reverse-peak, if for no other reason than that buses are already deadheading the route anyway. I’m also not convinced that with a frequent 16, 372, 65, and 75, that midday service on the 76 needs to go all the way to View Ridge.

        Instead, I would vote to run the new service between downtown and Green Lake P&R only, re-investing the saved money into allowing the half-hourly service to continue for more hours a day.

      4. I lived in Wedgwood for ten years and rode the 71 almost daily. The annoyingly long circuitous View Ridge detour through mostly single-family homes took a long time and had very little ridership. I don’t see how a midday 76 would be needed, except perhaps for the 35th Ave-Ravenna portion along 65th.

    3. I’m one of those. I live a bit SE of 15th & 75th NE, and work at 8th & Virginia; Convention Place is my closest bus-tunnel stop. Today routes 72/73 are about as good as the nearby express options (64/76/77) during the morning peak, and the afternoon peak options all seem to have reliability/consistency issues. Also, I’m often on the late side of peak, so that sometimes limits my options.

      Alternative 2 is a net win for me, I think. Today, the spacing between 72 & 73 isn’t always even, and it’s made worse because the 72 is more often running late than the 73, so consolidating but still running downtown will hopefully make that more evenly spaced.

      With alternative 1, I lose in three ways. I have to walk further from home, I have to transfer at UW stadium, and I have to walk further downtown (Westlake instead of Convention Place). I don’t think the increased frequency makes up for that.

      So I favored alternative 2 in the surveys.

      The really interesting question was the “how would you change alternative 1 to make it better?” I said they should speed up the new 67 between 75th & UW, with three concrete suggestions. BAT lanes along 12th/Roosevelt, streamline the 3-light left-turn sequence southbound at Roosevelt & Ravenna Blvd, and force cars to turn right after one block along University Ave south of 50th (similar to 3rd Ave downtown). I think just one of those three things would make enough of a difference to make alternative 1 better.

      I’m also unhappy that 67 leaves Northgate headed north and across on Northgate Way before it heads south. That stretch of Northgate Way is horribly congested at times. Roosevelt southbound is likely congested; the info sheets on current routes (linked in the Weekend Reading post) even mentions it, citing “Congestion encountered on Roosevelt Way NE southbound in PM Peak from cars avoiding I-5 Southbound” as an operational issue for the current route 67. Maybe southbound it should switch to 15th at 75th, at least until Roosevelt Station opens?

      Finally, the constant wiggling of the new route 67 is unfortunate. SDOT seems to be prioritizing bikes on Roosevelt/11th starting from the University Bridge and working north, and that’s so much easier/cheaper to do well when there aren’t bus stops competing for curb space. With the new route 67 wiggling around so much, there isn’t a north-south street that cyclists can use to have stoplights and avoid buses.

  7. Being a resident of central Wallingford, I’d (and probably many others in the area) much rather have a direct connection to downtown Seattle than to downtown Fremont. The trip is already 30 minutes during peak (20 off peak) and 40 minutes to go 4 miles is a bit painful. The current hap-hazard way between Wallingford and Fremont (a blend of the 16 and 26) involves a bit of walking, but it’s an acceptable way of getting between the two.

    Metro could consider adding a couple peak-only 16X to keep peak-time riders in the East Green Lake and Wallingford areas happy. Implement this in a similar to the 5X and 15X routes.

    The 44 to Link would be a possible option, but the 44 is already packed and slow (especially around I5), and it’ll only get more crowded when Link opens.

    1. There is the 44 to RR E or 26X as an option. Otherwise the best bet is probably 16 and transfer to 26X where they cross.

      1. Considering the tardiness and bus bunching on the 44 and E, that trip wouldn’t be very reliable.

        The 26 doesn’t fall under the category of “frequent” with proposed half-hour frequencies and is still a little ways from central Wallingford. Missing the 16-to-26 connection at Stone & 40th would really suck as you’d be stranded there for up to 15 minutes and there aren’t any other downtown-bound stops within “I’m wearing dress clothes” walking distance.

    2. I agree with Mike. I used to live at 43rd and Bagley and prized the 16’s service on Aurora even WITH the execrable crawl past Seattle Center. Six 16X’s each way originating/terminating at Ravenna and Woodlawn with 20 minute headways from 6:30 to 8:30 and 4:00 to 6:00 should be funded with Prop 1 funds if Metro can’t do it.

      A LOT of people who work downtown live in East Green Lake and it’s a long walk over to Latona or to 45th and Aurora. It’s a classic mid-to-upper-management neighborhood. The owners of the company don’t live there, but the types of people who make the wheels turn do.

      1. The thing to do is to transfer to the 26 (which really shouldn’t be “X” since there is no other routing listed for it) at Stone and 40th. Which is where I walk to catch the 16 today.

      2. You guys are missing the point. Sure, for most folks right at 45th and Wallingford a walk (downhill) to 40th is not a huge challenge. But what about the commuters at 52nd and Meridian? East Green Lake has had transit service since the early 1900’s; it is an exemplar of the “street-car suburb”. True, the cars that served the area originally went across the streetcar-only bridge at Woodland Park Ave and then via the Fremont Bridge (the way the bus will go), but in those days Westlake and “downtown Fremont” were nothingburgers for congestion. The cars rolled merrily along.

        There needs to be peak hour express service via Aurora for East Green Lake, just as there used to be peak hour express service for the Latona district just to its east.

      3. I agree with both Mike and Colin. I think the 16 proposal would be a lot more palatable with some trips on a peak-hour 16X that would be a rough mirror of the current 5X. It would only need to run as far as Green Lake, and could get right back on I-5 for fast deadheads to start another trip.

      4. Metro only spot-analyzes one area in Wallingford and misses Tangletown and other places north that are currently served by the 16. In all cases, Wallingford, TT and EGL take a hit in terms of good transit in this restructure. And Wallingford is becoming more dense and the route is getting more and more crowded, so demand will only grow.

        Yes, a transfer to the 26 is possible at 40th & Stone. But what happens when if people miss the transfer to a bus that runs every half-hour. We’d be stranded for at least 15 minutes until a 16 or 26 show up. Timed transfers are cool and all, but they can be tricky to pull off in an area lacking any layover space.

        Transfers and longer walks are certainly good in the afternoon when things are more flexible and there aren’t early meetings to get to. However, in the morning, they’re not too great as missing a connection can involve getting scolded at work.

        To keep Fremont-Wallingford service, the 31 or 32 could be routed along 45th to Wallingford or Stone Ave, then turn south, and frequency possibly boosted with Prop 1 money.

      5. Looks like East Green Lake gets expanded peak hour service with new 316 trips under Alternative 1. The 316 takes the freeway until 65th though so I that wouldn’t help people in Central Wallingford.

        I live between the 16 and the 26 north of 45th so to me the only concern about Alternative 1 is potential reliability hits to the new 26 as it’s coming south from Northgate. Having one bus that goes quickly Downtown and the other that goes local via Fremont won’t be a big change for me from what I have now

      6. Does the current Alt. Proposal include a route 16X peak? The frequency maps include peak-only distinct routes (e.g. 66) but do not indicate express versions of local routes. Either way there should be a 16X that terminates at Greenlake, which could be paid for by reducing peak 16 frequency from 10 to 15 minutes.

      7. Alex, no, it does not, and I would agree with this proposal except that the 10-minute frequency is really needed along Dexter. I think 16X trips would have to come from Prop 1 funds.

