SounderBruce (Flickr)

As the One Center City project proposes removing SR 520 buses from Downtown Seattle, minor design flaws at UW Station will become all the more prominent, and the success of truncating buses at UW depends on fixing them. There is enormous promise for the concept. Route 545, for example, spends half its running time between International District and Montlake, which is only 25% of the route by distance. Turning Route 545 buses back at UW (or turning them all into 542s) could potentially nearly double frequency in the corridor and permanently spare riders the pain of slogging along 4th, 5th, Stewart, Olive, and Howell.

But the drawbacks to UW Station transfers are numerous:

  • WSDOT will not grant priority to buses on the 2-lane Montlake offramp, fearful (possibly correctly) that the backup would start earlier, blocking access to a bus lane and canceling out any gains. And in any case, construction will mess it all up again in 2018.
  • UW refuses to let buses use any of its E-19 parking lot for bus bays, removing the simplest and most direct option for accessing UW Station. Without it, all buses serving UW Station from Montlake must wait for a signalized left turn onto Pacific, after which riders are forced to re-cross Montlake on foot or walk up and around via the pedestrian bridge.
  • Unable to turn around at UW Station, buses from Montlake must travel at least as far west at 15th/Campus Parkway, wasting service hours.

To get a feel for the transfer, yesterday I took a test trip from International District Station to Evergreen Point and back at 3pm. On the way out, I took Sound Transit 545, and on the return trip I took Sound Transit 542 and transferred to Link. The bus trip was a best-case scenario, free-flowing and on time, clocking in at 22 minutes. The return trip via 542 + Link was seven minutes slower overall, at 29 minutes.

Look at the graphic above. Under a best-case bus scenario, Link with the transfer was 7 minutes slower overall, but 1 minute faster in travel time. Under any sort of surface congestion, Bus + Link can beat bus alone. Bus + Link was only slower due to design factors that make the transfer unnecessarily difficult.

  • 1 minute waiting for the bus to turn left on Pacific Street away from the station
  • 2.5 minutes to walk to the station elevator across Montlake Boulevard
  • 3.5 minutes to wait for a crushloaded elevator (because half the escalators were down)
  • 2 minutes of Downtown Tunnel congestion (due to shared bus-rail operations)

Fixing these design or reliability issues could have shaved 9 minutes off of my trip, allowing me to catch the prior train. The 20 minute trip time would have faster than the best-case bus scenario, and nearly twice as fast as a bus in heavy traffic.

At STB, we’ve long been in favor of smart bus-rail integration, and we have a bias towards creating a convenient grid of high frequency routes and painless transfers. This is especially the case at high capacity rail stations with frequent, fast, and reliable service. At their best, bus truncations to serve rail stations free up a dividend of service that can boost frequency throughout the system, improving the experience for everyone. At their worst, truncations add needless complexity to a network and introduce additional points of possible failure for any given trip.

Micro design decisions can carry enormous weight in deciding if restructuring is a time-saving or time-wasting endeavor for riders. Fix them and One Center City can be seen not as shared sacrifice for a pending disaster, but an opportunity to make the system better for everyone.

For our previous thoughts on Bus-Rail integration at UW, we’ve reprinted our (still relevant) 2015 post after the jump…

UW Station Integration Concept
UW Station Integration Concept

The Problem

Of the two stations scheduled to open in 2016 as part of the U-Link extension, the UW Station has both the most potential and the most challenges for improved bus-rail integration. This station, which is located on the east side of the Montlake Triangle, is isolated from the UW Campus and UW Medical Center by Montlake Boulevard NE, NE Pacific Street and NE Pacific Place.

Currently, the nearest pair of bus stops to the UW Station are located on NE Pacific Street in front of the UW Medical Center. These stops are roughly 900-1,000 feet away, approximately a 4-5 minute walk. While this might be acceptable for less important transfers, it is long for such an important one, particularly if Metro proposes restructures that significantly increase transfers to Link.

Metro staff have said in the past that they were looking at moving the northbound stop by the UW Medical Center several hundred feet east of its current location, but have not yet released any solid plans. Although this would help some, the walking distance for the northbound stop would still be 800 feet, with the southbound stop still over 1,000 feet away from the station.

The State Legislature recognized this challenge as far back as 2010 and asked WSDOT to study changes to improve transfers in the Montlake Triangle area as part of the SR-520 project. While the study was informative and  made several good suggestions, it does not reflect Sound Transit and Metro’s new vision of an integrated, user-friendly transit system.

