The Cambridge Guided Busway is the world’s longest with 16 miles of guided sections. The guidance allows buses to run on a very narrow right of way (typical of many former railroad lines). It’s greener due to the vegetation that grows between the grooved concrete slabs which contain the wheels of the bus.

Running the buses on a narrower footprint leaves more space for a busy bike/walking path alongside.

75 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Cambridge Guided Busway”

  1. Might work along the Eastside Rail Corridor, now that they’ve ripped up the tracks.

    Could integrate with freeway lane BRTs

    1. It is something that a hybrid ERC/ I-405 hybrid corridor could successfully feature. It seems unimaginable for ST to consider something this innovative though – considering even more common technologies like DMU/EMU, cable-pulled systems and third rail don’t seem to be of even basic interest to ST.

      1. It’s exactly that unwillingness that makes this attractive (though I do not know how much re-engineering of the current ST models would be needed).

        Another possible route is the Interurban Trail (recreating that classic route)! More than enough space between the bike lane and the freight lines.

        This would supplement the missing week night and weekend service that Sounder can’t provide to Kent Station.

  2. It’s so weird seeing routes like the 71 & 150 on the surface in downtown.

    1. You don’t stay up very late.

      Many is the time I’ve gotten on the 150 outside the Walgreens on 3rd after seeing a concert downtown.

    2. That’s what it was like before the DSTT and when it was closed for renovation.

  3. Recommend visit to Eugene, Oregon, for closest busway experiment- with exception of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. To bad present railroads don’t like Talgo trains better.

    Eugene has simplest mechanism for guided steering. Notice the rollers ahead of the steering axles of the buses in the video. Probably no big deal mechanically- but still adds complexity in a place where things need to be strong and simple.Would like to talk with a Cambridge mechanic about wheel alignment.

    Also, would bet that street curbs along likely bus routes are uniformly designed with the rollers in mind. And drivers intensively trained to minimize wear and damage.

    While early documents talk about electronically guided steering in Eugene, I think chosen method was something we should have built into our DSTT platforms in 2005.

    A thick strip of smooth yellow material- fiberglass, I think-is bolted onto the vertical concrete edge of every station platform, rounded at the ends for smooth contact. Guided by a painted lane-stripe on the street, the driver simply runs the front tire against the side of the strip.

    However, note that the guide way in the video has to be fairly massive and heavy. Light rail, and definitely streetcars, can operate on more confined structures. In Europe, I’ve seen streetcars cross pedestrian plazas with people walking three feet to either side of the car without even looking up.

    I think this level of comfort owes to the fact that the edges of cars will always be the same distance from the tracks. The Route 12 runs articulated streetcars across the Oslo waterfront plaza with neither signals nor painted lane markings.

    However, the plaza is paved so that a pad of cut stone the exact width of the car body lies above the rest of the stone surface by about an inch. More than enough for someone to feel their the edge of the pad against the sole of their shoes. Busway steering would need a higher guide beside the tires.

    Another comparison: maintaining ride quality. Which is cheaper and easier to maintain- track alignment or pavement repair?

    Every mode has its place. Just so decision is a mechanical rather than a religious question.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Cantabrigians are riding their bicycles about 2 feet from buses going 50 mph in the video above.

      I’d say the system works.

      1. That was the part that was kind of freaky. I’m sure it took some getting used to. To see a bus essentially headed right to you, with no obvious physical barrier then curve away is a bit unnerving. Folks are probably used to it by now.

      2. Try running the same bus across a park full of pedestrians at twenty miles an hour. Where no guidance on the steering is possible.

        Nothing against guided bus ways. Right now, given the permanent rush hour parking lot the length of I-5 between Everett and the Capitol exit in Olympia, I doubt opposition would be unanimous.

        Thought: since bus on guide way can’t move out from under wire centerline, should be possible to build a negative “return” circuit into the structure, and run the bus on the same single-wire pantograph as a rail car.

        With a mechanism to drop and raise the pantograph from the driver’s seat. Depending on route distance off-wire, bus could run on batteries between busway segments.

        Or, like the Neoplan prototype the DSTT project definitely should have bought, use a motor-generator system so that the wheels are always powered by an electric motor.

        Which draws power either from the overhead, or from a diesel engine with no connection to the wheels. Saving cost of a transmission, and several tons of weight.

