(Sound Transit – Flickr)
(Sound Transit – Flickr)

At Tuesday’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment (TrEE) Committee, Councilmember Rod Dembowski will introduce three motions that respond to directives from the major ULink restructure that passed last autumn. In order, they are:

  • Motion 2016-0089 presents the results of the traffic study commissioned by Dembowski to study the general-purpose traffic impacts of adding a northbound bus stop on Montlake Boulevard for routes 65 and 78
  • Motion 2016-0092 establishes a multiyear workplan for improving bus-rail transfers at Capitol Hill, UW, Roosevelt, and Northgate
  • Motion 2016-0093 directs Metro to analyze ridership change and solicit feedback on the March 2016 restructure no later than March 2017.

Details on all three motions after the jump….

Montlake Traffic Study

Unsurprisingly, the traffic study concluded that a single bus stop served by two routes would have no impact on general purpose traffic. Vehicular level of service (LOS) on Montlake is already poor with or without the stop, with an LOS of D or F depending in the intersection in question.

Even with the addition of the new bus stop, there was no increase in travel time for general purpose traffic. Queuing for northbound traffic on the south side of the intersection of Montlake Blvd NE/NE Pacific Pl exists, but is not excessive.

ULink Restructure Feedback Workplan

The restructure feedback workplan has four phases: immediate surveying in February and March prior to ULink launch, a 6-month quiet period in which riders adjust, a second survey in September and October, and finally a residential survey that will attempt to capture the sentiments of non-riders as well:

In February and March 2016, Metro will conduct surveys on-board bus routes that will later have significant changes (or be eliminated) in the U-Link integration. Consultant staff will distribute self-administered questionnaires on Routes 8, 16, 25, 26, 28, 30, 43, 48, 49, 64-68, 71-76, 242, 316, 372, and 373. Surveys will be conducted on about 50 trips selected on these routes to provide an overall picture of customer response. Metro estimates about 1,300 completed surveys….

In October and November 2016, Metro will conduct a follow-up survey to assess customer response to the service changes. This will be more than six months after the service change, when riders will have had time to establish new travel patterns in response to the changes. As well, the University of Washington (UW) will be back in full session. Consultant staff will distribute self-administered questionnaires on Routes 8, 38, 43, 45, 48, 49, 62-65, 67, 71, 73-76, 78, 316, 372, and 373, as well as passengers boarding or deboarding Link light rail at the UW or Capitol Hill stations. Surveys will be conducted on about 50 weekday trips selected on these routes to provide an overall picture of customer response. Metro estimates about 1,300 survey responses will be completed…

The resident service assessment reflected in the March 2016 U-Link Service Change ordinance is a new component that has not been done in previous research on transit service changes. Many of the respondents to the customer satisfaction research described above will be residents of the areas around the service changes. The on-board research described above will capture riders in the area who no longer ride after the service change, and it will capture new riders in the area. The additional resident assessment is intended to gather information from residents who were not riders before the service change and continue to be non-riders after the service change.

Transfer Improvement Workplan

By far the meatiest of the three motions the committee will hear, Metro will present a multiyear workplan for transfer improvements at 10 locations along the ULink and Northgate Link corridors. In addition to the future improvements for Roosevelt and Northgate, this workplan gives us the clearest indication yet of just how the Capitol Hill and UW transfer environments will look and what amenities they will offer.

At UW Station, Metro expects transfer activity to increase from 220 t0 1,800 riders daily, a 718% increase. There will be 7 bus stops in the Montlake vicinity – two on Pacific St, one on Pacific Place, two on Montlake Boulevard, and two on Stevens Way. The workplan reveals that while all seven stops will have shelters, lighting, and landing pads, only two of the seven stops will have real-time arrival information upon ULink’s launch, namely the stop pair on Pacific Street at Montlake Boulevard (served by routes 48, 167, 197, 271, 540, 541, 542, 556, and 586, and also by outbound routes 44, 45, 71, 73, and 373). At the other stops on Montlake Boulevard and on Pacific Place, Metro expects to install real-time signage in 2018. The workplan notes that any improvements on Stevens Way will require separate approval by UW.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.07.26 PM

At Capitol Hill Station, Metro expects transfer activity to increase by 400%, from 140 to 700 riders per day, but far less will change in terms of station locations or passenger amenities. Disappointingly, none of the four stops will have real-time arrival information upon ULink’s launch, which Metro expects will be installed by 2018. Both the westbound stop at Olive/Broadway (Routes 8, 10) and the northbound stop at Broadway/John (Routes 9, 49, 60) will remain at their current locations, though the workplan notes that the SDOT and Metro will work to move the former stop to 10th Avenue East (closer to CHS’ north entrance) and will defer moving the latter stop to Denny (and thus to Capitol Hill Station’s south entrance) until the First Hill Streetcar extends to Roy Street, allowing a shared stop.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.31.39 PM

The workplan also details transfer and amenity improvements at several other locations:

  • All 4 bus stops at NE Northgate Way and Roosevelt Way NE
  • NE 65th Street (at Oswego Place, Ravenna Boulevard, 8th Ave NE, 25th Ave NE, etc)
  • Campus Parkway (at 12th, Brooklyn, and University Way) and University Way (at NE 41st St)
  • All 7 bus stops in the 23rd/Madison/John/Denny triangle
  • 19th and Madison (contingent on Madison BRT)

The committee will hear all three motions at its Tuesday meeting at 9:30am.

