Sounder Bruce (Flickr)

The day after President-Elect Trump’s inauguration, one of the largest coordinated protest marches in history will take place, with hundreds of cities worldwide hosting the Women’s March on [Your City Here]. The Seattle Times reports that up to 50,000 are expected for Seattle’s 10am Womxn’s March, likely the 3rd largest behind Washington DC and Los Angeles. The march will begin at Judkins Park and make the 3.5 mile walk to Seattle Center via Little Saigon, Downtown, and Belltown.

Metro and Sound Transit have said they will operate normal Saturday service, though extra buses and trains will be on ready reserve and dispatched as needed. The Judkins Park area is well-served generally, but definitely unable to handle a 50,000 person crush at Saturday service levels. Accordingly, riders should expect delays and crowding. And of course, if you are able, walking and bicycling will be by far the most reliable means of getting around.

Saturday frequencies for routes serving Judkins Park are as follows (and have been much improved by Seattle’s Prop 1 funds):

  • Route 4: 30 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: 23rd/Dearborn
  • Route 7: 10 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: Rainier/Norman
  • Route 8: 15 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: MLK/Judkins
  • Route 14: 20 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: 20th/Jackson
  • Route 48: 10 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: 23rd/Dearborn
  • Route 106: 15 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: Rainier/I-90
  • Route 550: 15 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: Rainier/I-90
  • Route 554: 30 minutes
    • Nearest Stop: Rainier/I-90

Following the march, riders can disperse on Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, 24, 26, 28, 32, 33, 62, D, or E, or on any major downtown route with a bit of backtracking.

If you are participating in the march, or will be near Center City, pack your patience in support of important civic freedoms. Try to grab a bite or spend some money along the route, especially in the International District, where mid-January is a critical time for sales ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations. And think ahead to 2023, when a Link station will be at the foot of Judkins Park, hopefully for happier occasions.

25 Replies to “50,000 Expected for Saturday’s Womxn’s March”

  1. Light rail back door: you can walk to Judkins Park from Mt Baker station. Google Maps says 28 minutes but I have gotten to the future station in around 15, and Judkins Park is just beyond that. If so many people are coming, a lot of people will be walking to the park at that time so the walk will become “part of the event”.

  2. Just emailed Sound Transit and Metro to request that they provide expanded service on Saturday.

    rob.gannon@kingcounty.gov,
    victor.obeso@kingcounty.gov,
    EmailTheBoard@soundtransit.org,
    main@soundtransit.org

    Dear Metro and Sound Transit leaders,

    I urge you to add expanded service to/from the Central District and Downtown Seattle to support the Womxn’s March on Saturday. Organizers are anticipating a crowd of 50,000 – 100,000 people, which will far exceed the size of many sporting events which regularly have expanded service. A majority of the March attendees will rely on public transit to get to the March and back home. Some of these people will not be frequent transit riders, or may be using transit for the very first time. What a great opportunity to introduce them to the benefits and ease of use of transit! Let’s make it a positive experience by increasing capacity to the levels that will be will be needed to adequately transport a crowd of this size. Please run additional buses and trains as you would for a major sporting event. Please also consider stationing “transit ambassadors” at key locations to help transit novices locate the transit services needed to get to Judkins Park, and then home again from Downtown/Seattle center (much as you do when major service changes come online).

    I know these services come with an additional price tag, which may not have a budget allocation. I am also aware that your agencies have received scrutiny in the past regarding the large marketing budgets associated with promoting new/expanded service. Please consider this as a marketing opportunity. As I mentioned above, many March attendees will be using transit for the first time, or the first time after a long hiatus. Providing excellent service during this event is an opportunity to introduce many new riders to your services, and make a positive impression.

    Thanks for the important work you do every day, and for considering this request.

    Sincerely,

  3. “If you are participating in the march, or will be near Center City, pack your patience in support of important civic freedoms.”

    Also, if the route you plan to take touches downtown at all be prepared for delays. People often forget that. Although it is great that downtown service is robust, it also create a single point of failure for a large percentage of the Seattle route network.

  4. Thanks for the good info. I was doing a search today on Community Transit’s Trip Planner, and my result included a notice about the Saturday march, including how to get there on transit! Good on CT!

  5. I’ll be there with my wife. We’re planning on taking the 41 (which goes through the tunnel) then transferring to the 7. If things are crazy on the 7 (which is possible) then we’ll probably just walk from downtown (a half hour) or as Mike suggested, go back in the tunnel and take the train to Mount Baker and walk north. I don’t think it will be a complete mess — unlike a ball game, crowds for a march show at various times (some early, some late). I would be a bit concerned about route disruptions during the march itself, though, so this post is great for folks who aren’t marching, but just want to get from one part of town to the other during that time. They don’t post the actual route of the march until the last minute, apparently, for security concerns, so I guess the key word is be flexible (one bus away is your friend).

    We will probably break off downtown and take the 41 back home before getting ready for a basketball game that evening. I really do like the tunnel, because I am reasonably confident we won’t be marching there.

    1. The first day of WTO I was on an Eastlake bus from the U-District and it ran into a solid wall of people around where Fairview splits off so I had to walk the rest of the way downtown. Eastlake was packed solid with people and so was Denny Way with a group coming down from Seattle Central. WTO had 20,000 people as I recall so if this has 50,000 people it’ll be three times larger. Thus my suggestion to take Link because it won’t bog down as badly if the crowd is huge.

    2. One woman I know is coming down from Everett and parking at Northgate and taking the 41, so we’ll see how well it holds up.

