For the first time since the merger of Metro and King County in 1992, Metro released a draft of a new Long Range Plan (LRP) last Monday, and it will update the plan every 6 years from now on. The plan looks at two time horizons, 2025 (when ST2 will have come online), and 2040 (when potential ST3 projects will have finished).

The plan is primarily an operational document, looking at planned growth, service levels, route restructures, operational needs, and technological innovation. There are issue areas you shouldn’t expect in long range plans, and sensitive discussions of governance structures is one of them. It would be awkward and indeed inappropriate to imagine changes to such things in a single-agency document. Though there is much ink spilled and good ideas presented about agency integration, it’s important to remember that Long Range Plans are invariably agency-maximizing documents. Responding to the existential question of Metro’s role in a post-ST3 world, the LRP attempts to position Metro as bigger and more important as ever.

In a briefing with Metro planners last week, they stressed that the service network is not a formal restructure proposal, but represents an integration of planners’ current thinking and the expressed desires of King County cities. Each iteration of restructures would still go through a formal process.

But it’s still fascinating. The plan assumes the passage of ST3, provides comprehensive Link feeder service, dramatically reduces the number of peak-hour expresses into Seattle, and provides a much stronger all-day network countywide and in Seattle. There are a lot of courageous choices in the plan, with Metro going nearly all-in on a citywide frequent network feeding Link. There is a lot of new service that would require substantial capital investments, such as service on NE 65th Street from Ballard-Phinney Ridge or service from SLU-Capitol Hill via Lakeview/Belmont. There are some bizarre express network choices, such as Snoqualmie-Auburn via SR 18. But overall the plan represents an agency whose thinking is heading in the right direction.

We’ll dive deeper later this week into some of the transit network proposals, but the high level numbers are:

  • 70% increase in total service hours, from 3.7m today to 6m.
  • 100% increase in daily ridership, from 400,000 today to 800,000.
  • 20 new RapidRide routes
  • Comprehensive Link restructures in 2021, 2023, and (if ST3 passes in current form) in 2031, 2036, 2038, and 2041
  • System goal of total feeder service to Link stations every 1.5 minutes on average
  • 2-3 new bus bases
  • 50% increase in parking, almost exclusively in suburban areas
  • Dramatic restructuring of peak express services to serve cross-suburban destinations
  • Redefinition of ‘local/alternative’ service to include carsharing, TNCs, and driverless cars

More after the jump.

A Full Alphabet of Rapid Ride Routes

The plan envisions building 13 more RapidRide lines by 2025 and 7 more between 2025 and 2040, for a total of 26. Some current routes would receive RapidRide treatment (40, 44, 372, 120, and 45), others would be new routes entirely (Madison BRT, Kenmore-Overlake, Kent-Federal Way via Star Lake Link Station), and still others would be restructured in part or in full and upgraded to RapidRide. Each of these routes is clickable at the Service Network Map, but for shorthand (and with my own placeholder route letters), they are:

RapidRide Metro LRP-01
Filling out the RapidRide Alphabet (route letters my own for shorthand purposes)

A Strong Base Network

The plan would broaden the peak period and boost evening and weekend service to provide a strong all-day network. Every major corridor in Seattle would have either RapidRide or frequent service.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 9.48.08 PM

Redefining Local + Alternative Service

The plan would blend infrequent local bus service and alternative services into a single analysis framework, working with communities in each individual corridor to determine how best to serve it. Some of these low-demand areas that have traditionally had fixed-route service would probably retain it (West Magnolia, Colman Park, etc), while others may get DART vans, Car2Go/ReachNow memberships, or even access to driverless cars. Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 9.53.51 PM

Restructuring Metro’s Peak Express Network Away from Link Corridors

By 2040, Metro would retain only 18 express routes, with many new exurban routes. With Link taking the lion’s share of Center City peak demand, only 6 Metro express routes would continue to serve central Seattle. Interestingly, Metro proposes retaining Federal Way-Downtown Seattle express service, one of the first times we’ve seen on paper an implicit recognition of Link’s uncompetitive travel time from Federal WayHere’s the full list of express routes:

  • Edmonds-Redmond via Kenmore
  • Arbor Heights to South Lake Union (via Deep Bore Tunnel)
  • South Renton to Interbay via South Lake Union
  • Burien-First Hill
  • Auburn-Snoqualmie via SR 18
  • Kent-Alaska Junction via SeaTac Airport
  • Federal Way to Downtown Seattle 
  • Eastgate-Snoqualmie
  • Eastgate-Redmond
  • Redmond-Duvall
  • Overlake-Maple Valley
  • Woodinville-Duvall
  • South Renton-Issaquah
  • Totem Lake-Interbay
  • Bothell-SLU
  • Redmond-North Bend
  • Renton-Enumclaw
  • Auburn-Enumclaw

50% Increase in Parking, but None in Seattle

The plan would increase parking across King County by 3,800 stalls on top of the 9,700 planned by Sound Transit, for a total of 13,570 new stalls. Metro would classify areas by “Access Zones” to determine demand for parking, and prioritize it only in Zones 3 and 4 (Green and Gray below).

Transit Access Zones. No Parking Added in Zone 1 (Pink)
Transit Access Zones. No Parking Added in Zone 1 (Pink), Limited Parking Added in Zone 2 (Orange)

More Trolleys?

The plan largely punts the question of an expanded trolley network to the City of Seattle. It calls out a limited set of improvements, such as electrifying Route 48 and adding wire on 43rd to serve UDistrict Station, but otherwise largely defers to Move Seattle plans for Rapid Ride conversions, some of which may be electric. Another possibility is that Metro wants to see how the Proterra-style electric bus technology matures, and wants more electric buses but is hesitant to hang more wire.

More to come in the next few days.

139 Replies to “Metro Releases Draft Long Range Plan”

  1. I’ll have to look at the proposal in depth, but this idea of relying on alternative services like “Car2Go/ReachNow memberships, or even access to driverless cars” strikes me as problematic in a number of ways:

    1. Climate. Have they done any analysis on the climate impact of this approach? Seems like one of Metro’s primary goals should be to reduce CO2 burned, and that may mean a smaller bus on a milk run to a low density neighborhood actually burns less CO2 than car share.

    2. Access. Asking a disabled or elderly person to get in a Car2Go is a non-starter. Would there be enough DART buses available to meet demand? Color me skeptical.

    3. Privatization. I’m troubled by the idea that we’d rely on private companies to serve areas that probably don’t have the highest demand.

    Ultimately a vision for 2040 should have electrified public transit serving pretty much every corner of the city, with every resident being no more than 1/4 mile from a bus or a train. Again, I’ll need to look at the detailed plan itself to see if they achieved this, and if they included any sort of climate analysis in their plan.

    1. I used to be weary of private entities providing a public service. But the more i realize how constrained, out-of-touch and just simply inept government is at all levels, the more i’m finding myself favor public-private partnerships. Many of the high speed rail networks around the world have been built and are operated in such ways. By no means am I anti-government, but one must admit that innovation is not something that government specializes in.

      1. Was that really “weary” or did you mean “wary”? It changes the meaning of the sentence fairly completely.

      2. Reyes, there’s a built-in conflict of interest with private companies operating public projects. By law, corporate management’s first duty is to its shareholders.

        When profits start to fall off, as will always happen with an enterprise ongoing enough to last through decades of business cycles, as the law really demands, the companies will lose a lot of their enterprising spirit.

        One thing about anything public: voters can change management every election.

        But even more than with private business, shareholders also titled “voters” have to learn enough about things like transit to give their elected employees intelligent orders.

        And be able to distinguish an honest, correct answer from the opposite kind.

        Mark Dublin

    2. There’s really no need for climate analysis: internal combustion vehicles are going to be a niche market by 2040. I’m glad to see metro integrating car share: repurposing unproductive suburban park and ride space to host station car/carsharing programs is one of the best ways to address the last mile problem in the suburbs. And the garages are ideally set up for mass charging of battery electric vehicles.

      1. Internal combustion vehicles are going to be a niche market by 2040? For any reasonable definition of “niche market”, I’d take the opposite side on that bet.

      2. host station car/carsharing programs is one of the best ways to address the last mile problem in the suburbs

        Only if you assume reliable driverless vehicles which return themselves to the station. Otherwise you have the “lost in the suburbs” problem on steroids.

      3. Internal combustion vehicles are going to be a niche market by 2040? For any reasonable definition of “niche market”, I’d take the opposite side on that bet.

        I actually think it’s reasonable to expect that few internal-combustion vehicles will be produced in the year 2040. Tesla’s production has been growing extremely quickly, and this should only accelerate as they introduce progressively lower-priced models. Meanwhile other car manufacturers are working to introduce their own electric vehicles.

