On Tuesday, Metro presented its new “Alternative 3” U-Link restructure proposal, and we reported on it. This post is different: it’s an opinion piece about the changes I, personally, would like to see in the final proposal. Some of these requests are easy, some are a bit harder, and the big one is a reach. But I hope Metro’s hard-working planners will consider all of them. (And, as everyone should, I will provide feedback to Metro through the normal channels as well as this post.)
- Keep the 271/45 through route.
- Move the 255 out of the tunnel.
- Move the 373 in the U-District to match the new 73.
- Send the 9 to Group Health.
- Increase evening frequency on the 8.
- Move the 271 so it can serve Evergreen Point.
The Big Reach: Restructure Capitol Hill (again), in a way that should be easier to implement and easier for riders to understand.
Details below the jump.
Keep the 271/45 through route. This through-route was one of the most exciting features of Alternative 1, and would have opened up a lot of new two-seat rides between North Seattle and the Eastside. As far as we know, the only reason it disappeared is that Metro decided to retain the time-consuming, unreliable, low-ridership Issaquah tail of route 271. Metro should push ahead with this through-route, and with replacing the 271’s Issaquah tail with an infrequent coverage route, even if it doesn’t make any other SR 520 changes.
255 out of the tunnel. Route 255 does not gain anything from being underground, especially at peak hours. Southbound, surface buses such as routes 252 or 257 can be at Westlake by the time the 255 winds its way to Convention Place. Northbound, the tunnel is oversubscribed at peak hour, and extreme delays and bunching are frequent. Alternative 1’s peak-only “256,” part of the 255 replacement, would have run on the surface downtown. This should still happen. Removing the 255 from the tunnel would improve the rider experience for both 255 riders and everyone else.
Move the 373 to match new 73. Metro decided to retain route 73, and give it a new routing along Roosevelt Way in the U-District. But it didn’t change route 373, which uses The Ave in the U-District. Northbound, this creates a situation where two routes going to the same stops pick up passengers in entirely different places. Metro should move the 373 to use the same routing as the 73 in the U-District, just with fewer stops.
Send the 9 to Group Health, not Aloha. This proposal from Alternative 1 would have created a new connection between the top of Capitol Hill and south Seattle, while adding more daytime frequency to the critical trip between Capitol Hill Station and the top of the hill. It’s a good change even without the other Alternative 1 changes that necessitated it.
Slightly Harder but Worth It
Increase evening frequency on the 8. Bad evening frequency along the 8 is a glaring hole in the Metro system. The hole just gets worse as all the neighborhoods along the north half of the 8 grow rapidly. The basket of evening frequency improvements in Prop 1 narrowly missed the 8. Metro should use any hours it can scrounge up to bring urban night service to this very urban route—by bringing back through-routes, re-euthanizing route 47 now that Summit is slated for more frequent downtown service, or a re-restructure as I describe below.
Allow the 271 to serve Evergreen Point. I’ve been banging the drum for this change ever since WSDOT’s new SR 520 freeway stops opened. It’s still a good idea. Same-stop transfers here are very convenient, and without them it is difficult for many riders to access the 271. The 271 should use either Bellevue Way or 112th Ave NE, rather than the Clyde Hill routing, between Bellevue Transit Center and SR 520. The time savings could at least partly pay for a short extension of coverage route 246 to Yarrow Point Station, covering the sparse demand from the Clyde Hill area.
The Big Reach
Restructure Capitol Hill… again. If there’s one thing the Link Connections process has made clear, it’s that Capitol Hill is a really hard problem. The all-Madison 11 and Metro’s proposed 12 (“43 Jr.”) solve some issues with Alternative 1, but create others. With Metro’s latest proposal, trips from anywhere east of Group Health to Link, Pike/Pine, and the retail core become more difficult, First Hill loses trolley service, connectivity from CHS to First Hill becomes worse, and east-west frequency near CHS will be irregular.
But although the problem is hard, I think Metro can do better. And I think there’s a way to do better without creating insurmountable opposition. So, even though Metro (showing admirable responsiveness to comment) has already started over once, I have another proposal.
This proposal (interactive Google map linked) uses the same resources as Metro’s, to my best estimation. It creates a simpler network than Metro’s, with high daytime and evening frequency on all major routes. It uses established routing and transit streets, and requires no capital investments at all except for a new 40′ layover bay somewhere in the Denny Triangle. It should also be very easy for current users to understand, and strongly favors the feedback Metro received on Alternative 1 over my own personal preferences.
- Routes with new routing:
- 10-John. Use Olive and John, rather than Pine, between Bellevue Ave and 15th Ave. Use the same frequency as route 8 at all hours: 12 minutes daytime, 15 minutes evenings/Sundays.
- 49-Madison. The route 49 proposal from Alternative 1 (and with Alternative 1’s 10-minute frequency), using Madison instead of Pine.
- 60-Boren. In place of the current Capitol Hill routing, which is duplicative with either the 49-Madison or the First Hill Streetcar depending on the trip, send this route north on Boren Ave to the newly dense Denny Triangle. With a few more hours, it could be extended a few blocks further, into South Lake Union.
- Routes with routing from Metro’s latest proposal:
- 8. Add 15-minute evening and Sunday frequency.
- 9. (The minor change from Alternative 1 would be even better.)
- Routes with today’s routing:
- 11. Include the 15-minute daytime frequency funded by Prop 1. Add new 10-minute frequency during peak hours and 15-minute frequency evenings.
- 12 (peak only). 15-minute frequency only during peak hours, to match very peak-heavy ridership on both 19th Ave E and First Hill. No service off-peak.
This restructure would reallocate hours from these parts of Metro’s proposal…
- Off-peak service on Metro’s proposed route 12 (the “43 Jr.”)
- The slow Broadway tail of route 60
…to the following additions:
- Small increases in daytime frequency on routes 10 and 49
- Increased peak frequency on route 11
- Doubling evening/Sunday frequency on routes 8 and 11
Even if I have overestimated available hours, I think this proposal with slightly lower frequencies remains preferable to Metro’s latest proposal. This proposal would have all the following benefits:
- Preserve access from eastern Capitol Hill to the downtown retail core and CHS
- Provide frequent and well-spaced service between CHS and almost all of Capitol Hill
- Create new connections from First Hill to CHS and the Denny Triangle (with a short walk to South Lake Union)
- Retain high frequency on Broadway
- Retain trolley service on Madison in First Hill
- Maintain frequent downtown service to Summit
- Allow for more peak frequency on Pine than Alt 1
The major losses from today’s service would be no off-peak service on 19th Ave E, which has relatively poor off-peak ridership today, and slightly longer walks for travelers between 15th Ave E and Pike/Pine. I think both of these tradeoffs are far outweighed by the benefits above.
If you support this proposal (or if you don’t), please let Metro know before May 31st.
173 Replies to “How Metro Should Revise “Alternative 3””
David, first, this is very impressive and explained very well. I love the map – helps visualize it for us. Thank you!
I like the Capitol Hill network design overall. Good coverage and frequency. Best of all, it is logical.
The only things I’d consider adding (which may be better Prop 1 investments or minor service adjustments) are some slight frequency increases to the 11 and 12 and maybe a modest increase to the 12’s span of service.
Right now the 10/11 serve the segment of E Pine between Broadway and 15th E at impressive frequency. Roughly 10/hour peak, 6/hour off-peak. That would become 4/hour on the 11. Many riders in the area will walk to CHS, sure, but for people living more south and east of Pine/Broadway, that is a long-ish walk. Since it is unclear how riders will adapt, I’m willing to let it play out with CHS open before I’d pound the table for more frequency.
The 12 runs on 10-minute headways in the peak-of-the-peak. Some AM inbound 12s tend to fill up 2-4 stops before Broadway (far enough of a walk that the 49-Madison would not siphon off many of those riders). I think 10-minute headways are warranted, at least 7-8:30. As long as there is decent span of service in the PM, say 3-7:30, I think the 12 will work alright for commuters.
I think you could probably fit an extra trip or two, or move a couple of trips closer, for those couple peak-of-peak trips that fill up before Broadway. West of Broadway (or, really, about 11th, since people there will walk to Broadway), the 49-Madison plus 12 would provide significantly better frequency than today.
I think Pine east of Broadway is overserved today, and will have even less demand once CHS opens. I’m confident that 6/hour peak and 4/hour off-peak with articulated coaches would handle it just fine.
David, I was initially dismayed by your proposed reduction of 12 to a peak-only route. My concern is east Madison residents trying to reach Pill Hill. There’s a gap on Madison between 11 going off at Pine and 49 going onto Madison at Broadway.
But I think I see your alternative: such riders would take 11 to Broadway and Pine and get on 49. 49’s 10/10/15 frequency should make up for having to take a notch trip off Madison.
Am I reading it right?
Exactly right, Jim.
You can’t preserve every one-seat connection. The goal is to preserve those one-seat connections that serve the most riders while making two-seat rides as painless as possible. The biggest piece of improving two-seat rides is improving frequency on both legs.
This includes Prop 1 money, so there is no more service-hour fairy beyond it. The only room for additions would be if David overestimated the hours required or Metro finds change under the seat cushions.
I was fairly aggressive with service-hour calculations on this one — there may be room for a trip or two somewhere, but there’s certainly no room for any big additions of frequency.
The 10/11 are 4/hour evenings and Sundays, and they come at 5-25 or 10-20 rather than 15-15. The 11 drops to hourly at 9:30-11pm depending on the direction and day.
