The proposed location of the new center (in green) is surrounded by auto-oriented land use. Image: Google Maps.
The proposed location of the new center (in green) is surrounded by auto-oriented land use. Image: Google Maps.

The City of Renton is proposing to relocate its transit center as part of ST3. The new center would be located at Rainier Avenue South and Grady Way, just north of the intersection of I-405 and SR 167. It would replace a smaller downtown transit center, adding much more parking and easing access for park-and-ride commuters from the south and east. However, it is likely to eventually reduce service for Renton’s downtown and developing North Renton neighborhoods.

The new center would be more accessible for buses or drivers approaching from SR 167, and could include 1,500-2,000 parking stalls, potentially the largest transit parking facility in King County (Eastgate has 1,614 stalls). It would be funded, in part, by giving up a deferred ST2 project to build HOV ramps from N 8th St. The property is a disused former auto dealership, and is adjacent to an existing 370-stall Metro park-and-ride. Renton officials perceive potential for transit-oriented development, though that would require a far-reaching overhaul of the area’s current development pattern.

ST566Map
ST 566 serves downtown Renton and The Landing. How many buses would do so if the transit center were next to I-405? Map: OneBusAway

Commuters who drive to buses would prefer a transit facility closer to highways and with more available parking. The current center is perceived as having an adverse effect on downtown. Buses and drivers to the transit center parking add to downtown traffic (Metro leases 150 stalls in a city-owned structure). When the downtown transit center was opened in 2000, the hope was that it would draw commuters to downtown businesses, but few stay long in the area. Now Renton is studying a festival street on S 3rd St, and restoring two-way traffic on S 2nd and S 3rd, making them arguably less suited to commuter bus service.

The downtown transit center is served by two ST Express routes (560, 566), Rapid Ride F, and a dozen other Metro routes. How many of those routes would continue to serve that area? Renton believes it can maintain local Metro service through downtown, but would prefer the primary location for transfers be elsewhere. It’s unlikely Metro or Sound Transit would wish to serve downtown so intensively once the transit center is relocated. Indeed, Metro opposed locating a transit center in downtown when it was first built, not wanting to have buses navigating downtown streets. Many commuters who would rely on the new transit center will view downtown Renton as a detour and will prefer their buses get on the highway as promptly as possible.

Routing buses through downtown Renton supports service to growing mixed use neighborhoods in North Renton such as The Landing. Just last week, construction started on Southport, a large new office complex near Boeing and The Landing. The N 8th St HOV access project was supposed to ease their access from The Landing to I-405. With an expanded transit center south of downtown and easy highway access there, it’s likely that future service will skip downtown and the growing northern neighborhoods.

I-405 BRT is not intended to serve downtown Renton. The recently published templates described local access to the BRT only via the N 8th St HOV ramps. Moving the access point further south would require more out-of-direction travel for riders from downtown/north Renton to Bellevue. The connection would, at least, be frequent as long as Rapid Ride F continues to serve North Renton. Sound Transit staff indicated at the January 7th meeting that the idea is being studied in conjunction with I-405 BRT. The move was endorsed by several Eastside cities in a joint letter to Sound Transit last week. Local comments, responding to the comprehensive coverage by the Renton Reporter, have been mostly positive too, despite concerns for downtown access.

Much current transit access in Renton is oriented around park-and-rides, and the change will be well received by commuters from south and east of I-405. Nevertheless, this looks like a doubling down on Renton’s sprawling current land use. Renton is proposing an enormous investment in parking at the expense of service to the city’s few dense (or, at least, densifying) neighborhoods. Within a ST3 package that looks some decades into the future, one hopes that Renton will thoroughly consider the implications for the city’s development.

114 Replies to “Renton Proposes a New Transit Center”

  1. potentially the largest transit parking facility in King County

    Renton officials perceive potential for transit-oriented development

    Choose one, geniuses.

    1. +1000

      Let’s make a new BS test. New TOD sites must be at least 0.25 miles away from a major highway.

      1. This is why BRT on I-405 is nonsensical. Unless all those buses come off the 405 and into the all the dense centers, it will not serve future dense housing. “I would love to live right on the I-405″…. said nobody. Ever. But the ERC goes much closer to all of these centers. Putting frequent electric buses on the ERC both serves the current and future urban centers and has a ton of land that can be easily upzoned and developed (and is where people would want to live).

  2. Renton officials perceive potential for transit-oriented development, though that would require a far-reaching overhaul of the area’s current development pattern.

    When I looked at the areal photo, the first thought that popped into my head was “Wow. Look at all that parking!” Overhaul indeed.

    1. Agreed. Why do officials keep thinking park and ride oriented development is a thing?

      When people get off the bus they go straight to their cars. No stopping.

      No economic activity worth mentioning will ever happen here.

      No one wants to live near mega-garages either. Any city who thinks differently is fooling themselves.

      1. I guess it’s time to distinguish between a Park & Ride facility and a Transit Center. The new development would be strictly a Park & Ride facility. The old structure in downtown Renton could still be operated as a transit center, implying that it is in the center of something (a neighborhood, perhaps).

      2. They sort of did OK when they rebuilt the Gateway Transit Center / Park and Ride Lot in Portland.
        https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gateway+Transit+Center/@45.5306324,-122.5630431,603m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x5495a17237b5075d:0xdd4be9eb86c70a00!6m1!1e1?hl=en

        What wound up happening there was they built a new parking structure and part of the surface lot wound up being converted to offices, which then rebuilt a lot just south of the office building into their own private surface lot on the south side of the building.

        They also got Fred Meyer to help build a sidewalk through the parking lot mess to connect the transit center to their store. This sidewalk is extremely busy, and it helps to have a dedicated walkway so that pedestrian traffic is somewhat separated from the parking lot traffic.

        It’s still a lot of void parking space where something more really should exist, but at least it is possible to make some steps in this direction, but it definitely is a different direction than what I see in this area of Renton currently.

      3. GuyOnBeaconHill, they want to turn that area into some kind of festival street. They plan to still have some buses but less transfers. I couldn’t help but notice that even though they say this is for better access to transit, they sure seem to have plenty of plans already drawn up of what they’re going to do if the move went through.

        In the conception art below, they actually shows cars parked in the area that currently contains the bus bays. And a short road (the diagonal one) that’s currently pedestrian only also shows cars on it. Great use. Not.

        http://www.rentonreporter.com/news/366229191.html

      4. Charles, I think it’s the idea of living close to transit that is appealing. Ash Way P&R is a good example. Though there isn’t a boom in businesses, a massive condo complex was erected right next door. The same goes for the transit centers in Federal Way, Lynnwood and Northgate.

