Route 65 coach with strangely persistent misspelling. Photo by Kris Leisten.
Route 65 coach with strangely persistent misspelling. Photo by Kris Leisten.

UPDATE: Metro’s Jeff Switzer provided some corrected information about the routing of Routes 65 and 67.  See below the jump for details.

Yesterday, the King County Council approved an ordinance directing Metro to restructure service in much of North Seattle and on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the opening of University Link.  The restructure is now final and official.  What you see in the ordinance is what you will get in March 2016.  Metro has not yet put final detailed information online; when they do, we’ll update this post with a link.

Final approval seems almost anticlimactic after the process, which is the longest and most public process I’ve seen in over two decades of following Metro closely.  From Metro, we saw initial maximum- and minimum-change ideas, a second proposal responding to feedback on the initial proposals, and then a substantially different final proposal to the Council when further feedback was lukewarm on the second proposal.  Metro assembled a Sounding Board (on which our Zach Shaner served) to help advise it on the changes, and held numerous public hearings following each proposal.

After Metro submitted its final proposal, the Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee held a long, dramatic hearing focused on the Northeast Seattle part of the restructure.  Committee Chair Rod Dembowski, rumored through much of the process to favor scuttling the restructure altogether over concerns about the UW Station transfer environment, strongly denied that intent and introduced an amendment to fix what he saw as significant problems with Metro’s proposal.  Councilmember Dembowski’s amendment, which (among several other changes) restored partial service on routes 43 and 71 and mostly eliminated Metro’s proposed route 78, passed the committee and remained in the final ordinance passed yesterday by the council.

In addition to the U-Link restructure, another ordinance passed yesterday makes official the split of the RapidRide C and D Lines.  RapidRide C will now terminate in South Lake Union—dramatically improving bus connections between SLU and downtown, and connecting SLU with West Seattle for the first time in several years—while RapidRide D will now terminate in Pioneer Square.

We’ve always been enthusiastic about the restructure, particularly in Northeast Seattle, and we’re very happy to see it become final.  Details of the Dembowski amendment, which represents the only changes from Metro’s final proposal, are below the jump.

Councilmember Dembowski’s amendment made several significant changes.  STB staffers have expressed varying opinions on the merits of these changes, and not everyone on staff agrees with my assessments below.  In general, though, I’m pessimistic about the amendment’s changes to service; I think they generally served to make the restructure worse, and had the worst effects on the residents of the neighborhoods they were trying hardest to help.  Still, the amendment did not change many of the best things about the restructure, notably increased frequency on many core routes, major reliability improvements, and (for the most part) a more legible gridded service pattern.  Its recommendation for a transfer point work plan is also a great idea.

New Route 71, with 30-Minute Service between View Ridge and UW Station
Route 71 as revised by Dembowski amendment.  Map by Metro.

Replace Route 78 in View Ridge with restored Route 71.  Metro’s proposal introduced a new Route 78, which would have provided a weekday, daytime 30-minute north-south connection between Wedgwood, View Ridge, Laurelhurst, and UW Station, intended to provide Link and UW connectivity for passengers in areas where frequent routes 65 and 75 are too far away.  The Dembowski amendment truncates Metro’s proposed route 78 to a short stub ending in Laurelhurst, which (judging by current route 25) dooms it to near-zero ridership.  In View Ridge, the 78 is replaced by a revised route 71 (at left), which is the same as today’s 71 between Wedgwood and the U-District, but will replace service to downtown with a “tail” serving UW Station.

route 78
Route 78 as revised by Dembowski amendment

I think this change is a substantial downgrade from Metro’s proposal for View Ridge residents.  The retained 71 will be significantly slower than Metro’s proposed 78 between View Ridge and Link, and only marginally faster between View Ridge and the northern U-District than the 78/73 through route.  The retained 71 is duplicative; frequent transfers are available between new route 62 and several north/south routes between Roosevelt and the U-District.  It eliminates the new connections Metro’s route 78 would have provided between View Ridge, Children’s Hospital and U-Village.  I hope that Metro revisits the route 78 proposal later, once riders have become comfortable with frequent east-west service on new route 62.

Route 67 after Dembowski amendment
Route 67 as revised by Dembowski amendment

Swap Routes 67 and 73 in the U-District.  This change is the silver lining from the restored route 71.  In Metro’s final proposal, 15-minute route 67 ran on University Way through the U-District, and 30-minute route 73 on Roosevelt Way, with the routes “swapping” near the site of future Roosevelt Station.  The added route 71 trips allow Metro to put route 67 back on Roosevelt, while retaining the same frequency on University Way as Metro’s proposal by alternating routes 71 and 73/373.

The change has some knock-on effects.  Route 67 will now be through-routed with route 65, and will go through campus rather than ending at UW Station.  Route 65, for its part, will no longer do the counterclockwise UW Station “loop,” which will be relegated to half-hourly service on the route 78 stub.  (UPDATE: Metro’s Jeff Switzer commented and emailed to clarify.   Routes 65/67 will go through campus westbound, but will serve UW Station eastbound.)  Route 73 will not continue through campus, but will serve UW Station directly.

Together, these changes have the effect of retaining 15-minute north/south service on Roosevelt through the U-District, a frequent request in feedback to Metro from riders and the City of Seattle, while not changing frequency between UW Station and University Way from that in Metro’s proposal.  Both routes also get straighter and faster, and the revised 67 anticipates one of the “RapidRide+” corridors in the city’s Move Seattle proposal.

There has been some confusion about what happens to route 373 in the latest proposal.  The answer is that it becomes local and partly replaces service on route 73.  In effect, all peak-hour, peak-direction route 73 trips will be signed “373” and extended to Aurora Village.  Frequency along the combined 73/373 will be half-hourly at all times, except at peak of peak where there will be a few extra 373 trips in the peak direction.  This decisively addresses one of our criticisms of Metro’s proposal: that the 73 and 373 picked up at different stops.

Restore Route 43 at Peak Hour.  One of the most consistent complaints about all of Metro’s proposals was that elimination of route 43 made service slower for two groups of riders: those in Montlake commuting southbound, and those on Capitol Hill going northbound who are farther than walking distance from Capitol Hill Station.  The Dembowski amendment restored service on route 43 only during weekday peak hours.  Frequency on the restored service remains unclear, but some of the service will likely be provided by trolley coaches deadheading to and from route 44 trips, so we can expect service to be more frequent northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon.

The choice to restore the full route 43 only at peak hours is a missed opportunity.  Service for the affected riders could have been preserved all day at similar cost through Zach’s proposal, using a partial route between CHS and UW Station and avoiding the hours-consuming, duplicative slogs through Summit and the U-District.

Additional Service on Peak Routes 76 and 316.  The Dembowski amendment expands the span of service on peak-hour route 76, connecting NE 65th St and downtown via I-5, to include several shoulder-peak trips.  The route will run until 10:00 a.m. in the morning and 7:30 p.m. at night.  A few trips will also be added on route 316, although they will improve frequency rather than span.

Transfer Point Work Plan.  In addition to its service changes, the amendment requires Executive Constantine and Metro to submit a “work plan” for improvements at key transfer locations throughout Northeast Seattle, identifying planned improvements and funding sources for those improvements.  Given the centrality of transfers to good network design, this is a terrific idea.  I look forward to seeing the results.

Traffic Analysis of Bus Stop.  Finally, in a regrettable piece of micromanagement, the amendment requires the Executive to conduct a traffic study before installing a new bus stop northbound on Montlake Boulevard adjacent to UW Station.  This is especially bizarre because, after the amendment’s changes, the new bus stop will see only one bus every half hour on the remaining stub of route 78—not nearly enough to create any significant traffic impact.  (UPDATE: Metro’s Jeff Switzer clarified that Route 65 will also travel eastbound along Pacific and Montlake, and will serve this stop.  Accordingly it will serve six, not two, buses each hour.)

134 Replies to “It’s Official: Council Adopts U-Link Restructure”

  1. Keeping the 43 is unfortunate. Beyond the fact that much of it is a waste of hours, it should be discouraged by the service guidelines since it complicates the network by being peak only.

    1. I disagree. The 43 provides a useful service of shuttling people living along 23rd/24th Ave E or Thomas/John St to and from the UW and Capitol Hill Stations. Also, it’s on existing trolley wire so the ongoing operating costs are lower than most routes. I would have preferred that it was shortened to avoid going downtown, but perfection is the enemy of good.

    2. Sorry – but what a total non sense comment. “Complicating the network” – No transit rider cares abut that. It would be totally a disaster and awful to totally cut 43. Not only would Montlake will be losing route 25 and 43 to downtown but it already will be loosing all the other currently existing bus lines connecting it to downtown (due to the 520 brigde construction and related changes) effectively going from 12 + routes to ZERO direct connection. Thanks heaven that it will be kept. The problem is that is that will run only at peak hours !!!

      1. I am a frequent rider of the bus lines along 520 that you refer to (it is my standard commute to work every day). When the light rail opens, I will switch to taking it in a heartbeat – I will not miss those bus routes at all if they go away due to 520 construction.