        If pads and guides lend themselves to standard road-building equipment- go for it! But might be a good idea to spec out the roadbed for easy conversion to rail.

        Because guided or not, buses can’t be coupled- requiring a lot more linear road space that trains with same passenger capacity.


    2. WayCool. Drivers can now take their breaks in the seat, eat lunch, maybe check their email. With cruise control and collision radar, you could even ask a passenger to ‘watch the road, I’m going to stretch my legs a bit.”

      1. … anyone else notice the buses are in the middle of no-where and all running practically empty. Sounds like something Seattle needs.

      2. Worse still, once they actually get into Cambridge, they get dumped onto regular city streets and crawl through town — much worse than similar occurrences in Seattle, I am told. The project was over two years late and many millions of pounds over budget. It’s also had much less ability to remove traffic from the A14 than was originally promised.

        The ability to run in narrow right of ways is a bit of red herring. The guided bus lanes only really save about 75 cm, and there’s obviously plenty of spare space there — the bike lane was a late add on once they discovered that they had extra space.

        Oh, and apparently, the buses can’t go backwards on the guideway, so by the time those bells ring, all the bus can do is wait to be rescued. Better than a bridge bash, I suppose.

      3. much worse than similar occurrences in Seattle, I am told.

        Are you sure? A quick Google reveals a number of targeted 24-hour bus lanes for core services crossing the town center, along with an inevitable general congestion-charge cordon making its way through the public process.

        Sounds a wee bit more proactive than Seattle, if you ask me.

        The combination of congestion cordons and bus-priority areas is highly effective across Europe’s less rail-rich smaller/older cities.

      4. This is quite a bit more proactive.

        “Travelling into Cambridge city centre by car is not recommended and a number of alternatives are available.”

      5. What both Mic and the Burke-Gilman extrapolators seem to be missing is that this busway, much like the ones in Australia, are appropriately suburban/interurban/arterial corridor transit. Thus the need for relatively high speeds, and the benefits of system “openness” once past the major choke points and nearing destinations not immediately adjacent to the preserved ROW that has become the busway.

        The busway’s intermediate stops aren’t wholly useless, but they play distant second fiddle to the other destinations that these buses are being expedited to reach. This isn’t exactly a proper “rapid transit” corridor, much less an urban one.

        Extrapolating this do the non-radial and destination-dense North Seattle east-west corridor is unhelpful and inappropriate. East of Fremont, the Burke-Gilman simply doesn’t “go there”. The trail’s distance is short enough that it can already be competitive to bypass the 44 at biking speed. But that doesn’t help you if your destination is anywhere not at lake level. Buses at any speed on the same course wouldn’t help either.

      6. Seem to remember a commuter train engineer doing that a few years ago. All good things come to an end. Like transit lines.


      7. @d.p. Yes I’m sure both from having been in Cambridge traffic and from talking to people from Cambridge.

      8. Probably overly strong.

        First, What I had in mind was mostly long distance buses here (like the East side buses, or the I-5 freeway buses) travails getting through downtown Seattle. The 8 is a totally different kettle of fish, one that competes unfavorably with some memorable third world bus journeys of mine.

        Second, much of my information about the in town performance comes from soon after opening. It is definitely possible that the situation has improved somewhat, I have recent reports that the bus lanes aren’t as effective as advertised because they get illegally blocked by motorists (which the council has finally, recently turned into a nice money spinner), and (shades of Seattle) by other buses waiting for cash fumblers.

        Third, this is a project I’ve been sniping at, on and off, for roughly a decade now. It’s possible that there’s some confirmation bias at play here.

      9. Well, yes, I hit on enough references to the recently-zealous and lucrative initiative to fine bus-lane scofflaws to understand that this must have caused serious problems in the pre-fine days.

        Similarly, the general city-center congestion cordon proposal is a recent enough that it has not yet gone in to effect, which means the Overton tipping point on that subject also post-dated your personal experience.

        Which is to say that while you may not have been wrong about ineffectively-holistic implementation over the past decade, the present push for effectiveness seems to significantly exceed what Seattle has seen on our incomplete transit-priority infrastructure, which is invariably the first casualty of any construction or “special congestion” event.

  4. Is there some map / updates page on construction in SLU? Kind of like ‘track my pontoon’ but ‘track my sidewalk / stretch of bike lane’.

  5. I’ve always loved the concept of guided buses in a track, especially the green medians — yet I understand that there are political, comfort and design issues that have made it a hard sell around the world. I wonder if coupling buses into rubber-tired trains would change that.