        The absence of a parking structure is ideal for highly dense areas within the city. However, for suburbs such as Renton, parking will always be needed be commuters live much further away from spread out so far. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  3. Moving your transit center to the freeway is a dumb, dumb idea. To me this means they’ve given up on their downtown. No TOD will happen here, there’s nothing to walk to.
    .

  4. The new TC location does have some advantages. For instance, it could be used as an intermediate stop for a Kent->Seattle express bus that would serve as a Sounder shadow during the hours that Sounder isn’t running, providing a badly needed alternative to the slow 150.

    For Renton downtown, I’d be ok with this as long as a solution is devised to connect it with Seattle. The 101 has never been all that great in this regard with its low frequency, SODO slog, and time-sucking grand tour of Renton. All on all, I think a simple Link shuttle to Ranier Beach would be better, provided it’s fast and frequent (in contrast to the existing route 106, which is neither fast, nor frequent).

    I think a good service patter would be something like this:
    1st route (Sound Transit, paid for with ST3): Kent Station->Renton TC->downtown Seattle (no stops between indicated points)

    2nd route (Metro, via re-investment of route 101 service hours): Landing->Renton TC->Ranier Beach Station (local stops through Renton, quasi-express down MLK serving existing route 101 stops, everyone gets off at Ranier Beach Station and transfers to Link to continue downtown; the bus schedule must be coordinated with the train.

    1. Regarding route 106’s frequency, don’t forget that Metro is still mulling over having combining route 106 and soon-to-be-implemented route 38. If they do that, and invest in frequency rather than wasting money sending it downtown (undoing the reliability improvement), it could get to 10-minute headway in the near future.

      Regardless, most routes that would take Sunset/MLK as the fastest path to Rainier Beach Station have to pass within a couple blocks of the current Renton TC anyway. Route 101 just has a ridiculous path where it backtracks to the transit center, wasting gobs of service hours.

    2. Right about the need to connect downtown Renton with downtown Seattle. Over the hill via Creston Point, MLK and I-5 seems to be the faster path (basically the current 101 routing without the detour to the South Renton P&R). As always, however, I will object to using RBS as a dumping point–SODO Station would be much better.

      1. As always, I have to point out that route 101 is a flat tire, already moving into the frequency and span-of-service death spiral. Try something different, and not 101 minus the last mile into downtown. Nobody will go for that.

      2. I disagree. The timed saved for downtown Seattle trips by using SODO over Ranier beach is less than 5 minutes on a good day. It’s not worth sacrificing frequency and connectivity for such a small time savings. Just having the bus run more frequently would easily make up the time by reducing wait time. A quick Ranier Beach connection could also prove useful for connecting Renton to the airport. It looks out of the way, but it would still be way faster than taking the F-line’s very circuitous routing to TIBS, and it would also beat waiting 45 minutes for an hourly route 560 – especially if the 560 no longer serves downtown Renton, requiring a transfer to reach it anyway.

        A more frequent route 106 could possibly work, although the travel time still looks a bit too long with all those stops in skyway. The 106 also takes a detour in Ranier Beach itself to corner of Ranier and Henderson for reasons I don’t really understand. Also, the 101 on MLK does serve a couple of isolated apartment buildings along MLK, and I would be hesitant to advocate a proposal that would leave these apartments without any bus service.

      3. I would rather see the proposed Boeing Access Road/I-5 Link station get the expanded investment. Create lots of parking for Renton residents, direct bus access ramps for Renton buses from MLK, feed other Renton, Kent and Southcenter buses to go here and be the terminus for an East-West Renton BRT route. This could be a more strategic solution for the Renton-Seattle connectivity challenges.

      4. How would a Boeing Access Road Station be any better for Renton->downtown trips than Ranier Beach Station? Access to and from Renton is about equally direct in either case. The only advantage of the new station would be room to erect a giant parking garage so everybody can drive to the train, rather than take a bus. But if you already have a Kent->South Renton P&R->Seattle bus, you don’t really need that either.

      5. @asdf2: The Renton proposal listed here is for more park-and-ride spaces and moving the local transit center. If people are already driving, it makes more sense to get them to park at a very high-capacity, high-frequency direct route rather than make them do multiple transfers. It also makes more sense to put local transit transfers on a regional rail line with 6-10 minute trunk service at reliable rail speeds.

      6. Ok, let’s use some real information from OneBusAway. Route 101 leaves the Renton TC at 1206pm and arrives at Convention Place at 1250pm (44 minutes). From RTC to Sunset & Rainier (the stop by the Fred Meyer’s complex) takes about 10 minutes. The segment from Sunset & Rainier to SODO Station takes about 20 minutes. From SODO to Convention Place is 14 minutes. A route that ran from Renton TC to SODO Station would take about 22-23 minutes, or half the time it takes the current 101 to wander from RTC to Convention Place. So Metro could double the service on the 101 without adding any extra service hours by just running it from RTC to SODO. A trip from Renton TC to Westlake would take 39 minutes (allowing 6 minutes for transferring).

        How long does the trip take via RB Station? OBA information isn’t as exact because there’s no current service on MLK between RBS and I-5. But we know that Westlake to RBS is 26 minutes, add a transfer + average wait time of 6 minutes and an estimated trip time of 12 minutes from RBS to Renton TC for a total time of 44 minutes. That gives the trip via SODO an initial advantage of 5 minutes, but there are many other advantages at SODO over RBS. There are more buses at SODO that could be used for the final trip and there are more routes that serve SODO than RBS, so riders would usually have a shorter wait time at SODO and more options if their final destination isn’t 3rd & Pine.

      7. A lot of the buses that go through SODO today probably shouldn’t. The 101, 106, and 150 should eventually get truncated, while the 594 should skip SODO and go straight into downtown, like the 578 does. The 50 is another example – sending it from Beacon Hill to SODO duplicates link, while still providing a Ranier Valley->West Seattle connection that is so slow and infrequent, it’s only barely better than a transfer downtown.

        There’s also the issue of frequency. If Link is running 10 minutes, the bus also needs to run every 10 minutes, not every 15 minutes, to achieve a timed connection with Link. The extra services to go to SODO and back probably means no timed connection.

      8. “If people are already driving, it makes more sense to get them to park at a very high-capacity, high-frequency direct route rather than make them do multiple transfers”

        It’s not multiple transfers. The bus from South Renton P&R would take the freeway straight downtown, at least during peak hours. Off-peak, drivers can can head west on SR-516, rather than north on SR-167, and drive directly to Link.

        There’s also the issue that the drivers you are referring to could easily just catch Sounder at Tukwila Station.

      9. I’d note that this park-and-ride is probably only a mile from Tukwila Sounder. Why have commute service to Seattle this close to Sounder?

