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Northgate Link is about four years away from opening. The light rail extension will have a major impact on transit in the region, especially in Northeast Seattle. By then the Roosevelt HCT will also be operating. Here is a proposal for a bus restructure to take advantage of both projects.

Design Goals

I’ve tried to design a system that enables fast, frequent service to the UW and Link stations. As always, a balance is made between the desire for coverage (minimal walking) versus speed and frequency. I’ve focused my efforts on the clusters of apartments that exist in the area, while still retaining a reasonable walking distance for everyone. As part of this restructure, I’ve tried to remove turns, which slow down buses. Effort has been made to consolidate routes and provide more of a grid, but given the geography of the area, it remains a challenge.

Specific Routes

I haven’t drawn every bus route (obviously) but have focused only on those north of the ship canal, east of I-5, and south of 145th NE. Many of the routes are unchanged (26, 347, 348 and 372). Here is a description of the rest, in numerical order:

Roosevelt HCT — I assume this ends at 65th NE.

41 — This bus starts in Lake City at the old location, and ends in Northgate. It has been moved from 125th to Northgate Way, following the old route of the 75. I believe this is the fastest way to get to Link from Lake City, although going to Roosevelt is close.

44 — This is the tentative routing for the RapidRide+ route that will replace the 44.

45 — This has been modified to provide an east-west connection in the area. The western part is the same, while the eastern part replaces the eastern part of the 62.

48 — Essentially the same, but moved to serve The Ave (University Way). This is a minor change, but it consolidates service on the Ave. Since there are far fewer buses running in the U-District, this provides a nice way to move people through the main commercial corridor in the area (and a block closer to Link).

61 — This is a new route from Lake City to the Roosevelt Link Station. It avoids the congestion close to the freeway by using 20th NE. I consider the route optional (discussed in more detail below). It would end at the Green Lake Park and Ride or tie into the 62.

62 — This is the western part of the old 62, and it remains unchanged. It would tie into the 61 or 65.

63 — Another bus route that I consider optional, this provides coverage along 5th NE and Banner Way NE.

65 — This connects Wedgewood to Roosevelt Link Station. The northern section remains the same, but instead of serving the UW, it travels on 65th towards Roosevelt. It would tie into the 62 or end at the Green Lake Park and Ride.

66 — This provides direct service between Wedgewood and the UW.

67 — This replaces the 67 and 73. I essentially straighten out the 67, and have it continue on the main corridor of the area: Roosevelt/Pinehurst/15th.

74 — This is a combination of the 74 and 78, designed primarily to provide coverage.

75 — The southern section of the 75 is unchanged, but at Lake City the bus would go straight on 125th, following the old route of the 41. This eliminates turns for both buses.

Options

I created layers containing a couple of the bus routes as well as a variation on 65. This should make it easier to see how the system would look without the bus routes (or variation) that I don’t consider essential.

61 — The 61 provides a fast connection between Lake City Way and the Roosevelt Link Station. With other service to Link from Lake City, this route is debatable. It is only when you look at the specifics that this starts to make sense. There is a cluster of apartments on Lake City Way, south of where the 372 splits off. For the people in those apartments, the 372 is a surprisingly long walk. For example, from 89th and Lake City Way, it is about a ten minute walk to a southbound stop. Theoretically the city could make crossing Lake City Way easier (and legal) at 89th, but it would still take about five minutes. For a lot of places to the south, it would be an extra five minute walk to a bus stop. Worse yet, the bus would not quickly connect to Link, but follow the existing route, which goes to the UW. This adds another five minutes of walking (to the station).

63 — The 63 plugs a similar hole. This would provide a one seat ride to various parts of the corridor (NE 5th and 85th NE to 55th and the Ave.). There are a couple clusters of apartments along the way; on Banner and on 5th NE. In both cases it is about a five minute walk to another bus. For folks on Banner, the walk would be to the new 45 and you can make a strong case for very frequent service on the 45. It also isn’t that far to simply walk to Link or the very frequent Roosevelt HCT.

65 Variation — If the 65 took a zigzag route from 35th over to 15th, it would add coverage. Unfortunately it would also slow down the bus, as it would require a couple extra turns (that lack turn signals). The people who would benefit the most from this change would be people who live close to this variation, and there aren’t many that do.

