montlakeAfter much STB hand-wringing over the distance between existing Montlake Triangle bus stops and the coming UW Station, at the last meetup Metro revealed that they’re working to improve the status quo.

Sending most 520 buses to UW Station instead of downtown saves service hours that Metro and Sound Transit can use to improve frequency to UW. It can also save time and improve reliability to downtown, but only if Seattle provides transit priority on Montlake Blvd. and the transfer penalty due to stop placement isn’t onerous. That’s why early failures to rethink car and transit flow in the Triangle were so disappointing.

The latest concept is a significant improvement over the status quo. In the figure, the half-green circles are pick-up only, the half-red circles are drop-off only, and the yellow circles are both. Among all-day routes, the 44, 45, and 67 would stop immediately across the street from the station. These routes also terminate there, so transfers from frequent Link to (relatively) infrequent buses should be reliable.

The 48 and 271 would have a southbound stop very close to the station’s south entrance. Their northbound stop, closer to the hospital than the station, would split into a boarding-only and dropoff-only stop, the latter a quicker operation that would block the lane near the intersection for a shorter amount of time. As both routes will terminate in the U-District, few people would likely board at this stop.

74 Replies to “Montlake Stops are Moving”

  1. Not seeing improvements for sr520 buses.

    Still looks like mt Baker all over again (and the uw was one of the bad actors there also)

    The permanent solution is still to truncate 545/255 at uw station with a loop around the station or a loop around the triangle.

    I don’t see how this gets us closer.

    1. It is Mt Baker all over again! It’s the Husky version of Frogger! Next will come the outcry that speeding cars are the problem rather than have ST, UW and City admit to the screw up in coordinating a reasonable layout.

      At least there will be down escalators in the station (I hope)!

      1. It is so utterly disappointing that designing a quality transfer wasn’t part of the station design process. After the poor conditions not just at Mt Baker but also Tukwila, it’s unconscionable what a poor transfer design was built here.

        And the SR-520 access is horrible, too. Westbound in the evening it isn’t unusual for offramp to be backed up to the mainline while the freeway is open. There is no effective way to make this transfer without a huge time penalty. And waste all those potential service hours.

      2. However bad the Montlake exit ramp is westbound in the evening, the light at Stewart and Denny is probably going to be worse. The Montlake exit ramp will improve somewhat over the next few months when it’s widened to two lanes.

      3. I don’t think the Montlake exit ramp performance will improve. Aren’t they getting rid of the ramp to the Arboretum at the same time? So all that traffic will also shift to the remaining ramp, and there will be a new traffic light. Odds are the congestion will get worse, not better.

      4. There is the interim design which is what’s funded and what’s currently being built. I don’t think there’s any HOV lane in that. Basically the new bridge will tie into the existing Montlake interchange except I think that the Arboretum ramps are gone, or at least the westbound exit. There is no lid. I believe the Montlake Flyer stations stay.

        Then there is the WS-DOT design for the section between Montlake and I-5. It’s not funded and not everyone loves the design. There are some who advocate that it not be built. It doesn’t solve any Montlake Blvd or bridge congestion. You lose the Montlake Flyer stations. The benefit of the HOV lane on the lid is questionable as there will be multiple signalized intersections, including any westbound exiting traffic which is headed southbound will cross the HOV lane at a signal. No one knows if or when this will be built.

  2. Lipstick on the Miss Piggy?
    More ‘intuitive – seamless transit for the Region I see.
    Stops for pickup or dropoff or both – simple!
    43 is a goner.
    All the eastside buses will make the tortuous trip up 15th, then the grand loop through the campus, that most riders will endure to keep from walking up the hill. So these are stops for PacMedCtr and little else.
    Where’s the stop for all the other eastside buses going to downtown Seattle that will now be truncated to Link?

  3. The stop locations on the UW campus still leave much to be desired when it comes to transfers to light rail.

    If you’re going to travel from say Downtown to Magnuson Park… you’ll have to walk more than a third of a mile from UW station to a bus stop for the 75 at either Stevens Way & Benton Lane or Stevens Way & Okanogan Lane. That’s a long walk for many people.