    1. Don’t know if the Russians still do it, but thirty years ago, some Russian systems simply coupled standard forty foot trolleybuses- old ones- ran a wire through the coupler, and only raised poles on the rear ones.

      From what I can gather, trolleybuses aren’t the only Russian thing that few Americans would tolerate, but seem to work in the face of every possible kind of abuse. Admiration rather than insult to say pretty much like Russia itself.

      Would still give the Crimeans a thousand US dollars to be able to drive one trip on the 50-mile long trolleybus line over the mountains from the coast to the interior. Good practice for inevitable extension of the Route 7 through Renton to Ellensburg.

      Like the PCC streetcar, however, there’s much to be said for designing with simplicity and toughness in mind. Something that this country used to be good at, back when we were manufacturing anything.

      One problem with coupling buses, though. Motors have to be perfectly synchronized so each bus pulls itself in precise relation to the others. Because unlike railcars, standard buses aren’t designed with the strength to either pull or be pulled by each other.

      Might check with Cambridge and see if they’re planning to do this. I don’t think very many guided busway systems do. Though theoretically, on the guideway itself, steering would take care of itself. Buses could couple up entering the system, and uncouple when leaving it.


      1. Since we are moving to driverless cars, driverless buses that follow a leading bus in a guided busway seems doable. The most challenging aspect would seem to be how to decelerate and stop at a station.

        Another option would be to introduce double-articulated buses like these in Curitiba (if the non-busway portion isn’t too problematic):

  6. This will be a rant. I’d like to know why Sound Transit is so lousy at communicating with the public. I flew into SeaTac Friday night. No signs up in the airport about the tunnel being closed this weekend. No signs in the train station. No signs on the train itself. The display board said that the last train out of SeaTac leaves at 11pm, but no info about what someone should do if they landed at midnight and was expecting a train.

    Oh and the kicker is that there were 2 trains parked at the station. The display board said “This train for Seattle” pointing to the train further from the terminal. But then the other train departed first! That would make a good first impression for visitors, the agency can’t even say which train people should board.

    It’s not like Metro’s much better. The 71 I took on Friday didn’t have any signs on it either and Metro has done a lousy job in the past about announcing when buses will be rerouted and what the temporary stops are.

    Do Sound Transit and Metro just assume that we all have smart phones and tablets and can just go to their website to find out why the trains and buses aren’t operating normally? Because that seems like the agencies are out of touch.

    1. On Friday evening at Pioneer Square Station I heard a voice announcement saying the tunnel would be closed, and it said to check or Metro online for more information. Nothing about where the buses would stop at. I think it mentioned the 97 shuttle but not where it would go from and to, giving the impression it would go all the way to SeaTac.

      1. And on Saturday morning, along 2nd. Ave., there was not a single “rider alert” sign that said “tunnel closed; board route 550 here”. The regular signs did indicate where to board the Metro routes when the tunnel was closed, but there was no mention whatsoever about where to board the 550. I guessed that since the 550 was a Sound Transit route, it would share stops with the 554 (2nd Ave. uses the skip-stop pattern, so if you guess wrong, your bus will drive right by you without stopping). Thankfully, this time, I guessed right. Next time, Sound Transit, please post signs so that people like me don’t have to guess!

    2. Last night, my nearly-midnight D bus:
      – had to skip its long-term-closed Pike stop, for an arbitrary alternate
      – had to skip its short-term-closed Virginia stop, for an arbitrary alternate
      – circled every which way around LQA, doubling the time of an already cumbersome detour, without warning, for the sake of simple roadwork that SDOT could easily have done one lane at a time if it gave 1/3 of a shit

      The most amazing thing is that the bus was full. Like, one person standing for each person in a seat full. At half-hourly frequency and with everyone going out of their way to make the thing as hard to board and as pointlessly slow as possible. It’s frankly shocking that we all still bother with the standards in this town sub-sub-basement low.

      1. To be fair, it is probably cheaper for SDOT to close an entire street at once, rather than close one lane at a time, and hire extra people to flag traffic through the one lane that remains open.

        The problem goes back to the fact that Metro believes the 1, 2, 4, 13, and Monorail, is not enough service for downtown->Lower Queen Anne Trips, and that the D-line needs to delay everybody going between downtown and Ballard in order to add one more bus for downtown->Lower Queen Anne.