        I would also add that getting into Downtown Seattle using I-5 is going to be increasingly difficult and getting through Downtown is going to really deteriorate. Running direct buses from here into Downtown Seattle is going to get worse and worse for riders.

        If the objective was to serve 405, this is also the wrong place. This location lies just beyond the worst traffic bottleneck and is not was suited for 405 HOV access.

        This location really appears to be wishful for economic development types but it doesn’t fit any sort of regional connectivity strategy.

      10. asdf, the 50 doesn’t go anywhere near Beacon Hill Station, so no, it doesn’t duplicate Link. Also, the transfer from the 50 to Link (or many south bound Metro and ST buses) at SODO is much better than a transfer downtown if your destination is south of SODO as far as Tacoma, Olympia and beyond.

      11. The 101 was originally half-hourly, and then went down to hourly evenings and Sundays. That seemed like a slow death spiral but it’s now back up to half-hourly for the full span, so predictions of its death may be premature.

      12. I had to go to a meeting this afternoon in Renton’s business park area off of Oakesdale (where there’s absolutely no transit). Driving to the meeting at about 130pm, I spotted a 101 headed to Renton that had standees. Not exactly a scientific observations, but I’ll be skeptical of any future claims about the 101 having “flat tires” or being in a “death spiral”.

    3. Wow.. there’s so much going on in this thread about the 101.

      “Death Spiral?” Absolutely not. The bus is moderately filled to being full during the daytime hours, and overcrowded during the peak hours. I never understood why Metro had such limited evening hours on the 101 because the route is so bloody popular. If it lacks ridership in the evening or weekends, it’s only because people would rather take the 106 and not have to wait forever for the infrequent 101. I say this from personal experience.

      “Sodo Slog”? Does anyone remember when and why Metro moved the 106 from the Busway to Airport Way? Their reasoning: to connect riders with expanded employment centers in the area. Unless SODO has been deflated of employers recently, riders STILL get on/off at Spokane St and Lander and Holgate and Royal Brougham because they work there. ST didn’t put a Link station at Lander for nothing. So Also Metro ought not to delete SODO from it’s south county routes. Plus, the I.D. is also a popular destination for many riders, so not serving the busway would force a transfer for folks going to Chinatown.

      *Transferring at Rainier Beach. This doesn’t seem so bad of an idea. I would, however, keep peak service intact on the 101/2.

  5. Interesting plan, I pass through the Renton TC at least 4 days a week. There have been plenty of changes in downtown Renton since 2000 and it would be hard to say that downtown Renton is thriving. But it does seem that downtown Renton is on the verge of becoming the next hip neighborhood in the Seattle area. There’s plenty of housing and it’s pretty cheap; commercial spaces are plentiful and, again, pretty cheap; there are transit connections to Seattle. Although Downtown Renton is surrounded by freeways, strip malls and big box retail, there is a real charm to the old, central neighborhood. The presence of an auto-centric transit center in the downtown area probably works more as a hindrance to walkable, sustainable development than as an asset. There also happens to be a major regional employer located within walking (or biking) distance of downtown Renton.

  6. Can anyone name one city that became more lively and populated by exiling their transit center to the nearby freeway/highway?

    I want to know why city officials keep thinking this is a good idea.

      1. Kent and Auburn have train stations.

        People may ride to Northgate TC, but they are alighting there either to go to the shopping ceners, or to pick up their car.

        Would people stop riding to Bellevue if the bus routes still went there, but there was no transit center?

        Bothell has a transit center? It has something better: a college served by all the local routes , and a hip downtown served without diverting into a stale structure called a “transit center”.

        Ash Way is not a city. People are choosing to live there because (1) housing is available there and hard to find anywhere else; and (2) it has a semi-express bus to downtown Seattle. Still, it is called a park&ride. It’s only addition to the local economy is the TOD nearby, so the people living there do some local shopping. The TOD and parking lot aren’t mutually-supporting structures. Indeed, some drive from the TOD to the parking lot because poor walkshed.

        Do you really want to make a case that Lynnwood is better off for having a transit center tucked away a half mile from downtown instead of having most bus routes serve its downtown?

      2. The King Street Station complex seems to be doing well for Seattle. There is a bunch of new housing being built near it that will be open next year.

        Note: No park and ride needed for this to happen. High frequency transit hubs in walkable neighborhoods are a magnet for dense housing, as long as the zoning allows it.

      3. It makes no difference ash way is not a city. There has been quite the apartment construction projects around the park and ride. These TOD’s bring people closer to transit and make it easier to use. No need to even have a car.

      4. “Would people stop riding to Bellevue if the bus routes still went there, but there was no transit center?”

        Bellevue had bus routes before the transit center. They crossed each other wherever they happened to be, making a spaghetti of transfers in different places. A well-located transit center where all routes meet is better.

      5. Hey, Brent, are you leaving out Downtown Seattle just because it’s already a transit center? Tukwila International LINK Station by any measure is one of its best parking areas. Same will be true of Northgate, Lynwood, Everett, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond when LINK gets built out.

        Better idea for Renton: Keep and improve present location for transit-using pedestrians. But like at Lynnwood, build a blocks-long elevated pedestrian parkway between the parking lots and downtown. Reached by elevators, and carrying passengers with people-movers. Like many airports do. Or let them walk or bike if they like.

        Always liked Redmond center- but hated how far it is from the freeway. In addition to working well, this approach would set examples for many similar transit centers with the same problem of parking isolated from town centers.

        Mark

      6. “There has been quite the apartment construction projects around the park and ride.”

        Those apartments are a perfect example of Transit-Adjacent Development rather than Transit-Oriented Development. There’s no direct path from the apartments to the bus bays so you have to walk out to the main road and into the P&R driveway to get to them, and the total distance is almost a mile or longer. A better organization would have the bus bays at the center, the apartments surrounding it in a circle, and the parking lot on one side.

      7. Oran says
        Downtown Kirkland’s on street transit center is great. Near the library and parks and restaurants.

        I wonder how many boardings there are at the Totem Lake Flyer Stop + TC vs DT Kirkland? Agree DT Kirkland TC works well for DT Kirkland but there is no rapid route to any other destination. This is because Kirkland was built up around the original DT on the waterfront which, unlike Bellevue doesn’t have good 405 access. Kirkland is hoping Totem Lake will become their version of highrise Bellevue. Lynnwood and Federal Way are hoping for the same. Of course Renton can’t “go tall” unless they close the airport which would mean losing their largest employer.

      8. Totem Lake Flyer Stop + TC vs DT Kirkland?

        Anecdotally, DT Kirkland by far has more all day ridership. When I ride the 255 through at night I always see people at the transit center. Totem Lake Freeway Station is very peak-oriented. The Totem Lake TC is a ghost town; I’m often the only one there during off-peak coming from the 236.

