Sounder Bruce (Flickr)

Last night the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) kicked off planning for the five additional RapidRide corridors promised in 2015’s Move Seattle levy. The Draft Seattle RapidRide Expansion Program Report rolls two projects already underway – Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Roosevelt High Capacity Transit (HCT) – into a single process that includes the next five corridors: Delridge (Route 120), Rainier (Route 7), Market/45th (Route 44), Fremont/Ballard/Northgate (Route 40), and 23rd Avenue (Route 48).

The seven corridors would come online in quick succession between 2019 and 2024, beginning with Madison BRT (now Rapid Ride G) in 2019 and Delridge (now Rapid Ride H) in 2020. Shortly after the opening of these seven corridors and East Link, SDOT will have met its “10/10” goal of having 72% of Seattle residents within a 10-minute walk of 10-minute or better service. The network effect of Link’s Red and Blue lines with Seattle’s twelve total BRT corridors will be nothing less than transformative. The existing C, D, and E lines will join the seven Move Seattle corridors, a Metro-led Rapid Ride corridor between Bothell-Kenmore-Lake City-UW (Route 372), and Sound Transit’s coming BRT along SR 522 and NE 145th St.

In a presentation before the Seattle Transit Advisory Board (TAB) Wednesday night, SDOT Transit Division Director Andrew Glass-Hastings said that SDOT would seek federal funds for two of the most competitive corridors (Rainier and Fremont/Ballard), while building Delridge, Market/45th, and 23rd with local and state funds. Federal funding is already assumed in the budgets for Madison and Roosevelt. Glass-Hastings said that federal formulas strongly privilege corridors that have both residential and employment density. Though Delridge connects to downtown and Market/45th and 23rd connect to UW, all three corridors have lower residential density and likely would not score as well. “Federalizing” the planning process also comes with significantly more red tape and environmental work, so SDOT only wishes to do so where the marginal return is greatest.

In terms of capital improvements, each project will vary according the the quirks and limitations of each corridor, and each corridor will see difficult multimodal tradeoffs, as has already been seen between bikes and transit in the Roosevelt corridor. Tradeoffs on Market/45th are expected to be especially difficult.

Staff are assuming additional electrification on Madison, 23rd, and possibly between the UDistrict and Northgate along the Roosevelt corridor. The propulsion for the Route 40 and Route 120 corridors will be some combination of diesel and/or battery buses.  All routes will include transit signal priority, off-board payment, real-time arrival information, bus priority lanes where possible, enhanced stop amenities, and a 10-minute frequency guarantee.

Previous restructuring concepts for the Rapid Ride program are not included in this planning process, including combining Routes 7 + 70 and Routes 7 + 48 to form two ultra-frequent corridors in the Rainier Valley. Those routes are in the 2040 vision for Metro service, while this plan aligns with Metro’s 2025 vision.

SDOT said open houses for Madison would begin again soon as the project moves toward final design, as will additional outreach on the Delridge and Roosevelt corridors. Given its extension into White Center, Westwood Village, and Burien, King County and Burien will also be working to ensure that Rapid Ride amenities are provided consistently throughout the entire Delridge corridor.

And of course, these primarily capital improvements are separate from the service restructuring processes that King County would have to undergo, including alignment approval for each corridor from the King County Council, and service change outreach and approval when the lines are nearly ready to open.

Concurrently, Metro will begin planning its 2025 Rapid Ride corridors in suburban King County, with lines including:

  • Kirkland-Bellevue-Eastgate
  • Overlake-Eastgate-Newcastle-Renton
  • Renton-Kent-Auburn
  • Des Moines-Kent-Covington-Auburn
  • Federal Way-Auburn
  • Bothell-Kenmore-Lake City-UW

104 Replies to “Move Seattle’s Rapid Ride Corridor Planning Kicks Off”

  1. This is good news – will be good improvements to service. I do wish SDOT would stop using the terms BRT and HCT, since these are neither.

      1. I don’t think anything was downgraded, but rather just branded. For better or worse, Metro’s brand for BRT-like is “RapidRide,” despite being tarnished brand for its use in very much “less than BRT ways.”

        Specific things that they have been studying for Madison BRT like dedicated ROW and real signal priority are still happening, so I think we can happily say that Madison BRT, aka RapidRide G Line, will be the first RapidRide that is actually rapid. Iff Metro actually does it right.

    1. As someone who owns a house within spitting distance of the proposed Madison BRT terminus, I wish they’d just kill the project and spend the money on something significant instead. At least then we could still hold out hope that the east slope of Capitol Hill might someday get a connection to some decent future rapid transit grid. Instead, they’re going to spend millions on a very moderate reduction in the crappiness of our existing bus service, loudly pat themselves on the back, and leave us stuck with functional car-dependence for another generation or more. Maybe I should move.

      1. The G Line connects to downtown at the 23rd Ave RapidRide will connect to 3 light rail stations. Seems like the creation of a grid to me.

      2. I currently have the options of taking a bus directly to Capitol Hill Station, Mount Baker Station, or Westlake Station. After they build Madison BRT, I’ll have the additional option of taking a bus directly to University Street Station, skipping the transfer I’d currently have to make at 17th & Madison. Um…. yay?

      3. Uh…. You’ll still be two blocks from the University Street station with Madison BRT. The planners would rather send it to the ferry than to Link.We’ll have the first RapidRide Line that doesn’t directly go to a Link station with the Madison BRT!

      4. Al S.,

        Don’t forget that a Link station is coming to 5th and Madison with ST3. And also I think we can be OK with the fact that this RapidRide line is not meant primarily to serve as a Link feeder, because it goes directly downtown. Contrast that with a lot of other future RapidRide lines, which are necessarily Link transfer-based precisely because they don’t go downtown.

        That being said, if you want to go to the DSTT from Madison BRT, it’s 2 blocks. If upgrading the 12(ish) to BRT saves you more than 3 minutes, that makes up for the walk (one that you would still have to do today with the 12 anyway). And of course in the long term, Madison BRT will connect directly to Link Green (color correct?) Line anyway, making your point moot and making a speedy ride to Ballard, SLU, Seattle Center, the Airport, Federal Way and Tacoma (granted, the last 3 aren’t so speedy, but that’s due to Link. But I digress).

      5. Madison + 23rd RapidRide gives the northeast slope of Capitol Hill and Montlake back our late evening and Sunday connection to the rest of Capitol Hill and to downtown that was lost when the 43 was eliminated. It may not matter to you because you can walk to the 11 quickly now, but for those of us who need to transfer to that corridor, a faster and more frequent schedule would make a huge difference. The current 11 route would be better, but even just going along Madison gives decent access to Pike/Pine nightlife for a huge swath of people in the NE quadrant of central Seattle.

      6. I also live within spitting distance of the Madison BRT terminus, and this service is exactly what I need in my life. OK, not exactly — dedicated ROW with signal priority the entire length is exactly what I need — bur reasonably close. Mars, you say that you can already get to three light rail stations directly (Capitol Hill, Mount Baker, Westlake), so a near-miss connection to University Street Station doesn’t help you. If one’s main goal is to get to LR to then go elsewhere, I see why that wouldn’t help. But for some of us, our main destinations are themsleves within the downtown core in and around University St or Pioneer Sq. This means a moderately fast direct connection to the main places we want to go, when right now everything requires a transfer. Can’t wait!

      7. @Mars — I don’t know what you expect them to do. In a better world the subway to the UW would have a train stop at 23rd and Madison (as was proposed by Forward Thrust). Or maybe ST3 would have included a Metro 8 subway. But that won’t happen, and you can’t blame Metro or SDOT for that.

        So instead, there will be a very fast bus that travels the surface from 23rd to First Hill to downtown. It will run every six minutes all day long. It will connect to Link via a couple block walk, but more importantly, allow for fast travel along that corridor.

        Bus restructures should be interesting, and likely a lot more productive than when Link came to the neighborhood. Because unlike Link, there will be more than one stop. This opens up the possibility of a real grid in the area (e. g. having a bus go down 15th and connect Swedish Cherry Hill to Group Health). I’m not saying that will happen, but this will likely free up more service hours in the area than Link.

      8. I have to wonder if we should have a Madison+23rd North BRT (northern BRT below) line, and a second Capitol Hill to Mount Baker Station (maybe using John/23rd or maybe John/19th/Union/23rd or maybe John/12th/Jefferson/23rd) (southern BRT below) line. That second line could go further south to SE Seattle as an option. I say this for these reasons:

        1. Having a more dead-end BRT line like Madison is questionably productive at best. Today, the existing 6 RapidRide lines end at major places. This would give each line a major Link station destination at each end.

