Othello Station (Avgeek Joe – Flickr)
Othello Station (Avgeek Joe – Flickr)

With ULink’s opening and Metro’s unprecedented service changes in NE Seattle and Capitol Hill, it’s been a quiet few months for the proposed SE Seattle restructure that it’s safe to say we’ve had a few reservations about. On Monday, Metro transmitted a scaled back version for consideration by the King County Council (Metro blog post here). It will be heard in the Transportation, Economy, and Environment (TrEE) Committee on April 5, with a possible council vote in May. The changes would take effect in September 2016.

Unlike the previous proposal, the proposal would leave Routes 106 and 107 as is, with both positive outcomes (no cuts in Georgetown) and negative outcomes (foregone opportunity for improved connections between Renton and the Rainier Valley, which we’ve been advocating for in some form since 2012). The likely reasons for Renton’s omission are political simplicity and because including Renton would bring the new routes below the eligibility threshold for a Prop 1-funded boost. In a phone call yesterday, Metro staff noted a continued openness to a larger restructure if city funding partnerships emerge.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.46.44 AMInstead, the scaled-back proposal would simply retain the raison d’être from the original proposal, namely the restoration of a direct connection between mid-MLK (in between Link stops) and the International District. The proposal would extend newly-minted Route 38 to the International District, but only on weekdays from approximately 6am-6:30pm. Evening and weekend trips would continue to terminate at Mount Baker Station as they do today. The extension would be paid for by cutting Route 9 back to peak-period, peak-direction only, which is how a majority of its riders use it today.

The 15-minute route would combine with Route 7 for 10 buses per hour along Rainier and Jackson, albeit at unavoidably uneven combined headways. Routes 7, 14, 38, and Link would combine for 18 services per hour between Mount Baker and the International District. The 38 would be far slower than Link but a tick faster than Route 7, retaining the express stop pattern of today’s Route 9.

During peak hours, savvy riders headed to ACRS or the Filipino Community Center would still often save time by using Link + Route 38 instead of Route 38 alone, as peak hours are when Link frequency is highest and bus reliability lowest. 6 minute Link headways and a 9-minute travel time to Mt Baker (average trip time of 12 minutes) compare favorably to 15-minute Route 38 headways with an 18-minute travel time (average trip time 25 minutes). Transfers between bus and train will be frequent but also suboptimal, as Metro doesn’t have the available funds to both extend Route 38 and offer frequencies to match Link.

In an ideal world we’d ease transfers by expediting the rebuild of Mt Baker, harmonize fares between agencies, reduce or eliminate the ORCA card fee, radically expand ORCA access, and then reinvest these service hours to provide 6-10 minute frequencies on Route 38 and extend it all the way to Renton. But lacking good movement on any of those issues, community advocacy for restoration of MLK-IDS bus service is more understandable. The opportunity costs are significant, but the new route would provide a simple, direct, and frequent connection for cash payers, those using paper transfers, or those for whom a second or third transfer is prohibitive.

96 Replies to “Metro Proposes New Scaled Back SE Seattle Restructure”

    1. From the future 600-foot skyscraper that will be required to accompany every Link station. The faux-suburbia roof gardens on the shorter buildings cascading down towards the station are a nice touch.

    2. New York City does have 2000-4000 sq ft apartments. Suburbanites can’t say they’d be cramped in that.

    1. This.

      Metro needs to “fix” the current restructure cause what happened yesterday in N Seattle was a complete failure.

      1. It’s absolutely crazy that Metro can be proposing this duplicative change when similarity disadvantaged communities in Pinehurst and Jackson Park lost all reasonable service at early mornings, nights, and Sundays with the 73 deletion. With the addition of Maple Leaf ridership, the 73 was almost always at least half full on a large bus at all time periods.

        At least for 68, 71, and 72 riders there are alternate options but many 73 riders have significantly longer journeys because of these changes. Last night at Rainier Vista near UW Station, there were about 6 people with suitcases from the airport who all said that they planned to write metro about the changes as we waited for a 67, which would not even take them directly to their destination, having missed the last 73 at 10:15pm.

        Link and a lot of the changes are great, but the huge cut to 73 service is not one of them. Most people seemed to like the reroute to the station, but were appalled that the hours of service were so drastically cut back for no apparent reason.

      2. The 62’s reliability is mediocre so far. I don’t know if it’s bridge bottlenecks or the schedule is too optimistic. The 75’s “10 minute peak” is shifted a half-hour early. The 10 seems to be doing fine and is getting good ridership. The only other problems I’ve seen are rider confusion on which route goes where or where the stop is; these are temporary. Roosevelt has construction at 65th; hopefully the stop is open and accessible but I didn’t see it offhand. There was one case reported on STB where a bus was on reroute and didn’t stop at the stops on its reroute street.

      3. Re: the people with suitcases

        I think that’s more that they didn’t consider taking a different route to Pinehurst? Why couldn’t they have done Link to Westlake, 41 to Northgate, 347/348 to Pinehurst? That seems like it would have been faster that Link to UW even during the day when the 73 was running. Seems that they just assumed “once the 73, always the 73”

        I’ve seen 2 different groups of people in Ravenna trying to get people organized to petition Metro to bring the 68 back – 1 seems to be related to the Blakely Manor senior community. While I’ve been hard on Metro for their near-total lack of communication skills, and there’s a few common sense things Metro can do to sugarcoat the changes, I think it’s too soon to call the restructure a failure.