        From ST’s 2016 SIP, there were 399 weekday boardings at Totem Lake on the 532 and 535. There’s also a bunch of Metro peak-only routes.

        As for Renton TC, used to bus down there from UW or Kirkland. Part of the problem with it is mostly surrounded by the large parking garage and the ground level garages of the adjacent apartment complex which means it is devoid of non-transit activity. Seems like Renton’s leaders want to recreate that mistake but on a grander (read: more expensive) scale in an even worse environment for people not in cars, and have East King County pay for it.

      9. Oran Viriyincy says
        Anecdotally, DT Kirkland by far has more all day ridership. ..The Totem Lake TC is a ghost town; I’m often the only one there during off-peak coming from the 236

        Wow, someone else that rides the 236. There must be at least 6 of us := True the Kingsgate P&R/Flyer Stop/Totem Lake TC are peak oriented. But its a whole lot of people at peak. While Kirkland TC is pretty constant there’s never piles of people getting on or off. I go through there at peak and there’s never more than 3-4 people waiting to go north and maybe 10 waiting to go south. Also seems the majority are using it as a transfer point rather than living/working/playing in DT Kirkland. S. Kirkland by far has more ridership; way more at peak and as much or more off peak. There’s a good deal of turn over in the parking stalls because a lot of people use it to go into Seattle in the evenings and weekends. Totem Lake TC is a ghost town even during peak. It’s too far from the hospital and too far from the flyer stop. All three of those facilities are very poorly integrated. The 255 splits there and they couldn’t have come up with a worse stop layout if they’d tried.

    1. People may ride to Northgate TC, but they are alighting there either to go to the shopping centers, or to pick up their car.

      Nonsense. I rode the 41 recently for a couple weeks and can tell you that it simply untrue. There are plenty of people who line up and take the bus well before it reaches the parking lot. They could care less about the mall. It is a growing, thriving area. I wouldn’t credit the transit center entirely, but I’m sure it had some influence. It is a very convenient area from a transit standpoint.

      1. I was talking about the people getting off the bus at Northgate TC, not the people riding into neighborhoods, for whom the transit center is irrelevant at best, or a daily timesink at worst.

  7. There is a much more direct route to The Landing via Grady which would serve the edge of downtown. The buses would get on and off the freeway the same, but the detour through Renton would be much less serpentine.

    This proposal would horrify me if if I hadn’t been spending a fair amount of time in Renton recently. It’s a dead town. Whatever the plan was for the existing transit center has failed.

    I used to ride the 560 (IIRC) from Bellevue to (then) West Seattle and the detour through Renton was terrible. It took as long as the detour through SeaTac, but with Lamont fewer actual riders.

    1. What makes the route serpentine is the diversion into the TC. That could be abolished at little capital cost.

      The problem with paths that follow the edge of any neighborhood is cutting the walkshed in half. This is the main reason why route 18 is gone (except as a peak express), why the old route along Alki Beach is gone except as a peak express, why there is no longer any service along the water from Rainier Beach to Renton, why route 25 is a dud and going away, why there is no bus route along Lake Washington Blvd, and why North Sounder is a white elephant, The only difference with following along I-405 is that nobody wants to look at a freeway.

      In Renton’s case, pulling the routing away from downtown entirely would tank Renton’s downtown economy and tank Renton ridership to any place other than downtown Seattle.

  8. Transit centers are an anti-amenity. They end up being places where parking garages get built, so nobody wants to hang out there. They get walled off from nearby businesses, though Renton is the exception. They tend to create a diversion and time-suck for every route within their gravity well.

    I want my transfers to be on-street, near thriving local businesses that aren’t on the far side of a parking lot, Where possible, I want my transfers to be at a train station. A lot of transfers happening at Renton TC should be happening at Rainier Beach Station instead.

    I like visiting Renton, in spite of the transfer center. I welcome selling off the transit center and turning it into TOD, while continuing to serve downtown Renton without diverting into a TC. I will celebrate the day the buses stop going in there for any reason other than layover.

    If I were a driver, I would want my bus stop to not involve a couple minutes of driving through a parking lot after I get on board. I would prefer walking a minute or so to an on-street bus stop, near local businesses, reducing both my trip time and everyone else’s. If the new Renton TC means no diversions, I could go for that. However, I don’t see that happening with Rainier Ave S. And please, oh please, don’t waste money on a long pedestrian bridge that takes a couple minutes more than a crosswalk. Nobody will use it.

    If Renton wants a mega-parking garage, so be it. But don’t ruin the bus routes to serve it, And keep serving downtown Renton, but without diversion.

    1. “Transit centers are an anti-amenity.”

      It depends on the transit center. Bellevue Transit Center works well as a place to transfer buses and walk to downtown destinations. Renton Transit Center is similar except the downtown hasn’t developed very much. The parking garage can be dismissed as serving downtown businesses as much as being a P&R, and it avoids all those businesses having their own large parking lots. The problem comes in monstrosities like the Issaquah “transit center” and the Mountlake Terrace “transit center” that are away from downtown and walkable destinations; the only thing you can do is take a car there or transfer buses. That to me is a perversion of the transit center concept, although maybe now it has become the primary kind of transit center, ugh.

      A remote transit center P&R also misses the goals of a significant portion of passengers. A P&R is only used by people driving to take the trunk express route to the big city. People don’t drive to the P&R to take a local route, and if they’re transferring from one bus to another they don’t have a car with them. So “transit center” as in TRANSfer center should be in the city center, where it can simultaneously serve transferees and walk-ons. P&Rs to a trunk route is an entirely different thing, and should be outside the city center. If that means the trunk line has to have two stations rather than one, that’s the least-bad option. Remote P&Rs should not be called “transit centers”, and should not be the place were local routes transfer. Because who wants to walk a mile to a remote transfer point in the middle of nowhere and there’s no place to go while you’re waiting and you can’t get any errands done.

      1. Transit centers can help transform an area. Once that transformation is done, they are often then a hindrance. Northgate TC is like that. For a long time, it was the main benefit of living in Northgate. You could catch a very convenient bus to various areas all over the place. If you arrived early and the bus was laying over there, you could sit in a warm spot for a while. Thus this became a selling point, a reason for those big buildings to be built and filled with businesses and people. But now that the businesses and people are there, I think we would be better off without it. It isn’t in a great place (on a dead end from an east-west perspective). Of course now we have a train station there so it will stay.

        Meanwhile, a place like Burien is stuck in limbo. There is a nice transit center there, but it isn’t enough to justify investment. The area around there (last time I checked) is still undeveloped. But taking out the transit center would kill it. Eventually I think it will draw people there, because it is fairly interesting neighborhood. It is not as convenient as Northgate, but that is mainly because it is so much farther away from the big city.