        2. A BRT only on 23rd is nice in concept for a grid purist, but the need to get between UW and Mount Baker Station has diminished now that Link is open. Eastlink will also serve Judkins Park and UW, and this line would duplicate the Eastlink alignment.

        2. The southern BRT line would essentially be the elusive “Metro 8” corridor. Much has been written about the benefit of doing this. It takes less time to go to Capitol Hill Station than it does to go to UW station, so users along the current 48 south segment would get to Link faster.

        3. The northern BRT line would provide the benefits of the former Metro 43, but by following Madison instead of John, it opens up direct linkages to destinations along Madison Street for people from UW station. it would be especially beneficial if the 520 buses are going to be terminated at UW. There would be no need to go to Link to get to First Hill hospitals from UW station, for example. As Link overcrowding looms, this would be an attractive relief valve.

      9. 1. East Seattle is a dead end! That’s the nature of that area. But it’s higher density than most of Seattle so it needs good quality transit anyway, which Madison RR is. Having the bus turn north or south on 23rd would just make the transit network more complicated. If we’re getting into complicated networks, let’s get back to a Madison-Pine corridor (like the current 11) instead of Madison-Denny (the proposed 8-Madison).

        2. You forgot the in-between stops. A frequent bus that crosses three rail stations but goes elsewhere between them is a best-practices route. There’s somebody on STB who lives near 23rd and takes the 48 to UW Station. In the future people in his neighborhood will also want to take it the other way to Judkins Park Station and Mt Baker Station for various different trips. The direct bus avoids the need to take a train out of the way, transfer and backtrack, to get to the station that is going your way.

      10. RossB – what I expect is a serious effort toward creating that better world. My goal, as ever, is a Seattle where most people don’t need to own cars because most people use public transit for most trips. It’s all well and good to tinker around with the bus network trying to eke out some improvements, but that just keeps us from falling behind as our population grows. If we actually want to make genuine progress and change the way people live – which we MUST do, if we’re going to make any serious effort at dealing with climate change – then we need to radically increase our level of investment and radically improve our standard of service. You say “that won’t happen”; I say “we have to figure out how to make it happen”. More buses just aren’t going to do the job.

    1. I would love to see the breakdown for each corridor on how much capital is spent on electrification and how much is spent on speed improvements (signal timing, bus lanes, etc)

      Roosevelt RR is basically 50-50, right?

      1. I don’t think it is 50-50, although the documentation could be interpreted a few different ways. They have three sections, but the sections overlap as follows:

        Downtown to 45th:
        Capital Cost: $24.5 M (Streetcar relocation ~$7 M; Catenary ~ $2.5 M)
        Bus Purchase Cost: $22.2 M
        Operating Cost: $12.8 M

        Downtown to 65th:
        Capital Cost: $37.6 M (Catenary ~$11.3 M)
        Bus Purchase Cost: $26.9 M
        Operating Cost: $15.4

        Downtown to Northgate:
        Capital Cost: $52.5 M (Catenary ~$23.3 M)
        Bus Purchase Cost: $31.7 M
        Operating Cost: $18 M

        So it really depends on how far you go. To make matters a bit more confusing, I would imagine operating cost and purchase cost are dependent on the choice of vehicle (electric) although it wouldn’t surprise me if both are cheaper for trolleys (I’m sure someone on this blog knows). But even if you just look at capital cost, electrification only becomes a really big issue if you go all the way to Northgate (and even then it is less than half). Personally, I wouldn’t go all the way to Northgate (it isn’t worth it) but I’ll get into that below.

  2. I really wish our standard was “bus priority lanes where needed” instead of “where possible.” The places where they’d have the most impact are often where ROW is hardest to take from cars.

    1. I agree. That would be a considered a radical proposal, but one that would likely pay off in the long run. Simply look at the worst bottlenecks for buses — where the most popular buses waste most of their time. Then go ahead and start taking lanes.

      It is possible that if you did that, you could conceivably screw up all traffic worse. You get too much congestion, which overflows onto other streets, and next thing you know, the other buses (those that don’t have special lanes) get hosed. But I doubt it. Drivers adjust. Theoretically you just keep doing that on various roads and sooner or later you are bound to have buses running much faster, which in turn leads to fewer people driving.

      There are specific cases where doing that, though, would mean basically shutting off the road to cars. Eastlake was a classic case of that. Once they built the bike lanes, there simply wasn’t enough room for both cars and bus lanes. You could have put in exclusive bus lanes, but then cars wouldn’t have access to Eastlake, which would make it very difficult to serve the businesses in the area. But situations like that are rare. Most of the time it is a case of simply not walking to turn a four lane general purpose road into two bus lanes and two general purpose lanes.

    2. David, transit needs someplace anywhere in the system where people can clearly see that they’ll be moving faster on reserved-lane transit than they ever can in their cars. Meaning that the last three years’ refugee crisis, as people flee Ballard for Kent, is making traffic so bad it’s making transit unusable.

      Dealing us a terrible set-back when we need it least. This is why I keep seriously bringing up the idea of “streetcar suburbs”- which can certainly be started with rail-convertible bus-ways. Following the Shaker Heights model, where developers deliberately designed a streetcar line into their developments.

      Also reason I think we ought to go for areas not yet suburbanized, but certain to be. Would be the first time since the Depression that anybody had a transit system waiting for people when they arrived. To live in homes they can afford, precisely because they are so far from South Lake Union. But not subdivisions and malls. Towns.

      Meantime, like with the unusable brand new elevators and escalators, the permanent blockage of our freeways has got to be either cleared or circumvented. Most disheartening thing of all is that along with approaching rerun of residential 2008 everybody has so completely given up on all these things.

      Reason I’m only partly kidding about gravel busways if we can get them fast. And high speed regional passenger boats, and extending Sounder to Olympia. And would still help with a plan to pave and groove-rail the new intercity line from Tacoma Dome at least to the Nisqually River.

      Because I really do love to drive (I-5 after 6AM is herding) and since I don’t mind early wake-ups or taking three hours to go sixty miles, at least I can stand the situation, and even like most of the trip. A situation that can’t, and probably shouldn’t last.

      But bringing it back to Seattle, Dave- and my usual travel day makes me a Seattle passenger too- principle I’m talking about is that to break out of current downward spiral, we’ve somehow got to make transit faster than cars, where people can see it and ride it. Let’s think how.


  3. It’s not on the Madison BRT website yet, but an email they sent last night has details about the open houses:

    11 AM – 1 PM
    Town Hall, Downstairs
    1119 8th Ave

    5:30 – 7:30 PM
    First African Methodist Episcopal Church
    1522 14th Ave

    MARCH 8 – 22
    Give feedback online!
    (Link will go live March 8)

  4. Is the levy bolstering existing service to pay for the new amenities and more frequent service, or is it paying for the whole thing as if it were an entirely new route? I’m just wondering if there will be surplus vehicles/hours that can be moved to serve other routes, or if the levy just pays for a more premium level service on those corridors – assuming its the latter.

    1. Levies are limited to five years, so the only ongoing benefits are capital improvements, the roads and new buses. Ongoing operating costs would have to be paid by repeatedly renewing a levy (rolling it into Prop 1), existing Seattle funds, existing Metro funds (i.e., reorganization), the sales-tax dividend that accompanies the expanding economy and population, or something else. I understand that Metro will need cities’ support for all of the RapidRide lines and frequency boosts. Seattle has provided it, while the suburbs have not yet. If the suburbs refuse or a recession occurs, the plan would have to be downscaled. Metro incorporated the Move Seattle lines into its LRP and worked around them. It’s unclear how many RapidRides Seattle would have gotten without Move Seattle, maybe one or two, maybe zero.

      I don’t know how much of the 2025 and 2040 restructures are hour-neutral (due to reorganziation), hour-positive (due to the expanding economy), or depend on cities’ supplemental funding (repeated levies or other). It certainly looks like more service. Some of them look a bit excessive and could be a best-case scenario (e.g., two Local routes overlapping on E Aloha Street).

      Currently Prop 1 is filling in evening frequency on several routes, and peak frequency and “reliability” on others. If that is not renewed and nothing else replaces it, then those will go back to their 2015 levels, and implementing all the RapidRides would require not implementing some of the other improvements in the 2025 plan.