      4. I don’t know, the NE restructure seemed reasonably successful given that it was only day 1 of such a major change. I was expecting that it would be much much worse than it was.

      5. Mike, I think you are spot on with your assessment. Maple Leaf and Ravenna have lost a good deal of their service with this change, and the consolidations have certainly made it more difficult to match previous travel times on the network. There are numerous changes that are good but others which have few positive elements.

        For example: Riders on 15th Ave NE (which is patronized at all hours of the day i.e. bus has at least half the seats full) who have to walk to the 67 on Roosevelt and then transfer to Link at UW Station will always have a slower trip than the former 73 no matter the time of day. If on the other hand, the 73 were to continue running at early mornings, nights, and Sundays, transferring to Link would amount to significant time savings during certain periods. Asking airport riders with suitcases or disadvantaged populations in Pinehurst/Jackson Park to transfer from Link to the 41 to the 347/348 is a bit much considering previously they only had to make one transfer.

        The new 71 is quite the milk-run and from what I have seen in the past two days, many former riders have switched to the Link-65 combo. What may need to happen is a reallocation of east-west service on 65th, in order for some of it to serve 75th and connect to Northgate. With the loss of the 68 and the previous 75th gap, much of Northeast Seattle requires out of direction travel to reach Northgate.

    2. Basically, Metro took what was a complicated network that took decades to build and managed to completely trashed it in one day. The dozens of easy connections are gone. Phantom buses like the 78 and the Roosevelt-East 62 run empty and rampant. The previously cramped 75 is as cramped as ever and has 0 easy connections where it once had several. The 30 is gone when all it needed was a connection to Link which would have boosted its ridership, but now there is one less option to alleviate the 75. The options to get to U-village are all gone now. U-village is a major stop for students and NE residents who need to shop before heading home.

      Overall navigating around campus has become a major pain. I plan to ride the 74 this afternoon and I can hardly wait to see what I find. But overall I give metro an F!

      1. So,. in other words, despite months of pre-communication, people are still expecting the old bus routes and haven’t adjusted to the new ones yet.

        Didn’t work for the first two days. Burn the whole thing down.

      2. “The options to get to U-village are all gone now.”

        Don’t the 65, 75, 372, and 78 all go to U Village?

      3. “Metro took what was a complicated network that took decades to build”

        It was not a perfect network. It had a lot of spaghetti legacy segments that had not been reformed since the 1970s in spite of population changes, forcing people onto excessive milk runs. The new network has pluses and minuses and it will take time to sort all those out and determine which are holes that should be fixed. There’s a limited number of service hours so it’s not possible to both keep all the old routes at their old frequency AND get people to the temporary Link terminus AND raise the frequency on critical corridors. This was a compromise, and resurrecting the 73 at all was part of the compromise.

      4. @DrewJ The 75 and 372 are the only ones through campus that go to the village. 65 and 78 are away from the majority of student population. not like the past where you had the 67,68, 65, 75, 372, 74 and others. if 75 was full you could always jump to the 65. now 75 gets so full ant there are no other options.

        @Sean Adjustments for the sake of adjustments are meaningless.

      5. It’s not as dire as you say.

        Off-peak service
        From the HUB to U Village: 9 buses/hour –> 8 buses/hour, 10% decrease
        UW Station to U Village: 0 buses/hour –> 6/hour, which should hopefully take some pressure off of the 75. Not so much the 372 since there’s no bus from UW station up 25th.
        Campus Parkway to U Village: 9/hour –> 12/hour, so an improvement for people coming from lower U-District.

        That’s all during non-peak. During peak, the changes are:
        Campus Parkway: 18–>18 (no change)
        UW Hub: 18–>11 (okay, that stings a LOT)
        UW station: 0–>8

        Basically off-peak, Metro has increased service along Pacific while leaving campus alone. During peak, Metro has shifted service from campus to Pacific.

      6. @drewj

        I have posted previously that the new # 522 is utterly useless to me as it is 8 blocks uphill on Lake City Way and there is no sidewalk on the west side of the street where this stop is located until your get NE 85th. And the sidewalk on the east side is almost impossible to walk as cement is completely broken up with weeds and grass growing those cracks.

        And the # 312. Would you explain to me how that bus is going to help on non-peak hours and days when it is not scheduled. And as far a peak hours are concerned the walk to the nearest stop at NE 85th is the same as the # 522.

      7. @djw,

        Whining? No I live in NE Seattle and these changes are making a major impact on me and other people and as I pointed out I now have to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and that is a major impact on my life.

        I live in NE Seattle and if you don’t then you are the one doing the whining because you don’t like the fact that the residents in NE Seattle are bringing up legitimate complaints and concerns on the changes which is impacting their ability to move about using transit.

        As I said frequent service that you can’t get too or use is off absolutely no help what so ever.

      8. I would like to know how people who come from Capitol Hill via he 48 or Light RaIl to the University Village. The only method that works for me is to get off of the 48 and walk down the 45th St Viaduct and do the reverse coming back.

        The frequency and connections to buses suggested by Metro Trip Planner ust don’t work and walking is faster for me!

      9. Reg N, how did you do it before the restructure? Taking the 48 to Campus Parkway and the 75 to U-Village should work and be the same as before.

