STB has a longstanding policy to print unedited responses to our articles by agency officials. Metro’s Deputy General Manager Victor Obeso submitted this response to Zach’s Tuesday piece entitled “Metro Cancels Capitol Hill Restructure“. 


Photo of Metro Director of Service Development Victor Obeso
Metro Deputy General Manager Victor Obeso

Metro hasn’t canceled the Capitol Hill restructure. Riders will see more frequent and reliable bus service integrated with rail service when ULink launches in 2016.

Metro did have to pull back on the proposal to move Route 11 to John/Thomas, intended to help Capitol Hill riders have better east-west service. As part of our regular planning routine to test that bus turns can be made, we tested the turns between Madison and 19th and determined that changes to roadway channelization would be necessary to enable the right turn from Madison to 19th. SDOT rejected Metro’s rechannelization proposal. As a result, Route 11 will still take riders downtown on its current path. Metro heard a wide array of comments on changing or keeping the path of the Route 11.

Not being able to change the path of Route 11 doesn’t diminish the other key changes with real benefits for riders: Better frequency and better reliability on Capitol Hill.

  • Buses will be coming to Capitol Hill Station every 12 minutes North-South and East-West during the mid-day, and every 10-15 minutes during the peaks.
  • We will be splitting Routes 8 and 48 to improve their reliability. (Unlike the Alternative 2 network)
  • Riders will see added service on Routes 8, 12, 48 and 49.
  • Routes 8, 9, 49, 60 and the Streetcar all go past and serve Capitol Hill station with frequent service.
  • More frequent evening trips on Route 8 will be funded by keeping Route 11 on its current, more direct path.

Overall, we received mixed feedback from Capitol Hill riders and from surrounding neighborhoods on more aggressive restructuring concepts. There was no consensus throughout the process and we attempted to balance a number of competing objectives.

We’ll be monitoring travel patterns after ULink launches and look for opportunities for further changes, including participating in SDOT’s Madison BRT efforts. We’ve been working with SDOT on making many transit improvements we need across the city and they continue to be a key partner in working to make March changes a success.

We continue to plan jointly with Sound Transit so bus transfers work easily for riders. Each new station gives us an opportunity to learn from our past and make the system work better, and this is a responsibility we take seriously.

Metro and Sound Transit continue to chart a shared path forward, with integrated long-range planning, coordinated bus-rail connections, ORCA Lift coordination and open data sharing – examples of joint transit systems we successfully operate every day. Metro will continue to roll out bold restructures to better integrate rail and buses as ST2 projects come on line.  Sometimes public resistance, council opposition, or decisions on city street operations cause us to go back to the drawing board.  We will continue to look at changes to the Capitol Hill service network in the coming years.

128 Replies to “Metro Responds to Our Capitol Hill Restructure Article”

  1. What a load of nothing. It in no way responds to Zach’s points. Probably the most insulting part is how little respect Victor has for his riders. He doesn’t even bother to be internally consistent; compare the first sentence to the second to last. “Metro hasn’t canceled the Capitol Hill restructure” and “Sometimes Metro has to go back to the drawing board.”

    Well, which is it?

    1. Victor, and STB:

      Granted, it’s been 25 years since held plastic 45 triangles with both 90 and 45 degree angles- somebody check my addition. And for 13 years, I took buses around turns that were mostly 90 degrees with light poles on the corners.

      Including 15th NE NB and NE 65th EB. With a Breda artic- close, but after many years, of 90 degrees the pole is still there. Either my memory or my math is wrong- or why are we having this discussion?

      Mark Dublin

  2. Mr. Obeso,

    Since you are identifying “frequent service to the station on the 9” as part of the justification for a service pattern that actually reduces the number of buses serving the station when it opens, I can only hope this means Metro has abandoned the foolish idea of cutting back the 9 to peak only in September, as proposed just a week ago. Is this the case? If not, this post seems disengenuous: you’re selling a level of service you’re planning to cut just months after the station opens.

  3. Victor, why did Metro promise riders on Thomas/Olive way a route that was not feasible in practice to implement and how to you intend to make up for the lack of service in one of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods?

    1. He says in the article:

      “More frequent evening trips on Route 8 ”

      Because some more evening trips on an unreliable bus that does not go downtown is certainly as valuable as a downtown bus every 15 minutes during most of the day. Don’t you see that?

      1. Evenings is when the traffic clears away. It’s also when the 8 drops to half-hourly which makes it hard to use in an urban always-travelling-don’t-want-to-be-tied-down-to-a-schedule-or-face-long-transfer-wait-hell environment. Other routes got evening boosts to 15 minutes but the 8 didn’t because there weren’t enough hours left over. Obeso seems to be saying that reverting the 11 frees up some hours to get the 8 up to 15-minute frequency for at least part of the evening, and that would be a significant win for 8 riders and 48 transferers.

      2. In one of the comments yesterday Zac linked to the planning documents for the service change. Those show that the 8 will be improved from 30 minute to 20 minute service for a couple of hours after peak and from about noon to 7pm on Sundays.

        While that’s better than nothing, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the combined 8 + 43 service that exists today on Olive/John/Thomas, especially on Sundays.

      3. I also don’t consider a change from 6 buses an hour to 3 (instead of 2) to be a “significant win.” It is still a significant loss, just not quite as bad.

      4. For most of the route 43 corridor, there are numerous other ways to get downtown, including Link, the 10, 11, or 12. Even from Olive and Summit, it’s just 3 blocks to the Link station (1/5 mile) or about 3/4 mile to walk directly to downtown. About the only piece of the route 43 corridor where route 43 really saves a transfer to go downtown is Montlake. From there, those that are able to could simply walk directly to Link at the UW Station (about 3/4 mile), or to Montlake Freeway Station (about 1/3 mile), which will still be served by the 255 and 545.

      5. The problem is John/Thomas west of 15th, and 23rd/24th north of John. Riders there are having service to CHS cut in half, losing the bus connection to downtown completely. Sure, able bodied people can walk over the hill. Not every wants to, or is able to, walk over 3/4 of a mile to make a connection that already has frequent bus service today.

    2. The loss of service to Summit is, hands down, the worst of the bad outcomes from this restructure. We’re talking about a neighborhood with close to 10,000 people that is separated from light rail by a steep hill and from downtown by a freeway and very pedestrian-hostile streets. It needs frequent service to downtown, and its current frequent service to downtown on the 43 is well-used.

      There is a way to address the issue: change the 10 to replace the restructure-proposal 11 along John and Thomas. I’ll be making a post about this within the next couple of days.

      1. I fully agree with the David proposal since it fills in a big gap left by Metro. This is a simple solution especially since the wires are there. So is Metro listineing?

  4. This 19th and Madison turn justification for the 11 is a red herring. Victor, you’ve missed the point.

    The substantive topic is determining how important it is to serve the new rail station. The 11 could have been sent up John and Thomas, just like the 8 (present and future). A smarter plan for the 43 could have connected Montlake to east Capitol Hill to the station and north Capitol hill, and at greater frequency too. Just a single east-west all-day route — the 8 — will serve the station when it opens.

