10 Replies to “Podcast #33: A Conspiracy”

  1. Personal experience here, but ULink runs light South in the morning and North in the evening.

    I believe there will be plenty of room for transferring bus riders from the north until the new link cars arrive.

    The busiest part of ULink seems to be commuters going to and from UW in the commute hour.

  2. I like how you highlighted permanent changes in the One Center City changes, like the 520 truncation at UW. It seems to me UW and SoDo truncations make sense even after the ST2/3 network is built out, so now is as good a time as any to start those truncation.

    1. Yes, building infrastructure now that will do double duty after 2021 would be killing two birds with one stone, which is twice as cost-effective as temporary reroutes on routes that will go away in a few years.

  3. Does the One Center City plan have to be a conspiracy? It seems perfectly reasonable to think that this is just officials identifying an upcoming problem and looking at what they can do about it.

    I agree with Frank and Martin about the truncations, but I think you missed the story on the transit priority options. If you look at the page after Option D in the original document, it’s clear that the story is not, as Martin says, a zero sum game.

    Option D, which provides the most mode separation, ends up being the best or tied for best for every mode. Fastest for SOV AND fastest for buses. And protected bike lanes in both directions on both 2nd and 4th.

    Whatever routes end up truncated, having three more lanes through downtown allows us to truncate fewer buses and have them run more reliably.

    Lastly, to the extent that ROW is a zero sum game, this crisis presents a great opportunity (in the words of Rahm Emmanuel, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. Even if we don’t need the surface transit capacity when Link is built out, establishing 5th as something other than SOV will set the right precedent. This is the most valuable ROW in Seattle; we’d be fools not lobby hard to get transit now, with an eye towards pedestrian and bike infrastructure when Link is built out.

    1. No, it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy, and I don’t think there is one. Frank seemed to want to find one and I thought I’d offer a few that were at least coherent.

      1. The conspiracy I see is the executive class who want to keep the paths for their BMWs clear to the freeway. How about we keep them clear with rush hour tolls to fund transit service like Singapore?

        You also mentioned an even truer conspiracy which is the UW. Their draft campus master plan takes zero responsibility for improving UW station as a transit hub. And, contrary to what Frank said, they would actually keep all their parking but build much more attractive structured parking which will induce more demand, compared to remote E lots that are only fulll on game days.

        Montlake already needs bus priority and better access to the station. So, hopefully you are right that restructured east side routes could spur that on. Your point about diminishing returns of more transit to UW is true, but at the same time, the UW and everyone connecting at UW Station would benefit tremendously, especially if the buses incorporate new tails to N Seattle or SLU as Metro proposed back in the beginning of the U Link Integration process.

      2. “especially if the buses incorporate new tails to N Seattle or SLU as Metro proposed back in the beginning of the U Link Integration process.”

        Are you referring to the 70 and 255? The original proposal had the 70 extended on Pacific Street to UW Station. That got a lot of public opposition and little support. I thought it was a not very good idea because of the backtracking and out-of-the-way nature of the route, vs the minor but present demand from 45th and 50th. The 70-Pacific seemed all about filling the gap between UW Station and the U-District than about connecting Pacific Street to Eastlake Ave. Metro replaced the Pacific Street coverage with other routes, most notably the 71 and 73 which weren’t in the original proposal.

        The 255 proposal had a tail to Children’s. which was withdrawn with the rest of the 520 restructure for further deliberation, and in light of demand for a 25 replacement and a desire to serve the UW east campus housing which led to the 78. I expect the 255 tail or a variation to possibly come back in try 2 of the 520 restructure, which has been reported might be this year.

        Some peak expresses from North Seattle now go to SLU, but I don’t recall any other proposals for all-day routes to do so. Unless you’re talking about reinstating the 66 as some have suggested but Metro hasn’t (and will come back as a truncated Roosevelt BRT to 45th).

        Are there other routes besides these you’re thinking of?

      3. Re the 70’s potential for a UW Station – SLU trip or transfer, that seems like an excessively long and undesirable way. Much better to go to Westlake and take the streetcar or C, 40, 62, or 70 from there.

      4. @Mike. The 255 serving U Village/Seattle Children’s and SLU routes using express lanes were what I was thinking of, not the 70. I thought there were a couple other bold ideas at some point such as through routing some 45s with an east side route, but perhaps I am misremembering. There is also the possibility of a 520 route serving UW station, continuing to the freeway and heading directly to a southern center city neighborhood like SODO and truncating there. That would keep it off the avenues downtown and improve access to a growing part of downtown. I certainly don’t claim to know what alternative pathways would be best, but the general concept of more lines intersecting at UW station (aided by investments in better bus reliability/transfers) and continuing to different destinations rather than running parallel to the same destinations is how we have to be thinking as build our transit system around light rail. It is hard to peel away any services from our densest neighborhoods and maybe this is a bit premature, but at some point when surface conditions get routinely bad enough, the majority of 520 riders will be clamoring for better access to UW Station rather than slogging through the surface streets downtown.

Comments are closed.