        The connections to downtown along 520 will be unnecessary once the U-link light rail opens. You need to walk just 0.4 miles to get to the Light Rail station from the top of the ramp that leads from Montlake Boulevard down to the 520 freeway stop. The extra time it takes to walk 0.4 miles will be more than made up for by (1) the light rail not getting stuck in I-5 traffic (2) the light rail not skipping the stop because it is too full (this happens regularly during the morning peak hours, especially with the 545) and (3) the projected travel time from the university station to downtown is slightly less than the projected travel time of the 520 buses (and with traffic the buses often don’t meet their projected times).

      2. @Mike — I admire your optimism and fortitude. I hope you report back with your findings. I fear that it won’t be quite as good as you hope. You also have to factor in the time spent to get down to the platform, as well as the time spent waiting for Link.

        I’m sure if I was in your shoes I would welcome the change. I prefer a brisk walk over being stuck in traffic any day. I just don’t think it will get you to where you want to go any faster.

      3. Ross, I’m also a daily 520 rider, and I second Mike’s comments. Unfortunately from Kirkland I can’t experiment with 541 vs. 545; I’ll just have the far more imperfect 540/255 comparison. But, particularly on days when I travel at peak of peak, I can waste 15 minutes a trip between Montlake and Convention Place. That covers a whole lot of schlepping across streets and down escalators.

      4. 15 minutes sounds about the same. Consider:

        1) Surface distance from 520 to Husky Stadium is about 2,000 feet (according to Google Maps). That is over 7 minutes if you walk at 3 MPH.
        2) The train takes 8 minutes.

        So, not counting the stairs (up and down) and the wait time, it is about the same. But the stairs will probably take another five minutes. The waiting will take a couple more (at peak) or five more (outside peak). Basically, you are better off sticking with the bus, unless you want the exercise (like I said, I prefer the exercise).

        All of this reminds of when I was late for a dinner close to the Kingdome. There was a game going on, so traffic started to slow to a crawl as the bus approached my destination. I was nervous, and hopped off the bus. I started jogging on the same street as the bus. Next thing you know, traffic eased up a bit and the bus passed me. I could see some of my friends (who were not headed out to dinner) laughing at me (I thought it was funny as well). I had too much pride and respect for the bus driver to hop back on. I got there a bit later than if I had stayed with the bus, but I still got there.

        I think this is the same thing. People will, in most cases, lose time. But they will gain consistency. I knew when I got off the bus that there was a chance that the bus would pass me. But I also knew that I would make my dinner in time. Worst case scenario, I’m still in good shape (in part because, well, I was in good shape). I can jog fairly quickly, and when I’m too tired to jog, I can walk very quickly. It might have taken me ten minutes to get there (while the bus took five) but at least I knew it wouldn’t take fifteen (or twenty). The same is true here. People will get off the bus because they know it will take them a set amount of time. In many, if not most cases, they would be better off sticking with the bus, but they also know it won’t be terrible if they walk.

        This is all, of course, assuming that they actually have a choice. If the bus route to downtown is restructured away (as it will be with the 7X buses) then they will have no choice. Well, except that some may get off at the west end of Pacific and start sprinting to the station (as a way to avoid congestion on Pacific). But those are the U-District buses.

        Again, I want to hear about the personal experience. I don’t mean to sound like Sam, but if someone were to jot down times in a diary (before and after) I think it would be most revealing. There was a mention recently that a lot of people were happy when their buses were kicked out of the tunnel. Even though the bus went slower through downtown, they got to their destination faster because they avoided the long walk up the stairs. I think the same may be true here. I’m afraid the transfer penalty of this station will be quite substantial.

        I just can’t help but think that folks simply have it wrong if they think a trip involving a transfer to Link will be substantially better than a direct bus for this round of changes. In the future — for the next three stations — that won’t be the case. But for this one, it won’t be much better. The restructure is not about that. It is about making that trip a bit worse, but gaining more frequency in other parts of the system. But what I am unclear about (and ask about below) is where we are making big gains.

      5. Ross – I don’t think you are counting the bus wait time, and or the bus loading time here either.

        I agree that if you catch the bus immediately, there are no change fumblers or folks asking questions assuming that every bus driver is a mini-GPS unit, it probably is the same.

        I’m in a similar position – no doubt that the 65/75/372 + Link downtown is not going to be faster than, say, me catching the 522 immediately on December 26.

        You touch on it here a bit. But, the perception of 15 minutes is key – even if you don’t like the walk the motion itself and feels like you are going somewhere; you go to a place where the cash fumbler fumbles before Link; its a tunnel and a driver setup where no questions can be asked of the driver; rail is frequent and shouldn’t need luck to maintain the schedule; even if you have to stand, the ride is smooth and direct. Yes, it could well be that the time is the same but the quality itself will improve the wait.

      6. You should lose those routes because taking the 48 to UW station will get you downtown faster than slogging on the 43. The fact that you want to save the unused 25 underscores your ridiculous position.

      7. >> Ross – I don’t think you are counting the bus wait time, and or the bus loading time here either.

        I am assuming that you are already on the bus. I am also assuming that the Montlake stop is the last stop before the bus gets to downtown — is that not the case? I thought that was what we were talking about. In other words, if you caught a bus in Kirkland and are headed downtown, is it worth getting off the bus at Montlake and catching the train?

        But you are right, it is different if you are in Montlake already and want to go downtown. You would have to compare the difference between getting to the the 520 station versus getting to the Link platform. This is not that big of a difference (maybe a minute). The bus takes longer to board, so I’ll subtract that minute. I honestly don’t know how many buses go from Montlake to downtown, but I’m guessing the frequency is similar to what Link will be (because there is a combination of bus routes), So basically, the main difference is the surface distance to the station (7 minutes). Is Link 7 minutes faster? Hard to say. I would imagine we have data on this, but I don’t know how to dig that out.

        In general, I don’t think it matters. I don’t think that many people are trying to get from Montlake to downtown. That’s a very sparsely populated area of Montlake (which in itself is fairly sparsely populated).

        From a transfer standpoint it is also different. If you are on the 48 northbound and want to get downtown quickly, my guess is that you will wait until the bus gets to Husky Stadium because it will be there in a couple minutes (not seven). Unless, of course, the bridge is up, in which case you might just hop off and take one of the 520 buses.

      8. Taking a route 48 to Link and then to downtown will be much faster than the 25 or 43 ever were.

        Montlake isn’t the only neighborhood losing a one-seat ride to downtown. But they sure are the one making the most noise.

      9. How far will a 48 user have to walk to get to the Husky Link station? In addition, where do the get off of the 48.

        BTW, you’re messing the problems on the south end of the 43 where people have to transfer to the 11 to get back on to the current routing of the 43.

        It appears the many on the blog will be happy when no one in Seattle can get anywhere without having to ride one or more modes of transportation! Telling seniors and the handicapped to get off the bus if they can’t handle a transfer. But you do have to look at the positive side of getting seniors/handicapped off of the bus, since you trips without the will be much faster. right!

      10. @Chris — I wasn’t going to argue that point (this thread was originally about 520 buses) but that is an exaggeration, isn’t it? According to the schedule, at noon it takes 20 minutes to get from Montlake and 520 to downtown. Is that not accurate? What if you are five minutes up the road, where there are way more people (the density increases steadily as you head south). Now you are talking about fifteen minutes to downtown. So you are telling me that if you take the bus north, past the Montlake Station, get off the bus, walk over to the station, down the stairs, wait for the train (which runs every ten minutes) then catch it downtown, you will beat the bus? I don’t see that at all. We are talking five minutes to 520, another couple minutes to the bus stop, then another three to the platform. If you manage to get very lucky and get to the platform just as the train is about to depart, you still will lose to the bus. If the train takes six minutes to get downtown, that is 16 minutes, or a minute longer than the bus. That is also being very generous. If the bridge is up, you are screwed. If the train just left, you are screwed. It will probably take longer than three minutes to get to the platform (remember you still have to cross that street). Sorry, I just don’t see it.

        During rush hour, sure. But in the middle of the day, my money is on the bus.

      11. @RossB
        I was speaking strictly of the 25 and 43 and one seat downtown service. Both are very slow. The 43 especially is slow even on the last run of the evening.

        I wasn’t comparing the speed of transferring to link vs taking a 520 bus downtown. However except for peak of peak the frequency of 520 buses doesn’t match Link. Most users of the freeway stations aren’t going to/from downtown but to/from the east side.

      12. Also, Ross, once you’re five minutes south of 520, you’re in walking distance of the new!11 or the continuing!12. So you still have your one-seat ride.

      13. >> However except for peak of peak the frequency of 520 buses doesn’t match Link

        Are you sure about that? Link seems more consistent, but not necessarily more frequent. Both the 255 and 545 run every fifteen minutes in the middle of the day. Link runs every ten minutes. Odds are, those buses will involve less waiting (and that doesn’t count the other buses).

        >> Most users of the freeway stations aren’t going to/from downtown but to/from the east side.

        That’s kind of my point. It is faster to use the 520 bus then it is to use Link in the middle of the day. The buses come just as frequently (although not as consistently). Time spent on the bus is less. Time spent getting to the platform is less. Time spent getting from there to downtown is roughly the same, except for rush hour. But people don’t do that. They take the one seat ride, as bad as it is. Because, basically, except for rush hour, it isn’t that bad.