    I understand Metro’s desire and need to please many masters, but I personally can’t help but feeling a bit of bait-and-switch, and the sting of a missed opportunity. This won’t be Metro’s only shot at getting it right; next time, I will expect much, much better.

    1. We’re watching Metro to make sure it re-evaluates and rebalances service a year after Link opens, and does a smart restructure with Madison BRT. “Smart” meaning full-time frequent corridors without excessive turns.

      There have also been suggestions to move the 10 to John now to compensate for the 43. I hope that gets some traction.

      1. The worst part is that Metro’s admittedly thorough public comment process allowed all of us to see and understand their thought process. Many saw a lot of things to like in terms of thinking somewhat differently about the route network and its rail connections in Capitol Hill. Now, the fact that Metro included exactly zero of those forward-thinking ideas made it into the final network, with a substantial overall degradation (westbound 8 in the afternoon is NOT reliable, regardless of frequency; again, work with SDOT is required), is a blindingly obvious failure to lead.

        Not being smart in the first place would have been status quo — same ol’ thinking. But there were new ideas, and they were ignored. That is so, so much worse.

      2. The frequent corridor has to extend all the way from Broadway to 23rd in order to connect with the 48. While I agree that the 10 should connect to the station the section of John from Broadway to 15th is pretty much walking distance to the station already. Very few people would wait for a bus at 15th or 12th to ride it to Broadway and transfer.

      3. At least with OneBusAway, it is possible to make an informed decision whether it’s faster to wait for the 8 or just walk.

        But improved evening frequency of the 8, after the Denny Disaster has mostly cleared out (at least when there’s nothing major going on at the Seattle Center), would certainly be a big improvement.

      4. “The frequent corridor has to extend all the way from Broadway to 23rd in order to connect with the 48.”

        Yes it should, but a stopgap from 15th is better than a practically useless peak-only unidirectional 43.

        “who is the “we” that is watching Metro and how can I become a part of it?”

        “We” is a substantial part of the readership, and you’re part of it just by watching.

      5. @asdf2 — agreed, but that’s no good when people are getting off the train at rush hour heading east. The westbound 8 will see a definite reliability gain, likely all day, with the 8/38 split, so there’s that.

      6. There have also been suggestions to move the 10 to John now to compensate for the 43

        I like that idea. From Group Health that gives you a one seat ride to downtown and more reliable service to Link East of there you can catch the 12 to downtown and if the 8 is not coming, at least you have a shorter walk to Link. Pine takes a bit of a hit, but the 11 is still fairly frequent and reliable.

        I really think Mr. Obeso’s optimism (if it is sincere) is based on a fairy tale view of the 8. Even I know the bus is unreliable (and I haven’t taken it in years, if ever). Hell, Danny Westneat wrote a column about it. If the 8 was solid — it it came when it was supposed to come — then I think the changes (or lack thereof) would be OK.

      7. “Pine takes a bit of a hit, but the 11 is still fairly frequent and reliable.”

        The 11 is 15-minute frequent daytime and Saturdays. The 49 is full-time frequent, and will be 12-minute daytime in March. People do sometimes take the 49 and walk instead of waiting for the 10 or 11, and Pine Street is the flattest of any of the east-west streets. When it snows I can easily walk from Pike Place Market to 14th where it gets steeper.

    2. The 11 could have been sent up John and Thomas, just like the 8 (present and future).

      That’s the part I don’t get. I understand that not everyone was pleased with the current restructure, but it was what people settled on. The little turn on 19th never made sense to me. It seems crazy to throw out a bunch of the changes because you can’t have that. You still have the 12 along 19th (which is more frequent) so what, exactly did that little button hook give you? Not much, from what I can tell. A one seat ride from Madison Park to Mount Zion Baptist Church and a handful of businesses. Extra service along 19th, but less service along John, and a much slower ride to Link and downtown for everyone who takes that bus. It really looks like they threw the baby out with the bathwater.

      1. 19th was to get it closer to 17th & Madison (the middle of the mid Madison area), and have a bus on every block of Madison (the 19th to 24th gap). And some have speculated it was a precursor to deleting the 12’s 19th Avenue segment, by putting other service on 19th south of John.

      2. My understanding from Metro staff was that they wanted to have the 11 follow the 8 and turn from Madison directly to John but the Central District Chamber of Commerce (the hair salon at Madison & 22nd) strenuously objected. They required that all blocks of Madison retained service, which is why the 11 turned off at 19th where the 12 would take over.

      3. Would it have been such a big deal to run it a couple of blocks further? Say, 22nd? Or how about turning onto a street going west for a couple of blocks? Or Denny, which intersects Madison at 90 degrees?

        One impossible turn seems like such a preposterously small thing over which to throw out a whole restructure. There’s more than one intersection on Madison, and if it means several blocks of duplicate bus service then so be it, if that is what is required to make things work.

      4. The decision has been made to keep the 11 on Madison/Pine for now. If your logic had any merit, then there should not be a Madison BRT. Real people use the 11, and most of them are not Blogger on the STB either!

        Once again, the 15th Ave East and East Pine is still a workable solution, but the great minds at Metro, who liked 19th, but did not test it, have said no. Anyone willing to be that they never tested run the bus n 15th either!

      5. Certainly, that is the decision they have made. However, that doesn’t explain throwing the whole proposal out because one turn doesn’t work.

        Suppose, for example, they put the 8 and/or 11 onto Pine for a few blocks, then run it north on 15th, 14th, 13th, or 12th? This provides a few blocks of overlapping service on Madison beyond their proposal but otherwise isn’t too different from what was proposed. This really doesn’t look to me like it would require that many extra service hours over their proposed restructure.

        It just seems like making the whole thing dependent on a single intersection creates too many constraints on what could be possible.

        What am I missing about these other north-south options that make them impossible?

      6. Your idea is the one I proposed multiple times and the last being at the final KC Council on the Restructure. The response was buses can’t turn corners, and the run would be longer. Metro admitted that the 19th Ave proposal would make the run at least 5 minutes longer, and I think we could have lived with an another minute delay with a turn on 15th Ave East.

        That solution also allowed a seamless transfer to the 10 for those wanting to go downtown or to Volunteer Park. One must question if Metro if ever tested 15th, since they did not test 19th as they have finally admitted.

      7. The turn onto 15th would only be a 90 degree turn though.

        19th might be made to work too if they eliminated a few parking places at the intersection so the nortbound lane on 19th were wider. Probably be more outrage about those several parking spaces than two blocks of eliminated bus service on Madison though. We are not told if they looked at all options including taking away parking.

        A bit over a year ago they had a temporary reroute of the 31 through Magnolia. The bus needs to turn from northbound 22nd Ave to southbound Gilman. It’s probably close to a 160 degree turn. That intersection provides a bit more space to move, and it looks to me as if similar space would be available if the parking on 19th closest to the intersection were removed.

      8. They required that all blocks of Madison retained service,

        This is really the biggest problem with Metro routes in general. They refuse to consider that in many cases, you are better off walking a couple of blocks. It was evident in the north end as well. They initially split very similar routes (73 and 373) running them on different streets, to allow for more coverage. This time they allowed public pressure to push for the same thing — slow down the bulk of riders because you don’t want a handful of them to walk a couple blocks.