      8. Kevin,

        That’s NORTHeast Green Lake, and yes, the 316X will be very nice for them. It’s the SOUTHeast quadrant of the lake which is getting royally screwed on this, and it’s a long-time transit area.

      9. Anandakos-

        I don’t disagree. I think a 16X running from Ravenna Blvd on the regular route to 40th and Stone and then onto Aurora makes a lot of sense – particularly since I imagine the 26/26x will likely go away once the U District station opens.

    3. As someone who works in downtown Fremont and lives near the 28, I’d also be happy to keep the 16 on Aurora and have the 26/28 continue to serve the Fremont/Dexter corridor.

      1. Anandakos-
        Once upon a time there was a 6 that served most of that part of Greenlake. Long gone now, unfortunately.

  8. Lazarus and David, it’s not fair to make Bellevue continue to pay for the war crimes of the infamous Kem Per dynasty. The situation now compares precisely to recent decades in Great Britain.

    Former colonial subjects have forgiven their oppressors, and are magnanimously giving average Englishmen their first edible food since the Norman Conquest. “Bubble and Squeak” doesn’t even translate into Hindi, though its English meaning is an understatement.

    The Glorious Culinary Revolution has already happened in Bellevue.
    Notorious statement about transit bringing shoplifters instead of shoppers….well, might be best for merchants to go cash only if a card declined problem develops.

    Also, I remember that when the trolley loop at the hospital was being discussed, there was a lot of distress about blocked views of Mt. Rainier. As it turned out, from day one the wire was invisible against trees that look three inches high from the campus.

    A short meeting with the UW Landscape Architecture Department at the fountain and some basic surveying equipment shouldn’t even need computer simulation. Whatever concessions are really being extorted in return for approval of the non-existent damage…transit doesn’t negotiate with terrorists!


  9. Regarding the 16/26 Fremont/downtown tradeoffs, most people along today’s 26 are a reasonable walk from either the 16 or the 31/32. The reverse is somewhat less true — if you’re at some of the 16’s busiest Wallingford stops it’s a hike to the 26 for a fast trip downtown. Some people that get on near 45th/Stone might walk to the E Line. Some might watch OBA near Stone/40th for a transfer.

    Fewer of the 28’s Fremont riders will switch routes. The only other remotely nearby route is the 40 and it isn’t that close most of the way. They’ll walk down from 39th or the Troll, transfer along Leary, or switch modes.

  10. There is no need for taking away midday service in Maple Leaf, no need to screw Pinehurst residents by taking away the 73, and no need to cut Laurelhurst off entirely from transit service. You can have your 15 minute grid while also keeping those routes. But because Metro decided to gratuitously screw those riders, the King County Council and the Seattle City Council are going to come under intense pressure to alter the plan, perhaps dramatically, because the plan violated the first rule of transit planning: never take away service. This is an unforced error.

    1. Robert, you write comments saying things like this on every post having to do with a restructure.

      But then you never say how you can expand service on 65/75/372/new 16 to 15-minute frequency, or on 67 to 10-minute frequency (which, incidentially, is a funny definition of “taking away service”), without tradeoffs or new funding. We’re all eager to hear your concrete proposal.

      1. I agree David. I don’t see how you can have both. There just aren’t enough service hours saved with the new Link stations. That being said, I do have a concrete proposal for Pinehurst ( I would like your opinion as to whether you think it is practical.

        I also think alternative 2 (which has had little publicity) is a really bad proposal. Alternative one does several things:

        1) Focuses more on the Link stations.
        2) Builds more of a grid.
        3) Consolidates service.

        Maybe it does too much (I don’t think so — I think it just needs a couple tweaks here and there). Maybe we don’t have the service hours available to make everyone happy (or enough people happy). But it is a great proposal, overall.

        But alternative 2 seems to do nothing useful, from where I sit. To me, an alternative would be something that:

        1) Focuses more on the Link stations.

        That’s it. Run buses to Link, instead of downtown. I would imagine that uses less service hours, not more. A bus like the 73 spends half of its time getting to or through downtown, from what I figure (about thirty minutes before it can turnaround or continue as something else). I would much prefer an alternative that abandoned the grid and consolidation (for now) and focused on taking advantage of Link. I would still prefer alternative 1, but at least alternative 2 would be something to consider as a good fallback proposal (and create a good grid when Link gets to Northgate). It would, at least, be a step in the right direction, and might add some service in the process (with the saved service hours).

      2. @RossB. Regarding your discussion of Alternative 2, I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I wonder if it isn’t actually worse than useless. Since it hardly differs from the status quo, it’s very easy to imagine how Prop 1 money will be spent, and I think that people will assume the resulting service. With Alternative 1, the change is substantial enough, and SDOT will have to make decisions. We have literally no guidance on what those will be. As a result, people may tend to take the unaugmented service as the point of comparison. If people behave as I believe likely, they will compare two services with substantially different costs. This may have the effect of artificially making alternative 1 appear less attractive relative to alternative 2, simply because it’s less total service.

        I understand (more or less) why the alternatives were published without SDOT input. I strongly expect that SDOT will, if allowed, make mostly good decisions. But until I know exactly what they’re going to do, it’s difficult for me to strongly support alternative 1.

      3. Robert’s normative position–we’re pretty rich, we should fund transit better so we wouldn’t have to make some of these trade-offs–is entirely defensible, but his practical position appears to be that Metro should magically transport us to that world by pretending we’re already there, which is clearly insane.

      4. I don’t disagree with the general point at all, the way you’ve outlined it, but I strongly disagree with some of the ways Robert applies it.

        We’re pretty rich. But that doesn’t mean we have unlimited money. Short of razing and redeveloping Laurelhurst, or oil prices so high that car drivers are paying $25/gallon, there is no way we are going to get even marginally acceptable ridership there. That’s an inevitable consequence of the existing land use.

        We currently have roughly 10-15 people a day using loop stops other than 45th/42nd. If we want to provide lifeline transit for that neighborhood, there are vastly, vastly more cost-effective ways to do it than running bus service that costs something like $1500/day. In my world of unlimited money, I’d do it by issuing taxi scrip for nominal cost to low-income residents, if there are any, and for one bus fare per ride to moderate-income residents. Such a program would serve people better than an hourly limited-span bus and be more than an order of magnitude cheaper.

    2. People in Seattle will complain about how “downtown centric” our transportation system is, but even propose touching one of the routes that go downtown and they will complain that they can’t get downtown fast enough.

      Call it the “Seattle Whine.”

      But regardless of the whining, Pinehurst and NE Seattle are actually pretty well served by the Alt 1 proposal, and I don’t think people understand how easy and advantageous the transfers to Link will be. Even with a time penalty for the transfer, the Link/Bus combo will still be faster and more reliable for many users than slogging it out on I-5 with the existing bus system

      And getting the 73 out of the tunnel will benefit all the remaining tunnel users by making the tunnel more reliable.

      1. I don’t care how many direct downtown routes I lose as long as I get access to link. The one thing I might care about is losing reasonable access to nearby neighborhoods.

        Its my hope that the eventual grid system will connect all major neighborhood centers without requiring a transfer downtown (unless, of course it happens to be on the way)

      2. I do not think there is anything easy about bus to Link transfers at Husky Stadium station. Just a lot of walking.

      3. Petey,

        Sad but true. They should have included extending the mezzanine under Montlake Blvd to the triangle, full stop. Anything else is ridiculous.

