KCM 4315 in Downtown Seattle

(UPDATE: Metro’s Victor Obeso has responded, saying Metro is “actively considering” this change.  Mr. Obeso’s full statement is below the story.)

By now, everyone is familiar with our dismay over the lack of a meaningful Link restructure in Capitol Hill, and in particular over some of the major losses that Metro’s final restructure package is imposing without much countervailing benefit.

Arguably the worst loss in service is to the Summit neighborhood, one of the city’s densest. Summit is currently served by two frequent routes running along Olive Way: route 43 to downtown and Capitol Hill, and route 8 to Uptown and Capitol Hill. (There is also the vestigial, infrequent 47 to downtown.) Today, each of the 8 and 43 has 4 buses/hour during the day. The restructure adopted by the County Council slightly increased frequency on the 8 to 5 buses/hour, and cut the 43 altogether except for peak-hour, half-hourly service.  In the ordinance, the lost service on the 43 was fully replaced by route 11, moved from Pine Street to Olive Way and John Street through Capitol Hill. But now, route 11 has been moved back to Pine without any other change, leaving no replacement for the 43, and almost no downtown service, for Summit residents.

The story of why the 11 ended up back on Pine is political, convoluted and not worth rehashing here. But the good news is there is an easy, and still-possible, way for Metro to salvage Summit service.

Metro should move route 10 from Pine to Olive and John.

Together with Link, this would fully replace current 43 and planned 11 service for Summit residents. In addition to making Summit whole, the move would make a new connection between one of Capitol Hill’s major business districts and Link, and meaningfully improve east-west service from Link generally. It would not significantly reduce transit access for anyone or make any common trips significantly more difficult. For Pine riders, frequent service would remain along Pine, on routes 11 and 49. Riders on 15th south of John would have no more than a three-block walk, on flat terrain, to either the revised 10 or the now-frequent 11 or 12.

Legally, this change could be accomplished as an administrative change, not subject to County Council approval, because no part of the route would move more than 1/2 mile. Practically, the could be done with the same resources as currently planned for route 10 and with almost no change to existing schedules. The outbound trip time using Olive and John is 1 to 2 minutes slower at some times of day than the outbound trip time using Pine, but current recovery time is sufficient to absorb those additional minutes.

Metro should make this happen. It’s easy and would make things better. Please let Metro know by calling (206) 553-3000 or submitting an online comment.

Statement from Metro Deputy G.M. Victor Obeso: “Changing the path of Route 10 is an idea we are actively considering, based on constructive feedback and in light of Route 11 remaining on Pine Street. Moving Route 10 off of 15th Avenue East to carry riders along East John Street past Capitol Hill Station is a concept Metro planners examined during the Link Connections effort. Our focus continues to be on serving our customers with the connections they want and need, and work to balance community support and concerns as we consider changes to bus service.”

109 Replies to “Move the 10: A Quick, Easy Fix for Summit”

  1. Comment submitted to Metro — quick & easy. Please do the same if you believe this makes sense — it sure does to me!

  2. “But now, route 11 has been moved back to Pine without any other change, leaving no replacement for the 43, and almost no downtown service, for Summit residents.” It’s really quite interesting that people on this blog write as if any bus with greater than 15 minutes between trips (in this case, the 47, which runs every 35 mins off peak, every 17 mins peak) as “almost no service.”

    1. For a neighborhood of almost 10,000 people, a single bus that doesn’t run at night and has variable headways of up to 45 minutes during the day (with one more bus only during peak) is “almost no service.”

    2. One bus every 35 minutes isn’t the kind of service that lets people go car-free. And this is in one of the densest census tracts in the region. This isn’t Auburn.

      1. That’s one bus every 35 minutes, peak direction and peak period.

        Oh, and a slow, unreliable route 8 if you happen to want to go to Seattle Center.

  3. The 11 is a poor substitute for the 10 in Pike/Pine. The 11 has a long route which is often delayed, is often totally full (by the time it gets to 15th Ave inbound), and the older, longer diesel buses (that use the wheelchair lift) make accessibility an enormous hassle. The 10 provides nice relief on Pike/Pine for those not traveling to Madison Valley and beyond. It doesn’t deal with I-5 ramp backups (like Olive), and is able to provide reasonably reliable service to a large population area where even more enormous apartment projects will be coming online in the next few years. I feel badly for the raw deal Summit seems to be getting in the latest route shuffle, but taking away service from another transit-dependent area is not the solution.

    1. Pike/Pine also has the 49 serving its western part and is reasonably close to the 12 in its eastern part. There are options. Summit is more residentially dense than Pike/Pine and doesn’t have the same options.

      Also, the remaining high-floor buses will disappear in about two years.

    2. Of course the 11 is suboptimal for Pike\Pine, but here we are. At least the 11 will run all day at no less then 15 minute headways, as it does now. The span of 15-minute service on the 11 was improved in June with Prop 1 funds, and it’s already better off.

    3. As of right now there are No high floor buses on the 11 at all. We lost those in September when we got 15-minute service all day. I do agree on point that we do need 60-foot buses during peak hours on the 11 since people are being left standing at the curbm

      1. Or, riders need to be more considerate of each other, and move all the way back. Yes, all the way, and fill up that empty space at the back. If you don’t want to stand that far back, let other passengers get around you.

      2. Reg,

        Have you spoken to Metro about what happens to the 11 once Madison BRT is operating? Is the 11 going to shadow BRT or is it going to be moved to another corridor.

      3. At the Madison BRT open houses there hasn’t been any information about what will happen to the 11 and 12, just shoulder shrugging and “we haven’t evaluated that yet.” Part of the problem is that the BRT project is coming from SDOT and Metro’s planning doesn’t seem to extend that far out (2019).

    4. It’s probably true that the 11 won’t provide enough service to replace the 10. But until Madison BRT is launched some neighborhoods are going to get screwed. Once Madison BRT arrives, the 12 could be rerouted to John/Thomas to replace the 43, but that switch isn’t possible at this time.