        Just to be clear, I do think there is great value in getting people closer, especially when it comes to obvious transfer points. But frequency and reliability play just as big a part in a good transit system, and the two are often at odds. You shouldn’t require people to walk huge distances, but a couple extra blocks is a very small price to pay for a faster, more reliable network.

      9. If what you say is true about people being expected to walk two blocks, I would ask you to look at how the number of blocks between Madison and Joh/Thomas is at various points from Madison to 15th Avenue. At one point, it’s at least a half mile walk!

        Next, if what you say is true then why isn’t the BRT on John/Thomas instead of Madison?

      10. One more point about the two block walk isn’t that what people will have to do to get from light rail from Pine on Broadway. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

        All I’m asking for is consistency in Metro planning and a realization that Madison is a diagonal street that possess unique problems that hopefully the BRT which I voted for and probably solved for good!

        Remember, the 19th Avenue solution took more time and used more Metro hours and keeping the 11 on Madison is a cost saving for Metro. There are fixes for the 43 problems and they can still be easily implemented. Best case, why not just leave the 43 as is, especially since they now appear to be the only ones impacted in the abortive Capitol Hill restructure!

  5. Thanks for responding, Mr. Obeso. However, I notice there was no mention of lost service from the 43, which will be a large loss of mobility for Summit and Hilltop. The 8 isn’t going to cut it because it is wildly unreliable (I know because that’s my daily bus).

  6. I always thought Metro’s planners were forced into bad decisions by a county council that was too eager to listen to squeaky wheels and neighborhood groups dominated by folks wedded to the status quo.

    Thanks to Victor’s article, I now know better.

    1. I don’t think so. Metro’s planner surely do know this is a disaster. They also have to put a brave public face on it. I’m guessing Obeso drew the short straw here.

      1. I’m the first guy to cut civil servants a break. They do tireless work and are constantly second guessed for it.

        However, I’m not sure I agree in this case. This is a blog, not the New York Times. They could have ignored it if they really knew it was a disaster. To come out swinging like it’s a great result is eye-opening.

      2. The planners are very knowledgeable and really want to make a progressive walkeresque network. If they had full control it would be done already. They continually propose things that do so but get overruled by management or the county council or the public process that shows “significant neighborhood opposition”. Earlier they couldn’t get hardly anything through, but in recent years they’ve gotten the 40; the 31/32; the 31/32/75 through-route (Fremont to Laurelhurst); folding the 81 and 85 into the C, D, and 120; the Burien-Des Moines-Southcenter restructure; etc. So we can continue to blame the upper management, because it either is their fault or they’re managers so they should fix it, meaning being bolder about restructuring and standing up to status-quo opposition.

      1. Much like the way management keeps Center Park bus alive to appease the council (*cough*Gossett*cough*) despite having service guidelines. They’re running a PRIVATE bus for a few instead of offering PUBLIC transportation for ALL!

        What a croc.

  7. Thank you for responding, Mr. Obeso, but it strikes me that this rebuttal is very light on content. It fails to address the network problems created by reverting the one route within the network that was changed to atone for the loss of the 43, it doesn’t address whatever policy problem within Metro or SDOT led to the route’s (unnanounced) reversion. You also claim higher frequency connecting to the Link station, when you know full well that Olive/Thomas/John will see far less service and far less reliably at that. If the #11’s move was to provide better east-west service, why is there no recognition that lacking it now might mean worse east-west service? Overall, this is a very hand-wavey response to the substance presented yesterday.

  8. I’m sure Mr Obeso is a nice guy but seriously… what a douche bag playing politics. This letter says nothing of use. It does however show how disconnected KCM is from the average transit user in Seattle. Seattle needs more direct control over transit in the city… I’ve always felt that KCM being a country agency, and a HUGE county at that, has too many apples to juggle. Maybe we should talk breaking up KCM, adjusting priorities. Is that feasible?

    1. We could at least maybe start by firing Victor Obeso. How many atrocious failed restructures has he presided over?

    2. I don’t think breaking up KCM is readily feasible, but I do think it’s desirable. I’d vote for that in a heartbeat. The next time KCM comes hat and hand to the supportive transit wonks, don’t expect my vote for more cash.

      Why are we in Seattle still beholden to county buffoons rep’ing NIMBYs that would rather have NO transit?

      Clearly, it’s time for Seattle to put on it’s big-boy pants and start an actual transit system run by the city that serves the city.

      On thing is for certain, when King County Metro decides to put BS politics and Dembowski showboating before real transit gains – everyone loses.

    3. There are conflicts brewing between SDOT’s corridors and Metro’s corridors, and they’ve already led to unoptimal results. Metro generally has better ideas than SDOT, but SDOT has a long-range plan and is at least doing something to make the corridors faster. The result of these conflicts is that SDOT ends up imposing routes on Metro (SLUT, Madison BRT (instead of Madison-Pine 11), FHS), and Metro ends up having to operate them and work around them and pay for their operations and take the hours out of other routes. If we’re going to keep doing that, maybe we should bring it all in-house under SDOT so that a single agency is responsible for all aspects.

    4. “Madison BRT (instead of Madison-Pine 11)”

      I didn’t mean that BRT to MLK will take away the 11 as RegN fears, but that Madison-Pine is a more productive corridor than Madison-Madison, yet SDOT chose an all-Madison route.

      1. Madison-Pine is more productive than all Madison? I don’t know, Mike. An all Madison route goes right by the heart of First Hill, which means Seattle U and all the hospitals. Madison-Pine would get you much closer to Link and would get you by a lot of people, but I’m not sure that many more people. Those folks are likely to just walk to Link if they are headed downtown or to the UW, making a fast BRT less of a game changer. The folks surrounding the hospitals and Seattle U (and there are a lot of them) on the other hand, will finally have a very fast way to get downtown.

        Now Madison-Broadway might have made a lot of sense and probably should have been what Sound Transit paid for instead of the streetcar.

      2. The corridors that make sense in that area from the perspective of building a gridded network with frequent HCT connections are Olive/John/Thomas/E Madison and Madison/E Union, with some form of N/S Link feeder service serving the central Pike/Pine area. There is comparatively little demand to travel directly between First Hill and Madison Valley/Madison Park, which is the only trip all-Madison does better than such a gridded network.

        This pure gridded network doesn’t serve the area around Madison/17th very well, which is why you’d probably need to continue the 12 or run some Madison buses as far as 23rd.

      3. “An all Madison route goes right by the heart of First Hill, which means Seattle U and all the hospitals.”

        People in southwest Capitol Hill go to Madison Valley and Park. People in Madison Valley and Park go to Capitol Hill’s shopping, nightclubs, apartments, and Seattle Central, and central downtown aka the Westlake and Pike Place area. My experience is that a larger number of people and a wider cross-section of people do these trips regularly than those who go to the hospitals, Seattle U, library, or ferries. That’s why there’s so much concern that a Madison-Madison route will be less generally useful than a Madison-Pine route.

