As an addendum to Bruce’s post about the proposed Pine Street bus lane, I thought it would be worth making the point that despite the opening of University Link and the associated restructure of bus service, that net service levels on Pine Street will be still busier than ever during peak periods.

This chart looks at 4 distinct time periods over the last two years:

  • Immediately after the September 2014 service cuts (blue), in which the 47 was eliminated.
  • After the first round of Prop 1 investments (red), in which a limited 47 was restored.
  • After the second round of Prop 1 investments (green), in which the 47 was expanded, the 11 given 15-minute off-peak service, and Routes 216, 218, and 219 added to Pine Street.
  • After the ULink restructure (purple), in which the off-peak 43 is eliminated and the 49 will move to 12 minute service.

Pine Street Service Levels

With these service levels, peaking at 32 buses per hour in the 4:00pm hour, a bus lane is entirely appropriate and overdue. Please submit your supportive comments to SDOT’s Jonathan Dong.

17 Replies to “Even with ULink, Pike-Pine Will Be Busier Than Ever”

  1. Also remember after the buses are kicked out of the tunnel, there won’t be enough curb space for the buses on 3rd and Pike O_O

    1. Which is why I’ve been screaming about the dedicated streetcar lanes on 1st having the ability to handle buses. We will need all the north-south transit lanes we can get within blocks of 3rd.

      1. A hundred percent agree, Poncho. Though one complication, which I think is worth the effort:

        If the buses are going to make any stops, the streetcars will have to be switched to contraflow at either end of the reserved section, so their doors will be on the same side as the platforms.

        Like at Bellevue Transit Center. Otherwise, the buses will have to cross all traffic lanes to stop at the curb. Meaning that the trackway will need some kind of physical adjustment.

        Possibly being raised a few inches above the car lanes, and also edged with a low barrier, either concrete or stones.

        Every time I wait for the 594 on Pacific, across from the history museum in Tacoma, and watch buses pile up in traffic, I wish the raised part of the streetcar platform could have a street-level portion for buses.

        And also run contraflow. Because their lanes are well enough reserved that streetcars are never held by car traffic their whole route.

        Mark Dublin

      2. When I attended the last streetcar open house a few weeks ago I asked about this and the SDOT employee I spoke to said that all of the 1st Ave stations are designed to allow for joint streetcar/bus use. They key requirement is buses with left-side doors, which I’ve heard SDOT is pushing for and will likely be part of the Madison BRT.

      3. So more money on special equipment with special constraints, just like the Rapid Ride buses that prevented Metro from extending the 15 (D) to Northgate. Sigh.

      4. Thats great to hear buses will hopefully share it but it nuts to have special buses only for these routes, what do they do away from 1st and Madison? The simple easy answer for both 1st and Madison is center running with right side door islands that are one per direction.

  2. But what’s to support? This bus lane will exactly replicate the unproductive layout we have today: the right hand lane will be remain congested on every other block (where there are right turns), forcing busses out of the BAT lane. The inbetween blocks are not really that congested. They’re basically just changing the label on the right lane as no one, not even busses use it to drive straight through today. I’ll reserve my support for when they propose something actually useful, like contra-flow lanes on Pine/Pike, right turn bans, or bus lanes that bypass right turn messes. I think settling for this is really counter productive as it allows SDOT to basically just walk away and call this done, having put basically no effort into the problem and asked no sacrifice of SOV traffic.

  3. Very interesting the high number of buses coming OUT of Capitol Hill in the afternoon commute, as opposed to coming out in the morning. You’d expect the opposite.

    1. There’s very little peak direction service on Capitol Hill. Almost all routes are fully bidirectional in their frequency. And the peak overlay that exists is incidental, the 216/218/219 beginning their routes on Pine.

    2. Seattle Central students, Seattle U students, shoppers… It could also be people coming from the far side of the hill or the U-District to downtown that look like they’re coming from the hill but they’re not really.

    3. Also, people riding one or two stops from Bellevue Ave to Convention Place, Westlake or 3rd. It’s just a slight stretch to call that downtown circulation, so ridership is naturally high.

  4. Gpa has a point: unless SDOT is going to prohibit right turns, I don’t think a BAT lane will do much in this case. Pine Street isn’t that bad, even at peak hour. There’s still going to be a lot of cars attempting to turn right, especially onto 6th and 4th avenues, forcing buses to merge left.

    The plus side is that it should remove the taxi’s and Ubers that camp out in front of Westlake’s 5th Ave entrance waiting for link riders. But even then, that may be a negative thing too.

    1. There needs to be enforcement and a new paint job on the curb between 6th and 5th. That block should be buses only, taxis & pseudo taxis across Pine, passenger load on 6th north of Pine on the west side by Nordstrom side entry.

  5. I think it would make some sense to, instead of making it a 24/7 bus lane, allow cars and taxis to use it from, say, midnight to 4am, where the number of buses per hour is in the 0-7 vicinity. It wouldn’t be very heavily utilized at these hours, but I could see taxis making good use of the curb when very few buses are.

    1. Since midnight – 4 am is when Link is shut down, I hope there is decent, semi-frequent shadow service, especially to Capitol Hill and UW. Are there hours still being wasted on 80-series routes?

  6. Pike/Pine at 5th is an interesting cut location to focus on. ST might be able to do something to reduce such peaks using creative use of LR service in the DSTT, but such a thing would certainly not be possible until the buses get kicked out of the tunnel in 2017/18.

    Stated another way, such peaks might be artifacts of The DSTT being underutilized because of Joint Ops.

  7. The last time I was in Boston- maybe 20 years ago- though their subway under the University campus isn’t very long, their standard buses had doors on both sides.

    I’m skeptical about doing that with buses- just seems that there’s not quite enough vehicle there to warrant the extra complication. For First-Avenue distance, I’d favor contraflow running, with crossovers at each end of the transit-way.

    But on Market Street in San Francisco, not only to buses share lanes with streetcars- with stops in alternating blocks for each mode, and doors right-side only on both vehicles but trolleybuses and historic streetcars, both with trolley poles, have their shoes use same positive wire.

    Am told that there are small pantographs available than LRV standard, so if voltages are compatible-unlike LINK cars- could be possible on First. And elsewhere.

    Also: suggest not counting on all day Route 43 being permanently temporary. If it’s as important to its service area as I think it is, it won’t take very many shake-ups to convince Councilman Dembowski not to leave that much wire for a linear pigeon perch.


Comments are closed.