      1. During non-peak should be ok, but peak may be a problem. The 10 has 8 minute frequency and the 11 has 15, and they run full. I’d feel more comfortable if frequency were increased on 11 during peak, or if the artics were brought back. This should help Link ridership, though, even with an 8-10 minute walk, Link will provide better service than the 11 with 15 minute head ways.

    5. Most of those 10 riders will move with the 10, and some will transfer to Capitol Hill Station and free up a space between the station and downtown. Some current 11 riders living between Broadway and 15th may also switch to the station.

    6. YES! THANK YOU! Moving the 10 is NOT an easy fix for those of us who use it. And there are a lot of us.

      1. What particular trips are you concerned about? From where to where, and how many people do this? The change would be insignificant for those from north of 15th & John going to anywhere southwest of Summit & Olive (bus stops at Bellevue & Olive). So it’s the in-between area that would be affected. Which actual travelers have to make more than a trivial change?

    7. It is true that since changing to 15 minute service, there have been more than a few cases of overcrowding on the 11 especially at rush hour peaks. If KCMetro could add a 5th coach 6-9 AM and 4-7 PM and make service every 10 minutes that wouid help; or replace the 40 foot coaches with 60 footers during the crush/crush – please?

  4. Playing the nearly ‘Zero Sum Gain” for transit in CapHill has been a clusterfuck to be kind.
    U-Link and its one station at Denny/Broadway will see frequent service by route 49 going N/S and the unreliable 8, going E/W. 10 to 15 minute service on these routes are inadequate. Other routes serving the station will be the new streetcar from the south, some rt9 trips from the south also and some rt 60 triips, also heading south along Broadway. The few retained 43 trips are at best a booby prize, as they are all deadhead buses, mostly in the morning, coming from the Ballard 44 (how reliable will that be?) and a couple outbounds heading for the 44 route.
    Essentially, John and Thomas got hosed and hosed really good.
    I don’t like stealing from Peter to pay Paul, but prefer to grow transit, which doesn’t seem to be in the cards this time around.
    So, a big fat YES to Davids creative solution to turn the 10 trolley on existing wire at Safeway, go by the N.entrance to Link, and return to regular route at Pine/Belllevue.
    The only downside are riders trying to get to Pine between Broadway and 15th. [a lessor hosing]
    Just a note on transfers to Link. Getting off a WB bus at Broadway/Pine leaves the rider with a 1/3 mile walk to Link platforms and descending down 11 flights of stairs when the escalator/elevator is not working. Staying on the bus ensures you’ll be downtown in 7 more minutes. Which choice would you make?

    1. It depends on a number of factors. If you’re just going to Westlake and traffic is light, presumably stay on the bus. But, if you’re going to a Mariners game, the fastest trip is probably to get off the bus and on the train as soon as possible – especially if buses are kicked out of the downtown tunnel, and your downtown bus doesn’t go as far south as the stadiums anyway.

      It’s also worth asking about the reverse direction – if you’re already on a Link train, would you make the switch to the 11 at Westlake Station or Capitol Hill Station? My hunch is that due to the time sink of the Pike/Pine jog (which is worse in the eastbound direction, due to the extra turns), staying on the train to CHS would be slightly faster, on average, even with the extra walking. Especially since, once you reach the surface, you can pull out OneBusAway and adjust your walking pace to what’s actually necessary to catch the bus.

      1. Good question remembering at bus at the stop is worth two on the schedule.
        Probably stay on till Broadway knowing I just beat the 11 I missed downtown or maybe catch the new 10 and hoof it the rest of the way.

      2. I would (have) made the switch to the 11 at Capitol Hill Station, catching the train at Westlake as that’s the area I’m in during the day. In the morning staying on the 11 would definitely be faster than the transfer, but in the evening the higher frequency of the train coupled with a very slow trip up the hill on a jammed bus (yes, people are packed in even in the back most times) makes a quick train trip followed by a transfer a much more palatable and comfortable alternative in the evenings. There would also have been the chance to ride the 8, if one came first, and walk the last mile.

        Now it’s just stay on the damnable 11 as it slogs up the hill, sometimes taking 20 minutes to get to Broadway.

      3. I hope that Seattle will see the value of making Pine a two-way transit, bike and pedestrian only (with single lanes at the hotels for cabs/Ubers). It would eliminate the Pike/Pine jog and calm the streetscape on Seattle’s premier “high street”.

      4. And cars would go on two-way Pike?

        Would cars turning around pedestrianized Pine Street cause more congestion? Would drivers complain that it takes forever to get to/from Capitol Hill?

    2. It’s frustrating that “growing transit this time around” isn’t an option, despite the voters agreeing to tax themselves more for better service.

    1. Summit doesn’t exist. You’re confusing it with Capitol Hill, which is bounded by I-5, 520, I-90, and Lake Washington.

      1. While it’s officially not a neighborhood, I think people could agree that it’s the area east of I5, west of Broadway, south of Belmont/Roy, and north of Olive/Denny.

      2. The boundary of Summit is where the apartments become less dense. That’s why it’s distinct and why it has a short 47 route. Summit’s and First Hill’s density is like a northeastern city. Summit is approximately the same as “Southwest Capitol Hill”, or west of Broadway.

  5. Sorry, David. It’s probably debatable whether the Route 10 should run on Pine or Olive. But for heavy city service, some destinations have priority over others. Considering the importance of both Capitol Hill LINK station and Group Health Hospital, a transfer between 23rd Avenue service and, of all routes the 8, simply is not acceptable.

    This isn’t a matter of lines on a map, or length by the foot. For this particular service, a forced transfer in a commerce-free unsheltered location, is in a league beyond he farthest bush. In the average weather I’m looking at through my window right now, we’ll have an ongoing embarrassment to our system until it’s fixed.

