Swift bus at Everett Station

During a press conference Friday morning with U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene (1st district) and Rick Larsen (2nd district), Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath introduced details about the upcoming second Swift bus rapid transit line, including the all-important line colors.

As speculated during the planning process, the first line, which opened in 2009 and runs along Highway 99 from Everett to Aurora Village, will become the Blue Line; and the second line, set to open in 2019 and run from Paine Field through Mill Creek to Canyon Park in Bothell, will become the Green Line. The two lines intersect at Airport Road in southern Everett, forming an X-shaped network in southwestern Snohomish County. Both colors coincide with those of the Seahawks, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this month.

While Community Transit’s 5-year plan published in May anticipated a September 2018 opening for the Green Line, Community Transit spokesperson Martin Munguia stated that hitting 60 percent design on the project brought a “more realistic picture of both cost and schedule.” Other hold-ups include construction on the 128th Street overpass crossing Interstate 5, where WSDOT is restricting construction to one side of a time to minimize traffic disruptions and thus will be split between the summers of 2017 and 2018 along with station construction. The early 2019 launch will fall a few months shy of the Blue Line’s 10th anniversary in November, and come only four years before the possible launch of a third line to feed Lynnwood Link at Lynnwood Transit Center.

15 new articulated buses will also be ordered and delivered in late 2018, and are planned to be inter-operable with the Blue Line, sharing the same branding and similar features.

Sound Transit’s decision last year to name its lines after colors poses some potential confusion with Swift’s new lines, but Munguia says that the two agencies came together and felt that the two modes were distinct enough to not be easily confused. For the time being, Community Transit will append the Swift brand to every mention of the project.

The $73 million cost of construction will be funded mostly by a $50 million FTA Small Starts grant that is part of the 2017 budget. $17 million from the state will help build the line’s northern terminus at Seaway Transit Center, adjacent to Boeing’s massive Everett factory. Operations will be funded in part by a portion of the 0.3 sales tax approved by voters last November as well as a $5 million FTA Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality grant for the first two years, allowing for the voter-approved increase to fund other services.

The line ends at Canyon Park P&R to the south, a few miles short of downtown Bothell, where an extension has been considered and put on the back-burner until the completion of a major road project by the city; as the line would fall into King County like routes 105 and 106 do today, Community Transit has held discussions with King County Metro about the extension.

The “Blue Line” moniker will begin appearing in schedules, on bus headsigns and at stations near you this fall. When the Green Line begins service in 2019, it will operate at 12-minute headways on weekdays and 20 minutes at night and on weekends, and is expected to attract 3,300 riders in its first year. Additional lines are also planned on major corridors, stretching as far north as Arlington and as far east as Highway 9 near Silver Firs.


104 Replies to “Community Transit Unveils Colors for its Swift Lines”

  1. It looks like, if ST 3 passes, the Green Line will eventually connect with Link at two stops – 3rd Ave. and the 75th St. terminus, as well as connect with the I-405 BRT route to Bellevue at the Canyon Park terminus. With ST 2, any stop along the green-line is a 3-seat ride away from anywhere in Seattle totaling at least an hour and a half. It almost feels like CT is deliberately choosing the route to anticipate ST 3 before it even gets voted on.

    1. No, I think they are just trying to move people around Snohomish county, and leaving the job of moving people across counties to ST. The Green Line has various job destinations along it, between Boeing at one end and various office parks in Canyon Park on the other. But yes – the line will be significant enhanced by ST3.

      I would imagine CT is very, very excited for Northgate to open so they can get out of the business of driving buses into Seattle.

      1. Are they actually going to force a transfer at Northgate? My understanding was that that wasn’t going to happen until Lynnwood Link opens…

      2. Oh I had assumed CT would truncate most if not all of the downtown Seattle routes at Northgate, and then shift some of those up to Lynnwood a few years later after those stations open.

        I could be totally wrong though … can someone confirm/deny?

      3. Yeah, Northgate is quesitonable. None of the buses I ride today from MLT or Lynnwood to Seattle make a stop at Northgate.

      4. Northgate is really tough as a terminus. It isn’t much as a destination, nor is it easy to get to (despite being next to the freeway). 65th is easier to access, but would require the bus to leave the express lanes. Roosevelt is even less of a destination. The U-District station might work, but like 65th would require leaving the express lanes. My guess is if they do anything, they truncate to 45th. That gives a substantial number of riders a one seat ride to their destination while saving some service time for the bus (especially as it makes the return trip).

      5. Rob – that shouldn’t matter, the idea is to truncate at Northgate to save CT the expense (time, miles driven) of getting in and out of downtown Seattle, especially during rush hour, and CT can invest those service hours elsewhere.

        Link is a significantly better way to get people in and out of the urban core, and then CT simply takes care of moving people between Seattle and all of Snohomish County. Even if a route has never stopped at Northgate before, there shouldn’t be a time penalty to transfer to Link because you’ll avoid a bus getting stuck in traffic on I5 or on the city streets downtown. Transfer penalty should be low with <5 minute headways on Link.

      6. @RossB – Northgate is desirable as a terminus simply because it’s the closest Link station. The idea isn’t to give people one seat rides but to get them to Link as quickly as possible, and then Link can quickly get them to U District, UW, downtown, etc. I would imagine >90% of the CT riders transfer to Northgate. It would be similar to Metro truncating routes at S Bellevue or KDM

        Is there direct access to the express lanes at Northgate?

      7. Sorry Express lanes only go south. I meant is there direct access to the HOV lanes, and looks like the answer is no.

      8. Given that there is only two years between the opening of Northgate and Lynnwood stations, I think CT is going to wait and truncate all their services at Lynnwood TC in 2023. There’s not much point in navigating the Northgate interchange and overfilling Northgate TC for only two years.

      9. I think it will entirely depend on CTs financial health in 2020. If the choice is no weekend service and overfilling Northgate, Northgate will be overfilled.