    The solution could be as simple as Metro and the UW adding a stop at Rainier Vista. If it happens it would certainly be in the running for the most beautiful but stop in the city.

    1. Good point. I think this would be the simplest, cheapest thing to improve things at this point. This would save about a 1/10 of a mile, or two blocks — a significant amount of distance and time. There is already a cutout westbound, and space for one the other direction. This would be very cheap, and big improvement for a lot of riders.

      1. From what I heard, Metro repeatedly asked for this, but the UW refused. They don’t want buses and bus stops blocking their views.

      2. At the meetup they said the UW is considering it, so that’s not quite no. The main obstacle is the views. I suppose that could be mitigated by painting the bus stop sign on the road and not having shelters.

      3. Since the LR stop is going to be around for decades, that stop should also be around for decades also. The UW has both an Architecture and Urban Planning department. Why not have them co-design the stop for beauty and have Metro build it?

  4. It should also be mentioned that the walking time between the station and bus stop is determined by not just distance, but also time waiting at stoplights. The new eastbound stop on Pacific St. Looks deceptively close, but you have to wait for one light to cross Pacific, followed by another light to cross Montlake. If there’s ever a case for a covered shelter for waiting for a stoplight, this is it.

    The westbound stop is a bit better, with either one or zero lights, depending on whether you choose to use the crosswalk or the bridge. Even then, when going from bus to train, you still have to wait for that light once, before you can get off the bus. I’m about 90% sure that if you can walk fast, simply getting off the bus one stop earlier, at Montlake and Shelby would get you to the train faster.

    1. There’s a social equity angle at play here. Who gets the short straw here, people going to the hospital (a group that includes patients with mobility challenges) or people transferring to the light rail station (a group that I would imagine will be somewhat larger than just hospital passengers)?

      1. The 48 routing is not just about Hospital vs. Link station. It’s also about minimizing delay for people that just want to get from the U-district to the central district.

        For those transferring to the north, they will board a bus that lays over in the Mountlake Triangle, so they won’t have to deal with the double-stoplight thing.

  5. It’s mildly better; it’s probably the best that can be done given ST’s self-imposed embargo on a pedestrian underpass. But not having a station entrance on the west side of Montlake in the Triangle block is beyond egregious.

    Given that people will have to rise five escalator spans from track level to the landbridge cross over and then double-back significantly, a Mezzanine level underpass to the west side would save people a minimum of four minutes.

    Even though it wouldn’t be a great as the ideal of puncturing the envelope of the Triangle Garage so that people headed for the hospital could be out of the elements the entire distance, it would be a big improvement for bus transfer riders using all of the west side and Pacific Avenue stops.

    It’s disgusting beyond belief. Penny wise, disappointing ridership foolish.

      1. I cannot figure out for the life of my why there isn’t an underpass from the mezzanine into the middle of the Triangle. What *possible* reason can there be for not having such an underpass?

    1. I agree. So many people dropped the ball on this one. First of all, it should have been in the triangle, not next to the stadium. That would have meant no huge overpass, but much better access for someone headed to most of campus or the hospital. It would have meant easy access for buses — those stops on Pacific would have been just fine.

      The only advantage to the current stop is that it could serve as a nice transit center. There is no reason why buses can’t turn around there. But at this point, no one is even talking about that. The reason is the same — they don’t want to spend the money. But for the cost of that ramp they simply could have paid the UW for the missing parking and built it.

      The only time this is the wee bit more convenient is on game day — when the Huskies play. But this is meaningless. On those days, crossing the street is trivial. Cops wave pedestrians across the street in huge bunches — forcing cars to stop and wishing they remembered what day it was. The hospital is used every day of the year, while Husky Stadium has an event maybe a dozen times a year. This was just a bad decision, all around.

      Its not too late to at least improve the bus situation, but someone at Metro, if not the county leadership level needs to talk to the UW and start negotiating for stops in that parking lot. I happened to be there yesterday (for the UW Bothell graduation ceremony) and there is plenty of room. The cost for that land would be made up for with the service hours saved. As of right now, we will need to bumble along. It makes sense for these buses to go from the hospital to the U-District. But once the U-District station is built, the number of buses that need to go between there should drop dramatically. At that point, the obvious thing to do is have these buses turn around inside the stadium parking lot (next to the station). For buses coming from the south, this would have the potential of being very fast (with decent treatment on 520).