117 Replies to “Metro to Present Workplans for Link Transfer Improvements and Restructure Feedback”

  1. 2–3 years for real time arrival signs at UW station? That’s ridiculous. It also means that for about 25% of the time that this station is acting as a major transportation hub… it will be without real time arrival signs at some bus stops.

    UW station is only going to be a major transfer point for about 5 years. In 2021, the Northgate Link extension stations open and most of the transfers will be shifted to those stations.

    1. I agree. This is Metro’s first attempt at a transfer-based network, and it’s vital – both for the network later this year, and for Seattlites’ perception of transfers in the future – that they get it right. And, between there and Capitol Hill Station, I’m not sure Metro understands how vital this is.

      Is there any way at all we can get real-time info signs there in the near future?

      1. Contacting the county councilmembers on the TrEE committee and ask them to see if the timeline for installation can be moved up.

    2. Please don’t forget 520 buses. Metro and ST appear to have, already.

      East Link cannot be completed soon enough.

      1. EastLink won’t be much of a substitute for 520 buses beyond trips like Redmond->Seahawks game. I-90 is just too far out of the way. Travel time from the Montlake Triangle to Redmond is planned to take close to 30 minutes longer on Link than it does today on the 542. That is why the 542 is retained in ST’s long range plan. For Kirkland, EastLink comes out even worse, which is why some variant of route 540 is retained.

    3. I was not expecting real-time signs at the bus stops, so hooray!!! This might make me use the 48 more often instead of the 372 or 75 to transfer to the 62.

      1. After the restructure, the 48 (renumbered to 45) won’t be coming all the way from Mt. Baker anymore – it will begin its route right at the Montlake Triangle, which should hopefully make it on time a lot more often than today’s 48.

    4. Which document says 2-3 years to install the signage systems? That’s just ridiculous, even by the pace that public projects move. What’s the justification for that?

    5. There are two different signage projects, Sound Transit’s inside the stations and Metro’s at the bus stops. I don’t know anything about Metro’s. ST’s original Link contract required only the 2-minute announcements. Real-time announcements would have cost more, and for some reason ST didn’t consider it a minimal feature of a subway. (Never mind that practically all metros in the world have it, except Russia which has count-up minutes since the last train. Count-up clocks would be better than nothing and cheaper, and ST already has two of them for the drivers; e.g., the south end of the Mt Baker southbound platform.)

      ST2 included a project to upgrade to real-time arrival information. It had to wait until higher-priority projects were finished because revenues come in a little each month. That’s the project that I think ST said would be finished around this year or next year, but I don’t remember for sure.

  2. At UW Station, Metro expects transfer activity to increase from 220 to 1,800 riders daily, a 718% increase.

    That’s all? Very nearly every bus from Northeast Seattle that crosses the Ship Canal east of I-5 will be rerouted to Husky Stadium Station and Metro expects only 1800 transfers? How can that be?

    Sure, I understand that students on campus who today walk to or from The Ave to catch or deboard a 7X will use HSS instead. That’s a LOT of riders. But there are only 1800 people per day who are on those buses when they cross 45th? That seems way too low.

    1. I have to agree here. Husky Stadium here would be the terminus. From the Link end, in the evening, the number of people coming off should look at bit like Westlake, and its not like there is a lot else for a commuter to do but wait, so its not like a person can run an errand and disappear. You should get 1800 transfers just in the evening.

      Time to maybe take some pics in early April at the stops.

    2. So where are all the other Link riders going to materialize from, if not from truncated buses? Maybe the 2 mile radius walksheds around each of the two new stops?
      ST is projecting a 20,000 rider bump when the two new stops come on line (SIP Yr 2017) If only 2,500 riders total either get off Link, or get on Link from Metro, then that leaves a whopping 17,500 new boardings to capture as new riders on un-linked trips in the first full year.
      I just don’t see that happening at UW and Broadway.

    1. What do you mean? Do you expect it to be packed? I think it will be interesting to see how many people prefer the direct route from the U-District versus the transfer. I really have no idea which they will prefer (and off peak they won’t have a choice).