    2. I’m pretty sure the levy pays for both capital and operating costs (including buying the buses). The literature lists out the costs that way. So that would imply that once the service is up and running, Metro is free to move the other bus routes around, as they did when Link serves an area. This could mean some very nice changes for the Central Area/Capitol Hill. For example, the 11 could still go downtown, but via Thomas/John and Olive. This would mean that folks in Madison Valley have a one seat ride to downtown, and a fast connection to Link and Madison BRT. The 12 becomes largely unnecessary, which means that either it gets scrapped (more service for other routes) or it does something more useful, like connect Group Health with Swedish Cherry Hill, thus providing the first decent grid for the area.

    3. “I’m pretty sure the levy pays for both capital and operating costs (including buying the buses). The literature lists out the costs that way.”

      That may be but it’s not how the SLU streetcar or First Hill streetcar was done. The supplemental funding paid for capital costs (track, stations, vehicles), and the city strong-armed Metro into paying the operational costs. A streetcar costs more to operate than a bus, so they took more out of Metro’s Seattle budget than two new bus routes would have. The Madison RR project may be structured differently to include operational costs, or Metro may have adopted the costs as part of its greater RapidRide plan, but that’s not something we can count on until we know for sure, because that’s not what the streetcar precedent was.

  5. Would be great if SDOT’s transit staff could take a leaf out of the bike staff’s playbook and just slap down more temporary bus lanes where the real pinch points are NOW. Then we can come back years later and do all the bells and whistles. Also, why is the 23rd corridor so late? Seems like it’s the easiest to implement. At the very least, it seems like it should open when the Judkins Park station opens in 2023 rather than 2024.

    1. It’s disappointing, especially not to have it ready when Judkins Park Station opens, but I understand it’s because the rebuild of the rest of 23rd is still unfunded, it adds two stretches of missing trolley wire, and mostly due to WSDOT’s elongated schedule for finishing 520.

    2. As long as the 48 still has solid frequency, the delay isn’t terrible. This rapid ride is getting minimal bus lanes, so the investment is mostly in electrification, right?

    3. What would’ve been nice is if we’d been ready to do this as part of the project that’s had 23rd torn up for over a year.

    4. 23rd has been torn up for a surprisingly long time. I took the 48 south to Madison recently, and was surprised that Madison on south looks as torn up as it did several months or a year ago.

  6. That graphic makes me uneasy. Does the transition happen in the middle of the slanty line? Does service start at the bottom of the meniscus? Why did the person who made the graphic consider this acceptable?

    1. Honestly, the graphic is supposed to be unclear. More precise points would be hopelessly incorrect this far out, so they are giving vague estimates, and making the graphics match.

  7. Why isn’t the Madison RR getting the letter “M” … I feel like that would be easier to remember. Naming 26 routes all over the county is going to be an alphabet soup. Naming them in chronological order is a bit uninspiring and could make the network harder to understand?

    1. I still want to push for M for Madison and R for Roosevelt. But that could possibly collide with names the suburbs want.

      1. Yeah, that makes way more sense. With only a handful (A to E, for example) it doesn’t matter much. But with a bunch, it is really nice when the bus names match up with the route. It is nice, for example, that the 522 goes on SR 522. So, for RapidRide, I would go with:

        A — Aurora (currently the E)
        B — Ballard (currently the D)
        W — West Seattle (currently the C)
        R — Redmond (currently the B)
        F — Federal Way (currently the A)
        T – Tukwila (currently the F)

        New Rapid Rides:
        E — Eastlake (instead of Roosevelt)
        M — Madison
        D – Delridge
        C — C. D. (48).
        J — Jackson (7) (“I” for I. D. could also work).
        U — UW (44)
        N — Northgate (40)

        That works for me. You obviously have conflicts for letters (especially “R”) and thus some less than ideal names, but most are fairly easy to remember, and some are great (the most popular bus runs on Aurora, and is called the “A”).

        If we really do keep adding RapidRide lines, then eventually we will have to go with double letters. At that point, you are way better off with combinations that make sense (“CD” for the 48, “RB” for Redmond to Bellevue, “RA” for Rainier Avenue, etc.) That pretty much eliminates the conflicts, and makes for very easy to understand bus names.

        In the end, though, I don’t know if it ever matters. People figure it out, anyway — What’s in a name?

  8. I hate to always be a wet blanket, but does anyone care about people who can’t walk very far who are having their stops taken away for this? Not everyone can walk 6 or 8 blocks or a mile to their stop, especially if one of the directions is uphill. And not everyone who can’t walk these distances qualifies for Access, or has a car or is able to drive. Not everyone can afford to go everywhere using Uber or Lyft either. As long as there are other buses they can take, even if they’re less frequent, it’s probably ok, but it seems as if the goal is bus stops spaced very far apart for people to commute to work on, or for able-bodied people who don’t mind walking nearly a mile, or people who are lucky enough to live closer.

    1. From the early design shared with public in August* very few if any stops will be removed on the very steep hills downtown and west of Boren for the G line. In that version, it looks like the transfers to/from 3rd Ave would actually require less walking on hills than today.
      Based on this example RR route, I’d venture that walking distance and topography are cared about by the planners and designers.

    2. Another perspective: I am able bodied, have completed half marathons, but I wouldn’t commit to regularly on a daily basis walking more than five minutes to a rapid ride bus. Link, Sounder, or a real BRT, you bet I would, but rapid ride is just not “rapid” enough. Especially if it is only dedicated lanes “where easy to do” not “where most time can be gained.”

  9. The contrast between the Seattle and suburban route planning is interesting. Outside Seattle, Metro is driving the process, whereas it’s very much a partnership in the city.

    It’ll be interesting to see that process play out. Bus priority lanes, for instance, require a lot of city involvement. But suburban cities lack the staff resources of SDOT, and the transit capital resources of Move Seattle.

      1. Bellevue’s TMP predated Metro’s LRP by a year or more, so Metro probably incorporated the priority lines but I haven’t compared them directly.

  10. I’m surprised the Kirkland to Redmond RR isn’t in scope for 2025 (route 1026 in the LRP) … it’ll pair perfectly with the NE 85th street 405 BRT station & street widening. Hopefully they start thinking about that route when ST and Kirkland starting redesiging 85th street with bus lanes …. since the road is being totally rebuilt it could be a good candidate for center running lanes, at least between Kirkland TC and Rose Hill

    1. It could be due to cost. Metro has less supplemental funding in the suburbs so it can’t do as many expensive projects or as quickly.

    2. Ridership makes that one a difficult sell, when you can’t even fill up a 30′ coach every half hour on the current direct service. 405 BRT might or might not (given the brutally horrible environment where the station will be placed) change that equation.

      1. Yup, ridership. Also, the BAT lanes on 85th east of the highway were dropped from the ST3 plan. So the only exclusive lanes are on 85th between I-405 and 6th St.

        What appears more likely by 2024 is some sort of frequent back-and-forth shuttle between downtown Kirkland and the highway. Probably of the ‘alternative services’ model.

  11. It would be best to optimize the expenditure of limited capital and operating funds over the entire Seattle network. The Madison line is very costly and quite dependent on FTA funding. SDOT selected an option that requires significant capital AND misses directly serving a Link station. The objective should not be to maximize a single line but the network. The RR network seems much stronger than the CCC streetcar; perhaps funds should be shifted to the former from the latter.

    1. Seattle has already prioritized its transit needs multiple times, and Madison always comes up as a high-priority need for several reasons. One, because of its distance from a Link station. Two, the major hospital demand and ferry demand. Three, Madison is about to become significantly denser with fifty buildings being constructed on top of the hill and at least one office-tower renovation downtown. The argument is that these people will want to make a lot of trips along Madison, and that they’ll tolerate the distance to the Link station. Madison RR is supposed to take ten minutes from 1st Avenue to 23rd Avenue, so that’s a lot faster than currently, and an arguably reasonable overhead from University Street Station.

      The fundamental problems with Madison come from its geography, the fact that there is no Madison DSTT station, and the dropping of the Madison & Boren station. There are several ways to mitigate this: an all-Madison route, the current 11/12 arrangement, or the future 8/12-like arranagement. All of these have tradeoffs, fulfill contradictory transit best practices (straight routes vs Link stations vs demand to Pike-Pine destinations), and advantage different people. There’s no one way that’s the best of all of them, so the only thing SDOT and Metro can do is pick one. SDOT and Metro have somewhat different conclusions of the tradeoffs: SDOT is going for an all-Madison approach (pushing through to 23rd and possibly eventually to Madison Park), while Metro is more in favor of an 11/12 approach or a 49-Madison route or something like that. But given that SDOT is building facts on the ground, Metro is acquiescing to them.