Integration Opportunities

Fast and reliable bus-rail transfers aren’t rocket science, but they generally require early and integrated station design efforts. Mercer Island Station is an excellent example of how early station design efforts can make bus-rail transfer seamless. Designing stations with high-quality transfers in mind allows transit planners to improve the transit system as it evolves and grows.

Much to our excitement, Metro is already working with the public on bus system restructures that will improve transit service on Capitol Hill, in the U-District and in greater Northeast Seattle. By improving connections to the fast and reliable U-Link extension and redeploying service hours, Metro will be able to bring greater coverage and frequency to the entire system. The restructured transit system could also improve local feeder service between UW Station and rest of the the U-District, providing access to Link until the U-District Station opens in 2021.

Consolidation of Sound Transit and Metro service on SR-520, with routes terminating at the UW Station, also has the potential of providing a more frequent and connected Eastside transit network, and better service to UW, while freeing up operating hours for improved frequency and coverage for Eastside passengers to destinations like SLU. The travel time competitiveness would likely depend most on the speed and reliability of the SR-520 to UW Station connection, quality of schedule integration (like timed transfers or pulse systems), and the quality of the bus-rail transfer.

Bus Routing Concept

The figure above shows a concept of how buses could be better integrated with the station. It details three bus routing alignments: one for routes heading through the Montlake Triangle area (local and SR-520), a second for local routes terminating at UW Station, and a third for SR-520 routes terminating at UW Station. Most of these routing options could take advantage of existing, repurposed, or new bus only lanes and roads to avoid congestion. The concept works with or without a second Montlake bridge and the existing bus stops by the UW Medical Center will be preserved. Below are details for each routing alignment.

  • Through Routes: This routing alignment would bring buses like the 43, 48, and 271 closer to the UW Station. After crossing the Montlake Bridge (using the right lane which is less congested), northbound buses would turn right and travel through the E12 parking lot on a new bus only path, serving a new stop just south of the UW Station before continuing to the existing stop at the UW Medical Center. Southbound buses would turn left onto NE Pacific Place, first serving the UW Medical Center stop and then serving a new stop under the UW Station pedestrian bridge on Montlake Boulevard NE. Routes would continue to serve the existing bus stop by the UW Medical Center.
  • Local Terminating Routes: This routing alignment would be similar to the current route 44 alignment, but buses would layover directly adjacent to the UW Station. Each route would ideally have its own layover bay, allowing for a pulse based bus system which reduces rail to bus transfer times. Read more about pulse or “timed transfer” here.
  • SR-520 Terminating Routes: This routing alignment would be used for routes like the 255 and 545. Traveling from SR-520, buses would travel north along Montlake Boulevard NE and drop off passengers at a bus stop just west of the UW Station. Empty buses would then loop around, laying over with local terminating routes. Traveling back to SR-520, buses would use a new transit only westbound left turn at Montlake Boulevard NE and NE Pacific Street. This routing alignment has the most significant technical issues and would need detailed analysis.

Challenges

While better bus-rail integration would have a host of benefits, there are also a variety of challenges. Consolidation and termination of SR-520 buses at UW Station could increase travel times to or from downtown during some times of day if bus-rail schedule integration is poor or there is no mitigation for congestion on Montlake Boulevard NE. Local routes would also see several minutes of additional travel time through the Montlake Triangle area. Major events like UW football games, although infrequent, would also likely require special accommodations.

In addition, routing of buses onto UW property would require a willingness on its part of the UW to facilitate and support this change. SDOT and WSDOT would need to coordinate on a variety of changes, including signal timing changes that may increase congestion. Support from the Montlake community would also be desirable. Finally, Sound Transit and Metro would need to study, plan, design, and finance a host of capital and operational changes in roughly a year.

The Takeaway

The opening of U-Link will be a game changer.  Sound Transit and Metro have the chance to build an integrated, user-friendly transit system and I hope this concept gets Metro, Sound Transit, WSDOT, SDOT, UW and the public thinking about how bus-rail integration at UW Station can be improved. I put this concept forward as a starting point for that discussion.

49 Replies to “UW Bus-Rail Integration is More Important than Ever”

  1. I don’t think this is correct.
    >Unable to turn around at UW Station, buses from Montlake must travel at least as far west at >15th/Campus Parkway, wasting service hours.