      10. Reg N, it’s a lot easier to get from Capitol Hill to the U-Village now than it was before the restructure. Get off the 48 or Link at UW Station. Walk to the northbound stop on Montlake, at the north end of UW Station, and get on the 65 there (or the infrequent 78 if it comes first).

        On the way back, you can take the 31, 32, 67, 78, or 372 and get off at Rainier Vista, or if your mobility situation does not permit you to make the 1000-foot downhill walk (about two blocks), take the 78 and ride it around to UW Station.

      11. Mike and David,

        Thank you for your helpful responses to my question about access to the UV. Twice in the last two weeks of walked down and up the viaduct. The walk up the viaduct is easy in good weather despite the fact that I am 73 years young. I’m going to have to give the 65 or 78 a try the next time I go to the UV. I think they offer more options than the 75.

        BTW, I work out five days a week, but it would be helpful since I can’t expect to do the walk forever.

        Just a suggestion, given the depth of knowledge on this blog would it be worthwhile to have an “Ask The Blog, How to I Get There’ day?

      12. The 67 north is all single buses at rush hour. Took over an hour at Roosevelt and 42nd to get a bus that had room to take passengers. People further up were worse off. With the 66 off Roosevelt, Maple Leaf folks are in a much worse situation when coming back from UW.

        Simple solution: use the big buses at rush hour (duh).

        Do the Metro planners have calculators?

      13. Or bring back the 66, since the Roosevelt HCT is going to have the same route as the 66 does (I mean did)! The 66 was an articulated bus, and the Roosevelt HCT will be too I would hope.

      14. The 312 has a stop at 95th which the 522 does not serve.

        The 77 is also an option in that area.

      15. @David Lawson

        The # 77 is even a further walk to get to then the # 522 and the stop at NE 95th is just as far a walk to get to as the # 522 at NE 85th.

        I am stuck with the # 372 as my only bus service and that in my book is a reduction in service then I had before even though my taxes were raised to support Metro and in turn I am being getting screwed by Metro. .

      16. While I can sympathize with people whose trips were made worse (as mine sometimes are), the issue can’t be reduced to “My taxes went up and I got worse service.” The issue is whether it’s overall better for most people in that part of the city. We have the theoretical answer; now it’s time to see how well it works on the ground. 80% negative comments on STB may be a sign of something, or there may be a lot of people who are silently better off, or have not used the routes enough yet to decide.

      17. “Simple solution: use the big buses at rush hour (duh). Do the Metro planners have calculators?”

        There’s a limited number of articulated buses. Some of them went to the 11 this round because it was overcrowded the last one. That means there’s fewer articulated buses available for other routes. Metro has every bus in the fleet out there peak hours because the sudden increase in Prop 1 and ridership; it takes time to get more buses ordered and delivered. And Prop 1 is temporary so it’s not clear it’ll be there after 2020, so should Metro order a lot of more buses and then maybe they’ll be idle?

      18. They could have used the articulated buses from the deleted Route 66 since the 67 is usurping the 66.

      19. Jeff, that doesn’t make sense. There are 10 blocks between 85th and 95th. 95th is downhill from 85th, so if you’re 8 blocks along LCW from 85th then you ought to be much closer to 95th.

        I think you may be exaggerating the distance to one or the other.

      20. @Les
        Your observations of the 62 east of Roosevelt do not jive with what I’m seeing on Sand Point Way with only one empty bus either ending its run at the 74th street stop or at the start of its run southbound at NE74th street. This was out of at least eight different busses I looked at through yesterday and today.
        What I’m hearing from you is the desire for a one seat ride to Husky Stadium Station with a resurrected and redirected 30 based on your repeated histrionic claims of the 62 not being the best use of Metro resources all after less than two full workdays of use (based on your Tuesday 1:09pm post) under the new restructure.
        Give it a rest.

      21. Les has repeatedly made statements the past few days that sound the opposite of my experience and I have trouble believing. Known low-ridership routes packed, crosstown grid routes with many transfers considered completely unimportant, etc.

      22. @David Lawson

        You want to tell me what good the #77 and # 312 will during non-peak hours and the weekends.

    3. I wrote about this prior to the changes on Monday and what I wrote about has come true.

      In that post I said that I was taking the # 72 on Ravenna Avenue at about 633 am and it got me to the Westlake Station just before 7 am. At that time I looked at the # 372 schedule that was in affect and I thought under that schedule I would be at the UW station at around 7 am. Well as it turns out it is worse then that.

      The new # 372 schedule has that bus arriving at my stop 5 minutes later then the previous schedule and it is tentatively scheduled to arrive on Stevens Way at the Hub at 653 am. Since I have to go the next stop at Rainier Vista add a couple of more minutes which is now followed by the walk to the station and that takes around 5 minutes. Then it is down numerous escalators and lo and behold it is now about 710 am and I am still at the UW station where previously with the # 72 I was already at my destination.

      Not only that the # 372 was standing room only and that should not be a surprise to anyone when Metro combines 3 routes in to one route.

      So now I have to get up 30 minutes earlier to catch an earlier bus despite the fact that Metro on its website and in its brochure outlining all of the changes stated that the # 372 would have 4 to 15 minute service during peak hours and peak hours start at 6 am. But that did not happen because at that time the # 372 has 30 minutes service. So another lie from Metro which goes along with the middle finger they gave to NE Seattle with their changes. And no don’t tell me all about the frequent service when it doesn’t do any good when you can’t get to it or use it. Or the 8 minute train ride when just getting to the train and riding the train takes longer then my previous ride on the # 72.