      We will probably never have a good path for the thousands of users who go to the hospital or the campus from there, but at least we can build something good for those who transfer to and from the buses.

      1. Totally agree that in an ideal world it would have been under the Triangle. But I believe that UW Med Center, rightly, said, “We can’t lose the Triangle Garage parking for four years while you build the station!”

        While theoretically possible, It would have been ridiculously expensive to have mined the station box from the tunnels. But then there would have been a delay starting work on the station that would have occurred because the digging couldn’t have begun until the first TBM reached the site.

      2. It really wouldn’t have been too difficult to address UWMC’s concern by building some auxiliary parking in E-12 on the east side of Montlake to replace lost Triangle garage capacity…

      3. Why isn’t there a station entrance on the west side of Montlake Blvd? It cannot possibly have been that difficult to have an underground walkway with stairs on the other side of Montlake Blvd. Presumably if the bridge has elevators, the ADA path was available there.

      4. I just don’t buy the idea that we couldn’t have paid off the UW. The ramp isn’t cheap, and we could have used that money to pay for the loss of parking (both temporary and long term). If it cost more than that, then just pay it. When it comes to these types of decisions, there is very little discussion about details like this. We spent billions on a light rail line (with with very few stations) but we didn’t spend money on a station placement that would have saved the vast majority of riders a huge amount of time. It’s not like the station itself (or any station) is especially cheap, either. It is both expensive and dysfunctional.

        It seems to me that at some point, if you are ST, you start pushing back. If the UW drives a hard bargain, you complain publicly that putting the station by Husky Stadium will be a huge burden for the riders. If you still lose, then so be it, but I never saw or heard any of that. Everything is just hunky dory, because we have this huge overpass connected to a subway. I suppose we should build a pedestrian tunnel for our elevated stations. Meanwhile, those headed to the hospital get to cross two traffic lights. Those trying to get a bus to anywhere, of course, have a really bad connection. Part of the problem is the failure to add another stop at the intersection with 520, but it all seems connected. Sound Transit just seems to ignore, or at least not try to make a huge effort on the important things when it comes to transit stations. They seem to treat each one like a neighborhood swimming pool. (just put one here, and over here — no need to put them too close together or worry about getting to them).

      5. I believe ST thought an underground passageway would be perceived as dangerous.

      6. Why no underground passage here, but there is one at Broadway? Crossing Broadway on the surface is wayyyy less bad than surface crossing at Montlake/Pacific/Husky Stadium!

      7. Martin,

        The use of “ST” and “think” in your particular statement is simply an oxymoron. “ST” did not “think”, or if it did it used way less than the archetypal 10% of its collective “brain cells”.

        Can you think of any other city in the world which would place a station on the “wrong” side of a street as major and busy and Montlake — probably for perfectly sound reasons — and then not have a station entrance on the side of the street to which people are destined?

        Just don’t call it an “underground passageway”! Call it a “station entrance” and everything is hunky dory.

        This single two million dollar, penny-wise poor-ridership-foolish mistake will cause U-Link to severely under-perform. Mark my words. Everything will right itself two and a half years later when North Link opens with better transfers at stations farther north and more centrally located. But for the two years when people from Northeast Seattle are coerced to the corner of Montlake and Pacific to ride a train for three stations to the commercial core, they are going to be very mad!

      8. Maybe the problem will be rectified after the 100th pedestrian fatality while running across Montlake on a dark day. It’s pretty mind blowing how terrible this station fits with the surrounding area, but WSDOT, SDOT, and the UW are all equally at fault as ST.

      9. The lacks of an underground connection to the triangle wasn’t a money saving measure AFAIK. It was more about ‘safety’ concerns from the UW.

        In theory the skybridge serves the same purpose

      10. What are the safety concerns? The triangle garage has a fairly sketchy underground tunnel to the UW Med Ctr. It would have just been a station entrance on the other side of Montlake Blvd.