Help me out with this. If you move the 10 & 11 off of Pike/Pine, what will serve that very busy corridor?
Only the 10 would move off Pine. The 11 (with more frequency) would stay.
The 11 remains on Pine, with increased frequency. The 11 routing is the same as today. Only the 10 and 49 move off Pine.
CHS is close enough to Broadway/Pine (2+ long blocks) that I think a lot of current Pine-downtown riders will switch to Link.
Pike/Pine to CHS is a seven-minute walk in the wrong direction. If I were anywhere west of Broadway and heading downtown, I’d probably catch a bus.
I currently live in the overserved area on Pine west of Broadway and catch buses downtown. Right now, it seems like there are 3-5 minute wide pockets where a bus is “always coming” (one within the next two min), follows by a break of 7-10 min.
If the width of that “always coming” pocket decreased to just two minutes (one bus on Pine, if I read correctly), with the same size gaps, I think I’d finally get a Pronto membership and roll downhill.
“Pike/Pine to CHS is a seven-minute walk in the wrong direction.”
It’s two or three minutes from Pine Street to the southern entrance south of Denny Way. The distance of Pine Street buses from Link is greatly exaggerated. If you’re west of Broadway, then you’ll probably take a bus to downtown. But Link is not just for going downtown, it’s for going everywhere else on the line. If your destination does not start with a “W” and end with “estlake”, you’re more likely to walk to Capitol Hill Station than take a bus to Westlake.
I’ve posted my opinions on how the 7, 8 and 9 should be revised previously on page2 [MAP].
Metro isn’t proposing any changes to the 3/4 network on either the south end or north end, but long term I think Metro should straighten out the 4S and connect it to Mt. Baker TC and delete the proposed 38. A better path for the 4S would be 23rd Ave S > Jackson St > MLK > Mt. Baker TC. That routing connects Rainier Valley to Pill Hill without going downtown and preserves service along MLK without the wandering through Judkins Park.
The 4S is near the top of many transit fans’ kill list, who want to merge it into the 3S. I’m not sure that rerouting it to Jackson would help much. What transit hole would it serve?
It would eliminate the need for Route 38 between Jackson Street and MBTC, plus it creates a link between Rainier Valley and Harborview/Swedish without having to go downtown. The problem is that it would require moving wires which I don’t think is in the current budget.
I think there should be 4 buses every hour to Madrona/34th (Route 3) to serve the growing commercial area along East Cherry and 4 buses every hour to Mt. Baker TC (revised and straightened Route 4). Terminating the 3 and 4 at 21st Avenue is kind of like the days when the 7 Raineir used the Rose Street terminal: it’s not really where people want to go, but it’s kinda close (but not very useful).
The idea is not to turn the 4S into “3S 21st/Jefferson” but into “3S 34th/Madrona”. That gets full-time frequent service into the eastern CD, which is growing and has never had adequate bus service.
Metro has postponed any changes to the 4S for the time being. Ideally, I think its riders would be better served by increased frequency on the 14, 48, 3S, and whatever ends up covering the 8S than by trying to revise the 4S. It makes exactly the sort of connection which is painless in a truly frequent grid.
I know that the 4S is high on the hit list and it’s heresy to state otherwise, but I think there’s a good case for changing its routing and making it more efficient.
Increasing the frequency of the 14 would add more redundant service from 3rd & Pine to 12th & Jackson and would be overkill between MBTC and Jackson & MLK (the 31st Ave segment). Jackson Street between 12th and MLK could use more service, but the 4S (re-routed to Jackson btw 23rd & MLK) would provide some of the extra needed service.
The 48 deserves very frequent service and with a re-routed 4S the 48 and 4S would only overlap between Jefferson and Jackson.
The 3S to Madrona/34th would get 4 buses per hour if the 21st Ave turnback is eliminated.
By re-routing the 4S onto MLK (south of Jackson) there wouldn’t be any need for a route 38 north of the MBTC–the 4S would cover that segment and provide direct service to First Hill without requiring a transfer downtown.
The one valid use I see for the 4S is if you use it to truncate the 38, but I’d rather see the 106/38/14 restructure instead.
In my ideal world, a more frequent 14 wouldn’t be overserving Jackson at all, because it and the FHSC would be the only service along Jackson. I’d rather see both the 36 and the 7 do other things.
Fully, enthusiastically support this Capitol Hill concept. Swapping out the 49 and 11 like this makes a ton of sense to me, and having the 11 on Pine frees up the 10 use John/Olive. And yes please to the added 8 frequency. The only people worse off in your proposal are the scattered few who board the current 10 between John and Pine on 15th
At first glance this is an excellent proposal. The only adjustment I would make at first glance is splitting the 8 at CHS so it gets off of the Denny disaster.
As we discussed, I took a second look at that, but I couldn’t find any way to make it work without really drastic frequency cuts.
Splitting the 8 at CHS makes sense in one aspect, by supporting the “all routes go to Link” principle. But the 8 also serves another role, which is an east-west grid route between Queen Anne and Madison Valley. That segment is already short, and breaking it in the middle would make it even shorter, requiring a transfer just to go a mile. We may have to do it anyway due to limited money, but we should at least recognize the damage it does to the grid.
That’s why a CHS spit is so expensive. You have to send the west half at least to Group Health and ideally to Madison Valley, while you have to send the east half past CHS to somewhere with layover space. Metro solved this problem in Alt 1 by consolidating the 11 and part of the 12 into the two halves of the 8. Here, where I’m retaining the 11 and part of the 12, and expanding the 10, there’s no hours to do the CHS split.
Given the east-west width of the CHS station block, how could there be no potential layover space there?
I have another suggestion and that is to run the 8 to the same David Lawson’s turnaround for the 60 and then have the 60 continue on the the Seattle Center. This solves the reliability problem on the 8 and gives it a turnaround that Metro said does not exist at CHS.
Reg N, the bulk of 8 ridership is between Uptown/South Lake Union and Capitol Hill. That corridor really needs service without a forced bus/bus transfer.
Brent, I don’t think John is wide enough for a layover.
Then how do you deal with the Denny parking lot? This is the most common complaint that I’ve gotten from users of the 8. The users voted for performance over frequency at a meeting with Metro in early March 2015.
For the Uptown/SLU/Cap Hill piece, you just have to deal with it. You can ameliorate it a bit with longer running time and longer layovers, so that one really bad trip doesn’t spill over into other trips. (Metro is doing this with Prop 1 money next month.) You can split the route in Capitol Hill (when the money is found) so that it doesn’t affect trips from Capitol Hill to the Rainier Valley or from the Madison Valley south. If SDOT would cooperate, you could even take some measures Zach suggested to help the Denny mess a little bit. But there needs to be a route between Uptown and Group Health, and for now Denny is the only way to make that trip that can physically accommodate a bus.
There’s a steep hill from Westlake Ave to 15th Ave that’s right in the middle of the densest pedestrian neighborhood in the city after First Hill. So it needs a single route going from bottom to top, and people will put up with the 8’s unreliability so they don’t have to walk. That’s half of the 8’s ridership right there: people going up and down part of the hill and the adjacent areas.
One thing I liked about Metro’s latest proposal is that it would make it very easy to integrate the Madison BRT (which is planned to be in service in 2019) once it’s done. They could just swap out the all-Madison route 11 for the BRT. Under your proposal, another big restructure would be required 3 years later in order to integrate the Madison BRT into the network.
I don’t like reverting back to today’s Route 11. It duplicates service from Capitol Hill to Westlake Center that Link will be able to do much faster. If route 11 is going to stay north of Pike St, I’d rather have it drop me off at Broadway and John so I could hop on the faster Link to get to my final destination. At least when it went down Madison it provided a one-seat ride to places that Link didn’t go, like First Hill and Seattle U.
Finally, the Route 8/38 split should be at the Mt Baker Light Rail station. Everyone I’ve heard from around Madison Valley and Madrona currently uses the 8 to get to transfer to Link at Mt Baker when they’re heading south. That is a much more natural transfer point than 23rd & Jackson.
I feel like your ideas concentrate too much solely on getting people to and from Link stations without looking at the local destinations in between. The 11 right now serves the Pike/Pine business corridor, the Convention Center, and the portion of downtown east of 4th. Post-43-deletion, it would be the only service between 23rd and that area. The 8 does what it does because of the major retail presence at 23rd and Jackson. That area is also a major congregation point both for the neighborhood and for riders coming from the south end, plus I suspect that the 38 will eventually turn into a long-haul route to go much farther south.
Madison BRT can substitute for today’s 11 by simply turning the 11 around at 23rd or by cutting back to 15-minute service when/if the time comes.
Forcing a transfer at 23rd and Madison for Madison Valley and Madison Park residents once BRT comes online would be a nightmare. I’d much rather see them continue the BRT fleet down the Madison corridor, just without the the exclusive lanes. At one of the open houses they were saying that they were thinking of turning half of the buses around at either 23rd or MLK Way and letting the other half continue to Madison Park. That would be my 1st preference.
I don’t understand why a major retail presence and congestion justifies splitting the 8/38 at 23rd and Jackson. The same could be said about Broadway and John, but they said the split couldn’t happen there! I still think the split makes more sense at Mt Baker, where there is already a bus station with multiple stops and layover areas.
I totally agree with David L that forcing a transfer at 23rd Ave east and East Madison would be a DISASTER!
Let get past the Prop 1 implementation and the March 2016 changes before confusing the issue with BRT on Madison which has a less that 50% changes of ever happening!