      Of course, SDOT could adjust the priorities within Move Seattle, and focus some of Madison’s funding on the other RR lines, but it made a strong commitment to Madison a few years ago and it’s not going to back down from that. Madison is also “downtown” and “benefits large developers”, for whatever that’s worth. It can’t shift funding to non-Move Seattle corridors because that would contradict the vote.

      As for the CCC, I would cancel it and put the money into the other routes. That would give more mobility in underserved areas for the buck. But the city has decided the opposite.

      1. I agree.

        I would cancel the CCC and put the money into other routes.

        I also think that Madison is worth the extra money because it is much better than average for Seattle. It is strange that it is lumped into the same category as Delridge or Roosevelt. Those routes are fine, but pound for pound, or should I say block for block, there are very few corridors that can compete with Madison in Seattle.

        The only weakness with the Madison route it that it doesn’t work very well with the rest of the network. It would be much better if U-Link contained the obvious station at 23rd and Madison. But the lack of the station there doesn’t mean the BRT line is doomed from a connectivity standpoint. Far from it. If you are approaching the area from the south or the east, it doesn’t matter. Yes, you have to walk a block to catch the bus, but chances are, you will spend more time getting to the surface than you do getting to the bus stop. If you are downtown or just came from Queen Anne or Ballard, you just take surface buses and connect right into it (or someday take a different train that has a station a block closer).

        The only connection that is bad is from the north. We get that. But that is simply the inevitable result of Sound Transit freaking out, and deciding that it needed to throw half the gold overboard because they thought the ship was sinking. Fair enough. We will now have light rail to Ash Way and Fife (goody!) so First Hill — one of the most urban areas in the state — has to make do with surface transit. Well at least it is fast and frequent transit, and at least it connects to other frequent transit. The combination of a new, more frequent (and slightly faster) 48 along with Madison BRT and Link means that at worst you have to go through an extra couple stops and maybe walk a block to get onto the bus. Some will simply take the buses. Either way the extra money to serve this area is well justified.

  12. Where is the “endless litigation” color in the time-line? I can imagine the 44 BRT improvements will involve as many lawyers as the Burke-Gilman Missing Link, particularly for the segment through Wallingford.

    1. I’ve said it before a few years back when we were voting on move Seattle, the 44 brt will not have dedicated lanes through Wallingford. It will never happen, you can book it. Anyone that walks regularly through there knows it’s impossible (with the allocated budget) without shutting 45th down to car traffic.

      1. Agreed. However, there will still be a lot of risk/reward and debate for this corridor. Route 44 needs priority around I5 and through the U District which can be done but will definitely be contentious. These changes will have a much bigger impact than further improvements in the heart of Wallingford.

        As an employee at Children’s I also am deeply disappointed this corridor isn’t planned to open by the time Brooklyn Station does and I sure hope SDOT doesn’t back away from making this a true east west corridor as they seem to be implying with this new document. Based on current plans, in 2021 there will be no direct connection to Link from U Village or Seattle Children’s. The current connections to light rail via Stevens Way force riders to make a five minute walk and send buses on circuitous routing with no bus priority. This is the definition of what we need to avoid for future bus/light rail integration.

        It is very disappointing that we are here in 2017 with one station open and four years before light rail opens in the heart of the U District and there is no clarity about how thousands of potential riders a mile away will be able to access these stations.

      2. >> I’ve said it before a few years back when we were voting on move Seattle, the 44 brt will not have dedicated lanes through Wallingford.

        That is probably the one part of that corridor that is likely to have dedicated lanes. You simply take the parking. Believe it or not, that is by far the easiest thing to take. I would go into the details, but you can simply look at the history of other projects (every single instance of regular surface bus lanes) and see that almost all of it used to be parking. Taking a fully functioning general purpose lane (e. g. Denny between 15th and I-5, which would pay huge dividends) is very difficult, as is telling bikers that they are out of luck on one of the few flat areas of the city (Eastlake). But taking parking — not really that hard. You simply have to wait for the dust to settle.

  13. “Federal funding is already assumed in the budgets for Madison and Roosevelt.”

    Considering that we have Donald Trump in White House and Republicans controlling congress, it might be prudent to have a contingency plan for what to do if that promised federal money does not materialize. Can Madison BRT be built with local funds if the feds decide not to contribute?

    1. From its first few weeks in office, the only promises I think this Administration is going to keep is building and filling private prisons. I’m going to stop using Angle Lake Station. And making cabinet members richer. All of whose major personal characteristic is having absolutely no experience in Government. And proud of it.

      Chief of State has a career reputation for blatant non-delivery, and either making people sue him to get money owed them. Or threatening to sue them for asking. Any infrastructure we get, better avoid driving on, ’til political change of philosophy at least makes it non-lethal. “Safe” could be a stretch.

      So for us, earthquake preparedness is good approach on both counts. At least we’ll be prepared for both a natural disaster and the opposite kind. Better analogy is an epidemic- which health professionals have good reason to expect, due to failing antibiotics and rotting water supply equipment. And sewers.

      Political situation is a combination of rabies, dysentery, and yellow fever. And every other ugly painful way to die. For human victims and our country. Everything we can do for Harborview, good protection both metaphorically and for real.


  14. We’ve had this argument before, but the Madison line should go all the way to Lake Washington (or at least within easy walking distance of Lake Washington). It’s basic transit planning: a route should continue to it’s logical place of conclusion. There is no “logical place of conclusion” where they wish to end it – no light rail station, no major bus transfer point, no major shopping mall, no major office district. They’re just going to end it in the middle of the city for no reason, forcing an unnecessary transfer for those who wish to continue east.

    1. A shore-to-shore line is not necessarily in people’s best interest. It ignores the significant number of people going to Pike-Pine destinations, which the current plan also ignores. It puts the eastern part of Madison further away from a Link station (the 8-Madison route will go right to Capitol Hill Station). Madison Street itself is diagonal so it doesn’t fit neatly into a street grid. The original proposal was 1st to 23rd, which would have ended right where the 48 and 8 cross it. The extended plan goes to 28th by popular demand: the community really wanted it to go into the valley. From a western perspective, that gets all the major retail areas and densifying housing. Madison Park opted out of upzoning/urban villages in exchange for not getting transit improvements, as Magnolia did. Finally, 28th is where the funding runs out. This project did not have enough budget to reach Madison Park. That’s left open as a possible future extension.

      1. Mike, I’m with Chris. Madison Park is a very longstanding community and business district, that happens also to be at the natural end of a main arterial on which we’re putting a rapid bus line.

        Any other city in the world would take the line down there, accurately calculating that human recalcitrance has Nature’s own term limits. Younger Madison Park will re-vote on zoning. And if they’re in IT, reach for their own VISA cards to pay for it.

        But best reason of all:

        Commence service and put it into the ORCA program soon as possible, and Mercer Island might redirect their legal team to help with regs and property acquisition.


      2. “Any other city in the world would take the line down there”

        Any other city in the world would have done a lot of other things too. This is not the highest-priority one. Madison Park may have a business district but it’s small and boutiquey and doesn’t want to grow, and a cross-lake ferry is not in the medium-term future. If people want to go to those few bistro-y restaurants, they can jolly well take whichever local bus that goes there; it doesn’t have to be Madison RapidRide.

        However, having said all that, I have always supported extending Madison RR to Madison Park for a straight shore-to-shore route. I put that in my feedback to SDOT, and suggested the extension could be non-upgraded for now (just renaming the stops) to save money, because that dead-end doesn’t have significant congestion. But this is where money comes in. It costs money to extend RapidRide, it goes beyond the scope of the original proposed terminus at 23rd, and that money would have to come out of either the other RapidRide lines or a higher Move Seattle tax. Assuming that raising the tax would lose some votes, we then have to weigh the Madison Park extension vs upgrades on other lines (23rd, 45th, etc). I’d say upgrades on other lines is more urgent.

      3. @Mike Orr

        >>Any other city in the world would have done a lot of other things too. This is not the highest-priority one. Madison Park may have a business district but it’s small and boutiquey and doesn’t want to grow, and a cross-lake ferry is not in the medium-term future. If people want to go to those few bistro-y restaurants, they can jolly well take whichever local bus that goes there; it doesn’t have to be Madison RapidRide.<<

        You're missing the point Mike, there is no benefit to riders in cutting the line short in the middle of the city for no reason. Just as there is no benefit to riders for the Roosevelt line not going all the way to Northgate as it was originally going to.