        The issue with the skybridge is that you are trying to force riders to make 2 more level changes. I bet a lot of them will just exit at street level and cross Montlake at Pacific St – at least those headed to the Med Ctr or buses on Pacific St – the skybridge is circuitous for them – it really only serves well for people headed toward campus

      11. At some point I believe the lack of a station entrance in the Triangle was excused away by ST asserting ‘safety’ concerns from the UW.

        They also asserted the sky bridge was effectively the same as an underground connection to the station.

        Originally ST wanted the station under Rainier Vista, but the UW nixed that idea, no matter how much better a location it would have been.

      12. >> WSDOT, SDOT, and the UW are all equally at fault as ST.

        I think you are right. To be fair, both UW and ST deserve most of the blame. They both took the approach that details like this weren’t important. They are more worried about providing security in a parking garage than they are the prospect of people getting hit crossing the street or people having to spend an extra five to ten minutes out of there day getting to where they want to go. They put way too much faith in an overpass that only serves those headed to campus — ignoring the huge numbers of people that go to the hospital. There is no reason they couldn’t have had a joint security agreement there. How is it any different than securing two different areas? In general, when it comes to security, you want to combine areas, not separate them. It is much easier to patrol a smaller area, not a big one. The total amount of space that now needs security is much bigger — this is not safer, it is more dangerous and more costly to patrol.

        But the big failure — the one that is causing much, if not most of the angst here is the lack of a 520 station. This was Sound Transit’s failure. They could have easily added a station here, and we wouldn’t be worrying about the 520 buses at all. It might be a tough problem to solve for a few years, but once the rest of 520 gets rebuilt, it becomes pretty easy to turn the buses around. Somewhere around Roanoke, either add an east bound bus only on-ramp, or add an Eastgate style turn around stop for buses. WSDOT hasn’t proposed either, because no one ever asked for it. Without a Montlake station, there is little need. WSDOT is instead talking about spending huge amounts of money connecting the HOV lane to the express lanes — which wouldn’t be needed at all if ST had done its job and built a station.

        At the very least they should have created a flat spot so that the station could have been added later. That would make all of this temporary (until the 520 work is done).

        Instead we will spend billions on a new freeway (complete with HOV lanes) and billions on a new light rail line that cross each other, but have no connection with each other. Next thing you know folks in Kirkland will be screaming for a new light rail across the bridge, because they assume that is the only way you can connect the two communities. This was a huge, inexcusable failure on the part of Sound Transit. I understand the logic behind leaving out First Hill (risky soil and risky politics) but there is no reason why you couldn’t flatten out a spot for a future 520 station. In a few years, while buses plod along, making their way to Husky Stadium (or back) and 520 is clogged again (because public transit isn’t very fast) this will be seen as one of the biggest mistakes made in our transportation system.

      13. Shane,

        For the same exact reason that we don’t want to force bus transfer riders to cross Montlake, the Hospital doesn’t want to force its patients to cross Montlake. Remember that there is no cross-walk south of Pacific. Everyone coming from the east side of Montlake to the Hospital complex must cross both the ginormous Boulevard and Pacific.

        Since the Hospitals are a huge source of revenue for the University and bus transfer rider are mostly not even poor schlub students, who do you think gets screwed?

        The University, like so many, is a profit-making shill hiding behind a “non-profit” mask.

      14. “I believe ST thought an underground passageway would be perceived as dangerous.”

        In that case, I have to ask what they were smoking. Crack, maybe?

        There are entrances on the far side of the street in every subway station in the freaking world. Nobody perceives them as dangerous until they’re a block long or more.

      15. It wasn’t Sound Transit who felt an underground passage would be dangerous (see Capitol Hill Station) it was the UW. Since Sound Transit doesn’t have eminent domain power over the UW, Sound Transit has to do pretty much what the UW wants in order to cross campus.

      16. Why or how can UW control access to Montlake Blvd, a public street (and a state highway, I think.) Seems like BS that UW could veto a station entrance across the street. And a lack of will on the part of ST to stand up for what’s right.

  6. Are the stops for Seattle bound riders going across SR520 missing from the map for their convenient transfer to Link?
    Like the 252, 255, 257, 268, 545

  7. Am I reading the maps correctly?
    There are zero stops next to the station on Montlake?
    All stops – both all-day and peak-only – appear to be at the triangle or at the hospital.
    Its the train station with no transfers. Even Mt Baker station has one stop on the same side of the street as the station.