      And I won’t repeat the fact that I have lost my direct service to the Roosevelt and University Districts.

      1. Most of the critiques of the NE restructure are utterly unpersuasive whining, but the late start to frequent service (in both directions!) on the 372 is absolute BS. Southbound, at a minimum, there should be a bus between the second and third southbound run.

      2. I live in Sand Point, the restructure seems to be fine for the most part. My partner works on 42nd and Roosevelt so she is obviously a huge fan of the new 74 route. The 75 is crowded as always. I do miss having the 30/74 going down the Ave for when I wanted to run errands before/after work.

        As for the 62…first of all, why is Metro running articulated buses on that route? Move them to the 75! Second, I haven’t seen a single person get on the 62 at NE 65th and Sand Point Way, which makes sense because the 62 doesn’t go anywhere useful that isn’t already served by the 75–>31/32 in the exact same amount of time. Is Metro really going to run empty buses down NE 65th St every 15 minutes for the next 5 years?

      3. The articulated buses are for the part between downtown and Fremont, and perhaps up to Greenlake.

        Two of Metro’s strategies we’ve seen repeatedly are (A) connecting a weak segment to a strong segment to save it from the axe and hopefully raise its ridership, and (B) stringing the lowest-used parts of several routes together into one milk run because they have the same level-of-service needs. The 62 is mostly like the former and a little like the latter. And if we consider the eastern 62 as the successor to the 30, it complements previous changes and attempted proposals to the 30 (and its predecessor the 74 local). First it went downtown on Eastlake-Fairview, then it went to Fremont on 40th. In the 2012 cuts Metro proposed attaching it to the 26 (Greenlake-UDistrict-Sand Point) but that got negative feedback and was withdrawn. Now it has attached it to a new 65th route and the Meridian-Dexter segment (again splicing three milk runs together, although the Dexter segment is arguably more than a milk run). In any case, the articulated buses are for the western segment, and I suspect some of them are used on the short Greenlake-downtown relief runs.

      4. Do you really remember a service change that did not manage to upset someone……
        Service Change Spring 1940 Trolley Buses Replace Street Cars!!
        Service Change Summer 1955 One Way Streets Downtown Seattle
        Route 12 through routed routes 6/16
        Service Change Spring 1962 – Worlds Fair Add Service
        Service Change Summer 1963 – Service Cuts 100 “New Diesel Buses” for Northeast Seattle Service! Service extended to 145 St Seattle City Limits
        Service Change Spring 1969 Blue Streak Service to Downtown Seattle 70 New GM V8 Diesel
        The loudest coach in Transit History Equipped with “Jake Brake”/Compression Brake!!!
        Service Change January 1978 Major Service Revision Complete Renumbering of 90% of Bus
        Routes, it took weeks for passengers to “Find The Bus”
        1940 Trolleys Retired after 38 Years of Service
        Service Change June 1979 – Deletion of Mid day U District Express for weeks Passengers could not find where to catch the bus
        Service Change Fall 1979 AMG Trolleys in Service Route 2 and 10
        Service Change 1985 Multiple Service Changes Trolley Routes Moved to 1 Av during DSTP Construction
        Service Change September 1990 Tunnel Opens…..Many Passengers can not locate entrance to tunnel!
        Service Change March 2016 Radical Change to Northeast Seattle…..still trying figure out where stuff goes in less than a week…..ah life as a Subject Matter Expert
        Passengers – don’t like change, creature of habit
        Operators – don’t like change, creatures of habit
        Elected Officials – Should not be permitted any input in the planning process
        Planners – should be made to ride the routes they change to see first what change really looks like
        Media – Should broadcast a 2 Hour Service Change Special instead of sound bits on the evening news

      5. It’s difficult to get Metro’s trip planner to even force a transfer from campus to Link at Husky Stadium, at least from the 372–you have to tell it that the first route is the 372 in the “advanced options” menu. Mr. Pittman is also correct that doing so does not get you to Westlake until 7:22am – it’s now a 40 minute trip if you HAVE to use that routing.

        That said, there’s a fairly small hole on Ravenna at which that is the only or best routing, minimizing walk distance. From 92nd and Ravenna, it’s about the same distance to the stop on 95th and LCW as the walk is from Stevens Way on campus to Link; same goes if you are at 85th and Ravenna to the stop on 85th and LCW. However, if you live east of Ravenna any distance, it’s a longer walk to either of those two bus stops.

        Metro’s trip planner is horrible if you are trying to minimize walking; back in the day there used to be an option where you could set your walk distance parameter but that seems to be gone. Even using the “accessible trip” button doesn’t take that into account. They need to change that particularly for people who can’t walk far, or can’t handle hills. This particular trip will force a 6/10 mile walk from certain stops and there is no way to change that. I was trying to force a transfer on 75th or 65th to see if it’s any faster and less walking than the 40 minute trip downtown, and it won’t do that. Even from 80th and 25th it forces you to backtrack almost a mile on foot and gives you no other trip option. From 75th and 25th it makes you walk all the way to 65th; if you select 372 as first route, it doesn’t allow the transfer at 65th and again sends you to Link. (These are for the 6:30am +/- trip Mr. Pittman indicated.)

  1. Might as well renumber it to 42. They probably want the traditional route number as well as the route.

    1. right. metro should stick to their own service guidelines.

