This restructure builds on my proposed changes for Mt. Baker Station/Rainier Avenue services and focuses on transit service for Othello Station and Rainier Beach Station. The routes affected are current routes 8, 9, 50, 60 and 106. The goal of this restructure will be to focus on building up transit service at Othello Station where there is an existing retail base, a residential base and the possibility to expand both. Unfortunately, Rainier Beach Station currently lacks both a surrounding commercial and residential base and because of topography and the overhead power transmission lines, future development in the area surrounding RBS will be highly constrained.
There is an existing Rainier Beach commercial and educational district that is roughly centered at Rainier & Henderson. Metro currently connects the commercial district with RBS via routes 8, 9, 106 and 107 but the existing transfer process can be frustrating and confusing (from RBS to Rainier Beach catch the 9 or 107 on the north side of Henderson, catch the 8 and 106 on the south side). Plus the 107 may actually be going to Renton instead of Rainier Beach (I think transit geeks call this problem “illegibility”.) This restructure would aim to connect the businesses and schools around Rainier & Henderson to Link and other buses at Othello Station instead of at Rainier Beach Station. There will still be a frequent connection from Rainier & Henderson to RBS provided by routes 50 and 88, but Othello Station will be the main hub for transfers in south Rainier Valley.
The proposed changes
Route 8 No changes in routing or frequency between Rainier Beach and Mt. Baker but its number was changed to 88 to avoid confusion with the existing 8.
Route 9 deleted
Route 50 The 50 will be extended from its current terminal at Othello Station to Beacon Avenue & Myrtle where it will then follow the current 106’s route back to Rainier Beach Station and terminate at Rainier & Henderson. David Lawson proposed this coverage as an extension of the 107, but I think the span of service and frequency needed is a better match for the 50.
Route 60 South from Cleveland High School the 60 would follow Swift Avenue (currently served by the 106) to Othello Street and continue to Othello Station. Whether or not this route would make the diversion into Georgetown would be open for discussion as is the VA diversion. Also, the northern terminal would need to be decided. The new 60 would certainly serve Beacon Hill Station and Jackson Street, but its routing north of Jackson Street would need to be decided. There is little need to have the 60 running to Broadway once the streetcar begins operation.
The existing route 60 service from White Center to Georgetown would become a separate route.
Route 106 The 106 would still start at the Renton Transit Center and follow its current routing to Rainier & Henderson. From Rainier & Henderson it would now stay on Rainier Avenue until Othello Street and terminate at Othello Station. There also is the possibility that the 106 could be thru-routed with the new 60 to directly connect Rainier Beach with Cleveland HS and 15th Ave S. Establishing a 60 + 106 connection would maintain the needed Renton to Rainier Valley bus connection but it would facilitate easier transfers to routes 36, 50 and Link at Othello Station. Also, it would partially compensate for the loss of route 9 by connecting Rainier Avenue (between Henderson and Othello) with Link at Othello Station.
These changes would create a major transfer hub at Othello Station while reducing transfers at Rainier Beach Station. Othello Street would get much more service but Henderson would lose some (confusing and illegible) service. A section of Rainier Avenue that loses route 9 would get a connection to Link and the 36 at Othello Station and Rainier Beach would be better connected to all parts of Beacon Hill.