    More relevantly, I’d like to know what the plan for the SR520 routes for next spring, when all the not-insane people attempt to switch from 545 -> 542 and from 255 -> 540
    Ridership numbers I could find.
    ridership: Q3 ’13 Q3 ’14 %∆ YTD
    542 Overlake-U District 93,200 96,269 3% 295,977
    545 Redmond-Seattle 644,511 683,509 6% 1,928,846

    540 Kirkland-U District 34,321 32,304 -6% 97,541
    Route WeekdayRides2013 WeekdayRides2014
    255 6,100 6,400
    (the 255 numbers don’t make sense to me – I’m misreading or perhaps tunnel on+off needs an adjustment? – I get 1.5million min ridership for 2013, and 1.54 million for 2014. )

    What is the crush load plan? Are we going to waste service hours sending empty buses to greenlake, or come up with a new all-day route that terminates somewhere in the u-district?

      1. There was some talk about the 542 being extended to Bear Creek P&R. I don’t know if that change got into Alternative 3 of the Link connections proposal.

    1. “There are zero stops next to the station on Montlake?”

      What buses take that route? According to the current Metro Northwest Area map, all northbound buses turn at Pacific. No bus passes the station, gobsmackingly crazy though that is.

      I’m not sure why the map above shows the 65 and 941 (?) using Pacific Place and then Montlake northbound. According to Metro’s website, the 65 uses Stevens Way.

      1. Ah I see. In the proposal the 65 only uses Stevens Way southbound. I guess it will be live-looped via 15th, Pacific, Pacific Place and then back north on Montlake.

        It’s interesting that the gentry in Laurelhurst and View Ridge have their little DART van deliver them directly to the front of the station.

        All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — Animal Farm, George Orwell.

      2. As of now, cars on Eastbound Pacific Street are not allowed to turn left onto Northbound Montlake. The only way to get onto Northbound Montlake is to go Eastbound Pacific St –> slight left onto Eastbound Pacific Place –> turn left onto NorthboundMontlake. And even if Seattle changed the traffic flow, I suppose Metro thought it’s easier for a bus like the 44/45/67 to go clockwise around the triangle than counterclockwise. Clockwise involves a slight left at the Pacific/Pacific intersection, than 2 rights onto Montlake and Pacific. Counterclockwise would involve 2 lefts involving Montlake which would seem to be a traffic nightmare in the making.

        I think it’s stupid street naming to have major stops at the intersection of Pacific and Pacific. How many people are going to get confused when told their bus picks up on Pacific Street but go to Pacific Place instead? Even Metro botched this 1 of the times Stevens Way on UW campus was closed, directing passengers to the Pacific Street stop when the temporary stop was on Pacific Place.

        I’m optimistic about stop location, with a couple of exceptions. Getting to from the heart of UW campus looks to be annoying unless you hop on the 65 and ride it around. And going between NE Seattle and the station involves a similar hassle if you’re trying to reach the 372 or 75. At least it’ll be easy to get to the heart of the U-District with the 44/45/67.

        Wasn’t there meant to be a bus that would cross 520, and then head up Montlake to Children’s Hospital? I don’t see it in the map, was that taken out of the newist proposal?

      3. “Wasn’t there meant to be a bus that would cross 520, and then head up Montlake to Children’s Hospital?”

        That was the 255 in alternative 1. Metro withdrew it due to general opposition to the 520 restructures.

      4. Not a conspiracy. The 65 has three markets: people going to UW, people going west, and people going out of the area (Link). The 25’s market to the extent it has one is additional frequency between Campus Parkway and the commercial part of Laurelhurst. Metro’s answer to that is boosting the 75 (mid-day frequency) and 65 (splitting it for reliability). The DART shuttle is for the low-density parts of the 25 and 71. It doesn’t have a market — there’s no hordes of students going to campus — so it doesn’t have to go anywhere in particular, therefore it might as well go to a Link station which will be the default solution for most routes in the future. It will be hourly, so anyone who wants a direct route to the station will have to wait an hour or take one of the other routes. There won’t be many highly-privileged people bypassing the UW because its estimated ridership is close to zero.