        Things could change with all the apartment construction on Madison, but it really needs a wider variety of businesses too if it wants to draw more people to it. And the downtown section needs to be redeveloped into more mixed-use and evening activities rather than just the 9-5 office ghetto.

      4. @David — I agree.

        @Mike — I disagree. For the shopping and nightclubs, Madison works just about as well as a pure Madison route — most of the clubs are between the two streets (with a few north and south of the triangle). The apartments are pretty much a wash as well. There is plenty of density along both streets, which leaves Seattle Central versus the hospitals and Seattle U. I seriously doubt more people go to the former, rather than the latter.

        The biggest weakness with the pure Madison route is that it skips Link, but again, that is no huge loss. The bulk of the people would not combine a trip from Link to the BRT because it is too short a distance. Those that do will have to make do (or should make do, assuming a decent restructure) with regular bus service. But that distance will be short, so the difference between regular (but very frequent) bus service versus BRT will be minor. It is only when you are headed a mile or more that BRT really starts shining, and shine it will for folks connecting to downtown or First Hill.

        If I’m in Montlake and they cancel the 43 I’m bummed. I’ve lost time on my trip to downtown. But with the BRT I’ve gained it back, and then some. Meanwhile, I’ve got a much faster ride to First Hill. My trip to CHS is slower, but with adequate frequency, it really is no big deal. Why am I going there, anyway? To go south on Link? OK, then just go to Madison. North on Link? Head the other way. South Lake Union? Take the 8.

        If there was no Link station at Capitol Hill, then the route you describe would make sense as the first BRT for the city. But this spreads the wealth, at the cost of more complimentary service. The thing is, even a BRT on Pine would not be that complementary for the reasons mentioned. A truly complementary HCT system would be one that went down Broadway, but without the silly twists and turns (and with a lot more frequency) of the streetcar.

      5. “If I’m in Montlake and they cancel the 43 I’m bummed. I’ve lost time on my trip to downtown. But with the BRT I’ve gained it back, and then some”

        People don’t just go “to downtown” as if any part of downtown were equally acceptable. They go to a certain place downtown. My argument is that more people are going to the Pike-Pine area than to the Madison area.

      6. Compared to the rest of the Seattle street grid, Madison is a radial street. All-Madison service is great as a one-seat ride, but it’s terrible as a connecting service.

        I strongly agree with David that Madison is functionally part of two different corridors. In fact, I’ve previously made the argument that SDOT should consider implementing a “bolo tie” at 12th/Madison/Union, where the west part of Madison is connected to the east part of Union, and the west part of Union is connected to the east part of Madison. SDOT is talking about doing this for the Rainier/MLK intersection at Mt. Baker, so it’s not *completely* crazy. :)

        The minimal bus service change accompanying the street change would be to change the 2 to use Madison west of 12th, and to change the 12 to use Union west of 12th. I think even this would be a significant improvement on the status quo; the 2 would clearly justify ultra-high frequency, while the 12 would clearly be a coverage route.

      7. Where have bolo ties been successful? It sounds like it would continually confuse and anger people forever to get diverted from one street to another and then have to turn twice to get back to the original street and direction, and then find out that the opposite direction exchanges the streets the same way. “WTF? Why didn’t they just keep one street with the same street, and the other street with its own street?”

        And why is it called a bolo tie rather than a bow tie? What is a bolo tie?

      8. Where have bolo ties been successful?

        I don’t know. But it intuitively makes sense to me, and SDOT seems to think it makes sense for Rainier/MLK.

        “WTF? Why didn’t they just keep one street with the same street, and the other street with its own street?”

        You could ask the same question about Greenwood/Phinney, or 45th/46th/Market, or James/Cherry, or Denny/Olive/John/Thomas/John, or at least a dozen other streets throughout the city.

        And why is it called a bolo tie rather than a bow tie? What is a bolo tie?

        Google Images will help you out more than I can. The short version is, it’s a tie where you have two cords that are held together by a fastener at the center. The two cords come close to each other, but do not cross, as in a bowtie.

      9. “You could ask the same question about Greenwood/Phinney, or 45th/46th/Market, or James/Cherry, or Denny/Olive/John/Thomas/John, or at least a dozen other streets throughout the city.”

        Those are just an arterial jogging from one street to another, That’s not at all as disruptive as two arterials exchanging places.

  9. This is a whole bunch of nothing. Victor knows this restructure is basically no restructure. If the #1 thing you can hang your hat on is splitting the 8 (a route that should have never been combined with the south section of the 48 when LINK opened five and a half years ago) after all this public process you know you’d failed.

    There is no acknowledgement here of how the Summit riders are about to get totally stuffed. The 8 is just not an adequate replacement for the 43 service along that corridor, as long as reliability remains in the toilet. There is no or very little connection for most of east Capitol Hill to Capitol Hill Station. The 8, again, is barely passable in this regard, and makes for a tough transfer for many routes, especially given the 8’s reliability and the just-longer-than-walkable but only a couple-of-minutes-on-a-bus distances involved.

    The problem with anything in life when you have no substance behind what you’re saying is eventually it will catch up to you. Whether Desmond sent him out to write this piece to get out in front of anger from some of Metro’s biggest fans, or he took the initiative to do it himself, it unclear. The problem is, as soon as the restructure rolls out and those folks living in the apartments in Summit, and those in East Capital Hill realize they have a huge loss in service over the status quo AND have crappy access to Capital Hill Station, those chickens are going to come home to roost.

    I dare say that constituency is going to be more vocal, and there will be a whole lot more of them, than the Madison Park people that were up in arms over the 11.

    There is nothing to see here on this restructure. It is an empty shell. And when it comes to usability, it is a net negative for most of Capital Hill. How will Metro respond then? What will Desmond say?

    As I noted in yesterday’s thread, not too long ago King Co. Exec Dow Constantine directed Metro and Sound Transit to work together for better bus rail integration because the budgets just did not allow duplication of service because the agencies couldn’t figure out how to feed rail.

    Someone should ask Dow: Is this what ST/Metro bus rail integration looks like? Are they doing what you asked of them?

    1. There was a lot of talk about better integration with metro and Sound Transit in light of the looming service cuts, which aside from frequency and span I thought a LOT of the ideas were sound. Basically all of that got tossed when tax revenues ticked up. Of course with Metro having burned their cash reserves those service adjustments would have probably done them a lot of good (aside from the reductions in span and frequency of service). I think more could be done with service integration of local transit agency’s, and Sound Transit’s rail and bus operations. There are a LOT of virtually abandoned P&R spaces in the south end, while the newer and now more predominate ST facility’s are bursting at the seams, LINK and Metro integration is abysmal. Poor and obscure bus transfer options at nearly all facilities, and the ones they did kind of do right (TIB) does not have enough space for all the routes that should funnel through there (560-574). Sadly, after going to the Tacoma LINK meeting last night, it appears that they are going to be maintaining the status quo for Tacoma LINK’s extension as well (no shared platforms as ST wants 10″ and the buses need 8″ tall curbs, bus stops located away from the LINK stations without any improvement in the project for the bus stops) Oh well, the price we pay for having multiple agencies, but if it was one agency it would basically resemble a region wide King County Metro and that would be another disaster in its own right. The lesser of two evil’s I guess…

  10. Metro has dropped the ball on providing bus connections to the two most important stations on Seattles new light rail system (UW and now CapHill). Mr. Obeso’s attempt to turn lemons into lemonade just makes it clearer that Metro and ST just don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to providing seamless, convenient, intuitive, and fast connections at rail stations.
    Both agencies have had 20 years to get this right, and having Lucy pull the ball out at the last minute shows what a comedy of errors this whole process has been.