Broadway and John is almost certainly too cramped to handle turnarounds like that. 23rd/Jackson isn’t because there is ample curb space. The ridership patterns “down” here are such that 23rd/Jackson is a major destination for the south-end riders on the current 8, so having them transfer at Mt Baker is also a major impact.
My idea on the 11-when-BRT-arrives was to have the 11 do the short turn, Pike/Pine to 23rd, or simply reduce frequency on the 11 back to 4/hour once Madison BRT comes online. Folks who want to go water-to-water would take the new BRT. Dropping back to 15-minute frequency on the 11 after BRT would be my guess as to the more likely outcome.
Besides, to get virtually anywhere from the Central District outside of downtown or UW under any of the new proposals is going to take transfers so there need to be more places where routes actually intersect. On the new proposal, without leaving the 11 unchanged, every route to Capitol Hill, save the 8, (and every route north of the lake) truncates before the major arterial–23rd–and needs at least one (if not more than one) bus change. The big problem is geography; serving the space between 520 and 90 is quite challenging.
Broadway & John is a major retai/educational/nightlife//apartment presence that requires a Link station or multiple ultra-frequent routes. 23rd & Jackson is a minor retail presence. If 23rd & Jackson is so major, why don’t I see lots of people getting on and off the 8 there? Instead I see some twenty-five people getting on in the valley, two or three getting on/off between Jackson and Jefferson, one getting off at Madison, and most people getting off on Capitol Hill or remaining on the bus past Summit (where I get off).
My god, yeah, as a Madison Valley resident, there’s just no way I’m hiking up to 23rd & Madison to catch a bus. Cut off the 11 there and it might as well not exist any more.
Dave0, what you propose on the 11 is basically what Metro tried to do with Alt 1. For better or for worse Metro decided the community feedback on that was too negative.
Yeah I know. I’m just saying I’d rather have a water-to-water route than have it go down the Pike/Pine corridor all the way to Westlake. Once light rail is in place that would be a very slow way to get to Westlake!
Until BRT happens, the water-to-water corridor will be just as slow as the Pike/Pine one.
Are you sure a Madison St route for the 11 would be that slow? Let’s take my daily morning commute as an example: 25th Ave E and E Madison St to the King County Admin Building (@ 4th, James, 5th, & Jefferson). For reference, right now it takes 25 minutes if I time everything perfectly, or 35 minutes if I don’t.
Option 1: Take the 11 down Madison St. Google Maps says that today it would take the 11 3 minutes to get to 19th & Madison, and the 12 would take 10 minutes to get from 19th & Madison to 5th Ave for a total bus travel time of 13 minutes. Google Maps says it would then take me 5 minutes to walk from Madison to the KC Admin Bldg entrance at 5th between James and Jefferson. Total commute time: 18 minutes.
Option 2: Take the 8 to Broadway and John St, which Google maps says would take 9 minutes today. Take Link from Broadway to Pioneer Square, which would take 8 minutes from what I’ve read. That’s already 17 minutes right there. Then there is the time it takes for me to walk out of the Pioneer Square station and a few blocks to my office’s entrance on 4th Ave. That would take at least 3 minutes. Then there is transfer time, which could be anywhere from 0-15 minutes depending on how frequently the trains run and when the 8 happens to drop me off. Even if the transfer happens perfectly, this route is already 2 minutes slower than me taking the proposed 11 straight down Madison St. Let’s say the transfer adds an average of 3-4 minutes. That makes this option 5-6 minutes slower than a water-to-water Madison St route.
I don’t think a peak-hour 12 has gotten from 19th to 5th in 10 minutes… ever.
The other thing is that, yes, the Madison route is an attractive option for folks going to the south end of downtown. The trouble is that’s not the bulk of the downtown ridership. When the resources are there I’m happy to have lake-to-lake Madison BRT and 8-Madison Park both. But right now the resources aren’t there for that.
Aren’t you ignoring the transfer time between the 11 and 12, though?
Never mind; I just noticed you’re assuming one bus. I think your bus travel times are far too low, though – the actual Route 12 schedules assume 10 minutes between Broadway and First.
Both the 11 and 12 are at the mercy of passengers needing the lift either at MLK or on Pill HIll. Both the 11 and 12 don’t run on time today and the won’t tomorrow given factors beyond the control of the bus.
If you don’t believe this I suggest you look at One Bus away for the two stop between 16th and 17th Avenue East and see how many are late, forget what Google says be run times under ideal conditions.
“I don’t think a peak-hour 12 has gotten from 19th to 5th in 10 minutes… ever.”
I’d like to see some hard data to back up that claim. My typical morning commute is to catch the #12 bus that arrives at 19th and Madison at 7:10 am. It pretty consistently drops me off at 5th and Madison at 7:20 am, and I’m walking into my office 5 minutes later at 7:25 am. Maybe it drops me off at 7:21 and it only takes me 4 minutes to walk to my office, but its pretty close to 10 minutes every day. If I can catch the 7:10 bus then I’m pretty confident that I can get to work by 7:25.
Hey David Lawson, for the record I took the 12 into work today and watched the time as I did. It picked me up on time at 19th Ave at 7:10 and dropped me off on-time at 5th at 7:20.
I’m not sure another big restructure would be in order with the Madison BRT. It depends on whether folks have an appetite for it or not. Maybe they have tried out the changes and want to change things anyway. Or maybe they were just getting used to this, and don’t want to change things. If that is the case, what I would do is just change the 12. There are a lot of ways of doing that, but I would do the following (as viewed from the northern terminus): Go south to Madison until 16th (as today), then east on Pine (doubling up the 11 through here) and then north on Broadway to the Capitol Hill Station (basically just curl around to the station). You could also just head east to CHS (doubling up the 8 for a segment).
This is where we have to start talking about whether Madison BRT will have its own operational funding or take existing service hours. If it comes with 50% or 100% of its operational funding, then it could be a singnificant asset. If it merely takes hours in a zero-sum game, then we end up with exactly the problem in Metro’s second proposal: a frequent all-Madison route damages surrounding service, some of which is more productive than it (i.e., the existing 11). When Link came in, it did not take service hours from Metro. The streetcars may have.
Madison-BRT needs to come with at least partial operations funding if it’s going to be a significant improvement. If that’s what Murray is talking about with getting ST3 to pay for Madison-BRT, then maybe that’s OK because operational costs are a fraction of capital costs. But if Madison-BRT’s capital costs are going to displace other ST3 projects (Ballard Link, WSTT; not West Seattle Link because that’s a favorite of councilmembers) then that’s a big problem.
“The streetcars may have.”
“The streetcars did”
“Madison BRT needs to come with at least partial operations funding if it’s going to be a significant improvement.”
This, a million times. It’s great for what it is, but it’s not a substitute for service to CHS or even Westlake.
unless Metro decides to use Proterra style off-wire electric buses, the BRT line will not go east of MLK as that is as far as the OCS wire will go and Madison Park refuses to allow Metro to install OCS in their neighborhood. The intention is that the Madison BRT line will be a ZEV BRT line.
I would like to correct your, Madison Park will allow trolley buses and the idea that we won’t is from the 1950’s. Given the advantages, we who live here will support the wires for better and cleaner bus service!
To be very blunt the NO position comes from an older generation of residents in the Park who no longer control the Park either!
BTW, the Madison Park Community Council is not representative of the feelings of Madison Park!!!
I’ll just leave this here.
Have sentiments changed since you wrote this?
My sentiments have changed it’s May not March nor is it the 1950’s either. Let may say this again, I am find with trolley’s in Madison Park and so are a lot others here. Most of the people against, don’t ride the bus.
BTW, I am not part of or a member of the Madison Park Community council.
We’ll be watching to see if any organized opposition to trolley wires comes up if Metro suggests it. I hope you’re right that Madison Park now sees trolley wires as a minor issue compared to the need for better transit, for both mobility and climate goals. But the people at your meeting may not have been everybody, and may not represent all the potential trolley-wire opponents.
Madison Park is changing especially with all the new high tech people moving hear and the normal again process. So here it is, neither Park Shore Retirement Center nor Broadmore represent Madison TODAY!
Whether or not MV residents are in favor of overhead wire, I have a hard time seeing that project rise to the top of Metro’s funding priorities given ridership in the area, and also doubt it will be included in Madison BRT funding. A forced transfer or vehicles that can operate off-wire seem mostly likely.
Or some combination of the above. And that should be Madison Park not MV.
As a resident on 43rd Ave East north of Madison I can assure everyone that there WILL be opposition to wires at least on this street. That said, KCMetro MUST continue to plan on using more and more electrically powered vehicles (non-hybrids please) on all high density and high frequency routes in hilly areas of the city
I also live in Madison Park and I know the people your talking about on 43rd, they were there apposing the removal of the fence at North Beach (Swing Park) and today they love the way it looks without the fence.
We have a number of people in the Park who are against everything and just love the status quo, and will do anything to protect it. Look around, there are a lot of new professionals here now and they are not the “old guard”.
We have a Community Council that has done NOTHING but inflame the public about the 11, by saying “your favorite bus is going away”. All they have done is make the effort to get better bus service harder, but the effort to do this continuing without them.
Since you live in Madison Park, please contact me on Nextdoor and I will explain!