        The numbers are still small, but if you consider the growth of electric vehicle manufacturing will follow more of an exponential curve than a linear one, majority market penetration could be less than a decade away, at least in the US. From there it’s only a matter of waiting for most existing vehicles to be removed from service. Again, 2040 isn’t a huge stretch there either.

        The process should only accelerate if and when we add some carbon taxes to widen the difference in operating costs between gasoline and electric.

      4. Exponential growth curves for market penetration? There’s a definitional hard limit of 100% market penetration, so… let’s knock that exponential curve down to a logistic curve, ‘eh?

        But before you hit the definitional limit, other limiting factors might take hold. What about the materials needed to manufacture all those batteries? That’s still a big problem for Tesla today, and part of the reason that as they lower price points we see shortages rather than even greater growth (including by competitors).

        What about the need for major capital investment spread around literally every inhabited place? To achieve majority market penetration a majority of buyers would probably need the ability to charge at home! Charging stations open to the public would have to be deployed at least as widely as gas stations, and probably more granularly! This is enormous, distributed investment, against the grain of cheap/broke/skeptical states and local governments, and increasing wealth consolidation. Tesla is growing fast among an enlightened fraction of high-wealth buyers. Will the same conditions hold outside that band?

      5. There’s really no need for climate analysis: internal combustion vehicles are going to be a niche market by 2040.

        Norfolk Southern is working on a road-haul battery powered locomotive. If that can be done then automobiles should be a piece of cake.

      6. How will an automatic car handle I-5 between Everett and SR101 any different than one with a human driver? Maybe even worse- a human driver can find and remember short-cuts.

        And from experience, know in advance when its necessary to get to the freeway-free alternative. Only advantage I can see is that if a car has room for a bed, a toilet, and an alarm clock, America’s chronic sleep shortage can start healing.

        Good movie scenario: Teenage hackers develop a video game where they take control of a whole freeway network full of automatic cars, with extra points for spectacular crashes.

        Whose victims turn into zombies, which award extra points when live people’s cars pulverize them. Ring of truth…being traffic-trapped for three hours really does leave people with a strong testable aptitude for cutting sugar cane all night in Haiti.

        Or real horror: Starbucks and McDonald’s start locking car doors and windows, and forcing people to roam the land like lost sheep, only able to eat genetically engineered fat and drink coffee whose list of wine-type subtle flavors includes charcoal.

        Even worse: to the extent that Seattle-area drivers get to personalize their computers’ programs- car accessory stores will never be able to stock enough computer operated robot middle-fingers to meet demand.

        So tell transit agencies to just get us some trains and buses. And let the computer world keep on giving trip plans so slow that no one will ever suffer a moving-vehicle injury.


    3. I wonder if what they have in mind is more of an on-demand bus service, similar to the one in Kansas City. I could see this making a lot of sense for areas that are hard to serve with fixed route transit. They can complement each other, of course. For many riders, the answer is to drop them off at a bus or train stop. I could easily see these being the wave of the future for solving the last mile problem. Unlike Uber, the software involved really enables a dramatic change in service. Uber is simply a computer interface over the old phone dispatch system. But a bus service that gathers up a dozen different trips and then determines how they all should be combined is much more sophisticated, and would benefit greatly from advanced algorithms that make it possible.

      Driverless vehicles are just the icing on the cake. Like all transit, it would benefit from the technology. But smaller vehicles benefit more from it. The cost per rider for a mini-van is much higher than the cost per driver for a large bus. As you say, though, for disabled or elderly riders, you would probably want an assistant, even if the assistant wasn’t a driver.

      1. As an on-demand local service I’m interested in seeing where small driverless vans will be by the time some of these lines are in service. My understanding is current dial-a-ride (DART) systems have limited success, but something like this already in service CityMobile2 shuttle combined with reserving a seat could be pretty efficient at serving near suburb areas that are still car dependent by design: For short 1/2 mile to 1.5 mile trips an electric bike share would also help with the longer gaps between RapidRide stops. I know it’s too long a walk for the 372 to be efficient for me even as a BRT, but a fully expanded bike share would make that route (and even Roosevelt HCT and Link) real options for my commute. The bike to the bus would be 5 minutes compared to a 20 minute walk that erases any time gains. Definitely a both/and approach to access to these relatively sparse but frequent and fast routes is important (frequent local network, ride share, bike share, pedestrian access). Even small park-and-rides will play a role, but I think big ones will be obsolete or relatively useless and definitely a poor investment in this time frame.

    4. Early in the document they spell out a goal of 70% of residents within a 1/2 mile of frequent service, and 85% of low-income residents within a 1/2 mile. I’m skeptical about some of the private options, too, but it doesn’t seem like they’re just punting those needs to the private sector. I hope it’s a both/and approach.

  2. A Rapid Ride version of the 372 would be very welcome. Wouldn’t the Kenmore-Overlake RR line be an upgrade to the 244, or would the route be vastly different from what the 244 currently is?

    1. It’s mostly like the 244, but serves Rose Hill in east Kirkland instead of the Willows Road commercial area in Redmond.

    2. THe Rapid Ride for 372 sounds promising for those whose commute is lengthy, but
      some plan would need to be made to provide for “local-ish” service to and from the
      UW along 25th NE and, perhaps, Lake City Way.

    3. I was so excited to see the RapidRide 372. The thing that surprised me is it looks like it will be delivered before the Roosevelt HCT based on that document.

  3. More of everything for everyone? Sounds too good to be true. I didn’t see anything about becoming more efficient at what they do, or anything about what this could cost everyone in today’s dollars.
    RR-F is a good example of putting lots of service out there – but at what cost and what result after two years. With 20 more RR routes being planned, it would be nice to know what RR #1 thru 6 are doing before converting more regular bus routes into bright red and orange bus routes.
    Every Link station sees a bus every 90 seconds in the peak? Really?

    1. Well RR E has the highest ridership of any Metro route. The RR C and D are packed. The RR A and B are among Metrost best performing suburban routes. AFAIK the RR F is the only RR line that hasn’t met or exceeded Metro ridership targets.

      1. The city is also working hard to convert some of these RapidRide lines to BRT. Right now they are basically just colored buses — frequent, but not especially fast. If they are made fast, then ridership increases, operation costs decrease, and farebox recovery soars. A lot of RapidRide runs then become very good values.

      2. Huh? RapidRide is BRT. Just read the ordinance and request for Federal Funds that Exec Sims and Co. put out for starters.

      3. There is also ‘basic BRT’ RR doesn’t even hit that mark. Real BRT looks like EmX in Eugene or the Healthline in Cleveland.

    2. Surprisingly, RR has been a success. It could be super amazingly much better (as we all know), but overall ridership as increased in the corridors where RR operates. I do agree with you that there should be a reassessment of the current RR. But more for how we can improve service for future expansion.

      1. Frequency makes a huge difference. The 7 is a close second to the E in terms of ridership, and it runs just about as often. It makes a huge difference if you don’t have to wait very long for a bus.

        One interesting anecdote. I have a friend who lives in Northeast Seattle, close to 65th and 35th. He can now either take the 76, or take the 65 to the train to his job downtown. He said the 65 is much faster, but in the evening, he usually takes the train because the combination is a lot more frequent. In other words, it is the frequency, not the speed, that matters most to him. I think that is true for a lot of people.

      2. I have to echo what RossB says. To me frequency is much more important than speed. I take the RR C every day to and from work. It takes 15-40 minutes depending on the traffic. I don’t really care too much about the speed though. What makes it appealing to me is that I simply walk to my stop and I know there’s going to be a bus there shortly.

        Even if there was a bus that was magically 15 minutes guaranteed, I wouldn’t take it unless the frequency was near RR.

      3. This. As one thinks of transit as a true network, rather than like a car where you catch the one route that you are familiar with and is fast, frequency is what provides that freedom and trusted-ness. Frequency is also what helps to prevent the “either I’m really early or I’m really late” situation.

        Say I’m working from home in Lake City and I get a call from my friends to join them for lunch in the ID. Lunch is at noon, I get the call at 11am; it takes me 10 minutes to get to the bus stop, I have a 15 minute window of lateness.

        Before the Metro restructure, basically I’m screwed. The routes are 522, maybe the 41. If I miss the 11:15, the single 41 (45 minutes ETA) that I can reasonably take I’ve missed. Every other 41, even the one that comes 15 minutes later, won’t work or will barely work. The every 30 minute 522, yes, if it runs past me between 11:15 and 11:30, sure, as it will get me to lunch in 30/35 minutes. But usually the 522 comes by at 11:10, so at point I’m generally screwed, as the next one is 11:40, which at 35 minutes makes me 15 minutes late.

        Now with the Metro restructure its night and day. In addition to the 522 and 41, I now have the 65, 75, 372 + Stevens Way hike + Link combo. Yes, it takes about 40-45 minutes, so not as fast as the 522, but the frequency of the combo generally means that as I walk along 125th, I can catch something every 5-7 minutes. It also means that more than likely I can appear for lunch beginning 10 minutes early, 5 minutes early, on time, 5 minutes late, 10 minutes late.