    1. Bus connections to those stations was never going to be great. It could never be great, because of the lack of stations. As it is,the restructure surrounding Husky Stadium is way bigger than everyone imagined a year ago. Metro was very aggressive given the awkward placement of that stop. Things will get a lot easier with the next station, in the U-District (which will also come with stations at Roosevelt and Northgate). Other than buses coming from 520, there will be very few buses serving Husky Stadium then.

      The Capitol Hill station is a single station in an area that should have at least three, if not four (Forward Thrust had three). Metro was dealt a terrible hand and played it horribly. Metro can’t provide seamless, convenient, intuitive, and fast connections to rail stations stations unless Sound Transit has some interest in them doing so.

      1. I agree with everything you have said.
        My reference to having 20 years to get this right refers to the fact that before that, we only had one transit agency. Metro created ST, through the legislative process, and initially staffed it and paid for all of it. The child now rules the parent.
        SDOT got into the business of funding and deciding what Seattle transit should do, because Metro allowed that to happen, effectively creeping back to when Seattle Transit WAS the local bus company.
        Now, Metro seems like a bit player in what should have been their turf all along. When Mt Baker Station, with it’s disjointed bus/rail transfer facility was agreed to, we should all have seen the writing on the walls.
        One stop on Capital Hill is the latest in letting our transit agencies ‘kneecap’ each other, at riders expense.

  11. ok Mr. Obeso … here are some ideas:

    Route 11:
    So the problem with moving the 11 is:
    A) can’t make the turn onto 19th from Madison
    B) want to keep service ON Madison (instead of heading west onto E John from around 23rd

    So … how about this:

    Option 1:

    From Pine St … turn onto 15th Ave and head on 15th to E John St and then follow the existing Rt 43 route. Buses already make the 90º turn off of Pine onto 15th … so shouldn’t be a problem. Worst case scenario? make the 1 block of Pine St between 15th and 16th 1-way WB only … giving articulated buses an easier time to make the turn onto NB 15th. This would require a REAL traffic light at 15th/Madison which it needs anyway.

    Option 2:

    From Pine St … turn onto 12th Ave and head on 12th to E John St and then follow the existing Rt 43 route.

    Option 3:

    Stay on Madison until 12th Ave and head on 12th to E John St and then follow the existing Rt 43 route. … I’m sure that section of 12th ave would REALLY appreciate 1 or 3 bus stops between Madison and E John St … and the 10 can more than make up for the loss of the 11 between 15th and Broadway

    ANY of these options allows the people in Madison Park (very low ridership compared to other neighborhoods) to keep their precious 1-bus service to 4th & Pike/Pine while keeping bus service on Olive Way (you know Capitol hill where people ACTUALLY USE the bus) while connecting to the new Capitol Hill Station.

    New Route 106 (which is now part of the mix)

    First, why on EARTH would Metro want to restart the god-awful 42? even under a new number? The planned 106 duplicates the 7, 8, and LINK … there is no reason for that. Jackson St already has like 2 min frequency between the 7, 14 and 36. it doesn’t need MORE service … especially service mirroring Link. Furthermore y’all are planning on stealing hours from the 9 which is one of the few N-S Bus lines in the city east of I5. And before you say it, yes the 9 duplicates a lot of Link … but it runs on Rainier not MLK and serves the, you know, HOSPITALS.

    a BETTER plan for that route … would be to have it replace the 9X and run from:

    Renton – Mount Baker Transit Center (via Rainier Ave)
    Mount Baker Transit Center – Yesler Way (via Rainier Ave)
    Yesler Way – Broadway (stoping at existing streetcar/27/60 stop)
    Broadway – Boren Ave
    Boren Ave – South Lake Union (serving First Hill stops on Boren Ave)

    This would provide a connection between:
    Renton – CD (via 27 on Yesler Way)
    Renton – ID (via 7, 14 on Jackson St)
    Renton – Yesler Terrace
    Renton – First Hill & Harborview (via FHS, 60 at Yesler Terrace)
    Renton – First Hill & Swedish & Virginia Mason (via Boren)
    Renton – CD (via 3/4 on Jefferson)
    Renton – Interlaken Park (via 12 on Madison)
    Renton – Madrona (via 2 on Seneca)
    Renton – Capitol Hill (via 10, 47, 49 on Pike)
    Renton – Madison Valley (via 11 on Pike)
    Renton – SLU

    Just some thoughts … seems like they are all perfectly reasonable and better than the obvious cop-out that Metro is planning.

    1. “The planned 106 duplicates the 7, 8, and LINK”

      The 7, 8, and Link don’t connect the mid valley to Renton, and they don’t give Rainier Beach – Renton more frequent service. Stop being blinded by the part north of Mt Baker.

      1. Yes, it’s an excellent route south of Mount Baker. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a horrible route north of Mount Baker, with a lot of resources sunk into that section at the cost of deleting the useful off-peak 9.

      2. ok … so what? doesn’t change the fact that it should head up First Hill to SLU than down Jackson into the ID

      3. Part of an improvement is better than none at all, and it’s the hardest part to get because it’s so crosstown. Of course a routing on Boren would be better, but maybe that can happen later.

      1. again … so what? doesn’t negate the fact that the bus would be of more use … and less duplicative running from Mt Baker TC through First Hill to SLU

  12. Victor, you’re welcome to come wait with me at Capitol Hill Station for half an hour in the evenings for an 8 to maybe show up.

    Scratch that, I’ll just walk home in the rain.

  13. “More frequent evening trips on Route 8 will be funded by keeping Route 11 on its current, more direct path.”

    Are you seriously trying to take credit for not being able to waste service hours on a ridiculous diversion on the 11? If SDOT hadn’t rejected the plan you’d have gone full speed ahead with it.

    1. I believe the term in bureaucratic parlance is “CYA.” It’s what you do when you misrepresent the feasibility of a major portion of a restructure to the public and an elected board. Failure to disclose to the public is one thing, but how did this proposed re-route get before the County Council? I really want to know this, and I hope someone on the County Council does, too.

      How can anyone trust Metro’s representations during future restructures? Do we need to have written assurances from not only the county but the city whose jurisdiction the route operates on?

      1. It’s too late – they already aren’t accountable.
        They’re operating a PRIVATE bus for a few select people, while shafting a system that’s designed for EVERYONE.

        There is no accountability. Center Park bus proves it.

        Management needs to face up to the fact that they’re violating their own rules, their own business practices, their own service guidelines when using public dollars (in case they don’t know, that means dollars from the public, for the public) to run a PRIVATE bus!!!
        It’s not even approved by COUNCIL! HOW IS THIS LEGAL?