      1. Many 74s run full from Sandpoint before hitting the ave. At the ave there is always a push of riders that board and pack it full before it hits the express lane to dt. With the 71-73x buses disappearing the extra ave people from those buses will crowd onto the 74 which will offer a 1 seat express ride from the ave to dt. At first people may experiment with a transfer at the U-station but i think they will find the time savings and convenience of the 74 irresistible. Reverse trip will be same issue.

      2. The 74 will no longer run on The Ave, but on Roosevelt. See here. With service every 2 minutes from 15th/40th to UW Station, there will no longer be any peak service to Downtown from The Ave.

      3. What time savings and convenience? The 74 is prone to slowdowns on the freeway. In contrast, getting from 45th to UW Medical Center is not that bad now that 15th Ave NE has bus bulbs and Pacific Street has a transit lane. It sometimes gets backed up with cars going to 520, but not usually that far. So the only inconvenience is transferring to the train. But the reliability of the train will beat the unreliability of the 74 in a lot of people’s minds.

      4. The 74’s primary market is around NE 55th Street. 65th has the 76, so the loss of the 71X won’t lead to a lot of refugees migrating to the 74. Both the 74 and 76 will add trips during peak and into the midday shoulder period, so there won’t be people in northeast Seattle cursing that Metro gave them no peak options except Link at UW Station.

        Lazarus seems to be talking about a different group of riders, those coming from the U-District. The 74 is not for them; let them eat cake. Moving the 74 to Roosevelt reinforces that it’s not for them and speeds it up. However, a few U-District discontents may walk to Roosevelt to catch it, if it’s not too crowded to get on.

      5. 50th to Roosevelt to express lanes to Columbia is the old 74 express routing. Granted traffic is much worse since that routing was last used, but i’de just pulling the 74 off the ave will shave 10 minutes off the ne Seattle to downtown trip.

        And Walking up to 50th or over to Roosevelt is a long way for most students. Judging from all the empty businesses between 45th and 50th i’de say students nowadays are much more acquainted with u village than the north Ave and won’t make the trip

  3. Over the next ten years or so, there will, and should be, a lot of experimenting with both stops and routes. Remember that there will be a steady increase in LINK ridership as the line gets built out. So for at least a decade, it’s critical to keep design as flexible and changeable as possible.

    Also, before much money has actually been spent, it’s a good negotiating tactic to stress to everybody official that real cost-efficiency comes from talking about results first and cost next. Time and again around Seattle, pennies saved short-term equal a permanently broken piggy bank forever.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Excellent points all around, Mark. And thank you for dropping the whimsical word salad style, if only for a little while.

      1. I actually followed ALL of that Mark without the use of drugs. :)
        All good points too.
        Back to your regular programming?

      2. I don’t know about whimsical salads (does that mean Waldorf salads and hot dog jello salads?), but I have been finding it increasingly difficult to understand what Mark means or what his position is, so if it’s not easy I tend to skip the message. I guess I’m not taking the right kind of drugs. Are there transit-insight drugs?

      3. Well, it’s more of a procedure. The frontal lobe gradually gets a lobotomy waiting for a bus to show up.

      4. Perhaps Mark needs a TL;DR. Here are some to copy and paste.

        TL;DR: The DSTT has a signaling system built into it that would solve the peak capacity problems, but it has never been used. Shame on Metro, King County, and Sound Transit!

        TL;DR: Workers’ lives matter.

    1. Probably because they weren’t in the restructure ordinance, as the changes were minor enough to be within Metro’s ‘administrative change’ authority.

      1. Fine, but I still see the work of bad actors here. “Administrative” or otherwise, the saga and ultimate failure to act for the 11 (and the resulting snap-change to the 10, and the dramatic reduction in 43 service) won’t be reflected in this process, and that’s a problem.

      2. Is that the same reason for 31 and 32 being omitted? Having spent most of my life slogging through the 35th street narrows on the 26, I can guarantee that the change will not be found of great value to the current riders of the 31 and 32.

    2. This isn’t a law yet… and there’s a public hearing tomorrow. Have you considered contacting the county councilmembers on the TrEE committee and ask them to include the 10 & 11?

  4. It would sure be nice if there were a way to cross Pacific on a pedestrian bridge. Right now, the only pedestrian bridge over Pacific goes right into the medical school front door so you can’t use it to get to the 48 or anything else on Pacific.

    It would be kind of nice to take a tunnel boring machine of the smaller variant (the type used to dig sewer lines) and just riddle the whole intersection with pedestrian tunnels to get through that whole tangle of roads. Maybe the ones used on the Billy Bishop Pedestrian Tunnel project are available now?

    For that matter, maybe make one of them get a little lost and accidentally build a pedestrian tunnel under the ship canal to Highway 520…..