      10. I think ST2 went to Lynnwood partly to avoid truncating express buses at Northgate. There are hundreds of express buses from Snohomish County and Shoreline. They would require a lot more layover space than the transit center has. It would be especially wasteful to build those bays and layover space for just two years. Then there’s access from the freeway. The buses would have to go through several congested turns and traffic lights to get to the transit center. Direct-access ramps would be expensive and require an overpass over 1st Ave NE, and again it would be used for just two years. The 512 does not stop at Northgate; I’m sure ST would really like to because it’s a big hole in the transit network, Snohomish County to much of north Seattle, but the road access is just prohibitive. So I really doubt any express buses will be truncated at Northgate.

      11. @AJ — Yeah, I understand that. The problem is that it takes so long to get from the freeway to the Northgate Transit Center. To answer your question, there isn’t access to the express lanes at Northgate (from the north). So basically, a bus would have to move out of the express lanes, and make their way over to the off ramp, then spend a significant.of time moving through traffic around Northgate. Google estimates 4 minutes without traffic (which, in my opinion, is optimistic). Meanwhile, traffic can be really bad around there (although the freeway can as well). It is a trade-off. They would save some time over going downtown, but not that much compared to going to the U-District. If it takes a couple minutes longer to go to the U-District, then my guess is it makes sense to just go there (since it is a major destination — one that justifies its own set of bus routes from Snohomish County).

        This has always been a problem with the Northgate Transit Center. It was designed for very fast access to the southbound express lanes. The 41 is great for the morning commute. However, that advantage goes away with Link (no bus will ever again use that nice on-ramp heading to downtown or the reverse in the evening). It is very difficult to access from every other direction, making it a terrible terminus. Work could be done to fix the problem (bus ramps, etc.) but it is silly to do that, since the problem will only last a couple years. This is why I guess that CT will truncate at the U-District (which I think just about everyone would consider a win) or simply stick with the current system a couple years.

      12. Mike and I are saying the same thing. Northgate Transit Center sucks as a terminus. That is why I think it does make sense for Link to go farther north. I think Lynnwood is overkill, though. I would have gone to Mountlake Terrace (which seems well suited for this) or just built a nice set of ramps at 145th (whichever is cheaper). But that is a moot point — this thing is going to Lynnwood, and while it may be too expensive, it is a fine terminus.

        No matter what happens, though, it will be interesting. I think just about everyone figured that Metro would not force a transfer at Husky Stadium, because it is such an awkward one (compared to the U-District) but (surprise, surprise) they did it anyway. So while my money is on the U-District or simply the status quo, I wouldn’t give AJ 10 to 1 odds.

      13. Mountlake Terrace doesn’t make much sense as a terminus, either. The median freeway station is good, but not ideal for getting the thousands of CT commuters from their bus to Link.

        During the AM commute, congestion starts building up in the general purpose lanes around Alderwood, and then the HOV lanes just south of Lynnwood TC. Lynnwood is well-suited as a terminus, since it is sited in a decent enough location and has the layover capacity to support a huge number of terminating buses.

      14. “I think just about everyone figured that Metro would not force a transfer at Husky Stadium, because it is such an awkward one (compared to the U-District) but (surprise, surprise) they did it anyway.”

        That’s a much different situation. Metro deleted the 71/72/73X and saturated the Pacific Street gap with the 44/45/48/67/71/73. That would be the equivalent of deleting the 41. Metro rerouted local routes to the station but it didn’t reroute the 76, 64, 74 and I don’t know what other peak-express routes to it. That would be the equivalent of truncating the 5xx and the CT routes at Northgate. Instead Metro did the opposite: it increased service on the peak-express routes and expanded them to the 9am and 2pm shoulder periods so that no commuter between 55th and 125th Streets would be forced to transfer to Link. That was probably because commuters are the most vocal one-seat riders, and for insurance in case Link didn’t perform as well as anticipated or the transfer point got overwhelmed.

      15. Ha, I’ll take those odds. I didn’t realize that Northgate had such poor access from buses coming north, which is what matters here.

        But for sure once Lynnwood opens many routes will terminate there, with Northgate and Mountlake mostly handling east-west routes or something coming in at an angle.

        If Lynnwood fulfills its ambition of building a real downtown, traffic will may bad around the transit center and north Snohomish commuters might be looking forward to the ST3 extension in a decade or so…

      16. Several factors are converging which could make Lynnwood the largest city in Snohomish County and the hub of everything. For a century people have talked about “the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett region”. In the future maybe they’ll talk about “the Seattle-Tacoma-Lynnwood region”. Downtown Lynnwood aspires to be as large as downtown Bellevue. Even if it doesn’t make it that far, it will be the biggest city center in the county. Lynnwood wants 30-story office buildings; Everett hasn’t said that. Lynnwood is half the distance from Seattle and Bellevue as Everett is. The bulk of jobs will continue to be in Seattle/Bellevue, and commuters fleeing north for lower housing prices won’t want to go all the way to Everett. I-5, 405, Link, and 405 BRT all converge at Lynnwood.

        Everett has a unique niche of industrial jobs at Paine Field (similar to the Kent Valley), but those are a distinct kind of job from most of the Seattle/Bellevue jobs, and most of those workers will (I presume) live in Snohomish County. Everett has outlined some housing upzones downtown but it’s not really that much. The vast area around Broadway between downtown and Everett Station remains unaddressed. It could have thousands of people in multistory apartments and be an attractive extension of downtown, but the city has not moved in that direction. Also unaddressed is Evergreen Way. It could also hold thousands of residents and businesses more than it currently has, but Everett thinks it’s “finished” and doesn’t need improvement, and it doesn’t want Link there disrupting the car dealerships. Those are major lost opportunities that could make Everett a big important city, but it doesn’t seem to want to, while Lynnwood does.

      17. Metro deleted the 71/72/73X and saturated the Pacific Street gap with the 44/45/48/67/71/73. That would be the equivalent of deleting the 41.

        No, not at all. Everyone expects the 41 to go away once Link gets to Northgate. The bus runs right by the station. But again, very few people expected Metro to delete the 71/72/73 X routes once Link got to Husky Stadium. You can check the blog (it was very much like this — most people expected them to do very little with those routes). This was a very controversial move. I’m sure the transfer costs a lot of people a lot of time, because it is so awkward. You have extra surface running, along with a substantial walk in many cases.

