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There has been much discussion over the portion of Route 14 east of 31st Ave S. Many people think that discontinuing the tail is a good idea, but some people depend on that service.

I came up with a solution for this. I would extend Route 14 to Columbia City station. This would keep the old service in place, in addition to new service for people living along the Hunter Blvd/38th Ave S corridor. The Mt. Baker link connection will be replaced by a Columbia City connection during most hours of service. Considering some night trips do not serve the tail, those night trips can continue to serve Mt. Baker.

Here is a map of my proposal:

7 Replies to “A solution for Route 14’s tail”

  1. Until sometime in the 1970s the 39 SEWARD PARK used to meet the 10 MT. BAKER at Hanford & Hunter, but there was rarely any ridership on the Mt. Baker part of the 39 bus (except for one little kid who would sometimes be on that section). Much of 38th Ave S is too narrow to accommodate 2 buses meeting and the 14 would either have to be permanently converted to diesel operation or Metro would have to string wire (for very little ridership).

    According to STB lore, the 14’s split tail adds one extra bus to the 1+14 schedule. I think Metro would be better off running a van from the old tail to Mt. Baker TC and then across the street to Mt. Baker Station. One of the few things that is good about the design of MBS is the van drop-off point on the back of the station is just a few steps from the elevators. Metro could also use that same van to operate a door-to-door shuttle from MBS to ACRS and terminate the 106 at Mt. Baker instead of sending it to Jackson Street. Both the 14 old tail and ACRS could likely have service every 20 minutes (certainly every 30 minutes) with one van. And Metro would likely save the service hours from running 3 almost empty buses (the one that serves the old 14 tail and the 2 buses needed to run the 106 between MBS and Jackson Street).

  2. The tail is basically a cul-de-sac because those Mt Baker streets are too narrow for buses, as GuyonBeaconHill notes.

    I’ve wondered why Metro just doesn’t simply extend Route 27 south to Lake Park Drive (Mt Baker Beach) and McClellan to MBTC. Then that allows for the tail to be deleted (as this is just 2 blocks from the last 14 stop).

    This also could add riders to Route 27, which also has a tail productivity problem. Surely, Leschi residents would appreciate a short ride to Link at Mt Baker!

    1. Yeah, I think this makes sense. The only possible problem is that Lake Park Drive is also rather narrow for two buses.

      1. That’s a good point about Lake Park Drive. I looked on line at the street and it doesn’t have curbs so buses could pass but they would perhaps do it slowly. The tree canopy may also be an issue. I think that buses may be using it today to get to and from the garage.

        Surely, Metro would test a bus before proposing this route.

    2. @Al — That’s a good idea — a nice compromise. It does look like more walking for some folks, but nothing too bad. Where it gets difficult to get to Lake Washington Boulevard, you can usually get to MLK to take the 4, or just walk south, to McClellan, and pick up the 27 again. I think ridership on that section of the 27 would be really low, though. There are very few people along Lakeside and Lake Park Drive. 31st isn’t highly populated, but at least it is all mostly homes (instead of parkland). But the routes you describe still retain coverage, while saving some money. If done right it means more walking, but better service.

      This is why you can’t just look at each route in isolation. Your suggestion means changing another bus route. It also would greatly increase the value of the 4, as it would be the only route west of Lakeside/Lake Washington Boulevard that goes downtown. If you killed the tail of the 4, then you would force everyone to walk to Rainier Avenue or make a transfer to get downtown.

    3. Just a post-script: This service routing change I described is exactly what Metro proposes in its Long-Range Plan for 2025. I was just perusing the plan and found it in there!

  3. Metro should just end route 14 should just end at Mt. Baker Transit Center and not bother with the tail at all. The furthest the tail ever gets from Mt. Baker Link Station is about half a mile, which is a short enough distance that it would be faster to just walk to Link than to wait for it. The walking route not only avoids the wait for the extra bus, but also bypasses Mt. Baker Transit Center completely, and uses the ped bridge to get across Ranier, bypassing the stoplights. Furthermore, the tail of the 14 is no great bastion of density that warrants special service – it’s just a small number of single-family homes, and nothing more.

    The only reason the tail exists was so Metro could claim that everyone who had front-door service before Link opened has front-door service after Link opened, but it’s front-door service that is all be useless because just walking to the train is faster.

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