    3. In the case of Pinehurst, people aren’t complaining about the removal of a trip that goes downtown, but a trip that goes to the U-District. Ironic, considering that we are about to add a station there. Instead, people will hop multiple buses. That would be fine, if the transfer was painless, but in this case, I don’t think it will be. Heading south should be OK, as you are going from a 347 or 348 to the frequent 67. But north bound is a bigger challenge. The 67 should be fairly quick and frequent, but the 347 or 348 will be navigating through the NTC area mess. Both buses will take a series of left turns, which could make the transfer a real pain (first you have to wait for the 67 to turn left, then you get off the bus, push the button and hope you can get across the street before the 347/348 bus turns left). Given the way that light cycles typically work (left, straight, left, straight) I can easily imagine just missing the bus (you take the left, get off the bus, press the walk button, see the bus go by, then walk across the street and wait 15 minutes). Oh, I suppose the 347/348 could be timed to allow a five minute wait, in low traffic. That means a typical transfer would take about 7 minutes. Oh goody!

      So, basically, just about every trip is a three seat trip, not two. Fremont to Wallingford — three buses. Capitol Hill to Pinehurst — train, bus, bus. All because it is essential that buses in the area serve Northgate, an area that is extremely time consuming to serve (this way, anyway) and only marginally more densely populated than Pinehurst (although it is growing faster). We have traded a downtown centric route schedule for one focused around Northgate (instead of the UW).

      In other words, the folks in Pinehurst are asking for more of a grid, not less of one. We are asking for a faster route to Link, not complaining that the express bus to downtown is going away (because, actually, it isn’t:

      By the way, both proposals are a mess for Pinehurst, because of the magnetic pull that the Northgate Transit Center has over the bus routes. I can understand you saying “just take one for the team” to folks from Pinehurst, but explain to me how “Pinehurst [is] actually pretty well served by the Alt 1 proposal”? I don’t see that all. I don’t see any trip pair is actually made better.

      Oh, and I’m not just whining (this was more of a rant than a whine) but coming up with actual solutions that I believe are practical and provide more of a grid and work better for everyone:

      I’m surprised no has commented on it.

      1. I’m not clear how heavily used the UW to NGate connection will be. Why not have the 67 continue north and if one is trying to get to NGate they transfer to the 75.

      2. An issue that I see with more forced transfers to the 347/348 is the fact that the reliability is, to be nice, rather inconsistent. Because it’s through-routed with the 345/346 which go through NSCC, it’s not uncommon to see it be 15 minutes late by the time it reaches 185th. It’s almost more time-effective for me to take the 303 from Northgate in the evenings and walk an extra mile than it is to take the 348.

        As a U-Vill worker, I am definitely unhappy about the deletion of the 68. Sure, the 65, 75, and 372 all are routes that can work (372 would make it a three-seat trip home, the others are the same two-seater as the 68) but because I transfer in the afternoons at Northgate (because I can take that 303) the 68 is, for me, the best option.

    4. Robert,

      Can you provide to a link on any professional website stating that principle?

    5. I would agree with Robert, to a degree. Many areas of NE Seattle are left blank in the Alternative 1 plan. The focus (aside from making a frequent grid system) seems to be reducing the redundancy of bus routes going downtown. The problem with that is the plan just deletes a bunch of routes that do go downtown, seeming to forget that the other end of those routes serve areas that have few other options, if any.

      I know we can’t expect to have an extensive coverage area and high frequency at the same time (without a lot of additional funding, anyway), but I do think some of Alternative 1 could be looked at more closely to make sure areas that were served aren’t getting cut off from the only option they once had for even getting on a bus. I’d rather ride farther than I need to and transfer to get to where I am going on a high frequency plan than not be able to use a bus at all because they are all too far away to reasonably get to.

      Does this seem like a reasonable complaint/comment? I’m not great with reading maps, so I may be missing something.


      1. Kari, aside from those areas served by the 73, what places are you talking about? As far as I can see, the 73 is the only route simply deleted without replacement, and I would definitely want to replace it.

  11. “It’s worth noting that Alternative 1 provides for Metro-funded service on route 70 nights and weekends—one of the largest line items the City of Seattle is funding with Proposition 1. It will be interesting to see how the city reallocates those Proposition 1 funds.”

    I’d advise immediate restoration of trolley route #12.

    Laurelhurst loop ridership is low enough that a rural-style Call-and-Ride solution would probably be more effective than regular bus service. :-P

    1. Is the UW-Children’s shuttle still running? I used to take the UW-Harborview shuttle and it was free and direct and half-hourly. If Metro or the city could be pursuaded to fund extending the shuttle to the Laurelhurst loop, perhaps peak only, it would cost much less than funding a Metro bus. And if the Children’s traffic is mostly eastbound AM/westbound PM while Laurelhurst traffic is westbound AM/eastbound PM, it might fill empty seats rather than competing for them.

      1. I like that idea. Mike. Makes sense to me. It also gives us a chance to tighten that loop a bit. I can see covering parts of the peninsula (it is pretty big) but the size of that loop seems silly (that would be like running a bus down Perkins Lane in Magnolia).

        I feel a lot more sorry for folks along the 25, especially those on Boyer (where there a couple apartment buildings). They have put with the very weird 25 for a while. Now, just when it is about to make a lot of sense (as a funnel route to Link) it goes away (poof). I’m not sure what the solution is, though. You could probably go from the connection to the 49 (Harvard and Allison) to the U-District and just turn around. This gives you extra service from the U-District to the station, too. That would be about 25 minutes, from what I can tell, meaning one bus could do the whole loop and back with time left over for a break. I just don’t know where you get the money (other than prop one, which is stretched if we try and do everything we want to do).

    2. ONLY if it’s in Lexus or Mercedes vehicles driven by Mr. Spratt’s descendants in livery.

    3. I’d advise immediate restoration of trolley route #12.

      And you’d be privileging legacy electrified transit over legibility, reasonable route spacing, appropriate matching of service hours to demonstrated demand, and spontaneous-level frequency on routes four short blocks away.

      So you’d be wrong.

      1. This. As much as I love the 12 aesthetically, it needs to stay gone. There’s really no reason for it to be there when its removal fuels more frequency on the two other corridors in the area.

    4. I have a new automatic suggestion for those wanting to reinstate the 12 or the Laurelhurst loop. Tell us which routes the hours should be taken out of. Somebody would get less frequent service because of it, so who?

      30-minute evenings on the core routes (new 8, 10, 48, 49…) is barely tolerable and we need to get away from it. But that’s exactly what reinstating the 12 or 25 would do, absent Prop 1 add-ons.

  12. First off, thanks for the great post. Second, you can call it Hec Ed. Officially, the basketball/volleyball/gymnastics court is called the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. I’ll add more substantive comments in a while.

    1. To get there, however, from NE Seattle (the part that isn’t Lake City), I’d like to see either the 65 or 75 travel directly inbound on Montlake so as to access Husky Station without having to loop through campus or walk from Rainier Vista. (Pleasant enough walk, unless you’ve got baggage for the airport, are in dress clothes, it’s dumping down rain…etc.)

      The 75 seems to terminate on campus (can’t tell exactly from the map); if it terminated at Husky Station it could go inbound on Montlake, then back through campus outbound; the 65 could keep its loop through campus inbound and travel outbound on Montlake (or reverse the two; no matter). There would be a choice either way for anybody traveling to U Village or to the area between 105th and 125th, which are reasonably close to both lines.