I’m really in favor of this, especially if Metro really wants to get rid of the 43 (which seems sensible to me). Cutting off the 48 from Pike/Pine via the 11 takes a two-bus trip and turns it into a three-bus trip (48 to 8 to 12). I know I’m going to get some flak for not routing via downtown. Comfort issues with transferring in downtown aside–yes, Metro and the city are working on this and I hope it sticks–the trolleys to get to downtown either get stuck in massive traffic (the 2) or take congested doglegs around Harborview (the 3 and 4).
My feedback to Metro, among others, is to keep the 11 as it is. If/when the city gets Madison BRT up and running, maybe then consider reducing frequency on 11 or having it turn around at 23rd. Connectivity between the Central District and Capitol Hill needs to be improving, not decreasing.
Another, less likely, wish of mine would be for the proposed 8 to go down to Yesler along MLK and then come back up 23rd to Garfield. That way GHS gets more service but without dropping MLK since there’s no easy way to “dogleg” out near 23rd and Cherry.
It’s a shame that the 48/67 through-route got chopped.
Oh, and I also like the proposal for the 60 in here, since nobody else has mentioned it. :)
As a regular 60 rider, I also like this plan! Although if it’s heading that close to SLU, which is underserved, it seems like they should try to milk the few extra hours and extend the route all the way
I think that the reference to “Alternative Three” may be confusing to some, since there is a Metro now and mine. Could this be changed?
I understand, but I think outside of Madison Park most discussion of “Alt 3” has referred to Tuesday’s Metro proposal.
I think this is great stuff – all of these improvements are absolutely in the right direction.
I just wish the 520 stuff could have been more aggressive. Honestly, I was against killing the 545, but was a fan of the change for the 255 (though the tail had a bit of an issue). Now that the 67’s interline is broken, I think it would be really interesting to see a 67 + 255 interline. This would open up even more connections between the eastside and north Seattle. The 545 is robust and frequent enough that it should be able to handle anyone on the 255 that want to use a bus to get downtown as opposed to the train.
Finally, I think there is opportunity to combine the 271+555+556 into one route. I’m thinking it would be more 555 than 271 south of downtown Bellevue. This would lose the connection inside Bellevue College (the 555 stops on the south end of campus), but that change has been seriously considered before. The only other loss would be service on 145th pl – but the frequent 245 already serves this stretch of road so it’s not a huge loss. If we still want a direct downtown connection route the 240 down 145th pl instead of down Richard’s road (the 246 already serves Richards road). North of downtown this route could either take 112th to the HOV on ramp (which means it would also be able to serve yarrow point), or, if you wanted to keep serving Belleveue Sq you use Bellevue Way to get to 520 (but lose out on Yarrow point as there is no HOV on ramp there). Honestly I prefer 112th — Bellevue can ideally organize the various tails of routes they have into a single, frequent connection between the transit center and Bellevue sq.
Basically something like this: https://api.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/ctachme.m68f0o9k/page.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3RhY2htZSIsImEiOiJZeVQxcVg0In0.iugZknE-MkTdK7msTWr6ew#12/47.5496/-122.1795
Hell no. That would add 20-30 minutes to my daily commute on the 555. Let the college kids have their own route that slogs through a pedestrian and traffic clogged corridor and keep the (often SRO) route an express.
I think you’ve got it backwards. The 271 route from Bellevue to Eastgate is core local service, mostly serving Bellevue commuters and BC students. It’s a 100% different market than the south half of the 555/556. It’s the part between Bellevue and the U-District that needs consolidation.
While alternative 3 preserves the direct connections between the eastside and downtown, it actually makes things worse trying to get to the eastside from anywhere in north Seattle outside of peak hours. Under present service, Montlake Freeway Station has a one-seat ride to Green Lake, Greenwood, and Crown Hill (the 48), Capitol Hill (the 43), and Wallingford/upper Fremont/Ballard (the 43/44 thru-route).
Under alternative 3, the only all-day local route serving Montlake Freeway Station is the 48. Now, getting to and from the eastside from any of the above places when the 540/542 aren’t running requires either a 3-seat ride, a half-mile walk between connections, or a detour all the way to downtown Seattle. The U-district and Central District and left as the only neighborhoods still able to get to Montlake Freeway Station on one bus.
This was also, of course, true, under alternative 1, but between the SR-520 service restructure and the 45/271 thru-route, the non-downtown connections to the eastside actually got better, not worse.
DavidL’s proposal to bring back the 45-271 thru-route and reroute the 271 to serve Evergreen Point Freeway Station solves this problem in an elegant way. It retains the 2-seat ride between the north part of today’s 48 and Redmond/Kirkland, while actually improving the transfer experience. Evergreen Point is a much more comfortable place to wait for a bus than Montlake. It is also much better for people with disabilities, as the eastbound Montlake Freeway Station is completely inaccessible to anyone who can’t climb stairs.
There are two details of the 45-271 thru route, however, that should not be overlooked:
1) Under alternative 3, the 45 runs more frequently than the 271 evenings and Sundays. If the service-hours aren’t there to boost frequency on the 271 to match the 45, how would this work?
2) In order for the 45 to be reliable after such a thru-route, the 271 needs to avoid Medina. During peak hours, 84th leading up to 520 is clogged with SOV drivers trying to avoid traffic on 520. Getting that last half-mile to the 84th Ave. entrance ramp can sometimes take 20 minutes or more. During off-peak hours, serving Medina foregoing the same-stop transfer at Evergreen Point.
As to alternative routes, my instincts lean towards Bellevue Way, as is provides much better coverage than 112th, with only a tiny increase in travel time. During periods of extreme congestion on the Bellevue Way entrance ramp, the bus can turn right on Northup Way, backtrack to 108th, and enter the freeway using the direct access ramp. Meanwhile, if the 271 serves Bellevue Way, this means the 249 doesn’t need to serve Bellevue Way, which, in turn means the 249 can be truncated at South Kirkland P&R, saving enough hours to pay for a DART-like coverage routes to Medina and the 249’s tail in south Bellevue. Extending the 241 an extra mile to Yarrow Point Station should also be a no-brainer.
This proposal looks great! It seems much more effective than Metro’s must recent iteration, with reasonable tradeoffs between loss of service in some areas with gains in others. It’s better at connecting the many destinations in the area, not just Link or downtown.
I can only hope Metro pays as much attention to feedback in this round as they did in the previous one.
Can someone explain why the 8 is being split in the CD, and no at Mount Baker link station? It sounds rediculous.
I’m totally on the same page as you; I think the 8 should go to Mt Baker. Lakecityrider agrees with the 23rd and Jackson split though and explains his reasons above.
It’s to preserve the Rainier Valley/CD connection. This connection was on the 48 for many, many years. Then it was moved to the 8 as part of the 2009 Link restructure. Metro is still reluctant to force a transfer at MBS for these riders.
Fair enough. But I think the 38 should go to at least Cherry, then. That would include Garfield, which is definitely part of (if not the heart of) the CD. If an overlap could be afforded, that would be ideal, but if not, I would just slide the crossover spot to there.
It should never have left the 48 and should go back to it. 23rd and lower MLK are higher ridership and complement each other, and it’s still “Valley to CD”. Upper MLK has lower ridership and is more appropriate for a coverage route.
If I were transit dictator, we’d have a 7 + 48 through-route upgraded to RapidRide standards (the “Bruce Nourish Express”), with a separate route running along Rainier and Boren from MBS to SLU.
The BNERR seems like it would be awesome. Have you explored a restructure based on this idea? I’ve played with pencil and paper trying to think my way through the CD and Rainier/Boren puzzle, but not beyond a casual excercise.
Boren to SLU is particularly interesting. All my maps had me trying to figure out how to justify running N-S service from MBS up 12th(ish), but adjacent route duplication and all…
Yes. I made a whole network plan in late 2014, intended to supersede my 2013 plan, that I’ve never published for several reasons. In the Rainier Valley, it had the following routes:
7 + 48 – 10 minutes
“42” = 106 -> MLK -> Mt Baker Sta -> Rainier -> Boren -> SLU – 15 minutes
50 – similar to today – 15 minutes
“52” = thru-routed from 50; Seward Park -> Myrtle -> Georgetown -> Highland Park -> W Seattle – 15 minutes
“58” – Prentice – RBS – Boeing Access – White Center – 15 minutes
Since the City explicitly asked Metro for a Bay-to-Lake Madison route, your Alternative 4 is a non-starter. How about the 11 on Madison all the way; the 2 to Pike/Pine (via 14th?) and the 49 to Seneca/Spring? Also, extend the 9 to the 12 tail instead of running a whole 12 all the way downtown. Yes, Madison Valley riders will have to transfer to get to Pike/Pine, but this would make it easy for them (change to a 2 at 14th).
As a Madison Valley resident I like this. If I want to get to Pike/Pine I’ll take the 8 down John/Olive or the 11 down Madison and walk a few blocks, or I’ll transfer to Link from the 8.
Another Madison Valley resident here, who loves the Madison routing of the 11 (and who also can’t wait for the Madison BRT).
I don’t think there’s a ton of appetite for re-opening the Route 2 conversation at the moment.
I think a bay-to-lake route is a bad idea. Judging by the reaction to Metro’s proposal, this feeling is almost universally shared. I want to help show why people feel that way. I also don’t think we can get a restructure that’s truly useful to Madison Valley residents if we spend a ton of hours on all-Madison. It severely compromises access to Link, Capitol Hill, and the U-District.
I love Madison BRT as far as 12th. Beyond that, there are more useful corridors for most people.
Just one question what purpose will a one mile BRT serve if it starts at 12th avenue?