Bus Frequency

I don’t have access to sophisticated tools, so when it comes to estimating the new headways, everything here is a rough approximation. I start with the idea of simply trading service, then go from there. With that in mind, here are some areas where I think things would be approximately the same:

The 372, 347, 348 are unchanged, while the tail of the 75 and 41 just get swapped.

The 67 just gets moved a bit (straightened out), but travel time should be about the same. All those twists and turns add up.

The 65 is shortened, but not dramatically. The 66 replaces the 71 and the 61 replaces the 73. These are half hour buses.

The 45 and 62 can be thought as four pieces, all meeting at 65th and Roosevelt. Three of the four pieces remain unchanged in terms of frequency, while the southern tail of the old 45 (service from 65th and Roosevelt to the UW) goes away. This is a net savings (mentioned below).

The new 74 replaces the old 74 and the 78. That should yield enough for half hour service all day long on the new 74.

Replacing the 76, 77 and the old 63 with the new 63 should yield half hour service.

Thus the starting point — before service is shifted from truncated runs — is for every bus in the region to run every 15 minutes, with the exception of the 61, 66, 74 and 63 (which run every half hour).

Shifting the Service

There are significant savings that will occur as part of these changes. I focus on all day service, just because it is simpler.

As mentioned, the tail of the old 45 (from 65th and Roosevelt to the U-District) is gone with my proposal. This has 15 minute headways, or four trips per hour. I would put that service into the new 41 (from Lake City to Northgate via Northgate Way). It is roughly the same distance, so theoretically that would be 8 runs an hour. That is probably a stretch (and probably not required), but 6 trips an hour (or 10 minute frequency) seems quite likely. Since this is the fastest way to a Link station for folks in Lake City, I think it is worth it.

The 41 from Northgate to downtown is gone. That is a huge savings, as it is a 15 minute all day run from Lake City to downtown. The old run takes about as long as the new 45 will take. The new 45 is very important (as a major east-west connector) so I would give it an extra two runs each hour, for ten minute headways.

So that leaves a couple of the old 41 runs (if not more) to spread around to the half hour buses (63, 74 and 66) or bump up the frequency on other buses in the system. I think better service on the 61 is justified, and that wouldn’t cost much (bringing it up from 30 minutes to 15). The 74 would be my second choice, as extra service on The Ave is always welcome.

While it would be great to have extra service on a lot of the other runs in this region, I don’t see it as being essential. As long as you have 15 minute service on all the runs, and much better service on the key routes (the new 41 and 45) I think it is fine. I would put the extra service into bus routes in other parts of town. Of course if some of the half hour bus routes were eliminated, it could mean better than 15 minute service on several runs. For example, the 63 service could be shifted to the 67, yielding 10 minute all day frequency, making the change more palatable.

Items not Covered

To simplify things, I didn’t mention the 522. It is likely that the 522 would follow the new 41 routing to Northgate Link. I don’t think it makes sense to follow the 372 routing (for reasons mentioned) but I could see running towards the Roosevelt Station. Either way you have the possibility of some service savings (that could be put anywhere) if you timed it right. Otherwise, you simply add service along that corridor (which is not a bad thing, as Lake City has enough density to justify it).

I also didn’t mention the 145th station, nor the 522 BRT (which ends there). Surprisingly enough, I don’t see any major changes as a result. Some of the buses (the 65 and 67) simply get extended a few blocks to 145th.

The bigger change would occur with the NE 130th station, but I leave that topic for another day. It would be great to have a nice east-west bus route on 125th/130th before then, but I think it would be hard to justify. Such a bus route needs high frequency to work well (since transfers provide a big part of the added value) but that costs a bunch. I just don’t see adding a route that goes from Bitter Lake to Lake City until that station is built.

14 Replies to “North Seattle Bus Routes After Northgate Link”

  1. Ross,

    I did look at 522 and what I heard from an old time friend is that before 522 existed there was only a half hourly 307 that went via Northgate and back to Lake City.

    I do have a few comments.

    45-Curious as to why disconnect Medical Center from the routing? I want to see which portion is most used.

    New 63-I see that as duplicating the Roosevelt HCT routing minus the Stevens Way diversion.

    67- the route you show in Maps shows it on 12th and not 15th. I don’t think that would fly leaving 15th without service.

    74-I am not sure the point of eliminating the tail end of this route and having it go via Stevens Way unless the point would be in this case to get people to UW.