      Currently the Alt 1 plan kind of gives short shrift for connections to Link to the area between 85th and 125th NE except for the frequency upgrades, which are great–this little change would provide the area direct access to Link in both directions along with quick transfers to the new 16 for crosstown service, which route I love. Even with that, Alt 1 is vastly superior to Alt 2–I just think it could be tweaked to be even better for that area.

      1. Rats. Was afraid of that.

        Still would like to see at least one of the two routes directly serve the station….

  13. I’m ambivalent about the focus on transfers as I think the “time cost” of transfers are frequently vastly underestimated. But regarding the changes to the 16/26 and 28 as currently planned I’m really concerned there.

    I’ve lived on Dexter for 12 years and rode the bus the entire time. I’m highly skeptical that the 16 alone will be able to properly serve Dexter Ave N with what I assume would be 1 articulated bus every 15 minutes. Hopefully prop 1 will get it to 10 minutes and then it would stand a chance.

    The combined 26 and 28 can barely do it now with 8 minute headways at rush hour. They frequently pass by stops south of the Swedish cultural center as they are full. By my napkin math the 16 would need to be below 25% full for the bulk of it’s trip to retain sufficient capacity to not leave people standing, that means it will be very inefficient for the majority of it’s route.

    There are at least 3 new major multi-hundred unit apartment buildings going in on the street, and Facebook is moving 1000+ employees in just north of Aloha soon. If there were more places you could easily get from Dexter onto the east side of Aurora to catch a south bound bus this would be awesome but those crossings just don’t exist today as the only one is at Galer. You can slip under the overpass from the SB 99 to Dexter offramp but that is a very dangerous walk through. A significant # of people are already doing this due to being passed by the existing service.

    If you want frequent service from downtown to Fremont I am wondering if a much better solution could possibly be a “circulator” bus between Fremont and downtown using Dexter and routing the some other way.

    1. The peak-hour capacity crunch on Dexter is mostly made of people that live north of the ship canal and work south of Mercer, right? Many of those people today go to their 26/28 stop and take whatever comes first, express or not, unless OBA indicates waiting for an express is clearly optimal.

      The proposed 16 would neither be the fastest way downtown, nor share a stop with the fastest way downtown, over much of its route. So it might end up with less downtown-centric ridership patterns than the 26 and 28. Even so, the south half will still have much greater demand and capacity needs than the north half, since along 65th the 16 won’t be the best way to any of the primary destinations for NE residents until Roosevelt Station opens, so Dexter capacity is worth looking into.

      1. I think the actual crunch is mostly people who work in SLU now, there are usually seats for almost everyone by the time you get to Denny. It’s obvious too that many of these people walk/bike but in particular when the weather is poor it’s exacerbated. Unlike downtown there is not a consistent awning structure along Dexter. ;-) Basically it’s a very short travel distance for many riders which has got to be hard to plan for in a longer route hence my idea of a circulator bus.

        The busses are usually fill either @ Waverly Place by the Swedish Cultural center or the stop at Galer. It really depends but it’s usually close either way. It’s not uncommon to have 8 to 10 people boarding at each major stop on Dexter that can fill even an half empty articulated bus quickly. The stop at Aloha often has 15 to 20 people waiting around 8:30 AM.

  14. OK, now for the substance. With all due respect, this isn’t a “real 15-minute grid, no excuses”. There are exceptions, and the excuses are understandable. Specifically:

    1) There is no bus on 125th/130th connecting the east and west side.
    2) There is no bus on 145th connecting the east and west side.
    3) Buses on Northgate Way spend significant time detouring to the Northgate Transit Center.

    This may be an acceptable compromise, and this is by far the most gridded restructure that Metro has ever proposed, but it still has some holes, and those holes cost people time. Not only is Lake City to Bitter Lake extremely time consuming, but so is almost anything on Lake City Way to anything on Aurora. For example, getting from 145th and Lake City Way* to 145th and Aurora requires taking a bus to the Northgate Transit Center, then a bus to Aurora, then a bus back up north. Or maybe you go around the other way (up north). Either way, I think I would just save myself a couple bucks and walk.

    This is not a complete grid because it emphasizes the Northgate Transit Center. I certainly can’t argue against that. For the time being the fastest way to get from many areas (like Lake City) to downtown is to take the “agonizing crawl to Northgate TC” and then take the 41 to downtown. I don’t see an easy alternative. Sending more buses to the UW might work, but the U-District is not without its traffic woes as well. But keep in mind, the difference is not as big outside of peak (when the 41 can’t use the express lanes). More than anything, I think it is something to keep in mind as Link advances to Lynnwood (regardless of the success of this restructuring). This is the most gridded proposal by Metro ever, but it could be made even more gridded.

    * The most densely populated census block north of the UW.

    1. For the time being the fastest way to get from many areas (like Lake City) to downtown is to take the “agonizing crawl to Northgate TC” and then take the 41 to downtown.

      The fastest way from Lake City to Downtown is, and likely always will be, the non-stop 522. It just needs all-day 15 minute service.

      1. Good point. I wasn’t sure how to explain the emphasis on the Northgate Transit Center, and exaggerated the reasoning behind the Northgate Transit Center (while arguing against it). I wasn’t trying to build a straw man, either. But I don’t like the NTC, as you might imagine. Having a transit center is nice (easier transfers) but it is not the same as a grid. The biggest problem with the transit center is that it is so hard to go to. The biggest strength is that it can get you to downtown very quickly, if going with peak traffic. This strength disappears once the express buses go away, of course, making it a bit of a white elephant.

        But if Link adds a station at 130th, then I think the fastest way to downtown will be to take a bus to 130th and transfer (although I’m sure there will be times when an express on Lake City is faster). Either way, though, that will be the best way for a bus to go, because it avoids traffic and connects to Link much faster than the alternatives.

      2. Northgate TC is particularly bad. Its location only really makes sense as a P&R for a freeway bus, as a “last stop before the freeway” point. As long as the primary service to the area is the 41, it sort of makes sense.

        The real tragedy is that Link is going to use the same lousy location, instead of one that could save connecting service a lot of time, even without the constraints of a freeway bus.

        (The same thing is somewhat true of Lynnwood TC. Once the trunk service is a train the transit center doesn’t have to be right next to an offramp. It would be better to put it somewhere that allows the connecting buses to serve it along their natural routes to other destinations.)

      3. It would have been great had the Northgate Link been located at 5th & Northgate Way or even across from the Library on 5th but that isn’t what we got.

        A bit of history, there used to be 2 primary transit stops at Northgate. One was just off Northgate Way at the mall entrance serving the 16 and I think an occasional 5 trip. The other was the main TC in front of Macy’s.

        The TC was moved to its current location because the old one was running out of curb space and the Mall wanted the buses out of its parking lot. Moving adjacent to the P&R spaces and direct access to the express lane ramps was another factor.

      4. I agree Chris. To be fair, that would have cost a lot more money (more digging on either end). Unlike some decisions (like adding a station at 520) I can understand the cost/benefit decision. It will be OK (although not ideal) if we get a station at 130th.

    2. It may be that those on the 347/348 will just have to take the 41 to downtown. That’s no better than the existing service but it’s not worse either. It may be slightly better if there’s less DSTT congestion. And it will be immensely improved in six years.

  15. I’m just going to repeat a modification proposed after much discussion ( To give a little background, there a couple reasons I don’t like the new 67:

    1) It spends precious service hours and rider time looping around to Northgate Way, as opposed to going more directly to the Northgate Transit Center.

