A couple weeks ago, I asked for reactions to the possibility of altering King County Metro routes 75 and 372 to mirror the couplet path of routes 65/67 and 78 through the University of Washington campus.

New Metro Route 78
New Metro Route 78

Jeff Switzer from the King County Department of Transportation got back to me within a couple days with a response from Metro planners, but I was headed off to vacation. So, here it is, posted belatedly:

Route performance is part of our ongoing monitoring since making so many changes this spring. Thanks for raising this question as part of the discussion on reviewing and improving bus service.

As we discussed the restructure, we worked to balance the need to provide transit service to the campus and maximize the access to UW Station. There are an estimated nearly 3,000 riders using Stevens Way stops on these routes today, and there continue to be pluses and minuses to going with a one-way couplet of having westbound service on Stevens Way and eastbound service on Pacific/Montlake.

Pluses:

· More convenient access for riders transferring from Link to northbound service on Routes 75 and 372.

· More convenient access to the UW Medical Center in one direction.

· More convenient transfer from eastside bus routes to Routes 75 and 372

· More frequent service from a single UW Station stop to destinations like University Village and Children’s Hospital

Minuses:

· Riders originating on the UW Campus trying to catch Routes 75 and 372 have to walk down to NE Pacific Street (there were 2,032 boardings at the four campus stops for routes 75 and 372 in Fall 2015)

· Riders destined for places on the UW Campus coming from Routes 31 and 32 (these routes become Route 75 at NE Campus Pkwy) would need to walk up on to the UW Campus from NE Pacific St (there were 889 alightings at the four campus stops for Routes 31 and 32 in Fall 2015)

· The travel time using NE Pacific Street and Montlake Blvd NE is slightly longer than traveling on Stevens Way, slowing riders who board at NE Campus Pkwy in the U. District or who are riding Routes 31/32-75 through the U. District.

· The couplet service pattern is more confusing and more complex (the author notes this).

· The bus stop northbound on Montlake Blvd would become much busier causing congestion on the sidewalk. Currently there are about eight trips per hour in the peak period. With Routes 75 and 372 also serving this stop, the number of trips would rise to over 20 per hour.

· Buses block general purpose traffic when serving the in-lane bus stop northbound on Montlake Boulevard. An increase in bus volumes would cause more frequent blockages.

· Adding more buses to the northbound Montlake Blvd stop could require shifting the stop farther north to accommodate more bus curb access/storage. Doing so would increase walk distance for intermodal transfers.

At the moment, Metro sees the minuses as outweighing the pluses as there are more riders on Routes 75 and 372 coming from destinations on the UW Campus than there are riders transferring from Link. In other words, more people might have to walk farther under a revised couplet scenario than the number of people who would walk a shorter distance to transfer from Link to Routes 75 and 372.

We will continue to monitor ridership and boardings at the Stevens Way/Rainier Vista stop on these routes to better understand how many riders would benefit from moving the routes closer to UW Station.

56 Replies to “Metro on 75/372 Routing”

  1. I don’t understand why some routes can’t use Montlake southbound. What if you’re at U village and just want to get to the light rail. Why should you have to walk all the way down Rainier Vista? For some (elderley, disabled), that is not realisitc.

    Has Metro not read Jarrett Walker’s article on why one-way couplets are bad?

    1. I went to one of the sounding board meetings and asked exactly that question.
      Basically they were afraid that SB congestion on Montlake would impact schedule reliability too much, and saw this as a good compromise.
      I disagree that that outweighs the issue you raise, I am just answering your 1st question.
      Traffic can be bad on Montlake, but even as it is, you’d be faster sitting in traffic going to Link, than over campus than having to walk down Rainer Vista.
      And why can’t Metro coordinate with SDOT to make improvements to Montlake?
      Make the right lane “Right turn only, except HOV” at Pacific. That should have no impact on SOV throughput (the traffic light crossing in front of the Stadium would be 2 lanes again), and would actually improve things for SOVs who want to take a right on Pacific.

      As for the 2nd question, yes they know Jarrett Walker, and some even have attended his workshop, I was told. But it sounded like the person I talked to hadn’t fully internalized the “transfers are ok” approach, as he tried to argue for keeping the 65 going over campus WB by saying that most 65 riders want to go to campus.
      That latter part is not true in my experience by the way (during AM commute time that is). At least half used to get off at Okanogan Lane, and then go to the hospital or transfer to the east side, some stay on, less than half would get off at PendOreille or the hub. Now, with Link the fraction of riders who want to get to the upper parts of campus is even smaller.