      2. How many decades has it been since you’ve been to Burien? It’s been built out for a long time. Some of that build-out just happens to be surface parking. The downtown area is building upward, mostly in spite of the transfer center.

        Now, the Burien P&R … that’s another matter. Drivers love it, regardless of whether they are catching a commuter bus, enjoying the Olde Burien shopping district, going to the library, or visiting City Hall. For the bus-dependent, the P&R merely yanks the rug out from under the possibility of neighborhood routes having enough riders to justify their existence.

        The transit connectivity was better before the transit center opened. It was sold as moving the connections closer to 1st Ave. It did that, but it walled off the bus riders away from the local businesses. Come check it out as yet another example of a transfer center we’d be better off without.

        On top of that, my route (132) has to continue to divert over to it, through the rural portion of northeast Burien, instead of going straight to TIBS, to help justify the money that was wasted building that passenger detention center.

        The politicians got a photo-op. Riders got pushed out of sight and out of mind of the local businesses that do not see transit riders as customers they want anywhere near them.

      3. RossB, IIRC most if not all of the “big buildings” at Northgate (to which I assume you mean those south of the TC) were built some time before the transit center moved to the lot adjacent from the old Northgate Park and Ride, which was north of Northgate way where the park north of Target is located today (I know you know that but others may not).

        The development around the TC, including the apartment complex, theater and senior housing, was assuredly built considerably after the TC was and probably both in response to the TC’s existence and the legal issues surrounding the lot and Thornton Creek being cleared up. It might conceivably have been built earlier had there been no legal issues, but it was years after the transit center was opened that it was actually constructed–long enough so that there was likely a decent bet that a Link station would eventually be located in about the same location by the time the project was permitted. That certainly would have made the project more palatable to developers.

      1. Thank you. And that’s exactly what I’m hoping will kill this, the regional voters. Even if some of the points were valid, Renton is still asking to have ST funds pay for their own siting mistake.

      2. The current siting is beautiful. The bay locations is textbook form over function. I’d like the Renton City Council to take a field trip up to Kirkland (as Oran points out) and see how a transit center can be pro-rider.

        Take route 101 downtown, transfer to route 255, and see why the South Kirkland Park & Ride loop-de-loop did far more damage to ridership than good.

      3. Renton wanting this doesn’t automatically mean ST will do it. ST has a long list of potential ST3 projects but not all of them will be included. ST still has to budget them out all together and consider subarea equity. Renton’s best chance may be that East King has a lot of money and not many good projects to spend it on. South King has the opposite problem, with less money but more worthwhile projects (including things not on ST’s list) and transit-dependent residents.

  9. More Spine Destiny at work here. The common thread with Link and BRT (in all it’s mutated forms in this region), is to mimic the nearest freeway, plop down a station and P&R if you can get it, and call it done. The mere mention of TOD, bike and ped improvements seems to calm the nerves of all but the most die hard environmentalists. In severe cases, a pedestrian bridge must be built.
    RR-F has now been up for a couple of years. How’s that going? (30 stops, and 45-50 minutes to circuitously travel the 7 miles between end points). Yet we continue to get nudged ever closer to wanting to (no, needing to) convert it into a mass transit Link route in the near future.
    There seems to be no end to how far this region is willing to go; just to pluck just one more SOV off the freeways and sell them an ORCA card.

    1. Anecdotally, the F Line is getting well over 0.5 load factor ridership when I’ve ridden it lately. I was on an SRO trip on a Sunday evening a few months ago. Frequency is its own ridership generator.

      Also, while a big chunk of riders alight at TIBS, over half do not. I wish it did not go into the TIBS parking lot. I can walk to the train elevator faster than the bus can drive to it.

      1. The F line in Renton, or the F line in Southcenter? That’s the kind of load factor I see between Southcenter and Burien, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on an F in Renton that had more than three people on it. Renton just isn’t riding transit off-peak: not the F or the 101 or 106 or 107 or 105. The 169 has more riders in East Hill and 108th than in Renton. It’s puzzling because Kent and Rainier Valley are similar demographically and they use transit significantly more than Renton. I think it’s because Renton destroyed its walkable downtown with all the highways and superblocks, plus the fact that its residential areas are separated from downtown by hills and highways, people just latched onto cars more than other local cities, even poor people.

  10. Is there a new bus routing scenario to go with this? It appears to be a mere park-and-ride expansion. I’m hard- pressed to figure out what better opportunities this creates beyond the current route structure.

    We need a transit corridor study from 167 to Link/Seattle and we need several more iterations of a 405 transit corridor that are not mere token concepts next.

  11. Renton has a downtown?

    I walked around looking for it last summer. If it’s there, it’s sneaky and very, very shy.

    1. The few blocks around the transit center. More or less between the performing-arts center on the west and the library on the northeast.

  12. A lot of good points were presented both in the article and in the comments. Having lived two miles from both the current and proposed transit center for a couple of years, a few years ago, showed me one thing: Renton is REALLY screwed up. On a weekly basis, we were getting notifications of sex offenders moving into the area, and these were guys with really bad records. They were moving into an apartment complex that was two blocks from the Safeway shopping center that is frequented by students of Renton High School. (I thought there were laws against this.) About twice per week a car window would be busted out in our parking lot. And probably monthly, we’d notice a police car hiding in a poorly-lit corner of our parking lot, probably trying to catch a drug dealer in action. Then there was the transit situation. Every route available to me took some idiotic, long, circuitous route, through an equally-idiotic lack of street grid, until it finally got on the freeway where it hit its worst bottleneck. Taking transit direct from my apartment required me to ride the 101 through South Renton Park & Ride up to the Renton TC, transfer to another bus, ride the slog of twisty-turvy one-way streets chock full ‘o stop lights, past the Landing and Boeing, up to 405, and on to Bellevue finally. So, I’d drive as far as I could, roughly parallel to the buses but on faster-moving streets, and parked at one of the old Boeing lots, saving me at least 15 or 20 minutes of stoplights on a slow moving bus. Then there’s the business situation. There is one good, successful business in downtown Renton, and it’s called Naan N Curry. That’s it. A consignment store with a once-per-week auction, a used-tire store, a cupcake shop that closes to business at 4:30 pm, those don’t count as vibrant businesses. The development pattern in the city seems to be a hodge podge of auto dealerships, failed auto dealerships, goofy businesses that take up tenancy in former auto dealerships, low-quality mold-infested apartments (that’s where I lived), some big-box stores like Ikea and Fry’s, and lots of strip malls. On the hill east of 405 it’s mostly residential with mixed-in strip malls. Nothing here is worth saving, in my opinion. Time to start over. Do a master planning document for an actual city plan, include transit in that plan, figure out a logical development pattern, and get the development community on-board to build something that people want to go to. I never wanted to live here, but it is where we found the cheapest rent. Paid off college tuition, paid off the car, saved up for a down payment on a house. It was cheap and we met a lot of financial goals. Then we got out of Dodge. I don’t expect any standalone proposal in the City of Renton to make any sense, whatsoever. Nothing here will ever make sense until the City’s civic and business leaders get together and create a long-term unified development plan for the whole city that incorporates a mixture of affordable and market-rate housing, a mixture of businesses, transit, educational uses, and public services. But, until they put their heads together and create a logical plan to recreate the City, it will always be an auto-centric hell. The problem with this proposal is not the proposal itself, but the fact that it is integrated into the existing development pattern of a very broken city.