  14. In think, when push comes to shove, Summit/Olive riders may use the 8 to go to South Lake Union or Seattle Center, but if they want to go downtown, they will not bother waiting for 8 to go 3 blocks – they will either walk east to Link or walk west directly to downtown. The parts of Summit north of Olive were never served by the 43 anyway.

    While I don’t like the fact that Metro went through all the trouble of proposing a route 11 change to the county council without bothering to test the turn first, I actually like the straight route 11 better, especially if it allows for more badly-needed evening service on the 8. I think that the stop at Broadway/Pine will actually be good enough for Link connections.

    1. No one is going to transfer from Link to a bus via Broadway and Pine. They’ll do the transfer at 4th. Even if they do transfer along Broadway they’ll be on the same bus as if they’d transferred downtown.

      1. They’ll sometimes do one and sometimes the other, depending on how much traffic and slowdowns they think there will be west of Broadway. Or just for variety because taking a bus downtown all the time when you pass a Link station partway gets boring.

      2. That’s exactly the problem: We shouldn’t be pouring service hours into buses that duplicate Link but get stuck in unreliable traffic. Yes, we still need bus service between the station and downtown. But we don’t need even more bus service than we have today going downtown while less service than we have today goes to the station. It’s asinine.

      3. If you’re already on Link anyway, for instance, if you’re coming home from the airport, I can’t think of a good reason to get off at Westlake, when staying on the train for one more stop is an alternative.

      4. If I were coming from the airport, I’d prefer to get off at Westlake, where it’s a short walk to the 10/11 at Pine. At CHS, it would be a rather longer walk, and not much fun with luggage.

      5. People miss their stop all of the time. When you miss your downtown stop, you will certainly get off at CHS and walk to the bus vs taking a train back downtown.

        CHS is not really a bus transfer point, beyond the obvious of no one walking to Pine St under normal conditions.

        if you are on a SB 49, are you going to get off at Broadway and Thomas and schlep to the station or stay on the bus a few more minutes and get front door service at Westlake?

        If you are on a 60 or a 9, there are few places that going to Beacon Hill Station, Mt. Baker Station or the FHSC to ID are not better options to go to/from Link.

        There are small parts of the 8 route where it may make sense, and the transfer to a NB 49 is better than downtown. Otherwise though? CHS is for local Capitol Hill people.

    2. Actually, asdf, the parts north of Olive on Summit were served by the 43. To get downtown, there is the 47, which is every 45 minutes outside peak. I also use the 43 to get to 15th and 19th Ave. Yes, I can now take the 8, but the 8 is not very reliable. Luckily I am an able bodied person who likes walking, so yes, I can walk downtown or to the new CHS station. If I want to go to 15th or 19th I get to wait for the 8, which is often jam packed and late. This is a loss of service for the Summit neighborhood for sure.

      Overall, I feel like on one hand SDOT is trying to get people to use transit more (good) but then Metro just keeps making it less and less convenient (not to mention more and more crowded). Service keeps degrading.

  15. It’s been a long time since I rode the 43 everyday, but I thought it was a pretty busy route. Why is getting cut so hard? There’s a huge gap between Husky stadium and Capitol Hill, and the 43 is going to be way more convenient for a lot of people.

    1. The idea is that you transfer to the 8 or 11 and added frequency (on the 48 and 8) make up for the transfer.

      The problem is the reliability of the 8. Adding more buses for the 8 and splitting it will help, but not enough, since the split is not that close to the transfer point (23rd and Madison).

      I think Mr. Obeso is right about one thing, there are still some changes that have occurred here — the restructure for Capitol Hill has not been cancelled. I think it might have been better to simply cancel them for now, as I’m not convinced this is any better than our current system. Once Madison BRT is built, then we should have considered killing the 43 along with re-routing the 11, as I suggest here:

      1. The frequency of the 8 is also a problem. Metro is only bumping the midday frequency from 15 minutes to 12 minutes, and adding a few evening and Sunday afternoon trips to improve frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. Losing the 43 removes a 15 minute service during those times.

        If it’s to be the only route on John/Thomas and used as a connection from the 48 to Capitol Hill Station (and Capitol Hill in general) the 8 ought to be running just as frequently as the 48. It’s the only east-west connection on the Hill and connects Lower Queen Anne/Belltown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and the Central District. It boggles my mind how little Metro and SDOT seem to care about it. 30 minute service? Ridiculous.

  16. I’m really struck by the lack of an action strategy with dates and surveys to monitor and implement changes as needed in this response.

    Glenn in Portland laid out how Portland Metro is doing it with the Orange Line (previous post) – and that it was a process that was very deliberate and public without defining a route outcome. Meanwhile, we have King County Metro rolling out things with no apparent strategy except getting though the next board meeting with a new alternative. What a silly dance we are doing!

    I don’t speak for others, but this response suggests to me that King County Metro can’t do strategic restructuring by themselves because they lack the authority and perhaps the attitude to do it well.

    Maybe it’s time to speak the unspeakable: To have an independent, multi-agency team take the lead on all major transit service and capital planning — and require any major service or capital planning changes be done in this way rather than each operator and city doing it independently? That team would manage feedback, surveys and consensus-building as well as approve any implementation. The current integration mandate by Dow has no teeth.

    1. I’ll add one additional point: The 2013 Seattle Transit Master Plan is the root of the recent round of problems. This plan was not done with full integration with Metro and ST. It reads as though U-Link wasn’t in the mix. Had Madison BRT been a different project here with both end points been at Link stations, integration would be much more acheovable. It’s a project that doesn’t fit with the rest of the regional transit system and an independent review board would have pointed this out.

      1. As much as I will personally benefit (I hope, at least) from Madison BRT, a huge +1 to this point.

      2. Metro’s lack of a long-term plan is another root. It stopped doing long-term planning a long time ago when its budget was first squeezed and it’s just recovering now. It has started a new long-term plan but there’s not even a first draft yet, so there’s nothing we can use. Seattle did do its 2012 Transit Master Plan in too much isolation, but at the same time Metro had practically no material to reference because nothing had been decided or prioritized or integrated, it was all what-if ideas.

      3. I would point out that Link was well into construction in 2012. There is no excuse for its major neglect by the City in the 2012 TMP.

      4. STB has a longstanding policy to print unedited responses to our articles by agency officials. Metro’s Deputy General Manager Victor Obeso submitted this response

        Thanks Frank, it’s a good policy to have.

        Metro’s lack of a long-term plan is another root. It stopped doing long-term planning a long time ago when its budget was first squeezed

        When the budget got squeezed was the only time KC Metro actually had the political cover to do anything that made sense.

  17. Of any argument above on either side, the one I’ve got the least patience with, meaning less than none, is that it’s a good enough connection if people only have a few blocks to walk to a major transit station.

    Especially if it’s the only LINK station on Capitol Hill. And people of a certain age don’t walk as fast as we age. And airport passengers have a lot of luggage. And in Seattle it rains a lot precisely when it’s also coldest and darkest.

    Patronizing tone. But some people need simple explanations to match the level of their passenger experience. Or brain power.

    Mark Dublin

    1. “Patronizing tone. But some people need simple explanations to match the level of their passenger experience. Or brain power.”