      4. Yes, frequency is an immense factor in shaping good service. As a longtime 358 rider who used to have to wait nearly 30 minutes for a bus at 9p, I am thankful for the E because my night trips have shortened due to shorter transfer times (I used to travel from SeaTac to Aurora Vill using the 174 & 358 – THAT was a long commute)

        But let’s take the A, B & E lines as examples. They’re somewhat long routes, and boarding one of them early in the route still tends to make for a long commute. My stop is 185th on the E. Many people hop on the A south of Des Moines and take it to SeaTac or the end. Aside from peak hour service, the B is your only option between dowtown-ish Bellevue and Redmond. I argue that we can have frequent 10 minute service all day and still have limited stops to make for incredible, efficient service that car-users would want to try.

      5. “But let’s take the A, B & E lines as examples. They’re somewhat long routes, and boarding one of them early in the route still tends to make for a long commute.”

        That’s why we’re building Link, so you don’t have to take RapidRide long distances. People are only doing it now because there’s no other choice. With frequent feeders and transit-lane improvements, taking Link from from Aurora endpoints such as 45th to 185th, or 85th to Edmonds Community College, or 185th to downtown may be preferable to taking the E and/or Swift the whole way, or at least an equal alternative.

    3. It says this will require additional funding, either a countywide tax increase or partnership with the cities a la Move Seattle or a better-than-expected economy or some combination thereof. It won’t all come from just restructuring and letting the service hours naturally increase.

      The RapidRides are based partly on the cities’ transit master plans. Seattle has one and is fulfilling it with Move Seattle, so Metro merely incorporated its routes and speculated how they might change under ST3 Link (e.g., the 40 becoming a Fremont – Lake City line). Bellevue has a TMP but so far hasn’t funded it (beyond the streets it’s rebuilding anyway for the Spring District). The Kent and Auburn lines may reflect the cities’ plans; I don’t know.

      That “1.5 minutes” sounds impressive but I don’t understand what it means. It’s similar to the saturation of Pacific Street every three minutes until North Link opens. But no single route is proposed for 1.5 minutes, so how does it help you if the routes are going different directions? We’ll have to see what’s really proposed, and not expect a bus every 1.5 minutes from our street.

      1. I agree, it’s a little puzzling. I interpret it as a way to state their goals for level of connectivity while leaving them the flexibility to provide that connectivity in ways that are appropriate to the geography of individual stations. You could have two routes on three minute frequencies in someplace dense but geographically constrained (especially where LINK would eliminate a bunch of routes), or you could run 10 routes on 15 minute frequencies. A better way to think of 1.5 buses a minute is 40 buses/hr.

        I bet that in practice it’s 1.5min frequency/station average, as it’s hard to imagine enough demand in Shoreline for 40 buses/hr, but the terminus in Ballard might support 60 or more buses/hr

      2. Mike, Metro considered several measures to communicate our work to integrate Metro service with existing, planned, and proposed light rail expansion. We used the average headway between arrivals across all stations in order to suggest the very high levels of service proposed for Link stations, and also to underscore the increased capital requirements to support frequent bus connections. Other statistics we looked at were that over 2,000 buses serve Link stations during the peak hour, and 30% of stations have arrivals every 60 seconds or more often.

    4. “Surprisingly, RR has been a success.”

      This shows that full-time frequent means something. Before RapidRide the 194, 230, 54, 15 and 18, 358, and 140 more or less dropped to half-hourly evenings and Sundays, so you had to get home by 7pm to avoid being caught in it. The only RapidRide promises that have been completely fulfilled are the frequency and the offboard ORCA readers. The transit/BAT lanes are spotty, the stop diet was partial, the real-time signs are sometimes wrong or say nothing. Signal priority may be OK; I can’t say I’ve noticed it. So the ridership can’t be due to these partial promises, which have actually driven some riders away. The ridership increase can most clearly be attributed to the frequency increase.

      1. The only reason I know for sure that there is signal priority on the A-line is that sometimes the signals at S. 240th street would sometimes change out of the normal order, and then a bus would come. Otherwise, it’s barely noticeable.

      2. Mike, you make a good point that the partial, clumpy promises aren’t the main reasons for attracting riders. Frequency has been the determining factors for me when choosing the E-line over the 512 at times (not many, but there have been some occasions). However, if we can have a RR route with travel times that are competitive with an express bus or even general traffic, then we can start attracting non-bus riders. I think the Swift is a good example. The times that i pass a Swift bus on Hwy 99, it always catches up to me at a traffic light or sometimes passes me by. Wasn’t all the hoopla over the Madison BRT based on the lack of bus lanes when SDOT released their first draft?

      3. RapidRide should have been called FrequentRide.

        @Reyes — The hoopla over Madison BRT was simply because it didn’t go far enough — further than the experts thought was necessary. Madison BRT will have bus lanes. Center running bus lanes, which is like nothing else in this city except Link. It will also have BAT lanes and (Oh No!) buses running with regular traffic in an area where the engineers say it is OK. If it isn’t, they will modify the route (AKA paint the street) and get the buses moving again.

    5. There’s clearly optimism at work here, and clearly stated requirements for extra funds to enable such a plan. But efficiency is clearly a part of the plan: they’re expecting a 100% increase in ridership with a 70% increase in service hours.

      This likely comes from three sources:

      1) Increased population density leads to increased ridership (and the relationship is better than linear, because increased density increases the viability of a bus network, in addition to the number of potential passengers). Where buses aren’t currently full, buses can become more full, increasing efficiency. Where buses are full, fares pretty much cover operating costs, so adding (full) busses doesn’t require any additional public spending (so efficiency increases, as those rides are “free”, from a tax perspective).

      2) Increasing the quality of the network, primarily with frequency and connections to link, increases ridership. The plan they lay out vastly increases the number of places you can get to quickly on public transit, so we should expect a big increase in ridership as the network has more value to more people.

      3) Rapidride, while not the level of BRT that we might like, implies a level of increased speed, via exclusive ROW, signal priority, offboard payment, etc. A huge growth in Rapid Ride, as in the proposal, implies a good number of buses will be running faster; more speed means more trips for the same service hours. Obviously this requires the cooperation of SDOT and others, so Metro can’t make too firm of promises as of yet, but multiplying 26 routes by high to very high frequency = a lot of buses to benefit from speed improvements.

      Added together, I think it’s reasonable that these effects provide enough increased efficiency to get to doubling ridership on 70% service hour increases. If you assume something like 50% population/economic growth, then you’re left with a 20% increase in subsidy from today’s level, shared among 150% of our current population, or 13.3% increase in taxation going to Metro. Not that much.

  4. Looks like metro still has the C & D lines still going downtown, instead of transferring to ST3 light rail.

    The doc mentions integration efforts, but doesn’t seem to spell out any specifics.

    1. I suspect Metro can’t assume ST3 lines in their plans until the lines are actually funded. Best not to make long-range plans on anything past ST2 until the funding is there,

      1. The D loses the Uptown deviation. The 40 is Fremont – Lake City. Those two presumably depend on Ballard Link.

    2. Assuming that ST3 passes, I would think the D line would be dismantled and converted to just a frequent, local route. Isn’t the point of BRT a placeholder for rail? As far as the E, it’s an unfortunate side effect of having rail operate long I-5 instead of SR99. Because there’s a lot of demand for intra-SR99 service, I think the E-line will become a permanent fixture on Aurora Ave.

      1. I think the D would stay, as it would connect many neighborhoods to the Green Line, including Belltown, local-ish service in Interbay, and everyone north of Market on 15th. Notice too that the D-Line is proposed to extend to Northgate, and the 40 extends to Lake City.

      2. The E would be needed in any case for in-between stops. Link on Aurora would function like Swift; i.e., stopping every 1-2 miles. And it wouldn’t run at all south of Northgate, at least not this Link line.

        A general transit rule is that if you put limited-stop rapid transit in a corridor and keep a local bus, ridership on both will increase in the long term. The entire network is more useful with both options, and that makes people more willing to use either one or the other or transfer between them. This would be the case for Aurora Link and the E, University Link and the 49 (Metro hopes), University Link and the 43 (I would recommend over the 49), etc. It has already occurred with Swift and the 101 in Snohomish County. Of course this only works in high-volume corridors; you couldn’t do it just anywhere. But assuming the corridors are the most “urban” in the area, it should generally be the case.

    3. In the 2040 Plan (after ST3 could open), the C Line is reconfigured into an Alki-Burien crosstown route akin to the current 128, meeting the rail line in the middle at the West Seattle Junction. “Delridge RapidRide” (AKA the 120) would continue to downtown on the SODO routing used by the 50 currently (I’m not sure why).