    Other routings can be adjusted and negotiated. In the human body, these are capillaries. But we’ve got two arteries. One, the 43, presently works exactly as it should, wire and all. The other is the Route 8, whose gangrene-threatening flaw is the bridge over I-5.

    So to me, by itself the 43 is worth a hard and sustained priority political effort to keep. For the 8, I’ve got an idea I need to check out in person. I’m in Seattle for the ST3 open house at 10. Unless something serious comes up, I need to ride the 8 across that bridge a good many times before I say anything else except “sorry.” Except that politically, this one will make the 43 look like a downhill coast.

    Mark Dublin

    1. While your at it, could you put up a Bus Only detour sign at WB Madison turning right onto 19th.
      I’m curious how many make the turn or get stuck.
      My money is on ATU578 – gittin ‘er done.

      1. Since fact that I had proposed Madison to 19th going the wrong direction, and also since I’ve worked around Caterpillar machinery, I’ve got solution that will work in either direction. Put the blade level on the pavement and simply straighten out that corner that looks like a butcher knife.

        And since cluster bombs are against the Geneva Conventions, that cluster-other-thing could easily change the layout of the interfering building. It’ll obviously do that to all surface transit service on Capitol Hill.

        Also, I think that from experience you’ll back me up that it will be easier to get passengers to move back along the aisles when we make walking room by taking out some seats. Places in the world’s really transit-oriented places have been doing this forever.


      2. The place that needs a bulldozer blade and a cluster bomb is Denny. Make the 8 useable and Link access changes a bit.

        I’m with mic though: the best drivers can cram a bus down a street and through a turn that looks impossible.

    2. Group Health stopped operating a hospital on the hill years ago. It’s now urgent care and clinics. They use VM and Swedish as of Jan 1st for hospital care.

    3. With LINK and the elimination of the 520 freeway station most of the justification for the 43 along 23rd goes away. Discounting the 520 stop few riders get on or off between John and Pacific. Also note anyone riding the 48 South of John is required to make the transfer if they want to go to/from LINK or Group Health.

  6. I just talked to Jon Bez, Supervisor of Service Planning, at (206) 477-5791 about this David’s proposal for the 10 and he said the Metro is seriously considering the proposal. I think that David has the right idea and the good part it does not require any rewiring by Metro to make the change!

    As I’ve said before, there are a lot of good ideas coming from this blog, and hopefully Metro will keep listening! Please support this proposal by giving Jon Bez a call.

    1. Thank you! I wouldn’t call this a good proposal, but it’s better than the current plans.

    2. You’re so blasé about taking service away from other neighborhoods. Pike/Pine isn’t as dense as Summit, but it is denser than Madison Park, and an already-crowded 11 during morning/evening rush at 15-minute intervals will be a significant downgrade to service along Pine between 15th and 12th, whose 2 stops usually add around 20 people to each incoming (10 & 11) during the morning rush. On top of that, the 12 isn’t a good replacement for anyone who currently uses 10 or 11 and works north of Union or wants to access Link.

      Still, I understand why moving the 10 should be done. The situation on Summit is untenable and for the sake of the greater network Pine needs to sacrifice its main service. I only wish residents in other neighborhoods were as willing to accept changes to benefit the greater good.

      1. Metro should use articulated coaches on the 11 during peak often it gets full with students to and from Seattle Central screwing over riders who actually live along the route.

      2. I bet once CHS opens the bulk of Seattle Central riders will just take the train instead of whichever Pike/Pine bus comes first, so hopefully this will lighten the load of those buses.

    3. Metro itself suggested this route at one of the sounding board meetings, so it may just need a public nudge to get it going again. The panel’s feedback was that it may cause some slight grumbling but not as much as other changes would. The largest gap would be at 15th & Howell with two flat blocks north or south, which is within the typical distance of a bus stop.

      With the uncertainty about Link my gut feeling is that we should keep two 15-minute paths between Broadway and downtown, at John and Pine, at least for the first year. So that’s one reason to move the 10. That won’t help 23rd but at least it will help up to 15th, and effectively 18th given walking.

      Re Summit, I lived at Bellevue & Thomas in the mid 2000s, and afterwards looked at an apartment at the end of the 47 (then 14) and walked down to Pine to see how long it would take if I had to do that often. From Thomas it was a 5-7 minute walk to the to the Pine & Bellevue stop. From Roy it was close to twenty minutes; it’s longer than it looks on paper.

      1. What ” uncertainty about Link?” Please elaborate.

        Personally I don’t think that there is any doubt that Link will provide a faster more reliable trip to DT and with better frequency. It might be held back a bit from its ultimate potential due to Joint Ops, but it will still be head and shoulders above the alternatives.

        Generally I think this 10 reroute idea has merit. Metro will probably p*ss all over it though, so I’m not holding my breath that the Link access issue sees any meaningful improvement until at least fall of 2016. Someday though. Someday……

      2. “What ” uncertainty about Link?” Please elaborate”

        Southwest Capitol Hill is the densest neighborhood in the state after First Hill. It’s where multiple frequent transit paths are most justified because of the number of people going every direction and living in every block. The traditional east-west service has been on both Pine and John. There are multiple theories for streamlining the grid and avoiding overservice: push all Pine routes out to John and Madison, push John routes to Pine, or keep both John and Pine frequent. You can theorize “A person in house X can walk Y blocks to Pine and that’s fine.” And it may be true. But there’s the possibility of miscalculation, of underserving a trip pattern, and damaging the high ridership the densest neighborhood has, and damaging it as a model for other neighborhoods. That’s what I’m afraid of if John is left with the 8 and a peak-only 43. It’s more critical here than at 23rd or Madison Valley or elsewhere because of the delicate balance and high ridership the area has.