        I look at everything from the riders perspective. If you can tell me a single advantage of having it just end short of L. Washington like that, I'm all ears. I can't see one.

      4. The advantage is that more money is available for other corridors that are higher ridership and between urban villages unlike the Madison tail. I didn’t say the Madison tail was not worthwhile, I just said it’s relatively lower priority than other transit needs in Move Seattle.

    2. Transit station on shorelines are a bad idea because they waste half their walk-shed. The last stop should be a few blocks inland. (Downtown is different because of the high transfer opportunity with the Colman ferry terminal)

      That said, RR to Madison Park shouldn’t be a priority as it’s not an urban village.

      1. I didn’t mean to the physical shore. I meant the planned 1st Avenue terminus to the center of the Madison Park neighborhood, which is 43rd Avenue and the last street before the shore, and has a beach beyond it, so potentially a busy beach walkshed.

        2040 will have RapidRide to Madison Park, but as the 8-Madison rather than Madison RR. The two will overlap between 28th and 23rd.

      2. But what if the shoreline itself is a destination? What if there is a beach there? What if there are restaurants and cafes, or other attractions people like to visit?

    3. The random terminus is at 23rd to allow for a transfer to the 23rd RR.

      Also, no reason it can’t be extended in the future. It’s just not in the current plan. Madison Park still gets a frequent route to Cap Hill and SLU, it’s just not RR.

    4. Yes, we’ve had this argument before, and you’ve made the same points as well. Using your logic, the 44 should go to Shilshole.

      Look, there is a dramatic drop-off in density, destinations and connectivity after 23rd. The connectivity aspect should be obvious. From a destination standpoint, there simply aren’t any major employers to the east of the proposed terminus. From a density standpoint, I refer you to the map: It is simply the least efficient part of the corridor. Not that many people, very few jobs, and nothing in the way of connecting buses lie to the east.

      Yet it is a significant distance. It is roughly the same distance from 23rd to 1st as it is to Madison Park. So are basically arguing that we double the capital cost and double the operating cost to serve a small percentage of the potential riders. Sorry, no. Of course in an ideal world it would be great, but that world doesn’t exist. Madison Park (and especially the area right before the tall buildings) is one of the most suburban, lowest density areas in town. If the area were magically transformed to apartments, hospitals and office buildings (like the rest of Madison) then it would make sense. But that won’t happen, so it doesn’t.

      The great news for the folks at the tail end of the (effective) peninsula is that they will retain their bus service, and their bus service has tremendous potential. Simply make the 11 follow the path of the 43, once it reaches 23rd. Follow Thomas, John, Olive and then Pike/Pine right to the north end of downtown. This would pass right by the Capitol Hill station as well as Madison BRT, which means that you can get to the the subway, First Hill, or the south end of downtown very fast.

  15. I wonder if it will ever be possible to have local shadows along RapidRide routes (like Community and Everett Transits do with Swift). RapidRide D isn’t very rapid going down 15th since it is the only service on that street south of 85th so it has to make every stop because every stop is almost always used.

    Using D as a continued example, I’d make the existing D the local version and the RR D from Crown Hill down to the Ballard bridge would be just the northern terminus (7th NW), 85th, 75th, 65th, Market, and Leary (to account for the base of the bridge/transfer to 40).

    But maybe local shadows are a pipe dream considering the cost.

    1. For Ballard yes. For Aurora, Link isn’t even scheduled. If we’re lucky, going east on a frequent feeder to catch Link will be a tolerable alternative to an express E.

    2. Good point, but the ST3 Link network ends up providing most of the express service, leaving the RRs to provide high quality, high frequency local service.

      D, C, and Roosevelt RR will have Link as the express. Madison is short enough it shouldn’t matter. “RR Fremont” will hopefully have a strong Link transfer in Ballard for express to downtown. Even RR 23rd can use Link as an express for end to end service (UW to Mt baker or Judkins).

      The one that makes the most sense to me is a peak-only Express E, which can help add capacity to the E during peak periods.

      For Delridge & Rainier, perhaps the 120 and 7 should continue to exist as milk runs, but it all depends on how aggressive the stop diet is on the RR?

    3. Rainier might be an interesting example. Can you have an aggressive stop diet and run the RR at 15 minute frequencies and a local also at 15 minute frequencies, so the combined headway is sub-10 minutes? Or does that just risk bunching?

    4. Limited-stop overlays make more sense on long streets with lots of commercial/multifamily destinations, like Geary Street in San Francisco. That describes Aurora, 45th, and Rainier. It doesn’t quite describe Delridge. For that we need to ask, who is the limited-stop route for? If it’s to connect specifically between Burien, White Center, Westwood Village, one other place, and downtown, then maybe it doesn’t need to be on Delridge or the exact 120 route; it could diverge. Because there’s no advantage to meandering past single-family houses at 30 mph (soon to be 25 with Vision Zero) or stopping in front of a house with only ten houses within walking distance, if there’s another way that might be faster.

    5. Generally speaking, overlays mean redundant service, and are similar to cries for one seat rides to everywhere. Sure, they are great for those who ride it, but you end up with a system that has horrible headways, and at the end of the day, that kills it.

      But there are certainly areas where long distance express transit makes sense. Sound Transit handles a lot of these (e. g. Tacoma to Seattle). Link will replace other long distance express routes (e. g. Northgate to downtown) and create new express connections (e. g. Bitter Lake to Link via a NE 130th station).

      There are probably places where stops could be skipped, but you have to go into the weeds to really see if it makes sense. For example, consider the north end of the D. There are 8 stops north of Market. If you skipped half the stops, then half the riders get there faster, but the other half have to walk a long distance. That would make sense if, say, the odd numbered bus stops (65th, 75th, 85th) had much higher ridership, but I doubt that is the case. I also doubt there is a huge bump in potential ridership as you get north. So by skipping, say, 80th, only a handful of riders benefit (those that use the three stops to the north).

      It is different if you skipped some of the stops closer to town. My guess is a substantial portion of the riders sit on the bus between Market and Queen Anne. They are slowed down by every stop, including ones like Armour and Gilman, which seem questionable. I could easily see a stop diet that mimics what ST has in mind for Ballard Link, along with better connectivity. So, from north to south that would mean Leary, Nickerson, Dravus, Prospect, and then the usual stops on lower Queen Anne. That would eliminate four stops by my reckoning, all of which are in a row (which is ideal, since it would enable the bus to get back up to full speed). You still have coverage for that area with the 32: That sounds like it has a lot of potential to me.

      Bus bunching really isn’t a problem. The D simply has to pass the 32 (merge into the other lane and then get back in the bus lane). It is a minor problem compared to mixing off board payment buses (RapidRide+) with regular buses. I don’t think that is a problem there — the bus stops are very long and the streets wide enough to easily pass — but it could be a problem if, say, another bus was sent down Eastlake. A RapidRide+ bus could be stuck behind a regular bus as everyone fumbles with change (which is why it is generally a good idea to separate the two).

      Anyway, that’s the D. The E is similar, in that you could probably eliminate a stop or two between the Aurora Bridge and Denny (and have the 5/26/28 pick those up). But to the north, you have other options. The 355 serves as the express. Eventually heading east to pick up Link will make a lot more sense. It is likely at that point that we will have a real grid; Link and the E will both be very frequent and east-west routes connecting the two. That would mean a three seat ride from say, 135th and Aurora to the UW, but a fairly fast one. You could continue to ride the E all the way to downtown, but it might be faster to make the same connection. In which case, the fact that the E makes so many stops up north is really no big deal.

      1. The most well-chosen overlays will get most of the riders, and the local will be revealed to be a coverage service. The largest number of riders are going between transfer points, urban villages, multifamily concentrations, institutional concentrations, and retail/job concentrations. Optimal transit requires fast/frequent service between these. That’s what a limited-stop overlay is supposed to do. It has to balance this with even stop spacing; i.e., not having large gaps. Aurora is just the kind of place where a limited-stop line is warranted. The 355 is not a substitute because it has limited hours and is unidirectional; I’m talking about something like Swift.

        15th NW is not an ideal candidate for a limited-stop overlay. North of the Ship Canal it’s a short distance to the D’s terminus, there’s no obvious concentration of people north of Market Street, and the D is plenty fast there. South of the Ship Canal, the problem is not a limited-stop overlay but that the D should run on Elliott Avenue rather than the Uptown bottleneck. It should be like the 15X, even if it makes an extra stop or two on Elliott. That would give Ballard-downtown the speed it deserves.