    2. Walker also says “Be on the way”, and the Link station is not on the way [of the bus routes or anything else]. This was never intended to be the permanent transfer, it’s just for the 5-year gap until U-District Station opens. Then you’ll get off at Campus Parkway and it will be a two-block walk to the station, or maybe the buses will turn and go to the station’s front door. Metro is also looking at rerouting the buses on North Stevens Way and going straight out at 43td to the station, although it would require the UW to consent to a road segment and (worse) in what’s currently an open-space lawn. The ultimate problem is the location of UW Station, and for that ST didn’t have much choice because the UW wouldn’t allow it in the triangle or under Stevens Way.

      As for “transfers are OK”, yes, except when one segment is less than a mile, or worse, when you have to transfer twice within a mile. People going from U-Village to campus and getting off at Montlake would not be transferring, they’d be walking up Rainier Vista to camps.

      1. Seriously?? The Link station (triangle) would be the destination of the 65. It be closer for UW hospital, about the same for south campus, and on the way to downtown (Link), Captiol Hill (48, Link), and the east side (bunch of routes). The majority of 65 riders are bound for those destinations (granted my data is only morning commute).
        My whole point is, connection to any of these destination sucks (has always sucked) because of the detour through the U-district. Montlake Blvd IS the direct route to all these destinations. Even with traffic as it is that’s the route I’d drive.
        So Stadium station / triangle needs to become and stay a major transfer point, even after U-District station opens.
        Lets make it an actual network, right now all 3 lines from the NE go to through campus. Give folks from the NE who want to go south or east, one of those routes to finally get a somewhat direct shot.

        Yes, Montlake Blvd can get congested, so let’s deal with that. Making the right lane right turn only was a serious suggestion, and I’d be willing to bet money that it would actually improve things for SOVs.

        Not sure what your U-Village to campus example was about, those folks would be taking the 372, 75, 78, as today. I am talking about linking the whole NE, 35th all the way up to 125th, to downtown, Capitol Hill, and the eastside. (That’s probably the majority of all those SOVs clogging Montlake in the morning)

      2. >>Metro is also looking at rerouting the buses on North Stevens Way and going straight out at 43td to the station, although it would require the UW to consent to a road segment and (worse) in what’s currently an open-space lawn.”

        Can you explain this. Why would UW need to consent if the buses went up say Brooklyn to 43rd.

      3. “Lets make it an actual network, right now all 3 lines from the NE go to through campus. Give folks from the NE who want to go south or east, one of those routes to finally get a somewhat direct shot.”

        Serving both Stevens Way and UW Station would require two routes forming a Y at 25th & Montlake. If half the routes go south, that halves the frequency on each branch, making them less than 15-minute frequent. If all routes remain 15-minute frequent then that possibly overserves northeast Seattle. If some routes go south while others go west, then that potentially disadvantages people who live on the wrong route for their direction. Metro’s position is that there are more riders going to campus and through campus than going to the Link station. I have objected to that repeatedly in the past, but I do see the majority of people going to campus or going from Campus Parkway to U-Village, so I can see the point.

        In any case, this is really another symptom of poor Link design and surrounding issues, and echoes the issues of trains being slowed by buses in the DSTT, the lack of Summit and 15th stations (and 520 according to RossB), the loss of Fiirst Hill Station, the 5-year gap where people going to he U-District have to transfer at UW Station, etc. And blame for UW Station’s problems rests squarely with UW.

      4. “Why would UW need to consent if the buses went up say Brooklyn to 43rd.”

        Not for that routing. I’m talking about the idea that buses would go up Pend Orielle Road, then turn right instead of left, and go along the north half of Stevens Way past McMahon Hall and the business school and 17th, That’s at the same position as 43rd, so the buses would go straight out on 43rd to the station entrance at 43rd & Brooklyn. But there’s no road between 15th and 17th, it’s a grassy field next to the Burke Museim’s parking lot, and stairs down to 15th. So the university would have to allow building a road there. Open space advocates would object, and Sam would troll about how transit fans hate roads and gasoline everywhere else but want a road here.