    76 and 77 should be axed from dowtown, 76 already follows 71 and 77 follows 73 closely with going further up north.

    Did you consider truncation of 355 and having 316 go into 346?

    I would also consider 304 and 308 for truncation candidates due to congestion heading into downtown.

    1. Good points. I’ll go through them one by one:

      45: I wanted to make an east-west line to provide as much of a grid as possible. It means that folks from Greenwood will have to transfer to get to the UW, but their transfer options will be outstanding. They can use Link at 65th, take the very frequent Roosevelt HCT, or transfer to the 63 or 67 (if that bus exists). All the buses are on the same street, so a rider would probably have a very short wait, even in the middle of the day. It is a four minute train ride from Roosevelt to the UW (Husky) station, making it a reasonable alternative to get to UW Medical Center (even with the transfer penalty).

      Other than the 48, none of the buses are shown going on Pacific Street. They all go through campus instead. I don’t see that as being a big loss, and it certainly wouldn’t take much to change things. I didn’t try and get into the fine details here — which buses would tie into which other buses — because that gets very technical.

      The new 63 isn’t really a duplicate of the Roosevelt HCT as much as an extension. It is highly unlikely (at this point) that Roosevelt HCT will go all the way to Northgate. That is why I drew it as ending at 65th. The new 63, therefore, serves areas to the north of it (Weedin and 5th).

      Yes, the 67 runs on Roosevelt. Roosevelt is the commercial and residential core of Maple Leaf. There is hardly anything on 15th between Ravenna and 117th (the area that would no longer have service). Specifically there are:

      1) Apartments close to 65th. They would be covered via other buses (or a walk to Link).
      2) Area around Lake City Way. This would be covered via the new 61 or the variation of the 65. In both cases there would be some walking, but not a lot, and there aren’t huge numbers of people who live in the area.
      3) Apartments on 115th. At this point it is a short walk over to Pinehurst Way. They would benefit from the extra service (more buses running on that same corridor). For example, a rider might be headed to Link, but just miss the 347. Rather than wait 15 minutes for the next 348, she would just take the next 67, and get to the Roosevelt Station much sooner.

      That’s it for apartments, as well as the areas that are zoned for apartments. Thus going on Roosevelt doesn’t leave much of a gap. The 73 has very low ridership now, and I would bet very little of that is in this section. The main reason the 73 continues to go on 15th is because it is faster, and the main reason it is faster is because there aren’t that many people along that corridor. Since Link will replace the long distance runs, it makes a lot more sense to serve the main corridors, and connect the various neighborhoods (Maple Leaf, Roosevelt, Pinehurst) together with frequent transit, instead of watered down bus service that no one uses.

      74– The 74 has been changed dramatically, it is best to think of it as a new route — a hybrid between the old 74 (serving 50th and 55th) and the 78 (serving Laurelhurst). Both buses are very infrequent, coverage runs (with low ridership). By combining the two, you get enough ridership to justify the service, and hopefully increase it to 15 minutes. There would still be plenty of service to Sand Point (headed to Roosevelt Station or the UW).

      76 and 77 should be axed from downtown …

      Almost everything is axed from downtown. There is not a single bus here that goes on the freeway. You have the Roosevelt BRT going downtown, and most likely the 49. I simply forgot about the 49, and I’ll try and add that to the map (unchanged from its current routing).

      The 76 and 77 just gets axed. I didn’t specifically mention that, but implied as much in the “bus frequency” section. I should have been more clear.

      I forgot that the 355 and 316 serve this area, as they spend most of their time west of I-5 (or on it) . I would assume both would be truncated before downtown. They could be axed as well, with additional service put into other buses. For the 355, the alternative is the 45. That would eliminate the express nature of the run, but since the bus only runs during rush hour, I don’t know how much faster it is to use the freeway. For a lot of riders — even those headed to the UW — it might be faster to just hop on a 45 and transfer. Likewise, as you said, the 316 riders could just use the 346 (to Northgate).

      The 304 and 308 would likely be truncated. Those buses run so rarely that I’m not worried about it. I am more focused on all day service, not exactly how to truncate the express runs. They definitely should be truncated, but covering that subject gets extremely complicated, as the number of runs is greatly increased.

      1. Given the paucity of destinations along both 85th and 65th (yes, they exist, but), it seems to me a diagonal grid – with the 62 connecting NE 65th and Fremont, and the 45 connecting NW 85th and the U-District – might make more sense. Though, yes, that’d mean more duplication between Roosevelt and UW Station.