        Unless, of course, the schedule is complete fiction. That could be the case (which is I why I asked). If you are in Montlake, by 520, the schedule says you should be able to get downtown in twenty minutes at noon. If that isn’t true, then my math isn’t correct.

        >> Also, Ross, once you’re five minutes south of 520, you’re in walking distance of the new!11 or the continuing!12.

        Good point. How about 2 minutes. That puts you at about Lynn, if you are lucky. That is really the heart of what this bus is supposed to serve (Montlake). Now let’s do the math again:

        If you see a 43 headed south, and a 48 headed north, which way do you go? The 48 involves 5 minutes on the bus, another 5 minutes to the platform, and 5 minutes waiting for the train. The train ride takes 6 minutes (or 8 — I’m still not clear on that). So, basically around 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, the 43 takes 18 minutes (20 – 2). So the 43 is a bit faster. Not a lot faster, I give you that. But this idea that people will gladly swap out a one seat ride for a two seat involving Link is bit exaggerated. If that really was the case, they would do the same thing now, but take a 520 bus.

        This doesn’t mean I favor keeping the 43. Sacrifices should be made for the greater good. For folks in Montlake (a not very densely populated area) to make a small sacrifice (take a couple buses to get to Group Health or a couple buses/transfer to a train) seems fair to me if it means a lot more frequency everywhere else.

        But like I said, this is midday I’m talking about. The dynamics of this change considerably during rush hour. The train is much faster than a bus (even a 520 express bus) and it runs a lot more frequently. I’m still not sure if large numbers of people will take the 48 north to the station and then take the train south to downtown, but it is a reasonable thing to do.

        Of course, with less frequency on the 43 and more on the 48, the 43 may prove to be unpopular for that reason alone.

      14. You have given NO valid reason why the users of the 8, 11 and 43 should sacrifice their bus service, especially when they also voted for Prop One funding! We have the same right to bus service and it is especially cruel to give us expanded bus serve with Prop One funding only to have it taken away be by route changes not required to get people to Light Rail.

        Metro and King County will never be able to get funding by the vote again with the actions just approved by the KC Council.

      15. ” People will, in most cases, lose time. But they will gain consistency. ”

        There’s a couple of names for this, including “hyperbolic discounting”, but this is an absolutely standard preference.

        Your range of possible travel times on a route is a probability distribution — there’s a best case, a “typical case”, but then there’s a long tail of possible delays. Most people pick their route by picking the route with the best “1st percentile” behavior, or something similar. If 1% of the time, the bus takes 10 hours, people blow it off. But if 5% of the time the bus takes 2 hours, *that’s the time people put in their heads for that route*.

        So if you have
        — route A, which takes 10 minutes most of the time but takes 2 hours 5% of the time
        — route B, which takes 30 minutes most of the time but never takes more than 45 minutes except for super-rare freak accidents
        People will consistently take route B, because they can make sure that they get to work on time, get home for dinner, etc.

        Reliability is therefore incredibly important for the attractiveness of a public transportation route.

    3. I wonder how ridership on the 43 and 48 currently compare, and how they’ll compare shortly after U-Link opens?

      I’ve no objection at all to keeping the 43, now that we can do it with the rest of the restructure staying intact. For that matter, we could always recycle the all-day 71’s hours into it. Unless there’s a better place to go, like ten-minute service on the 67…

      1. 1000′, or 1/5 mile.

        4-7 min walk depending on fitness and whether you take the elevator or the stairs/escalator

      2. Hhmm, I’m skeptical of 4-7 minutes. I walk moderately faster than most people and I’m sure it will take me 7 minutes from Stevens Wy to the UW Station. This is one of my major disappointments with Metro: underestimating the walk times between the station and Stevens Way. I sincerely hope Metro will not dilly-dally with its obligation to produce a “work plan” for the Montlake Triangle.

      3. Zach recently did the walk in person, and it took him 4 minutes from the top of the escalator to the bus stop.

      1. It should be a lot better. Hell, it should be a lot better once they add Madison BRT. But without a doubt it will be a lot better once Link gets to Northgate (and thus gets to the U-District and Roosevelt at the same time).

      2. The East Link restructure in 2023 should be a Big Deal. Hopefully they’ll straighten out the trolley wire for the #48 before then… I think the Judkins Park station may be more valuable than some might expect.

    1. Are you sure? I thought that the 65/67 will travel through campus Westbound, and along Pacific Eastbound, so it would directly serve UW station, and then the stop on Montlake.

      Amendment language “A routing revision through the University District will connect Route 65 to the new University of Washington light rail station.” And then “The Route 65 may not serve a bus stop on the east side of Montlake Boulevard NE within one-half mile of the University of Washington light rail station until the Council has adopted…”

      That last part is identical to the 78 language.

      1. I’m pretty sure that’s an error, and held over from the Metro proposal, which had the 65 live-looping along the routing you described. The current plan as I understand it is to have 65/67 run through campus in both directions, and 78 cover the live loop.

        See comment below from Jeff Switzer. The maps in the ordinance were incorrect.

      2. Incidentally, this is a “back to the future” moment. The 65 and 67 were through-routed for years, until Metro decided just a few years ago that the 65 should be part of a frequent corridor between Children’s and Fremont and through-routed the 67 with the 68 instead. Now the 75, being frequent, can take over that Children’s-Fremont corridor all by itself.

      3. Per planners, these routes will be interlined. Westbound buses will be on Stevens Way. Eastbound buses will be on NE Pacific Street, NE Pacific Place and Montlake Boulevard NE.

  2. Now NE 65th St will have too much service between 15th Ave NE and 50th Ave NE with Routes 62, 71 and 76 operating on that street. Too bad, KC Metro should have sent Route 71 via 40th Ave NE to NE 55th St and operated via Route 30 to University District, to reduce duplication and have some service on another parallel street. I was out of town, so I was not able to make those comments.

    1. I agree. There is now a big hole between 25th and 35th along NE 55th and in the Ravenna area. I’m sure ridership wasn’t huge, but as a former 30/74 rider myself, it used to pick up quite a few passengers in those spots, at least it seemed.

      1. It seems Metro’s main philosophy has been to consolidate routes to increase frequency and reliability at the expense of flexibility. So they’d prefer to have 10 minute service on 65th that 15 minute service on 65th and 30 minute service on 55th. It makes it easy for someone living on 60th since they don’t have to choose which way to walk to catch a bus And at least in the corridor you mentioned, people can take the 372 or 65 North to 65th or South to UW to transfer.

        It’s a similar logic in condensing the 68+372 into a more frequent 372, and condensing the 67+66 into more frequent 67.

        I can see pros and cons to both approaches, but this is what Metro seems to prefer.

      2. Metro had 15-minute service on 65th. The county politicians put the 71 on 65th, 55th was abandoned because nobody rode it off-peak. Maybe it’ll come back when they figure out something better than the ridiculous combination of Magnison Park and the slow Ravenna curleycue. Perhaps it could be interlined with that Laurelhurst route.

  3. I was at this Council meeting and it was most interesting see political process, especially the lack of response by my Councilman. I did offer a last minute fix for the 11 such that the 11 would turn on 15th Ave East and East Pine instead of 19th Ave East. This simple fix was a win win for the council and Metro, but they blew it.

    This fix would have allowed a smooth transfer from the 11 to 12, allowed the seniors/handicapped in the 4 block area between 15th and 19 to access the ADA complaint buses and lastly it would have allowed the senior/handicapped access to Light Rail. Yes, I am very sorry to see the Council and Metro was not listening to the residents of Seattle.

    The TrEE committee talked, but compromise, but was unable to do despite the pleas of users of the bus today!

    1. Your fix would have made an already intolerably slow route even slower. It’s easy enough to cover every trip via zigzag routes like the one you proposed, but it’s also so slow that few of those trips are useful.

      1. David, given the plus side I for one would have lived with the extra minute or two given that the new 11 route is already going to be 5 to 10 minutes longer. Again, the advantages for the seniors/handicap in that area would be worth it, especially the access to Light Rail.

        I also don’t understand why Metro even runs the 11 past Light Rail on Broadway, since LR will be much faster than using surface streets. Metros’ answer yesterday was that there was no way to turn the bus around at Broadway and John. That is real funny since several months ago they said the the 11 could not make the turn on 19th.

      2. 1) The minutes keep adding up. The 19th zigzag costs 2-3 minutes over staying on Thomas, per Metro. I would estimate the 15th zigzag to cost 2-3 minutes more. Now you’re playing with real money for anyone trying to go east-west.

        2) The 11 is replacing the all-day 43 for riders in the Summit area, who need service to downtown and are a bit too far away from CHS to walk.

      3. David,

        I am a senior and visually handicapped, so I understand the need for the large number of handicapped that will have no bus between 15th and 19 Ave East. I’m will to give a up a few minutes if it means that these people will be able to use the bus. Pleas don’t suggest the 12 as as an answer, since it goes on Madison not Pine!