    2. Even with I-5 congestion, if you are coming from the Eastside on route 545 in most cases you will be on Stewart St on the 545 before you are at the Link platform in Montlake if you take the 542. So unless you are going close to Capitol Hill station, you’ll probably just stay on the 545. Same for the 255 vs. 540. The Montlake offramp is generally congested, as is the bridge, the turn to Pacific, etc.

      And even for the operators, given that they can’t turn the bus here, they are going to waste potential service hours driving through the University District to a layover point.

      1. Carl,
        If you’ve ridden the 255/545, you’ll be aware that the bulk of passengers for both stay on till Westlake, which is many more lights, stops, and peak traffic delays than the worst drive time around Montlake.

        Suppose we’ll see next spring. Note that HOV around Montlake is still due substantial improvements, while nothing can improve HOV on I-5, or the bus experience down Stewart/Olive.
        I already avoid the 545 in the morning to skip the Bellevue deviation.

        I just wish ST had stuck to the better planning around Alt 1, instead of capitulating to those who wanted to keep existing (bad) one seat rides.

      2. In my experience inbound in the evenings the 545 usually moves right along until Stewart & 7th. The left turn onto 5th is the killer. I think typically the 545 is on Stewart St before you’d ever be at the Link platform on a 542 or 540, and the 540 has shown how little demand there is for a Kirkland – U-District route.

        ST & Metro could have had more success with sending Eastside buses if they’d built a proper transit center in the parking lot, or built the Link station under Pacific St. with entrances on both sides. They didn’t build something that makes terminating the Eastside buses easy or convenient.

        Will be interesting to see where riders put their butts once the station opens. My guess is most will stay on the 255 & 545

      3. PS – It’s ridiculous that they haven’t built that bus stop on the Olive Way on-ramp to I-5 so that they can not only eliminate the 545 deviation but also provide that access 7×24 and on the 255 as well.

      4. It is extremely common for the 545 to spend 2-3 light cycles of 2-3 minutes each just to get across Denny. Once the bus is past Denny, the lights are timed for cars that maintain 30 mph without stopping. A bus that makes a brief stop at each bus stop will typically end up missing almost every light. This is true even during the off-peak, and I regularly pass 512’s and 545’s along Stewart on my bike – even at hours like 9:00 on a Saturday morning.

        During the afternoon peak, the inbound 255 also suffers greatly from the turn from Stewart onto 9th to get into Convention Place Station.

      5. I don’t think we are going to convince each other. My experience is that the 545 moves right along once it passes Denny, at least until the intersection at Westlake. I think there are just the stops at 9th and then 7th. The 255 will leave the tunnel sooner or later. In any event my experience is that 90% of the time it’s not more than 10-12 minutes from the Montlake Flyer stop to 7th & Stewart, and the westbound Montlake off-ramp has a big backup. So an exiting bus must get through that, cross the bridge, wait through a left turn cycle or two, and crawl up Pacific, often needing to wait for other buses to clear that zone. Then you have to walk the Triangle, climb a skybridge, and then descend down four levels. Generally you’d be at 7th & Stewart before you can complete that, so unless your destination is the Capital Hill Link station, there is no opportunity for time savings for the rider. And since there were no layover facilities anywhere nearby, the bus operating hours get sucked into U-District congestion, not useful service hours. It’s far less of a win that it could have been with a dedicated, protected route to the station and a turnaround there, but that’s not even proposed.

  8. It’s too late now, but it would have been nice if route 243 could be brought back from extinction, as it would provide not only a better connection between northeast Seattle and Bellevue, but also provide front-door service to the Link Station for people going downtown.

    The 243 was never really given a fair chance because it ran so few trips and didn’t have a Link Station to connect to.

    1. I agree. I used to love that bus, but it ran very rarely. It was especially geared towards early morning/early evening commuters, which seems crazy considering it was headed to downtown Bellevue (a tech center, where workers often worked late into the evening).

  9. The bike facilities at this new station are also horrible. Apparently the UW refused to allow the installation of bike lockers or a bike cage so we are limited to About 80 bike rack slots. There will be many more bikes on the train I suspect.