    Buses are unable to layover at UW station, (due to UW recalcitrance) but can easily go left on pacific, then circle the triangle, and pickup/dropoff riders on montlake blvd southbound in the
    This dramatically improves the transfer story.
    The diagram shows this path for through routes, but not for sr520 buses.

    They really don’t need to waste service hours trundling up to greenlake.

    1. I believe that articulated buses in regular service cannot routinely make the right turn from Pacific Street to Pacific Place. If I’m wrong I’ll correct the post.

    2. Yes, you are correct. I suspect the error is in part due to the old information in the part of the post copied from 2015. The right-turn path from WB Pacific St to EB Pacific Pl is (to my eyes) wide and gradual enough for an articulated bus – much better than the curb-hopping turns EB Metro 8’s make from Madison to MLK, or SB Metro 120’s make from Roxbury to 15th. ST’s long-wheelbase MCI’s might have trouble with it, but AFAIK those only run on I-5 routes.

      There is even a large bus layover zone already present on Pacific Pl. It’s heavily used for schedule-padding by the Metro 45, but there might be enough extra capacity for 1 or 2 Sound Transit vehicles to layover before heading back east. Without bus bays on the east side of Montlake to eliminate the crosswalk wait, I think that’s the smoothest transfer possible.

      If ST is ruling out a clockwise loop around the triangle, they should really reconsider. If it means reworking (again) the right-turn pocket, then they should do just that – in the long run it will be cheaper than the service hours deadheading up and down the most congested section of Pacific St.

    3. OK, so assume that a bus can make the loop, and layover. That is a significant improvement, but …

      1) Riders still have to cross the street, which means waiting for a light.

      2) Folks headed downtown have to wait for the left turn light.

      That is easily a couple minutes of wasted time, right there. The little things make a huge difference. Zach is right, and we really need to focus on those. It is the difference between a system that works well for a lot of people, or a bunch of disconnected pieces that is successful only for a handful of riders.

    4. Riders headed to the UW Station would find it unquestionably faster to get off at the current Montlake Pacific St. stop, than to go around the loop, and still have to cross Montlake Blvd. anyway. The only thing the triangle loop would do is save is a small amount of service hours through the U-district.

      1. I would assume they would stop twice. Pacific Street on the way in and Montlake Boulevard on the way out (with the possibility of a layover in between). It would still be better to turn into the parking lot next to the station, but a loop wouldn’t be too bad.

  2. How much can those UW parking spots be charging on a monthly basis? Can’t Metro just give UW a bigger discount on its U Pass program in exchange or even pay market rate for the spaces? Why would UW think that its students and staff wouldn’t benefit from better connections than from 30-90 parking spaces?

    1. Those parking spaces aren’t used by students or faculty – they are forbidden from parking there. That garage is exclusively daily/hourly parking for UW Medical Center patients and visitors. The only pedestrian exit is towards the medical center. Rates are $3/hr, $10/day … significantly cheaper than student parking.

      1. Wait, what? Are you talking about the surface parking spots next to the stadium. It is my understanding that they are used by UW Medical staff almost exclusively. Basically doctors who are too poor, too tired or too lazy to find another way to get to the hospital. Poor doctors.

        OK, that isn’t fair– some of my best friends are doctors — but unless things have changed significantly over the years, that is what this is about. It isn’t about money, it is about prestige. The great doctor so and so (who — to be fair, is great) can’t possibly walk an extra 100 feet to work or take transit like a commoner. They will just work at Stanford, if it comes to that. I mean, what are they, nurses? So what if the UW has the best nursing program in the world, and if you are recovering from a God awful disease, or find yourself bleeding on dawn’s highway the person (or persons) that will save your ass are nurses — they just aren’t medical doctors. Different league, different rules I guess.

        Sorry, rant over. Anyway, I don’t think this is for folks visiting the hospital — it is for staff. Yes, money is involved. The UW, the city, the county (Ana, Ed, Dow) need to sit down and hammer this stuff out. Ana is the smartest by far, so it really shouldn’t take long. Just carve out a few spots for buses, and then delegate the rest.

      2. I have friends with permits for the lot next to UW Station, not doctors either. Nurse, a medical equipment tech, the guy who used to make isotopes for the PET scanner. Lots of support staff. The people with real pull get a permit for the S-1 garage South of UWMC.

    1. This is a bit speculative until someone actually goes out there with a 60′ coach and tries it out, but the issue is the end of the turn, where the turn pocket joins Pacific Place. There is still a sharp-ish corner there, and I think it’s likely that an artic coach would have to swing out into the oncoming (westbound) lane of Pacific Place to make the turn without hitting the curb. The narrowness of the turn pocket makes the type of wide setup that drivers can do for (e.g.) the Madison-MLK turn impossible.