Stopping the BRT improvements at 12th Ave is very short sighted and makes no sense to me. First of all, the census tract bound by 15th Ave, 18th Ave, Olive, Pike is already one of the most densely populated of the city. In addition, over 35 projects are planned, permitted, or under construction within 2 blocks of Madison St west of MLK Way. These projects will add 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and 2,300 housing units.
Source: page 13 of http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/MadisonBRT_OpenHouse3_Presentation_05062015.pdf
The question is whether it’s best to serve the neighborhoods east of 12th with a service along Madison, which serves First Hill well but downtown and Link rather poorly, or other alignments. If I were at 14th and Madison, I’d rather have two other things than an all-Madison route: 1) a frequent route on Pine, and 2) some kind of north-south service, ideally on 12th. The 12th part is beyond the scope of this restructure, but the heart of this proposal is to redirect service for eastern Madison riders to a corridor that gets closer to Link, gets closer to the commercial corridor, and serves Madison better.
Madison is a pretty line on a map, but it’s not necessarily actually the best place for a transit corridor serving the development around it, especially east of 12th.
My preference for Madison BRT would be to have it split into two pieces at Broadway: 1) the 49, and 2) the 2. Unlike Mars Saxman, I think the best core route for both Madison Valley and Madison Park is one that serves CHS, or at least gets close. I think it’s the all-Madison alignment that “cuts off the neighborhood.”
As a Madison Valley resident, the prospect of all-Madison BRT is so compelling that it actually makes me want to forget how much I hate riding the bus and actually get excited about the route. This is probably the only bus service change I will ever really care about and look forward to. Please stop trying to cut my neighborhood off.
Stopping at 12th doesn’t preclude going further east in the future, especially as this density gets built out. CBD-12th has the biggest bang for the buck and serves all of the major employment centers on the Madison corridor.
I’ve never been 100% sold on Madison BRT as a concept, however. It seems like SDOT likes it because Madison is the only street that BRT could work on in the area, not because it is such an amazing transportation idea.
I’d like to see reliability improvments (particularly the I-5 backup, signal priority, and getting parked cars off of Madison) but the corridor is so short compared with our Rapid Ride corridors that the potential time savings is limited. Especially if you have to walk further because of stop consolidation.
“over 35 projects are planned, permitted, or under construction within 2 blocks of Madison St west of MLK Way”
This is what Madison-BRT serves: existing and future trips within a couple blocks from Madison. What it doesn’t serve is the existing, proven trips between eastern Madison and the Capitol Hill/downtown retail core. And even less does it serve trips between eastern Madison and SLU/Uptown/north Capitol Hill.
I agree, David. Madison Park is cut off with Metro’s latest proposal and returning the 11–as horrible as it is–to its current route at least maintains a direct transfer to Link (albeit all the way downtown), direct service to the retail core and connections to streetcar and Monorail. I actually preferred Alternative 1 because it gave Madison Park residents other options: a direct transfer to Link at Capitol Hill–opening up easy service not only to all of downtown and the stadiums but much faster to the UW and points north; South Lake Union and the Center as well. But alas, that’s dead, and at least with the old 11 I can still access Link and the retail core (albeit after a 30 minute trip). It’s also a much better walk to CHS for heading north.
I don’t need a one-seat ride, even from such a close-in neighborhood. If I’m going to be asked to transfer, however, it had better be as part of a superior service. Transferring to Link provides that. Waiting at a bus stop for another local bus often doesn’t. In this case I’ll drive, thanks.
So 14th/Madison happens to be my bus stop. I’ll respectfully disagree that Madison service is a low priority. Madison is a lot more convenient and much faster for those people who work in the south part of downtown.
Pine is 6 blocks north of Madison downtown. The 2 is absurdly slow and is also 2 blocks north of Madison. Using Link at CHS requires a lengthy and out of the way walk from 14th/Madison. Walking to Broadway is 5 blocks.
@DaveL, you say “I think a bay-to-lake route is a bad idea. Judging by the reaction to Metro’s proposal, this feeling is almost universally shared.”
Don’t confuse the voices of Madison Park residents with those of Madison Valley and Upper Pike/Pine residents. If you look at all three, and not just at the most vocal subset of the former, I don’t think you’ll hear anything remotely approaching a universal opinion. In my (admittedly biased) sample of Madison Valley folks, support for a Madison route is high.
The key is this — without the necessary infrastructure upgrades, Madison BRT is worthless. I’d take today’s 11 over the proposed 11 any day of the week UNTIL the day that center-run exclusive lanes are built on Madison St. Then? Sign me up for all-Madison BRT.
“Since the City explicitly asked Metro for a Bay-to-Lake Madison route”
No it didn’t, AFAIK. It just put a future HCT corridor there, from the ferry terminal to 23rd. At the same time it recommended priority transit corridors on Rainier-23rd, Beacon-Broadway, etc. Those are not so much routes as focuses for SDOT street improvements. They certainly need transit-friendly street improvements. But whether the routes coming north from Beacon, MLK, and Rainier should be connected to Broadway, MLK, and 23rd in that order is a larger and more controversial issue. It’s something the city, Metro, and the public need to discuss in the longer term.
This was something I was told by a Metro planner at SDOT’s Madison BRT event the other week, that SDOT explicitly asked for it in their feedback and that the all-Madison 11 in alternative 3 is a direct result of that request.
I express my concern about the 8 and Denny mess and suggested a terminating it at CHS, but how about running it to end north on Boren Ave to the newly dense Denny Triangle ()like the 60)? This would allow for a turnaround and another bus to run the Denny area to the Seattle Center.
Based on comments I’ve heard the Mt Baker split there seems to be better that at 23rd and Jackson.
Excellent work, David. I completely agree with the 373 change. That is top on my list for that area. I would go further, but I think that calls for another Page 2 post.
I want to commend you on the fantastic map you produced. I have a couple technical questions, if you don’t mind. First, it appears that the map is limited in terms of zoom. Basically you can’t zoom in too much. Did you control that, and is so, how? Second (and this may be related) you managed to get the lines to adhere to the streets extremely well. Was that just due to your hard work, or do you have some other trick? Maybe if I could zoom in, I would see that it wavers a bit (like the maps created by folks like me).
I agree with getting the 73 and 373 on the same route through the U-District, except I still think the 73 should go to the Link station at Husky Stadium instead of going through Campus like the 373 does. The 73 carries many people who want to go downtown, especially those living south of Northgate Way, so if the 73 only goes to Campus it would either require a long walk down Rainier Vista to the Link stop, or a transfer to the 67 along Roosevelt.
I agree. The 31/32 goes through campus, and the 70 could easily be rerouted to terminate there (at very little cost — if any). That means that someone would just transfer if they really need to get to the far end of campus.
On a related note, I think the “buses going to the UW campus” issue is similar to the “buses going on Roosevelt Way through the U-District” issue. There are only a couple buses coming from the north now (the 67 and 73) and having one of them serve Roosevelt Way between Ravenna and Campus Parkway makes sense (if you really think that is necessary). Otherwise a bus coming up Roosevelt has to zig-zag or bypass the main part of the U-District (or loop around to it). That just isn’t realistic.
As you can tell, I would just abandon Roosevelt. It is only four blocks from there to The Ave. Having buses doubled up on The Ave means more coverage for the stretch from Campus Parkway to Ravenna. That is the heart of the area, really (where most people live). As you get further north, you start getting fewer people. We aren’t at the frequency yet for me to prefer move coverage in that area over more frequency (since it is only four blocks).
The limit on zooming in is a consequence of using the topo map as my base map. I use the topo map because I think it shows well why I keep certain grid anomalies in the network I propose.
My lines adhere closely to steets because I zoom way in when creating them. I’d rather use walking directions to make my lines, because they stay on streets automatically, but there is no way at present to style lines that show walking directions.
I don’t particularly love giving people Google Maps maps — I’d rather roll my own Mapbox map like I did for my comprehensive network plans — but My Maps has improved and it’s just SO MUCH quicker.
Thanks David. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, Google Maps isn’t perfect. I too have found that I have to zoom in really far just to make it look good. If I change my mind then I find it really irritating (having to delete dozens of points). I’ve learned the hard way to “rough it out” first.
One thing I do like about Google Maps, though, is that you can turn layers on and off. For example, your lines are thick (which make them look great) but they cover up the street labels But all I need to do is flip off the layer and remind myself what that street is.
Anyway — a very fine job (both in content and in presentation).
“255 out of the tunnel.”
Are there any other routes that were supposed to be moving out of the tunnel in the prior proposals that are now slated to remain?
Yesterday I boarded the Link from Westlake Station at 5:30pm. There was at least a 13 minute gap between trains so it was standing room only before it left the first stop. I watched someone board a bus at the very back of the platform and proceed to take almost two full minutes to dig change out of every pocket of his clothes and bag while the driver just sat there and traffic piled up behind. Infuriating.
The 255 being in the tunnel has the same problem with the 73 and 373 having different paths through the U-District:
“This creates [maintains] a situation where two [or several] routes going to the same stops pick up passengers in entirely different places.”
As for which routes would leave the tunnel under the latest Alt, it would be routes 76, 77, and 316 in September, and then routes 71, 72, 73, 216, 218, and 219 in March. Essentially, the 73’s elimination from downtown made room for the 255, at least on paper.
Metro is still mulling over possible bay rearrangement, including possibly having one bay per platform.
I haven’t checked in lately on the possibility of the tunnel going cashless, but I don’t expect Metro to make policy changes that would use up political capital and only be in place three years.