    1. I picture the subterranean world under the triangle as essential hollow already. There is a massive parking lot under there with a tunnel to the south side of Pacific already.

      The only sticking point is the UW was a bit childish, and they refused to play well with others by allowing ST to integrate the parking lot into a pedestrian tunnel plan.

    2. The T-Wing bridge you refer to is easy to use – open the door, walk down steps in stairwell, open another door. You’re there. ;-)

    3. But it’s also nearly a quarter mile from the base of the LINK bridge to the T-Wing overpass. Unless they are heading further West of that, nobody is going to use the T-wing bridge instead of crossing at one of the lights or playing frogger.

      It seems clear that they should have done a Bon Marche, and but a tunnel from the station to the triangle parking lot. Riders could have gotten to the hospital and larger South Campus complex without ever being exposed to the elements. Why they didn’t is an exercise in bureaucracy, I’m sure.


      1. I don’t think it’s that simple. The parking garage and tunnel are part of the Medical Center, and security of the tunnel and users (while it is open to the public) has always been a concern of UWMC. I’m certain the UWMC had little desire to be the security squad for new masses of folk in the tunnel, and rightfully so. Such are the times we live in, I guess. I also recall many comments from the public at the time who were themselves concerned about the security of underpasses generally. There were similar contingents advocating for a bridge (check…) and improved at grade crossings (also check…). Without the Triangle garage, it might have been more feasible, but there likely is a limit to what the UW should be asked to provide to support transfers of non-UW users. Ultimately, it was dollars that made this decision.

      2. I argued vociferously for just such a Mezzanine extension three years ago and got resolutely ignored and dissed by everybody. In those days SoundTransit could do no wrong around here.

      3. “I’m certain the UWMC had little desire to be the security squad for new masses of folk in the tunnel, and rightfully so. Such are the times we live in, I guess.”

        You mean the safest time and the pretty much the safest place in the history of planet earth?

        I’m sure they could have worked out some security sharing agreement with the (admittedly incompetent) transit cops if they’d tried.

        They didn’t try.

      1. Yes, that’s the one being discussed above. It belongs to UWMC. Definitely available for public use, but also not a transit facility, per se.

      2. To me it looked like that just went to the parking lot.

        Where does it exit on the other side? Or do you have to go through the medical center to get back out to the bus stop?

      3. If you rotate the view, the western entrance is where the concrete awning juts out, at the corner of the two wings. You can just see the top of the escalators. I haven’t used the tunnel for many years, but I did when I took the 271 from Bellevue to my summer job on campus. I had to walk a bit out of the way to get to the tunnel, but it’s a tunnel! And it feels like a subway entrance! And Seattle didn’t have any real subways then (except in the airport). It also plays a soothing recording of chirping birds in the tunnel.

        The lack of a tunnel extension to the station is all about non-UW transit riders causing theoretical security problems for people walking from the hospital to the garage.

      4. Thanks.

        I didn’t realize such a thing was accessible to us mere mortals, but was reserved for parking lot users.

        I’ll have to try that next time I need it and see if it is competitive with waiting for the multiple traffic signals to cross on the surface.

      5. I think it comes out the bottom of Rainier Vista if I remember, the ramp down to that mysterious gate. But it was so many years ago (late 1980s) that I’m not sure; the gate entrance may be blocked off now.

      6. There used to be an entrance pointing from the garage to the fountain, IIRC. I think that was buried in the remodel.

      7. And I’m pretty sure there isn’t any stairs down into the garage from the triangle, on the north side, just the hospital side. I suppose you could go through the car entrance and get to the tunnel that way, I’m guessing that would be slower than just using the light at Montlake.

        They could have made the whole area incredibly pedestrian and transit friendly, with no auto interactions at all, with very little money and very minor thought. They decided to make it a useless maze with bad connections and danger at every turn instead.

      8. Long long ago some of the early ST renderings of husky stadium station showed an underpass between the station and the triangle garage. At that time there was a tunnel from the garage to main campus under the BGT (now removed) as well as the hospital tunnel under Pacific. UW didn’t want the general public in their garage and forced the overpass.

      9. So what is that ramp in the middle of Rainier Vista for now? It goes down to a gate that never seems to be used. As I said I think the tunnel entrance used to be there. If it’s just a storage room now, it seems like an eyesore in the view corridor and why didn’t they fill in the ramp?

      10. @Mike Orr: Ummm, there is no ramp in the middle of Rainier Vista any longer, nor a gate. They *did* fill in the ramp in the Rainier Vista project.

  5. With 7 stops officially serving the UW station, I think it’s time we implement a lettered stop identification system similar to what TfL does in London. Each busstop sign has a letter atop, (A, B, C…) and the local area map at the underground station shows each letter on the map along with a list of routes and destinations that those stops serve. Really helpful for orienting yourself when you emerge from underground in a non-familiar part of town.