  3. UW won’t even allow disabled folks vehicular access to the handicap drop off space at the station when there’s a football game … so I doubt you’ll ever see them allow buses.

  4. Good to see some progress, Zach. Like I keep saying, we’re really new at rapid transit, and its connecting service. Remind me: when does station at 45th and the Ave open?

    Mark

    1. 2021: 45th & Northgate
      2023: Lynnwood, Redmond
      2024: Federal Way, downtown Redmond
      2030: Tacoma, West Seattle
      2031: 130th, Graham & BAR Stations
      2035: Ballard
      2036: Everett
      2041: Issaquah

      So 2030 is the year you can stop taking the 574.
      The schedule is in a PDF “ST3 Plan Project Phasing” which is online but doesn’t have a good URL.

  5. Speaking only about Pacific St bus to train (and vv) transfer. The biggest annoyance (beyond station escalator and elevator issues ) is that your options are an overpass that takes the long way around and is only really usable for U-District direction buses or crazy long light cycles. If you are coming from/going to a Montlake bridge bound bus on Pacific you have to wait two light cycles to get to the station. I know I die a little inside when the bus pulls up to the stop and I see the light turn green since I know I will miss the train I wanted. If Pacific and Montlake were timed to make pedestrians a priority – like an all cross so you can go from Pacific to the station in one go – would be a big step in the right direction.

    Of course that will never happen since pedestrians are never a priority here.

    I don’t even know what to tell those poor bastards who need to go to/from Rainier Vista to get a bus.

    1. you walk, and it sucks. The biggest suck though is waiting for the afternoon NB 75. With it’s long crazy route through Fremont and the traffic of N. Lake Union it’s a shock to see even one of them running anywhere close to on time.

    2. I don’t like all-cross because wherever it’s used, it’s either all-cross or no-cross. By that I mean, a green light normally gives pedestrians going parallel to traffic a cross signal, but on all-cross signals, they (and not out of necessity, I honestly have no idea why) throw away all other crossing time, requiring you to wait for the all-cross, follow the traffic lights, or Frogger it. If you miss an all-cross, you have to wait the same amount of time as crossing twice anyway.

      I don’t get why they don’t stick all-cross signal periods in with the single-cross signal periods.

      1. No, that’s not true. Look at the intersection of Yonge and Dundas in downtown Toronto. It has all-cross, but when it’s not all-cross, pedestrians can still cross walking parallel to traffic.

      2. This shows how a scramble crossing works. There is the all-way phase, but pedestrians can also cross with traffic the rest of the time.

      3. That may be how it works in cities that prioritize pedestrians, but the scrambles here are all walk or nobody walk. I don’t have a strong opinion either way on them. It’s nice at 1st & Pike where you can walk diagonally. But somebody, maybe Jarrett Walker or Jeff Speck argued against scrambles because with regular signals you can always go one direction or another, and if you’re going kitty-corner then either direction is useful, but with scrambles you have to stop and wait for the pedestrian phase, and if every block has a scramble then you’re potentially stopping and waiting every block.

      1. That underpass is mostly hospital patients and visitors from the garage. When the UW put the garage across the street it obviously had to have a way to get people from the garage to the hospital, and it had to be convenient or people would say that hospiital has bad parking and they’d take their money to another hospital next time. The UW doesn’t restrict non-hospital people from using the underpass, but few do because the entrance is out of the way on the east side, and it’s a short distance so there’s not much they could get up to. The argument the UW gave against a Montlake underpass is that it would have a lot of non-UW, non-hospital people using it, including those who would be security headaches and in any case increase security expenses (again, for non-UW people). On the surface they’re easy to see and control but underground they’re more of a headache. So the underpass is right if you’re looking at it from the perspective of what’s best for citywide transit circulation, but from the UW’s perspective it mostly benefits non-UW members and is an expense to the university, and the UW has no responsibility to facilitate the movement of non-UW people.

      2. Who are these mysterious non-UW people that would use this below-ground connection? Isn’t this attitude really just a local version of our current national debate of how we should fear others? Isn’t UW a state institution and not a private one, so that us as taxpayers have every right to walk through any public building, underpass or sidewalk that is open to the public?

