At last Tuesday’s County Council meeting about the ULink restructure, Metro estimated walking times from various bus stops to UW station:
- 2 minutes to the Pacific Place stop, served by routes 44, 45, 65, 67, and 73/78
- 2 minutes to northbound Montlake Blvd stop, served by routes 65 and 73/78
- 2 minutes to UW Medical Center, served by routes 44, 45, 48, 65, 67, 167, 197, 271, 540, 541, 542, 556, and 586
- 5 Minutes to Stevens Way/Mason Rd, served by routes 31, 32, 65, 75, 78, and 372
Councilmember Dembowski asked Metro if they had walked each of these to confirm the accuracy of these estimates, and they admitted they hadn’t. Metro also quoted these times at “platform to platform”, but there was some uncertainty about whether the estimates were platform-to-headhouse instead. Last Thursday, I went out and walked from both Stevens Way and UWMC to the station, and the videos are above.
As an able-bodied 6’2″ male, my walking times can reasonably be expected to be the lower bound of reasonable estimates, with people of other heights and abilities being expected to take longer to make the walk.
From Stevens Way, it was 4 minutes exactly from Mason Rd to the top of the UW Station escalator, so the 5 minute platform-to-platform time that Metro quoted is reasonably accurate. Of course, the walk from Stevens Way will also be 100% reliable due to its full grade separation.
From UWMC, even from the closest future location of the bus stop on westbound Pacific, it still took me 2:26 to get to the top of the station escalator, with 1:00 wasted waiting to cross Montlake Boulevard. If you caught a green light to cross Montlake, you could be at the station headhouse in 1:30 and at the platform in 2:30-3:00. But if you just miss a light and have to wait a full light cycle, the walk could take 4 minutes, still modest but roughly double Metro’s estimate. It’s ok to quote 2 minutes as a best case, and we should definitely make every attempt to optimize signals for the shortest possible wait, but the variability inherent in the Montlake Blvd crossing should be transparently stated.