    6. Link will function to some extent like a limited-stop overlay for Aurora, but not as effectively as a bus/train on Aurora would. We’ll see how effective it is in that regard when it opens. It will work better for trips that have one end on Aurora rather than both ends on Aurora. E.g., if you’re at 46th & Aurora going to 185th & Aurora, it’s not clear that you’d want to go east to Link and back west to Aurora, rather than just taking the straight bus in spite of all its stops. But if you’re going from 45th & Aurora to Lynnwood, by all means go east and take Link. Definitely for downtown Lynnwood; it may be harder to say for Edmonds Community College. And I’m assuming fast/frequent east-west feeders of course; if it takes half an hour to get from Aurora to U-District station then that’s not very helpful.

      1. Yeah, I agree. There really are three classes of bus routes we are talking about. The limited stop bus that goes a long distance; a “local”, making lots of stops along its route; and an express that makes a handful of stops in one part of town, then gets on the freeway (or expressway) to get downtown. More than anything, Link will replace that third one. The 41 is a classic example, but there are other examples, like the 355, which will likely just be truncated. My point is that a local and a truncated express can actually be the same thing, and make a lot of sense once Link gets farther north. Imagine a bus that starts at 145th, then heads west, to Aurora, and then goes north to 185th, then west again, to Richmond Beach. Another bus starts around 185th, then goes west, turns north on Aurora and goes to the county line (and so on). Now imagine trying to get from 45th to 180th. The E wouldn’t serve that stop (staying on the odd numbered streets, 145th, 155th, 165th, etc.). So instead of taking the E and walking, you take the very frequent 44, then the train, then this other bus. It still would might be faster to stick with the E but you get the idea (it would work great for say, 45th to Edmonds CC). If you happen to be on Market, then it definitely makes sense. You would pass right by the E, but keep riding until you get to Link, Then north and back again. One extra transfer, but unless that third bus is really slow or really infrequent, worth it.

        It’s not quite a grid, but something similar that has been modified to deal with the fact that the train line is so much faster than the bus line. Of course one option would be to make the bus line a lot faster, but like fixing the D, that seems difficult and unlikely.

      2. To me limited-stop means something that stops every mile or two and at all the urban village centers, while an express is something that goes nonstop for more than two miles, often five or ten. So to me Link is limited-stop like Swift and the 7X, but it happens to be fast enough that it can replace the 41, 51x, and 550. So it’s “express” in the sense that it can replace some express buses, but because it stops in between at urban villages and every 1-2 miles it’s really a limited-stop service.

        Express feeders from Link to the major transfer points east and west is an interesting idea.

  16. If the Roosevelt corridor is considered High-Capacity-Transit-worthy, why was the 66 deleted last year instead of waiting until the HCT coaches take over?

    1. Because the BRT designation was SDOT’s and the 66 deletion was Metro’s. They don’t always agree on what the best network is. Metro was concerned with aggressively connecting to Link as we’ve been badgering it to do , and getting rid of the half-hourly milk runs that suck up service hours and hinder frequency. SDOT is more concerned with the growing demand along densifying Roosevelt, and connecting it to Eastlake and SLU. Also, Metro’s move can be seen as temporary until North Link opens, during which everyone’s trip is substandard but they want to connect the most people to UW Station, while SDOT’s move can be seen as Link’s local shadow in a post-2021 world when more things are possible. Finally, the Roosevelt RR corridor that won out is not the 66 corridor but the 70 corridor: it doesn’t serve Roosevelt south of Mercer.

  17. Renton-Kent-Auburn stands out as the only proposed RapidRide line not connecting to the regional light rail spine. If a line is going to connect all the way from Auburn to Renton, why not reach that extra 3 miles to Rainier Beach Station, and give everyone living along Sunset Way a connection to Rainier Valley without having to backtrack to downtown Seattle or downtown Renton?

    1. Good point, it’s the usual deprioritization of Rainier Beach Station. The answer seems to be that Sunset Way is slated for an express service and RapidRide is positioned as a local service. Metro’s plan keeps the 101 in 2025 and replaces it with another express to downtown in 2040. C’est la vie. That could be something we might be able to get Metro to reconsider as the One City Center and other things go down. But I’m having a bit of a hard time seeing why it’s so important for Sunset Way in particular to be connected to Rainier Beach and Auburn over the surrounding areas. Renton Ave will still have a 106-like route (Rainier Beach – Renton Highlands).

      1. Yeah that’s a long 3 miles to add to an already long RR route. Renton TC seems like a much stronger anchor for the RR, with a distinct frequent route between RB and Renton.

        If you are trying to go all the way to Seattle, the express is much better. If you are going from, say, Auburn to Skyway, a transfer at a Transit Center is a slight bummer but that’s doesn’t strike me as a priority 1-seat ride … you might even be better off taking an express to RB (or even a bus to Federal Way) and backtracking on the (new) 106.

      2. “Renton TC seems like a much stronger anchor for the RR”

        Sigh, as if anything were transit-friendly in downtown Renton. Small props to the few blocks right around Burnett, with the performing-arts center and the library. At least that’s a start. But it’s about to be dashed when ST moves the transit center to the P&R, which the city of Renton pressured ST to do. There may be a better network design for Renton and the south than Metro’s but nothing comes to mind as clearly better. Here are some transit markets though:

        1. Renton – Renton Ave – Rainier Beach
        2. Renton – Renton Highlands
        3. Sunset Blvd – downtown
        4. Sunset Blvd – Rainier Beach
        5. South Renton/Northeast Kent – downtown
        6. South Renton/Northeast Kent – Rainier Beach
        7. East Kent/Auburn (south of 230th) – Rainier Beach — NOT. They should take the other RapidRide west to KDM Station if they’re going to Link. But if they’re going to Renton they can take this RapidRide.

        Metro’s proposal interlines #1 and #2, connecting the Renton Highlands to Raineir Beach.
        I think Aleks’ proposal also had that.

        #3 and #4 is what we’re discussing about Sunset Blvd, and furthermore whether it should be interlined with #5, #6, or #7. That’s what I’m not sure about, whether any alternative is definitively better than Metro’s.

      3. The new Renton TC location will include a transfer to 405 BRT, which could be the best way to get to East King job centers. Yes it’s a poor walkshed but it makes for a good bus-bus transfer.

        Sunset Blvd is covered by the Overlake-Eastgate-Newcastle-Renton RR …. which also terminates at the Renton TC. So Newcastle to Kent is a RR-RR transfer. Not bad.

  18. Is there any discussion about separating the electrification improvements from the RapidRide improvements? It looks like the Roosevelt BRT project is commingling them.

    1. Electrification or battery buses or whatever low-emission technology may become feasible by launch time is part of the spec of RapidRide+ in Move Seattle, so yes, they’re comingling them.

    2. They break out the cost of the new wire. So the only question is how much extra it would cost to buy battery buses, along with charging stations (along with extra operations cost, if there are any).

    3. And the performance of battery buses on hills, the weight of the batteries requiring more power, the inefficiency of putting energy into a battery and taking it out again, how quiet the buses will be, etc.

  19. I wouldn’t extend the Roosevelt HCT plan up to Northgate. That seems like overkill. We don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on these projects, and there are more important corridors.

    There is nothing special about 5th Avenue — it is simply the fastest way to Northgate from Roosevelt. Once Link gets there, though, the bulk of riders will simply take Link from one stop to the other. Meanwhile, it is quite likely that lots of buses in the area will converge on Roosevelt, meaning that the connection from Roosevelt to those neighborhoods is made much better. Consider what we have now, much of which will become obsolete with Northgate Link:

    522, 309 and 312 — Buses that go down Lake City Way onto I-5 to go to downtown.
    (3)73 — Goes on 15th from Olympic Hills to the U-District.
    63 — Follows the proposed extension route from Roosevelt to Northgate.
    67 — Loops around on Northgate Way and Roosevelt to connect Northgate to Maple Leaf, Roosevelt and the U-District.
    77 — Commuter bus that follows 15th to the Lake City Way ramp of I-5 to go to downtown.

    It is crying out for truncation and consolidation. I would do the following:

    522 — Add a few stops along Lake City Way and truncate at the Roosevelt Station.
    (3)73 — Run on Roosevelt (instead of 15th) and end at Roosevelt Station.
    End the 309, 312, 63, 67 and 77.