BTW, I was in the tunnel at 6:30 pm. The southbound train I was on stopped for multiple minutes, due to traffic ahead, twice. I noticed there was an ORCA Boarding Assistant still on duty.
Moving the 76, 77, 316, or even the 255 out might not help that situation, unless, as you described, the perpetual logjam going northbound during peak is messing up Link’s headway.
I think David’s proposal solves several problems, and might even be better than Alt 1.
I’m surprised at the location of the 8/38 split, though, because Metro had been avoiding any restructure in the Central District. The CHS split seems more ideal, until such time the 8 can become reliable. Second best would be Mt. Baker.
Certainly, there must be other options for splitting the 8.
But the split location is likely to be a new can of worms not opened in previous alternatives.
The CHS split is exceedingly expensive.
The only cheap alternative to the CD split is one at MBTC. I’m agnostic between the two, but so far Metro isn’t. This proposal is trying to leave Metro’s alone to the extent possible.
The 10 on Pine and the 47 want to just skip Link connection and go downtown, the rest of the Capitol Hill lines want to link with Link. Keep the 10 on Pine.
How can a route “want” something? Even if they can, how can you read these routes’ minds?
The 10-John gives frequent Link access to a giant swath of Capitol Hill. I think that’s important.
Metro should definitely rethink Capitol Hill again, and it should not hold up the other restructures. If Capitol Hill misses the March restructure deadline, that’s not the end of the world. We’re starting to get to need a “No Build” alternative in the mix, because the issue is not just how well the proposals compare to each other, but whether they’re an overall improvement for the majority of people or do they create significant new holes.
If we miss the deadline for March, then it will be the status quo at least temporarily. What would that be like? Well, everybody knows the current routes and how far they are from Capitol Hill Station. The biggest issues are the 3-block gap for the 10 and 11, and the half-hourly evening/Sunday service on all corridors except Pine-Broadway. The 12’s 6-block gap is not as much of an issue because all parts of the 12 are near the 10, 11, 43, and 60 for those going to CHS.
I like David’s proposal as a better compromise than the others. Metro’s third proposal creates significant new gaps between the east side of the hill (23rd) and CHS, and between mid Madison and CHS. Future ridership and trip patterns are too unpredictable to break proven patterns now. Rerouting the 11 to all-Madison is justified only if it’s significantly better than the status quo. That has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt or the preponderance of evidence, so the motion is denied and it should default to the status quo. Later when Link is running and people have voted with their feet and Madison-BRT brings new investments, then we can reevaluate the 11’s routing.
Likewise, there is established demand on all three corridors from downtown: Pine-John, Pine, and Madison. So prudence suggests making all three full-time frequent as David suggests. In this proposal the frequent Pine-John corridor ends at 15th, the Pine corridor at Madison Park (i.e., all the way across), and the Madison corridor at Broadway. We could argue about whether each corridor should be slightly shorter or longer but that’s a secondary issue. The primary issue is that all of them go at least to Broadway, the highest-evening-ridership ones reach 15th, and the middle one goes all the way across. (The middle one is the shortest walk from either north or south.) Again, when Link is running and people have voted with their feet, then we can reevaluate the service levels on all these corridors.
Well said and I agree with your position.
The court finds for Mr. Orr and awards him all the internets.
“re-euthanizing route 47 now that Summit is slated for more frequent downtown service”
I lived on the 47 for five years and now live where it overlapped with the 43. The 47 was full peak hours; it was only off-peak when it was almost empty. And part of that was the 43 sabotaging its potential by coming a few minutes before it. If the 43 came a few minutes after it or halfway between it, then you’d see the 47’s maximum ridership. The 43 does not “serve Summit”; it only serves the southern part. It’s a half-hour walk from the 47’s terminus to Pine Street (because you wouldn’t want to go to the Olive St stop where two routes overlap, when you can walk one stop further to where five routes overlap). The hill between Summit and Broadway is steep. It’s impassible when there’s snow, and impassible by elderly/disabled always. Summit and First Hill have the highest residential density in Seattle. It received some of the highest number of complaints from the cuts. So the 47 should at least have peak service, and maybe daytime too.
Mike, I basically agree with you, which is why I didn’t reuse the hours from the 47 for other purposes in this proposal. But I think if you have to pick just one of 1) a 35-minute 47 or 2) a 10/12/15 minute 43/12/10/whatever line it is on Olive, the frequent line wins every time. Only a small part of Summit (the very northern block) is more than 1/4 mile from the Summit/Olive stop, and that part has frequent service up the hill on Broadway. I understand there are a few people up there who have trouble walking up to Broadway. Gut, as I’ve said before, we have to design an effective network for the 98% and then figure out how to serve those who have real trouble accessing the network.
From the First Hill perspective …
while we are behind the BRT line in the short term I think we’d much rather see the 49 moved to Madison between Broadway and 1st Ave and the 11/12 run down Pike/Pine and the 10 down John/Olive
If the 49 doesn’t get moved to Madison then we’d fight to keep the 60 on it’s current route as that is the only daily N-S bus that we have on First Hill
I agree that the 60 can only move if we get the 49/Madison.
I generally like that you support the 49-Madison concept!
Would it help for southbound 49-Madison to turn a bit east at Broadway/John, turning again south on 15th, then traveling west on Madison towards Downtown (northbound doing the opposite)? The pros:
– The Madison to John segment of Broadway is slated for streetcar service anyway so it would be a bit redundant.
– Madison-49 buses may get bogged down in streetcar-related backups on Broadway.
– It would substantially be the Madison BRT east of 15th Avenue. The City can save face about implementing almost all of the original BRT line and not have to deal with any messy turnaround problems.
– It would provide direct access to 15th/Madison (walking distance to Trader Joe’s and nearby places) and Capitol Hill station so that people on that ridge can quickly get to Link at CHS.
– It would make the 49-Madison slightly longer and take more service hours.
– It would probably mean a few extra minutes for riders between the hospitals and CHS (noting of course that the streetcar hopefully will be a faster option).
oops… Madison BRT WEST of 15th…
That’s an innovative idea. I think the whole genius of the 49-Madison is the quick (and more frequent than the streetcar) connection between CHS and the hospitals, though. It would actually do what the streetcar should have done, had it not been too far east and too infrequent.
But you’ve made me think about another possibility for Madison BRT. Turn it at 15th, connect it to the 10 tail (with a new safer turnaround at Olin Place), and you have a line that nicely connects most of First Hill and Cap Hill that’s not near CHS. Combine that line with a bunch of radial lines connecting to CHS (8-Madison, something like the Alt 1 38 concept, and a 49/36 combo) and you’d have a pretty nice network.
Admittedly, route restructuring is scary for riders. Thanks for trying to straighten some things out. I suspect that there are several concepts and dozens of specifics that will be debated.
At its core, I think everyone needs to step back and internalize a basic issue: perspective! Riders naturally seem to have two emotions to change: They feel hope that their trips can be better and fear that they will become worse. When we have such major new transit investments like U-Link, it’s truly that once-in-a-generation time to improve the whole system. However, ST and Metro seem to present things almost as if they are going to battle and restructuring should be feared — without first approaching U-Link is an AWESOME thing coming to Capitol Hill and UW! It is! It’s a remarkable, dramatic improvement to regional connectivity — both in travel time and in reliability!
I wonder how to elevate the needed excitement about U-Link before solidifying a restructure. That could really shift the dialogue! The messaging and feedback should be more “How can Metro/ST utilize U-Link to make your transit trips faster, easier and more reliable?” and less “How can we fix the route structure?” Even now, the riders are asked to “react” to service changes more than “anticipate” how transit travel will be improved. We show maps of “keeping routes” and “changing routes” rather than “keeping travel times and on-time performance” and “reducing travel times and improving on-time performance”. I read way too much discussion on how the changes force transfers or perhaps a little more walking but not improve transit travel. Even the Metro maps downplay the importance of a high-frequency Link trunk (even with two lines for Central Link and East Link drawn on there) and the wonderful opportunity these new stations create! When we on STB draw maps of routes and don’t illustrate the benefits, we even implicitly feed the same emotion of fearing change and not embracing it.
Lost in the muddle otherwise known as my brain is information on what has actually happened to the 255. Is it no longer going to terminate at UW Station with Link transfer to Cap Hill and downtown? If so, how come? Does that mean it will still slog down I-5? With Convention Place gone, there will be no access to Capital Hill without going all the way downtown with its scattered transfers up the hill. Also, if it is out of the tunnel what will be its surface route?
The 255 is staying exactly the same. Metro decided to cancel all changes along SR-520, except it will cancel the 242.
I would propose 5th/4th downtown, identical to the 252/257/268/311. The other alternative (which it appeared Metro was using for the 256 in Alt 1) is 2nd/4th.
All buses will have to leave the tunnel when the Convention Center construction starts, the East Link turn track at Intl Dist is installed, or North Link opens. From what I’ve read the Convention Center is likely to be first, around 2017. So even if the 255 stays in the tunnel, it will only be there for a year or two.
With the exception of the routes which are going to be replaced by Link routes in the tunnel, it would seem to me to make sense to get the buses out of the tunnel ASAP.
Sure hope a lot more transit-only lanes are in the works for downtown Seattle especially when the buses come out. Its bad enough now on places like Olive Way between 3rd-5th with packed buses stuck behind a few SOVs clogging the streets with their right turns.