      The D would continue running downtown to provide local access from Ballard to Elliot Ave and Belltown (both bypassed by the ST3 Ballard route).

    4. Sound Transit hasn’t proposed making Link have stops close together enough that the rail could be a plausible replacement for the existing bus. Too many people would be left out of the transit walkshed entirely.

  5. Is RapidRide synonymous with the “Frequent” service definition from the doc?

    I didn’t see anything about the 8 in the doc. I’d imagine that will be long overdue for some special treatment, considering the corridor probably isn’t getting anything from ST3. Apparently the city wants to electrify that corridor, which would be a welcome improvement I’m sure.

    1. The 8 is perhaps the most interesting route restructure out there. It is dependent on Bertha finishing up the digging. Once that is done, the street grid will be enabled over Aurora, and a bus can go east-west between Mercer and Denny. It is safe to assume that such a bus route (on Harrison as shown) would involve bus lanes, if not signal priority. Thus getting from Queen Anne to South Lake Union would be faster on a bus than driving. Denny over the freeway remains a major issue, but I believe the city has plans for improving that, which would make a huge difference.

    2. The 8 moves to Harrison in SLU, and only uses Denny east of Fairview. Service on Denny west of Fairview is used by a new Queen Anne-Rainier Beach route via MLK, Rainier, and Boren.

      1. And the Central District portion of the 8 is dropped in priority to a local (infrequent) route that goes from Madison to Beacon Hill. MLK through the Central District would be incredibly easy to build in BAT lanes (unlike re-channelized 23rd), but neither Metro nor SDOT sees MLK as an important corridor.

      2. @ CD — That is a very good point. I think everyone (including myself) has hoped for fast transit along 23rd. It is just the better street. A few blocks to the west and you have plenty of people. A few blocks to the east and have, well, you have MLK. A few blocks to the east of of MLK and density really drops off.

        But if bus lanes can be built on MLK, then it would be worth it. It isn’t ideal from a density standpoint. It isn’t ideal from the standpoint of avoiding turns. But if it can be made much faster than 23rd, then it would be worth it.

    3. “Is RapidRide synonymous with the “Frequent” service definition from the doc?”

      It’s the same frequency category but RapidRide lines have more investment in transit lanes, off-board payment, real-time information, hotdog red buses, etc. The frequency commitment is “5-15 minutes, 20 hours a day”. Currently RapidRide lines are generally 10 minutes peak, 15 minutes off-peak. In the future I expect that RapidRide lines will move toward a 10-minute minimum while other “frequent” routes would remain at 15.

      1. Some of the corridors slated for RapidRide investment, like 45th, the Leary portion of the 40, or parts of the “P” line, I’m not sure what you could do with them in terms of transit lanes or even deluxe stops. It seems like Metro hasn’t learned from the “RapidRide creep” problems afflicting the existing routes.

  6. The mythical UW-Ballard rapid route rises again! I’d love to see it, but I don’t think it can be done on the current 44 route. Seems like it would require taking out all the parking in Wallingford, which: lol those will be some fun community meetings.

    1. That is the easy part. I really think people overestimate the opposition to removing parking. A lot of parking was removed on Madison, and not much came of it. The complaints from businesses on 23rd were centered around the street being chopped up, not the lack of parking. There are only a handful of parking spaces along a given arterial, and it really is crazy to think that it essential, especially for a street like 45th. I can sympathize with a place along Lake City Way, for example, since the intersections are huge, and there often isn’t parking on the other streets. But 45th isn’t that way. It is a grid. Just turn the corner and park there. There are dozens of cases in the city where you can’t park on an arterial, and it has nothing to do with bus service (e. g. Denny Way).

      The hard part is signal priority. There are just too many major intersections that involve major north-sound corridors. Not much in Wallingford, but Aurora is a major concern. While the road goes under the highway, there are exit ramps that will build up with traffic (which will back up onto the highway). Then there is 15th, which is a major north-south route (that wants signal priority of its own). I think there can be big improvements made, but I think it is optimistic to assume that it can get the kind of speeds that Roosevelt BRT can get. In both cases, though, a lot depends on how much money will be spent and how aggressive the city is in making changes.

      1. “A lot of parking was removed on Madison, and not much came of it.”

        Not enough, heh heh – there still is for some reason a block and a half eastbound at around 12th that still allows on street parking, and there is no apparent need for it there as opposed to elsewhere where it was removed. It’s the only place between Broadway and 23rd where the lane can be blocked during non-rush hours, and it forces traffic out of that lane back to the inner lane. I’ve never figured that one out.

    2. SDOT is already planning to disappoint some 45th car-parkers. RapidRide 44 is in early design, and they’re heading toward center lanes in part of it. I’ve heard contradictory things about whether it would be between Wallingford and 15th NE or east of 15th NE, but either way it shows the kinds of things they’re considering. There hasn’t been an open house yet but it will be more concrete then. I don’t believe transit lanes are possible on the hill between Phinney and 8th NW because there are only three lanes total and no parallel roads for cars. So I don’t think we’ll see end-to-end transit lanes, but we’ll probably see a substantial displacement of parking.

      1. Bus lanes between Wallingford and 15th NE would have a lot more impact than east of 15th, right? Particularly center lanes?

        Not too far east of 15th you hit the viaduct, and I doubt they’ll squeeze more than three lanes onto it; the uphill lanes are wide, but the overall width of the roadway can’t be much more than 40′. East of the viaduct you hit the “stroad” part, where lots of private vehicles need to turn left…

        Consolidating left turns to and from 45th at particular signalized intersections could be a good thing along the entire corridor. It’s most natural in the most urban part, from I-5 to the viaduct, where using other streets for local access will usually be possible, and is already done. In Wallingford this would result in more traffic on side streets at more times (today it’s more limited to areas around schools during schooltime-rush-hour, and the blocks immediately around the QFC and Wallingford Center all the time). On the stroady portion, where the road is wide and the local street network is not well connected… maybe the most realistic good solution would be encouraging more and better pedestrian connectivity between and through adjacent parking lots, banning many left turns into and out of driveways, and allowing U-turns at the major signalized intersections.

        After SDOT’s silly response a couple years ago to the high rate of collisions in front of Dick’s it would be great to see them do something smarter by getting rid of left turns entirely. A complete response would require the state to stop issuing vehicle licenses for jacked-up trucks, at least as standard passenger vehicles (i.e. “Want to drive a truck with lousy close-range visibility as a fashion statement? Fine — equip it with the necessary mirrors, get the bumper down to a standard height, and get a CDL.”).

      2. >> I don’t believe transit lanes are possible on the hill between Phinney and 8th NW because there are only three lanes total and no parallel roads for cars.

        Good point. My guess is that they will get rid of one of the two east bound lanes, and add a turn lane. That change is probably long overdue (I’m not sure why there are two east bound lanes and one west bound lane). At it is, there is no turn lane for 3rd (an arterial) as well as streets like 46th, a dead end street that is only accessible by Market, and contains plenty of apartments. I would imagine the bus is held up on occasion by folks turning left.

        With turn lanes, a bus could still be stuck in regular traffic, but I don’t think that is the worst part of that route. Signal priority through there (always making the light at 3rd) might be a more positive change than having your own lane.The good news is that once you are down the hill (before 8th) you could grab another lane. The bad news is that it wouldn’t be a parking lane, but a regular lane. To me, taking a regular lane is a much bolder thing. Taking parking has been done for years (right there, on Market, you can see that they don’t allow parking). But removing a lane means that you can really snarl up regular traffic. Even for those that don’t care (damn the single person driver!) it can have negative repercussions from a bus standpoint.

        Giving the 44 BRT type treatment is one of the more interesting projects around. It is full of challenges, and full of potential. I was very skeptical at first, but now believe that SDOT may be able to make some huge improvements. I don’t think it will ever be blazing fast (unlike some BRT routes or a subway) but it could be much, much faster. I could easily see a doubling of average speed, if not more.

      3. I agree, Al. The area west of 15th — or even just west of I-5 — is where the biggest speed improvement will come. I also agree that reducing the number of left turns will allow regular traffic to move much faster as well. Likewise the elimination of parking. Parking along here is parallel, which means every time someone grabs a spot, a whole line of cars is held up. Left lane running, with the occasional turn out for left turns makes a lot of sense to me. There is a better grid there than most of the city, with 50th and 40th serving as nice parallel arterials. So much so that you could easily get rid of most of the left turns without much harm.

      4. Of course, faster-moving traffic closer to the curb amounts to an undoing of the road diet in Wallingford and turns it back into a four-lane arterial from a pedestrian perspective. The loss of functional unsignalized crosswalks and simple/short signal cycles to cross 45th in central and western Wallingford would be a bit sad. Once you’re east of Corliss or so through-traffic dominates to where you’ll usually only cross without a signal at night, so it’s not a big deal there.