    2. The 307 was like a 41+522: downtown, I-5, Northgate, Lake City, Bothell, later Woodinville. It ran hourly. It alternated with the 305 which went on Eastlake – Roosevelt – Northgate – Richmond Beach. There were a few north Seattle shuttles from Northgate, the 317 (Meridian) and 377 (15th Ave NE). Some shuttles were timed with the 305, others with the 307. Pity those that were timed with the 305 because it was slower. I don’t know if there was a Greenwood shuttle (precursor to the 345); if there was I never noticed it. The transfer point was in front of Macy’s in the mall parking lot. Later it was moved further out in the parking lot, and then in the 90s Northgate Transit Center was built. The creation of the 522 led to creation of the 41 and the 345/346/347/348 shuttles.

      The 317 was extended to downtown peak hours. The 377 had a peak counterpart, the 477, which was extended to downtown in the south and Lynnwood in the north. There was also a 16 express that got off the freeway at Ravenna Blvd. In the early morning the 16 local was extended to 145th because the 371 hadn’t started yet. (Something similar happened in the south end, when the 42 (MLK, then Empire Way) was in the early morning extended to Skyway because the 142 (MLK, Renton) didn’t run that early.)

  2. Thanks for putting this together. You made an interesting observation earlier that the far north (Roosevelt, 15th, and LCW) converge at Roosevelt Station and we should leverage that. I’ll start with some principles I’m thinking about for this area and then get on to your routes.

    Principle 1: The greater U-District to 65th should be considered a single unit: most north-south routes that touch it should go all the way through it. Metro has started positioning downtown routes this way, going all the way through between Pioneer Square and SLU. E.g., the D extension, the 26/28/131/132 interline, and the C extension after the viaduct. The U-District is Seattle’s second downtown and will become more so, and 65th is where the urban village tapers off.

    Principle 2: Lake City and the U-District should be reconnected, or at least Lake City to 65th. The 372 going through U-Village is not an adequate substitute, even though it’s valuable in itself.

    Principle 3: North Seattle would benefit from an X in the grid. The 45 forms the northwest-southeast axis. A Lake City-65th route could form the northeast-south west part, although ideally it should also get closer to the U-District and Ballard. The quintissential example of a time-consuming north Seattle trip is Lake City to Ballard, and second is Lake City to Broadview. The network should somehow help these.

    On to your routes.

    61 (LC-Roosevelt) This is the most important route to me because it fills a hole in the network. I’d prefer it continue south to the U-District. Since the Ave would be backtracking, it could go along the current 45 (Roosevelt-Pacific). That might seem like overservice with Roosevelt RR and the Pinehurst north-south route, but I think the U-District should be saturated and overservice is better than underservice. However, connecting the 61 to the 62 is also intriguing. I’m not so sure about 20th: that puts it five blocks away from the 372 and doesn’t serve the hole west of it. I’ll take your word on congestion since I don’t know the area well.

    67 (Roosevelt-Pinehurst-15th) This is the second most important, as the corridor is currently fragmented. If Roosevelt RR terminates at 65th and this route terminates at campus, that would satisfy my principle 1. (Arguably it should continue to the hospital and UW Station though. Not that serving both U-District Station and UW Station is necessary, but the hospital is kind of important.) I still like Metro’s idea of a 73+348 route (15th-185th), but the most important thing is the general north-south corridor, not exactly which street.

    65 (upper 35th) and 66 (lower 35th). This area waited a long time for full-time frequent service all along 35th. Is it wise to split it up? I’m also worried about the plan to truncate the 7 at Mt Baker and turn the 48 into a 23rd-Rainier route: that will similarly sever Rainier Valley in half, breaking up people’s trips and the community. But I know little about 35th so I’m not sure where its residents want to go.

    63 (5th Ave NE). This is not important. Earlier I said it was but that’s because I thought the 67 still went there. Last week i rode the 41 down 5th (as it goes southbound in the afternoon) and discovered the 67 isn’t there anymore: it’s all on Roosevelt. Roosevelt and 5th were alternatives, and the argument for Roosevelt is it’s denser and at the center of the population. The argument for 5th is that it has little traffic so a bus can go fast, not that it needs coverage.