I like your proposal to put Route 60 on Boren/9th. I do wonder if Madison is the best place for that Boren/9th jog because maneuvering turning buses through that area isn’t very easy; I’d probably move it up two blocks to Seneca. I wish there was a way to have Route 60 go deeper into SLU too.
What would the effect be of having it jog to 8th rather than Boren? (I think that’s the route that crosses the freeway and passes under the convention center)
I kept it on Madison just for minimum change. I’d be fine with it on Seneca (and that might also help get the 2 out of there in the long run).
I thought long and hard about using 8th, but decided against it because, while you gain time getting down the hill, you lose it again (and more) trying to get to SLU.
I don’t understand why the 73 has to go down the Roosevelt/11th couplet at all. If the idea is to get that bus to the University and then to Husky Stadium station, do it as fast as possible, by staying on 15th Ave NE in both directions. Won’t there be some cost in time to shift to Roosevelt and back? What is the point? It’s as if Metro thinks there are already light rail stations at 12th and 65th, and Brooklyn and 45th, and wants to route as many buses as possible past these sites. Same goes for the route 16 proposal, which wants to solve a problem with a solution that won’t exist until the light rail opens to Northgate in 2021. I would happily take a bus to the light rail then. If Metro insists on shipping me to the nearest light rail station now, which will be Husky Stadium, then by all means do that instead of fooling around on these other streets.
The 73 is on Roosevelt as a result of quite a few complaints in Metro’s customer feedback about the loss of Roosevelt coverage in Alt 1. The people apparently want a bus there, and aren’t satisfied with walking three blocks to the Ave.
The fast bus to UW Station is the 67.
I’m still confused as to what the vision is for N-S service across Roosevelt/11th/The Ave/15th. I wish all our agencies would pick a corridor and make it awesome for buses.
This is a case where SDOT and Metro appear to have different visions.
I favor a modified form of Metro’s vision. Shove everything onto Brooklyn when North Link opens. Leave 15th as a car sewer and The Ave for shoppers.
Hm, I didn’t see that particular comment mentioned, but thanks for the insight. It does seem like Metro made a big deal of having 20 buses/hr or whatever going between Husky Stadium and the “University District.” I don’t see why my bus, which is coming from far away and is full of commuters, has to be the one that is routed farthest west.
The 67…just a short 35-block from my house.
>> Shove everything onto Brooklyn when North Link opens. Leave 15th as a car sewer and The Ave for shoppers.
Makes sense to me. Once Link gets to the U-District, there will be fewer long distant buses going through the U-District as well. Basically everything is a local, which means the extra time spent getting to the station is critical. It is one thing to ride a bus five miles and then walk a couple blocks to the light rail station. It is another thing to ride a bus ten blocks and then walk those same two.
Yes, that is a coverage versus speed trade-off. More coverage for Roosevelt. The 73 is more of a coverage route, while the 67 is a speed connector for the essential parts of this area (that includes the Ave). Thus it does make sense to have the 73 cover Roosevelt Way (if you feel that covering Roosevelt is essential).
At the same time, though, it makes the button hook for the 67 baffling. This part of Roosevelt Way (Maple Leaf) is another “coverage” area — it is not essential. Compared to the rest of the 67 route, it is very low density and very poor connectivity. So the 67 shouldn’t waste time covering it.
The obvious answer is to run the 73 and 373 down Roosevelt Way the whole way. That gets that area coverage. Not as frequent, bus as mentioned, it is not essential to get this area frequent service. The 73 and 373 has run down Roosevelt Way before, and it worked out OK. The fact that it would then run all the way down Roosevelt probably makes up for some of the speed lost taking Roosevelt instead of 15th NE. Meanwhile, the 67 can run more directly (via 5th), making the connection to Northgate much faster, and also saving service hours.
The only drawback to that approach is that the 73/373 is not slated to run weekends. This means no coverage at all for this part of Maple Leaf. People would have to walk from 5th, which isn’t too bad (if you are going to Roosevelt) but quite a ways otherwise. There would be some service savings by running the 67 buses on 5th instead of doing the button hook, but probably not enough to run the 73 all weekend. One alternative would be to have “weekend routing” for the 67, which does exactly that. Call that bus the 66. In other words the direct, Northgate to UW route (using 5th NE) would be the 66 and run every weekday, but not on weekends. The less direct route (which heads north from Northgate, then loops around on Roosevelt Way) would be the 67, which runs only on weekends.
Thanks for pointing out the 73 proposal does not include weekend service. I missed that and will have to complain about it to Metro. However I think your idea of using Roosevelt instead of 15th for the whole route is terrible. Roosevelt is narrower and more crowded and will add a lot of time to the run. Roosevelt and the University District are already well served by many buses. The 73 is typically full before it gets to 65th St–it’s a commuter bus for people living in north Seattle. There is no need to slow the 73 down to swing into some neighborhoods right before its destination at the UW.
I don’t really understand the hate for 15th Ave NE–a “car sewer?” When I was at the UW all the buses came down 15th Ave and it worked well. There aren’t many cars on 15th Ave by the UW even though it has 4 lanes. If the destinations are UW and Husky Stadium station then take the shortest route.
Part of the purpose for the 73 is to avoid the awful 347/348+67 transfer for people in Pinehurst. In the evening the Northgate Way bottleneck goes away so the 73 is less necessary. Weekend service is probably about not enough money for it. So the 73 is meeting different needs in Maple Leaf vs Pinehurst, and the Northgate traffic is probably the main reason the route is like it is.
@chris — My point is to move the 73 over to Roosevelt Way, and the 67 over to 5th. That would mean that the 73 would be the only bus on Roosevelt Way, in the heart of Maple Leaf. That is the main reason I would move it. Someone has to serve Roosevelt Way (on Maple Leaf) and it might as well be the 73. Plus, since Metro insists on running the 73 on Roosevelt Way through the U-District, it makes sense to run the 73 down Roosevelt the whole way. I agree, though, if the 67 isn’t moved, then the 73 shouldn’t be moved either.
I think your suggestion makes sense as well — basically it is the third choice here (https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/03/15/pinehurst-bus-suggestions-for-alternative-one/) which is visible on this map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-ZcpzpzqRA0.kMvCq8B57yjg
That keeps the 73 fast and speeds up the 67.
But again, I’m not sure that is acceptable. There are trade-offs with every approach. Metro has given the impression that it really wants a bus going down Roosevelt Way, even if there are nearby buses (15th and 5th on Maple Leaf, University Way in the U-District). So basically they are trading speed for coverage. Fair enough. I can accept that.
But if we really need that coverage, then we should run the 67 down 5th, and the 73 down Roosevelt Way through Maple Leaf. The 67 is a key bus. It is the bus that was previously slated for really high frequency and is still twice as frequent as the 67. It is a connector bus. To be a good connector bus, it needs to run fast and frequently. It is pretty hard to say “don’t run the 73 down Roosevelt — it is slow” and then turn around and run the 67 (a far more important bus) on that exact street. Then, to top it off, it gets to the that street by first heading the wrong way! It is one thing to ask a 73 to detour a bit to pick up folks on Roosevelt Way. But with the 67 you are asking the bus to spend a significant amount of time going in the wrong direction.
@Chris — Also, I would never call 15th a car sewer. It is just fine as a street for buses. It is fast and picks up plenty of people along the way. But I don’t think you can get rid of buses on Roosevelt — I don’t this would fly (even though I would like it) — https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-ZcpzpzqRA0.kMvCq8B57yjg
Also, full disclosure, I’ll probably never ride the 67. I live in Pinehurst and will most certainly ride the 73. So my suggestion (moving the 73 over to Roosevelt and the 67 over to 5th) would probably hurt me a little but not much. I mainly would hate to see the 67 — a bus that is very important when it comes to a grid — be slowed down considerably. Just imagine some of the rides. Not only from the UW to Northgate (which is bad enough) but how about the UW to Haller Lake? You first take the 67 that goes north up to Northgate Way, then heads south to the transit center. Then you take a different bus (345/346) that heads south again to 92nd, before you start heading north (passing Northgate Way again). You could probably get off the 67 and walk to Meridian and catch the exact same bus (the 345/346).
I really don’t know why we are treating a very important bus like it is the 24 (a bus that zig-zags through the quiet and fast streets of Magnolia). We can have another bus (the 67) fill in the coverage gap on Roosevelt Way. Let’s not have the 67 waste its time doing that.
“the route 16 proposal, which wants to solve a problem with a solution that won’t exist until the light rail opens to Northgate in 2021”
Those going from the Magnuson Park area to anywhere in north-central or northwest Seattle beg to differ. How else do you get to Greenlake? Take the 30 peak hours and transfer to the 48. Or take the 75, sit through ten minutes of campus-crawling, and transfer to the 48. Fremont? The 75 may be through-routed with the 31/32 or it may not be, but there’s still the campus crawl. Ballard? Peak-hour 30 + slow 44 or slow 75 + slow 44. Aurora? 75 around to Northgate traffic + 40. The 16 has no traffic bottlenecks until Fremont because it goes crosswise to most traffic; it runs through the middle between all the destinations I mentioned, and has transfers to lots of routes away from the traffic bottlenecks. And it’s full-time frequent. It’s ingenious, like the 40 was when Metro created it in 2012. I don’t think the Fremont-Dexter part is necessarily better than alternatives, but I also don’t think many people east of Wallingford will be taking it to downtown anyway.