    2) It makes for a two seat ride for Pinehurst riders to the U-District (and thus a three seat ride to Capitol Hill or anywhere else Link goes).

    So, the proposal is to split the two runs like this ( or this ( or something similar (such as continuing the 67 on Roosevelt a bit longer). Regardless of the details (whether the 73 spends time on 15th or Roosevelt) the key advantages are these:

    1) The new 67 provides a much faster route between Northgate and Roosevelt.
    2) The new 73 provides a one seat ride to the UW and Link.

    I think this is more of a “grid”. But you do lose consolidation, which means that providing adequate frequency could be a problem. I address that concern here ( Basically, I assume that with the service hours savings with the 67, you could provide the following:

    New 67 (red on the map) — Every 12 minutes
    New 73 (blue on the map) — Every 30 minutes

    That is a very rough estimate, and it could obviously be completely wrong. But I would suggest a couple more things. First, there is proposition one money. Second, you could run the 73 only when the 373 is not running. The new 73 is a subset of the 373 — there is no reason to run them at the same time. Between the two, I think you could add a couple more buses each hour to each run, which would then mean:

    New 67 (red on the map) — Every 10 minutes
    New 73 (blue on the map) — Every 20 minutes

    That would be ideal. Whether that is realistic or not, is hard to say.

    1. I think your first map (the one using Roosevelt, not 15th, for the 73) has potential. But I don’t think your proposed frequency on the 73 is enough, and I’m not sure how to get to a sufficient level of frequency on both even with a reasonable level of Prop 1 supplementation.

      But here’s one thing to consider. The lack of a Northgate TC connection with a 67 terminating in Jackson Park only affects two groups of people: 1) those for whom Northgate Mall or its immediately surrounding housing is the destination, and 2) the very small group of riders trying to get between Maple Leaf and the 105th/Aurora area. Once you are north of Northgate Way, the walk to Roosevelt is very short. And everyone transferring from any frequent route but the 40 would still have the same frequent transfers to the 67 available. Those transfers just wouldn’t be at NTC.

      I agree that it sounds bad to “isolate Northgate from the U-District.” In this one case, and only until North Link opens, I’m just not sure whether it actually ends up mattering much.

      1. It seems it would be best for the 67 and 73 to split at the last possible moment, which is Roosevelt and Northgate Way. The buses would alternate between looping back to the TC and continuing up to about 135th and 15th. For most users this change has no effect because the 10 minute frequency corridor is maintained. For the relatively small subset of users who want to transfer to the 40, access the mall directly or make the trip between Pinehurst in the U-district the situation would still be pretty good (20 minute frequency).

      2. @Alex — The problem I have with that is the 67 still suffers from the loop around to the Northgate Transit Center. This is significant, from a rider and service hour perspective. If a bus could be made to go through something like NE 100th, then it solves the problem quite elegantly. Unfortunately, the city has spent a lot of time blocking off cars from doing that, and I think would do the same thing with buses (and the streets are certainly not designed for it, either).

      3. Actually… you also effect people who live within walking distance to the transit center and use it as their main way to get around.

        By moving the 67 completely over to Roosevelt, you effectively cut off everyone west of 5th from service to the U-District and UW station. No one is going to take a two seat ride to the light rail.

        In addition, these same folks won’t have access to almost any of the boosted service coming from the restructure. They are already going to lose the 16 (which got folks living along Meridian to the transit center) and that leaves the only boosted route they have access to the 75… which has to wind through Northgate and go north to Lake City first.

        The boosted 67 meant that at least the folks living in The apartments North, South and directly West of the transit center got something out of the bargain, but the proposal to move that route away stiffs a very transit dependent community of large chunk of service, and pushes even more cars into the already super crowded streets of Northgate.

        We need to find a way to help Pinehurst that doesn’t take so much away from the apartment dwellers near the mall.

      4. @David, so if I understand your suggestion, it is basically what you proposed earlier, or, on the first map, doing away with the 67, but keeping the 73. I’m afraid that is robbing Peter to pay Paul (and I’m Paul, in this case). Pinehurst is significant, and this would be much faster and more reliable, but Northgate is significant too (there are plenty of apartments around there). In other words, it is that first group (those for whom Northgate Mall or its immediately surrounding housing is the destination) that I worry about.

        As far as frequency goes, I would (if my math is correct) only shrink the 67 ever so slightly, while still getting current frequency on the 73. This is not ideal. We wouldn’t have the consistent, all day service on both we want, but those who use the 73 come out ahead (because of the rest of the system) and those who use the new 67 have frequency almost as good (12 minutes instead of 10) if we went with the unaltered alternative 1.

        Plus, the core of the system has 12 minute frequency at the worst. Since the 73 works just as well for people between 80th and Husky Stadium, someone might luck out, and catch the 73 (or 373), five minutes after just missing the 67.

        But back to service hours, the new 73 is redundant when the 373 is running. So basically, that gives us an extra 10 runs or so. If we push those to the 67 we are back to 10 minute frequency, but just during peak. Which basically means 10, 12, 15 (Peak, Midday, Night) for the 67, but the 73 has exactly what it has now. If we push those to the 73, then the 67 runs every 12 minutes, but the 73 runs every 20 minutes (for at least part of the day, probably close to peak, thus making the change from 373 to 73 a lot less abrupt).

        That looks like a winner to me. Compared to the current system:

        Folks in Pinehurst are no better off, but they are no worse off, either (and with Link they have a much better way to get to Capitol Hill and maybe even a better way to get downtown). Folks in Northgate and Roosevelt are much better off (much better frequency). Those on top of Maple Leaf are maybe a little worse — they lose the one seat ride to Northgate, but gain a one seat ride to Pinehurst. If they are headed south, they have the same frequency, and if they miss the bus, they can walk down to 5th (and expect frequent service there). This is also an alternative if they want to get to Northgate as well.

        Compared to alternative 1:

        Folks in Northgate are much better off. Their ride to Roosevelt or the UW is much quicker; much more direct. That is a small trade-off for the minor loss in frequency. Those in Pinehurst are much better off — they have the 73. People riding the 347/348 are worse off, but they are no worse than they are today. They have to transfer to the 73 that will be running just as frequently. They will miss out on the proposed transfer (at Roosevelt and Northgate) but that transfer was always problematic (as I explained above — lots of left turns and crossing streets involved). Folks on Maple Leaf are as explained above, a little worse off.

        There is a lot of napkin math here, and it probably isn’t that simple. But with the increased efficiency of the 67 (not having to loop around) and the fact that the 73 doesn’t need to run that often (it doesn’t need to run when the 373 is running and it only needs to run every half hour) I think this combination makes a lot of sense.

        I think in the long run, when Lynnwood Link comes along, having two routes like this makes a lot of sense to me. The 73 could curve over to the station at 130th, while the 67 serves folks in between Roosevelt and Northgate.

      5. @Charles — Yeah, I agree, which is what my proposal would do. If the math is right, it means a very minor hit (from 12 minute to 10 minute frequency) on the 67. Meanwhile, it goes between Northgate and Roosevelt (and thus the UW) much faster.

    2. This may be a reasonable compromise. It would sacrifice full-time frequency, but I don’t think it’s worse than the existing service. Maybe we have to start thinking that way for a few places. Also, maybe the 73 is only needed daytime, since Northgate congestion will be much less in the evenings and weekend mornings.

      (This is not a model for the 12 or 25. Those are lowest-performance tails.)