  2. I agree with Metro on this one. The campus deserves direct access from both NE and West.
    As does the Link station by the way. Currently the connection of NE Seattle to Link is dismal. So the request should really be to make the 65 go on Montlake Blvd SB as well.

  3. Making bus riders in NE Seattle transfer to Link instead of taking a single bus downtown already added extra hassle for little to no gain. Making it a confusing transfer with an up to 5 minute walk was more insulting. I am not sure this proposal will help anything. Montlake Blvd is a very bad cluster*** during commute times.

    One of the biggest problems is there is simply no good bus stop next to the light rail station. Why can’t this most basic fix happen? Is it because the UW just does not like light rail? In the early stages of ST, the UW administration fought successfully to keep any light rail station off the campus. Supposedly they were against any changes to the stadium plaza that would allow buses easy access to the station. What is their deal anyway?

    1. The tradeoff is that several routes to campus come much more frequently now. Most sommutes downtown are now faster even with the transfer penalty, while a minority are slower.

      UW students and faculty came out way ahead on the restructure.

      If the restructure were reversed today, I’m pretty sure those saying doing so is an “insult” would far outnumber those who welcome back the old pattern.

      1. I can’t think of any route that came out better for NE commuters except maybe the 74. But even it was cut off from some previous connections.

      2. Here is Metro’s web presentation to the county council leading up to approval of the restructure.

      3. A bunch of routes got frequency investments, with either minor or no path changes: 8, 10, 11, 12, 44, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 74, 75, 76, 316, and 372 are specifically listed.

      4. That is a pretty meaningless list of routes. Half are not even NE Seattle routes. Of those that are, only the 65, 67, 75, and 372 even make a stop near UW station. The 75 was never a downtown bus and still isn’t. I have not ridden the 67 since the change, but it’s hard to see how it would be any better than the 65 and 372, which I have ridden. Those buses, with the transfer and change to light rail, are no faster and probably are slower than before. Left out of this list altogether is the 73, which now makes the longest, most out of the way detour to reach Husky Stadium. It used to simply enter the express lanes at the UW and zoom straight into the tunnel. I would like to see data, if any exists.

      5. When you talk about “faster”, do you consider average wait time?

        Routes 65, 75, and 372 did not go downtown before, and were much less frequent, so, yes, now they are several minutes faster, even if the buses are travelling at the same speed as before.

        And before, you had to ride all the way through campus to transfer to a downtown-bound bus. The downtown-bound buses were less frequent than at UW Station, and the bus took longer to get downtown and was much less reliable in its travel time.

        The only thing that could make these commutes slower is the time to get between the bus stop and the station platform, which, btw, is the actual topic of the post.

      6. I listed the other routes because their frequency improvements were made possible by hours freed up by not sending routes 71, 72, and 73 downtown any more. The improved commutes weren’t just in northeast Seattle.

      7. @Brent White

        I have posted this before but I will repeat it again as the subject matter has come up again.

        Before the restructure I caught the # 72 on Ravenna Avenue at around 635 am and it got me to Westlake Station just before 7 am. Now I catch # 372 at the same stop at about 640 am that gets me to Rainier Vista at around 657 am. Now a 5 to 7 minute walk to get to the train platform to catch the train that leaves at 709 am and I get to Westlake Station at about 716 am. In my math that is later then what I had with the # 72.

        Now if I want to get to Westlake Station earlier it means I would have to get up 30 minutes earlier because despite the fact that Metro said that the # 372 would have anywhere from 4 to 15 minute service during the rush hour that doesn’t start until 7 am on the #372 despite the fact that Metro charges rush hour fares on this route starting at 6 am.

        So I don’t see any improvement in my service despite the fact that Light Rail is operating plus I now have to transfer and walk across the UW Campus. I can hardly wait do to that walk in the fall and winter when the weather is not a pleasant as it is today. .

      8. The question is whether the restructure helps more riders on the 372, 65, and 75 than the riders it hinders on the 72 and 73. There’s an argument to be made that the 372, 65, and 75 needed more frequency, that the existing network was leaving riders behind, and that U-Village to Campus Parkway has become such a major urban-village corridor that it needs the current frequency or more, plus people wanting to transfer from everywhere east of 15th to Link. That’s the argument for the current network. Opposed to that are roughly Maple Leaf and 25th & 75th, which are low-density residential with no urban villages in their path. I do think there’s a gap now between Lake City/25th and the Ave, but after several years of living there I consistently found it pretty low ridership and not as big a priority as the others. So maybe it can be addressed in the North Link restructure.