        Mostly, it comes down to institutional laziness. The old 15 and 18 did the lower-queen-anne job (except when the expresses were running), so Metro simply assumed that the D-line had to also. I also heard rumers that the D-line was originally supposed to be the local shadow for the monorail, but when the monorail extension got cut, the D-line routing was already set in bureaucratic stone, and could not be changed.

    3. I sometimes think ST and Metro assume that we will all be polite Seattleites and not complain. If we do complain, I think the agencies assume we are being uncooperative trouble-makers — and so our words can be ignored. As Seattle gets more residents from other areas of the country and local residents do travel on other systems, users are increasingly savvy about how things could be better. The agencies will see an erosion of public confidence unless their perspectives fundamentally change from being more self-congratulatory to continually questioning more how to be better.

      Sadly, the need to provide better user information is growing as our communication technology continually gets better, and it is one of those things that seem to fall on unresponsive ears. Programs and systems introduced even in the past five years are looking antiquated. Scrolling, monochromatic signs at Link platforms that seem overly burdened with needless words (“Welcome to…” and “Sound Transit Link Light Rail” filling much of the signs) and rarely updated for real-time information (next train arrival signs, and destination information; problems with connections being experienced by other transit operators; last train alerts) is a good example of outdated thinking and technology. I wish I could tell you how to inspire changes, and the only solution that I can come up with is to elect local candidates who have the call to be stronger advocates for improving agency action on reasonable public complaints and ideas.

      1. The problem is not Metro and ST assuming we’ll be polite sheep and put up with anything, it’s the anti-tax people and street-parking defenders and legacy-route advocates who make it hard to get any major improvement passed.

      2. I don’t think that’s the complaint here, Mike. The complaint here is not about anti-tax or parking or legacy routes. The complaint here is about useful real-time information.

      3. To me, Mike Orr’s hit on time and method to get the system’s attention to its decades-long unforgivably miserable performance on passenger information.

        From radio to internet, organize campaign a year or two in advance of the next transit tax vote to tell the system in no uncertain terms that positive vote will depend on one year of a working system before the election.

        Short-term guerrilla campaign: start taping up hand-lettered signs at the foot of the Nordstrom-end escalator saying “Train to Sea-Tac!”
        And every time signs are taken down- that’s what cell phone cameras and Twitter are for.

        The most important platform in the system has no business having passengers pulling luggage all over Westlake Station-including back upstairs- to find out where airport train stops. I give it two days “shaming” for the result I’ve been bugging the system for since LINK opened.

        Mark Dublin

      4. Admittedly, Mark Dublin, I’ve fantasized about getting some long, skinny decal strips and plastering lettering on the light poles or shelters to do that at every station in the middle of the night! I don’t have the supplies, but I know ST does because I see them at stations…

        Someone once explained to me that there is a segment of the pro-transit community that believes that any criticism of transit is an outgrowth of a complete anti-transit predisposition. For those reading criticisms, the first question that should be asked is if this person prefers or avoids transit. I’m amazed that when suggestions to make information better, others don’t see that the complaint is made because the person PREFERS to use transit but finds it difficult. I think the agencies instead think that they are at battle with the “enemy”; especially ST. It’s exactly this polarization mentality that obstructs sincere consideration of what are really pro-transit suggestions given to the operators.

    4. FWIW, they did post it on their Twitter account a couple of days ago.

  7. Cars Are Noisy

    I never realized how noisy cars are until I rode my bike with my radio playing.

    I have a little Jawbone Jambox and was carrying it home on my bike, and decided to play some music. It’s pretty loud for a small device, and I had it on full blast when riding on Kent-Kangley but the noise of traffic was so great, I could not hear it.

    And by noise I don’t mean other people playing car sound systems, or loud mufflers. I mean just the swishing white noise of a car whizzing by on the street. Even just one car made enough noise to drown out my radio. With heavy traffic, it really became apparent how noisy a busy street can be!

    But as soon as I turned on a side street with no cars, I could hear my Jawbone. It stunned me to compare how much sound cars emit just travelling down a road.

    1. Is this a Road to Damascus moment for John Bailo?

      Can we expect the persecutor of “Urbanists” now to sell his density “tents” in virtual Antioch’s and Phillipi’s throughout the Link service area? Does the Emperor Kemper need to worry about his State religion of sprawl, sprawl, sprawl?????