        Another point the transfer from the 11 to 12 and vise versa at 19 is POOR at best and NOT seamless.

        Metro and King County failed in serving the people of Seattle and other comments from the 43 users validate my position.

      4. Reg, making a turn and turning a bus around to drive in the opposite direction are very different things. Sure, the 11 could turn from John onto Broadway. Buses already do this. But where will it go after that in order to head back to Madison Park?

        David L, is the resurrected 47 not enough for folks in the Summit area? If anything I’d think it would have more utility than a peak-only 43 along those few blocks of Olive and Bellevue. There’s only one stop that’s missed in one direction, headed toward downtown at Olive & Summit.

      5. The 47 isn’t remotely frequent enough. Most passengers in that area use the 43 because it’s more frequent. The revised 11 will have the same frequency as the current 43.

        As I’ve indicated in other network plans I’d be happy to get rid of the 43 (now 11) in the area if the 47 were made truly frequent.

    2. Yesterday I took the 43 back from the Miller Community Center after the Seattle 2035 open house, and it suddenly made sense to me why Metro put both the 11 and 8 on 19th. The 43 and 8 currently overlap between Summit and 23rd, which gives double-frequency across east Capitol Hill. By pairing the 11 and 8 it not only keeps this double corridor but extends it to Madison Valley. That gives better crosstown service and partly makes up for the fact that both routes drop to half-hourly evenings and Sundays. That seems like a reasonable bargain for not directly serving 17th & Madison.

      1. I agree, pairing the 8 and 11 on John/Thomas is a great way to provide very frequent service all the way from Olive & Denny to Madison & MLK. I strongly support that as a replacement for the 43.

        That’s what makes the diversion along 19th so frustrating: it adds several minutes of out-of-direction travel and delay (additional stoplights and turns) to what would otherwise be a nearly straight route, while also making a confusing service pattern on 19th (11 and 12 both go downtown, but travel in opposite directions).

    3. The ADA buses is a valid point but why can’t Metro just put ADA buses on the 12? That does not seem like a good enough reason to keep the 11 on its current route. The 12 goes downtown and to light rail.

      The meander onto 19th for the 8 and 11 is ridiculous and is yet another reason that the 8/11 and 48 is not a suitable replacement for full time 43.

      1. Eventually all buses should be ADA compliant. How close is Metro to that goal? All newly purchased buses (anything bought after 1993) MUST be compliant. Retiring the old trolleybuses in favor of the new trolleybuses will certainly help a lot. Does Metro have any other fleets of aged, noncompliant 23-year-old buses?

      2. I would like you to tell the current ADA users of the 11 at 17th Ave East how to get to Pike/Pine downtown. I would also like you to explain how current users of the 11 who go to Pill Hill are supposed to transfer to the 12.

        This could have all been a none issue by routing the 11 to 15th Ave East and East Pine and then north to Light Rail. No ADA problem and those users at 17th could easily get to Light Rail. Isn’t hat the the whole reason for doing the reorg or is is just to deny people one seat rides?

      3. @Reg N. Sorry, I just don’t see any of that as a big problem. People at 17th & Madison who want to go to that part of downtown can go two blocks east or west and get a 10 or an 11. If someone is unable to make that distance without hardship then that is what Access is for. Public transit is not designed to be a taxi service.

        11 riders who don’t want to transfer to a 12 can transfer to FHSC or a 60 at CHS.

        Looking at the statistics. The 11 between 23rd and 17th gets 550 ons and 586 offs. Even if you assume that 100% of those are from 17th & Madison it is just not a lot of people. Certainly not enough to inconvenience the rest of the people who depend on the 11 by making the route take longer.

      4. I wish what you said was true. I am a senior and handicapped so I resent you telling people who need ADA buses to walk to block uphill. I challenge you to meet me in that area so you can personally see the problem and stop talking nonsense.

        BTW, which comes first the FHSC, Bertah/Tunnel or the Sea Wall?

        Here’s anther one for you to dream up an answer on, how would one get from 17th Ave East and East Madison to the Safeway at 22nd Ave East? You did not give a way for the 11 users to get to Swedish or do you expect them to switch to Group Health. Did you know the Swedish is now the hospital for Group Health?

        So lets do a walk through so you can pontificate with facts on the ground.

    4. The Capitol Hill changes are by far the most controversial. I hope the folks on this blog are able to do an assessment of ridership based on the changes. It will be tricky, but if you could look at the routes and ridership now and compare it with ridership later, I think it would be interesting.

      1. RossB,

        The following link form Metro has the info on the current bus usage for routes like the 10, 11, 12, 43 and 48. What do you think?

  4. Seeing how LaurelHurst never generates much ridership the 78 apparently is only a shuttle service for Ulink to Children’s. Will be interesting to see if it pans out. Too bad they couldn’t have extended it a little further, the availability of a stop in front of the station would have been nice. I know a lot of Sandpoint residents who would have liked this convenience for airport trips and what not.

      1. i don’t think the 75 stops in front of station does it? When one is with luggage on a rainy day this is a big deal.

      2. That’s the problem with the station location and only one layover space. Complain to the UW. But why should Laurelhurst get front-door service when everybody else in north Seattle has to carry their luggage in the rain?

      3. For that matter, what about changing the 31/32 – 75 to use Pacific and Montlake instead of Stevens? It’d get closer to the station, though at the cost of being caught in traffic more.

      4. The council is more concerned about it being traffic. And a large percentage of 31/32/75 riders get on/off on campus.

      1. It starts with the UW being a higher government authority than ST (state vs region), so the UW can tell ST what it will allow and ST has to work around that. The UW cares about transit only to the extent that it brings students to campus, hospital people to the hospital, and alums to Husky games. It doesn’t care about bus transfers because those people aren’t going to UW. Layover spaces would displace parking spaces for football alums whose season tickets subsidize all UW sports.

      2. Seems like a silly reason. UW is encouraging students and faculty to not drive to campus through U-PASS, high parking fees and practically capping the number of parking spaces for commuters on campus. A lot of students and faculty take commuter buses to the UW and those buses have to layover somewhere, some already layover on campus on Memorial Way.

        Is parking included in the cost of a Husky sports season ticket? Maybe once U-Link opens, they should be given the choice of a parking pass or free game-day transit with a special ORCA enabled season pass.

      3. I agree with Oran. It does seem like a stupid reason. If nothing else, it would mean more buses would go to the UW. Buses from Kirkland, for example, would be able to get to the UW much faster, and thus be able to run faster and more frequently. This would benefit students and faculty quite a bit.

        Besides, they have a responsibility to the community. It is time for the leaders to step up and solve this problem. The mayor of Seattle ran on the idea that he could get things done not only in Seattle, but in Olympia. His experience with state government would somehow serve him well with city affairs. Well, get to it. This is a perfect example of that. Talk to the governor and the folks in charge and solve this problem. I want to see a bus terminal by the station and I want to see the mother of all bike lockers there as well. This station has so many flaws, but it wouldn’t take that much work to make it effective. It is well suited for bike travel (being right off of the most heavily traveled bike pathway in the state). In less than a year the fastest way to get from Fremont to Capitol Hill will be to ride to Husky Stadium, lock up your bike and then take a train. But only if there is a good place to lock up your bike. This isn’t that difficult — it shouldn’t take that much work.

        If the UW really is being obstructive, then call them out. Make that public, and make a big deal about it. I am willing to join a march on the UW or join a letter writing campaign. You can bet your ass that bikers feel the same way. But first the issue needs to be raised and we need to at least try and get this done instead of just throwing up our hands and saying it can’t be done.

      4. Can that pedestrian tunnel to Pacific Street be built after the fact? Maybe the UW will be more interested in it when students start using the station and demanding it.

      5. I would think that a tunnel could be built after the fact. I’m not sure if students will demand it, though. If memory serves, the sky bridge doesn’t lose much elevation if you are headed to campus. The main group of people that would benefit would be the people who work at UW Medical, or the patients there. That allows them to avoid the crossing.

        Overall, I’m not sure if it would be such a great thing. The big change would be to have the station in the triangle. That would have been better for buses, closer to the hospital and closer to campus.

        But now, I think the big things we need are a bus layover space and adequate bike parking.

        @Oran — The UW makes money off of parking there. Some of that is with ball games, but most of it is with hospital parking. Ball games happen once in a blue moon, but people park there every day and then start their job at the hospital.

      6. Funny thing about subway stations: nobody notices or cares where the actual station is located underground. If the *entrance* is moved to the Triangle, everyone will start thinking of the station as being in the Triangle, even if the platforms are still off to one side.

  5. If they are truncating the 78 to essentially nothing, then why not just make it the Laurelhurst loop of 25 connected to the UW station? No one rode the 25, but I think even fewer people will ride the new 78 since it is basically the 25 with less coverage.

    1. I expect it would take too long for one bus to make the cycle in half an hour with adequate break/recovery time.

    2. If Metro is smart, they’ll schedule the 78 right before a #75 so that it can at least poach some riders waiting for a 75 that could use either route. That might give the 78 some notion of respectability.

      1. I tend to think “smart” would be the other way around. Make it clear what the high-demand corridor is and what service is superfluous.