        After Link has been open for a year, we can see how travel patterns have shifted or not shifted. Then it may be OK to downgrade the John service, or move the Pine service to John, and give more hours to 23rd or mod Madison or wherever the holes have proven to be. But west of Broadway is a place where I think we should let trip patterns evolve naturally rather than forcibly changing them by a massive reduction in service.

    4. “an already-crowded 11 during morning/evening rush”

      Peak overcrowding can be dealt with by one or two extra runs. That’s small compared to losing all-day service in a dense neighborhood. And Metro keeps a few hours in reserve for spot problems like that if they arise.

      1. I never suggested otherwise, as my post makes clear when I called the current Summit situation untenable.

      2. It might be possible to take one bus from the 10 at peak, when it runs every 10 minutes, and move it to the 11 to increase peak frequency a bit. The catch is that you’d be replacing a trolley with a diesel, and I don’t know if Metro has the extra diesel capacity to make that practical. In general, Prop 1 is straining Metro’s bus capacity to the limit.

  7. If additional service hours were available, I would argue that adding more trips to the 47 would be a more efficient use of funds than restoring the 43, since route 47 is much shorter than route 43. With the 43 gone, the 47 would likely be a lot more well used than it has been in the past. Route 47 also covers all of Summit, not just the corner of Summit and Olive Way.

    Barring that, I agree with DaveL, that, given the glut of service on Pike/Pine, moving the 10 over to Olive sounds like one of those “sure, why not?” things.

    Fortunately for Summit, walking to either downtown or CHS remain alternative options, so it’s not like the neighborhood is completely dependent on Metro for basic mobility.

    1. I partly like the idea of a frequent 47 in lieu of other service. It would be good for southwest Capitol Hill. But it wouldn’t reach Capitol Hill Station or Broadway, which is part of the goal. People alighting at Capitol Hill Station couldn’t use it. And the #1 question people have to drivers on the 47 is, “Does this route go to Broadway?”

  8. The 47 would be so much more meaningful if its schedule were better coordinated with the 43. As it is now, it leaves downtown 1-4 minutes apart from the 43 at peak hours, and inbound runs cross Olive within 3-5 minutes of the 43 hitting Summit. Better staggering in the schedule would make both routes more efficient.

  9. It seems like you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Maybe Paul needs the money, but it sure doesn’t excite me.

    You are making our system even less of a grid. How exactly are you supposed to get from 15th and Mercer to 15th and Pine? Walk, I guess. Or maybe take a bus half way, then get off and walk. Pine loses some service to downtown. They have other service, but they still lose it. The ride from Group Health to downtown is slower (as you stated). All so you can have …

    People in a different neighborhood walk a little bit less. If you live in the Summit neighborhood, won’t you just walk to Link or take the 47 if you are headed downtown? I don’t see this as being that great as a means to get to Link, either. If you are at Thomas and Summit, I can’t imagine you would walk south to Olive to catch a bus one stop, so that you can then get onto Link. I can’t imagine anyone using that stop for that purpose even if they live above the stop. If you are on Pine (the next stop) then a bus that goes on Olive means less walking to Link, but not a lot.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of more service from Group Health to the front door of CHS. The 8 is unreliable. But if you are headed downtown, then the current routing is better. If you are headed to Link, then you just catch the first bus (if it is an 8, you walk a little less) or you just walk the entire thing. I like the idea of better service in general along Olive and John, but this just isn’t a good substitute for the crucial part of the 43, which from 23rd to downtown.

    I am inclined to favor this, except for the part about the buses running slower. Consolidating on a slower road while eliminating part of our (barely functioning) grid just seems like a tough change. Tell me again which trips (exactly) will be made much easier with this?

    I’m also not excited about the way in which this would change. This is not minor. Let’s not forget how we got into this mess. The revised plan was to have the 11 make a ridiculous turn that just about everyone thought was pointless. It turned out it was also impossible. But the turn was required because people wanted coverage in that area. Not just extra buses, but bus service in general. This would do the same sort of thing. You would eliminate several blocks worth of service on 15th. If people aren’t willing to lose service on Madison, why are they willing to lose it on 15th? This doesn’t seem like an obvious fix. This seems like precisely the type of change that should be discussed. I know that is how we got into this mess in the first place (Metro cowered under public pressure). But I don’t see this as such an obvious win to warrant throwing out normal public input when we just went through this whole process. Someone who rides the 10 but has paid scant attention to the restructure (because the 10 was never scheduled to change) will wake up and go “Wait a second, who moved this! Why didn’t you tell anyone!” That just seems wrong.

    I can’t help but think that we are simply stuck with this mess. I wish Metro had actually gone back to doing nothing for now. When SDOT adds Madison BRT we can go over all of this, and the changes will be a lot easier. Until then, we should just wait.

    1. If you look at population, density, and ridership, 23rd is not the critical part of the 43. Summit is the critical part of the 43.

      Most of the neighborhood is close to CHS as the crow flies — but there is a steep hill in the way. Some riders may walk to CHS, but many won’t want to climb the hill.

      All of the lost service on 15th is within two blocks, literally, of remaining frequent corridors.

      The loss of good north/south connectivity in the area of 15th is a problem, but not nearly as much of a problem as leaving Summit without meaningful downtown service. There is just vastly more demand for one of those things than the other.

      You talk about the lack of public input — but there was no public input for Summit residents either. First their 43 service was scheduled to disappear, and they protested loudly. Then it was brought back, first on the revised 12 and then on the revised 11. Now it’s disappeared again through an administrative change.

      1. I think discussing ridership on the stretch of 15th between John and Pine is a bit of a red herring when it comes to figuring out who loses. Everyone admits the stops along that stretch attract few riders. But when I’m waiting at 15th & Pine, the main direction I see people walking from is the south along 15th, and the east along Pine. People are crossing Madison and going past the 12 in order to catch the 10/11. They’re even walking past 11-only stops on Madison east of 15th. I think people want to access the 10’s eight minute headways during the morning rush, and be taken to a part of downtown they actually want to go to, especially to access Convention Place station. I’d feel better about this move if somehow Metro could increase rush hour frequency, but admittedly it’s not the end of the world.