        The U-District station is a different matter. People expected those routes to go away when Northgate Link was done (since the transfer there is much better).

        I think it is analogous to this. Northgate TC is (like Husky Stadium) an awkward station to make a transfer. But CT may make the transfer, just to save some money (or add service). I guess the biggest difference is the time frame (two years versus five).

      18. Several factors are converging which could make Lynnwood the largest city in Snohomish County and the hub of everything.

        God help us. More sprawl. If you think this is good for the environment, or good for the region, you live in a dream world. Yes, there will be a train to Lynnwood. But the bulk of the people will drive, as they do to just about every suburban office park everywhere. Areas to the east (North Creek, Cathart — I’m just looking up names at the map) will suddenly be reasonably attractive. People will find their (driving) commute to be “not that bad, really — you avoid the mess on the freeway, and just drive the back roads — it isn’t like commuting to Seattle”. Until, of course, the back roads get full (as they did with the east side). Despite the train, transit agencies will be challenged once again with trying to serve another sprawling business office center, and probably fail in the process (spreading themselves too thin). All this will, of course, lead to more driving.

      19. Getting from the freeway to Northgate Transit Center isn’t great, but it’s still way faster than getting from the freeway to 5th/Pine downtown. The service-hours saved would be immense, and would allow for much better bus frequency between Lynnwood and Northgate.

        As to “leave the express lanes”, the express lanes don’t even begin until Northgate anyway.

        Truncating in the U-district is an interesting idea, but I don’t like it because it would require buses to go all the way from Northgate to the U-district in bumper-to-bumper traffic without the express lanes. In fact, about the only good reason I see for not truncating buses at Northgate for two years is lack of layover space.

        One possible compromise might be to truncate of only some routes, but all. For instance, during peak hours, maybe the U-district buses could be truncated at Northgate, along with the buses that take the Stewart St. exit ramp to downtown (which has its own very severe congestion problems), but allow the buses that use the 5th/Columbia ramp to continue going downtown until 2023.

        During off-peak hours, I unequivocally favor truncating the 512 at Northgate and pouring the savings into better frequency. The service hours saved by truncating the bus would be almost enough to fund a 512 trip to connect with every train. And, the 512 takes so long to go through downtown on surface streets (and is so unreliable) that people headed downtown would probably find it faster, once time spent waiting at the bus stop is factored in.

      20. Directing suburban development towards mature sprawl like Lynnwood sure beats the office parks, housing and warehouses that are sprouting up in my neck of the woods up here in southwestern Arlington. The sprawl is already there and will have Link and be a major bus terminus anyway, so why not build around it and create healthy bi-directional ridership?

      21. “very few people expected Metro to delete the 71/72/73 X routes once Link got to Husky Stadium. You can check the blog (it was very much like this — most people expected them to do very little with those routes).”

        I was one of those. I didn’t think Metro would have the balls to truncate them, and I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I thought Metro would reduce their service by half to account for people defecting to Link. But the closest analogues in Northgate are the Shoreline expresses, not the Snohomish ones. They could be converted to feeders going to Northgate instead of their ultimate 145th and 185th. But that’s still not really the same thing as the 10-block gap in the U-District because the distances are longer so the travel time to get to Northgate without using the freeway would be significantly worse than now.

        “I guess that CT will truncate at the U-District”

        That’s not going to happen. There are two or three times as many buses going to downtown as to the U-District. The U-District streets can’t handle that many more buses. 45th is already a disaster. Getting from the 45th exit to U-District Station is not more feasable than getting from the Northgate exit to Northgate Station. And where would the buses lay over?

        If you’re looking for a place to truncate, see Roosevelt. It’s less tight there. But the Roosevelt residents would blow a fuse at so much more traffic in a residential neighborhood.

        “During off-peak hours, I unequivocally favor truncating the 512 at Northgate”

        That could work, because it’s only one route.

        “God help us. More sprawl.”

        An urban center is not sprawl. Sprawl is what most of the Snohomish County houses are now. The problem with Lynnwood is it has no effective center, so people go every which way to low-density businesses and houses. Keeping people out of Snohomish County requires dramatic upzones in Seattle and the Eastside and south King County, and none of them are willing to do more than a little bit. So people have to live somewhere, and it’s better to have Link to lower-cost urban centers than to force people to use the barely-reliable buses and driving, because they will go to Lynnwood with or without Link.

      22. he sprawl is already there and will have Link and be a major bus terminus anyway, so why not build around it and create healthy bi-directional ridership?

        There are two problems I see in Lynnwood:

        – Link stays along I-5, so doesn’t serve areas that would most likely be good to develop.

        – The huge, busy roads make it have all the issues of Mt Baker Station.

        However, if nobody else is willing to accept density, it’s going to go someplace that allows it. Witness Lake City.

        The transition isn’t going to be easy though because people are not going to like the conversion of wide, busy sprawl roads into slow city streets that people can actually cross easily and get between buildings.

      23. Lynnwood has problems but they aren’t fatal. There are a ton of apartments on 200th Street between the transit center and Edmonds CC. The 115/116 are 15-minute frequent on that street, and at the TC are frequent buses to Everett and Seattle, and further east within walking distance is Fred Meyer, the library, and City Hall, and Alderwood Mall beyond that. That’s enough for a basic life without a car. Lynnwood just needs to expand the area where that’s true. The stroads and large parking lots are unfortunate but everybody there is used to them. I didn’t realize there was another way until I was around 20 because everybody said the suburbs were better than what came before and the vast majority wanted them that way. If you grow up in that environment you just put up with it and think it’s an inevitable part of modern life, even if you know that San Francisco and London are different. (“Those are historical places,” people say.) But if you bring better transit to an area like that, where it is dense enough to live without a car if you’re patient, that does more good than harm.