      2. Metro doesn’t want these kind of crappy political routes, so there’s nothing particularly smart (for them) in propping them up.

  6. The C / D Line split makes a lot of sense. Those buses are often so overcrowded through the middle of downtown with their overlapping ridership, even though very few people are actually riding it all the way between Ballard and West Seattle. Makes sense to have those small number of people who are riding all the way to transfer in the middle, while opening up buses so they aren’t so seriously crowded when you’re starting or ending your ride downtown.

    As for running the C up through SLU? I guess I understand wanting to have the bus link up the neighborhood to the 3rd ave transit corridor, but it seems the SLU Streetcar would be able to pickup that slack — it’s an extremely quick walk from the 3rd & Virginia bus stop to Westlake & Olive Streetcar stop. And that’d be a quicker turnaround for those C Line busses to head back to West Seattle.

    Presumably the C Line would just be stopping at the current Streetcar stops anyway? At least there’s that synergy.

      1. Thanks for the map! The visualization helps.

        Still seems a tad puzzling to me to overlap the new C Line route with the SLU Streetcar, though. Sure the Streetcar doesn’t run quite as frequently (though that could be improved) as the C Line does, but it’s pretty close, and it seems there’s more upside to be had from just having people make a (free) transfer to ride through SLU if all the bus is going to do is closely mirror the Streetcar stops.

        That’d get the buses looped around and back on their way between 3rd & Pike and West Seattle, where the vast majority of the ridership is. Not to mention the Streetcar is just a cleaner and more comfortable option to ride through SLU versus a big RapidRide bus.

      2. I think the motivation is having a complete corridor. The streetcar ends well short of the 3rd ave transit corridor, having the C line extend into SLU gives a logical one seat ride from there all the way through downtown, Pioneer Square, and beyond to West Seattle. What about people living in West Seattle and wanting to get to SLU? Now it would be a several block walk, transfer to the infrequent and slow streetcar, and a ride into SLU.

        I’m all for making the streetcar not suck (running it through downtown on dedicated right of way, for example), but it doesn’t at the moment and extending the C line is the quickest and easiest option of getting that mobility now.

  7. How long will it take for the service guidelines to ‘fix’ most of the meddling? Or does the fact that many of the routes don’t serve downtown (thus are on the undercard) mean that they won’t?

    And if they can be fixed, are the changes needed small enough that they can be done administratively?

    1. These routes will be in the “serves Seattle core” category. The “Seattle core” includes the UW and the U-District.

      I think the revived 43 will attract pretty good ridership. The 71, I think, will do OK at first and then decline as people get used to both the 62 and high frequency on the 372 and 65. As for the 78 stub… I predict it will be the poorest performer in the “Serves Seattle core” category from the first day of operation.

  8. Wow. Very exciting news indeed. I can’t say I’m really happy though. Sorry — someone can tell me why I should be happy. I’m excited because Metro, King County is willing to make a major change in service. But I’m not really happy because this really doesn’t look like this. Nothing close to it, really. But I am excited because the county is willing to change. Change is good. I’m not convinced we got it right this time — far from it. But at least we tried. Hopefully we will continue to mix things up, and stop trying to pretend that a city that has horrible traffic and is growing like mad should continue with a basic design from the days when getting to and through downtown was a breeze. (I remember those days, by the way — it was back before Thai restaurants –anyone remember that?).

    So, change is good. But again, I really don’t see how things are a lot better overall. Oh, I see certain areas (like Maple Leaf) that are much, much better. But overall, I just don’t see it. A few things to keep in mind:

    1) The transfer at Husky Stadium still sucks. In most cases it still involves crossing a busy street. In other cases it involves walking a long ways on an overpass. To be fair, the overpass, especially on a day like today, is quite lovely. Absolutely delightful — I’m sure the Olmstead brothers would be pleased. But for those who are in a hurry, for those who aren’t strolling along the boulevard with a parasol across their shoulder, it is a bit tedious. In part because …

    2) Headways for Link aren’t that great. In midday, it is 10 minutes (correct me if I’m wrong). That means that someone who takes a bus expecting a quick transfer (after running across the bridge and then running down the stairs) will be disappointed.

    Which is why I’m not that happy with this change. There are plenty of areas that aren’t getting anything, or are getting a degradation in service (like those who ride the 73/373). Maybe I should be happier. Maybe there are folks who are getting something spectacular — something they never thought they would get. But other than the folks in Maple Leaf (man, whoever bought a home there five years ago sure lucked out) I don’t see a huge numbers of winners here.

    But I admit, there may be details in this mess that I missed, and positive parts of this restructure that I’ve forgotten. Please tell me why I should be happy about this change.

    1. I agree the transfer to the UW Station for Link can potentially be bothersome (especially when the weather turns for the worst) compared to just riding the same bus to your end destination, but it’s hardly going to be a major issue in the grand scheme. You have to consider the dramatic increase in speed to get anywhere south of UW once you do get to the Link station.

      Link headways are as short as 6 minutes at peak times — 6-8:30 am / 3-6:30 pm — and no more than 10 minutes from 6 am to 9 pm. And potentially even faster as ridership grows and more buses are pushed out of the DSTT.

      1. This will not be a huge win for those getting from the U-District to downtown. Just consider what a typical trip is like for someone in the U-District. Assume a starting point of Campus Parkway and the Ave:

        1) Get from the U-District to the stadium. This is not trivial. Traffic can be terrible here. But let’s assume five minutes.

        2) Get to the platform. Depending on the bus, this again is not trivial. You may have to wait for a light or cross a big bridge before you even descend to the platform. I think five minutes minimum (and probably closer to 10).

        3) Wait for the train. Six minutes peak, but ten minutes most of the day. This means an average wait time of five minutes.

        4) Ride the train (8 minutes).

        So, basically, around 20 to 25 minutes. That is quite a long time. My guess is that a bus will beat (or should I say, would have beaten) a train most of the time. There are times when a train would certainly be faster (when traffic is heavy, especially in the evening, because the express lanes are going the other way). But in general, it would have been faster to have the bus as it is now.

        Those who will travel from (or through) the U-District to downtown will not benefit, but will however, be able to see improvements in the rest of the system. But as of yet, I’m not thrilled with the other improvements. This is why I ask — what exactly did we get out of this? What improvements are we going to see that make you happy?

      2. I had a huge fight with a guy about this on Twitter today, but it amounted to these two points:

        1) “Assume a starting point of Campus Parkway and the Ave” is not a realistic assumption for more than a small number of riders. Most of the masses of riders there are coming from various points on campus or in the UWMC. Many of them on south campus are actually closer to UW Station than they are to Campus Parkway. The central UW campus is a destination an order of magnitude more substantial than The Ave or Campus Parkway.

        2) During peak hours in the peak direction, when the current buses are fastest, there is replacement bus service from almost everywhere along the current 71/72/73. From Campus Parkway, you’d walk over to Roosevelt and grab the 74 or 355. During peak hours in the reverse-peak direction, that 20 to 25 minutes is optimistic for the bus, even assuming the worst-case starting point for the train, at Campus Parkway. Eastlake is Not A Good Place To Be during reverse peak. At night, the train may be a bit slower, but that’s a price well worth paying for the ridiculously better access to UW, given that many more off-peak NE Seattle riders are going to UW than downtown. Some nighttime riders may prefer the 70 or the 512, and that’s fine too.

      3. @RossB Essentially people south of the ship canal are getting worse service so that people in northeast Seattle can get better service. Much of the time, the slow boat that is the 49 will be faster or at the very least time competitive from Campus Pkwy & the Ave to Westlake vs making the connection at Husky Stadium.

        It’s not just Husky Stadium station where the connection to/from buses will be bad. If you are coming from a southbound 49 or want a southbound 60 at CHS you have to cross busy streets and walk several blocks. In fact, if you are on a southbound 49 and want to go south on Link, you are likely better off staying on the bus to Westlake vs getting off at Thomas or Pine and walking to CHS.

      4. How is the service south of the ship canal actually worse, except for the 8/11 diversion onto 19th? It hasn’t really improved aside from the increased frequency on the 48 and 49, but it hasn’t really gotten worse either.

      5. @William C If you live south of the ship canal and want to go to the U-District you have frequent service on the 7X buses plus the 43, 48, and 49. After this, you have the 48 and 49, a handful of peak hour 43s or a very unpleasant transfer at Husky Stadium.

      6. You forgot about the 70 (getting frequency improvements), and you’re leaving out serious frequency improvements on both the 48 and the 49.

        I swear some people in Seattle would rather have “more routes” to avoid transfers even if each one ran only twice a day.

      7. @David Lawson Yes, I did forget about the 70 but the 48 frequency improvements do not come close to the current frequency of the 43 and the 49 is only seeing small frequency improvements, generally 1 bus per hour.The 70 is not getting any frequency improvements because of this. The additional night frequencies were happening anyway thanks to Prop 1.

      8. Yup, I have to second David’s two points. For the engineering and science students on the south and east part of campus its a wash in walking distance to UW Link Station vs the Ave. Many of them already get off the bus at the Montlake Triangle or transfer at Campus Parkway to a Stevens Way bus. Link’s superior frequency and speed tips the balance in its favor. And it’s no contest for the medical students.