      Once people become aware that politics trumps usefulness, it becomes a zero sum game again, with constituencies pitted against each other.

  2. I would prefer to see Route 38 move to use Jackson and 23rd rather than stay on Rainier between these two streets and duplicate the Route 7 alignment. Why? This segment of Rainier between Jackson and 23rd has significant congestion somewhere on the segment during the peak hours and even at midday. Bus speeds suffer! The moving of this route would probably improve bus reliability and not ultimately require additional hours to operate. Anyone who has had to wait for long periods of time on AM northbound 7 buses because of the I-90 metering lights, or southbound 7 buses because of the Dearborn signal knows exactly what I’m talking about.

    This simple adjustment would also provide improved bus connectivity between Pratt Park area, 23rd/Jackson, Mt. Baker station and points further into SE Seattle. For most CD riders, there is now no direct route that goes further south than Mt. Baker transit center (noting that Route 7 merely skirts the CD) since Route 8 was split there to create Route 38. In other words, the CD bus service is now more limited than it was because transfers are now mandatory! Transfers at Mt. Baker are considerably more of a hassle; transferring between Link and Route 8 was much easier at Columbia City. It’s as if Metro has arranged to push all the transfers at Mt. Baker, which frankly is designed cheaply and not rider-friendly — not to mention the hassle of the lack of down escalators at Mt. Baker station (with one slow elevator on each platform that has recently been out of service).

    It’s as if the agencies have unintentional schadenfreude to force more riders to transfer Mt. Baker — increasing transfers to make longer transit travel times after creating a really awful layout in the first place.

    1. Another advantage of Jackson-23rd is it would overlap with the 4S, possibly making it politically easier to consolidate the 4S into the 3S.

  3. Maybe this should be the opportunity where begins to “Express” this corridor via the City’s RapidRide+ ideas. Take the 7 and combine with the 48 to fill in the CD/RV service gap Al S notes. Reorganize 38 service to/from Broadway or perhaps establish service along 12th or 14th Ave up to Broadway where no service currently exists. Let Link handle downtown service.

    1. That could only happen if the northbound transfer from the (modified) 7 were vastly better than it is now.

  4. While I’m glad no one is going to significantly lose service as some had feared, I am very frustrated that the proposal as it stands now does not provide increased service along 15th Ave S to the Beacon Hill light rail station. Is there a reason why the scaled back proposal cannot include the changes to the 107 so that it is extended to the Beacon Hill station and provide us with another option? Or, with the money saved by not rolling out this proposal in its entirety, we could instead add service to the 60 so that we have more than every half-hour frequency on weekday afternoons after 6:30 from the light rail station?

    For comparison’s sake – if you live within a mile of the new University or Capitol Hill stations, what is the typical frequency of bus service to/from those stations?

  5. I think it’s safe to say that Metro and Sound Transit just lost a lot of ST3 support yesterday in NE Seattle. The bus route blow-up is a disaster.

    1. If you’re right about that… given how horrible ST3 is, that might be a good thing.

    2. How much support would Metro and ST have had if there wasn’t a restructure? People would have complained they couldn’t get to the station, the bus routes were duplicative, areas weren’t being served.

      1. I’ll be interested to see what the ridership numbers show, considering that a lot of 7x-series ridership has moved to Link.

        The routes in my neighborhood are night-and-day improved from last week and the system in the NE makes a lot more sense for a variety of trips. I can see how it could move more people out of their cars. I’m looking forward to not having a two-hour trip home from a meeting in Fremont tonight. Whole areas of the city are practical to reach now for me on the bus.

        Some of the limitations seem to have come from the restructure being service-hour-neutral. Hopefully that can be adjusted going forward.

  6. “Service hours wasted on political nonsense, but Georgetown service not gutted” is considerably better news than “Georgetown service gutted to waste service hours on political nonsense” but it’s still depressing.

  7. With all due respect, I find it absurd that Metro is planning this sort of ridiculous duplicate service, when at the same time there are SO MANY gaps in the network that could be fixed if Metro had a bit of extra funding.

    These include:
    -Many “frequent” routes are still only every 30 minutes on Sunday and evenings. This is not sufficient, especially in a transfer-based network. For example, the span of frequent service on the 8, 38, 67, 372, 65, 75, etc. should be increased.
    -Getting from the Ravenna Avenue/upper 25th Ave NE corridor to the upper U-District is still hard. Reinstating a truncated 72 could help with this.
    -There is no service on the 71 and 73 on Sundays and nights anymore. While I guess these are “coverage” routes now, it would be a lot more legible if these routes had a full span of service.

    If a one-seat ride from MLK to the International District is mandatory, one possible idea could be to have the 38 follow the 14’s route (via 31st and Jackson) to downtown, and then delete the 14. This has the benefit of finally providing 15-minute service on Jackson St. The Mt Baker tail of the 14 could be covered by an extension of the 48 every 30 minutes, for example. However, since the 14 is a trolley route, I don’t know if this would be technically possible.

    1. “There is no service on the 71 and 73 on Sundays and nights anymore. While I guess these are “coverage” routes now, it would be a lot more legible if these routes had a full span of service.”

      I can understand the lack of Sunday/night service on the 71.

      What I don’t understand is why the same situation on the 73?

      Someone else also noted on a different thread that the 373 continues to operate on a limited stop pattern, with the 73 making all stops. That means in the peak direction, not all stops are available to the passengers along the corridor. I’d thought that the combined 73/373 for peak would have them with the same stopping pattern, but different terminals and route numbers.