    2. That’s a good point about actual wait time. But there are a lot of variables you have not taken into account. The 372 replaced a frequent 72. The frequency of the 65 and 75 did not change. In general you did not have to transfer at all if you were on a 70-series bus. And as always the 73 is not mentioned for some reason. Its route is longer, it takes longer, its Sunday service was eliminated (though it’s coming back), and its service hours were cut. Change is hard, yadda yadda, but Metro did kind of botch this one.

      1. The frequency of the 65 doubled from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes. This has been a huge improvement for me.

      2. I didn’t mention route 73 because it got its service reduced, so it didn’t belong in the list.

        Technically, route 73 is shorter, now that it goes to UW Station instead of the International District. Some runs are now 373s.

        Getting rid of route 73 was not my favorite part of Alternative 1 for the restructure. It just happened to be within route 67’s walkshed for too much of its lower length, and route 77 was supposed to replace the upper portion, but some riders didn’t want change.

        Northgate Link may pull the rug out from under 73 ridership, but I will withhold my amateur guesses on the impact until it happens. It seemed like Metro was trying to prematurely change travel patterns to Northgate.

        Jeff Pittman points out a big hole in route 372’s service investment: The span of frequent service starts way too late. He is never going to get a 72 to downtown back, but Metro could at least recognize that riders on route 372 are also going downtown, and add 6-7 am runs, so we don’t have the perverse situation of 15-minute headway during the day and 30-minute headway when commuters need lower headway most in the morning.

        As for route 71 riders (all living near 65th Ave NE, as boardings north of there are almost nonexistent), they got the belt, the suspenders, and the sansabelt slacks. Those going downtown got more runs on route 76. Those going to campus got route 71 now going through campus, and twice as frequently. (I didn’t list route 71 before because it had a major path change.) They also got route 62, cross-town, eventually going downtown, but ridership on that east of I-5 has been a dud. They still have route 64 First Hill express and a transfer to route 63 South Lake Union express.

      3. “Northgate Link may pull the rug out from under 73 ridership”

        Probably not. Those going from Northgate to downtown or Link or the Ave are probably on the 41 or 67, which are both twice as frequent than the 71. (Or than the old 71,. for that matter.) The 71 is more about the in-between stops, and that will remain after North Link. Roosevelt BRT would make a larger difference, except Roosvelt BRT is now to be truncated at 45th or 65th.

      4. The 65 frequency improved dramatically with the restructure. Maybe more important is it is no longer through-routed to a downtown route, so it’s actually reliable. My neighborhood now has a usable bus connection to Lake City (incl. express routes). The transfer at 65th and 35th is also a bonus for transfers to the neighborhoods on the 62 route that basically required a long detour through UW campus before. While my best-case commute time to downtown hasn’t improved so much, I now have three reliable routes. 70->65, 40->Link->65 and 40->522->65. The new 64 routing is also a one seat ride that actually is fast when it’s running.

  4. I don’t think anyone ever intended for present UW station to be any kind of permanent terminal. Also, UW station has only been open for a couple of months, so could be early to set anything in stone. But the fewer changes the better, especially when all choices have about equal problems.

    For instance, while couplets in general are worth avoiding, Montlake Boulevard between Husky Stadium and University village is jammed most often southbound, due to the drawbridge. Making a walk through essentially a park faster than a motionless ride you can’t get off of.

    So in general, seems easier for passengers to adjust to a given route than constantly forced to re-learn frequently changed ones.

    Mark Dublin

  5. Why couldn’t they have built bus bays into the station like they do in other cities? It’s not like the site is constrained. There’s all kinds of empty parking lot next door if they wanted to make it larger.

    1. I would argue that bus bays in the middle of parking lots make transfers worse, and tend to add several minutes for riders staying on the bus to further destinations. On-street is the place for bus stops to be.

      Pull-out transfer centers are an anti-amenity.

      1. How could bus bays possibly make transfers worse? I’m living in Toronto now, and the majority of the subway stations outside the Greater Downtown/inner city area have bus bays inside the subway stations. It cuts down on walking time, and allows you to wait inside in the warmth. The stations here are usually terminals for bus routes, so usually people aren’t staying on the bus anyways.