      1. Good point about daytime versus night time. Between that and not running it when the 373 runs (which runs every 15 minutes) I think there is plenty of service hours to make this work. I agree also that it may be a model for some routes. Make it no worse than before for some people, but clearly better for others.

      2. My first reaction was that dividing the frequent service corridor between 80th and Northgate Way was a bad idea, but thinking about the problem some more, I’ve warmed up to it a bit. The simplest option is to split the route into two branches – one branch following the path of the current 66, the other taking Roosevelt to Northgate Way, then continuing north on Pinehurst Way to the current 73’s terminal.

        If each bus alternated between the two branches, each branch would have roughly the same level of frequency as it does today, so it’s hard to argue that anyone would become worse off under the proposal. Both branches would actually become more frequent than today during the later evening hours (twice an hour vs. once an hour).

        Also, if you look closely the effective frequency for denser part of the area in question (along Roosvelt up to about 90th St.) is actually better than it looks because, at least in the northbound direction, a person willing to walk a few blocks could take whichever branch comes first, rather than waiting specifically for the Roosevelt branch. Evening trips (when overall frequency is likely to be worse) will tend to most likely be in the northbound direction, which helps things considerably.

        However, I still think that the eastern branch of the 67 should take Roosevelt not 15th. This
        1) allows the denser part of the corridor the luxury of taking whichever branch comes first, rather than waiting for a specific branch that is only once per half-hour in the evenings.
        2) If you travel the area, far more people live along Roosevelt than along 15th, and north of 85, Roosevelt has much better sidewalks than 15th.

      3. That is a very good point, asdf2. A mixed route plan would be great. It would be similar to the 347/348, but with more frequency (20 minute individual and 10 minute shared instead of 30 and 15). Such a plan would :

        1) Provide excellent service (as good as alternative one) to the folks between Husky Stadium and Roosevelt.
        2) Save service hours over the proposal for alternative one.
        3) Provide better service from the UW to Pinehurst as well as UW to Northgate.
        4) Not be substantially worse than the current system for anyone.

        Twenty minute service to Northgate is an improvement, as is twenty minute service to Pinehurst. Meanwhile, ten minute service to Roosevelt is great. I like this idea, but I like any of the variations. Again, the key is:

        1) Be better for some folks (more frequency).
        2) Not be substantially worse for others (not require multiple transfers from a populated area).

        As I mentioned, this is really only needed when the 373 is not running (although you would have to move the 373 to Roosevelt — but as mentioned, that has been done before). That means that the 73 doesn’t run during that time, but the 67 does. In other words, during rush hour (roughly) the 67 runs every twenty minutes, but it drops to ten minutes during the day (and the 73 kicks in, providing service along much of the route). I think this would work really well for everyone.

  16. I don’t see route 64 on the new map at all… am I missing it or is it actually not there?

  17. A couple years ago many Sand Point Way bus stops were removed. Does anyone recall what the impetus of that was for? I did not see any public notification of the action. Some stops were likely too close to one another, but I would think stops closer together would have a modest impact on increasing ridership.

    Thanks for any info.

    1. Yes, stops were too close together. (They still are on some parts of Sand Point Way where residents organized against stop removal.) Stops closer together may shorten walks to the bus for some people, but they depress utility of the bus by making it much slower. With stops every 400-500 feet (as Metro used to have in a lot of places) the bus can barely get past running speed before it has to slow down again. In recent years, Metro has been aiming for stop spacing of between 1000 feet and 1/4 mile, which allows buses to reach reasonable speed between stops without making most walks too long.

      1. Part of the trade off here depends on loading. At some level of loading, e.g. what I see on some (but by no means all) suburban all day routes, it really doesn’t matter how close together the stops are, you’ll still stop less than twice a mile. Another depends on whether by moving buses apart you can make them more rider friendly.

      2. Well… if you don’t usually have boarding or deboarding at all or most of the stops (especially during peak hours) then chances are your route probably needs rethinking.

        Even the suburban 234/235, the lowest-ridership line I ride regularly, stop at almost every stop during peak hours.

      3. I mean moving stops apart. I’m not even sure what it would mean to move buses apart.

      4. “Well… if you don’t usually have boarding or deboarding at all or most of the stops (especially during peak hours) then chances are your route probably needs rethinking.”

        Not necessarily – as long as the end points have a load of boardings and deboardings, you can still have a full bus, even if people aren’t constantly getting on and off along the way. It becomes essentially like an express that technically provides local service to a low-density area along the way.

        In fairness, The lack of sidewalks on Sand Point Way does make stop consolidation more difficult. You don’t want to have to walk along that road to reach a bus stop, if you can help it.

  18. OK, I should have asked this a long time ago, but how many hours are in “peak”, “midday” and “night” exactly?

    1. From the service guidelines:

      “Peak periods are 5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. weekdays; off-peak are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends; night is 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. all days.”

  19. There are still obvious gaps in the grid that this doesn’t fix. Why is there no east-west route (frequent or infrequent) running east-west across I-5 north of Northgate Mall? Why is there no east-west route running straight across 45th from Wallingford to UVillage/Children’s Hospital. Even if it were infrequent, it would avoid the ridiculously long diversion through UW. Is someone from Wallingford wants to go shopping at UVillage, or to Children’s Hospital, they’re not interested in some stupid diversion through UW campus. They just want to get straight where they’re going.

    The people designing the network need to read this article:

    “Notice too that both routes try to get all the way across the grid before they end, so that almost all end-of-line points are on edges of the city. This is a common feature of good grid design, because it maximizes the range of places you can get to in just one connection.”

    And while this isn’t related to the talk of NE Seattle, why does the proposed Route 38 make the same stupid dogleg diversion to 23rd instead of just running straight down MLK? People going to/from 23rd can walk, instead of forcing the bus to make 4 unnecessary turns and inconveniencing everyone else.

    Look at the transit maps of Vancouver or Toronto. You don’t see all these unnecessary diversions or gaps in the grid.Keep it simple.

    1. Metro staff have already read it I’m sure, and this proposal is an attempt to make it more grid-like as Jarrett says, within the existing funds and trolley wire. You don’t seem to appreciate what an overwhelming ridership generator the UW is; it’s second only to downtown. And now with UW Station and a 5-year gap until U-District station opens, the 44 really needs to go to UW Station. Both because of riders to west campus and the hospital and the Eastside, and to help bridge the gap between UW Station and 45th. I also wanted the 75 to get out of campus, but I think again Metro would say the majority of riders are going to campus. Some of us have recommended extending the Ballard – U-District Link line to University Village or Children’s, and I think Seattle’s Transit Master Plan also recommends a frequent bus route there. So it will probably happen someday, when North Link opens or after.

      1. >>You don’t seem to appreciate what an overwhelming ridership generator the UW is<<

        I understand that. But that doesn't mean EVERY bus needs to divert through it. There can ALSO be a route running straight across 45th, IN ADDITION to routes that serve UW. The lack of any route running straight across 45th is such an obvious "gap in the grid", that it's mindboggling that it's just ignored. Even if it only ran every 30 minutes, including average waiting time it would still in most cases be faster than forcing people down through the University AND forcing them to transfer at the University.

        Like I said, someone from Wallingford who wants to shop at UVillage doesn't want a long diversion and a forced transfer to go to a shopping center that is on the same street as they're starting. People may respond that such people drive rather than take the bus anyways, but they are driving BECAUSE the bus for such a trip is so inconvenient.