      This 73/373 stopping pattern, span of service, etc do seem to be a big issue.

      1. Yeah, that’s bizarre that the 73 and 373 don’t have the same stopping pattern.

        I think that not having the 73 would be somewhat acceptable IF they coordinate connections between the 67 and 347/348 at Northgate & Roosevelt. While both run frequently during the day, there are currently times at night where a long wait is required in addition to the transfer. But it’s still unfortunate that you have to juggle between different stops at different times–it should not be this complicated to ride the bus.

    2. One Mt Baker to downtown extension is not enough hours to fill all those gaps, and in any case it’s being taken out of a completely different route. And it was the northeast and east Seattle restructure, not the south Seattle restructure. The 38 was affected being part of the 8, but focus of the split wasn’t Rainier Valley; it just ended up at Mt Baker because the earlier proposals at Madison and Garfield High School were rejected.

      In any case, all three of Josh F’s complaints come down to limited service hours and the inability to squeeze blood from a stone. The only reason the 71 and 73 exist at all now is that their hours were taken from the proposed 45 and 67, which were going to be more frequent. And you can blame the lack of a 66 on Eastlake on the same thing. If you add one you have to take away the other. So what do you want to cut to get evening/Sunday service on the 73?

      1. Limited service hours would have been a valid objection, but how is it that Metro has the service hours to implement a ridiculously duplicative 38 extension, while it doesn’t have the service hours to add frequent Sunday and evening service to the 38? The latter should be a far higher priority. Considering that the 38 is primarily meant for making transfers to/from Link and other routes (and will be even after it is extended), higher frequency is far more important.

        I guess the main issue with the 71 is that if you’re going from Ravenna Ave/85th to University Way/55th, the most direct way seems to be 372 -> 71. However, the 71 doesn’t run on nights and Sundays, so you have to switch between routings depending on the time of day. Although I guess you still have to check whether the 71 is coming soon anyways, since it’s infrequent.

      2. The 38-Rainier extension is inferior to basically anything Metro could to in the valley, including boosting the 38’s evening/Sunday frequency. It’s a move to address a 7-year-old complaint that some consider to be the biggest problem in the valley (I guess it has received the most persistent complaints), but is in fact candy to a special interest that won’t even ride it much. But regardless of that, the valley’s problems and solutions have to be within the valley’s network, not shifting hours to or from northeast Seattle. Metro has subareas and tries to keep the hours in the subareas to avoid unfair inequality between the parts of town. Restructures go on a rotating basis subarea to subarea (common in the 90s) or triggered by Link/RapidRide changes (so many since 2009 that they’ve crowded others out). The 36/106/107 restructure (as it originally was) was more like how they used to be, cycling through each subarea at a time.

      3. Most of the 38’s ridership I think will be trips within the valley rather than to/from Link. There are a lot of transit-dependent people who take the 7 and 8 a couple miles to the supermarket or other errands. Going to a Link station just to ride one or two stops within the valley can be significant overhead compared to just taking the 38. The longest walk from a Link station is at Graham, which if I remember is 10-12 minutes to Othello and 15-20 to Columbia City, so that’s where people would most take the 38 to the nearest station. But all other locations are closer to stations so people would be more less likely to take the 38.

        I also saw a significant chunk of riders on the former 8 going from south of Mt Baker to Capitol Hill or further (I got off at Summit so I don’t know how many got off in SLU vs Uptown). I suspect many of those were riding the 8 in despair because Capitol Hill Station wasn’t finished. It remains to be seen what they’ll do now, but I expect most of them will walk to an MLK Link station and go directly to Capitol Hill Station rather than using the 38.

      4. A load section chart I made of the 8 back during the beginning of the U-Link restructure discussion might shed some more light on usage patterns. You can see the passenger turnover rate is pretty high, so there are probably not many folks riding from end to end. Northbound in the Valley, around 60% of folks who get on also get off in the Valley; in the southbound direction, that percentage is even higher.

  8. You need to FIX THE NE CHANGES! I can no longer reasonably get from 1100 Olive Way to 25th and 55th! I have to walk OVER a MILE! someone at Metro SCREWED UP BAD! and I can no longer get to my office on SandPoint way since you cancelled the #30! My husband takes the 31 to work, but not anymore! It no longer goes anywhere near where he needs to go and your golden child 62/is a NIGHTMARE! congratulations, you’ve forces us back into our cars!

    1. @Nicole

      Thank you for pointing out more shortcomings on the NE Seattle changes.

    2. Enjoy your drive, but it seems to me that the restructure has been mostly successful.

      And we elect council reps by district now.. Supposedly that means you can complain to your council rep and they will actually listen to you now. Go give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

    3. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. You just happen to be one of the eggs.

    4. Why can’t you get to your office on Sand Point on the 75, or to 25th and 55th on the 372? Those locations still have service, and it got a lot more frequent with this restructure.

    5. Nicole,

      Why can’t you still just use the 74 to go from Olive Way to Ravenna? It goes directly from CPS to 25th and 55th.

      Do you make your trip outside peak hours? You didn’t give any details about it except the starting and ending points.

      Where on Sand Point Way that has no service is your office? Where were you boarding the #30?

      So far as your husband, what changed about the 31?