        U-Link would’ve done wonders for me if it existed when I was an engineering student there. I had an internship downtown and often worked and attended classes in the same day. The 70-series contra-express lanes are a big time suck. Sometimes I even catch a 255 instead if it shows up and walk from Montlake. At one time I even had a part time job near the Capitol Hill station in addition to classes and internship. I am absolutely jealous of the new students who’ll get to use this.

        This is not even considering the reliability and capacity boost Link provides. Sorry but suggesting that Link provides no benefit over the 70s express buses is not considering the experiences of people who ride this everyday. The buses often bunch up (scheduled 10 min combined frequency) and pass people waiting at stops (with 60-ft articulated buses). If you’re waiting for a 70s express bus at Campus Parkway, good luck finding a seat or even getting on. My technique to increase my chances of getting a seat was to keep walking up the Ave until I spotted a bus in the distance.

      9. I think you guys are missing the point. I’m not arguing that Link is useless, or that it doesn’t offer value for people. I’m not arguing that people would prefer a bus over light rail. That isn’t even the subject here. That is, well, off topic.

        I’m talking about the restructure. That is the key topic here. Someone headed to lower campus, the hospital, Husky Stadium, the clinic in Husky Stadium, Hec Ed, the soccer field or any other place in that part of town won’t take a bus that is part of this restructure. They won’t take a bus at all. The restructure does nothing. It is meaningless to them. You can restructure, you can leave it alone — it doesn’t matter. Now they take Link. Great! Seriously, this is great. These people will be thrilled by the light rail line.

        But Campus Parkway and the Ave is an excellent example of someone that won’t be thrilled. That is not an arbitrary point. That is the point where the buses diverge.

        Put it this way. Imagine they ran the old buses and the new buses at the same time. You are at Campus Parkway and the Ave on a bus headed south. The bus can either take a right (as it always has) and head directly towards downtown, or a left, and swing by Husky Stadium (or a few blocks from it). Which way do you want the bus to go?

        My point is that in most cases, you would be better off if the bus took a right (and headed straight downtown). If the express lanes are in your favor, it isn’t even close. But if not, Eastlake will still not be so horrendous as to be worse than the transfer. If Eastlake is bad, then Pacific will be bad. But either way, the transfer will be terrible.

        I think if people think the restructure was designed to give riders a faster trip from the U-District to downtown then they will be very disappointed. I don’t think people realize how bad that transfer will be (just as they didn’t realize how bad the Mount Baker transfer is). In the middle of they day, they will be disappointed with the frequency. Again, I’m talking only about people who will take a bus, then take Link. For them, it won’t be that great.

        But the trade-off is a lot of saved service hours. A huge amount. These are now being reapplied to various areas, making other trips better. I’m just not seeing that many trips that are much better (other than Maple Leaf — the folks who bought a house there a few years ago are thrilled — a brand new park along with very frequent bus service, folks there are living large). Seriously, though, I know they are out there. I know there are service improvements — frequency improvements as well as new routes — that have people excited. I am just curious as to where they are, because for my neck of the woods, it is actually getting worse (since they seem to be cutting out some of the 73s and everything else is about the same). I just can’t get excited about a lot of the other changes. The new 67 is great from the UW to the Roosevelt neighborhood, but they already had very good frequency, they just had it on a smattering of buses (71, 72, 73, etc.).

        So what exactly has people excited about this restructure, other than it is a restructure?

      10. Just looking at NE Seattle:

        1) Doubling of frequency on 65, 75, and 372. (I was also excited about the increase on the 67 until it went away.)
        2) New frequent service on 65th (and new frequent connections it brings to Wallingford and Fremont).
        3) Split of 48.
        4) New peak-hour options for SLU.
        5) Much better reliability within NE Seattle; your UW-Pinehurst trip won’t be 15 minutes late because of joint ops anymore.
        6) Much easier, in general, to get to University Village – which ought to be a major transit destination.

      11. “If Eastlake is bad, then Pacific will be bad.”

        Pacific Street is ten blocks. Eastlake is forty blocks, and then there’s the Denny Way bottleneck and 9th Avenue bottleneck. Where Pacific comes to a standstill is between the stadium and 520. Most of that is beyond the point where a U-District to stadium rider has gotten off. Yesterday my bus came to a standstill twice on Eastlake, a third time at Denny, and a fourth time at 9th. The part of Pacific between 15th and Montlake has transit lanes, and even if buses sometimes slow down to Eastlake’s poky speed, it’s only ten blocks rather than forty.

      12. @David — Good list. That is what I wanted to see. However, I’m not sure #5 is correct. The 373 is unchanged. Trips on the 73 are being eliminated. The trips on the 73 that were unreliable were the ones they are simply eliminating (the ones at rush hour). At least, that is my understanding. It isn’t clear by their wording (and I read it several times) whether they will be adding 373 buses. If the rush hour 73 buses are being replaced by rush hour 373 buses, than I stand (happily) corrected. But my understanding is that they will simply remove the 73 when the 373 is running.

      13. The 373 is indeed replacing the 73 at peak hour in the peak direction, but it’s going local so it will serve all of the same stops. It will also be reliable, like the new 73. That’s a reduction in buses per hour, but shouldn’t really be a reduction in effective frequency given the unreliability and unpredictability of the 73 at peak. (Incidentally, before the performance audit and the subsequent removal of almost all recovery time from the 71/72/73, they used to be some of the most reliable routes in the system.)

        I think Metro is assuming (I expect correctly) that a number of 73 users will switch to the 67 with its move to Roosevelt. My understanding is that more of the current 73 riders in Maple Leaf are coming from Roosevelt than from the low-density area around 15th.

      14. OK, I read the Adopted Transit Network ( It turns out that Metro will be adding some 373 buses. Right now there are 10 buses, but this will change to 11-14. It still isn’t clear what will happen, though. The 373 will only be peak (according to the document) while the 73 is every half hour. But the 73 doesn’t run when the 373 runs. So that might mean half hour service (via the 73) until peak, then the 373 kicks in with fifteen minute service (I guess). That would actually mean less service, but better timed service. Right now, from 4:00 to 6:00 in the evening, there are three 373 buses an hour. There are two 73 buses. Five buses an hour would be great, if not for the fact that they are not synchronized with each other. So this change is long overdue (getting the 73 and 373 to recognize each other) and I assume will mean better, more regular service (it was common to see 73 followed by a 373 five minutes later followed by no bus for twenty minutes).

        To further confuse matters, the 373 runs at 1:30 in the afternoon. So this meant higher 73/373 frequency at that time of day. That is hardly peak, so I assume that will go away. I sure wish they would be more clear about this set of routes, but then again, we will soon find out (when the new schedules are published).

    2. We can’t blame METRO for the mistakes of others (UW, ST, various politicians). Given what they had to work with here, this is very impressive, and worthy of genuine enthusiasm. Getting so much more of NE Seattle to the 15 minute threshold is a BFD.

      1. I don’t blame Metro at all. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I would say they made some decisions I disagree with, but in general, I know they were dealt a really bad hand. ST was so eager to build light rail in this part of town that they missed out on once in a lifetime opportunities. Although, to be fair, maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe they will eventually build a tunnel from the UW Hospital parking lot to the station. That would make getting to the station a lot faster for people headed to the hospital or the campus. But other opportunities (like additional stations) are gone.

        That being said, a strong argument against the restructure is that it should wait until light rail gets to the U-District. It really is a big shame that “U-Link” doesn’t involve all of the university. The U-District station is much better from a bus integration standpoint. I don’t think you would have this debate if U-Link included the U-District station. Buses like the 73 get truncated without hesitation. If you are headed downtown then you get off at the U-District. You can avoid the slog on Pacific, as well as crossing Montlake Boulevard.

        Of course, once Link gets to the U-District, it also gets to Northgate and Roosevelt. This is huge from a bus restructure standpoint. You simply have a lot more to work with. You might have enough service to create a really useful grid for both the north end as well as Capitol Hill. In short, you would have something like this:, which looks a hell of a lot better to me, even without the additions to Link.

        Speaking of Capitol Hill, there is also the possibility of waiting until the city adds Madison BRT (as well as other BRT plans). In general, that is the thing I don’t understand. What exactly is the hurry? There are plenty of buses that go by the stations right now — I think it would be interesting to see what happens with the current alignment once Link adds those stations. Do people avoid the 7X buses and take another bus (e. g. the 48) from the U-District and then transfer to Link when headed downtown? If so, then you would see ridership on those buses dwindle significantly. But if not, then people are simply choosing to stick with the express buses, and choosing to ignore Link if they are starting in the U-District.

        I can’t help but think that this is political. That the restructure was meant to send a sign to Sound Transit: See, we will focus all our bus routes to your stations! So how about adding some stations (like at NE 130th) that make sense from a bus integration standpoint. If we are willing to restructure to serve the stations now (with all its obvious flaws) imagine if you actually built a station that makes sense from a bus integration standpoint.

      2. Ross, you’re making the same mistake as lots of other commenters: assuming that trips to downtown are predominant and should be the focus off-peak.