    1. Naugh, it’s much easier to poke your head into the front door and ask the driver where to catch buses to Timbucktoo (which was recently adopted by the Renton City Council for the old downtown Transit Center)

    2. At Transit Centers, P&Rs and in the DSTT, there are bus bays, with maps showing where they are. This is analogous.

  6. Metro should be surveying users stuck on the 255- while they wait on I5 at Mercer.
    ST should be surveying users stuck on the 545 – while they wait on I5 at Mercer.

    ST should be moving the 540 and 542 to all day, and turning them around at the montlake triangle.

    Anyone know if buses will lose the current jump queue at Evergreen Point when the new section of bridge opens?
    Its currently worth a few minutes a trip to skip the HOV merge slowdown.

    1. Strangely, the 540 and 542 are used by a LOT of UW students, faculty and staff who alight on 15th at a number of locations quite some distance from UWS. This includes stops near the higher elevations of campus 3/4 of a mile from the Triangle. It may not be necessary to go all the way to Greenlake, but serving the existing users of these routes (and the new 541) should take advantage of the transit infrastructure already in place.

      Absolutely agree on the all day service need, as the 271 is sort of useless as a means of transferring to other eastside routes – especially if you are in a wheelchair.

  7. I’m quite skeptical of TheCapitol Hill setup.

    I don’t buy the only 700 daily transferring passengers. If half of those are at six peak hours (350) and trains come every six minutes (or three minutes when both directions are added together, that would be 350 riders to or from 72 trains during the six peak hours. That’s an average of less than 5 passengers per train — and that’s combining both on and off transfers so that’s down to 2.5 riders getting off each train and using the streetcar or the several Metro routes there. The math doesn’t make sense.

    Postponing the stop relocation is just plain mean to riders. Two stops that are on Broadway north of John and on John east of Broadway are beyond the station entrance and through another traffic signal. Thus, riders will quickly complain about having to wait at a traffic signal to get off the bus! Metro will be flooded with complaints within a month.

    1. I am checking my math, and realize that 72 trains is ten-minute frequencies. Six would be 120 trains. That makes my point even more emphatic. That’s like saying there would only be 3 people getting on or off each train as a transfer.

    2. Capitol Hill is the kind of highly urban place where people will take a bus five blocks to transfer to a train or another bus, if the other one goes a long enough distance. I wonder if those are counted adequately.

    3. I wonder if they are talking metro to metro transfers, not metro to ST transfers. Bus to Bus, not Bus to Train.

    4. I’ll be transferring (in the evenings): the difference between the Westlake tunnel entrance I would use and my bus stop on 4th is almost exactly the same as the walk between the Capitol Hill station and the 11 stop on Broadway and Pike, about 400m. Taking a train at 6 minute headways will always be better than the 15 minute headways on the 11 — which is always, always late anyway. Add to that the much quicker trip between Westlake and Broadway and the fact that the 11 is jammed full going up the hill and it’s really a no-brainer.

      The 11 is scheduled during evening rush hour at 10-11 minutes from 4th/Pike to Broadway/Pine (optimistic to say the least), giving an average wait of 7.5 min and trip time of 10.5 min or 18 minutes total. The train will be an average wait of 3 minutes and trip time of +/- 3 minutes for 6 minutes total. Even if you just miss a train it will still be faster than stepping directly onto the bus, at least at rush hour.

      Yes, the 10+11 combined run much more frequently than just the 11, but if you are headed east of 15th you’re unlikely to take the 10 up the hill and transfer to the 11 instead of just waiting for a one-seat ride.

      They won’t count me, of course, in these studies as the 11 is not part of them, but it’s still going to be a daily bus-to-rail transfer. People using the 10 or 11 that are coming from south of University Street or so may also decide to make the same transfer depending on how far they are from the downtown subway stations.

  8. It amazes me when an agency will drop $15K or $20K to do a micro- simulation on average theoretical numbers — when they could have simply field tested the situation in less time for less money. Maybe Metro needs to put a bus driver in their service planning group? Maybe Metro needs to hire a consulting firm that actually uses bus drivers to study these things?

  9. Given the way Metro threw out over a year’s worth of public comments and sounding board work on the restructure I don’t hold out a lot of faith that they’ll respond in any meaningful way to the results of these surveys. In two years when the real-time signs finally get installed at Capitol Hill Station they’ll probably be showing that the most frequent routes serving it are still driving to and from downtown. I’m not really sure why anyone riding Link from Westlake and transferring to the 10 or 49 at CHS wouldn’t just ride the bus from 4th & Pike. They’ll end up on the same trip either way.