      2. For most UW routes, the station is not the final destination. UW Medical Center and the inner campus compete with the station as final destinations.

        We do have one transit center at the foot of a station, in Tukwila. It adds several minutes to the routes continuing on (128 and F Line), while for those terminating there, someone could exit at the street and get to the station before the bus gets to the bay. Those waiting to board their bus could save a couple minutes by waiting at the street instead of below the station. The bays are open to the weather, as is the station.

        Also, UW has higher power of land control than Sound Transit does, so UW could have declined to even allow the station in the first place.

        Bay 1 at UW Station, where routes 78 and 65/67 pick up headed east, is less than a short block from the station entrance. I can’t see how vehicles could get any closer.

      3. UW Medical Center is across the street from the station. Grant that it’s a terrible crossing, a bus “terminal” operation in the parking lot south of Husky Stadium would serve the hospital complex very well.

      4. Which is exactly why they should have built the station under Montlake Triangle, or the school of forestry, with tunnels from the station to the medical center. Rather than allow their facilities to benefit from station placement, UW insisted on the terrible placement we’re left with today.

        So let’s make the best of it. Adding bus bays south or east of the station would work just fine if SDOT built signal priority into the intersections to get the buses in and out as quickly as possible, something that Tukwila lacks. The other problem at Tukwila is that buses have to twist and turn all the way through the parking lot. Simpler designs that keep the route close to the roadway, like S Bellevue P&R, are much more efficient.

    2. “Why couldn’t they have built bus bays into the station like they do in other cities?”

      The UW wouldn’t allow it. The UW is a state entity so its authority is above Sound Transit’s or Metro’s. The UW didn’t want to give up any Husky stadium parking for bus layovers. It also wouldn’t allow the station to be in the main part of campus, such as in the triangle or at Stevens Way. It appears to be a case of, “Before Link opens, keep trains away.” After a generation of students and staff have been using Link, the regents will probably have the opoosite view, that Link is a major asset to the university, but by then it will be too late.

  6. I don’t have much first-hand familiarity with UW, but looking at Google Maps, there’s a road called “Mason Road” south of Stevens Way. Could the buses not use that road? It comes much closer to the station than Stevens Way.

      1. A Mason Rd alignment is difficult to endorse. Even though it would be in closer proximity to UW Station, any north-campus bound users would find it more difficult. As a stop on Pend O’Reille Rd is not really an option, the closest place they could put a stop would be near Padelford or Fluke– and both these locations require a really annoying, long uphill set of stairs (Padelford Parking Garage has escalators, but difficult to access) to get to North Campus. In addition, a Mason alignment would also skip Steven/Pend O’Reille and the HUB stops, which are pretty high-traffic. From these alone, the current alignment makes sense.

  7. Remember that the big push for the station being where it is now was the promise of improved connections for 520 transit. 520 transit commuters and NE Seattle transit users both have a big fat hole in their commutes with the walks from each stop to the train. Now that no improvements along Montlake and across the cut are even on the horizon for the 520 transit connections, UW station is poorly placed for connections to 520 and to NE Seattle.

    1. I could not believe that when they were deciding to build a station near Husky Stadium, and also deciding to replace the 520 bridge, that no one (besides Mike McGinn) thought to combine the two ideas and put light rail across 520 with a connection at Husky Stadium. That was an oversight for the ages, sure to reverberate through the coming decades.

      1. I was one of those pushing to make SR 520 light-rail ready. But any such line would still be years away, even if ST had put a special bond issue on the ballot when McGinn started pushing it, to add that line to its capital improvement project list.

        Did you ask ST to put an SR 520 light rail line in ST3?

    2. Could you cite where that “promise” was made? I don’t recall that being a reason for UW Station’s placement. UW simply said that is where they would allow it.

      Riders from SR 520 have not had their direct routes downtown cut, so no “hole” has been created for them. Indeed, more ST Express 545 service is coming this fall.

      If there are specific downtown commutes you are concerned about, enumerate them, and we can talk about how they could be improved..