        Think about it. Who would pay money to ride Link to UW Station, and get off to take a walkway underneath to the Medical Center? Vagrants? No, there would be security and the ability to lock it up when Link is closed or even earlier in the evening. Good marching band music in the background would deter those even more. Transferring riders? Not if UW works with ST to make transfers easier — and those transfers outside of the SR 520 buses and maybe Metro 48 will move elsewhere anyway. It is very obvious that it would be used heavily and almost exclusively by employees and patients at the Medical Center!

        I call this fear-driven theory UWBS.

  6. Great article Zach. I completely agree. Often the success or failure of a system is highly dependent upon what seems like little stuff. In terms of cost, it is little. A few parking spaces? A broken escalator? This is a multi-billion dollar system (!), yet we can’t do the little things right. That is unacceptable. If anything, we should be doing the opposite. Fix these problems, then expand. We’ve just paid for a Ferrari, but we put cheap tires on the thing, and wonder why it can’t corner like in all the ads. Oh, but let’s by a Lamborghini without a steering wheel?

    The parties involved (city, ST, UW — even the governor, if need be) should sit down and hammer this out. We are ultimately talking about a very small amount of money that will make a big difference in the lives of a lot of people. Just the 545 has about 10,000 riders — that is well over 10% of Link ridership! In other words, if they truncate the 520 buses, suddenly Link has a gigantic jump in ridership (bigger than miles and miles of south end rail). Are we supposed to just say “Here you go — it sucks, but what are you gonna do?” or should we, I don’t know, build something that is actually *better* for those riders?

  7. Thanks for making a very important point, Zach. The only technical point that I would make is that the travel times in 2 years will be worse than today because of the westernmost 520 construction and the additional delays from thousands more employees in Downtown and in SLU.

    Once Northgate Link opens in 2021, station activity at UW station will drop significantly. With this in mind, a pitch could be made to UW that this is temporary. I also like the idea of having 520 buses layover at a Link station, because Link riders can simply hop on the bus waiting just outside of the station. The perception of time is very impacted by comfort — so we should assess the experience of the travel time perception rather than merely the travel time itself!

    There remains an overarching question about the integration of 520 bridge buses in the long run. That may take some time to contemplate, design and fund. I think it’s going to take more work to figure out a permanent solution — and ideally it should. Trying to do something quickly with an eye on permanence is never a good idea.

    1. >> With this in mind, a pitch could be made to UW that this is temporary.

      I was thinking about this. While the crowds at the UW station may be temporary, I would assume a lot of this is long term. For 520 riders — which is the focus of this article — I think their best best is to connect to Link via the stadium. Looping around is 2 miles farther, and the distance on the surface streets is about the same. Add another minute on the train, and you are even farther away from downtown. Unless the road situation is much better on 45th, it makes sense to go to Husky Stadium. Given the fact that the entire Montlake area is being rebuilt (and 45th is not) it seems like the long term solution is to send the buses to UW station, and figure out how best to connect the two.

      For now we don’t have to worry about how (or whether) another bridge is built. Just assume they figure that out, and that buses will be headed to Husky Stadium. Just carve out a little space so they can park — a small transit center if you will — and be done with it. If it turns out that they build a second, transit only bridge to the east (skirting East Montlake Park, extending East Park Drive) then it will be wonderful. It if turns out that the only thing they do is build a bus only ramp so that buses can jump ahead on their way to the same old Montlake Boulevard, it is still better than looping around to 45th.

      It would be great if the city, county, state or ST had the money to build a bit of infrastructure here and there (e. g. a brand new bus only ramp for 45th) but that isn’t going to happen. The only thing that will improve is the connection to Husky Stadium, and even today, with all the weaknesses, it is better than the alternative. I think we might as well do the work — at it really isn’t much — to connect buses to Husky Stadium now.

  8. UW Stadium to Bellevue gondola? Those can be built pretty fast.

    Sure, the UW won’t like something like that near Rainier Vista but they should have thought about that when they forced the station to be so awkward to use.

  9. If they had added a Link station at Montlake that would have made a lot of this better. Having to go up to UW to then go south on Link doesn’t just feel unintuitive, it didn’t have to happen.

  10. Is there some way to pressure UW to not be ass holes about transportation? ‘Tis the season for political pressure and boycotts.

  11. Be really nice if they could extend a passageway under Montlake to the elevator shaft on the west side. That way, you at least wouldn’t have to go up to go back down if arriving by bus there. It would also give a bit more vertical capacity to the station.