    That is a huge amount of service hour savings. It means you can beef up the remaining buses to a very high level. It also means that if you don’t want to be that radical in your changes, you can do the following:

    1) Keep the 63 and/or the 77, but truncate them at Roosevelt. These would be coverage runs by nature so you wouldn’t need to make them run very often (every thirty minutes is probably fine). These still wouldn’t be very expensive, since they are pretty short.

    2) For the 522 or the 373, continue on to the U-District. There is no need to mimic the Roosevelt HCT, so instead of following Roosevelt the whole way, it would cut over to the Ave (as the 45 does). It could run in “express mode” as well, making no stops until, say, 50th. That would give riders of those buses a one stop ride into the U-District. It would also give people yet another option to the U-District if they are at the Roosevelt station.

    In any event, whether there is a consolidation or not, it stands to reason that lots of buses will converge on Roosevelt, and there is no need to extend the HCT up to Northgate.

    1. The reason for a single frequent route on Fairview-Eastlake-Roosevelt-5th is the overlapping north-south trips all along the corridor, the growth in Roosevelt between 40th and 55th, and the fact that the upzone will shift the center of the U-District’s population to Roosevelt.

      I lived on 56th for many years, my dad lived in Eastlake and a SLU houseboat for a decade, I’ve made trips to physical therapists along Eastlake and to the Friendly Foam Shop both during and after I lived there, worked in Northgate, had a friend’s pizzeria at 80th, and gone to Whole Foods and the stereo shops. So I have a pretty good idea what kinds of trips a person living at 56th, 40th, and Lynn, 65th, and 80th would make throughout a year. People make overlapping trips all throughout that corridor, and anywhere you split it — whether at 45th or the Ship Canal — hinders some subset of trips. That doesn’t make a single route absolutely necessary, but it does make the 67’s split at Campus Parkway and the RapidRide’s split at 45th a bummer sometimes.

      I also feel strongly that 15th should have 15-minute service from UW Station to 65th. A lot of people travel in that corridor. Yes Roosevelt is close, but this is a large dense urban village. So given a route on 15th to 65th (call it the 73), it’s reasonable to send it all the way to Mountlake Terrace (as I’ve suggested) or Richmond Beach (as Metro plans to do). Unfortunately it doesn’t get you close enough to Northgate or the Crest Cinema, but it’s still a reasonable grid route. So we need hours for this route.

      The 522 idea is interesting but it will never happen because ST will truncate it at 145th Station in seven years. It’s rebuilding 145th for it and everything. Of course some other route could go from Roosevelt to Lake City and 145th Station.

      If the Roosevelt RR truncation at 45th is permanent, then I don’t see what’s wrong with keeping the 67. As you know, Link does not have the stop spacing to serve local trips, so Link does not replace the 67 at all. As for the peak-only routes, I don’t pay attention to them. When you say keep the 63, 77, and 373, do you mean keep the express routing? While I’m always in favor of all-day expresses and limited-stop routes, I’m not sure if those corridors in particular need it more than surrounding areas. For a trip from say 56th to Northgate, the 67 is fine as long as it’s frequent.

      I guess we should ask, who would be served by these routes 63, 77, and 373, going from where to where?

      Of course, if my 73 were limited-stop like the 373, that would be fine. But moving it to Roosevelt and taking all service off 15th doesn’t sound like a good idea.

      1. OK, I guess I wasn’t clear. Roosevelt HCT to 65th and Roosevelt is a given. I don’t think anyone is seriously talking about truncating that project at 45th, but they are considering extending it to Northgate (although leaning against it). What I’m arguing is that the way they are leaning (ending it at 65th) is the right choice. Of course there are trips that are less convenient, but that is true with every proposal. You have to end it somewhere and 65th is the logical end. There is a Link station there, which will be a transit hub — arguably a much better one than Northgate (since Northgate TC site in a very difficult to access spot). Density drops fairly rapidly soon after that, and the major corridors diverge. Or, to put it another way, the corridors converge close to 65th, which is why ending the fancy service there makes sense. That is my main point, since it really is the topic here. For just about any restructure following Northgate Link, ending the Roosevelt HCT at 65th makes sense while serving the area north of there with a wide range of bus routes..

        As far the bus routes go, here is the way I see it: The 522 may cut off at 145th, but you still want to serve the large number of riders south of 145th along Lake City Way who want to access Link. You may also want to send a limited stop bus from Lake City itself up towards Kenmore and Bothell. This seems redundant, but the unfortunate result of ST completely ignoring the significant number of riders (about 10%) who board the 522 in Lake City heading north.

        So there are several options to serve those folks:

        1) Just extend the 41 a bit (to 145th) while truncating it at Northgate. Unfortunately, this is the slowest route.

        2) Turn on 125th and head to the NE 130th station. When the station is ready, this will make the most sense as it will be the fastest way to connect to Link. But that is a while down the road.

        3) Keep going on Lake City Way, but turn up onto Northgate Way (following the 75). This is a fast and reasonable choice.

        4) Depend on the current 372 routing. This is fine if you are headed to the UW, but very slow if you are headed downtown via Link. There is value on this route — I think you need to serve 25th Ave NE — but it becomes a lot less important when Link gets to Roosevelt and Northgate.

        5) Head down Lake City Way to Roosevelt. This is about as fast as you can get (roughly as fast as the 75 option) while offering additional coverage along Lake City Way and an additional one seat neighborhood connection (Roosevelt to Lake City).

        So basically, until the NE 130th station is built, the last choice is as fast as any option, while providing more coverage and an additional neighborhood connection. That is why I think it makes the most sense. I wouldn’t get rid of the 41, the 75 or the 372 — they all have their purpose. But I would have a frequent bus travel along Lake City Way to Roosevelt.

        As far as the other bus routes are concerned, I am sorry I wasn’t clear about the 73 and 373. I consider them to be essentially the same bus, which is why I tried to write it as (3)73, but messed up. For the sake of argument, I will simply call it the 73 from now on and not worry about whether it is the 373 or 73.

        So, looking at the big picture again, there are several corridors or segments of bus routes in the area:

        1) Roosevelt Way/Pinehurst Way/15th, between 65th and 145th. This would connect the most populous parts of Pinehurst, Maple Leaf and Roosevelt.

        2) Lake City Way between 65th and 145th (my choice to serve Lake City).

        3) 5th Avenue and Weedin between 65th and Northgate Transit Center.

        4) 15th, between 65th and 145th (essentially the old 73).

        All of these would serve the Roosevelt station and then either turn around or serve some other area (likely the UW, although these could connect to something like the southern end of the 62). South of 65th, buses would continue to server 15th, the Ave and Roosevelt.

        Of the four corridors, I would consider the first essential. It is basically the 67 and 73 combined. With just it you could provide very good service, and at worse a small coverage hole (the streets are roughly a quarter mile apart).

        The second is my choice for Lake City, and complements the first very well from a coverage standpoint. You plug up the biggest coverage hole, which exists on Lake City Way, south of where the 372 has gone off to 25th. Unlike the hole that exists to the west (by I-5) there are apartments there ( For the houses on the edge of the hill, you simply walk downhill. Get off the bus at Roosevelt Way, and get on at Lake City Way.

        I would make sure that both of those routes have frequent service. If that means that the other bus routes go away, so be it. The other two are not essential, in my opinion, but could make sense as less frequent, all day, coverage runs. The 5th/Weedin makes more sense just because it goes by more apartments per hour of service, especially close to Green Lake.

        But regardless of how you cut it, I don’t see that 5th/Weedin corridor as being so much better than the other corridors that it deserves the large investment in service that HCT requires. South of 65th, all of those corridors — even 5th and Lake City Way, which are a mile apart much of the way — converge to a narrow area right next to a Link station. That makes sense as an endpoint.

      2. I thought they truncated RR at 45th due to cost. But looking at the June 2016 slides, they’re considering either 45th or 65th. 65th would certainly be best, for the same reason that the 48 should have gone to 65th: it’s the northern end of a continuous transit market from central Seattle.

        So would other routes besides RR terminate at Roosevelt? I bring up my trip from 55th & 12th to Northgate, and 50th & 12th to 80th & 5th. There should be some way to get through 65th without transferring, because the total trip distance is too short for a forced transfer.

        You know the area north of 65th better than I do so i don’t have any particular opinions how Maple Leaf and Pinehurst should be served. But the deletion of the 72 left a gap between Lake City and the U-District. So your Lake City Way route could go to Roosevelt Station and then continue south to U-District Station.