      2. “I think discussing ridership on the stretch of 15th between John and Pine is a bit of a red herring when it comes to figuring out who loses. Everyone admits the stops along that stretch attract few riders. But when I’m waiting at 15th & Pine, the main direction I see people walking from is the south along 15th, and the east along Pine.”

        That is what we’re trying to figure out: who would actually lose, and how significant is the loss? I could see people coming from the southeast to the 10 becase I do see people coming from the southeast to the 43. And I used to live southeast (although I took the 2 or 12), an I go from Trader Joe’s to the 10/11 stop rather than the closer 11/12 because the 12 is far from Summit. And you say some more things about the area, but I’m not sure what they imply re what we should do. In any case, I’d say 8-minute frequency is not a quite enough reason to keep the 10 there if the other community has 45-minute frequency and no evenings.

      3. I don’t understand your statement that “We’re trying to figure out” the impact of this re-route. Who is? Metro? The Seattle Transit Blog community? Who? This blog post is advocating for re-routing the 10 by administrative fiat. Period. It’s not advocating for analysis or another round of public outreach. Examining a route’s ridership is a pointless exercise after it’s already been moved.

      4. I am trying to gauge the tradeoffs of this change, and checking my assumption that it would be a net positive with little negative. I assume that others in the STB readership are doing so too and aren’t just blindly supporting it, so I said “we”. Your input above and RossB’s below (going from Mercer to Pine) is the kind of counter use case that makes this discussion worthwhile. It’s not official input to Metro but it helps us in the readership in form and check our attitudes to things, and that affects what we say to Metro, and to the extent that it has influence it can influence things.

    2. The grid has to bend to the predominant travel patterns. Grids work best in a large two-dimensional area, with lots of destinations along every grid route. That is the case in Portland, Chicago, Vancouver, and north Seattle. It is not the case on Capitol Hill where a bus can’t go more than a mile or two without hitting a barrier and having to turn, and that has prevented the live/work/travel patterns from completely following a grid. Somebody at 15th & Mercer is three times more likely to be going to Capitol Hill Station or downtown or an intermediate place in that direction than to 15th & Pine. If there were a major destination at 15th & Pine or south of it it would be a different story, but there isn’t. It may be regrettable that the service isn’t preserved anyway for the minor use cases, but in a zero-sum situation we have to put the routes where they can serve the most people and the widest cross-section of them.

    3. The critical part of the 43 was as a connector to 23rd. Adding service to the 48 doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t get from 23rd to anywhere. The 8 is too unreliable, which is why we are even discussing this.

      Too hilly? Sure. But when headed downtown, walk down to the catch the 10; when headed back, take Link and walk over to your home. I just don’t see this as being the obvious positive change that you imply. If you told me you wanted to add huge amounts of service to the 47 at the expense other routes I would be game. but this isn’t even that. This is a major sacrifice for some trips so that folks can walk a couple blocks less (to avoid a transfer).

      @MIke — But why abandon 15th, but keep 19th? That makes no sense. Here is what you can do: Make the 10 go down Madison. Kill the 12 and you have a lot of service to play around with. Add some extra service on that 10 (or the 11). Add a lot of service to the 47 or resurrect the 43, but only from downtown to 23rd. Now you have a much better grid (Broadway, 15th, 23rd) and the cost is only 19th, which is largely redundant and largely vacant to the north.

      Too disruptive to just make happen without a broad discussion? Certainly. But that is my larger point. You found a nice little loophole and want to try and fix a terrible reroute by screwing over a fair number of riders. That’s just not a good idea.

      You talk about the lack of public input — but there was no public input for Summit residents either. First their 43 service was scheduled to disappear, and they protested loudly. Then it was brought back, first on the revised 12 and then on the revised 11. Now it’s disappeared again through an administrative change

      So why isn’t that the headline? Seriously, the headline said “Metro cancels restructure”. Then a Metro official comes on to say “No, it wasn’t canceled, we kept the good stuff”. If this is a bullshit administrative change, then say so. Tell Metro to just put it back they way it was! Seriously, I’m flabbergasted as to why folks aren’t clamoring for this. This sounds like a very reasonable thing to suggest. If the Capitol Hill changes are service neutral (they are, right?) then just put it back. Not great, but what people have put up with for years. Insist on it, because, as you say, this wasn’t what folks agreed to! It is one thing for Metro to say “sorry, we screwed up, we can’t do the change we spent months discussing, so we are just leaving it alone”, but they aren’t doing that. They are basically saying “Hey, remember that long discussion we had and we agree to brand new bus routes everywhere? Yeah, sorry, we are going to make a bunch of other major changes instead (screwing over Summit, as you put it)”. That is ridiculous and it seems like it would be pretty easy to stop.

      1. You keep saying that 23rd is the critical part of the 43, but that’s not where the bulk of the 43 ridership is. The part of 23rd that attracts the most ridership is south of where the 43 goes. Most 43 riders are traveling either between UW and the 15th area or from Thomas/John/Olive to downtown. Your average 43 trip is full on Capitol Hill and mostly empty along 23rd, except at UW commute hours.

        Undoing the Capitol Hill restructure altogether would imply undoing both the 8 and 48 splits.

      2. Undoing the Capitol Hill restructure altogether would imply undoing both the 8 and 48 splits.

        Works for me. If Metro’s going to go full throttle on the “list of bad ideas,” at least throw in a reasonable idea by skipping the 48 split until Roosevelt Station is ready for use.

      3. Most 43 riders are traveling either between UW and the 15th area

        Right, and they would have to make a transfer. That was the plan all along. They would have to ride the 48 and the 8 (which are both supposed to get extra service). But the 8 is useless for a transfer. It makes that connection, but not reliably. This is why Madison Park people didn’t want to use it. It is one thing to make a transfer, it is another if the bus is ten minutes late.

        or from Thomas/John/Olive to downtown.