      1. I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        Just honestly doing some local science.

    2. Many of my formative moments involved situations like that. I someone have to remind myself that others don’t despise cars like I because they spent less time on the tail end of them. Maybe I should write up a full car diatribe sometime.

    3. One of the things I thoroughly despise about the freeway MAX stations, but especially the three along I-84, is the horrific traffic noise. It is unfortunate that Link passengers will soon have that same miserable experience.

    4. Cars are extremely noisy, and when walking anywhere, I try to stay off the mains roads as much as possible. Of course, this is a lot easier when the city planners are kind enough to allow you safely cross a main road from something that isn’t a main road. Seattle is generally pretty good at this (although there are plenty of exceptions), as are a few pieces of Bellevue and Kirkland, while many of the newer suburbs designs their street grids in a way that forces you to walk along arterials in order to get anywhere. This is a large part of what the neighborhood greenway movement is advocating for.

      For some reason, traffic noise isn’t nearly as annoying when I’m on a bike as when I’m on foot. On a bike, avoiding hills usually trumps avoiding car noise. On foot, avoiding car noise usually wins.

      1. Yeah, it isn’t just crossing the road, but having sidewalks as well (although they are a lot more expensive). Not sidewalks everywhere, but an alternative within each area to walk that doesn’t involve walking next to an arterial. I agree, Greenways do this — and they are a very good thing (especially for kids trying to get to school).

      2. That’s the attitude here too, but I Disagree with it.

        In 1924, the area where I live had several farm houses and an interurban line. Yet, that is the date cast into the concrete on the sidewalk grid in most places.

        90 years later, at 20 times the density and auto traffic moving at three times the speed, it’s no longer worthwhile putting that type of forethought into sidewalks?

        At least here, the city has run a few surveys asking people about places where there are no sidewalks and what their top three priority places would be for installing new ones. Having walked through fairly busy areas of the far north areas of Seattle, I can tell you that there are some areas that desperately need them. Does the city ever run that type of survey of residents in those areas just to find out where they are most needed?

      3. I never said that greenways are a substitute for sidewalks on arterials. They are not. As long as homes and businesses exist on arterial streets, people have to have a safe way to walk to them. If anything, arterial streets should be first in line to get sidewalks because these are the streets where trying to walk on them without sidewalks is most dangerous.

        That said, with a pedestrian-friendly street grid, the sidewalks on arterial streets should be needed only for local access to the homes and businesses immediately on that street, as any trips more than a block two are much more pleasant on side streets. This works a lot better when you have a street grid that allows a person walking to use side streets as thru-streets. By contrast, a street grid that forces a person walking to take the same route that a car would take means the entire route is going to be a noisy, lousy, experience.

      4. A few Metro bus stop shelters are wisely designed with the glass facing the street, protecting waiting riders from noise. I’ve even been at public meetings where riders beg transit operators to put bus stop shelters face away from the street for noise and wind reasons.

        Unfortunately, there isn’t a widespread effort to encourage this. I would also add that when agencies contract out to private design firms, those firms are not encouraged to propose designs that are more context sensitive to the user experience.

      5. The noisiest bus stop I’ve ever seen is Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station. The accoustics are set up so that sound bounces off the various levels of the parking garage, so your ears are bombarded the moment you step out of your car. The walk between the garage and the bus stop is even worse. Thankfully, the noise level does decrease a little bit at the bus stop itself, but it’s still loud enough that you can’t have a conversation there without yelling.

        I would personally advise anyone who uses this stop on a regular basis to bring earplugs.

        This might the one the reasons why no matter how much bus service the stop gets, the parking garage is under-used. I can only hope the acoustics of the future Link station there are better.

      6. I agree, asdf2. Given the really high cost of sidewalks, we can’t build them everywhere (sorry Glenn). It makes sense to have them on busy streets first, since folks have to travel on busy streets. But that isn’t enough, in my opinion. I think you should have at least one quiet way to get from one neighborhood to the other. By “neighborhood”, in this case, I mean one area enclosed by an arterial or natural boundary. In some cases (like the cul-de-sac land of many suburbs) there is no alternative — walkers have to go to a busy street. But on many north and south end Seattle streets, there are alternatives, and at least one of them should have a sidewalk. So, for example, 25th NE, crossing 125th NE, would connect a couple neighborhoods. A few long sidewalk streets (even on one side of the street) then becomes a really good value. People would use it the same way that drivers use arterials — head to the nearest one and follow it for a while.