        If I were King of Seattle I’d cut down traffic on 45th in eastern Wallingford and the U District by making the I-5/45th interchange HOV-only. If I were King of Seattle there would be a coup within about a week.

      5. As someone who loves road diets, I would say it is worth it. One of the best things about road diets is that it prevents passing. This prevents weaving, and it keeps the speed down. You can’t go 40 MPH on 125th anymore, at least not when I’m on it. Tailgate me all you want, I’m going the speed limit. A street like 45th calls for even lower speed limits. If you are in a hurry, you picked the wrong street. So, with four lanes, two general purpose and two transit, you achieve much the same thing.

        About all you lose is the ability to easily cross the street. The city won’t put up non-metered cross walks if there are four lanes. It is too easy for someone to pass a driver, and hit someone. This can’t happen with two regular lanes and two transit lanes, so maybe they will add these. On the other hand, maybe the city should insist on meters everywhere, that way the bus doesn’t have to stop for a pedestrian (signal priority applies to walk/don’t walk signals as well). For those brave enough to jaywalk, life isn’t that bad. Buses don’t come by that often, so it isn’t that hard to find the gap and go for it. It sound easier than crossing 36th in Fremont (not that I would no anything about that).

    3. I think there are some optimistic posters here! I live in North Fremont and am on the neighborhood blogs from Wallingford, and people there are *already* pissed about parking due to new apartments and townhouses in the neighborhood…when SDOT comes after the commercial parking on 45th, it will be a battle royale. Expect lots of “small business owners” in the fight as well, especially once every space north or south of 45th goes residential permit.

      FWIW, I fully favor the project, I just haven’t figured out how to make it palatable to residents and businesses in the corridor. I’ll take the under on just about any bet on how many spaces are actually removed.

      Related question – in Seattle would it be possible / desirable to mitigate with new or re-purposed off street parking? There are actually a lot of underutilized spaces all along that corridor, but most are dedicated to specific retail or service users.

      1. Tell everyone along that corridor that good transit can be great for business. I avoid that area because it is both hard to drive and the buses are so damn slow. This will bring in a lot of business from Ballard and the U-District. When Link adds a station at 45th, business will come in from all over the city. Those that drive will do what they always did — park on the side streets. When you add it up, you really aren’t talking about many parking spots. Now, if they change the parking on all the side streets, it is a different matter. Two hour parking is often the best way to go for that sort of thing.

      2. If building a (hopefully market-rate) parking structure is what it took to turn the 44 into BRT, I would be all for that and I don’t even own a car. Wallingford likes to claim that it has a booming business district, but there’s still plenty of space for off-street parking. Wallingford Center, the QFC parking lot, and the old Velvet Foam parking lot all come to mind.

        I wonder, though, how much better Wallingford businesses would be doing if people could actually get to them without fighting traffic? The 44 improvement project certainly promises that.

  7. I’m quite surprised to see my Federal Way express survive. But then again, some of these weird expresses are just weird. Like Snoqualmie to Auburn, or Edmonds to Redmond. Are these just one or two peak trips and that’s it? What kind of ridership do they think they’ll get on these, as opposed to Seattle expresses that can be competitive with link, especially off peak?

    I think a good case study of link truncation that could be done this year is routing the 157 to angle lake station and dramatically improving the small span of service and number of trips (4 trips per direction I think).

    1. I saw Edmonds-Redmond too haha. CT used to operate a peak Edmonds-Redmond route but axed it due to low ridership. I’m not sure what MT is thinking here and why they would provide service to Snohomish co.

    2. Supposedly the expresses would be all day 15-30 minutes. However, talking with a Metro consultant, it’s not 100% certain which ones would be all day so some of them may be peak only. I’d be more interested in going to Edmonds in the daytime than in commuting from it (although there is one job I could take that would be a commute to Edmonds). But remember, this is predicting 2040 ridership, not 2016. Metro may have reason to believe that routes into Edmonds and Montlake Terrace would benefit King County by then.

      1. It just seems obscure. Unless CT & MT are in top secret talks to combine agencies, whatever projections for growth in the Edmonds/King-Snoho area can easily be met by CT service. Sidenote: according to a CT planner, the agency is very adamant about extending Swift to 185th St. I can see the E-Line starting there too. But I’m not sure how residents along 185th feel about artics going through every 3 minutes…

      2. CT has stated that Swift would go to 185th. However, Metro’s LRP doesn’t show it for the E. But there are several other routes going to 185th and 145th stations, so maybe Metro thinks that matches people’s trips better. CT’s reroute will provide a same-stop transfer between the E and Swift without detouring into Aurora Village. That’s probably more important than connecting the E to Link at 185th. If you want to go to Link, why not take an east-west route instead of the E? There are only a few areas where taking the E to Link would be clearly advantageous. Especially if Aurora Village is must-serve: that would force either backtracking to 185th Station or a longer trip to Mountlake Terrace Station. Is that really so worthwhile?

        “whatever projections for growth in the Edmonds/King-Snoho area can easily be met by CT service”

        The proposal is an express on Edmonds – Mountlake Terrace Station – Lake Forest Park – Bothell – Totem Lake – Willows Road – Redmond. That’s mostly King County. A CT express would be from Edmonds directly to Redmond with maybe one stop at 405 BRT for Google, without any of the others. A CT local would be a long trip to the county border, for another long express trip to Redmond, so not very competitive if the goal is to give northeast King County access to Edmonds. It’s not clear what the goal is if it’s not guaranteed to be all-day two-way. If it is, then people from King County might take it to the Edmonds ferry terminal or downtown Edmonds. And it is the southernmost cities in Snoho, not further north. The only other Snoho routes are local ones to Mountlake Terrace Station (from Meridian, and from Kenmore), which is probably useful to those areas, and they follow the existing precedent of the 347. Also, somebody needs to do something to connect north and south Bothell better, and it looks like that’s all on CT, so there’s a tit-for-tat.

      3. With the recent hoopla about Link lately, I’ve been thinking about Aurora Village a lot. This may seem far-fetched, but go with me for a sec. With the introduction of 185th St Station, I believe it is worth reassessing the usefulness of Aurora Village TC. Both CT and MT will be restructuring their routes to serve Mountlake Terrance and 185th as much as possible. Thus, the investment of service that is currently going to AVTC would be reallocated to feed into Link instead. Basically, I would like to see 185th become the new Aurora Village.

        When I suggested CT could meet the projected growth, I meant more of the Snohomish Co area rather than the entire proposed Redmond corridor. I can see service between Cascadia, SR 522, SR 104 to Edmonds, but not all the way to Redmond. It would have to be broken up somewhere . . like 185th! It’ll be fun once open houses and comment periods start going in a few years. in the meantime, I’ve been following LA Metro’s Expo Line expansion and how BigBlueBus is restructuring their routes for kicks and giggles.

  8. While out of the scope of this document, I would like to see some PT/ST funds used to extend RR “A” also known as route 671 to Tacoma. My wife recently asked me why so such cross county lines service existed and my only awnser was because the county line is there. This could be an interim project until 2033 when LINK opens, or a more perminate feature. I would think most of the service could be paid for with ST funds, and PT could probably eliminate the 500 route and possibly even portions of the 501 from downtown to fife to help pay for the service, or reinvest those service hours in the community.

    1. This is what, in my opinion, ST should do exclusively from now on. The spine is ridiculous, rail for many of the suburban locations as well, but there is real need for bus service that crosses county lines.

      1. Ross, if “The Spine” is a ridiculous concept for transit, why is I-5 Ungreatfully Dead Heavy Metal every single rapidly-lengthening rush hour? The People’s feet seem to be voting accelerator, and their rear-ends favoring car seat cushions by a wide margin.

        Or maybe the idea is that freeways will function like an insect-eating plant. The freeway system will in fact start tempting cars off surface streets, onto conveyor belts keeping names like I-5 and I-405.

        Resulting in former contents of streets and arterials being reclaimed as scrap metal and organic petroleum-free lubricants. So give Spines a break.

        Haven’t we had enough of invertebrate approaches to Government and its efforts in our region?


  9. It looks like they assume that ST3 will pass, but don’t assume that a station will be added at NE 130th. Or, at the very least, they aren’t influenced by it. Looking at the 2040 map, which is a decent summary of bus service in general, what jumps out at me the most is how the Northgate Transit Center destroys the grid. No other area has such a convoluted set of routes. Northgate Way is treated as a wall, forcing riders to make a huge detour if they want to get from Lake City to Ballard, or even just the east side to the west side. This would be understandable if there was something huge at Northgate. If you didn’t know any better, you might assume this was a downtown area, or maybe there was a major university there. But there isn’t. Just a poorly placed transit center, that screws up the grid. Someone from Lake City trying to get to Bitter Lake would have to go down to 92nd, assuming they took these routes. That is ridiculous.

    A station as well as a RapidRide route along NE 130th would improve things dramatically. You would still have a gap around Northgate Way, as buses are pulled into the transit center, but the possibility would exist for a decent grid for the north end.