    75. I’d still like it to go west on 130th. We transit fans argued long and hard for it, and Metro finally put it in its LRP. It solves the second problem in principle 3: getting from northeast Seattle to northwest Seattle. That’s valuable even without 130th Station.

    522. This route will be deleted when Lynnwood Link opens, two years after North Link. The BRT will be running before either of those. If the 522 exists in the gap between the BRT opening and 145th Station, it may use the new 145th street and hop on the freeway there. ST is withdrawing from Lake City so it’s only a matter of time, and a Roosevelt option sounds unlikely, What, transfer from Bothell to Link at Roosevelt? That’s arguably too long a detour, for a route that is primarily about getting suburbanites to downtown. It’s up to Metro to fill the hole south of 145th. That’s part of the reason why Metro has been strengthening the 372.

    74. I would stop using the number 74 because it’s too confusing: the 74 is a peak express. If you mean 55th, the number 30 is available.

    1. Principle 1 — Yes, I agree. I think that is why it is likely that Roosevelt HCT will end at 65th.

      Principle 2 — I disagree, but it is just a matter of opinion. Connecting Lake City to the UW with a direct bus? Certainly. But U-District? Not essential in my book. There are other options, such as taking Link, or the Roosevelt HCT, or one of the other buses.

      Principle 3 — Maybe, hard to say. Lake City to Ballard is a major pain, and while there are several options, none of them are great, until we build the NE 130th station, and a north end, east-west connection makes more sense. The options include:

      1) Bus to Northgate, then the 40.
      2) Bus to Northgate, then Link to the U-District, then the new 44.
      3) Bus to 65th, then Roosevelt HCT, then the new 44.
      4) One of the Lake City to Roosevelt buses (61 or 65) gets through routed to the 62. So take that, then the 44.

      A more direct route down Roosevelt or 15th would be faster in that last case, so I get your point.

      61 — Yeah, there is a theme here (how much service between Roosevelt and the U-District is too much) that keeps coming up. I’ll deal with that at the end (it was the focus of my comment to William).

      You are right, connecting either of the Lake City buses (the 65 or the 61) to the 62 is something that excited me as well. Now you have a one seat ride from Lake City to Fremont, and a two seat ride to Ballard. The zig-zag through tangle town is probably time consuming, but not the end of the world.

      As far as 20th goes, it isn’t ideal, but you really don’t lose that much in terms of apartments (although that could change). You do lose some businesses. There is no left turn allowed at 15th, which means that a bus has to turn on 20th, or stick it out on Roosevelt. From a traffic perspective, unfortunately, things are a mess there during rush hour both directions. In the evening, they give the left turn signal from Lake City Way to northbound 15th priority (to get people off of the freeway) which means that traffic backs up southbound. So basically, of the four combinations, the only one that is decent is northbound in the morning.

      Of course, you could just live with that. There are plenty of other buses that will be slow during rush hour, and folks will gravitate towards Link, even if it means a less direct trip. Running right on Lake City Way right onto Roosevelt is certainly an option. At that point, since the bus would be heading south on Roosevelt, it would likely just keep going, while the 65 would connect into the 62. You would also likely use the 65 variation to prevent a pretty big hole around 75th. That could work, but I think I would still prefer the current routing.

      67 — Yeah, I agree. This route was a big motivation for this project, as it is currently fragmented, and the addition of Roosevelt as a major transit center allows us to connect it all together (and stop making silly button hooks). As far as serving south campus/UW Medical Center/ Husky Stadium goes, I should have been more clear. I expect each one of those buses to be through routed to the buses to the east, or at worse, layover at Stevens Way and Rainier Vista. It is a walk to the hospital, but a short walk, with a nice pedestrian overpass right to the front door (https://goo.gl/maps/SQe3gaJqqm72). This is the way the old 373 used to run, before buses got pushed closer to UW Station.

      65 and 66 — Yeah, you can make a strong case for keeping this the way it is now, as it is more of a grid. That would likely save you some money. There are a few reasons for doing it the way I did it, which is similar to the way that David Lawson covered it. First, as mentioned with the 61, the connection to Link (and thus downtown) is not very good with the current 65. The bus goes much farther south, then winds its way through campus, then you walk a good ways up and over and then down, down, down to the station. My guess is you save ten minutes with the new bus, if you are in Wedgewood headed downtown. You also double up the more heavily populated parts of 65th. But one of the key reasons — a turning point in my mind — is coverage. You get most of the quality parts of the 71 coverage (specifically the apartments on 40th Ave NE) while still providing a one seat ride to the U-District. You could achieve the same sort of thing any number of ways, but at the end of the day, I think this would be the most popular. Some people north of NE 85th (on 35th) lose out, and no longer have a one seat ride to the UW. But not too many — the only apartment clusters are on 95th and 110th, and they are both pretty small. Assuming you want to deviate from the main arterials (65th and 35th) to get better coverage, I think this is the best way to do it.