    6. I think it’s important to calm down and let the data speak for itself about the effectiveness of the northeast Seattle restructure. If a few bus riders switch to driving, but, in time, a greater number of drivers switch to riding the bus, it’s still a net positive. You really can’t tell how the routes are really doing in aggregate by a few people’s anecdotal comments on a comment thread. Actual data captured by automated passenger counters is a much better indicator.

      It should also be noted that Metro’s decision to focus the service hours saved from the truncation of routes 71/72/73 into expanding the frequent network in Northeast Seattle is an attempt to build long-term ridership, rather than focus on short-term gains. If the goal were strictly to boost short-term ridership without pissing anybody off, Metro would have probably kept the 71/72/73 exactly the same north of the U-district, kept all day frequency of the 65/66/67/71/72/73/75 at 30 minutes, kept the 45 and 48 joined together at the old frequency, kept many of the above routes at hourly service after 10 PM, and poured nearly all of the savings from the route truncation into more peak service, while shipping some of it out of Northeast Seattle altogether into other areas of the city, if they need it more.

      Long-term, the only way to get people willing to move to a neighborhood without owning a car is frequent bus service all the time, not just during peak hours.

      1. asdf2,

        If “get[ting] people … to move to a neighborhood without owning a car” is your goal, Northeast Seattle is not a good canvas on which to paint it. Yes there are strips of activity along NE 55th, NE 65th, 25th NE and 35th NE. But they’re all clustered at the respective cross-streets. There are vast areas in which there’s no real reason to walk anywhere, except exercise of course.

        The sort of beautifully landscaped but essentially soulless semi-suburbia that ranges through northeast, northwest and far west Seattle cannot be made “transit friendly” regardless of the number of bus hours you waste in them. Sure, the residents are very smart; they’re going to ride the bus or the train or both to work in downtown Seattle or the U District in order to save money of parking and auto depreciation. Good on ’em. But there are not enough of them at home midday to fill up OJ’s Bronco [hyperbole] so there be very few midday bus riders, except “through” riders to and from the U.

      2. The “short term” plan you laid out would have been a far better use of bus hours. It would have allowed Metro to ease some of the overcrowding and postpone any big restructure until Roosevelt and U-District provide much better transfer opportunities.

        But that train has left the maintenance facility.

      3. The “short term” plan would have no 62, so getting from northeast Seattle to Fremont, Green Lake, or Wallingford would still require a time-consuming transfer in the U-district. It would also entail a significant net reduction in hours, since it money would have to be redirected from operating funds to buying more buses that would only be used for a couple round trips each weekday. The 48 would still be unreliable as ever, and trying to connect to Link with 30-minute frequency would result in a lot more waiting than with the actual restructured network. In theory, some people would be able to choose between a 65 and 71 or between a 72 and 372, whichever comes first. In practice, separate but overlapping routes usually provide very uneven headways, like the 66/67 used to do before the restructure (5 minutes between a 66 and a 67, followed by 25 minutes between the 67 and the next 66). While 9-5 commuters would be better off with the restructure than without it, people traveling at all other times would be worse off. Such a change would simply serve to re-enforce the notion that transit is for 9-5 commuters headed to downtown or the U-district, and a personal car is a basic expectation for all other trips. This is not the direction that we, as a city, should be going in.

        Nor do I buy your comments that Wedgwood should be dismissed as a “soulless” suburb, akin to Sammamish or Marysville. Wedgwood has orders of magnitude more transit potential than Sammamish or Marysville.

        Overall, the outcry against the changes hasn’t been nearly as bad as it could have been. The outcry of the restructure that ended the 15/17/18 in exchange for the D-line was a lot worse. In general, people who don’t like a change will complain, while people that like it will stay silent. It will be the ridership data in 3-5 years that will tell us whether or not the restructure has been a success.

      4. I would assume that in five years all these routes in NE Seattle are going to change again since the U-District, Roosevelt and Northgate Link stations will be open. Surely Metro won’t continue to use the UW Stadium as a transit hub, right? It’s just not the right place to be used as a transit hub now either.

      5. You are certainly welcome to piss away lots of frequent service bus hours to places with nobody in the houses during the middle of the day. But don’t expect that it will be popular. People will put up with it for now because their peak hour super-expresses have largely been retained though some have been ejected from the tunnel.

        But folks who commute on the shoulders are not pleased with the loss of the all-day 7X’s and nannies and their charges don’t ride the bus. At least, not often enough to matter.

      6. As far as the Blessed 62, I expect it’s running on the suspension buffers from the super-loads of folks commuting from Wedgwood to Fremont.

    7. How about we position the twice-weekly open threads as a Q&A forum for as well as their existing use. I’m thinking of something along the lines of changing the “This is an open thread.” text to “This is an open thread. Questions about transit service such as ‘How do I get from A to B?’ are particularly encouraged.”

  9. This is an absolutely gutless, spineless proposal. Extending the 38 to the ID is a political favor to ACRS and no one else. Forcing 106 and 107 riders to still transfer at RBS is a slap in the face of the ridership and trimming the 9X without offering any sort of faster service/better connections for the Deep South segment of Rainier Valley is insulting. Metro simply doesn’t know how to work with the community to build any sort of consensus or even try to understand what people want. This is simply greasing the squeaky wheels and then running away and hiding as the cart crashes into the ditch. Thanks a lot.