      Something we all need to remember.

      Also we need to demand all transit staff use the transit they plan for on regular days to commute.

    2. Spot on, Mark – and there are unfortunately no small number of commenters here that think that way. Just because I might occasionally walk home from downtown to Madison Park, or that some others can ride their bicycles backwards up Mount Rainier does not mean that everybody can, would or should. This is specifically and crucially important where major transfers are to occur, and there is no more major transfer point than a station on a very expensive mass transit system.

      Most of us don’t live immediately adjacent to a bus stop, or have one next to our work, or to the store/bar/doctor/what have you — we do expect to walk those distances, which are hopefully fairly convenient. When you’re setting (as you should) the system up for transfers, however, don’t expect to get many new or choice riders when the transfers at their most critical points are not as convenient as possible.

      1. Scot,

        You’re right on in saying that transfers should be seamless as possible and hopefully at the same sheltered bus stop! BTW, I walk over 4 blocks to get to my bus from home and I don’t think transfers should be that way especially for seniors and the handicapped.

  18. Just to level set — the audience for this rebuttal is not STB or it’s readers. This response was purely intended to get a rebuttal published before the various agencies publish their daily clip sheets. Metro just couldn’t afford to have those clip sheets go out to policy makers with only Zach’s original piece and no counteracting piece.from the Metro side. That is why Victor’s piece is a bit light on details — it was rushed.

    That said, Victor is right in his conclusion. We are talking about buses here. It’s not rocket science and none of of this non-restructure is set in concrete. There will be multiple opportunities to revisit this and get the restructure right.

    Victor is wrong however in his tip of the hat to the squeaky wheels. Nobody likes change, but the opening of U-Link will be a game changer and force a huge amount of change locally. Metro might *think* that placating the squeaky wheels is the best path forward at this time, but at some point the pressure will be the other way.

    Said another way, Metro in the staid ways might be able to resist change now, but in the end they will have to get their act together and be a part of a bigger change (namely true HCT in the form of Link).

    1. For once I agree with much of what you said, Lazarus. A restructure can happen in the future, and the likely time for such a restructure will be when Madison BRT is built. Building a restructure around a single stop in middle of the most densely populated area in the city containing multiple popular destinations is bound to fail in one way or another. This time it failed big time. But with the addition of Madison BRT you have something that will likely carry more passengers than the single stop mentioned as well as provide for connections to the most popular destinations in the area. Changing the bus routes when that happen will be much easier, and lead to a much more productive network.

    2. Lazarus, I agree with you that bus routes will definitely have a lot of reality to adjust to when the station opens. Fortunately, as noted, this is not hard to do with buses. And just out of nostalgia…not only is the 43 wire is still there, but I’m still qualified on it.

      But please, along with everybody else: where exactly is the 135 degree curve that Metro buses can’t handle. Looking at Madison and m19th Avenue on a Google map, both inbound and outbound turns are much wider then vast majority on Metro route map.

      Unless we mean the turn across Madison, which would rip the purple mustache off of Lyft. Admit I’ve been out of this for too long. But geometry retention is ominous diagnostic.


      1. Thanks to Frank for pointing out three things to me. One, the turn from Madison to 19th was on westbound trips. Two, the angle of a turning bus is measured from angle of travel of a straight line out from under the middle of the front bumper. And three- spending budget for new computer on pencils and triangles. Bow to new Waterfront transit, though. One of those little trains of golf-carts probably can make that turn.

        Mark Dublin

    3. “at some point the pressure will be the other way”

      When it’s definitively the other way then things will be better. A transit-best-practices restructure should be the default position, and the bar to pull back from it should be high. Politicians and staff should be aware that the majority of people want a more generally useful network like San Francisco or Chicago or Vancouver. They should still listen to the opposition because sometimes something gets overlooked or a hardship is especially bad, but they should really have to justify their case rather than getting it by knee-jerk reaction. And remember, it’s not just the vocal activists who want a coherent network: it’s people who don’t know the changes are being considered, or don’t realize how it would be convenient for them in the future, or don’t live in the area yet, or avoid the area because of the existing bus service. Only the first type can vocalize their support in an open house or council meeting — if they’re off work and can get there in time on the existing transit — but all of them are on the pro-reorg side.

      1. That the needs of 3 or 4 Madison Park residents per day destined to two grocers on Madison at 16th and 17th were given priority over those of Madison Park residents destined to the University of Washington, the Broadway shopping area and Group Health is a travesty. KCMetro can and must do better in analysing not just the testimony heard at hearings but whom the speakers represent.

      2. Being one of the Madison residents you talk about you telling us where to shop for groceries or where we go for medical services. You can get to all the places you referenced on the post by transferring buses as I do today when I go to the UW or Pill Hill.

        You are forgetting that Madison is a corridor that is experiencing a density increase and an area that has several senior and handicapped facilities.BTW, Group Health is now just a clinic on Capitol Hill since they use Swedish for their hospital.

        We in Madison Park did not cause the failure of he Metro restructure on Capitol Hil; Metro did! BTW, they could have fixed the 11 problems by using 15th Ave that I and other have proposed for months. Once again, I and not expecting one seat rides everywhere, but we should be able to have seamless transferring in Seattle.

        I am for the BRT since it will keep bus service on Madison at least to MLK. And yes, we need bus service to Madison Park no matter what happens in future restructures, and I will continue to advocate for adequate bus service on Madison.

  19. Previous commenters have done a nice job of summing up my view on this, but I’m jumping in simply to add more ammunition.

    This is not a rebuttal, plain and simple. It’s an inadequate attempt to pacify those who Metro has let down. It’s an attempt to embellish the truly deplorable routings of the status quo as triumphs. It’s literally worse service than we have now, without a light rail station.

    Metro is proving over and over again that they’re incapable of making positive changes on a scale that yields a net gain. The situation in Northeast Seattle I fear is a fluke. I don’t doubt that Metro’s planners are capable of properly designing a network, but there’s some disconnect along the way; be it lack of courage, be it mismanagement, be it any number of things, we’re simply not going to get the results we need with it in place.

    1. I can see your point, and I think one could say the same thing about Sound Transit. I’m not that pessimistic, and I think both can be convinced to provide a decent system, along with SDOT. In twenty years I could see a lot of work to make up for the failings of Sound Transit. A Metro 8 subway, along with Madison BRT would make the work of Metro really easy (easier than the latest round of changes in the north end and much easier than these changes). It doesn’t take much imagination or effort to come up with bus routes to complement this:

      1. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll calm down in a few days and not be so apocalyptic. I don’t even live in the same country, but I still want to see usable transit everywhere. It pains me that it’s such a difficult process.

    2. There is a sharp disconnect between what Metro has managed in the city’s most urban neighborhoods (almost nothing) and what it’s accomplished in the rest of the city (a number of excellent restructures). I’m not sure why it’s so much more difficult for the agency to overcome political pressure in the densest parts of the city, but it clearly is. Something has to give because this result makes service much worse for some and only makes it substantially better for a few (route 38 riders who are no longer hamstrung by the 8).