      63 — Agreed. The 63 is not essential.

      75 — I agree, I think it would be great to have a bus that ran on NE 130th. The big question is whether we have the money. Things are already spread pretty thin here. We all want to send more buses to the U-District, instead of truncating them. We want very good headways on several of these routes. Fifteen minute frequency seems like a minimum, which all adds up. Other than the 65 and 66 split, I don’t see a lot of ways of saving money. If the 75 went towards Bitter Lake instead of Northgate, you are left with two options. One is to tell people to walk over to the 347 and 348, but that is brutal. Those buses aren’t that frequent, and that is a lot of extra walking. Furthermore, you are basically telling them that just when the worst part of their trip is being eliminated (Northgate to downtown) — just when they have a very fast option for the UW and Capitol Hill — they will have to walk an extra half mile to ride a slower bus to Northgate. I just don’t see that happening.

      You have to duplicate service in the area, and that is expensive. One option is shown here, on this new map (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ga4-Dhr_PUFLySR_wvZ3NtUhdyg&usp=sharing). You start by sending the old 75 to Bitter Lake, and then run a new 41 that is simply a truncation of the old 41. You would then call the Northgate Way bus from Lake City to Northgate the 42. So now you have two short buses both connecting Lake City to Northgate, just via different paths. They could be synchronized, each one leaving Northgate and Lake City every 15 minutes, for a combined headway between the two areas of every 7 1/2 minutes. That is still more expensive than what I suggested, but not horribly so, since I want to bump up the frequency from Northgate to Lake City anyway. That would be a huge crowd pleaser, for sure. Everyone retains their 15 minute service along both corridors, you get “don’t bother to check the schedule” headways for Lake City to Northgate, and you get 15 minute service from Bitter Lake to Lake City. That would be fantastic if we could afford it.

      522 — Probably correct. Just out of curiosity, is Seattle paying anything for the 522 BRT project, because it seems like we get nothing out of it? Right now a fair number of people (about 10%) ride it from Lake City north. Even more (about 25%) ride it from Lake City to downtown. Yet all that goes away, and instead we get nothing. As a Seattle resident, I want some compensation for Lake City.

      As far as the bus numbers go, once I publish, I can’t change it. I tried to follow the basic pattern (thus the 71) without regards for whether it was a commute bus, went on the freeway, or any of that. In other words, when I look at Oran’s great map (https://seattletransitmap.com/app/) and see the grid pattern, it says 74. For the most part the numbers were fairly arbitrary — sorry if it got confusing.

      Finally, back to the subject of service from Roosevelt to the UW. I think we are on the same page there. Overloading that section can certainly be justified. The only challenge remains paying for the needed service. Half hour bus runs are practically worthless, in my opinion. The 73 is fast, but not at all useful. Unless it is close to rush hour (and the bus runs more often) it just doesn’t work. I end up driving. So if the buses can all get 15 minute headways or better, then sure, absolutely, by all means send those buses to the UW. But if not — if we are stuck with too many half hour bus runs — then I would rather deal with the transfer at Roosevelt.

    2. Lake City – Ballard. #1 is the existing service, (75+40); it takes 45 minutes which is excessively long. #2 and #3 are bad because it’s a 3-seat ride. #4 (transferring at 45th & Wallingford) is feasable, although still a bit long unless the buses are speeded up.

      A three-seat ride with less than two miles in the middle is a bad network design. That’s one of the reasons I want to extend the 61 (LC-Roosevelt) to at least 43rd. Currently to get from Capitol Hill to 62-land I have to take Link to UW Station, then the 45/71/73 to 65th, then the 62. That’s the same kind of problem. In my case it’s a temporary gap because North Link isn’t ready yet, but we don’t want anything like that long-term. Lake City – Ballard is too short a distance and too much within one “borough” to be a 3-seat ride.

