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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.

9 Replies to “Rainier Valley Restructure (Othello & Rainier Beach)”

  1. I know one Save Our Valley type who is hopping mad the 106 got moved from Rainier & Othello and has boycotted transit ever since. This would reinstate that routing.

    It’s an interesting idea to just give up on Rainier Beach Station and instead connect Rainier Beach center to Othello Station. There’s some merit in that.

  2. Any chance you could make a map? It’s not too hard with Google (as long as you have account). Don’t worry too much about staying within the lines (that is the tricky part). But a map makes this a lot easier to understand (at least for me).

      1. The transit icons are an available feature of the “add marker” function. Add a marker and then edit its appearance by searching through the “more icons” list.

      2. Yeah, I know. I’ve only used the raindrops and circles (I know — so boring).

        The one part of making these maps that I find most tedious is drawing the lines. You have to manually draw a line, even though if you “draw directions” it manages to squeeze things onto the streets. In other words, it knows where the streets are, but doesn’t feel like sharing, when it comes to drawing a line. That would probably be my first choice for a new feature. An even easier feature would be the ability to cut or connect lines. I’ve manually downloaded and uploaded a KML file to do that, but it is really tricky. It basically makes it hard to change your mind when you reconsider a route.

      3. Even worse, Google used to support fitting lines to the streets, several years ago. I don’t know why they stopped.

  3. OK, these bus routes make sense. I think it shows how much a Graham street station would make sense. Right now the routes are a bit light on east/west service. That makes some sense, given the street grid. But good east/west buses combined with Link make for a good combination. For example, I would modify your routes like so ( once the Graham Street Station is added.

    There are a few modifications. The 36 has fewer curves. This widens the distance between the two stations, but it still intersects two stations. The 50 is shorter and more direct. I could see it being truncated even sooner, at Beacon Avenue (instead of Cleveland High School). The 60 is extended a bit, to provide the coverage the 50 uses to provide. All in all, I think this would require a lot less service hours per route, meaning you could add better frequency. This would provide another east/west route as well. The only hole in service is very minor, around Holly and Seward Park Avenue.

    I think this is another example of why adding stations is important for folks who will never walk to the station. It enables bus routes that wouldn’t be popular right now. Run a bus on Graham right now, and you get maybe ten people per bus. But with the train station you fill that bus, and those ten people are happy.

    1. I’ve structured my proposals to not require any additional wiring and to not make too many changes that aren’t paid for already. Things like an extension of the 36 wire or the building of a Graham Street Link Station aren’t contemplated in my proposals–although I’d very much like to see a Graham Street Station and I’d be glad to pencil out some bus service for it when the time comes. An e/w route on Graham (from Rainier Avenue to Beacon} would be very popular if there ever is a Graham Street Station.

      Other comments:

      50: Graham Street is very much a neighborhood street between Wilson Avenue and Rainier Avenue. It’s also really steep in places. Orcas would be much more appropriate for e/w bus service (Wilson to MLK) than Graham. I’ve tried to figure out a way to put bus service on Orcas, but so far I haven’t found a solution.

      36 & 60 The segment between Beacon & Myrtle and Rainier Beach (served by the 36 on your map, the 50 on my map and the 107 in David Lawson’s proposal) is a very low ridership section and really wouldn’t support better than 20 minute peak & 30 minute off-peak headways. Ridership on Othello Street is much higher and could support high frequency bus service.

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