        A year ago I took the 5 to Broadview to check its development, and at the bus stop was a woman. I said I was checking whether more apartments and businesses were being built because Broadview is becoming a refuge of lower-cost housing compared to central Seattle. She said she lives in the apartment across the street but she’s about to move to Lynnwood because the rent is increasing. I said, “There are fewer buses in Lynnwood. Are you concerned it might be more difficult and boring living up there?” She said it didn’t matter to her where she lived. So there are people like that, and bringing better transit to Lynnwood will benefit them.

        200th Street Lynnwood is in some ways similar to Kent East Hill and Crossroads. It’s not an “urban” design but it is denser than the surrounding area and has a variety of businesses and public services within a mile radius. It’s not easy to live without a car there, but it is possible without extraordinary sacrifice, as long as you’re home by 10pm. It’s also like what downtown Bellevue was like when I lived there in high school.

      24. They have some decent restaurants too. Painful to get to right now as it usually requires crossing hectares of hell worth of parking lots with no designated walk space, but it’s enough to be interesting.

      25. Yeah, without a doubt you would save oodles of service time if you just truncated the routes. My point is that people won’t like it, and that CT won’t dare risk pissing off people instead of just waiting a couple years. Keep in mind, as you mentioned, you could save a huge amount of time if you just dumped people off at the north end of downtown (where they could take the train) But again, people don’t want that. Like I said, though — I’ve been wrong before (most of were) so maybe CT will truncate at Northgate.

        As for layover space, I don’t understand the obsession with that. Just go there and turn around, and layover in the suburbs. Isn’t that what they do now?

        As for Lynnwood, my point is that the more suburban the office job, the more people will drive there, regardless of how good the transit is to the area. I really can’t think of any area, anywhere, that is that suburban — that far away from what any reasonable person would consider the urban core — that has a substantial transit mode share. I can think of plenty of counter examples, even next to really big cities that have great transit in the core city (New York, Chicago, Boston, etc.). With people driving, and the relative distance shorter (Lynnwood versus downtown) sprawl is likely to increase. Instead of a hellish one hour commute to South Lake Union, they have a more manageable half hour commute to Lynnwood. Great for green field developers, bad for the planet (and the region).

        Speaking of Lynnwood, I lived there for a while, with my wife and kids. We didn’t have a car (or much else). It was tough, to be sure. I’m sure there will be more people like that, as rents continue to rise. But light rail wouldn’t have changed a thing, as not one of my jobs was in King County, let alone along that corridor. Low wage workers (in the food services industry in my case) typically don’t commute long distances. Now Swift, on the other hand, would have been a Godsend. A bus that runs every 12 minutes along Aurora, even late at night — that would have been wonderful (no matter what color it was painted).

      26. “As for Lynnwood, my point is that the more suburban the office job, the more people will drive there, regardless of how good the transit is to the area. I really can’t think of any area, anywhere, that is that suburban — that far away from what any reasonable person would consider the urban core — that has a substantial transit mode share. I can think of plenty of counter examples, even next to really big cities that have great transit in the core city (New York, Chicago, Boston, etc.). With people driving, and the relative distance shorter (Lynnwood versus downtown) sprawl is likely to increase. Instead of a hellish one hour commute to South Lake Union, they have a more manageable half hour commute to Lynnwood. Great for green field developers, bad for the planet (and the region).”

        That’s kind of beside the point though. The point isn’t the majority who aren’t willing to use transit or who place themselves in low-density neighborhoods or isolated apartment buildings that feeders can’t possibly serve or aren’t in CT’s long-range plan. The point is the minority who is willing to use transit and making it easier for them, which will grow their number. We can’t get to London in one step, especially with the number of backward steps the region has made in the past fifty years and is still making. (Why is Canyon Park and the apartments north of it “dense” but unwalkable? Why wasn’t Swift installed there ten years ago to increase the transit ridership and make it accessible to non-drivers?) But if you keep making incremental improvements they’ll start adding up and reinforcing each other.

        I’m not quite sure what your ultimate goal is. Stop the population increase in Snohomish County? Stop the Lynnwood urban center? Isn’t a suburban county with an urban center better off than a suburban county with only strip malls? Regardless of the fact that some people commute to South Lake Union and others commute from Snohomish to Lynnwood? The Eastside is better off now than it was in the 80s, and it’s actually a good thing that some people drive from Kingsgate to Redmond when they earlier would have driven from Kingsgate to Seatle because it’s fewer miles driven.

        “But light rail wouldn’t have changed a thing, as not one of my jobs was in King County, let alone along that corridor.”

        Somebody fills those hundreds of buses that go to downtown and the U-District. You may not travel north-south but other people do, for work and otherwise.

      27. Now I understand the difference between our positions. You’re focusing on the number of people who would be induced by Link to move to Snohhomish County. I’m focusing on the number of people already in Snohomish County and who will move there anyway. I posit that the former is a tiny fraction of the latter, not enough to worry about. You may say, “But people who move to Snoho anyway won’t take Link.” But maybe they will even if they didn’t initially intend to. Or maybe their children will. I was a child whose parents drove everywhere when I moved to Bellevue, and I would say, “Yes, build it!” We’re not talking about the controversial Everett extension, which I’m “Meh” about. We’re talking about Lynnwood, which has a proven large north-south transit market and a centrally-located collector point.

        If we don’t extend Link, we can’t truncate the buses in Lynnwood. You mentioned truncating them in north downtown, the U-District, Northgate, or Mountlake Terrrace. That would be better than downtown but it’s still more vehicle miles traveled than if they’re truncated in Lynnwood. It’s better to just go all the way. I was surprised when ST included Lynnwood in ST2. But that was a great decision, and it was nine years ago. It’s the one biggest thing Snoho could use for Snoho-King connectivity. Heavy rail might be better, but absent heavy rail there’s nothing else. Not BRT on I-5, not Swift to 145th.

      28. Come to think of it…
        1972: Forward Trust Fails
        1973: My family moves to Bellevue, parents drive, I’m too young to think of transit
        1980: I start riding hourly bus a 5-minute walk from home. This is one mile from FT’s Crossroads Station or Link’s Overlake Village Station.
        1985: I start riding buses extensively in the U-District and periodically to Northgate and Bellevue.
        1989: Begin of 14-year commute from U-District to variously downtown, Harborview, and Northgate.