      Another thing is Link’s wide stop spacing. Roosevelt Station and U-District Station do not represent the whole area between Pacific Street and 65th. If you’re starting from Link or you’re riding Link at least two or three stations, then it’s OK to dump you off at Roosevelt Station or U-District Station and expect you to walk or take another bus from there. But if you’re just going one station, or making a short trip from 80th to 40th or 125th to 55th, then forcing a bus+Link+bus or bus+Link+long walk is too much.

      522. I believe the suburban counties are paying for all of ST Express, and East King is paying for 522 BRT. That’s probably why ST feels OK pulling out of Lake City. 522 BRT would not exist without East King: it would be like a stub to Judkins Park. However, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are in North King so there’s an argument for charging them. But it wasn’t in North King’s top priorities. North King’s priorities were Ballard, West Seattle, and DSTT2, and secondarily 130th Station, Graham Station, and Madison RR. North King needs every penny for those, so it wouldn’t agree to a deal in which 522 BRT cuts into them. It’s East King’s responsibility if it wants it. So I doubt North King is being charged.

      I’m not interested in half-hourly routes. Right now both Roosevelt and 15th have 15-minute service to 65th; the latter with the 71/73 overlap. 15-minute service could be extended northward by merely reassigning the 71’s hours to the 73. Half-hourly routes are for coverage in lower-density places.

      1. Oops, I forget to mention one of the more common, and arguably the best way to get from Lake City to Ballard: 372 to 45th NE, 44 to Ballard. Both buses are pretty fast and pretty frequent. Until the NE 130th station gets built, my guess is it would be the fastest way to get there. If a more direct bus was sent from Lake City to the U-District, it would be better, but only a bit better. I don’t know if you can afford to send so many buses to the U-District (and the east side of the UW).

        Of course, that assumes that Roosevelt BRT goes all the way to 65th. If they truncate the bus at 45th, then it is a different situation. If that happens, you need more buses headed south (from 65th to the UW). I would definitely send the new 61 south to the U-District (from Lake City). I would keep the current setup for the 45. That means the current setup for the 62 makes sense, although you could connect the southern end to the new 65. That picks up the most popular part of 65th. That combination (Fremont/Wallingford to Wedgewood/Lake City) seems a lot stronger than the old one (Fremont/Wallingford to Sand Point) which would make it easy to justify the extra service. That then leaves the eastern end of the old 62 (65th east of 35th) needing service. You can then run a less frequent coverage run from Sand Point to Green Lake Park and Ride. Since that would be a coverage run, it could conceivably make the same sort of diversion north that the 71 does (although not as far north).

        That, in a nut shell, is why the Roosevelt BRT doesn’t have a great northern terminus. Extending service up to 65th makes a lot of sense, except that 65th and Roosevelt only has a station. It isn’t the destination that the UW is. Meanwhile, there is no logical extension. You have lots of buses all converging there, but nothing sounds great as the next step. Northgate would be the logical choice, but with Link there, it just isn’t worth it (the most popular connection — Northgate to the UW — is done via the train). Lake City also makes sense, but that is a fair distance, and unless you could make it fast (i. e. eliminate the traffic concerns) it will be faster to get to Northgate if you are trying to get to Link (and in turn, south to Capitol Hill or downtown). You basically have a lot of decent bus routes converging onto Roosevelt, but none of them are outstanding, begging to be converted to HCT. It may be better to just truncate at 45th, and send all those routes to the UW (a logical north-end hub) instead of trying to have the HCT do all the heavy lifting.

    3. Tangletown will be straightened out in the 2025 plan. Meridian – 55th – Latona – 65th. I think Metro postponed it just to avoid one more controversy that might have sunk the U-Link restructure. But now that that has succeeded, and it’s disclosed in the LRP, and Roosevelt Station will be a major carrot, I think Metro will push harder on it for North Link.

      1. >> Meridian – 55th – Latona – 65th

        That is certainly an improvement, I like it. Once at 65th, it would just turn east, go by the Roosevelt Station and continue to Lake City.

        Meanwhile, the 26, which is more of a coverage run, could replace the coverage in Tangletown. The 26 just continues on around Woodlawn Avenue, around the east of the lake. It could even do a do-see-do, and use 55th to retain the southern end of its route, like so: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wq5RMVl4XlBb_IpCKX90__zoTWU&usp=sharing
        That makes for a goofy 26, but the 26 is goofy by nature. It is a coverage run, and no one who takes it expects to get anywhere fast. About the only thing I don’t like about it, is that it doesn’t get too close to Roosevelt Station, but that is true of the old routing (no easy way to keep it west of the freeway and close to Link).