    1. See my comment above, David. I’m likely to take the train up the hill rather than the 11 for several reasons; in practice if it doesn’t work out I may change back, but the 11 is unpleasant enough in the evenings that I will normally come out ahead making my 1/4 mile walk between CHS and Pine instead of between Westlake Station and 4th/Pike.

  10. Best thing for me about all these plans is that none of them will prevent the all-day restoration of the 43. Which I expect to happen pretty fast after the first time somebody in a wheel-chair gets hypothermia while waiting to transfer from the 48 to the 8.

    Or first time somebody bad-tempered, officious, overpaid, and important at UW misses a plane because the Bus Bridge to Capitol Hill Station hour took an hour to get set up.At Friday pm rush so the cabs can’t get anywhere.

    100 push-ups 300 laps and a year on the bench to the County Exec. Coach don’t take that outta anybody! Go Huskies! I mean run for your lives!


  11. If you had a few extra service hours for Capitol Hill, what’s the first thing you would do after the restructure? Especially if it’s not enough to fully restore the 43 (which would require a lot of hours).

    1. First move, service-hour-neutral: Restore the proposed 11-John and 10-Pine.

      Second move: Start a short-turn 60 running between CHS and Harborview (or, possibly, 12th and Jackson if the 9 ends up vanishing.) That’d provide really good First Hill access to CHS, which was the best part of the proposed 49-Madison.

    2. For first situation I mentioned, a court judge will doubtless settle that one after a brief talk with the Medical Examiner.

      Second one, my surmise is that after Dow finishes his laps and calisthenics, his predecessor will be so impressed he’ll hang his whistle around our man’s neck, and head for his plane by rented helicopter, with a final request that that the new Coach spend a trillionth of his salary on getting the 43 back.

      Serious answer, Mike, is that as I’ve said, my guess is that as events play out, more than one budget item will be subject to re-evaluation. The 43 has been removed and restored before. The difference now is that I think the need for it will be greater now than it was then. And based on the ten years the Warerfront streetcar line sat deteriorating under its own wire, the 43 wire isn’t going anywhere soon.

      Incidentally, you’re dead right about my coherence. I’ve told STB I’d like a [TDL] (Too Damned Long] added to the code. Also [MYU] (Mark, You’re Unhinged). Meantime and seriously- call me on it!


    3. Peak period 43 trips where the 10 currently runs, and where it will lose service after the restructure.

  12. As an aside, will ULink introduce real time arrival for LINK? Preferably on-platform as well as GTFS / OneBusAway etc?

    As far as transfers – it is great they are looking to make improvements at Cap Hill and UW. How about they go back and look to improve transfers at other stations along the line? Some are good, some leave much room for improvement. Mt Baker, I’m looking at you!

    1. There’s a project for real-time information on the station displays. I think it will be in the next year or two. Probably not in time for U-Link.

    2. My Baker transfers are addressed as part of the Mt Baker Town Center project. This is the successor project to the bow-tie reconfiguration of MLK / Rainier intersection. It’s a joint project of Parks, SDOT and the city’s new planning department.

      1. Is it too late to figure out a way to use the space underneath Mt Baker station for bus transfers? Make it happen, pretty please!

  13. Shouldn’t all of this been done before they built the actual stations? You know, figure out how buses were going to interact with it? It seems like they basically said “We’ll figure that out later” and it is obvious no one has figured it out because you can’t move the stations.

    1. It would be nice if UW cared about how the station interfaced with the larger transit network rather than just riders going to UW. But on the other hand, U-District Station was expected to be the main transfer station, so non-UW riders were expected to just ride through UW Station and not care about it.

      1. And yet the linked documents are silent on how UDistrict Station will work as a transfer facility, despite having clear objectives for Northgate and Roosevelt. Where’s the plan for UDistrict Station??

  14. So where are all the other Link riders going to materialize from, if not from truncated buses?

    Many will be from people currently using Metro for trips from anywhere DT, Capitol Hill and UW to get to their destination or another station to transfer; 48, 70, 72, etc. More will come from simply adding new destination pairs to the existing system. People planing to take in a UW event for example may park at TIB whereas they’d currently drive rather than rely on a bus. I know one person that will use it to get from the 255 to Columbia City because the current routing on I-5 is such a bottle neck. Likewise I’d expect a good bump in airport traffic with a direct connection to CH and UW. In short, all the stations will see increased ridership. Individually it might not be huge but the sum total for the network will be substantial. Right now Central Link is an Airport to DT shuttle and not a particularly good one at that. When U Link opens it essentially double the number of places it serves which is a 4X increase in possible destination pairs. I’ve pulled up my predictions from 2011 and am waiting to see how close I come. Hopefully ST will start releasing station boarding numbers again.