    1. Are you looking at the Frequent network, or just the Rapid Ride? On the 2040 network, the frequent 1007 (75) runs from Lake City to Shoreline CC via 130th and Bitter Lake. Also, the frequent 1019 (65) runs from Lake City to Shoreline CC via 145th. The service you want is there; they just don’t think it deserves Rapid Ride. Which… well, there is more at Northgate than 130th, and there’re a lot more points of Frequent/RR distinction to quibble with than this. (Kenmore-Overlake RR? Seriously?)

      1. Ah, good catch. I didn’t check out the frequent network. That looks much better.

        I would still change things up a bit, but overall that looks like a much better network. Personally I would have the 1015 serve Bitter Lake and Lake City (via Greenwood and NE 130th) as opposed to the Northgate Transit Center. The double reverse, I-think-we-lost-them maneuver to get there will just kill ridership along there. Per mile or per minute, I think ridership is much higher with the northern route. Greenwood has plenty of people, Bitter Lake has plenty of people (and is poised to grow), Lake City has plenty of people (and is growing), Pinehurst has decent ridership. But more than anything, the bus route is fast, because there are very few twists and turns. This makes it a lot more popular. I see high ridership along that route the whole way, whereas with the current routing, it will drop off dramatically between 85th and Northgate (people would take the far more direct 1010).

        To fill in that gap, the 1512 could end at the Northgate Transit Center. I think that is a much better balance of service. The 1512 starts in Magnolia and goes up 8th. That isn’t a huge number of riders, but still decent. There is no reason to go on 3rd with frequent service (it is debatable whether there should be any service on 3rd). So cutting over and heading to the Northgate Transit Center would provide decent “frequent” coverage for Holman Road and 105th.

      2. I should add that while I think the higher level of service is justified on the fastest means to get from Lake City to Ballard (via NE 130th) I think this still represents a huge improvement in service. I personally would use transit a lot more often, even though Pinehurst doesn’t get much love in the “Rapid” department. Simply having “frequent” (which I gather to mean every 15 minute) service is a huge improvement.

      3. RossB, Just a clarification – the draft Long Range Plan does include all proposed ST3 projects as well as provisional stations. Frequent service is every 10 minutes or more frequent at peak, 15 minutes off peak.

    2. How can you say that when there’s a frequent route on 125th/130th to Shoreline CC, Sand Point Way, and U-District Station. Isn’t that what we’ve been asking Metro to do? Doesn’t this “assist the Sound Transit Board as it develops an ST3 system plan for voter consideration” as the website puts it? Doesn’t it show ST that there will be a 125th/130th route with or without 130th Station, so ST might as well build the station.

      1. We posted at the same time. I didn’t see the “Frequent” designation, but was just looking at the “Rapid” one. The line is definitely a step in the right direction (but I would still alter the priorities a bit, as stated above).

    3. While the cross-town is route is nice, and I would use it a few times a year, this still sends folks to Northgate to get downtown. That doubles the commute time for the average poor soul in Lake City, compared to the 522. 40 minutes a day. 200 days a year. 4000 minutes a year lost to the “new and improved” 50 billion plus investment in transit for everyone who works downtown in one of the densest parts in the entire state.

      I’m still selling my house and moving to Issaquah.

      1. Would it send folks from Lake City to Northgate? I suppose it depends on which bus comes first and which part of Lake City you are at. If I have a choice, I’m taking the 1996 bus to NE 130th, not down to Northgate. It isn’t “rapid”, but it is “frequent”. Worth mentioning is that this is just a draft. I see this area being tweaked quite a bit.

      2. I have only read mockery and derision from ST officials, when asked about the push for 130th St. Station. That and the fudging of the ridership numbers downward, and I see little hope for a station there.

        So Lake City ridership is very likely doomed to wallowing in the car-sewer that is Northgate mall.

        People like me moved to Lake City with the reasonable expectation maintaining the obvious commute along Lake City Way, the historical north-south route to downtown. Only in some dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare vision run by transit “planners” who’s neural nets had been warped into grids, would anyone have plausibly thought that after 100 billion dollars and 50 years worth of work, their commute time would end up doubling.

      3. Folks haven’t given up on getting a NE 130th station on ST3. There will be a community meeting held Tuesday, May 3rd at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Pinehurst. If ST3 fails (or they fail to put this station on the ballot) then I believe the city will find a way to build it. I’ve been told as much, but not officially.

      4. I hope you are right, but I’m much more pessimistic than you.

        I’m mulling starting a page 2 post:

        “How I Stopped Worrying and Started to Love Sprawl”

        All the powers that be are motivating the move to the boonies.

        It’s really just a matter of choosing the best spot:

        Issaquah’s going to have better transit than Lake City, so perhaps that dozen acres of virgin forest. Cut down those 500 hundred pesky old-growth,build my dream house, and drive my hummer to the park and ride.

        I think I better route would be finding a nice coastal lot near down south of Des Moines though. something about 102 feet up with a nice sound view, so it will be waterfront in no time, given Sound Transit’s blatant CO2 emitting policies of sprawly-spiny-sprawly-spew. It’ll move my transit timeline up and I’ll have better transit that both Issaquah and Lake City. Downgrading to a pick-me-up-truck, and driving into the city of…, er… the parking lot of Federal Way and parking for FREEE!!

        Got’s me a plan. Anyone looking for a house in Lake City, check the listings the middle of next week.

      5. Nah. Try Lacy or the unnamed tangle west of Gig Harbor or Fox Island. Vast square miles of lots for sale with nary a bus stop sign or sidewalk or bike lane to be seen.

      6. You misunderstand, Glen. I’m looking for spots with GOOD transit. Based on the plans, it’s Issaquah or Federal Way area. I guess I consider some spot over the Slough in Everett, but it’ll be a bit of a wait to make it up there.

  10. A big congratulations to Metro, a long-range plan is exactly what we need to have some idea which direction transit is going, and whether it’s safe to buy a house or rent an apartment at some location with some assurance of frequent transit to useful places.

    Metro, please publish a list of routes like the one I started. It’s hard to analyze them by clicking route-by-route on the map. Individual route maps like those in the bus schedules would be much appreciated. (My list has stalled because my home Internet has been down since Friday, and it’s not happening on my phone.)

    As far as I can tell so far the plan generally follows transit best practices by focusing on rapid/frequent routes between urban villages and activity centers. This is not surprising if you read between the lines of the past few restructures, looking at Metro’s intent rather than the outcome: all the restructures since 2012 (except the notorious 38-Rainier) have started with a frequent-corridor proposal, and the flaws were due to political compromises or limited service hours rather than Metro’s desire. So I see a lot in the draft I like. There are also things that may not be necessarily better than an alternative, but they’re not worse either. I haven’t found anything that’s definitively worse than an alternative yet.

    The biggest disappointment is in those 60-minute transit circles. It’s great that they overlap along Link corridors, but when you go other directions it still takes a long time. For instance, from Highline College you hit the 60-minute mark at Alki and Renton. That means you can kiss goodbye the idea of getting from Highline College to Overlake in an hour, or Federal Way to Bellevue, etc. Shouldn’t that be a goal for a 25-year plan within one county? Maybe you can’t get from Federal Way to Woodinville in an hour because they’re the furthest corners of the county and not major activity centers, but surely getting from both of them to the central Eastside should be a goal?

    The second biggest disappointment is it’s still an hour from Kent Station to downtown, going via the new RapidRide to KDM Station and Link. That’s still not better than the 150. Hourly Sounder could alleviate this partly but ST hasn’t committed to that yet.

    The expresses in the far east raise eyebrows; i.e., everything east of Auburn. But I’ll reserve judgment until there’s an actual proposal with a specific bus size and frequency, and we can see if we can find any of their theoretical riders. When I talked to a consultant at the Ballard open house, he said it’s still not 100% decided whether all those express routes will run all day; at minimum it could just mean “Peak expresses will remain.”

    Regarding alternative services, again we should reserve judgment until it’s clearer what it means. The takeaway now is that Metro is thinking somewhat out of the box, and asking the smaller cities what would be most effective for them, as well as cost-efficient. I could see vans on some of these questionable express routes. To respond to Robert Cruikshank, Metro does need to look at costs in the lowest-volume areas, and maybe there’s a way to meet people’s needs better with lower-cost services. Snoqualmie Valley Transit has been going well, and the corridor (North Bend – Duvall) is actually slated for an increase in the proposal (currently ca. 90 minutes Mon-Fri, proposed 30 min including weekends if the “Local” standard is adhered to).

  11. Well, the anti-130th Street Station forces have clearly won. There is not even planned to be a local service all the way across 125th/130th by 2040. How short-sighted is that even in the absence of a station there?