  3. @William — I thought about that a lot before I published this, and I’m still torn. There are some aspects of this plan (like running on Roosevelt through Maple Leaf) that I feel strongly about. But I am ambivalent about other issues, like this one (or the new 63). I almost came up with a variation as a layer on the map, but I figured that would simply confuse the matter even more. Besides, the 45 exists, and it is very easy to imagine on the map.

    There are really two reasons to keep the current routing. The first is fairly weak, as it turns out, but worth mentioning. A grid is good, and this route is the most grid like of any route. The big advantage of a grid is not for the one seat rides, but the two and three seat rides. Since we are talking about the east side of the 45, it is all about the connections to the west side — for sake of argument, Greenwood. How much easier will it be to get to Greenwood with this, versus the existing 45? As it turns out, not much easier. For example, Wedgwood to Greenwood seems like a perfect example. A rider goes south a little bit, then transfers west. But with the 65 as designed, the only change is where you would transfer. The same is true for Lake City. To the south, at U-Village or Children’s, it is a little different, but just about as good. A rider would head west on 45th, then head north. About the only big change is for parts of Sand Point Way dependent on the 75. They will have a three seat ride, or transfer at the ends of the 75 (via the UW or Northgate). That is definitely slower, but there are very few people in those places, and they can manage. In short, it already isn’t that much of a grid, so keeping the grid for only one bus route really isn’t a strong argument for this alignment.

    The stronger argument is the one you mentioned. Basically you simply have too much service between Roosevelt and the UW. A big reason is because of the Roosevelt HCT. It makes sense to leverage that project, and try to save some money by not duplicating service. If the Roosevelt HCT ended at the UW, then keeping the current 45 would be essential (while the new 67 would run on Roosevelt all the way to 45th). But with the Roosevelt HCT running often between Roosevelt and the UW, it is costly to do the same with other buses. If we did keep the 45, then I would not add the new 63, since it becomes even less necessary. To save more money, the new 67 could be truncated at Roosevelt HCT. That seems like way more of a forced transfer (since the bus has been traveling along that corridor the whole time) but that is an option that I could live with.

    While I am torn, the key issue is headways and efficient bus routes. What I don’t want to see is what we have now. I don’t want to see half hour buses running on a grid, while more frequent buses curve around unnecessarily. Some of the headway math I sketched out was dependent on sending the 45 east. But as long as the 63 isn’t added, I think it still works. Every bus is fifteen minutes or better. It would mean more of a focus on this end of town (which may not be justified) but it is definitely possible.

  4. This is interesting stuff to chew on, Ross. I appreciate your doing it.

    I’ve gotten out of the network-making game since Metro published the LRP. I think the RapidRide and frequent part of the LRP network is excellent, and I’m more interested in helping Metro get that network implemented than in competing with it. I originally published the Frequent Network Plan because I thought Metro was lacking any vision beyond “how do we prevent awful cuts next month,” and that’s not true anymore.

    But I’m glad someone else is thinking through new ideas this carefully.

    1. Thanks. Your work has been the inspiration for these posts. I agree, the LRP is excellent, but I don’t really feel like I’m competing with it. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember them saying that the map, for example, should not be taken as a formal proposal, only as a set of ideas, some of which will likely be adopted, some of which will be altered a bit, and others rejected or replaced with something significantly different. I have no idea if any of my ideas could possibly be considered, but I figure it is worth giving it a shot. Plus, it is fun to play around with this :)

  5. 522 – I think it is a near certainty that the 522 routing through Lake City will disappear into 522 BRT. There is an outside chance that the old 522 will turn into something like the 312, becoming a commuter bus and using the express lanes. Maybe.

    I love the idea of a BRT-esque route on Lake City Way to Roosevelt, which i think is what your 61 does.

    I know that you are concentrating on NE Seattle, but are there outflow lines where buses leave NE Seattle to NW Seattle, and conversely entry points into NE Seattle?

    Personally, I think that the 45 is going to do a lot of heavy lifting. More than likely the average NW Seattle-ite living north of 85th is going to hit the car and try to park at the parking garage near the Northgate Station, swamping the roads (and the garage). Popularity management is going to be key here.

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