        Forward Thrust or ST2 Link would have saved a lot of waiting for buses, getting stuck in traffic, unreliable buses, time-consuming transfers, etc. My 1980 bus was hourly, my 1983 buses were half-hourly, my 1989 buses were 15 minutes (UDistrict to downtown) or 30 minutes (UDistrict to Northgate). Link is 10 minutes on one line or 5 minutes where two lines overlap, and train-to-train transfers are easier than transfers involving buses. That’s why it drives me up the wall when people say not enough people would take Link to Northgate and a bus is equivalent, because it’s completely untrue.

        Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, and Bothell have a population of 57,000 right now. I have to think that among those people there must be some who are children now who will gladly ride Link in eight years when it opens, or fifteen years when it has matured. And who without it would be wasting time waiting for buses, getting stuck in traffic, and dealing with unreliable and infrequent buses and inconvenient transfers. Those are precisely the problems with American car-dependent society, and we need to fix them now (or better yet in 1970), not 2050.

    2. The Green Line has been in CT’s long-range plan for at least three years, when the legislature was considering funding it. It’s not “anticipating ST3”, it’s a fallback in case ST3 doesn’t pass, and serves a part of the county that will never have Link. The west end is a sop to Boeing to convince it to keep jobs there; it will probably have little ridership weekends and evenings. The east part gives more regular service to the Bothell-Everett Highway, which has P&Rs at both ends (Canyon Park and Mariner), office parks and big-box stores at the south end, and several large apartment complexes in between. It’s dense by suburban standards but the middle is unwalkable: long distances between apartment complexes, and one complex appears to have no safe pedestrian path to the bus stop or highway. Fortunately the newest buildings don’t have that.

      1. Yeah, I agree. It is like Madison BRT — Link is irrelevant. It makes sense with Link, it makes without it.

      2. In the no-ST3 scenario the route would be a whole lot more effective with connections to the 512 and 522-based routes! The route on 128th probably provides access to more homes than a route via 112th and South Everett P&R would, which makes it a reasonable choice… also the platforms at South Everett P&R are about 300m from the street, which makes for a long walk or a long diversion (almost as long as the 512’s diversion into Lynnwood P&R)… but missing such an important regional transit connection is hard to swallow.

      3. I don’t know enough about 128th or 112th Street or Casino Road to say which of them would serve more people or be more effective, so I defer to CT’s decision.

    3. Clearly the northgate transit center (poorly designed from the start) is most likely obsolete after Link. We’re stuck with a station with a crappy walk shed, pushed out of the neighborhood across the mall (or the freeway if you’re lucky), with crappier east-west bus access, and one apartment building on top of all the good parking.

      1. Northgate Transit center will be torn down for TOD after the station opens. Its been in the plans for some time.

        The buses will move to the station as a transit center, and it will continue to take local connections like the 40, 75, 67 and buses coming from Shoreline. This buses will stick around as local connectors for the forseeable future. some tail of the 41 may remain or be part of a new route to server riders in Pinehurst/Lake City.

        At the latest I expect buses like the 555 to be gone when the Blue Line opens in 2023.

        Despite the traffic problems, I Northgate Station to continue to play an important role to Lake City until 130th station finally opens, with riders split between it and 145th station.

      2. Yeah, I agree with Charles. It is a very crappy station (Northgate Way would have been much better) but we are stuck with it, and will try and make the best of it. Like a lot of Link stations (Mount Baker, Husky Stadium) the general location is great, but the specific location is terrible. The best thing about it will become obsolete when Link opens (I doubt any bus will ever go on the express lanes there).

  2. “I’m on the blue line like you told me. But I don’t think there’s a stop on 196th street SW, and I think it’s taking me to Seattle or Bellevue or something.”

    Community transit needed just two colors, and they had to pick the exact two colors of the two light rail lines that go through the county under ST3.

    1. Not both the colors – Link has red and blue lines. Still a huge problem, though, especially since the Swift blue line parallels Link but stays some way away.

    2. Living in this region you should be used to dealing with dozens of various transit agencies with wildly different maps, naming conventions, quality of service, pricing, etc…

    3. I get confused all the time, but I think I can tell the difference between a bus and a train. Green and Blue have been their colors for a long time, and fit the region (both our football teams — Sounders and Seahawks — use those colors).

      1. On a map it’s harder to tell the difference. The best you could do is have a thicker or bolder line be a train, but it’s still hard to explain because it’s still a “blue line.”

      2. How hard is it to explain “take the bus” versus “take the train”? I really doubt there will be people who are confused. It is nothing like “University Street Station” which is nowhere near the university, and will no doubt confuse the hell out of people.

      3. Evidence for that seems entirely in the minds of bloggers here. University St. doesn’t confuse people.

      4. People getting on the bus in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel cannot however. They ask all the time if this bus is the train.

    4. Color duplication is a good illustration of how the different operators don’t work together. At least CT isn’t using red to confuse them with Metro PapidRide.

      It also appears that the CT colors are lighter shades than the shades of ST lines. That’s a good thing.

      Of course, ST began using a maroon color for their initial line – and switched to almost the same color red as RapidRide last year. That creates more confusion than this will.

      If CT would call these the teal and lime lines, the problem would be easily solved. Alternatively, if ST changed over to purple and gold (UW colors) for the two lines here, the duplication would also be solved.

      There needs to be a regional color allocation panel for operators! I wish PSRC would step up and take charge of this issue! We created the 3 digit bus numbering system decades ago so there is precedence for this.

    5. Consider it an IQ test. And it could be worse. How about white, paper, bone, cream, and sand? :)

    6. “Community transit needed just two colors”

      Community Transit needs five or six colors for its planned Swift network.

    7. At least it’s not still the days of black and white printed maps everywhere, so that each line needs its own distinct cross hatch pattern.

      “Is that the fat dashed line with triple cross hatches or the thin line with left and right branch hatches?”

      Color printing hasn’t always been cheap, and in the days when black and white was much more common (up into the 1980s) some black and white maps could be really awful.