    1. It’s probably members of the council pressuring Metro to do it, like the 71 and 78.

    2. You nailed it. I live along the 38 and can’t think of any reason I’d choose it over Link to get to the ID.

    3. Does anyone have the backstory on this–why is the ARCS such a heavy-hitter? Is Dembrowski in their pocket for some reason? (He seems like the biggest offender for micro-managing Metro service). Or some other council-member? Or is there something going on here beyond the ARCS?

  10. Man, Metro really wants to kill the off-peak 9 in order to make more slow one-seat rides to downtown (which duplicate Central Link). What I think makes more sense is combining routes 9 and 60, keeping the northern part of route 9 (why Metro has the 60 deviate onto 9th just to go back to Broadway is confusing to me. It’s not far of a walk anyway), follow route 9 until S. Alaska street, then turn toward Beacon Hill and follow route 60 from there. I think the cross-town potential and connections to local Link stations with this would be much more valuable than a 38 that goes downtown.

  11. This post mentions “expediting the rebuild of Mt Baker,” – is that in the budget or plans for either SDOT or Sound Transit? I’ve read the MLK/Rainier intersection rebuild should help, but what can be done to the station / transit center directly?

  12. Ok. What’s a good way for riders to organize to identify problems with these last changes in services, and to get necessary changes? And what’s a good time frame for this work? It seems to me that especially for anyone with serious personal problems over the change, it’s a good idea to start gathering facts, and also start work on strategies.

    And everybody who approves of changes, say so, suggest workable alternatives for those getting used to new system.

    The more everyone is in action, the easier and less contentious the work will be. This is, after all, a very new beginning- as is the first fast crossing of the Ship Canal.

    We’ve still got two more stations, and then Northgate- before we head for Lynnwood. What’s everybody think good timeframe would be to sort out the real failures, the necessary changes, and the new work that works?

    Also, as a former driver, I don’t see how on Earth a local route as long as the 62 can ever in a million years take less than a million years to get terminal to terminal. However good or bad the routing, without both signal pre-empt- tell me where I’m wrong.

    And twenty years ago, I really liked the 107 as it ran along the lake from Renton to Rainier Beach. Seemed like a good fast connection- though before Renton Transit Center, and between downtown and the Lake, it did a log of neighborhood running.

    Good idea to put it back? Or not?


    1. Mark,

      I like the sentiments of your last post but my frustration is that the people who were involved in the decisions on these changes either had their own personal agenda like Rod Dembowski who only cared about saving route # 71 because he and his family ride that route. I was in constant communications with him and his office on these proposed changes for months prior and his responses were that he was concerned about the deletion of route # 72 and said these major changes should be postponed until the Northgate station opened up. Well obviously he had his own interests in mind and didn’t care about anyone else.

      Even the public hearing at Magnuson Park was a farce and the decisions were already made and it didn’t matter what anybody said at the hearing.

      It also frustrating that when you write an email to Victor Obeso at Metro and bring up the concerns I had about losing my direct service to the upper part of the University District and the Roosevelt District and in his response he gives me the options available as replacements including route # 45 which comes from Loyal Heights and doesn’t come close to where I live. I mean if a senior manager at Metro who supposedly is responsible for Metro bus service gives me that option it makes one wonder about the decision making process in making these changes.

      I know that I have expressed great anger in my posts but if you have been involved by attending meetings with Metro planners which were useless, have a King County Council member who was only concerned about his own self interest and then get a response back from a senior Metro manager that makes no sense I think you can see where my anger is coming from.

      1. Maybe it is time to bring back the 79 (this was a peak hour variant of the 72, like 77 is the peak variant of 73 and 76 is the peak variant of the 71). The 79 was discontinued awhile ago, due to low ridership.

  13. I really have to say that extending one route is using the term “restructure” pretty loosely.

    1. That’s the “scaled back” part. You could even say that the “Southeast Seattle Restructure” part of the title may have been meant ironically. “This is a restructure?”

  14. Cutting service on the 9 to provide a one-seat ride that is slower than the existing two-seat ride (bus->Link) its nuts. Why people who ride the 9 aren’t blasting Metro for cutting their service, I don’t know.

  15. In addition to this being a bad idea for all of the reasons mentioned above, I think Metro should be moving away from designing routes with different terminals at different times. This inconsistency is confusing and frustrating to riders. I drive the route 8, and so far this week I have had to explain to a number of people how to transfer to the 38 to continue southbound. Once they finally get the hang of this in a few months, that bus stop in MBTC will sometimes not be served by the 38? Bad idea. Simplify!

  16. The 38 seems like a really inefficient duplication of service with Link. If Link added an infill station, would any route 38 stop be more than 1/2 mile from either end of an existing Link station? Shouldn’t Link be the primary service on MLK and the route 38 hours be invested elsewhere?

    If the issue is fare policies and fare media, let’s get those resolved. It’s stupid to waste service hours because we can’t agree on a single set of fare policies and fare media.

    1. There are a lot of folks who use the 38 to get to and from Link. Some don’t want to or can’t walk in the dark and/or rain to the nearest light rail station. This is particularly true if your walk includes walking from your house to the stop on MLK. It’s also helpful for intra-valley trips that Link doesn’t serve well like to the Graham Street area which is home to fairly large grocery story and a number of smaller businesses and restaurants as well as a DSHS office.

      I would analogize Link and the 38 to Swift and the 101 on SR 99 in Snohomish County. Swift/Link is the faster service with fewer stops while the 38/101 is slower local service that connect folks to Swift/Link and other local destinations.

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