      1. I’m not diving back into the years of planning and design to provide a citation. I also do not know what the final decisions have been as to the routing of the ST express routes now that the design for 520 and the connections between it and UW Station are settled.
        What I do remember clearly is that a second bridge and improvements to Montlake Blvd. were initially proposed across the cut to provide improved transit/ped/bike access to UW Station. Much of that transit access was intended to be for ST Express buses crossing 520 to turn around and drop riders off at the rail station to avoid the rush hour traffic into and again out of downtown.
        Now that these improvements are no longer part of the project, ST passengers making the transfer to UW Station get to enjoy the walk from the 520 stop across Montlake bridge to UW Station.
        Like I said, I don’t know what ST plans to do but if the plan is unchanged then passengers have a hole between the 520 station and UW Station. If ST decides to continue running express buses into downtown, the hoped for savings by avoiding downtown Seattle never happen. Either way doesn’t sound like a win for 520 riders.
        Any serious improvements for service from UW Station for Northeast Seattle will need real changes and improvements to Montlake Blvd. from U-village to 520 as much of the congestion is 520 related. Ideally SDOT and WADOT (Montlake/Sand Point Way is a state route from 520 up to NE65th street) would look at Montlake as a complete streets corridor connecting from points south of 520 to at least u village and beyond. There is adjacent real estate with the E-18 lots but UWs record regarding concessions for transit and non UW uses is clear.

      2. “What I do remember clearly is that a second bridge and improvements to Montlake Blvd. were initially proposed across the cut to provide improved transit/ped/bike access to UW Station.”

        That sounds like part of the 520 project, not the ST project. The state has been considering different alternatives for the western approach, one of which includes a second Montlake Bridge for transit. As far as I know that’s still undecided. It’s not something ST could count on, and it wasn’t even funded although the 2015 transportation bill may have funded it. In any case, the UW put its foot down on bus layover space and a mini transit center, so that was that.

      3. The buses going downtown are all up in the air.

        A) ST introduced the 542, and seems to be moving toward Kirkland-UW and Redmond-UW as the core all-day service. But it’s going slowly on that, partly to see how well UW Station works out.
        B) Microsoft can’t get enough buses; so the 545 is getting more buses for now. I live near the Capitol Hill stop and see 20-25 people lined up for every 545.
        C) ST’s 2023 planning scenarios in 2015 truncated all the routes at UW. So that’s the precedent as far as we can tell.
        D) All buses will get kicked out of the DSTT sometime between 2017 and 2019, or maybe 2021 now. That means the 255 will be seriously looking for a way to get out of traffic, which implies UW Station.
        E) Seattle’s and Metro’s long-term plans envision much fewer bus routes downtown.
        F) One of the alternatives in the U-Link restructure was a 255 route to UW Station and Laurelhurst (NE 45th). That might come back because…
        G) An Eastside restructure is pending. Metro withdrew the 520 changes from the U-District restructure because it didn’t get enough Eastside feedback to feel confident about them, so they’ll be rolled over into the next Eastside restructure. Metro said that might be this year, but it’s already July and no sign of it. It might come up in November (when the U-District restructure did) or next year. Or it might now.

  8. Because of where UW station is, there’s no way for Metro to make this work. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    Keep the 75/372 where they are – that hurts people transferring to Link.
    Move the 75/372 to Montlake/Pacific in both directions – that hurts (more) people going to campus.
    Do a counterclockwise couplet – that hurts everybody in 1 direction of their commute.
    Send some buses down Montlake – that negates the frequency improvement and would force people on campus or the station to choose whether to stay or walk to a half-hourly bus.

    Anyone traveling from Link to the 75 does have the option to take the 65/78 and transfer at U Village, though I don’t see many people choosing this option. What is missing is a bus that goes from UW Station and heads up 25th Ave.

    Ideally, I’d like to see 4 bus routes, each every 15 minutes. No bus would use a couplet. There’d be every combination of Stevens Way / Pacific, and Montlake / 25th Ave in both directions, with transfer points at U Village and Campus Parkway so people could grab the first bus they see and transfer without needing to walk to the starting bus stop or at a transfer point.

    1. A major use of the couplet is so that riders who have to walk further do so downhill. It takes me less than 5 minutes from the Rainier Vista stop to the station elevator to the platform.

      Going from the platform to the bus stop takes me about 10 minutes. I don’t take the elevators, because a whole lot of people just got off the train. Then I walk more slowly up to the bus stop.