You may be right…the teeming millions may be waiting to take a bus from Sand Point to Green Lake. However, my point was that many of these changes take a bus by a future rail station that won’t exist until 2021, and the buses go out of their way to do so. The 16, for instance, could get to Green Lake as fast or faster on NE 75th St, and serve some of the route that is being deleted once it is west of I-5. But no, it has to go by the non-existent rail station on NE 65th St.
That’s not the worst example though. The 73 jogs west to go by TWO non-existent rail stations, thus taking longer to get to the UW and to the actual rail station.
I appreciate this forum–it allows me to sharpen my thinking for my actual comments to Metro. Here’s another one. Does anyone know why the swing through Olympic Hills is being eliminated at the north end of the 73 route? That’s a pretty big swath (0.75 square mile) within the Seattle city limits that is not served by buses.
If you look at the map, 75th does NOT get you from Wedgwood to Green Lake and Wallingford as well as 65th. On 75th, you have to angle north to 80th to get across I-5, then go back south again. Besides being more of a straight shot, routing the 16 down 65th compensates for the loss of the 71 down 65th. One could say something similar about the 68 down 75, except the 68 has much more limited hours than the 71, and does not carry nearly as many riders.
The 65th St. routing also serves the Roosevelt business district, which is a destination in its own right much more than Roosevelt and 75th, which has nothing worth mentioning except for one safeway store. 75th also has a golf course, reservoir, and highway 522 all cutting into its potential walkshed. 65th is pretty walkable from both north and south all the way from Roosevelt to Sand Point.
Shoot, I forgot to look at a map.
75th is faster than 65th, both routes jog, both are walkable, 75th will take you to part of the 16 route that is being abandoned. Blah blah. Look, I don’t care about the 16 very much, but note that the 71 is being deleted, and east of I-5 it serves much the same route as this proposed 16. So maybe the ridership isn’t all that great. By all means have your 16–those who are most affected should make comments about their bus. I have ridden the existing 16 many times, and it is the milkiest of milk runs. The portion of the proposed route 16 that is taking over from the 71 will be the only part that moves fast.
The reason the 73 jogs over to Roosevelt Way is to cover that street. I’m not saying I agree with that decision (see above) but that is the rational (we need coverage on that street, not that we need to serve non-existent stations). The big mistake (in my opinion) is that the 73 and 373 don’t go down Roosevelt Way from Northgate Way. This has been done before (when the bridge over 15th was broken). That would enable the 67 to go more directly between Northgate and the UW. There is no train station there, but there is a transit center, and that means other buses.
Metro will certainly have to do this all over again once light rail gets to Northgate (and again when it gets to Lynnwood). A lot of these routes will go away or change dramatically. For example, it doesn’t make sense to run a bus down 15th NE (in Maple Leaf) once we have Northgate Link. 15th NE is a faster way to the UW, but if you are in a hurry, you would just go to Northgate and then take the train. Thus it makes sense to go down Roosevelt.
In response to Chris, why the 73 northern terminal was modified. One, extra time to travel and second, there was no drivers create comforts at the end of the line. No comfort station (restroom) and food place (either restaurant or grocery store) at the end of the line. So, the 73 terminal was moved to where the 65 layovers at to provide those comforts. (yep, some drivers who had to use the restroom would either block a lane of traffic either on 15th AVE NE or NE 145th St).
My opinions on the matter:
1. With the 255 booted from the tunnel, the DSTT would be devoid of any SR-520 routes. If Metro goes with this, they’re gonna have to cough up the money to remove Bay B (and all references to it) to avoid confusion to riders. If they still wanna give the 255 the boot out of the DSTT, put another 520 route in its place to avoid the expense of removing Bay B (545, anyone?).
2. Regarding the 271/45 thru-route: No. Just no. An eastside route and an in-city route is not a valid thru-route combination–deadheading from Bellevue or East base to Loyal Heights is probably going to be long and exhaustive for some operators.
3. Revising the 271 to serve the Evergreen Point Flyer stop is the only thing I agree with. While we’re at it revise the 271 to use I-405 between SR-520 and BTC. That’ll improve things greatly!
2. Don’t deadhead that far. Run it in-service.
1. It takes all of $100 to put a sticker over every “B East (SR 520)” sign. $200 at union rates.
They had the same kind of stickers over the Link signs before Link opened.
2. OMG, how can the 28/132 ever cope? Or the 372 or 224 or 208 or 102 or 168. They must be crying tears and straining on the leash like dogs who are tired but their masters won’t slow down.
Haha — the most brutal piece of work I ever did, in terms of pure driving (rather than passengers or schedule issues), had nothing to do with any through-route. It was a 6-hour part-time tripper that did this:
South Base -> deadhead to Boeing Everett -> 5 minute break -> 952 from Everett to Auburn -> deadhead at peak of peak from Auburn to Belltown -> no break -> 152 from Belltown to Enumclaw via 272nd and Auburn -> no break -> deadhead to South Base
That thing still scares me when I think about it. I was totally beat by the end of it every time I drove it, even though it was only 6 hours.
Wow. Do you know how long that was in the cards? There has to be some better way to schedule that. At least, stop at a few freeway exits along the way and put out the South Base – Boeing and Auburn-Belltown deadheads as revenue service!
I meant the distance of deadheading from the base to either end of the 28/132.
Operators do far worse things than a Bellevue Base-Loyal Heights deadhead every day. At typical deadhead times, with a 40′ Gillig, I think I could do that deadhead in under 20 minutes. In any case, the route could operate from Central Base as easily as Bellevue Base.
There is a reliability concern with the through-route if the 271 uses current routing through Medina, but that would be entirely fixed if the 271 were rerouted to Bellevue Way or 112th as I suggest.
Why would any SR 520 rider want to split the SR 520 routes again and put one back in the tunnel?
Metro has already devised a solution for the Bay B poles: Strap signs to them saying “Driver alert: This stop is closed. To catch route 255 go …”
They also have the equipment to unbolt the poles and cart them off, at little expense.
Did someone say 28/132?
For the record, since the 132 is my ride, I would prefer it *not* go in the tunnel, all things being equal. If it helped smoothe operations in the tunnel and upstairs, I suppose I wouldn’t mind.
The idea of a version of the 28x going to Bellevue is intriguing, but probably not in sync with deadheading buses from Bellevue at the beginning of the day and deadheading them back at the end.
Maybe the intent of Mike’s 28/132 reference flew way over my head.
As a new reader of the Seattle Transit Blog, I am impressed by David Lawson’s proposal and the dialogue it has promoted here.
Mr. Lawson clearly devoted a huge amount of analysis, calculation, and visualization to the preparation of his proposal. His discussion of the challenges of “The Big Reach” of restructuring Capitol Hill service, while respectful of the Metro planners, presents a fact-based and more coherent solution to this hard problem. I support it.
The primary goal of this project is to improve access to and encourage usage of the light rail system. After all, it is called the “Link Connections” project. At the very least, the proposal should make access to light rail no harder.
As a Madison Park resident, Route 11 is my access to greater Seattle. The current 11 is a long two blocks from the new Capitol Hill Station – not optimal, but feasible for many users.
Metro’s proposed 11 worsens access to light rail. It makes Capitol Hill Station harder to reach. The 3+ block walk to University Station after a much longer ride across Seattle is not a reasonable alternative.
I am mindful of the history of an electric trolley the length of Madison Street, the allure of the only straight shot from Sound to Lake, and the anticipation of a BRT. But these are the goals of a different project, one that should be addressed when Move Seattle is passed this fall and funding for the Madison BRT becomes real.
This effort should focus on Link Connections.
You think this article is impressive, check this out: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2013/08/19/your-bus-much-more-often-no-more-money-really/
There is a case of a guy (same guy) out of the blue writing up a fantastic plan for redoing the entire network, complete with expected frequency and everything.
But yes, this is an excellent post as well and much more pressing.
As an upper Madison Valley resident (1/2 block to the 25th Madison E stop), I agree with your 11 All Madison critique. Obviously, we all have our own biases, but it just seems like most people are either going to the Pike/Pine corridor, or to CBD retail core. I suppose I might change my mind when the Whole Foods at Broadway and Madison opens…
Interestingly, this whole thread has made me do a complete 180 on the Madison BRT thing. I previously saw it as nice new shiny transit amenity serving my neighborhood, but now I’m pretty “meh” about it. I would rather have muy high frequency on the 8 (I’m still doing double takes on how crowded the post 9:30pm EB buses are getting) and improved frequency on the current 11 route (which is coming, right?).
At the risk of muddying the waters. let me suggest this:
Through-route route 38 with the Summit tail of route 47. I bet riders on Summit would take the trade-off of much-more-frequent service with having to transfer to head downtown. If the 38 ends up on John, then giving the senior population there a one-seat ride to Group Health would sweeten the deal.
Are you seriously proposing cutting all buses to Belltown? That’s insane.
I think this comment ended up in the wrong place? David definitely isn’t suggesting that.
“The time savings could at least partly pay for a short extension of coverage route 246 to Yarrow Point Station, covering the sparse demand from the Clyde Hill area”
Actually, that is GOING to happen for the June 2015 shakeup. Route 246 will be extended to Yarrow Point Station. Since there is no comfort station there, the 246 will be live looped and the layover will take place at Bellevue Transit Center after serving Yarrow Point Station.
One more thing: get buses off of the 12th Ave NE Greenway. It’s supposed to be a quiet, traffic-calmed street, not a super-wide speedzone with bus storage.
Alternative #1 had this right.
Comments are closed.