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Today, 3/26/2016, begins a new era in Seattle transit service as the route 48 that we’ve known for the last 6 years is split into 2 routes: the 45 travelling from Loyal Heights to the light rail station at Husky Stadium and the 48 which will run between the University District and Mt. Baker Station. In 1980, route 48 followed the familiar core path from Loyal Heights to Franklin High School, where the current Mt. Baker Station exists. But southbound from S. Hanford St. and Empire Way S. (today known as Martin Luther King Jr. Way South) the 48 followed a different route on its way to its terminal at South Seattle Community College. Southbound from Franklin High School the 48 stayed on Rainier Avenue until Alaska Street where it turned west and climbed up to Beacon Hill, passing the VA–but not detouring into the parking lot–on a routing similar to current route 50. From Beacon Hill, it apparently used Spokane Street and the low level route to cross the Duwamish and then headed to its terminal at SSCC (kind of a combined 50 and 125).

Midday headways were at about 33 minutes and peak service could be as frequent as every 6 minutes. Evening service was every 30 minutes on the UW to Franklin HS core with buses scheduled every 60 minutes on the extensions north and south. There also were a variety of intermediate turnbacks and short-runs scheduled in the timetable. Weekday trips began at the endpoints and at Beacon & Columbian (near the VA Hospital), Rainier & Hanford (Franklin HS), Montlake Station, 45th and 15th in the University District and at Greenwood and 85th.

In the future we may see the 48 evolve again if money can be found to electrify the gaps along 23rd Avenue E. Some STB posters have suggested combining an electrified 48 with the 7 and creating new 1-seat rides between Rainier Valley and the Central District. Since its creation in the mid-1960s as a shuttle between Mt. Baker, the Central District and the University of Washington, the 48 has changed from short shuttle route into one of the longest in-city routes and back to a shorter route providing high frequency service. Has any other route been as drastically modified during the last 36 years as the 48?

7 Replies to “Route 48 in 1980”

  1. Great history, thanks! The 48 is the ultimate utility player: it becomes whatever we need it to be.

  2. There’s the 142 going toward Renton. But the 42 seems to be missing. I thought it was as old as the others. There’s also something called the 77 on north Rainier, which I;ve never heard of. Around 1983 I started taking the 226 from Bellevue to the I-90 freeway station and the 7 south to a Value Village a block north of Mt Baker Station. I had a friend in the Mt Baker neighborhood off the 14; he took the 48 to UW.

    The 74 changed about as radically. The 71/72/73 went on Eastlake to the U-District and their tails; the 71 half-hourly and the 72 and 73 hourly. The 74 went on Fairview and Eastlake to the U-District and then along the 30’s route to Sand Point, half-hourly. The 71X/72X/73X/74X ran peak hours in the express lanes. A 73E did a midday express on Eastlake both ways. There was also a 70 that got on I-5 at 45th to downtown midday, and a 30 on Fremont-45th-Laurelhurst (and Magnolia?). The 30 and 70 were the first to go away. When the 70 trolley route was created on Fairview-Eastlake, the 74 local was truncated in the U-District, so it went on Sand Point-U District while the 74X continued downtown. Later the 74 local was extended on N 40th Street to Fremont and Seattle Center weekday daytime. That was the first all-day route on 40th; previously Fremonters had to go up to 45th. This change made the 74 local radically different from the 74 express: the local went Sand Point-Seattle Center and the express went Sand Point-Downtown. That probably confused people, and eventually the 74 local was renumbered to the 30. Then in the last move, the 31 and 32 were created and through-routed with the 65 and 75 creating a one-seat ride from Fremont to Laurelhurst via campus, and the 30 was fully truncated in the U-District. In the 2014 cuts the 30 was reduced to peak-only, and last Friday it was deleted for the second time.

    1. Mike, good point about the 30/74 and the long ago 8 Ravenna having gone through numerous changes and modifications. The 1980 map still shows the 8 Ravenna running.

      At one point, the 42 Empire Way was extended to Renton via Renton Avenue (similar to today’s 106) and the route number was changed to reflect the fact that its route extended past the city limits. In those days, the 107 still ran along Lake Washington from Renton to Rainier Beach and then through Holly Park to downtown. In 1980, the only transit service to Skyway would have been via the 142.

      The 77 was a Beacon Hill/Rainier Valley express connection to the UW. In 1980, it started by the VA, followed Alaska to Rainier and got on I-5 at Dearborn for the trip to the UW campus. The 77, too, went through numerous modifications before it was finally deleted. At one point, I believe it started in Rainier Valley, went to Beacon Hill and got on I-5 at Columbian.