  8. Rode the 512 to Everett for the first time yesterday. Overall it was an uneventful trip until we hit the Ash Way P&R. Getting off the freeway northbound was easy, but then it was a long slog back to the on-ramp. It was even worse southbound as the traffic on 164th was backed up onto the freeway off-ramp. It took us easily 8 minutes to pull off the freeway, make the turn onto 164th and make the turn onto Ash Way. Every other stop where the bus had to get off the freeway took under 90 seconds and the flyer stops were even faster.

    Why was only half of the direct access ramp built at Ash Way? Is there any effort underway to build the other half? It just seems like a painful detour on an otherwise fast trip.

    1. It was proposed in the 2007 RTID proposition, IIRC. That proposition had Link ending at Ash Way P&R, so a northern ramp would’ve made tons of sense.

      Overall, I think it’s not necessary right now, since STEX 512 would be the only route that uses it outside of peak service.

    2. I think at the time it was built there was no route exactly like the 512. The combination of off-peak 510 and 511 runs into 512 runs only happened a few years ago (first on Sundays, then for all trips except peak).

      I don’t think there’s any plan to build the other half right now. They’re probably just waiting for Link at this point.

    3. Ideally, funding stuff like this in ST3 should be a no-brainer. But at long as the prevailing attitude is Link to Everett or bust, simple, cheap improvements like this are likely to never happen.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. Changes like this make a lot more sense than extending Link out to Everett. I know the freeway isn’t always fast, but it is way better than the side streets. What is the point of spending billions on a light rail system that has very few people walking to it, and is extremely hard to get to?

    1. The problem with a Burke alignment is that nothing of consequence is close to the Burke. All the business is along Market/45th. The Burke is great as a level bike route, but a transit route really needs to be closer to where people want to go.

      1. I wouldn’t summarize it that way. I would say:

        1) It isn’t that cheap, if you want the bike path as well. The Burke Gilman goes right under several bridges, right next to the water. This means that you would have to build out (towards the water) or spend even more on a bike path. When all is said and done you don’t save that much money.

        2) It is next to the water. This is probably the biggest weakness. It actually goes within a few blocks of plenty of people. The area around Gasworks is booming, Stone Way has plenty of people, as does lower Fremont. Meanwhile, it is about the same distance to the heart of old Ballard. The problem is that in all those cases, there is absolutely nothing in the other direction. You would have to swim in most cases, and in the rare cases where there is a bridge (Fremont and University Bridge) there is a very long walk before you reach anything of significance.

        3) It doesn’t work well with the buses. It is pretty easy to see that with a more northern routing and decent stop spacing ( the bus routes not only serve it well, but they do so without much of a change. On the other hand, a coastal route would cause some problems. Wallingford would be OK, but Fremont would be a challenge. Folks on an Aurora bus would, at best, have a significant schlep up the hill, while folks on Phinney Ridge/Greenwood would have to wait a while (and slog through traffic) before their bus connected to Link. Likewise this would delay those coming along 8th. Those coming from 15th are probably in worse shape, as, like Aurora, the main street is a long ways above the surface, and a logical stop would probably be a few blocks to the west (closer to the heart of Ballard).

        The biggest problem is cost. If we want to preserve the bike lanes, then running light rail along there would not be cheap. If it was, then this (in addition to other light rail) could make a lot of sense. But it isn’t, which is why it is being seriously considered by Sound Transit (or the city).

      2. This is true, although the only part of the Burke that has anything to connect to is parallel to the much better Market/45th route. Once you get east of Children’s, there’s no businesses at all until you get to Lake Forest Park. On the other side of Ballard in Shilshole, even when Metro tried bus service with the 46, they ended up having to cancel it due to low ridership.

        Another problem with the Burke is the Missing Link. The portion of the Burke that actually goes by businesses in Ballard simply doesn’t exist as a bike trail. This would mean you would have a couple miles of busway between Fremont and the U District (albeit the low-density part of the U District), that would only be able to connect with a handful of routes. I doubt UW would want a busway going through campus proper, so it would probably have to stop around 15th Ave NE & Pacific, and wouldn’t be able to hit Link.

        At least the Market/45th corridor could be extended to be around 5 miles long. I say if we’re going to spend serious money on grade separation, let’s do it where it serves lots of people and connects with lots of routes.