      3. 5th is not particularly dense but it is fast and non-trafficky. I think they looked at both 5th and Roosevelt south of Northgate but decided on 5th for some reason, and there may have been community preference for 5th. Again I don’t know the area that well, but I do appreciate the way 5th doesn’t get bogged down in traffic like Roosevelt around Ravenna Blvd and 50th does.

      4. For Lake City to Link, the fastest seems to be north on LCW and west on 145th. The 41 has the Northgate traffic. The 75 has both the slow Northgate hill, low-density houses, and the Northgate traffic. Taking LCW south to Roosevelt Station sounds excessively long. It’s the right way to get to the U-District, but it seems a long way to get to Link.

        Roosevelt-Pinehurst-15th might be OK but I’m still concerned about breaking up service on 15th. Metro has been so schizophrenic about it, with routes turning all over the place and serving different parts of it. As for 5th, I don’t think it must have service, but it does function as a good back door. And it has some density around Greenlake & 70th which is being ignored.

      5. Travel times (via car) from Lake City Way and 125th, according to Google:

        Northgate TC, via the 41 route — 12 minutes
        Northgate TC, via the 75 route — 10 minutes
        145th TC via LCW and 145th — 8 minutes
        Roosevelt TC via LCW — 12 minutes

        So if you are headed south, Roosevelt is as fast as any of the other options. I am mainly arguing that we should add this run, not necessarily that it is much better than the alternatives. Every other route has an existing bus (the 65 just needs to be extended a little bit) and will likely remain. The advantage of going down Lake City Way is that you make a new connection between two big neighborhoods (Roosevelt and Lake City) along with creating a reasonably wide grid. Roosevelt and Lake City Way are about 10 blocks apart most of the way. You could achieve the same thing by simply running buses on 5th and 15th, but unfortunately, that would mean skipping Roosevelt Way, which is the main commercial and apartment hub of Maple Leaf. East of Roosevelt, you either need a bus on 15th or a bus on Lake City to plug a hole, and the latter is likely to pick up a lot more riders.

        Regardless of how you design a bus system, you will have transfers. Forcing transfers along the same street seems onerous, but fairly common. Eastlake to Roosevelt requires a transfer (now), as does Roosevelt to Lake City and Maple Leaf to Pinehurst. Those are easy, straight shot, no turning roads, but the bus doesn’t keep going on them.

        It is important to remember that we only have a limited amount of money for these RapidRide+ projects. Yes, by all means, in an ideal world it would make sense to extend Madison BRT to Madison Park, even if that means 40% of the cost is spent serving 10% of the riders. But we don’t have the money. That means a trip from First Hill to Madison Park will require a transfer (as it does today).

        The same is true here. Extending to Northgate on 5th would be great. But it would cost a bunch of money, for relatively little benefit. There is simply a huge drop off in density and destinations as you get farther north — until it picks up again very close to Northgate. There are some apartments around 85th, but that is about it. You would provide faster service to the apartments close to Weedin, but they can walk down to Woodlawn (26). There is a reason Metro doesn’t serve the area now (except with a handful of commuter runs).

        Again, I’m not opposed to regular bus service on 5th. But extending the HCT there is silly. You would pick up very few riders between 65th and Northgate TC. The new riders would be simply those who stay on the bus to Northgate. That is nice, but a transfer is fine. It is about a ten minute drive, not counting traffic. Even with off board payment and all that, you add another couple minutes for stops. That means that you are likely to save time with the transfer. I see it as no different than trying to get from U-Village or Children’s to Montlake or Capitol Hill. You have to transfer. If anything, this transfer is a lot better, as the Roosevelt station isn’t as deep, and you don’t have to spend so much time crossing the street.

        What is true of HCT service is true of service in general. In an ideal world we would have five minute service on every bus run. But for areas like this — not especially dense — that just doesn’t make sense. You have to pick and choose, and consolidation is a great way to add necessary headway improvements. The first U-Link restructure proposal by Metro moved all service onto Roosevelt. But they also killed the connection between Pinehurst and the UW. Just as U-Link was added, Pinehurst lost their one seat ride to the UW. So it wasn’t just consolidation — a basic route was eliminated. That was not popular, which is why they put the route back. I really don’t think there is any hesitation to eliminate service on 15th (had they simply moved the 73 to Roosevelt Way it would have been fine). But since they already had enough service on Roosevelt Way, they figured they would keep the faster 15th routing (and not change things).

        What I am proposing is consolidation, while retaining fast connections to Link (and the UW). The key is to straighten out the button hook of the 67. The 67 cuts back on itself so much that you can get off the bus, walk a few blocks, and then get back on the same bus. Buses spend way too much time waiting for turn signal. It is a screwy route. The only loss is that folks in Maple Leaf would not have a one seat ride to Northgate, but that is a very small price to pay (again, it is probably faster to walk than take the bus right now). They will have a very frequent two stop ride to Northgate, and a connection to Link that will be just as fast or faster for everyone on Roosevelt Way (especially if they are headed south).

        I am not opposed to a bus route on 5th — it does make more sense than one on 15th. But I wouldn’t sacrifice service elsewhere for it. I think you need all day 10 minute headways or better on Roosevelt Way/15th between 65th and 145th as well as similar service (if not better) connecting Lake City to a station. If you can do that, and squeeze in service on 5th, then great. Otherwise, it should remain what it is now — an empty corridor.

        So I am basically proposing two main buses heading south (one on Lake City Way, the other on Roosevelt Way) towards 65th. You could send both to the U-District of course, but again, I don’t think a transfer is the end of the world. The whole point of the Roosevelt HCT is that transfers are painless. Frequency is so high that it doesn’t matter. In this case, you also don’t have to walk very far (they may be the exact same stop). Again, it is about service. Would you rather have a one seat ride from Lake City to the U-District (to go along with the 372, which goes to campus) or an extra couple buses per hour on the northern section. I would pick the latter, every time. It really is no different than U-Link. Lots of people have said the same thing my friend said “The direct bus is faster, but I almost always do the transfer, because it is a lot more frequent”. In other words waiting a couple minutes at the train station is preferable than waiting a long time at the bus stop for the direct bus.

      6. For riders north of 145th St, turning the 522 onto 145th seems the most efficient option. I could see riders from Kenmore/Bothell/Woodinville not really liking having to go all the way to Roosevelt to catch Link. I think ST is mindful that 1 of their core tasks is to serve residents outside of Metro’s jurisdiction. The fact that the 522 happens to pick up a decent number of passengers in Lake City is a bonus of Lake City being in between Bothell and downtown Seattle.

        From Lake City, it seems that the current 41/75 is as good an option as any to get people to Link even if the 522 no longer serves it. For local riders, the 75 does a better job serving the stores along Northgate Way, but the 41 seems to pass through denser housing and avoids the messy left turn at 5th Ave and Northgate Way. Though shifting the 65 from 30th to Lake City Way and extending it along 145th St seems like it would provide another option to get to Link and add some needed crosstown service. Other than serving the Lake City library, I was never clear why the 65 takes 30th Ave, a tiny road without lighting and sidewalks.

    2. Given Roosevelt BRT is the local shadow for Link in NE Seattle, doesn’t that mean it should go all the way to Northgate? Or is that too simplistic thinking?

      1. Maybe. It’s a local shadow for Link. Because Link zigzags underground it can’t have one local shadow the entire way. So both Roosevelt RR and the 49 are local shadows of parts of it, as is the 106. Roosevelt RR could be the shadow between Roosevelt Station and Northgate, but there may be another network design that’s suitable.

      2. The fact that it is a shadow is a coincidence. Shadows typically have a lot less demand, otherwise the subway would have included the stops. In this case you do have a situation where Link probably should have added stops (at Campus Parkway, 55th and 80th) but even if they did that, you would still want to serve South Lake Union and Eastlake.

        Extending this to Northgate would be very similar to extending Madison BRT to Madison Park. You would spend a substantial amount of money for very little gain. This is probably a better value, but still, I think we have way more important projects. Do you really want to see, for example, the 44 get short changed so that folks from Northgate TC can get to Roosevelt without taking the train? Or that the relatively few people in between have a faster ride? That is just a waste for what is a relatively unimportant corridor (5th NE).

  20. I hope SDOT does a budget assessment of Move Seattle, the CCC Streetcar, the needed sidewalks on several transit arterials, and the seven RR lines in the context of 45 becoming president and the Rs controlling the FTA grant allocations. The service hours funded by the 2014 TBD measure expire in six years or in time for the 2021 Link restructure. Will there be a countywide service replacement? Funding RR takes a lot more than drawing a line on the map. Note that the 23rd Avenue overhead has been delayed.

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