  6. It’s always possible to take the mostly empty FHSC to the stop at 14th and Jackson, and walk only about 3/4 of a mile (about 15 minutes) to Judkins Park, as well. That’s going to be closer than Mt. Baker Station.

  7. Response from Metro (yay for their speed and responsiveness!):

    Dear Ms. Van Gorp,

    Thank you for your email of January 19, 2017, regarding King County Metro’s planned service during the Womxn’s March on Seattle. Metro’s operators, planners, mechanics and supervisors are doing everything they can to be ready for the estimated 50,000 participants expected at this historic event.

    Metro is proud to serve a region dedicated to civic engagement. This Saturday, we plan to have nearly 250 bus trips scheduled to or near Judkins Park before the march begins. That includes regularly-scheduled service and additional buses assigned to provide extra service on key routes. Our partners at Sound Transit also plan to bolster Link light rail service by operating 3-car trains with extra trains on standby. In addition, Metro supervisors will be staged at locations in downtown, the International District and Pioneer Square to assist riders and monitor crowds so we can adjust to accommodate needs when possible.

    We urge participants in Saturday’s march to consider all transportation options, including charter buses, carpooling, light rail or riding the bus and walking part of the way if able. Metro will carry as many people as possible but our resources alone will not be enough to move tens of thousands of people safely to and from this event. We advise transit riders to plan ahead, leave early and to prepare for crowded buses that may be too full to accommodate additional passengers. We also advise riders, in general, to expect significant delays as buses may be delayed for up to an hour at some locations during the march. Riders are also encouraged to sign up for Transit Alerts on the routes they may ride, which can be sent via text or email.

    Please be reassured that Metro is taking steps to provide the best service possible during what is expected to be a busy and historic day. We know this day is important to our community, and we do not take it lightly.

    Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Rob Gannon
    General Manager
    King County Metro Transit

  8. The threads on Reddit today suggest that Metro hasn’t successfully met demand with skipped stops and packed buses.

    1. Metro can’t necessarily be expected to have enough buses for surges like this. That’s why we’re building light rail.

      1. Yes, Metro CAN be expected to have enough buses for an event that’s been planned and publicized weeks in advance!

  9. The suggestion to use the Mt. Baker light rail station was pure gold! We were able to get on the train at Sodo, ride two stops over, and make an easy walk to Judkins Park. Southbound trains were packed leaving University station around 3PM, but we managed to find a spot and get back to our point of origin without much fanfare.

    Surface streets were a mess. Relying on a bus to get back out of town would have been a trying ordeal.

    1. Cool. I did the same thing except I took a weird route back to Sodo after the march, because I assumed it wouldn’t be possible to board a train in the tunnel. At the Rally to Restore Sanity in DC, Metro had become an unuseable trap, despite much more capacity, so I assumed the same would happen here. I caught a 36 to Beacon Hill, then took Link back toward the city one stop to get off at Sodo. It worked OK. Still faster than busing to/from West Seattle. I saw crowds of increasingly despondent people rejected by full C coach after full C coach.

      I myself was getting pretty irked because OneBusAway showed a 124 approaching us at 3rd/Virginia, then never existing, and then a 132 doing the same fakeout. If King County Metro has axed a bunch of routes, they should at least not put fake info up on the board over and over again. Also, maybe think about running more, not fewer coaches, on such a big event?

      Inbound, the walk to the march from Mt. Baker was a great tip. My wife’s and my only mistake was hopping on a northbound 7, which got mired in gridlock at 23rd Ave after about a block. Pretty stupid. We eventually got off and walked the rest of the way. Being late turned out not to matter though, because the march took hours to actually squeeze out of the park and onto Jackson. My wife and I decided to walk around to the northeast and got great Ethiopian lunch at East African Imports, partly inspired by Zach (and our rumbling stomachs). Then we joined the march with full bellies at around 1.

  10. After-event report. Pine Street 2pm: 4th Avenue filled with people as far as the eye could see. The highest estimate I heard was 130,000 people. That would be seven times larger than WTO. The “silent” part didn’t work: there were people shouting and periodic waves of screams. The Cinerama had supportive messages on its display. Seattle Center didn’t have festival booths like I expected, but the crowd in the Armory made the restaurant lines very long, and the Queen Anne restaurants also had lines.

    There was a rush-hour crowd at the QA & Mercer bus stop. A RapidRide C stopped there, which I thought was an extra but the driver said it was rerouted. I got on in back, following the all-door policy. I felt a little bad afterward because it looked like the mass was filling the bus. The bus stayed for a long time, presumably with occasional riders paying cash. But the mass did not board and it left with the aisle empty. I’d expected everybody to take it downtown and transfer to wherever they were going, but they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t know it went downtown since the sign doesn’t say so. The bus got caught in traffic on Denny Way, then was normal until Virginia Street. At that point a lot of people got on and I got off.

  11. TriMet Twitter messages report the mobile ticket app crashed due to system overload. From the sounds of it so far, Puget Sound transit was better prepared.

    1. From: https://womxnsmarchseattle.wordpress.com/faqs/#womxn
      Q: Why is “Womxn” spelled with an X?
      A: Seattle has adopted the name “Womxn’s March on Seattle” to show solidarity with the trans community, and is one of the many ways that the march seeks to promote intersectionality in this movement. Intersectionality acknowledges that different forms of discrimination intersect, overlap, and reinforce each other, and takes into account the impact of discrimination based not only on gender but also race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, class, disability, and other backgrounds. To learn more about this spelling of womxn, click https://prezi.com/g-q64tlrrw3k/womxn/

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