      Couplets where most riders alight uphill and board downhill are actually quite normal for Metro. All the downtown express buses that drop downtown commuters off on 4th Ave in the morning pick them up again on 2nd Ave in the evening. People seem to have no problem figuring that out. The E Line has a similar downhill couplet west of Green Lake, where crossing Aurora would be ill-advised.

      Metro has kept good tabs on how many riders alight on routes 75 and 372 at stops where they are clearly going to campus destinations, but what they are missing is how many riders would be lost if they had to walk downhill a few minutes at the end of the day, and how many riders would be gained if their bus picked them up at Bay 1 just north of UW Station. The only way to find out is to try it for real. (And, oh yeah, address Jeff Pittman’s span-of-frequent-service problem on route 372.)

      1. “”A major use of the couplet is so that riders who have to walk further do so downhill. It takes me less than 5 minutes from the Rainier Vista stop to the station elevator to the platform.”

        Do you walk exceptionally fast.

      2. “”The E Line has a similar downhill couplet west of Green Lake, where crossing Aurora would be ill-advised.”

        But west of Green Lake there is only a stop in one direction. Which I could never figure out.

      3. Downtown and UW campus aren’t really a fair comparison. 2nd and 4th Ave are parallel. Stevens Way and Pacific are not parallel. Someone coming from the HUB would have a much longer walk.

      4. “”The E Line has a similar downhill couplet west of Green Lake, where crossing Aurora would be ill-advised.”

        “But west of Green Lake there is only a stop in one direction. Which I could never figure out.”

        The E was originally going to be on Aurora both ways. But the community complained it was unsafe to cross Aurora from the northbound 65th stop, where there’s only an unsignalized crosswalk, especially for disabled riders. So Metro kept the Linden routing northbound and uses Aurora southbound. That puts both the northbound and southbound stops on the west side of Aurora.

    2. One of the things that bugs me most about this is that the 65 and the 372 are split, for much of their routes they’re parallel and have overlapping walksheds. Personally I’d have a little preference for the 372, but I’d take whichever one happens to be coming next.

      The current split is if Metro decided when the buses moved back into the tunnel that the 71 having more frequency than either the 72 or 73 should be the only 71/72/73 in the tunnel, and the 72 and 73 should be on the surface. Even though a large part of the 71/72/73 ridership and route were to the same location the stops in downtown wouldn’t have been the same.

      Riders are forced to choose a stop to wait at to get to a similar destination, and they might not choose the best option given the limited information they have at hand.

      FWIW, I do my best to check the next arrival times for the 65 and 372, but the cell service is spotty on the escalators and the information boards are useless.

      1. I took the 65 a couple weeks ago for the second time in my life, and I was appalled at the number of turns and slowness. I would not want to live on that route and would try to take the 372 or 75 if I could.

      2. The 65 has a reasonably direct routing once it gets to 35th Ave NE. It does have the Children’s Hospital jog, but the new little route down NE 45th actually seems to speed things up a bit vs the previous routing. Its biggest need is a stop diet. There are many spots where it stops every other block if not more often.

        The 75 doesn’t serve my needs that well (I’m headed further north on Lake City Way than 125th), plus it just has a longer route around.

        The problem with the 372 for me is that hike up the hill and if I miss it, the hike back down the hill to the 65. Also on the weekends the 372 is shortened and only goes to 130th, which is why I’d like to see the stops consolidated for the 372 with the 65 around UW Station. FWIW, the 372 SB has PM peak delays at 15th and 65th, where there often is a traffic backup.

        IMHO, I think Metro should weight the needs of non-UW users a bit more, since their leadership is partly responsible for this mess. (Yes. I know that is vindictive, but one of the major arguments for keeping buses on campus is providing a link to UVillage, which is less than a mile away from NE Pacific and Rainer Vista, and about a 20 minute walk. And don’t get me started on the number of students who go for front door exiting even if it means walking forward from the rear of the bus…)

  9. >>No, there’s a stop at 65th St in both directions. I’ve been there.

    At 72nd Street there is only a stop in one direction.

  10. It won’t work for everyone, but if they would move a Pronto station closer to the platform (it’s past the UW Medical stop on Pacific) and add one at Rainier Vista and Stevens Way, there would be one more (relatively cheap) transportation option to cover that distance.

    Frankly, I imagine someone with a golf cart charging a buck a ride between the stop and the station could make a serious bundle.

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