      1. Its decisions have a very suburban bias. This is a rapidly urbanizing city. Time to get on board.

      2. It’s the same reason District 3’s candidates were mediocre while the north end had surprisingly impressive ones. A lot of residents are old-style liberals who love Sawant and John Fox and anti-capitalism and undersized old apartments and their own single-family houses and existing bus routes.

  20. It seems to me that some of the anger might be misplaced. Sure, a lot of it is on Metro for not devising a great system in Capitol Hill, and for not responding well to the criticisms in the previous article.

    But maybe some anger should be directed at the neighborhood groups that opposed the initial proposals. Something like “You didn’t want the bus system to be overhauled when the new train station opens. And now look what happened, we have even worse service then before”. Maybe that’d guilt some of them into supporting future restructure efforts? Not any people that are hardcore anti-transit, but some people who were on the fence.

    1. People are going to complain about everything; it’s what we do. However, we do not pay taxes to these neighborhood groups, nor do we pay them to get us from point A to point B in a reasonable fashion. The people we DO pay for these services should not be so eager to roll over for dumb ass neighborhood nimbys. With the science of efficient and successful bus routing (because transit success is a proven science, it is not a mystery or an experiment), I want my tax funded agencies to go forth and be bold! Things are changing here; obstructionists and nimby-panderers will be voted out. Look at the Seattle elections for the writing on the wall.

    2. Metro is in charge of the bus routes. And it has transit professionals and administrators who should know better. I’m not sure anger at the opponents is necessary, but we can certainly say, “See what happened to your 43?” It’s ironic that the 43 activists and the 12 activists and the 11 activists all complained against change, and the 12 and 11 were reverted but the 43 wasn’t. That may be because their controversy came up first and was displaced by the later ones. We also need a more organized and unified pro-reorg movement, so that we look like a lot of voters rather than just a few individuals.

      1. We also need a more organized and unified pro-reorg movement, so that we look like a lot of voters rather than just a few individuals.


  21. What really happened about the Madison/19th turning problem? This response seems to blame SDOT. Did Madison Park residents kill this, or was it SDOT staff? Was the radius maneuverable or not, and why did Metro not test this before the last alternative? What’s the real story here? We all need to know. #radiusgate

    1. Anyone who has driven an SUV could have predicted that turn would be a problem. KCMetro gave in to a small handful of folks in Madison Park who shop at two groceries.

      1. Funny you mention that, I thought to myself, I bet the vocal opponents were a group of seniors who wanted a 1-seat ride to Trader Joe’s and Safeway and have free time. I can’t blame them for advocating for their best interests. But that’s is a downside to public outreach, particularly with day time events – the users who commute every day to jobs don’t have a lot of free time in the day to attend meetings and email/phone Metro.

      2. Brad, I’m one of those seniors you’re referring to, and I’m handicapped too. And yes, I’m will give up one seat rides for seamless transfers are you?

        I’m not one to back Metro given its screw-up, but they did hold meetings with the public in the evening as well as daytime. You forget that many of the workers you refer to stop at Trader Joes and Safeway on their way home.

  22. I’m wondering if it’s time to resurrect an old idea of Ben Schiendelman’s (and possibly others). Instead of setting aside a fixed budget for Metro/ST/etc., the state/county/city could compensate them a certain amount for each trip taken, as calculated by ORCA. For example, Metro might receive a $4 subsidy for every ORCA tap.

    If a restructure increased ridership by 10%, then Metro gets roughly 10% more money. If a restructure (or lack of one) decreases ridership, then Metro gets less money.

    This puts the ball firmly in Metro’s (and ST’s) court. If Metro wants to run services that poorly duplicate Link and that no one will ride, they will pay for it in the form of a smaller budget. If Metro eliminates redundant services and channels service hours into productive routes, then they get lots more money to play with.

    Aside from the inherent incentive this provides for a ridership-oriented network, this also seems like the kind of idea that could plausibly pass our Republican-controlled senate.

    1. Aleks,
      Simultaneously love it and hate it. Love it because it would give Metro every reason to boost service where it is most badly needed. Hate it because it would also completely eliminate service to the entire south half of the county (south of 518/405), where the poorest – and often most thrifty – residents of the county reside. I’ve been subsidizing service as a taxpayer for years and have no problem doing so, provided that some level of service is offered in my area. (Admittedly, the service offered in my area is ridiculously bad, but that’s more a function of the lack of willing riders in our area than anything else. No arguments from me on the level provided down here.) Planners at Metro are clearly not doing their jobs. There is a willing base of transit users in Capitol Hill and my subsidies should be providing them with excellent service given the population and destination density of that area. It is time for Metro to clean house!

      1. I agree that we should be careful to avoid eliminating service outside Seattle. But I don’t think it’s a problem with this approach, for three reasons:

        – Some of the routes that serve South King County are highly productive, like the 101, 106, 150, 164, 169, and 180, among many others.

        – This scheme would give Metro an incentive to redirect service hours away from segments that duplicate Link (like the I-5 segments of the 101 and 150). That alone would free up more service hours for routes that serve unique SKC destinations.

        – As a matter of policy, the county/state/etc. could agree to subsidize certain kinds of trips at a higher rate, specifically to increase the amount of service that areas like SKC receive.

  23. Hey Vic, the fact that the blog that has most pushed for prioritizing frequency hated your latest proposal should tell you something. Frequency uber alles only works when the frequency forms a comprehensible network that takes people where they want to go. You advertise “Buses will be coming to Capitol Hill Station every 12 minutes North-South and East-West during the mid-day, and every 10-15 minutes during the peaks.” What you don’t mention is that the east-west service is the *unreliable*, hopelessly so, leg of the 8 that is now expected to carry all the weight of people on John and Thomas (to say nothing of people in Summit) trying to get to the station, which they now have to do in order to get downtown. You say sometimes you have to take a step back and go back to the drawing board. If only that was what you actually did. Instead you kept peeling away layers of the restructure in response to each individual set of complaints and constraints without ever taking a step back and seeing whether it was actually an improvement over the status quo. At this point, keeping the network south of the Ship Canal as it is today intact, minus splitting the 8 and 48, would be preferable to what you’re planning, which *reduces* connectivity to rail in exchange for frequency boosts the utility of which is ruined by how much less useful the rest of the network is.

  24. How can you be proud of saying there will be 12 minute bus service outside a train station with 6 minute service? This is madness: buses are smaller than trains, logically they should be more frequent. There should be 10+ buses per hour radiating out from CHS in both directions.

    1. I can tell you right now the bus routing to connect me (South of Spokane along the 15th Ave S corridor) to the Beacon Hill station is an every 15-30 minute route 60 (which is also incredibly unreliable for even those frequencies), and that’s it. It’s incredibly maddening to get to Beacon Hill from downtown in roughly 12 minutes, and then wait another 20 minutes to go the last mile, resulting in a 40 minute 3.5 mile commute overall. So it’s not just that the new stations aren’t getting optimal Metro connections, the existing ones are poorly underconnected as is, however my neighborhood is much less vocal than Montlake/Capitol Hill so getting anything out of our Prop 1 investment will be nearly impossible. Metro considers every 15 minutes as rapid/frequent service.

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