  12. Great post. Let’s get some more ideas flowing here. Let’s suppose for discussion that the UW plays ball and is sincerely interested in solving the problem.

    Here are a few questions:

    The UW Campus Master plan suggests an eventual pedestrian/bicycle trail connection underneath Montlake Blvd. north of the Montlake Bridge. Is there a way to build that and a bus-rail connection as one?

    How hard would it be to connect any pedestrian tunnel directly to the UW Station mezzanine? I’ve heard there was some nonzero provision made for a potential future connection to an underpass. I don’t think the mezzanine has elevator access though…

    Northbound local bus routes like Metro 48 need to end up on Pacific; today all the Eastside-UW service goes there too and the northbound stops are in front of the triangle which means crossing at least one big street to either UW Station or UW Medical Center. Should it be assumed that local routes will continue to stop there?

    Will it make sense for at least some Eastside routes (like the proposed truncated routes) to turn around at UW station? What would it mean to operations of the Montlake/Pacific intersection to add a left turn phase from the parking lot access road to southbound Montlake as suggested in the UW Station Integration Concept above?

    Meanwhile, it sure would be awesome to get direct transit service from UW station to U Village and Children’s but today there is no reliable route for it. The UW Campus Master Plan update proposes huge development on the east side of Montlake Blvd. up towards U Village in what is only parking lots today. Adding a southbound transit lane might cost less than 3% of the cost of the Convention Center expansion ($50M, a wild guess) but certainly not within the several million $ suggested by the One Center City plan. How feasible would it be to add this one southbound transit lane any time soon, if we accept it makes sense sooner or later?

  13. If UW won’t cooperate, can’t eminent domain be used to take some of their parking lot space near the station and turn it into a transit center where buses could layover right next to the station?

    1. Nope. UW is owned by the state. A lower government can’t take stuff from a higher government.

      1. On the other hand, if you could convince the state legislature,,,

        oh, wait, football. Never mind.

      2. It’s not football, as stated many times above. It’s UW Medical staff parking there, and UW Medical brings in about 50% of the total UW budget (as opposed to the Legislature’s 5% funding of a “public” school). Want to follow the money? Start there. Athletics’ budget–all self-funding–is orders of magnitude smaller. Jen Cohen (Athletic Director) has no pull over those spaces; you’ll have to go to UW President Ana Mari Cauce for that.

  14. Zach, I’m really surprised that you had such a fast bus trip on the 542 from Evergreen Pt to UW Station. (Traffic was super light on Tuesday due to the lingering snow so that could have been why.) But on a normal weekday you would have gotten stuck in the huge backup on the 520 off ramp onto Montlake Boulevard. It routinely takes 3 light cycles (or more) to make the right turn costing 6-8 minutes. That inefficiency alone makes a bus to Link transfer uncompetitive vs. a bus all the way downtown.

    I don’t know how WSDOT fixes this. They used to have a “yield” when turning right. It was a bit unsafe for pedestrians, but the traffic flowed better. Putting a 3rd transit only lane might work, but I doubt there’s room under the old MOHAI overpass, it wouldn’t be cheap and there would be neighborhood objections.

    But I don’t see how you sell the truncation of all the express buses on 520 during rush hour to regular bus commuters when this traffic light alone means most trips are going to be slower when transferring to Link.

  15. Zach, note that the relevant pony race would consider trips in both directions and at all times of day. The coaches and hours now expended to and from downtown Seattle via the congested I-5 general purpose lanes could be used to improve service frequency and reduce wait times and that would be to the advantage of the Link option. The traffic congestion impacts reliability and headway adherence of the bus option. The transfer walk to and from NE Pacific Street is not ideal but may be better than sitting on I-5 or on 4th Avenue at 5 p.m..

  16. Zach, you are missing a segment in your Link trip. You only go do IDS-Montlake, not IDS-Evergreen Pt like on the bus trip. If you add those extra 4 minutes, then the multimodal trip takes 33 minutes, not 29 and the total delay is 11 minutes. That’s more in line with my experience of doing this trip daily last year.

    But there is more. At 5pm for westbound trips the Montlake off-ramp usually takes about 10 minutes to clear once entered and then there is further congestion on Montlake Blvd, while I-5 congestion only adds about 5 minutes. That means that the multimodal trip is another 5 minutes slower at peak than the bus-only trip, making it 16 minutes slower in total.

    1. Now, if you are going all the way to IDS, Link will have an advantage in the westbound PM peak, maybe cancelling the losses of the Montlake off-ramp.

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