  3. Any discussion yet about how the Green Line will integrate with 405 BRT at Canyon Park, or is it still too early for that?

    1. Swift will likely use the existing bus bay, so northbound BRT connections (assuming it uses the same 535 stops) will be simple. Southbound would require using the existing pedestrian bridge.

      This could, of course, all change if a median station or something else is chosen.

      1. OK cool. Seems like a solid solution.

        The 405 BRT material have Canyon Park as an on-ramp station. Bothell & Canyon Park shouldn’t be upgraded to median stations until the 2nd HOT lane is added, which is currently unfunded by WSDOT but in the long term plan. I would imagine any rebuild that creates a median stations would take at into account SWIFT transfers, but that’s likely a decade away at the earliest.

  4. Maybe now there’s BRT officially planned to go to Paine Field, maybe we can cancel the Link stop there and have a station just at 3rd Avenue or maybe even at Airport Road where the two Swift lines meet? Something to think about for a amendment to ST3 to go on the ballot for 2020, like some people here have suggested on this blog…

      1. Except that Paine Field is a fixed part of ST3, so Sound Transit might be legally bound to build it unless it becomes technically impossible. I’m not sure ST would have the authority to remove it without a public vote.

      2. ST can change the streets and stations; it would just have to write a statement justifying the deviation. The map in the ballot measure is a “representative example”. The EIS process requires ST to consider all reasonable alternatives without bias in order to be eligible for federal grants. In Lynnwood Link ST considered Aurora, I-5, 15th Ave NE, and Lake City Way. One of the Aurora alternatives had an extra station at 130th; that’s where the movement for a 130th Station on the I-5 alignment came from. Since Paine Field is such a major destination, ST might have to do more than just route Link straight on I-5 bypassing it; it might have to have a shuttle line to Paine or make a big contribution to Swift, in order to claim it’s giving voters something “substantially equivalent” to what was approved.

      3. The reason ST does not pin down the streets and stations in the ballot measure is to avoid the mistake the monorail did, of authorizing only specific streets and stations before the engineering studies were done and with no ability to reflect changes in the environment or travel patterns during the years between approval and construction.

    1. Yes. But Everett and Snohomish knew Swift was coming and they insisted in the Paine Field detour anyway. The only hope is that the cities will reconsider in the 2020s. By that time there may be different leaders, and public demand for access to high-capacity transit where the people are and all-day demand is may become big enough to consider changes. Things may also be clearer to people after Lynnwood opens and we see how the actual ridership and trip patterns and demand for access emerge. The biggest thing that could trigger a change is a movement of activists who are Snohomish County residents. We’ve looked all over for one and can’t find any.

      1. Also, notice how (assuming the provision SR-99 stop is eventually built), Swift II, north of 128th St. is basically just shuttling people from Link Station to Link Station, completely redundant with Link itself.

      2. At that point, I think Community Transit might want to reconsider the Swift network and keep the Green Line on Highway 527 all the way to Everett Mall, then veer west to Seaway/Boeing, while the 128th service can be shifted towards a completely east-west route. The two corridors were not meant to originally be joined, so ultimately they could end up split again.

  5. Deja Vu occurring. I swear I saw this post back on Friday IIRC but it got pulled for some reason.

    1. So just a glitch in the matrix apparently. I guess I never figured a non profit transit blog had a reason to hide something. Very strange.

      1. I don’t think they are hiding anything. It is just a matter of publishing things when you want to publish them. You don’t want a flurry of articles, then nothing new for a while (I’ve seen that on a lot of blogs and it isn’t as entertaining). So maybe someone hit the wrong button, then realized it wasn’t slated for publication yet, and withdrew it.

  6. This is terrible. The pattern in the Puget sound region is Letters = BRT. Just call SWIFT the G line or X line or something like that. That way a visitor to the region can know what the heck they are doing. Colors will be SO confusing when they have Link colors too.

    1. The pattern in King County is letters for BRT. In Pierce County it’s one-digit route numbers. Snohomish County has never committed to a scheme until now; the one line was merely called “Swift” (in italics).

      1. They should just do one digit numbers, and SWIFT1 = route 1, etc. On maps, they could have really big circles around the numbers, like Pierce Transit. I don’t think there’s an issue with both Pierce and Snohomish counties using the single digit convention. But Everett Transit is one possible source of confusion, since ET uses one-digit numbers for some of its routes.

      2. The Swift Blue Line is route 701 internally, so perhaps starting with those would be best. “702 Green Line” isn’t too bad of a name.

        CT avoided using single-digit numbers entirely because of Everett Transit, so I doubt they will want to port Swift over to them.

    2. Metro will run out of letters when the Move Seattle lines are done and it starts implementing its long-range plan. There are Seattle lines not in Move Seattle that Metro wants to upgrade to RapidRide; e.g., the 62 and the 8/11 (a Harrison-John-Madison line). If Metro and SDOT are forward-thinking, maybe they’ll come up with another scheme for the Seattle lines. What we lost with the letters is geographical meaning: the routes less than 100 are Seattle, 1xx is south King County, 2xx is the Eastside, and 3xx is north King County. The letters are arbitrarily based on when the route opened, so you can’t tell from the letter which part of the county it’s in. Maybe there should be one scheme for the Seattle lines and another for the rest of the county.

      1. I think it would be nice if these meant something.

        If you look at the 1940s and 1950s era, you will see things like (only a hypothetical example rather than doing the actual map research):

        MT = Mount Tabor / Montevilla
        CC = Council Crest
        AB = NE Alberta
        SM = Sellwood – Moreland
        NW = NW 21st

        Numbers are one thing, but if you move to alphanumeric you might as well have those alphanumeric route designations mean something.

        And no, even though there are only two of them, I’ve not figured out what Portland Streetcar is trying to signify with their modern implementation of these two letter route names. In fact, that’s one reason why I think more obvious route names derived from the places served are a good idea.

      2. Not sure why, but my entire sentence fragment about referencing old Portland streetcar and bus maps got disappeared before I hit the post button.