        Thomas is spitting distance to 23rd. Would you really just end the bus route at 15th? That seems crazy when the obvious connection point is 23rd (only 8 blocks away). That enables transfers from the 48, as well as the 11. Just run the 43 from downtown to 23rd. That’s a sizable savings that can go into other bus routes.

        Undoing the Capitol Hill restructure altogether would imply undoing both the 8 and 48 splits.

        Right. But if you are saying that this is a disaster for folks, then undoing those other changes seems like a small price to pay. We aren’t going to get a good restructure of this. When a lot of people say that the reconfiguration is worse than our current system, then it is time to just go back to the status quo. Even if it is close, we should just stick with what we have. Wait until we can make better changes, which will happen when Madison BRT gets here.

      4. “The critical part of the 43 was as a connector to 23rd.”

        The point is that southwest Capitol Hill has a huge number of riders, who currently have the 43 and 47 to choose from. The 43 riders getting on/off between 15th and UW is a smaller number.

        “But why abandon 15th, but keep 19th?”

        I wanted to restructure the 12 and delete the 19th segment. And Metro made it peak-only in one alternative; I think with the 8-Madison. But the 8-Madison failed and the 11-all-Madison failed and the 49-Madison failed, so the 12 had to come back to serve middle and western Madison. 19th came back because of the trolley wires and the layover space and the 19th Avenue activists.

        “Make the 10 go down Madison.”

        It’s very late in the decision process and Metro is not going to make another large change. The topic of this article is the 10-Pine or the 10-John, which is a small enough change that it might go through. And Metro has been considering it for a long time, and it’s the only one of those that hasn’t been in an alternative yet.

        The 43 peak-only is ludicrous. I’m 98% for killing it, except then those commuters on 23rd would complain. If they actually exist. I’m curious whether anybody ever told Metro “Keep the 43 peak even if you delete it off-peak”, or if Metro just assumed people would want it but nobody does. To me the value of the 43 was as a 15-minute frequent route. Its value goes away if it become half-hourly or peak-only, because you can’t use it as an urban route that comes whenever you’re ready to go.

      5. I’m guessing the 43 was kept because of public input. Commuters feel very strongly and can easily be persuaded to ignore other changes (that they see as detrimental) if at least their commute isn’t fouled up. I would imagine a lot of the people who want to keep the 43 are commuters in Montlake headed downtown. A lot of these people drive during the day, or aren’t even headed downtown that often. I agree, keeping it around as a peak doesn’t make sense. OK, there is a bit of logic to it. I assume that the 8 is reasonably consistent outside of peak, in which case the 43 helps make that connection more palatable. Unfortunately, everything else that has changed (not much additional service for the 8 or 48) won’t make that connection easy. This is what happens when you start tinkering in a major way based on a handful of squeaky wheels.

        In general, I think the big mistake was that Metro didn’t count on Summit riders being upset about the loss of the 43. They figured there was going to be objections by people who have to transfer (from Montlake), but not those who don’t want to walk an extra couple of blocks. This could have been fixed by moving some service to the 47 (perhaps by taking it from the 12). The service pattern of the 47 makes no sense to me. If you are at, say, Bellevue and Mercer, you have a very long walk to a bus (or train) headed downtown other than the 47. But that bus barely runs in the middle of the day, and doesn’t run at all at night. This change makes things a bit better for someone like that, but not great. They save a bit of walking, but they still have to walk quite a ways. I bet a lot of them just keep walking at that point, to a bus on Pine or to Link (just because of the added frequency).

      6. The 47 disappeared for six months during the cuts, and there were loud complaints, especially by elderly people who can’t walk up the hill to the 49 or Capitol Hill Station. As I said elsewhere, it’s a 20ish minute walk from the end of the 47 to Pine Street if you lose the 43.

        The 47 (14) was half-hourly for decades, including when I lived there in the mid 2000s. That was not frequent enough for spontaneous trips as befits a dense neighborhood, so people constantly walk to the 43 or the four routes on Pine when it’s not coming soon. The 14 was pretty full peak hours, pretty sparse otherwise. Eastbound the 43 ran a few minutes before the 14 so it scooped up riders who could choose either, and others took the 43 out of fear the 14 would be late and come with the following 43.

        After I moved to where both the 47 and 43 are, the 47 went to 45-minute evenings, then was deleted, then came back 35-minute daytime only. All these including its original half-hourly are understandable given its current ridership, but say nothing about its potential if it were frequent and were scheduled a few minutes before the 43 or instead of the 43.

        Running the 47 instead of the 43 would be great for Summit. However, it would miss the other transit markets of Broadway and 15th, so I have some hesitations about that.

  10. Thanks for this David. This is something I suggested in an earlier blog post comment because it seemed to make the most sense. It’s the only bus in the neighborhood running east west that would have no direct access, especially given its relatively short routing to the station. Also I predict that much of its ridership will taper off since Link will cannibalize SCC ridership from Downtown and so new routing on John will keep Pine St from being over served.

  11. I have no problems of moving the 10 to Olive/John, however, keeping the 43 as is would mean too much service on Olive/John. Perhaps, if moving the 10 to take over the 43 between Downtown and Group Health, we should look at moving the 43 trips to Pine/15th instead of using the existing routing, so those who live on 15th Ave between John and Pine would still have rush hour (peak direction) service on that street.

    There is one problem in Summit. Just like the 43 taking riders away from 47, moving the 10 introduces a new problem. The 10 taking riders away from the 47. Think about this.

    1. This is a good point, although my concern is less about people along the short unserved stretch of 15th (who are very close to John, Pine, or both) and more about making sure that Pine has sufficient peak capacity. This, too would be an administrative change.