        Wherever possible, there should be a route going straight across the city (or as close to straight as geography allows) east-west from Elliot Bay to Lake Washington. THAT is how you build a proper grid system. You certainly don't leave any obvious "gaps", especially along a major road like 45th.

      2. >>And now with UW Station and a 5-year gap until U-District station opens, the 44 really needs to go to UW Station.<<

        Fine. Keep the 44 as it is, and add another route straight across 45th. It could even be an infrequent (every 30 minute) express route with 1/2 mile between stops. The more direct routing combined with the faster speed from fewer stops would make up for the poor frequency.

      3. The 30 used to do exactly what you suggest and it was empty east of The Ave. When it was through-routed with the 4, becoming the 43, it doubled ridership within a couple of years.

        That’s not to say there may not be use for some service straight across, especially when Brooklyn Station opens. But not yet.

      4. The 30 coexisted with the 43 (it ran Wallingford-Laurelhurst, and maybe south to Fremont or Magnolia). It was half-hourly as you suggested. It had such low ridership it was dropped. U-Village has grown immensely since then, and periodically Metro has tried routes on the 45th viaduct, and then deleted them because of congestion. The latest was the 25, which went north on 15th and east on 45th. Again it had low ridership and congestion, and a year or two ago it was rerouted through campus (Campus Parkway, Stevens Way, U Village). That was to improve the U-District – U-Village connection by consolidating them at the same stops, and also to save the 25’s coverage from the axe. I still think a frequent all 45th/Market route is important in the long term, but not right now. If you do want it right now, you’ll have to say what other routes should be reduced to free up hours for it.

      5. It seems to me that a route going straight down 45th from Wallingford past the future U-District station, the north gateway to UW, U Village to Childrens Hosp. fits in with the Alt. 1 restructure well. It may well have a long slog on 45th through the U District, past the campus, on the viaduct and on 45th/Sand Point Way, but it would avoid the slogs through the U District to Pacific St. or through the campus or down Montlake.

        At the east end there would be connections with the 65 up 35th Ave or the 255 to the eastside. Sounds like a useful grid-oriented route to me.

      6. aw, that route would be perfect once U-District Station is open. Until then, it needs the connection to UWMC and UW Station.

    2. I mentioned that above as well. But there are a couple reasons for this, as Mike suggested:

      1) Link doesn’t cover much of the city.
      2) Link doesn’t have very good stop spacing, and many of the stops ignore obvious cross streets. We have to fight tooth and nail for a station at 130th, even though it is obvious looking at a road map, let alone a census map.
      3) We don’t have the service hours available for buses that Vancouver and Toronto have. Part of the reason is the first two, but I think even if we had a well thought, mature rail line, we probably wouldn’t have the routes that Vancouver has. That being said, we would be a lot closer to it.

      As it is, we should do better once Link gets to Northgate and Lynnwood (at least for the north end of Seattle).

  20. Although the proposed Route 16 rerouting may be the mother of all milk runs, a great milk run it seems to be. It allows east-west service to areas that have long wanted such, such as the 65-Sand Point Way portion, and allowing easy north/south transfers along the way. It will even be a very useful route once Roosevelt Station opens, perhaps even more so. Great route for Roosevelt students in Wedgwood and View Ridge areas when the 71 goes away.

    1. It’s totally not a milk run. Between downtown and 45th/Meridian, it runs entirely along streets that are designated as commercial or multi-family. The majority of 65th is also commercial or multi-family. You could argue that the Tangletown segment is a milk run, but there is a legitimate small neighborhood around 56th/Keystone, and there just aren’t that many ways to get between Wallingford and Green Lake.

      If you want to see a milk run, look at the 25. It literally doubles back on itself at least three times.

      1. The worst milk run map I’ve ever seen for any transit route in my life is probably the section of 271 between downtown Bellevue and Isaquaah. I’ve never ridden it, so I can’t comment personally on how it is to ride it, but it looks horrendous.

      2. My concept of ‘milk run’ is not not necessarily negative. It serves a definite need for many people. Sort of like a direct flight versus a non-stop. There is room for both.

      3. For the mother of all milk runs, see the 106 or the 240. Oran’s 1984 map had even worse ones: 174 (downtown-Federal Way), 150 (downtown-Auburn), 210 (downtown-North Bend), 226 (downtown-Redmond).

    2. I like it, but I like the 71, as David Lawson designed better ( That bus is great, but makes a lot more sense when Link is complete. The 71 that David designed is better for connecting areas, while this is better for connecting straight to the UW (and Link). In many cases, a cross town trip actually uses fewer buses with this design, its just that this design sends the rider way out of his or her way (usually to the UW).

      1. I do like that 71 routing. I remember reading about it some time back but have never seen that map before. An impressive map.

  21. While filling out Metro’s survey, the following suggestion occurred to me. I think it would be a minor but non-trivial improvement to service legibility in NE Seattle.

    – Extend the 40 northeastward: following the 75’s path to 125th/LCW, then continuing to the 41’s current terminus.
    – Modify the 75 to follow the 41’s path between 125th/LCW and Northgate TC.
    – Truncate the 41 at Northgate TC, full-time.

    Here’s why I think this would be an improvement:

    – There would no longer be the concept of a short-run 41, and we all know how much riders hate short-run routes.
    – Right now, 125th/LCW is one of those terrible intersections where almost every single bus turns. With the revised service pattern, every single bus would go straight. This is a service pattern that riders will have a much easier time remembering.
    – The connection between Ballard and Lake City, from the old 75, would be restored.
    – The 41 would become much more reliable, since it would pretty much be grade-separated for its entire run.

    There are risks:

    – The 40 is already a pretty long route, and this would make it even longer.
    – Riders on NE 125th would lose their direct bus to downtown. But this isn’t as bad as it sounds, because of the short-run 41. And it’s going to happen eventually anyway (North Link).

    1. To the extent the 41 has reliability problems, it’s really not the Northgate -> LC portion driving them. They’re almost totally in the afternoon, and the culprit is inbound I-5 traffic. Until we have Link, I think the 41 is an important connection, either as is or switched to the 75 routing.

      The map looks a lot nicer if you switch the 41 and 75, but the fact is more downtown-bound riders are located along 125th, so the current routing matches demand better. If the 75 is frequent it’s not a big deal either way.

      When North Link comes, everything around Northgate changes, and at that point I like switching the 75 to 125th and extending the 40 the way you suggest.

      1. Agree completely, David. Was going to comment on this, because the 75’s current routing was a big reason I drove to the NG transit center when I lived on SP Way and I do think it should be changed, but realized that Link’s opening at Northgate is the time to make this change (hopefully with one of the options being direct crosstown service to the nice new station at 130th when they get that far!).

    2. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just swap out the Northgate to Lake City sections of the 75 and 41, and only run the truncated 41 to the transit center (instead of 5th and 125th, as it does now)? That avoids the left turns you mentioned, while keeping the one seat ride from Lake City to downtown. I think that one seat ride is a lot more popular than the one seat ride from Lake City to Ballard (especially since that one seat ride will probably involve a layover at the transit center anyway). If the 41 is always the same, then it is simpler, but I don’t know if that is worth removing a one seat ride from Lake City to downtown.