      1. They’re ahead of the curb in the sense that they are getting to experience what its like to be a blighted suburb before the rest of the auto-only oriented suburbs in our region get to.

        The suburbs that have been paying attention are cultivating their old downtowns or trying to construct new ones (Lynnwood anyone?). The ones that aren’t are building bigger parking garages and moving transit outside their downtown cores.

        I think its clear which ones have bright futures with the next generation.

      1. Rainier Valley doesn’t have 405 going through it in addition to 167 and 900. The highways it does have all go north-south rather than a tic-tac-toe pattern.

    1. The cupcake place, Common Grounds, is open until 7:30 PM.

      I believe The Melrose Grill and Red House also both qualify as successful if not exceptional business. And the the absolute best “Barcade” in the area – 8-Bit – is right downtown. Those 3 alone bring in tons of people from all over Puget Sound. We do have some positive players, just need to get and keep some momentum.

      And yes, that Safeway on Rainier sucks.

      1. Renton needs more than momentum. It needs leaders that care about places that people want to spend time in. Your first impression when arriving to Renton should be a downtown core with places you might want to shop in, not a giant concrete garage next to a freeway with nothing you can walk to.

      2. Yes, I know. I was being diplomatic. But you know what kind of people keep electing our leadership? The type that won’t be satisfied until downtown Renton is once again a cruising loop for people to drive aimlessly while blasting Steppenwolf only making an occasional stop to buy cigarettes from Woolworth’s.

      3. Gregg, I assume you are a Renton-ite. Your points are well taken. I may be overstating how absolutely dead downtown Renton actually is. After all, I lived there during the height of the recession. Still, I’ve been through there a few times since moving (some times literally just passing through, others to stop, shop, eat out, get gas, go to church, etc.), and very little appears to have changed. The City is still in need of a major makeover, and a unified comprehensive plan that addresses land use, pedestrian access, and transit needs to precede anything else for it to be successful.

      4. Engineer, we’re on the same page and yes, I’m a North Rentonite who would be very affected by these proposed changes. It’s true that there are still many empty storefronts and many businesses have only lasted 1 to 2 years downtown. But the ones that stay for the long term are dedicated and I appreciate that. A comprehensive plan is definitely what’s needed to attract more of those types.

  13. Yeah, I’m not feeling this. I feel the real motivator is to get rid of the undesirables the transit center apparently brings in and completely disregard all the people that use it for commuting, etc. I’ve had numerous jobs over the years and have always been able to find a bus leaving the transit center going to where I need to go, whether it’s the eastside, west, or south. Moving it out to Grady will put it far from any residential areas and force people like me to get in a car just for the short ride to get there.

    One of the big things that’s going to happen is the 2nd/3rd couplet which is actually SR 500 will be transferring to city control and they’re going to reroute the arterial traffic to another street. I think they flat-out don’t want traffic downtown while simultaneously trying to make it a destination and somehow think getting rid of public transit will help with that.

    There are major issues with DTR. We have unused lots owned by old money types who will only accept Seattle level rates for their properties. We have the annoying 737 fuselage carrier train that blows its horn relentlessly while it crawls through twice a day (no crossing gates). We have a lot of visitors from Skyway where they have no local police services and bring their troubles down with them. And of course, it’s just a very strange street layout.

    1. Where do they want to route the 2nd and 3rd street through traffic to? That’s a significant issue in what the resulting downtown will be like.

      1. South on Rainier, then East on Grady. Basically it will wrap around downtown.

        I’m a bit perplexed on how they’re going to keep traffic off the old route.

      2. It might help if they make Hardee Ave into a more direct connection from Sunset to Rainier closer to Grady, but then no one even comes adjacent to downtown. But then they seem to want to kill downtown anyway…

    2. Fellow North Rentonite here. I hope they keep the 560 and 566 stops for Boeing and for North Renton residents. And I like trains, though it was strange getting woken up at four in the morning last week.

    3. “We have the annoying 737 fuselage carrier train that blows its horn relentlessly while it crawls through twice a day (no crossing gates).”

      Yes, but at least the Northend residents can sleep peacefully. I’m sure they appreciate your sacrifice.

  14. transit access to downtown Seattle and the airport, a few good low-cost restaurants, and the lovely park and library on the Green River had me house hunting in the central part of Renton. I am glad now that I didn’t buy there. There are good bones that the older drive-everywhere pols are giving up on. This is some seriously retrograde thinking.

  15. I want to see the bus-network plan and TOD plan before supporting this. In general it’s good for a city to have two stations: one in the middle of downtown within walking distance of businesses, and another outside the center for P&R commuters. Bellevue Transit Center and the South Bellevue P&R work well in this regard. Renton is geographically difficult, so I won’t dismiss any idea out of hand. But here’s the starting point:

    – Several highways converge in downtown Renton, which make it rather unwalkable and bring traffic and congestion.
    – The superblocks and big-box stores make it even more pedestrian hostile.
    – The main residential areas are separated from downtown by hills and highways. This discourages walking and transit use.
    – “Real downtown” is a few square blocks around the current transit center. That’s where the blocks are small and the shops are small, and the city has made some small efforts at revitalizing it (performing-arts center, park, transit center, TOD, library over the river, trailhead next to the library). The big-box stores are west of this area.
    – The P&R and proposed TC are in big-box land, with city hall and a strip mall across the street, and two residential areas east and south.
    – The existing 106 and 107 go straight to the TC. The 101 goes to the P&R and then the TC, adding 10-15 minutes to the trip. The 169 from the south goes to the P&R and then to the TC. Timed 169+101 connections are at the P&R with an average 10-minute wait, so people transfer there.