      1. I missed it. William corrected me up top as well (thanks). Click on frequent and you can see orange routes appear, including one that crosses 125th/130th. I wish they had picked something besides orange (it looks too much like a regular arterial to me) but you get used to it. My comments about “Rapid” versus “Frequent” priority up above (

        I do think NE 130th is a given, with or without ST3. I think the city will eventually pay for it, if it comes to that.

    1. I did click on Frequent and see that there is a bus which runs across 125th to Roosevelt, up Roosevelt to Fifth NE and 130th then turns south on Fifth NE. When double clicked and “highlighted” it turns into what is essentially today’s 75 rerouted from Northgate Way (yay!). It’s numbered “1996”.

      There is also a section on North 130th between Greenwood and Meridian. If you double click and then “highlight” the “1997” it it turns out to go from Northgate TC south to 92nd over to College Way up Meridian around Haller Lake to 130th then over to Greenwood to Shoreline CC. I guess it’s a shuttle for students enrolled in both colleges who need to pass between classes.

      But between Fifth NE and Meridian there is no service other than a “Local” service, the 3007 which runs on 130th between First and Fifth NE on its way between Aurora Village and Northgate TC’s. There is nothing between First NE and Meridian North on 130th, nothing at all. Even if the benighted 3007 continued on to Meridian before turning north it would be a three-seat ride between Lake City and Bitter Lake. That’s not a “grid” and it’s certainly tantamount to Metro saying “we don’t believe that 130th deserves priority transit service” which will be amply used by the Shoreline and Snohomish County folks in the back-room discussion taking place right now about the final package.

      1. Oops. Forgot to turn off one of the “emphasis” thingies. An edit function PLEASE!

      2. Ah, I see – you’re looking at 2025; I’m looking at 2040. Yes, I agree with you, the 2025 package badly needs an all-130th route.

      3. Oh, I see that 1007 in 2040. Wow, that’s a long time to wait for a bus from 130th and Greenwood to Lake City. Anybody got a sandwich; I’m worried I’ll get hungry.

      4. Fix proposal: In the 2025 map, I see there’re two frequent routes – the 1995 from Montlake Terrace, and the 1997 from Shoreline CC – running on Meridian south of 130th. I’d recommend moving one of them over to Fifth NE, which would let you extend the 1996 (75) to Bitter Lake instead of turning south on Fifth to Northgate.

      5. I think you mean 1997, not 1998. 1998 provided an improvement in the grid, along with service to Ingraham and Northwest Hospital (which is not visible on the Metro map, but just south of Haller Lake).

        I agree that the designation of the 3007 as local seems a bit harsh and a bit arbitrary. I think it is especially bad between 130th and Northgate Way. Right now 5th is served by the 41, one of the more frequent bus routes out there. Now they would get something at the lowest level of service. Folks around there can walk to the station at NE 130th (or just up to catch the bus on 125th) but that is a much longer walk than today.

        Part of the problem in general is that it makes sense to run these routes to the north, but density just drops off the cliff once you go past the city line. Both of these routes have decent ridership in Seattle. The 1998 has a hospital, some apartments and a high school while the 3007 has apartments (and the possibility of a rezone next to the 130th station). Meanwhile, in Shoreline, you really don’t have much for these routes except for North City (1998) and Echo Lake (3007). Both of those areas can be served well with other frequent service. It really is the Seattle area that would be missing out. I do see the need for some modifications to the bus routes in the area (Maple Leaf and Northgate are treated as more densely populate than they are while other areas are the reverse).

      6. Scrap that parenthetical — I misread the routing priority. Maple Leaf doesn’t come out ahead with this routing (a fairly frequent run becomes a local).

      7. Regarding timing, I see no reason why most of this isn’t built in 2025, if not sooner. Most of this is independent of ST3. A station at NE 130th would be built when Link gets to Lynnwood (it is a lot cheaper that way) which means it would be ready in 2023.

  12. Over time-frame mentioned here, there’s no telling what nature and plate tectonics have in mind for our region, let alone local and national economy. Or politics. Ditto for technology at any level.

    So: best take Rudyard Kipling said a hundred years ago in praise of a friend of his who was a heroic moron who attacked South Africa and got his whole unit wiped out…

    “IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

    Which really meant, as every woman in the British Isles knew as she lined the cat-box with the poem, “A Woman, my daughter!”, and “A country, my country”, and “All Creation, Whoever’s in Charge!”

    Governments and agencies? Read the ghastly history of those islands, and thank all the forces in the Universe worst thing we have to deal with is I-5 at rush hour, and inventing a report-burning engine.


  13. There is certainly lots of assumptions made here. Many of them are debatable.

    My biggest concern is the self-serving nature of the document. At its core, it expects no significant organizational changes to Metro. That may be fine for a small area, but with ST3 picking away hundreds of thousands of King County riders and subarea equity issues increasingly on the table (Municipal supplemental services, service hours by subarea questions), I see a very different outcome for Metro’s service allocation than what is presented here.

    1. All potentially true, but see my paragraph above. You can’t expect those kinds of discussions in a single-agency document. Any such changes would be brokered between agencies and likely be crisis-driven, so you wouldn’t see them in a rosy LRP.

      1. Zach, with your perspective, I’d like your take on this

        A quarter century ago, a judge ruled that the electoral arrangement underlying the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle- specifically created to get politics out of the way of public works- needed adjustment.

        Which could easily have been fixed by adding a representative or two to the Metro Council. If the elected governments it served could have agreed on the necessary change.

        Fact they couldn’t is something that needs changing before 2040 much worse than any specific transit operating agency. Though retirement and Nature’s own term limits are fastest cure for civic defects. Starting with out-of-date governmental arrangements.

        How many of us ever answer the question “Where do you live?” with the name of a county? And what’s the largest industry or business association with that reference? Individually, in our lifetimes, as people our own answer with have “Seattle” in it.

        But since the global economy sees regions, by 2040 and beyond, it’s likely that whatever color our vehicles are painted, their logo will include the name or first letter of a one. Comprising either be three counties or three States.

        What do you think, Zach?

        Mark Dublin

    2. “with ST3 picking away hundreds of thousands of King County riders”

      All of the Eastside ST3 projects together are 29-37K riders, many of which are Snoco and S. King riders on I-405 BRT, and many more are coming out of ST Express rather than Metro.

      So the Metro LRP is a big deal. For the many riders who aren’t near the spine (and quite a few who are), it’s the roadmap to far more useful service than anything ST3 will deliver.

      1. Ballard-SLU and West Seattle will improve transit service delivery in Seattle pretty significantly, and more Seattle voters will be increasingly less reliant on Metro. That will have political repercussions on future resource allocations.

      2. But it won’t change the fact that people also go from Ballard to Lake City, Pinehurst to Greenlake, Alki to everywhere, up and down Aurora, Renton to everywhere, etc. The death of Metro is greatly exaggerated.

    3. The purpose of the LRP is a route network, not a structural change. It’s outside Metro’s authority to change its structure or merge with other agencies. If you want that you should be talking to the King County Council and asking them to propose something.

      What “different outcome for Metro’s service allocation” are you thinking of? This is the time to describe it, and to tell Metro to do it. To me the draft is a reasonable plan for feeders to ST’s services, and substitutes for ST for areas it doesn’t run serve.

    4. Light rail should complement and enhance the bus network, not replace it. Bus ridership should go up not down, after spending billions on a light rail system. The fact that you (and many others) see this as “replacing” riders, just shows how poorly ST has done in that department.

      1. I’m not saying that Metro will go away. I’m saying that Metro will be viewed differently in the future as more voters will see Metro as one of two providers and not the sole provider of transit. Consider that if there are two major police departments where there had been one in your neighborhood, you will expect the new one that you funded to do some things the first one was doing and you would expect the first department to change its approach to serving the public. A different Metro is inevitable.

      2. I think that is already the case, though. I think people view ST as the express service — if not the better bus service — than Metro. If ST happens to provide the bus route you want, then it is excellent. But you sure wouldn’t want to depend on it to get around town. Despite that perception, I don’t see anything changing, though. Metro will still carry way more riders than ST, and still have the responsibility of covering more areas.

      3. Metro has increasingly been seen as the feeder service to Link already in SE Seattle and will be that way across the entire city by 2041 if ST3 passes. Exclusively Metro trips will be a shrinking proportion of transit trip making. That’s a big change in roles. That’s a change in trip length on the bus for many – yet this service plan map seems to downplay this inevitable, changed role,

        Consider that ST3 will result in 5 high- speed ways through and out of Downtown Seattle. It will result in 5 high-speed ways out of Downtown Bellevue.

        That should mean that this plan should be more focusing on how to plan for better and faster transferring to Link and not focus so much on slower long RapidRide services in increasingly congested traffic, Metro may say they will carry more riders but many riders are going to first ask themselves ‘can I take Link?’ for any trips over 4 miles in the future. Many more Shoreline residents will probably prefer to transfer to Link to get to Downtown Seattle rather than RapidRide E in 2040, for example – because it’s faster, more comfortable, more frequent and more reliable, Link will be the transit mode of choice for longer trip segments.