  22. Am I missing something? How would you get to Northgate from Fremont. Before the re-route change a couple years ago anyone living north of 39th could catch a #5, now it is walk down to Fremont & 34th and catch the milk run of all north end milk runs the #40 or connect with a #16. What I see of this proposal is that it will be an hour or more of transfers to get there. But then the Troll doesn’t need bus service does it? Maybe the people who plan these things should find out what an old fashioned pencil and pad are, get out from in front of a computer, get their rear ends on the buses and talk to the riders. Fat chance of that happening. Computers provide all the answers.

    1. If you were willing to walk to the 5 from Fremont, you would also be willing to walk about two blocks farther to the new 26, which would be a straight shot.

      If you didn’t want to walk, the 16 -> 67 transfer would be about as fast as the old 5 ride.

  23. I should probably wait for the SR-520 post, but at first glance this seems like a pretty big downgrade for me as someone who takes the 542 from Greenlake P&R to SR 520/51st in Redmond for work…would the less frequent and frankly less pleasant 242 be my only alternative?

    1. You would take the 45/271 from Green Lake P&R and make a same-stop transfer at UWMC to the 542. Both would be frequent.

      On the way back you could transfer to either the 45 or the 67 (albeit with a three-block walk from Roosevelt to the P&R if the 67 happened to come first). That’s ten buses per hour for your second leg.

      1. I take the 542 from its terminus at Green Lake P&R when I want to go to UW campus and UWMC. Much much faster than the 48 during peak times.

    2. If you read the proposal closely, existing 542 trips that serve Green Lake P&R would continue to do so. Your normal commute would remain exactly the same as it is today. However, if you ever needed to stay at work late in the evening, your options to get home would improve dramatically over what is available today.

  24. Snorfle,

    Sound Transit is proposing to maintain current Route 542 trips to Green Lake P&R, only new all-day service would end at 15th/43rd. It’s funny because, with the 545 continuing to have all day Downtown service in Alternative 2, there is actually more peak period UW Station-Overlake service with the additional of Route 541 to Overlake Village. It is unclear where these additional resources come from, if not from proposed 545 short turns at Overlake TC.

    1. Ah, so this would just augment the current 542 “end-to-end” routes that only take place during morning/evening commute times– good to know!

  25. Question about UW being against the relocation of bus stops to Rainier Vista:

    Does UW actually own the streets and sidewalks along the streets that pass through it? If they don’t, why would they pay any heed to what UW wants at all?

      1. “Of course”? Many (probably most) urban Universities don’t own the streets that run through their campuses. New York University and University of Toronto for example don’t own the streets/sidewalks that run through their campuses. Their just regular city streets. Rather they own the land that the buildings sit on, not the streets themselves. I assumed UW was the same.

      2. None of those were land-grant universities. The Morrill Act granted land to various, mostly Western, universities and they are sole owners of that land.

      3. UW used to be like those urban universities. Way back when there was a reason for University St. to be downtown.

        UW isn’t really a land grant college, but WSU is.

      4. You’re correct–Denny famously “gave the knoll” from his claim a year before Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, and the state bought the land where the campus currently sits. D’oh!

        Interestingly enough (or not), the UW is technically older than the City of Seattle, which unincorporated before re-incorporating again in 1869.

    1. “Does UW actually own the streets and sidewalks along the streets that pass through it?”

      Yes. Everything between 15th, Pacific Place, Montlake, and 45th is UW land.

  26. Interesting that there is not more discussion about the elimination of the #25’s segment through Montlake. While obviously not a heavy ridership route, eliminating it will mean a long walk to 24th Avenue E or 10th Avenue E up hills. It would also be an effort to walk from the Lakeview Blvd stops to the next nearest route.

    Instead of all the backtracking, I could envision a loop focused on the university by the bus turning right to go over the Eastlake bridge rather than zig zag towards downtown.

    Not every route has to be a huge generator that can run every 10 minutes. Particularly in a hilly city like Seattle there will be some isolated enclaves that do not have a lot of ridership but still need to be served.

    How would I pay for it? Assuming some night routes have the ridership to justify more than 30 minute service, let’s have 20 minute service instead of 15 minutes.

    1. There’s not more discussion about those segments of the 25 because, like the rest of the 25, they have nearly zero ridership. As much as we talk about poor ridership on the 19th Ave segment of the 12, it has many times the number of riders as either of those segments of the 25. The Boyer/Montlake segment, like the Laurelhurst loop, serves an area that has become largely too wealthy to be interested in the sort of public transportation that fits local land use. It attracts a little over one rider per trip. The Lakeview segment is separated from pretty much anything at all by a cliff. It attracts quite a bit less than one rider per trip. Most of what ridership there is on the 25 is actually between Children’s, the UW, and (oddly) downtown, with a few riders from Boylston as well.

  27. One additional idea around Northgate that I think is worth considering, but not mentioned in the proposal is to have the 75 taking the long way around to the transit center (Northgate Way->Meridian->92nd->1st Ave.) rather than using 5th Ave. The excuse for making the change now would be to retain coverage on Meridian lost by rerouting the 16, but the real reason would be improve general access between destinations east of Northgate with destinations west of Northgate.

    Under the current scheme, you must either detour all the south to the transit center to make your connection (and then go further south to 92nd, only to go back north again), or walk down Northgate Way from 5th Ave. to at least Meridian, including a very ugly crossing underneath I-5.

    With my proposed reroute to the 75, you could still connect to all of the buses reachable from the transit center, but this time, you can reach the 40, 26 (currently 16), 345, or 346 while traveling in a straight line. The saved time is often enough to make a #40 bus that would otherwise be missed, resulting in a savings of 15-minutes in travel time.

    As an additional bonus, a good chunk of Licton Springs becomes directly walkable from the 75, eliminating the need for some people to transfer altogether, and walking from Merdian to Aurora to catch the E-line also becomes feasible, allowing some trips to Shoreline to be done with a (somewhat awkward) 2-seat ride, rather than a 3-seat ride. Not great, but still an improvement.

    I’m bit concerned about the left turn from Northgate to Meridian, but I it’s still an improvement. Not sure if it’s worth adding an extra bus, but still worth thinking about.

    1. Routing the 75 to Meridian instead of 5th would really help students at North Seattle College avoid having to transfer at the Northgate Transit Center, and will also serve the portion of Northgate Way losing service if the 16 goes away.

      1. The traffic at the I-5 interchange is so bad you’d be better off going to the transit center.

        Meridian isn’t losing service, it will stil have the 40, 345, and 346.

        For NSCC students the bridge over I-5 means they can walk to the TC.

      1. Oh, I see. Still goes eastbound on 65th but loops back westbound on 70th. Wasn’t clear to me. As a resident of 74th, I would love if It always went westbound on 70th. Why not? Would be more consistent.

  28. I am an Olympic Hills (north of Pinehurst) resident, and the 73 is my bus. It goes from my house to UW and downtown in a single ride. There is no way I could support elimination of the 73. As far as I can tell, the proposed replacement is a two-bus ride to UW, or a two-bus-plus-train ride to downtown. Are you kidding me? The bus transfer occurs in the middle of nowhere, and there is a long walk between the bus and the train.

    If I had a one-bus ride to UW station, I could almost handle this change. I am glad to see some proposals here about restoring the 73, but I don’t want it going away, peak or non-peak. It is heavily used all day. Simply maintaining the peak-hour 77 is not an adequate replacement. The 347/348 is often full before it reaches my neighborhood and would be a poor substitute for the 73.

    It seems to me that current riders of the 71 will be in the same predicament.

    I hate reading comments like “just wait 6 years and it will be all right.” That is no way to run a currently very good transit service.

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