    1. That’s ridiculous, and will need to change. I think at some point, people will have to protest. The UW is a public institution, and needs to start acting like it. I know it makes money off of parking, but it has a responsibility to the public (as a public institution) to meet the needs of the public and do what is right. It is pretty easy to make the case that making it easy to get there by bike is part of that, especially since this serves as a huge connection from a bike perspective. Once Link gets there, the fastest way for a moderately fit person to get from Fremont to Capitol Hill will be to ride a bike, then transfer to the train.

      1. I will definitely be involved in getting better bike infrastructure at Husky Stadium. I did a test bike ride from my house further north (2.7 miles) and via the Burke Gilman and it should take me 15 minutes max. Plus 12 minutes to the University Street Station and my current commute time is chopped by 50%. Or if I need more exercise I can bike all the way downtown in 40 minutes.

      2. Actually I want them to expand the 941 DART area to reach our little subdivision east of Sand Point Way. Or more realistically I can walk 10 minutes to the DART stop.

  10. Here are my ideas about this:

    Like a lot of things in the area, everything that is done now is temporary. The first half of UW light rail work is about to be half way completed. It will take five years before the other half is done. When that piece is done, there will be a lot less need for buses to go on Pacific, between upper and lower campus (or Husky Stadium and the U-District, if you will). There will be some, but there won’t be a need for a huge number.

    520 is still being rebuilt. The final plans aren’t done, but it looks like there will be two exit ramps to northbound Montlake Boulevard.

    So, here is what I would do:

    1) Build the UW station as shown here: This really isn’t a huge piece of infrastructure. The UW will be out the money for parking, so the county (Metro) and Sound Transit should compensate them for it. But we are only talking about a handful of parking spots. It is probably the cheapest turn around spot, so bus agencies would save money by using the stop. Or they should put pressure on the UW to simply do it, as I’m sure there is some mandate somewhere that says they should reduce their carbon emissions, trips, etc.

    2) Add a flyover ramp for the HOV 520 westbound to Montlake Boulevard northbound exit. The HOV lane will be inside (drivers left). The bus needs to get over to the right lane. A flyover ramp (over the other ramp) should not be that difficult, and would save a huge amount of time. This is by far the most expensive suggestion I have, but worth it. This should be discussed right away, since 520 work is ongoing.

    3) From that ramp headed northward, the right lane should be HOV only, and the left lane general purpose. Traffic from Montlake isn’t that huge (and most of Montlake/24th could use a road diet). You could possibly even keep it one lane across the bridge; if that isn’t acceptable, then people merge from two lanes to one before the bridge, then go across.

    That pretty much takes care of east 520 (e. g. Kirkland) trips to Husky Stadium. It also improves a bus that follows a 48 type route. The third suggestion is probably the most radical (it could cause a fair amount of congestion) but people would adapt. It is probably the least important. Even without that change, getting to the Husky station would be much improved. For the other direction, it is a little trickier:

    4) Buses would exit at Pacific Street and turn left. There already is a light there. Buses would travel in the left lane (headed south).

    5) Prior to that intersection (on both Montlake Boulevard and Pacific Street) south bound drivers would have to get into one of two lanes. If they are headed to 520, then they have to be in the right lane. If they are headed to Montlake (or anyplace south of the freeway on ramps) they can be in either lane. If they are HOV, then they can be in either lane. The right lane will be congested, while the left lane won’t be. In general, when it backs up, it backs up with people headed to 520 (not Montlake/C. D.). Changing from the left lane to the right lane (and then getting on 520) would be illegal beyond Pacific. Well away from that intersection, signs should clearly be marked (left lane Montlake/HOV only, violators will be ticketed). I see no reason why this shouldn’t be easy for every driver. There is nothing in the left lane — it is different from the right lane of Pacific, which is often used for hospital pick ups. There will be a lot of last second merging (on both Pacific and Montlake Boulevard) but that happens anyway, closer to the freeway ramps (which makes it worse). Better to push the merging back, before the bridge.

    With the left lane HOV and local access only, it will move faster. That is probably as good as we can do for the 520 to Husky Stadium connection. Overall, it isn’t too bad. Even during rush hour, I think that can move reasonably well.