  7. What work is happening on 128th, exactly? Will the bridge be widened to add a BAT lane or is it some other type of routine WSDOT construction?

  8. It’s unfortunate that they are unwilling to extend the line beyond county boundary to UW Bothell/ Cascadia, a real destination for many people living along the southern half of the line, rather than just truncating the line at the mediocre, anti-pedestrian, Canyon Park P&R. (The extension would be 3.4mi via I-405 or 3.8mi via Bothell-Everett Hwy).

    1. Agreed. If only their was an agency that could help bridge the gap between county transit interests. Maybe something that could cover the whole region (the Puget Sound). Puget Transit, perhaps?

      Seriously, though, this is exactly what Sound Transit should be building, instead of the silly spine (which has gone far enough). Extend this to UW/Bothell. Run both lines every six minutes (instead of twelve). Then work on the bottlenecks here and in other areas. Every express bus from north of 128th should stop at 128th, so that it is trivial to link to the green BRT line.

      1. Not feasible because of the amount of merging in the short distance between South Everett Freeway Station and Mariner P&R. Perhaps another set of HOV direct access ramps would make it possible, but it would still slow down trips on an already hour-long ride from Everett to Seattle.

      2. Yep, another set of HOV ramps is all it would take. That would slow down the bus, but do you really expect the buses to go all the way from Seattle to Everett once Link gets to Lynnwood? Stopping a bus once at a freeway station (or even making a detour to the park and ride) is a minimal delay compared to the route (and the stops) the train will take from Everett to Lynnwood.

      3. Why does 112th get a stop on the 512, rather than 128th? There is currently no effective way to get from Seattle to Paine Field using transit, and won’t be for another 25 years unless a stop on 128th is added. If this connection is important enough to build rail, it should also be accessible on bus.

      4. “This connection” is not important enough to build rail. A one-seat ride from Seattle to Paine Field is important enough to build rail. The connection from Link to Swift Blue at 99 is so low priority it’s a provisional station.

    2. As mentioned in the post, the main holdup is the widening project on Bothell Way, and Canyon Park was a convenient place to terminate for the time being. With route 105 already traveling through downtown Bothell to UW/Cascadia, it’s only a matter of time (and it’s also shown in the future plans map linked above).

    3. It’s not a question of willing, it’s a question of funding. The Swift 2 budget wasn’t enough to reach downtown Bothell, the same way the Roosevelt BRT budget wasn’t enough to reach Northgate.

      “Seriously, though, this is exactly what Sound Transit should be building, instead of the silly spine (which has gone far enough). Extend this to UW/Bothell.”

      I do think in general ST should have focused on the remaining Swift lines instead of the Everett extension. But Bothell will not be a great place to transfer for people going from Seattle to Snohomish County. I rode the 105 earlier this year to check the Swift corridor’s potential, and the transfer has the following problems:
      – UW Bothell is significantly east of downtown so transferring there would be backtracking.
      – I almost got off the 372 at the Bothell-Everett Highway where they’d logically intersect. Luckily I didn’t because the 105 makes only one stop in downtown Bothell and it’s several blocks north of there and I wouldn’t have found the stop.
      – The 105 takes a long time to get back through downtown Bothell and to the county border, even though it makes only one stop.
      – A traveler from Seattle to Canyon Park or Mill Creek or the Mariner transfer would lose significant time in downtown Bothell.

      A Swift extension could improve all of these. But it still might not compete with taking Link to Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace and an east-west bus to Mill Creek or Canyon Park. Swift 3 will be an Edmonds-Lynnwood-Mill Creek line so that will take care of that. I’m not sure if there’s a direct bus from Link to Canyon Park or if the east-west roads would allow it, but that will become increasingly important in the future, and transferring through Bothell just will not be preferable. Unless 405 BRT comes to the rescue maybe. What’s it going to do in Bothell?

      1. Sorry, that paragraph was too vague. I am not suggesting a transfer at Bothell. I am just suggesting the BRT go to Bothell because the UW campus is there. That costs money (as you said) but it would be money well spent (unlike extending the spine to Everett). Likewise with other surface improvements.

        As I said up above, terminating Link at Northgate would be a bad idea. There is too much density north of there within the city limits (not directly north, but east and west). The logical place to terminate would be either at 145th or Mountlake Terrace. The first would require a new set of bus ramps, so that buses could get from the HOV lanes to the station (and then back north). It might have been cheaper and (politically) easier to just leverage Mountlake Terrace (although I am not certain it is set up for buses to reverse direction either). But either way, it is a moot point.

        My main point is that these type of projects (bus based ones) make the most sense for Snohomish County in ST3. More frequent Swift service (12 minutes is hardly frequent) additional locations (like UW Bothell) along with just regular bus improvements (more bus/HOV/BAT lanes and more service) would be a much better way to spend the money.

      2. Lynnwood has the possibility of becoming a hub for Snohomish County, with a lot of people going there not just to get on Link but also to work and shop right there, the way downtown Bellevue is. Mountlake Terrace does not have that possibility. It would be like terminating in the Spring District without going to Microsoft. Mountlake Terrace is almost there, so why not go the rest of the way. And downtown MT is really small, like Mercer Island, and it’s not interested in growing. It will be lucky if it gets from one story to three stories.

  9. I’m guessing that one of the three new lines will be the Everett Station-Marysville-Smokey Point line, but I’m having a hard time fitting the rest of the corridors on the linked “Future Swift” map into lines – there are a bunch of branching points, most of which look too long to be simple deviations.

    1. I believe that the potential “Swift 3” would roughly follow the current Route 116 — Edmonds, Edmonds CC, Lynnwood, Alderwood Mall, Ash Way P&R, Mill Creek.

    2. Community Transit long-range plan (2030). Click on “The Long Range Plan” in the second paragraph. Page 13 of the PDF lists the Swift corridors:

      1. Aurora Village – Everett (Highway 99-Evergreen Way)
      2. Downtown Bothell – Paine Field (Bothell-Everett Highway)
      3. Paine Field – Cathcart (128th Street)
      4. Mill Creek – Lynnwood – Edmonds
      5. Everett – Smokey Point (Broadway-Smokey Point Blvd)

      The following pages have maps and details of the corridors.