      1. Why can’t put 60-foot buses back for peak hour service on the 11? They blew when they went to 40-foot buses in September and many drivers have told me that the 40-foot buses don’t work in peak hours.

        In effect Metro reduced capacity during peak hours!

      2. Metro is extremely short on all types of buses right now, having not yet fully adjusted to the whiplash of expecting to cut service and then promptly ending up with few cuts and Prop 1. They have apparently judged that the 60-footers are needed even more badly on other routes than they are on route 11. I also understand that the folks down by the terminals disliked the old D60 buses that were being used on the 11 because they are very loud.

      3. possibly the 11 from Madison park to downtown could detour onto john turn at the hospital/safeway and then run on then the unserved part of 15th

    2. Those riders are currently on the 43. A 45-minute route is not really an option when it left ten minutes ago, and it doesn’t run evenings.

    3. The 47 is a lifeline route. Ask 10 riders in this corridor, I bet 8 or 9 say they’d prefer the 47’s service hours given to the 43 if it meant the 43 came more.

      1. It doesn’t have to be that way. It just is because it’s infrequent and has a limited span of service. If the 47 ran every 15 minutes, while the 43 is eliminated, the 47 would be a lot more than just a lifeline route.

      2. I agree asdf2. This change (if it happens) is not nearly as good for those on Summit than the addition of service to the 47. The 47 cuts right through this very dense part of town, and is a much bigger improvement than the 43 versus the 10. The 43 goes along John, then merges with the 10. When the two runs are far apart, many of the riders will just take Link. When it skirts through the Summit neighborhood — when it runs through the most densely populated section — the buses aren’t that far apart.

  12. Given the importance of restructuring, I would suggest returning the 43 to frequent service and leaving the 10 alone for now. I think that small route changes divert from the bigger restructure issues and confuse riders to respond to piecemeal route changes.

    We are so close to the Link opening date! We have had a range of proposed system changes discussed in detail but failing. We have yet to see how riders will respond to Link and Streetcar openings. We may see that the 10 loses riders for example.

    At this point, Metro should also commit to restarting the entire restructure discussion 3 to 6 months after Link opening and not put time and energy with shifts like this.

    1. If Metro has the funding to do that – or even to make the 43 frequent west of 23rd only – that is by far the best choice. Maybe they could dieselize it and have it turn around at 23rd and John? Or even turn south on 19th and use the old 12 short-turn on Howell and 19th?

    2. With what money do you propose to do this? One of the reasons the change I’m suggesting is easy is that it doesn’t cost anything. (The other is that it doesn’t require council approval.)

      1. We shouldn’t increase frequencies just yet until Link opens either.! That’s where the money comes from.

        We need to wait before making most changes. We are so close to a paradigm shift about Capitol Hill transit access. It will make restructuring easier and more responsive. Let’s find out what riders say once Link opens and not overthink it now!

      2. Na. We need to at least take a reasonable stab at it now and then we can fine tune it later as we get better data post Link going into service. We should not be so afraid of making even minor changes that we completely ignore the fact that we are about to endure a tectonic shift anyhow.

    3. I agree with you, Al. This has been my problem all along when it comes to this. I understand Metro screwed up. They had a decent proposal (with expertise behind it) and then, through public input, modified it. They kept modifying it until they came up with what I consider to be some pretty silly bus routes (an 11 that makes a jack knife turn that would slow it down for the majority of the passengers). But this is what everyone thought we were going to get. It was approved.

      Then all of a sudden, we won’t have that. The jack knife turn is gone. Rather than go back to the drawing board, Metro kills half the changes, but keeps the other half. This is not at all what people thought they were getting. There is no public input into these changes.

      While I admire David’s attempt to save one small piece of this, I don’t think it is worth it, but more importantly, I don’t think you should mess with a huge number or riders without public input, coming on the heels of a major restructure that begged for public input. Metro needs to go back to the drawing board. What everyone settled on (as flawed as it was) simply won’t work. Stick with the status quo for now, and revisit everything in a few months, if not after Madison BRT gets here. I just don’t see the current set of changes (without or without this modification) being good enough to justify the upheaval. This is not alternative 1 — this just isn’t very good.

  13. Is it the case that the Capitol Hill station is just in the wrong location? Is there a hypothetical location that would have made all this simpler?

    1. Doesn’t matter. Can’t move the station, can’t build another one. Gotta make do with what we have and push for better results down the (heh) line.

    2. No – the problem is that it’s in only one location. Ideally, there would be three stations: one on Pike/Pine (around Bellevue?), another where the current station is, and a third on 23rd. Even just the first two would make things a whole lot easier. But, Sound Transit’s suburban mindset and overcaution, combined with suburban-focused federal grant rules, put in only one.

    3. No, the problem is not enough Capitol Hill stations. If you are just going to have one, the one they built is in the best possible location. But there should have also been one under Bellevue Ave and one under 15th, at a minimum. Those two stations would have added about 3 minutes to the UW trip but saved SO MANY PEOPLE SO MUCH TIME.

      But that’s water under the bridge. We need to figure out how to use the station we have the most effectively. For some people, that’s going to mean connecting to it. For others, that’s going to mean bypassing it. But there are two things that badly need to happen at a minimum for it to work for the most people: 1) de-suckification of Denny, and 2) some revision of the 49 to create a better N/S service from the station. (There are a couple ideas that would work.)

      1. Madison BRT will go a long ways towards fixing a lot of the problems. The biggest problem with this restructure is that it was damn near zero sum. The addition of the one station is so minor that it really didn’t give Metro a lot of extra service to play around with. This is not the case with Madison BRT. I would do the following once it gets here:

        1) Run the 11 from Madison Park to Thomas, John, Olive and downtown (following the current 43 route from 23rd west).
        2) Kill the 43 and the 12.
        3) Put the savings into several bus routes, including the 8, 48 and 47.
        4) Grab a beer and celebrate.