      3. As a feeder like say the 75 it would do well with a guided bus. I see the 75s packed where it runs near burke. It wouldn’t need large stations just frequent neighbor bus stops.

      4. @Skylar — You are just repeating my first point. Of course this would complete the missing link, and of course it would go to the UW and connect with Link. Otherwise it is pointless. But doing both of those things is not cheap. That’s the thing about a lot of similar projects (e. g. the new monorail) they sound great at first, but once you look at the details, you realize it will be very expensive. Once you realize it will be very expensive, you might as well do something better — like move it away from the water.

        UW to Ballard light rail will probably initially serve 15th to the UW, but we should be able to extend it to 24th eventually. Extending it further east gets you very little for the money. I could see maybe adding a station next to the U-Village, since there is population density there, but the numbers trail off really quickly east of there. Meanwhile, you have huge parks and cemeteries. Yes, there is a hospital — but there are bigger hospitals that we managed to skip (like the V. A.). A single hospital, surrounded by parks and hardly any housing is not worth the effort. It would make sense if we were running a line out to Lake City (it would definitely include the hospital) but to build a line just for the hospital (and surrounding neighborhoods) is not very cost effective. Meanwhile, you would only improve the bus situation marginally. For people to the north it makes sense to take a frequent bus on 65th. A stop at 25th and 45th would make things a bit easier (for someone coming from the east) but what would happen with the bus when it got there? There is no way it would turn around — it would go to the UW. So you basically don’t speed up the buses, and you only make a connection from the northeast to Ballard a bit faster. This would be nice, but not worth the money. If Windermere or Laurelhurst increased its population density to look more like Magnolia then maybe it would make sense.* But right now it remains an area that is best served by buses.

        * Seriously — the numbers are shockingly low — Magnolia is actually more densely populated than the area east of U-Village. The only decent spots there are close to 65th (where, again, folks will take a bus along 65th).

      5. Problem is that the Burke has its Missing Link because of extreme business resistance (a la Kemper Freeman) to completing the trail. I doubt they’d be at all happier with both a bike trail and a rapid transit corridor…

        As for Magnolia being denser than Laurelhurst, that doesn’t surprise me at all. There’s actually quite a few decent-sized apartment buildings along the east and north sides of the hill. Laurelhurst is basically just a suburban gated community without the gate.

  9. I was surprised to find one of the busiest surface level stops in Seattle closed down long-term (3rd at Pike). I admit I’ve only been skimming the transit headlines lately, but can someone shed light on this? It left my family running for a few blocks to the next stop after using OBA to plan a trip on a Sunday (when it’s a long wait for the next bus).

      1. Wait. The problem was the miscreants were making the large volume of bus riders uncomfortable so the solution is to get rid of the bus stop?!

        Clearly someone at the city would have seen this as a bit crazy, right? I suppose the next step is to burn down Denny park?

      2. I understand what they’re trying to do and why. Previously, there were basically two places to stand at the 3rd and Pike bus stop – up against the wall ( and businesses) if you were participating in a drug transaction, and out front by the curb if you were just taking the bus.

        The cops know who the major players are. But they wait until just before summer to round ’em up, because that way even if they are not convicted, they are likely to be stuck in King County Jail for most of the tourist season.

        Out late the night after the 9.5 block strategy’s implementation, it was bizarre. 3rd and pike desolate, cordoned off with those heinous plastic barriers. Westlake park desolte, protected by 6 officers or so. Meanwhile at 3rd and Viriginia no change from the usual chaos and weirdness that engulfs that stop.

      3. The argument was that the miscreants hide behind the wall of commuters to do their dirty deeds, and it’s hard for police to observe them with that sightline. The project will smooth out some nooks and crannies people hide in (although when I looked I didn’t see any nooks larger than typical 1910 bay windows, so I don’t know what they mean) and change the street furniture. The bus stop move may have been necessitated by the construction anyway.

        When I rode the 132 a week ago, there was a temporary bus stop sign, a just-installed ORCA reader, but no real-time display. I don’t know if they’ll install a display for eight months.
        The bus stops are moved one block south. There wasn’t a real-time display when I used it a week ago.

  10. What will the added sounder train for this fall Sound Transit Restructure? Will it be a later train for people leaving Seattle past 6:12pm?

  11. When does the Spring Street bus lane go in by the Central Library? Wasn’t it this Spring?

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