    Aleks has proposed a network where the local routes go to the existing TC and the peak-only routes go to the P&R. The 169’s successor goes straight past the P&R a block east rather than detouring into it. The intention is that drivers will use the P&R peak hours, and all-day riders will use the transit center. The 169’s successor will serve any off-peak P&R users, and its stop a block away is close enough. Aleks proposes extending the 169 on MLK to Rainier Beach replacing the 101, and making the 106 a Rainier Beach – Renton Avenue – Renton TC – Renton Highlands route, with combined 10-minute service between Rainier Beach and Renton TC.

    Moving the transit center would require rethinking this idea. I’m not sure what the routes should do in this case. The 101+169 could follow the existing 101 to the new TC and skip downtown. That would speed up trips from north Kent to Seattle, and serve people going to the Rainier Avenue big-box stores and promised TOD. Will Renton move downtown along with it? Then it wouldn’t be such a loss if fewer buses serve old downtown. The F would then be the main route from the new TC to the old downtown and The Landing. The 106 and 107 are more difficult. They could go either to the new TC or the old downtown, but if they do both they’ll acquire that 10-15 minutes of overhead that the current 101 has. And if the 101+169 itself is not 10-minute frequency, then the 106 would have to overlap them to boost the effective frequency. Then there’s the 106+38 proposal, which adds another complication.

    At worst the proposal would shift all-day bus riders out of old downtown. Renton’s ridership is already low, so this would just make it lower, which is less bad than turning a high-ridership network to a low-ridership one. And maybe it would serve people in east and south Renton better if their destinations are mostly beyond downtown Renton rather than in it. But people in northeast Renton and The Landing may be the biggest losers.

    1. Excellent comment, Mike. Really outstanding.

      One line stood out, and maybe only because I just saw “Straight Outta Compton”, but this one scares the hell out of me:

      Will Renton move downtown along with it?

      Maybe, but what happens to the old downtown? I’ll admit I haven’t spent too much time in the middle of Renton. Most of it has been spent making wrong turns and getting lost (perhaps the best way to get to know a city). But folks there don’t seem to be living high on the hog, if you know what I mean. Losing out on “the old downtown” is reminiscent of when companies abandoned downtowns all over America and fled to the malls in the suburbs. The results was a gritty wasteland. Maybe someday a bunch of bohemians and gay people will do the hard work of rebuilding it, but until then there could be a hell of a lot of heartbreak.

      That’s probably too bleak a picture to paint (this is Renton, not East Saint Louis) but still, it just doesn’t sound good. I can’t but think this is driven by folks that just don’t give a damn — that aren’t interested in serving the most vulnerable people in the area. That is probably hyperbole — we are just talking about moving a transit center. But if it is part of a greater trend in Renton (favor the folks on the hill who can drive to the TC — not the folks in the valley who walk) then it is scary. Boeing employment is shrinking. It isn’t too hard to paint a very bleak picture for Renton.

  16. Every time I’ve taken the bus to Renton I’ve wished it went straight in to Renton TC instead of going through South Renton P&R, but of course there is some off-peak usage of the stops along the way. It goes by Renton City Hall, not that I’ve seen anyone use that on a weekend. I think Renton and Tukwila must have had a bet over who could put their city hall in a weirder location. I’m not sure who won (I’ve never seen anyone use the Tukwila City Hall stop on a weekend either).

    I actually kind of like Renton TC — to me it’s a relatively decent place to sit around and wait for the bus home from mountain biking. There are people there! The concession stand is open on weekends and there’s stuff nearby! It’s sort of like Bellevue TC or Kirkland TC in layout. Clearly Renton politicians don’t think it’s providing the Bellevue or Kirkland-like atmosphere they aspire to! As for the new proposal, it’s a much worse walk from edge-of-downtown bus-oriented TCs like Burien, Mercer Island, or Bothell. It’s more like Everett Station or Tacoma Dome. I don’t think either of these cities has pointed the way yet.. any interesting comparisons from other regions?

    1. Well, I don’t have much to offer, but I do like the Burien Transit Center. In general I like the area. The Burien strip of shops along 152nd is outstanding. So much diversity. The library is really nice and so is the park. It just needs a shot of development — a shot of money — to get it moving. It is easy to forget that the recession started with a bubble that was centered around the suburbs. Yes, big city prices took a dive, but they recovered almost immediately. Meanwhile, you could get a nice condo in SeaTac for twenty grand. Those days are over (I assume) but developers are still very hesitant to develop in the suburbs, even though we are one of the fastest growing cities on the continent. But things seem to be looking up — See! A crane! https://goo.gl/maps/qRx5nK7QbPH2

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that part of Burien develops into something really nice.

      1. Yeah, downtown Burien is a nice walk, and the walk from the TC is pretty similar to the walk into town in typical commuter suburbs (like the town I grew up in). Unlike downtown MI or Bothell I’ve actually had a reason to go there.

        Supposedly Burien is the happiest town in Washington.

  17. Wow, a lot of Renton haters out there. While I would never live there because of many of the reasons mentioned, I do need to stick up for it a bit. I have spent a few excellent nights bar crawling in Renton in ways that can’t be done in any other South King town. The nightlife downtown beats Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Burien, Federal Way and Sumner. Cheers just took over the Terrible Beauty location. It is still a busy sports bar although it has stopped the live music. The Berliner is a very fun place with good German food and interesting Polka… Shuga Jazz has excellent live music although their food is hit and miss. There are some good pubs- Whistle Stop, Dog and Pony, and several dive bars all within walking distance of each other. Good restaurants like the Red Barn and the Melrose Grill.

    Anyway, I am disappointed that they are giving up on the Transit Center but I can see why…. It has never worked. The biggest concentrated employment base in South King is here but it is served terribly by transit. Most Boeing mechanics do not live in Seattle or Bellevue but instead come from the South. Bus Service from the South all gets slowed down by going through Renton and stopping at the transit center. Most mechanics start at 5 or 5:30. The first F bus doesn’t allow you to clock in before 5:35am. If you take the first train combined with the F, you don’t get there until 6:04. We need to get Renton Boeing connected with the spine (at Rainier Beach or TIBS) and the Sounder (Tukwila) at the times that will work for Boeing employees. More engineers and salaried employees come from the North and usually have later schedules. We still don’t have good transit for those people… I don’t see any good plans coming from ST3 that will help Renton.

    1. Thanks for all the details. We have much more going on here than many people think.

      And the transit center does work. What didn’t work was expecting the center alone to be the catalyst that prompts investment and new construction. They just built the center and expected magic. The real problem is the lack of a comprehensive plan.

    2. It’s not “Renton haters”. It’s people who are disappointed that Renton hasn’t redeveloped its downtown much or prioritized pedestrians and bus riders. People who would like to live in Renton given its low housing prices but can’t deal with a superblock-highway downtown or long meandering bus trips to get anywhere in the region. Some of that is Metro’s fault but most of it is the Renton city government’s priorities. If Renton offered an excellent vision for its urban core, Metro and the county would cooperate to help make it happen.