  14. On page 6 of the report, distance you can get to in a certain time is not entirely true. I used to go to Highline College, and I could get to my house well outside of the 60-minute “blob” in under an hour, with two buses (and both still operate). In fact, the trip normally took around 50 minutes, and my personal best with the 197 instead of the A-line and a really close transfer is 37 minutes.

    1. I think they are including average wait time. In other words, this is the “decide to leave now without consulting a schedule” travel time.

      1. The note says they are (including average wait time), and I’d bet the transfer penalties are half the headway of the route being transferred to (assuming they don’t have schedules drawn up for these networks…which would seem like a waste of time at this point).

        It’s also midday travel — so the times when frequencies are worst.

      2. These travel sheds include walk and wait time. The trips shown are at midday, when average wait times are slightly longer than at peak.

  15. If we are talking about 2040, we should be putting a capital facilities plan in the front seat of this document. Bus service can be adjusted but garages and transit centers can’t be so flexible.

    To that end, I’m disappointed that there isn’t more attention to how to better partner with cities and ST and other King County functions to get good facilities in place. In particular, I’m afraid that we could end up with site layout catastrophes like Mt Baker Transit Center or the future 145th Station missing Metro interface or the unresolved Mercer Island transfer debate or the layover issues in several areas. Should Metro acquire land and install a transit center at a future ST station or expect ST to do that? Should King County be building or moving other public facilities in such a way to improve transit access to them or to continue to treat Metro as a responder to projects pursued by other departments rather than a driver about how those projects get planned? Should Metro be better included in a city’s site plan review process?

    1. Good questions. ST has recently changed its policy to be pro-active in dense station areas and affordable housing near stations (where they aren’t in the middle of nowhere, yuk). In ST2 it focused on having the smallest alignment footprint to keep property takings the smallest, but that limited what it could do in station areas. Now it’s willing to go for larger construction footprints, and to turn over the property for dense development and affordable housing. That would be an antidote to strip malls that just won’t go away. Unfortunately it’s too late for Des Moines or Aurora because their alignments have already been relegated to I-5.

      1. Oops, I forgot the point. The point is, should Metro be thinking about these things too, and planning transit centers for these new urban centers. (And doing something to redeem the South Renton Transit Center.)

  16. I still don’t understand why the RapidRide U (currently the new #45) doesn’t turn south and serve the Ballard Urban Village. It’s a little bit of added service length and time for a huge gain.

  17. Oy-vey. I see that in 2040 they will still be running a RapidRide through the horrible and un-fixable intersection of NE 80th and Roosevelt instead of using Banner Way.

    There’s also the implicit admission that moving the frequent service to Roosevelt from Fifth NE was a bad idea. Folks in Maple Leaf will be able to get to East Green Lake directly, and that’s a very nice service to provide.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too (it caused me to make a mistake in my writing). Service along Roosevelt in Maple Leaf goes from very frequent to very infrequent. I think that makes sense (the button hook was always stupid) I just find it weird that they are doing that. I also agree that using Banner Way makes a lot more sense. The city should be looking at that right now, since the street is being worked on.

  18. Kind of tangential, but could these Long-Range Plans be used as the basis for a UGB, a la Portland?

  19. I’d love to see individual cities working in partnership with Metro to address the issues of land use and zoning. Identify the target transit corridors that link up the existing higher-density pockets of residents and businesses and re-zone the remainder of the corridor to match something that is transit-compatible. Incorporate City Comprehensive Plans and Transportation Master Plans (both requirements of the GMA) into the Metro planning documents. Work with Cities to make changes to the Comp & Transpo Plans to incorporate potential improvements to the transit infrastructure. Am I dreaming or is this just common sense? Is there any chance that these different agencies can actually work together like adults to bring common-sense solutions to their voters and taxpayers?

    1. That is what they’re doing. Metro’s long-range plan reflects the cities’ transit master plans as much as they exist. It sets a baseline for these discussions: what the cities need to do to reach these level-of-service goals. It doesn’t directly address transit center design but that could be a next step; in any case the transit centers are kind of forced by ST’s station locations. As for incorporating transit plans into cities’ transportation plans and comprehensive plans, I’m not sure Metro has much of a role in that; those are more the cities’ responsibility.

      1. Mike, glad to see that Metro is doing their part. I hope that the rest of us can contact our city council members and mayors to ensure that the individual cities are doing their part. Good feedback, Mike.

  20. As mentioned up above, what I find interesting about these plans is that they are acknowledging that ST3 exists — even so far as making the ST3 line always on — but the effect it has is subtle. There are a few routes that might not be given the same priority — 1512 in Ballard and 1043 in West Seattle, but that is about it. Mostly it is about the lack of additional service going downtown (from West Seattle and Ballard).

    Meanwhile, there are numerous examples of service that appears to be redundant, or at the very least, not bending over backwards to use Link. The 1010, serving 24th NW and Fremont, manages to go right under the train, but requires almost a half mile walk to reach. The 1041 is a line serving Delrdige, while the 1015 goes right down 15th to downtown. These are all RapidRide lines, yet they aren’t being truncated, because truncating in this case doesn’t make sense. This really bolsters the argument for a bus tunnel instead of a train. When a substantial portion of your investment in the area is going down the exact same line as the train, it would make sense to invest in the corridor so that all those riders would benefit.

    At the very least, it means that Metro hasn’t wasted that much time assuming that ST3 will pass. I see a few changes if you remove ST3 from the map (mostly new lines headed downtown) but not that much. This is in sharp contrast to current routing, which would be difficult to imagine without Link.

  21. Looks like S. Beacon entirely loses its route in 2025 — currently the 106 — but it’s included as part of a new W. Seattle Rainier Beach line in 2040. What happens in the meantime?

  22. I think Metro is right to punt on trolley wire. Right now, trolleys are a really good investment, because the alternative is diesel. But batteries are improving much faster than diesel engines (battery prices falling ~80% per decade, plus increased energy density). As Tesla and Proterra show, they’re now competitive (and even hands down superior) in some applications; as prices continue to fall, they’ll move from being competitive in niche to mainstream uses, and eventually flat out superior in all but some niche uses.

    Buses should be one of the earlier transportation markets for batteries to take over; their low speeds and stop-and-go driving are especially well suited to the torque and regenerative braking that batteries provide (though the number of hours spent driving rather than charging is a disadvantage, relative to passenger cars).

    Bottom line is that it’s hard to predict the future accurately in a rapidly changing market, and 2040 provides plenty of time for uncertainties to accumulate. Who knows how battery will compare to trolley in 2025 or 2040? Metro is smart to punt.

  23. It’s not quite a full alphabet, is it? It looks like they’re splitting RR B in two when East Link opens to Redmond by truncating it to Crossroads as the NE 8th shuttle and having East Link and the “O” line fill the 156th leg.

  24. As a resident of the Snoqualmie Ridge, I would have to agree that the idea of an express from Snoqualmie to Auburn (#2020) doesn’t seem to make sense. I would see an expansion of SR-18 to 4 lanes (with a new bike path), and a rebuilt I-90/SR-18 interchange solving most of the issues there in the long term. There is just too much car dependency on both ends of that line (and everywhere in between for that matter.

    The other express route proposed, Snoqualmie to Mercer Island (#2012), is more viable. I could see an express bus with a connection at the primary Link transfer point (be that Mercer Island or South Bellevue) being pretty decent. It opens up enough flexibility with destinations (Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle, etc) that it ought to be able to draw riders from a larger pool than the old route (was it the 208?). The hard part will be making it frequent enough that people will have enough flexibility to be willing to take it. That means this will be a very low performing route, just like the old one was.

    The one that really baffles me is the local route #3185, downtown Snoqualmie to Issaquah via Lake Alice Road. Currently there is no active road connection between Snoqualmie Ridge and Lake Alice. There is an emergency connection at the end of Sorensen St that has been used a few times, as a detour during replacement of a culvert on Lake Alice Road. As a temporary connection, it is acceptable to the locals, but I can’t see anyone in the area accepting that as a permanent connection. People already drive too fast going up and down Lake Alice Road, and the people living along Sorensen, Carmichael, and Douglas wouldn’t be happy about the large increase in traffic that would come from converting their culs-de-sac into through streets.

  25. Where is the Northgate – Downtown via Roosevelt Rapid Ride? I don’t see it. And where is the new bus route along the downtown waterfront that is supposed to be coming when the waterfront redeveleopment is done? I don’t see it either.

    1. I can’t speak to the waterfront route, but the Roosevelt BRT route is SDOT (a la Madison), not Metro. Whether SDOT should be attempting it w/o involving Metro is another question, though.

Comments are closed.