      So from ST2 Link you’ll have to take a Lynnwood-Everett bus to reach line #5, or from ST3 Link it will be at Everett Station. Lynnwood-Everett is already 15-minute frequent on each of the 201/202 and 512, so I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that part.

      The other “Transit Emphasis Corridors” listed are “Arterial Service” (medium level):
      – Lynnwood – Highway 9 (196th Street)
      – Lake Stevens – Everett

      and “Local Service” (low level):
      – Monroe – Everett (Highway 2)
      – Mukilteo Ferry to 405
      – Smokey Point – Arlington
      – Marysville – Lake Stevens
      – Edmonds – MT – Bothell (228th-236th Street)
      – Bothell – 100th Street SE (35th Avenue)

      1. So, if Paine Field does get a Link Station, does Mukilteo even get a shuttle bus to it – or is the long, loopy, hourly route to Lynnwood all they will ever get? And, if CT won’t run a bus to the Link Station, can ST, or somebody at least build a bike trail? The distance is only a couple miles, but it’s a couple miles along what is currently a freeway with no non-motorized form access without a very long detour.

      2. There’s that “Mukilteo Ferry to 405” route. I don’t know whether it will be better than the 113. I assume it will stop at Seaview Transit Center.

      3. Looking at the map, the “Mukilteo Ferry to 405” route is mostly along highway 525. It does not go to Seaview Transit Center. In fact, a trip from Mukilteo to Boeing shows up as a 3-seat ride on the map (bus down highway 525 to SR-99, followed by Swift I, followed by Swift II).

        I’m tacitly assuming that if Link ever does go to the Boeing plant that the Mukilteo bus network would be revised to serve it, as to not do that would be crazy. But long-range plan we have now is about the year 2030 and, even if ST 3 passes, such a Link station would not open until well after 2030.

  10. Think about this!

    We have a region that was smart enough decades ago to get the transit operators to agree to use three digits so that people won’t get bus routes confused in Downtown Seattle.

    Now these same agencies are picking route color names that are identical color names to those used by other agencies.

    That seems to me like we’re getting dumber as a region — not smarter.

    1. It wasn’t “the transit operators”, it was just Metro. The 4xx routes used to be Metro routes before Community Transit took them over. When Pierce Transit started the Tacoma Express it took the 5xx block, and when Sound Transit started it took over the 5xx block because all the Pierce County expresses were converted to ST. Except 500 and 501 which are still used by PT for local routes to Federal Way. I think ST refrains from using numbers below 510.

      1. Moreover, the 400s weren’t created until 1981 (coinciding with the opening of the original Lynnwood park and ride) and were previously 300s like the rest of North Seattle and Shoreline.

        And the lowest ST routes (505/506) were eliminated quite some time ago.

      2. What were the 505 and 506?

        When was Community Transit established? Was there any local transit in southwest Snohomish County before then? My first memory is taking the 6 to Aurora Village and transferring to CT six hundred something to Everett to see what’s there, but that was later, maybe 1984.

      3. It’s easy to forget Metro wasn’t part of King County then, it was a separate regional agency limited to transit and sewers. It was the Sound Transit of its day with a service area from Lynnwood to Federal Way, and it created what were considered innovations at the time: park n rides and transit centers. But all its Snohomish County routes were unidirectional peak expresses.

        After that trip to Everett I went to 196th occasionally, and later attended a church on 176th, all on that six hundred something route. (I wouldn’t take any other route because that route was straight and faster, while all the others were full of twists and turns; one took a whole hour from 244th to 176th.) Lynnwood and Everett were all a sea of one-story buildings then, but so were Bellevue and Seattle so it was more of the same. That was sprawl. And it wasn’t because transit went out that far, it was because the freeways did, and before that 99.

      4. Metro operated (or subcontracted) a route from Seattle to Everett, at least prior to 1980 (when I graduated from high school). I remember the few times I rode it, just to say I had, it was operated with a really old intercity-type bus. I’ve been trying hard to remember the route number, but my best “recollection” was that it might have been a 306, as an “extension” of the 6-Stoneway bus that went up Aurora. That bus, and a similar route south to Federal Way and perhaps Tacoma, originated from across from the Greyhound Depot at 9th & Stewart.

        Saw the same kind of bus on the route 357-Skykomish, via the old Northgate P&R, 522, and US 2, in the same era. I do know that Trailways operated that as a Metro bus.

        I lived in Ravenna and worked in Mountlake Terrace in 1980-1981. Not sure exactly when the old 377 became a 477 on trips to MLT and Brier, but it was in that time frame. Also can’t remember the number of the bus I took that was an express from Downtown to the CT transfer center behind the Lynnwood Fred Meyer on the 194th SW side. But it seems that was also a 3 in front of the route number of another established 2-digit route.

  11. In reading the comments about Lynnwood I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or wander around the yard and contemplate humanity. “Lynnwood may be bigger than Everett, Lynnwood has good restaurants, Lynnwood has a lot of apartments between the transit station and EdCC”.

    Have you guys ever been to Lynnwood? Lynnwood has nothing but strip malls and parking lots. No matter what they say on their website (it’s a tourist destination) Lynnwood is nothing but sprawl with big box stores and corporate fast food restaurants.

    (posted from Lynnwood)

    1. “Lynnwood may be bigger than Everett,”

      That’s in the future if the city center development succeeds. The Link station is one part of it. Whether the city attracts companies and midrise buildings remains to be seen. The regional population will continue to increase, the infill areas in Seattle and Bellevue will be built up leaving diminishing opportunities for developers and would-be residents, and more people will look north. What seems unlikely now will seem more likely in ten years, and commonplace in twenty years.

      “Lynnwood has a lot of apartments between the transit station and EdCC”

      I saw the apartments from the bus window. It surprised me how many there were, because I thought Lynnwood was all houses and strip malls and a few scattered apartments.

      “Lynnwood has good restaurants,”

      That’s what someone who eats there says. I wouldn’t know.

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