  18. Any transit center proposal without a corresponding bus network plan is DOA to me.

    I used to commute to the Renton Highlands and we had employees who commutes from Seattle to the Highlands. Seems like this proposal would make people riding the 105 and 240 spend even more time on the bus just to get to a transfer point that’s out of the way of everything but freeway routes.

    If we still had a business in Renton we’d write a letter against this.

    1. I was thinking kind of the same thing. It bothers me that people are proposing moving the transit center without including a proposal for a new bus network to go with it. The two are inherently coupled, and to do one without the other is just ignorance.

      Going back to Renton Highlands, the new TC location doesn’t have to leave these people worse off. For instance, if the 106 retains is current routing through Renton, but is made more frequent and thru-routes with the 105, these people could become better off. But having heard nothing about what the proposed bus network would look like, this is probably more wishful thinking than reality.

  19. BTW, my reference to ramps at other park-and-rides really referred to idea of elevated structure between freeway and the city. My intent was that express buses would pull in at curb-side stop along the Freeway for passengers using the elevated part for airport-size people-movers to get to town center.

    Mark

  20. This is a near total disaster.

    “Transit” on a foundation of freeways, parking, gasoline, traffic congestion, and speculative real estate development stacked as vertical sprawl but Orwellianly-branded as “TOD”.

    This is strictly for park-and-ride users and speculative real estate development.

  21. The 560 from Bellevue to SeaTac spends too much time going to the existing TC. That is the real problem for me. I’d like a bus ride to the airport that’s the least bit competitive with a taxi.

    Unfortunately the train won’t help at all. It’s planned to take almost an hour from Bellevue to the airport.

  22. Another down side of this new location is how far it is from the BNSF line, a potential commuter rail line.
    and no, I’m not overly optimistic for thinking about the possibilities of Commuter Rail to Renton when we get all excited about Commuter Rail to Olympia.

    1. TGC,

      “We” don’t “get all excited about Commuter Rail to Olympia”. About three voluble people who live down that way “get all excited”. The rest of us understand that Thurston County is NEVER gonna’ pay for it so It. Won’t. Happen.

      1. of course, the thing that gets skipped over is that commuter rail on the Woodinville Sub has the same ridership on the equivalent segments as I-405 “BRT”, for less money.

      2. Never is a long time. People’s attitudes change, children grow up, people move in and out of the area, the price of oil goes up and down, environmental and quality of live concerns go up and down. Why would Olympia partner with ST on the 592 if it wasn’t interested in more Olympia-Seattle service?

  23. What’s absolutely worst about this proposal is that is won’t even speed things up for Seattle-bound commuter buses. The 405/167 interchange that this site is next to is one of the state’s worst traffic bottlenecks. Building an HOV ramp to a station here would be ludicrously expensive.

    On the other hand, after the 405 south-half express lands, the 167/405 access ramp, and the 8th street access ramp, going from Kent to Renton will be so effortless for buses, that the bus could go from Kent to downtown Renton, and then turnaround to head for Seattle, and do it quicker than the old car dealer parking lot.

  24. What are the factors that prevent Renton officials from planning and advocating for a spur in the Link line that would switch south of Rainier Beach station? Or, why are they not advocating and planning for a line extension on the West Seattle/Burien line? Renton seems to have had the potential to attract growth from businesses and people who find Seattle too expensive.

    1. ST studied the Renton-Burien line in 2014 and found it would be expensive due to the I-5 ridge elevation, would have less riders than surrounding lines, and would be something like a 40-minute travel time to downtown via West Seattle which is no faster than the 101, plus RapidRide F’s ridership is low in Renton. That may have put the damper on it.

      A Link extension to Renton haws as much official support as a Metro 8 Subway. In other words, none as far as I’ve seen.

    2. Oops, that’s ambiguous. I mean a branch from Rainier Beach to Renton has no official acknowledgment. It seems like that would be a good way to serve Renton and continue down to East Hill and downtown Kent. And of course, if it’s a branch rather than a shuttle, then it would be on the MLK track which is limited to 6 minutes due to intersections; it wouldn’t fit in the DSTT’s capacity; it could fit into a second DSTT but then where would it go? To Ballard?

  25. Based on everyone’s feedback it doesn’t seem like there is much support for the move. But as someone who used to live in Kent, all I can say about this is if it will actually improve transit in the south end I’m heavily supportive. As many mention, Renton is poorily laid out in general. Compared to Burien and Burien’s transit center, Renton has a long way to go. Downtown Renton TC is a joke and it functions poorly if you are actually trying to transfer because all of the buses can’t decide which transit center they want to prioritize. Take for example if you want to go Kent – Downtown Seattle. In theory you should be able to take the 566 and then the 101 (which in theory would be faster than the 150 or the special peak expresses). The problem is the best place to catch the 101 is at South Renton Park and Ride, but the 566 doesn’t stop there, it stops on Rainier and in order to get to the South Renton Park and Ride, you need to walk around the car dealerships. The 169 / 101 actually works pretty good, but only at night, otherwise the 169 gets bogged down coming out of Kent. The 560 doesn’t stop in South Renton Park and Ride. The F line doesn’t stop in South Renton Park and Ride. The 106 doesn’t stop in South Renton Park and Ride,

    The bottom line is the the fastest way to get to Downtown Seattle is South Renton Park and Ride but if you are trying to get from Downtown Seattle and transfer and actually get to anywhere besides Downtown Renton, you take a massive time penalty by going into Downtown Renton. The 101 schedule estimates it will take 14 minutes to go from South Renton Park and Ride to Downtown Renton TC. The distance is .8 miles from South Renton Park and Ride to Downtown Renton TC, following the direct route, but it takes 14 minutes to travel 1.2 miles (that’s 5 mph) on the official 101 route. That’s the time penalty every single person who wants to transfer from Downtown Seattle to a different route must suffer through, unless of course the route they want to transfer to stops at South Renton Park and Ride.

    I imagine the decision to explore consolidating service into this new location is probably based on the inadequacy of the current Downtown Transit Center, the desire to acquire real estate with more possibility for city sponsored development, provide more parking, consolidate frequent transit access and improve reliability and get rid of the eyesore that is the old Sound Ford dealership.

  26. If Renton could get Les Schwab, Hyunda and Mazda to move, this could be the Mother of All transit centers and park and rides on one super block.
    This is getting really exciting!

    1. What if they were just able to do a land swap with Good Chevrolet? Then there could be direct access ramps to 405.

      1. Level A Transit Planning. Cut a hole in the fence and Poof, direct access ramp. It’s only fitting that transit should cannibalize SOV infrastructure – sort of Roger Rabbit in reverse.

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