        During peak hour and in the peak direction, when trips to downtown are in fact dominant, this restructure makes very few people transfer to Link.

        Off-peak, the predominant trips in these areas are to UW, not downtown. And what we get from this restructure is vastly, amazingly better access to UW from points east of 20th and somewhat improved access to UW from points west of it.

      3. The biggest problem is the 5-year gap between when UW Station opens and U-District station opens. Metro did the best thing it could do: it saturated the gap with massive bus runs, around every 3 minutes peak and 10 minutes off-hours. The 45/48 split contributed to that, as did the 61, 71, and 73 rerouting, and less directly the 75, 65, and 68 increases which only go to Campus Parkway. So saturating the gap and bringing buses to the station killed two birds with one stone. The long walk to the bus stops is UW’s fault and nobody else’s. ST would have considered better locations and entrances if the UW had allowed it.

      4. >> The long walk to the bus stops is UW’s fault and nobody else’s. ST would have considered better locations and entrances if the UW had allowed it.

        Sorry, ST is responsible for the stations and thus deserves the blame. Look, imagine this scenario: your boss needs you to complete a project, and it depends on a report from Fred. So you walk over to Fred and ask for the report. Fred says he is busy, and can’t give you the report. So then what, do you just give up? Of course not. You go back to your boss, and tell them what Fred said. Now your boss talks to Fred’s boss and this gets done.

        Same with this. Are you telling me that if the county execs of King, Snohomish and Pierce County walked into the governor’s office, they couldn’t convince him to make this a better station? Nonsense. There would be a meeting set up, and all this would be hashed out. If not, then take it public. This doesn’t necessarily mean they would have the station where they wanted it (on campus) but the triangle is a logical spot. That is way more accessible for buses. There is already an underground connection to the hospital, so they come out ahead. On (football) game days it wouldn’t matter, because streets are blocked off anyway.

        Even now there are a bunch of things that could be done to make it better (as suggested on this very blog). Along with buses pulling right up to the station, you could build an underground pathway. Yes, I know there are security concerns, but hell, ST has plenty of security guards, so getting those security guards to work with UW security hardly seems like an insurmountable obstacle. If anything it is a bonus (since a security guard could easily patrol both locations, meaning that the UW comes out ahead in the deal since the cost would be split). Oh, and add the bike facility. There really should be room there for hundreds of bikes.

        As to your other point, I agree. It is a damn shame that it will take five years before we get the station necessary to make this work much better. Again, my only question is why it is necessary to make these changes now. Why not wait a year and see how many people actually switch to the train. It isn’t as if there are a lack of buses headed to the stations.

      5. UW is only marginally accountable to the governor. Adminstratively, it’s an independent agency from the state’s executive branch. Its only real accountability to the rest of state government comes through the funding the legislature provides. The executives would need to walk into the UW President’s office, which they do regularly to no real effect, or try to use the legislature as a blunt instrument, which is a horrendous idea from a non-transit policy perspective. UW, like it or not, has power that is difficult for local executives to contend with.

        They have been responsive to low-level concerns in recent years, but when Sound Transit was making the high-level design decisions for U Link and North Link years ago they received little cooperation. That’s why we don’t have a bus transfer point, the underground walkway you mention to UWMC, or — most importantly and regrettably — a Link station directly under UW HUB, which would have been an amazing game-changer for both the entire region and UW itself (a big chunk of parking demand would have evaporated overnight and bus transfers wouldn’t be an issue at all).

      6. Off-peak, the predominant trips in these areas are to UW, not downtown. And what we get from this restructure is vastly, amazingly better access to UW from points east of 20th and somewhat improved access to UW from points west of it.

        There are still a huge number of people who go from the greater UW area to downtown off peak. Hell, there are tons of people who head downtown from Northgate in the evening. Until recently, those people just drove. But now, with 15 minute evening service, those people know they can get back at night and take the 41. Plus downtown is not just the destination, but the major transfer point for the entire city.

        But it doesn’t serve the U-District yet. That is the problem. The transfer penalty is just too big to really make it work in most cases. Even though, as Mike said above, it is 40 blocks versus 10, you still have a very long time to actually get to the platform from when you get off the bus. Unlike the other stops, the transfer penalty is huge (in part because it involves lots of extra driving).

        It really isn’t clear which is better because we don’t have data on this. At least, I don’t have data on this. The math is pretty simple, since buses go this way anyway. Here is the calculation as far as I can tell:

        1) Time from the bus stop to the platform. It depends on the bus, but this should be fairly easy to calculate. If the bus goes to Pacific Street (not place) then you have to include the signal time (unless you assume everyone will take the overpass, which is unlikely).

        2) Frequency of the train. Again, fairly easy to calculate: 6 minute peak versus 10 minute off peak (correct me if I’m wrong).

        3) Time it takes Link to get downtown from Husky Stadium. This is either six minutes or eight (I forget).

        4) Time it takes a bus to get from the U-District (which I’ll define as Campus Parkway) to Husky Stadium. Lots of buses do this, so we should be able (hopefully) to get this. I’m sure it varies, which is why a graph would be nice.

        5) Time it takes a bus to get from the U-District (again defined as Campus Parkway) to downtown. Again, this varies and we should be able to get some sort of plot.

        Then you just do the math. I have no doubt that there are times when the bus is faster, and times when taking the train is faster. My guess is that most of the time, the bus is faster. But there are also some times when the train is much faster. There are times when it would be worth walking to the station. But I think those times are rare and you would be just as well to make an extra transfer. In other words, as long as you knew the edge cases — those times when the express bus is so bad that it is going to be stuck in traffic — you could simply get off the bus, transfer to a different bus (e. g. 48) and live with the results. But those times are rare; most of the time the express bus is faster (by a decent margin).

        Look, I get it. A lot of these changes are great. Service to First Hill is huge. It is arguably the best thing about this. I do think it is critical, since Sound Transit forgot to put in a station. Pretty funny, really, Link gets to the UW, and now we have much better service to First Hill — but not because there is a station, but because Metro decided to spend a lot of service hours on buses to serve it (from areas completely independent of Link).

        As far as “vastly, amazingly better access to UW from points east of 20th”? Agreed. This part is very good. But with the exception of Lake City, there aren’t that many people there. Is Lake City really getting a huge improvement, though? I know increasing the 372 and 75 is great, but they also lost the 72, which, depending on where you are going (and when) was the fastest way to get there. Lake City to the U-District is probably a bit slower. Since all these buses served the same area, they get an increase, but not a huge one. It is the folks between there that see a huge improvement. But again, there aren’t huge numbers of people there.

        “and somewhat improved access to UW from points west of it.”. Yeah, maybe. Those making the connection at Northgate to the UW are worse off, from what I can tell. They simply shifted the old 66/67 to the 68. Basically, instead of using 5th, it uses Roosevelt. So instead of going from the Northgate Transit Center and then heading south (towards the UW) it will instead head into very heavy traffic to the north, before looping around and heading south. Those in the Roosevelt neighborhood are about the same (unless they want to get to Northgate). There used to be a bunch of buses to choose from, now they choose one. Sorry, I’m not convinced that this is much better for those people either. Those on Maple Leaf come out way ahead. But (you guessed it) there aren’t that many people there.

        Meanwhile, the Capitol Hill issue has been beaten to death, but I’m not convinced that it is much better there, either.

        Just to be clear, I think overall, this is probably all for the better. But what I don’t buy is this Pollyanna notion that this is a huge win for everyone. I think folks headed from the U-District (and upper campus) to downtown are taking a hit. Those on Capitol Hill are taking a hit. Those east of 20th do come out ahead. Perhaps this can be thought of as a grand experiment — let’s see how many people get out of their car in that part of town now that they probably have the best service in town per person. If the University Village parking lot is suddenly empty because people prefer taking the bus to a mall, then I think you can call this a huge success. I won’t hold my breath, though. It is a mall, and about the only thing it has going for it is the parking lot.

  9. When the 65 will no longer be through-lined with the 31 to Magnolia, what route, if any, will be?
    I ride the 31 several times a week during the summer, and have overheard Magnolia residents wishing this bus could be routed over the Ballard bridge rather than via Nickerson to make it easier to get to Ballard.

    1. The 75 is gaining 15-minute frequency and so will be through-routed with almost all trips on both the 31 and 32.

      Incidentally, those Magnolia residents lost a good opportunity to get to Ballard with an earlier Metro restructure proposal that would have extended the 24 over the Ballard Bridge. A lot of misinformation about capacity on the replacement service doomed that one.

      1. That is a good pairing and makes a lot of sense. Even though it is treated as two routes, this makes for a fairly straight shot from Sand Point to Fremont (and Magnolia). Even from Lake City to Fremont/Magnolia isn’t too crazy (although it might be faster to take the 372 and transfer). Speaking of which, what will it get paired with? For that matter, is there a list of pairings?

  10. The north end will see far better value than Capitol Hill in this restructure. Try as I can I can’t see how this restructure is an improvement over the current version. Feels like Metro is needs to force service through the station as opposed to finding ways that move service more organically through the neighborhood while serving the station.