  15. I just realized that the new 45 operates along The Ave and the 48 along 15th Ave. Additionally, they operate to/from different zones at UW Station. For folks traveling to/from the U-District, it’s going to be an annoying juggle between which stop to choose from.

    1. It shouldn’t be too bad as net service levels aren’t changing. The 45, 71, 73, and 373 will all run down the Ave, with 8 buses/hour between them, just as the 30/71/72/73 have 8 buses/hour today.

      15th Ave will have 44, 48, 65, 167, 271, 277, 540, 541, 542, 556, and 586.

      And the 15th/40th stop will serve all of the above routes IIRC.

      1. I wonder how operationally feasible it would be to shift all buses from The Ave to 15th Ave, providing a uniform routing pattern.

      2. @Reyes, I’ve thought for a long time that buses should be kicked off the Ave. The street is too narrow to accommodate bikes and buses, and the frequent pedestrian crossings slow everything down.

        Heck, I don’t even like to *bike* on the Ave because of that; I go to either 12th or 15th.

      3. Throw too many bus per hour on one street and the buses start forming their own traffic jams. Basically, you end up in situations where buses repeatedly can’t pull up to stop because another bus is blocking the zone, so everyone on the second bus has to stop and wait. These kinds of “bus” traffic jams are often completely invisible to car drivers, who get to zoom right by in the other lane.

        15th is already starting to experience this at current levels of service, and if you throw in all the Ave routes as well, you really start stretching the capacity of 15th to the breaking point.

        Ideally, routes like the 70 and 49, which don’t go to the UW station, would take the Ave., freeing up more capacity on 15th. But these routes are trolley routes and 15th is where the trolley wire is, so these buses have to go on 15th.

      4. Could 15th’s capacity problems be solved by having two bus bays at each stop? I’ve thought for a while that Stevens Way could use that as well, especially during peak times when CT has buses on the street as well.

      5. OK, maybe I’m ignorant, but why not? 3rd Ave handles much more bus traffic than 15th. 3rd Ave clearly has capacity problems, but 15th’s biggest problem is a throughput one at 45th, which SDOT and SPD could help considerably by actually enforcing the left turn ban, and ticketing people who block the intersection from the east.

        What would fix 15th, in your mind? Off-board payment? Mandatory exit-to-the-rear?

      6. asdf2 said it

        Throw too many bus per hour on one street and the buses start forming their own traffic jams. Basically, you end up in situations where buses repeatedly can’t pull up to stop because another bus is blocking the zone

        Go try to catch a bus there. It’s already a cluster and although I’m a fan of the electric tolly buses it makes things even harder. It just sucks, you end up with crap like S. Kirkland where you miss a connection because the bus you’re waiting for has to leave before your bus can unload. And the whole system gets in a bog down feedback as people shuffle forward and back while buses are doing bizzare things to try and beat the system.

      7. I actually have caught buses on 15th and the Ave, and infinitely prefer 15th. 15th, with the exception of the trolleys, actually has enough room for buses to pass, and with the exception of Campus Parkway, reasonably well-timed lights.

        On the Ave, you get to see buses hit every single light (every block), get stopped by pedestrians at every midblock, then stopped by illegally parked delivery vehicles at the third block, and finally stopped by people who don’t understand how to parallel park at the quarter block. Fortunately cyclists in Seattle are generally pretty fit and can out-run a Metro bus, but sometimes you do get to see the weaker sort delay an uphill bus for the full 10 blocks, since there is no way to pass on the Ave.

        Maybe the right question is to ask what can be done to fix the Ave, but there’s not really a lot of street to work with to fix it. Maybe when Brooklyn reopens the remaining Ave buses can move to Brooklyn? Would kind of suck for transfers to 15th but it’s a nice wide street without a lot of traffic.

      8. Is the 70 especially well used at its north end?

        The times I have taken it, it didn’t seem like it was.

        Is there enough capacity to have it follow the 44 wire from the UW transit mall area to Husky Stadium?

      9. The left turn from 15th to 45th is really only an issue for the 44, some various Community Transit routes. The 43 and 49 are at the end of the line by this point, with nearly everybody already off the bus. The 48, 70, 271, 540, and 542 don’t even make that turn to begin with.

        The traffic issue on 15th is not even cars. It’s 100% buses. The right-hand lane is already effectively a BAT lane from Pacific St. to 43rd, since buses are constantly blocking it serving the bus stops. It’s entirely a problem of buses getting stuck behind other buses.

        One thing that would help is re-timing the light at campus parkway for shorter cycles, rather than big, long cycles. It doesn’t help when buses finish loading up at Campus Parkway, but can’t move out of the way for the bus behind it because the light stays red for a full minute afterward.