    Other than that, I think Adam’s suggestions are fine:, with two exceptions:

    6) I don’t see the need for any local terminating buses here, once Link gets to the U-District. The campus makes for a better turn around spot (for buses from the north and west) while the 48 (or the new version of the 48) does the job of connecting the other parts of the neighborhood with Link.

    7) A southbound 48 would head into the parking lot (via Pacific Place) instead of turning right (on Montlake Boulevard). This is a trade-off, but I think it is worth it. A bus would have to wait for a light to enter the parking lot, but once there, would easily connect to the other buses or Link. This avoids forcing the rider to choose between jay walking across a very wide street, or taking the annoying overpass (did someone mention shades of Mount Baker/Franklin High?). I could easily see someone getting off the 48, seeing a bus headed to Kirkland and sprinting across. This is avoided, and it also means that we no longer need the bus lane there. The sidewalks could be widened, and the area could be made just a little more pleasant (maybe put back a tree or two). Meanwhile, the bus might not move quite as fast, but it doesn’t have to deal with traffic, because, like the 520 buses, it take a left out of the parking lot, and stays in that left lane, which will have a lot less traffic.

    Suggestion number 3 is certainly controversial, and probably wouldn’t fly. But as I mentioned, it isn’t that important. Meanwhile, suggestion number 5 is a big change, but once drivers get used to it, there would be no difference. When traffic is backed up onto 520, it really doesn’t matter where you wait.

    1. I looked at this some more, and I would like to amend my suggestion #7. I would do the following instead:

      For buses like the 48, move the stop next to the hospital back to the main entrance, as it is now. Then have the bus just go straight, and into the parking lot (using the left lane). Then the bus turns around and heads south again. This is probably quicker (or just as quick) as using Pacific Place, while having a good stop next to the hospital and a good stop next to the Link Station.

      1. The 48 isn’t going to continue into the U-District? That’s a mistake if true.

      2. I’m sorry if I implied anything of the sort. The 48 will remain, and go to the U-District.

        What I’m saying is that heading north it will look a lot like the route that Adam drew (the solid line here: It will turn right into the Husky Parking lot, have a stop by the station, then head west on Pacific Street. Going the other direction it will be the reverse, which makes it different than what Adam drew . A bus will head down Pacific Street then right into the parking lot, turn around, then take a left, heading south on Montlake.

        There will be no buses on Pacific Place but the 48 (and/or something similar) will go on Pacific Street both directions between Montlake and the U-District.

    2. About #2, isn’t there going to be a lid on top of 520 east of Montlake? How would you “fly over” with a lid?

      1. The project is still in flux (from what I can tell) but if I think the lid starts around 24th, and goes west to Montlake Boulevard. So the flyover would start east of there. If I understand the project correctly, they are getting rid of the Lake Washington Boulevard/Foster Island ramps. This means that basically you have the entire area between Medina and Montlake to build a flyover. The best bet is probably close to Foster Island. Of course, this wouldn’t have to be a flyover at all — I just mean that conceptually it is a flyover. It could be a bus only exit to 24th. At that point, the buses would go out to Shelby (once the streets are connected) and then take a right. I’m guessing that would be a lot less popular with the Montlake folks, but compared to a new bridge, it is much better.

      2. How would the flyover ramp handle boat traffic in the Montlake ship canal? If it’s moveable, the construction cost goes way up, plus you need to pay someone to staff it 24/7. If it’s fixed, it has to be 140 feet high – again the construction cost goes way up.

        I may change my opinion over the next few years, but at least for now, I’d like to say – give the new Montlake exit ramp a chance before putting another few hundred million dollars into the project.

      3. I have no confidence that once construction is finished, if it doesn’t work well for transit, that there will be any money or political will to fix it for transit. There’s zero history of that around here.

      4. Carl,

        Exactly. There’s never enough money or political will to do it right in the first place, either.

      5. Sadly you are mostly right about that. Look at the disappointing Bellevue “tunnellette”

      6. Beg pardon. I would except the DSTT. The stations, especially Westlake are a bit too Moscow Subway-ish, but overall it is an excellent, well sited facility.

      7. The trains run fairly slow in the tunnel. And the bit between ID & Stadium is a true crawl

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