    The 11 should stay on Pine St as it does currently and the 10 and 43 should instead swap on their way to 15th since riders on the 10 don’t have a direct connection aside from downtown. I would argue the 43 doesn’t need to directly serve Capitol Hill station since most people regardless of what passes as “good transit principles” don’t want to have to do multiple transfers within their own neighborhood. Some minor tweaks could’ve made this proposal much more palatable.

    1. I fully agree with keeping the 11 on Pine and the 43 as is since this restructure creates more problems then is solves.

    2. >> Feels like Metro is [forcing] service through the station as opposed to finding ways that move service more organically through the neighborhood while serving the station.

      A reasonable argument. I hope the folks here can do some analysis on these changes to show that they work or don’t work. I don’t want to see another article about how Link ridership is “exploding”, without an analysis of those riders. If the riders are new, if they have been drawn to the advantages of light rail’s speed (combined with complementary bus service) then it is great news indeed. But if the riders are simply people who have been forced to take the train because the bus doesn’t go there anymore, then we should look skeptically at similar changes in the future.

      1. Can you or someone else explain why Metro would deny the current users of the 11 west of 19th Ave East access to Light Rail? This is counterproductive and STUPID! It looks like that they would rather leave seniors/handicapped at the curb with only the 12 which goes down Madison!

      2. “f the riders are simply people who have been forced to take the train because the bus doesn’t go there anymore, then”

        …ST & Metro save a lot of money, which can then be used for something else. Because it costs less to lengthen a train, or even to run a train more frequently, than it costs to run more buses.

        Think about it.

    3. @RedN How are they being denied access to light rail? The 12 stops right at University St station. I also do not understand your push for keeping the 11 the way it is. It only benefits people at 17rh Ave. If you live at 16th, you had to walk a block to 17th anyway, so you walk a block the other way and get a 10. If you live on 18th, you again had to walk a block anyway so you walk a block the other way and get a new 11. You are losing direct access to things on Pike/Pine in Capitol Hill but your solution tells me that is not what you care about anyway. It’s not ideal but as a 43 rider, I’d kill to be able to walk two blocks and have similar service to what I have now.

  11. The last minute 40 rerouting caught me by suprise but turned out to be of little consequence.

    Now NCC campus will act as a miniture transfer point, but this should not add much time onto the 40 schedule…

      1. Ah, I see on the maps… it looks like they’re sending the 40 into the NSC driveway, but maybe only on weekdays. My first reaction is, “Ugh,” because variable routes are confusing, and this adds a two turns each way to the 40, including two lefts that could be time-consuming for people going through to Northgate (which is already way too slow).

        Maybe in 5 or 6 years the ped bridge lets people walk across faster (assuming we don’t get screwed out of it); the current bus stops and crosswalks aren’t perfectly set up for this, but they could be changed.

      2. Yeah that seems like a waste. That is my biggest general complaint about this restructure. It just seems inconsistent. On the one hand, there seems to be a grid mentality. Make the routes faster, straighter and more frequent. Combine routes to increase frequency even more. You might have to walk a bit more, or make a transfer, but in the end, it is better. Your transfer is much faster and once you get to the bus stop, the bus trip is much faster.

        But then there is this. A detour for what? Meanwhile, the 67 does the same sort of thing. The two can be combined, of course. There are other ways to get there, but imagine a trip from 105th and Greenwood to 80th and Roosevelt. Take the 40 and the 67. First you go east, then northeast, then south (towards the college), then maybe go through campus, then south some more (to 92nd) then north to the Northgate Transit Center. Then you take the 67 northeast, then south.

        It reminds me of this sort of thing: except in the case of the bus, it reverses field a couple more times.

  12. My biggest complaint, none of these changes should be made until after the light rail starts. making service changes without seeing what the effects are first is a big deal. No one knows for sure what changes are needed or wanted by the riders. Until the people using the system are counted by the rides, no changes should be implemented.

    1. None? Metro should keep sending waves of 7n expresses against the cliff face of traffic and crazy rush-hour tunnel slowdowns? And Metro should do nothing to increase capacity on routes that feed the stations even though many are already packed during rush hour and are very likely to become more popular?

      Metro will make incremental changes going forward based on ridership; it will be better off doing so from the baseline of the new network than the existing one (especially in the NE).

    1. Yes. No changes to Metro’s proposal west of I-5, except to send the 40 and 346 through the NSCC parking lot.

  13. CM Dembowski may have actually done us a favor by saving route 71 (the new version going to UW Station). Given its identical neighborhood tail to route 76, it may actually poach ridership off of route 76, enabling the I-5 route to be cut back sooner rather than later. Either way, that neighborhood won’t be filling up all those buses, while most of the riders closest to 35th will just ride soon-to-be-frequent route 65.

    Way back when, I thought an all-day 76 would be a cool way to pre-replace Roosevelt Station while waiting for Northgate Link, but since we got the version for downtown commuters only, we’ll see how long it survives.

    1. No one is going to use the 71 instead of the 76; it’s just too slow to reach UW Station. People from Wedgwood or Ravenna might be able to compete with the 76 by using the 65 or 372, but once you’re closer to I-5 the I-5 bus will win.

      Until we have North Link the strategy of sending off-peak riders through UWS and giving peak riders more one-seat service to downtown actually makes a lot of sense. Downtown ridership from NE Seattle is very peak-heavy, while all-day ridership is overwhelmingly oriented around UW. Developing a frequent all-day network that serves UW now and will serve North Link stations later is a great step, but until there are North Link stations the transfer penalty at peak hours when the Express Lanes are open is a bit too heavy given ridership patterns, and peak routes like the 63/64/74/76/316/355 are warranted.

    2. I don’t think the new 71 and 76 are similar at all. Heading north, very few people get on at 65th or later, and heading south very few people get off by 65th. I sometimes take the 71 from Ravenna to the Rite Aid on 85th, but that’s because the hill between 25th and 35th Ave isn’t for the faint of heart. And the bus is usually deserted on that stretch.

      People heading downtown from Ravenna/Wedgwood during peak would most likely choose the 76 (or 64), which is why those buses will continue to exist. Heading downtown off-peak they could take any of the 71/372/65 to UW station. It’ll be interesting to see how many opt for the 71 over the more direct routes.

      The bigger reason for the 71 is direct service to the U-district. Now that the 65 and 67 are linked, it’s possible to take the 65 on a 1-seat ride all the way to Roosevelt/45th. But that’s a pretty long detour through campus. This gives a faster option for someone who wants to eat on the Ave or head to UW Tower.

    3. The only thing the 71 does is bring people to the U-District. If you’re going to the station, you’ll quickly switch to a more frequent north-south route.

  14. I know I’m in the 100% minority here but I’m still just a little grouchy that the 48 won’t go to Roosevelt, doesn’t get extended to 1am (like the 45, which feels like a route that is set up for eventual frequency cuts), and there’s no firm plan to improve the traffic madness when it tries to cross the Montlake bridge. I know Metro really wants people to transfer downtown but, wow, that’s such a bad environment to use as of late.

    I like the restructure so far as the network itself goes.

    1. The 45’s evening frequency is probably because of University Heights; there’s heavy ridership up to 65th. The 48’s lack of evening frequency may have been to pull the hours to Saturday daytime when it will be 10-15 minutes.

    2. Not the only one. I completely agree with you; the 48-South should be through-routed with something. I loved the original plan to send it up north as the 67.

      The 45 is a decent route as is, but not ideal.

    3. The 48 was split to improve reliability. Joining it to another route would undo that. In the case of the 67 it would make the 67 subject to the 520 bottleneck.

      1. I know why they said the 48 needed to be split. I still disagree with how it was done. Now the new 48 will still sit in traffic while losing north end access. This really irks me since the Alt 1 plan would have opened up Northgate. Great, do that until Northgate Link opens. Or run 48 up to the current 71’s sometimes terminus at 65th. Or use the old 48X terminal at Green Lake P&R. Something, anything. Frequency is nice but now I get an even more frequent way to sit in traffic at Montlake or in front of Garfield. I’d rather have the access to Roosevelt.

        It still floors me that I feel like I need to move from one of the most dense neighborhoods in the city (the Central Area, my posting tag notwithstanding) just to have better transit service. Especially because, to be completely frank, I’m sick and tired of transferring in the cesspool that is many downtown stops.

      2. Your complaint is valid. The Central Area has been neglected from a transit standpoint for a very long time. How the hell we got light rail to Tukwila before light rail to the C. D. is crazy.

        Madison BRT should help a bit, maybe, depending on where you are (and if you are heading that way). Eventually there will be a Metro 8 subway, hopefully. But first we have to build several projects that will be a lot more expensive and a lot less productive.

  15. Regarding the 78, to say that nobody will ride it because ridership on the 25 is low, is wrong. When people choose their mode of transportation, they look not only that there IS a bus but also where it’s going, how long it takes and how frequent it is. Very few people from Laurelhurst who work downtown take the 25 since it takes ages to get there. That leaves the UW folks but the low frequency of the 25 makes it more convenient to walk or bike to UW. The 78, with its connection to the Link and higher frequency, will have much higher ridership.

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