      10. “…actually has enough room for buses to pass”

        While the room to pass may technically exist, I have never actually seen buses pass each other on 15th, short of a total breakdown. I think there’s a Metro policy somewhere against passing other buses, in case somebody is trying to transfer from the bus in front to the bus behind (which, I know, makes zero sense, if the bus behind is at the end of its route and is going out of service after a couple of stops anyway, but rules are rules).

    2. Part of the restructure is to saturate the gap between UW Station and 45th with buses every three minutes, to mitigate the gap. That doesn’t work as well as it could if half the buses call at one stop and half at another. It may not be worse than the current service but it should be better.

  16. Why is the westbound stop for Capitol Hill station west of Broadway instead of east of Broadway, right across the street from the station? They should be minimizing walk distance. This makes no sense.

    1. They don’t say why, just that “they’ll work to” move it to 10th. I’m guessing it’s a property owner conflict.

      1. It shouldn’t be at 10th. It should be on the east side of Broadway. Putting it at 10th forces people to walk a block to Broadway to transfer to Broadway buses.

    2. You are right, CC. It’s mean to make westbound riders pass the station, wait for the signal on the bus, then have to cross two streets at the signal as a pedestrian after getting off the bus.

      As I mentioned above, there is a false assumption that no one will get off a Route 8 or a Route 10 bus to take Link.

      It’s negligent at best and arrogant at worst for Metro to not move the stop.

      It’s a bigger mess on Alaska St at MLK (Columbia City Station) for westbound a Route 50 riders! The signal wait is longer and there are left turn signals in that intersection too. Those riders are almost guaranteed to miss the next Downtown-bound train!

      1. In general, far-side stops are better for thru-riders and riders entering the bus, while near-side stops are better for riders exiting the bus. Normally, far-stops are better, overall. However, if you have a stop where more than half the riders typically exit the bus, then near-side stops become better.

        The 50 crossing MLK is a rare case where the near-side stop is the superior option, yet Metro, of course, stubbornly follows habit and uses the far-side stop. (pro tip: I actually discovered that you can get to the train faster by getting off the 50 one stop earlier and walking an extra 3 blocks to save two long signal cycles).

        In the case of the 8 at Broadway, it’s less clear. There will certainly be a lot of people getting off to switch to Link, but there will also be a lot of thru-riders on a bus. It may very well turn out that the number of exits exceeds the number of thru-riders, but it’s too early to definitively say this right now – the only way to tell is to wait 6 weeks and see what people are doing.

        The 50, by contrast, is a route whose very nature guarantees almost zero thru-riders. With the VA deviation, staying on the bus to go to SODO is no faster than transferring to Link. To go downtown, transferring to Link at MLK is clearly faster, since you’d have to get off and transfer to Link in SODO anyway. Very few riders are headed from the Ranier Valley to West Seattle, and those that are will almost be driving because the 50 is so infrequent and so slow. That leaves the VA hospital itself, whose stop serves less than one rider per trip.

      2. The WB far side stop relocation would avoid moving to the near side stop to avoid near misses with drivers attempting to turn right around the bus. That intersection is a mess already with Metro originally having stops on both sides far side to mitigate against accidents. Moving to Broadway might be the most convenient but a 10th relocation for everyone in this scenario would be the safest.

  17. When is the northbound bus stop on Broadway outside the funeral home parking log going to return? Or is it back already?

  18. Still waiting on you Sounds Transit to paint lines on the ground where the doors will be once the train stops.

    Denver figured it out. Like 10 years ago.

    1. Do Denver’s trains always have the same number of cars? Will the front of the train have to move to fit 4-car trains in the platform?

      1. Denver has between 2 and 4 cars depending on the time of day, although the first car always stops at the far end of the platform (unlike Link, which always has two cars on either side of the center of the platform). Since their trains are all high-floor, wheelchair users have to go up a ramp at the end of the platform to get on the train. They need the markings since they only allow bikes in the doors at the ends of each car, so there are markings for doors that do and don’t allow bikes.

    2. BART has always had door location markings — and trains are almost never the same length as the one preceding it.

    3. Why are door lines important? I’ve never found it a hardship to walk to wherever the doors are. Is it for wheelchairs? But that’s what the lollipop is for.

      Door lines remind me of the platform doors in the St Petersburg Metro, where the train stops, then inches back and forth until it aligns with the doors, and only then will the doors open.

      1. It’s a reminder of courtesy in an attempt to expedite boarding.

        Swift BRT has door markers.

        A few Asian cities have door lines. With arrows pointing away from the center of the door to remind people on the platform to let people off the train and 45 degree arrows on each side pointing to the door to indicate where people should lineup to board the train.

        Link already has grooves in the platform that line up with the center doors of a car for the blind to find their way in to the train.

      2. I’ll have to look for them on Swift. They must be something I didn’t realize were door markers.

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