        Other changes (like what you suggest) would be nice. I would also like to see a bus route from 15th and Thomas (Group Health) to 14th and Yesler. That remains one of the biggest gaps in our grid.

    4. Yes, what William, David and Reg said. The lack of stations is really the problem. If you had to choose one station, then this is probably it. Not great for buses, but about as good as you can get for walk-up passengers.

      I’m not sure how you fix it. I’m not talking about the bus routes (Metro tried many times and David continues to try). I’m talking about Sound Transit and the profound stupidity that results in only one station in the most densely populated region in the state of Washington.

  14. How about just adding a lot more service to the 47 with the loss of the 43? The 43 cannibalized the busiest part of the 47’s route (where just the two overlapped). With the 43 gone, the 47 could carry a lot more people on full buses in both directions.

    In addition, ideally the 47 would also be the only Capitol Hill bus continuing through the length of downtown all-hours to Pioneer Square/ID, being its so short anyway, plus it would certainly drive traffic onto it.

    1. Making the 47 frequent would be a very good way to fix the Summit issue, but it would require hours for two additional all-day buses (and more if we want to make it run at night and early in the morning to cover the full 43 span). One thing that might reduce the cost a bit would be to through-route it with downtown-only trips on the 3/4, but that would add a turn at 3rd/Pike of the sort that Metro has been trying to avoid.

      1. If the new 106 didn’t extend to the International District, there’s the hours for a more frequent 47.

    2. David’s proposal is now being seriously considered by Metro since it required no additional hours and based on what Metro told me today that is why it has a good chance of happening. I think we should support this proposal since the hour is very later for the March 2016 changes.

      1. Except no current 10 riders have had a chance to comment on this proposed change and any of Metro’s outreach events, since re-routing the 10 was never on the table. If this were happening to your favorite route, you’d be raising a fit.

  15. How difficult would it be to add turning wire at 19th and Thomas?

    It doesn’t seem to me like the outer end of the 12 is very well used, so I am wondering instead about something along the lines of getting that so it can turn onto Thomas and become a huge inverted C shaped route that takes over the 43 west of 19th.

    That leaves the 10 as it is, including the two stops that lose service with this proposal, and puts 43 style service back along Olive.

    The 8 is horribly crowded sometimes, but I’m not sure just how good an investment it is in additional service hours. Those buses sit in traffic. It would be far better to stop eating service hours on western Denny and try to come up with some better solution to that mess, so the 8 doesn’t use so much time and money. I don’t have one, short of the Metro 8 Subway.

    This, by the way, illustrates the really nice thing about building the urban rail network segments first: you have a lot more flexibility with service hours if you can get the congested bus routes that suck up those service hours to not suck as much. (and Yes, I do mean routes like the 8 Suck in several ways)

    Making this change to the 12 would mean having to find additional service hours and trolley coaches from someplace. However, with the fight over service hours happening it seems to me it is important to drop service on the lesser used parts of routes. I’m not sure what you send north on 19th to take its place, but it just seems to me this is a place where a frequent route isn’t required.

    Maybe we need to have a general semi-open thread as a Capitol Hill Restructure brainstorming session. As a group we might be able to come up with something that almost works, which is probably about as close as we are going to get.

    1. “Maybe we need to have a general semi-open thread as a Capitol Hill Restructure brainstorming session.”

      That’s what a dozen STB articles have been. The result was many groups favoring different tradeoffs and no consensus.

      1. The 11 and 12 should move to Pine/John and serve Madison Valley/Park and 19th as they do now. The 10 and 49 should move to Madison and serve Broadway and 15th respectively. The 8 should cover Madison from MLK to Broadway and connect to the link station by traveling down Broadway between Madison and John. This could also help make up for the reduction of the 9, if that happens in Sept 2016. With the opening of the link station we need to reduce the number of transit corridors on Capitol Hill to better connect areas of First Hill, Capitol Hill and the Central District to each other and to Link. Reducing service on a portion of E. Pine Street could make that possible.

  16. I live in the Summit neighborhood. I work in the south end of downtown Seattle. Not too long ago, this would have been an easy commute on the 14, which could have dropped me off less than two blocks from work. If I needed to go up to Broadway for anything, I could also catch a 7 to work. In a pinch, I could ride the 43 to Westlake, and find a bus to work from there.

    Now, the 14 is the 47, and terminates at Westlake. The 7 is the 49, and terminates at Westake. And the 43 still terminates at Westlake. My simple, two-mile commute, from one densely populated area to another, now requires a transfer in the middle.

    This is one of the reasons I dislike Metro’s planners these days.

    1. I miss the 3rd & Pine turn too. Without it, going to Chinatown or the library becomes significantly more difficult. But the reason Metro did it is to phase out turns on 3rd between Olive Way and Yesler Way, because the turns slow down both those buses and other buses on 3rd and contribute to the network’s slowness. The 3/4’s days on James Street are numbered, as it will move to Yesler Way as soon as there’s money to string trolley wire there. The 2 has been protected by politicians and squeaky wheels. The 12 was severed from 3rd Avenue turns long ago. The7/49 is the only remaining route that turns on 3rd & PIke evenings and Sundays, but that will go away in March.

  17. I strongly support the suggested reroute of the #10 bus. In addition to better serving the Summit population, it is important for bus routes to facilitate people getting to the Link Light Rail stations. If the bus is not stopping close to the station, then I may as well take it all the way downtown – adding an extra 10 minutes or more to a trip.

  18. Metro just sent out a survey on this change which has two other interesting tidbits:

    * They’re increasing the evening and Sunday 8 from 30 minutes to 20 minutes to help serve Summit and Capitol Hill.

    * Even more interestingly, they blame the 19th and Madison intersection on SDOT: “SDOT has agreed to make roadway modifications and other improvements in eight places, but declined to make modifications that would support our approved changes for routes 8 and 11 on Capitol Hill and in the Central Area.” Can someone please follow up with SDOT about this?

Comments are closed.