    2. The 42 and 142 were both running in the early 80s. They alternated in the daytime with the 42 going to Rainier View and the 142 going to Renton. In the early morning before the 142 started running the 42 was extended to Skyway. The 142 was turned into the 106 when the DSTT opened, running on the busway to Spokane Street, I-5 to Swift Avenue, and Myrtle/Othello Street to Rainier Avenue, then Renton Avenue to Renton. The 107 did the same but with its Rainier Avenue routing south of Rainier Beach.

    3. Just a few reminiscences, I suppose:

      The original route numbered “30” was the “30 Ballard-Laurelhurst” which was mostly replaced with the 44 in the late 1970’s. The route stretched from the Laurelhurst Loop to Golden Gardens Park, though many, many of the trips were truncated at University Way and at the current 44 terminal by the Locks. So it kind of made sense to me when the 74 to Fremont and the Seattle Center became the 30, just from some sort of directional/historical standpoint.

      I grew up along the 8-Ravenna line, around 1963 to 1980. (About NE 55th and 27th NE.) That was my first introduction to transit geekdom. My mother didn’t drive, so her occasional excursions to the University Village with us little kids in tow was via the 8-Ravenna to it’s terminus at NE 55th and 35th NE. There was a bus turn around there, where the electric trolleys could layover. (After the route was extended to Sand Point, and later Lake City, the cemetery purchased the land for a structure. I believe you can still see the places where the street cut through.)

      Anyway, we would transfer to the 25-Lakeview, heading back to the U-Village. The 25, at the time, started around NE 85th and headed straight down 35th NE to the route that recently disappeared. Later, as a teen headed from Downtown, I would take it as an alternative to the 8-Ravenna sometimes, then just run down the hill on 55th to home. (That might give some validation to the current restructure, where it seems to me that the proximity of the 65 and 372 can serve the old neighborhood nicely.) Back then, every other 25 was routed “via Fuhrman” per the dash sign on the bus. The others took a more direct route East from Roanoke.

      By the late 70’s, with the introduction of the 41-Blue Streak, the 41 looped with the 8-Ravenna. The schedule maps showed the 41 going through Lake City to Sand Point, and the 8 going past Sand Point to Lake city. The reality was that these routes were through-routed at both ends, with the operators taking a break at either Lake City or in front of the Sand Point Gate, depending upon the time of day and direction of travel. It made for an interesting transit-riding excursion for a young transit enthusiast.

      As a teen, I would fulfill my transit curiosity by taking creative ways home from school. (My father worked swing shift every third week, so I wasn’t missed if I was a few hours late getting home.) Anyway, this would involve taking a 7 series bus or the 48 from Roosevelt High, and instead of transferring to the 8-Ravenna in the U District; heading to Downtown, Capitol Hill, or elsewhere and taking the LONG way home. The excursions were aided by the fact that at each schedule change, I would find one of those racks Downtown that held ALL of the schedules, then simple take one of each. until some adult noticed and said that I couldn’t take so many. So I would apologize, thank them, then head to another location with a rack and keep going. Surprisingly, no one ever asked why I had a complete set of about 100 scheduled in my backpack all the time.

      I did this as early as 12 or 13 years old. I skipped out on a few Monday-night Boy Scout troop meetings to ride around on the bus. My thought later in life was why no one EVER questioned a Boy Scout walking around the Seattle Center grounds just to see it on a Monday night. Or no one ever questioned a 13 year old waiting at the stop at 3rd and Pike for a 8:30 4-Montlake bus (the 8-Ravenna used the 4-Montlake as it’s night route back then). I wonder not how much trouble I could have gotten into, or how the same scenarios would have played out in today’s world.

      Thanks for letting me share, even if no one cares…..
      Bryan K

  3. I never knew the 8 Ravenna and 4 Montlake used to be connected at night–interesting tidbit.

    I think there are a lot of kids who explore the city via transit. I had a group of friends that used to occasionally head out to see the city on weekends when All Day Passes were offered. Our parents must have been very trusting to allow us to leave early on a Saturday morning (without cell phones) for an all day adventure. There were even days where we would leave early on a Saturday morning with just enough money for the All Day Pass and a ticket to the baseball game at Sick’s Stadium. After the game we would head to a designated spot where one of our parents would pick us up for the final ride home–none of our parents wanted 12 year old kids riding the bus at 10pm. Just as learning to ride a bike permitted us to have greater freedom and mobility, learning the bus system expanded our horizons even further.

    In the 1990s, I remember my nephew and a few of his friends used to travel regularly from Rainier Vista to Greenlake to play basketball or just hang out. Because both of the bus routes that served Rainier Vista in those day (42, 48) eventually ended up at Green Lake, that was their favorite destination. Those kids didn’t care how long the trip took, they were just glad to be able to get away from their neighborhood and have some fun.

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