We’ve devoted considerable coverage to Metro Connects, the long-range plan that Metro first published in 2016 and the King County Council adopted in January. We’ve focused mainly on the massively expanded frequent network Metro envisions, with 26 RapidRide lines and frequent service slated to serve most King County residents. But the plan’s vision goes well beyond adding more frequency and red buses to the busiest parts of the network. Separately, Metro also hopes to expand service to lots of places (and people) that don’t have it today. That includes places that lost service in Metro’s multiple rounds of cuts, and also many places that have never seen a Metro bus.
We talk a lot about the frequency versus coverage tradeoff that’s inherent in designing transit networks. Maximize frequency (and therefore transfer feasibility) for the most riders, and you inevitably leave riders in less dense areas—including youth, seniors, and riders with disabilities—without needed service. But if you run buses to everywhere, there likely aren’t enough resources to provide enough frequency to make transfers easy. Without spontaneously usable transfers, transit for everyone is much less useful. Metro clearly hopes that it can marshal sufficient resources over the next two decades to avoid this tradeoff altogether, a dream which many transit advocates share. But until the past couple of years, when the region’s newfound wealth has enabled service expansions, that seemed like a fever mirage, not a plausible solution.
In 2013, I proposed a network that cut coverage service heavily to improve frequency and transfers for most riders. Many of Metro’s restructures have done the same thing. That choice of priorities is correct in a low-resource environment, but the result is unfortunate: coverage is less expansive than it was three decades ago, even as high-ridership routes have seen major improvements.
It’s nice to see Metro dream a bit more about expanding coverage. Land use changes and further development will be necessary to make most of Metro’s proposed routes work—but, for the most part, the new routes would be in places where municipalities are planning more development. We can hope that credible transit proposals from Metro will encourage developments that are transit- and walking-friendly, allowing for transportation options beyond cars.
Below the jump, a long list of areas that would see new coverage (either on conventional buses or alternative service) by 2040 under the Metro Connects plan. Again, this list is only new coverage — improvements to areas that already have service are not the subject of this post.
1st Av S: The industrial area along 1st Av S south of S Lander St, unserved since 2012’s restructuring of route 132, would gain service on two local routes connecting to Sodo Station and South Park.
South Lake Union/Capitol Hill: A new crosstown corridor would open, connecting Harrison St in SLU to E Roy St and E Aloha St in Capitol Hill. Two infrequent routes would combine to provide frequent service. This corridor would require major road work on Belmont Ave E, E Roy St, and E Aloha St to be feasible.
Montlake: Two new coverage routes. The first, a heavily modified route 43, would use Boyer Av E and Fuhrman Av E between 24th Av E and the University Bridge. The second, an extended route 47, would use Delmar Dr E and E Montlake Pl to connect to UW Station and SR 520 service.
Leschi: Route 27 would be extended to Mt. Baker Station via Lake Park Dr S.
Mt. Baker: The current vestigial “tail” of route 14 would be replaced by a modified route 50, which would provide service along all of Hunter Blvd S and 38 Av S, connecting to both Mt. Baker and Columbia City Stations.
Seward Park: Seward Park Av S between S Othello St and S Henderson St would regain service on a new local route connecting to Rainier Beach and Mt. Baker Stations.
S Graham St: A new frequent east/west route would take riders to the new Graham St Station.
South Park/Glendale: Two local routes would combine to provide frequent service along 8 Av S, currently unserved.
Seaview: A new local route would connect this neighborhood, now poorly served by a few trips on the indirect route 37, to Alaska Junction Station and Morgan Junction.
Genesee Hill: Current peak-only service would be upgraded to all-day.
North Admiral: The southeast portion of the neighborhood, unserved since route 51’s cancellation, would regain service on a frequent route serving Avalon Station and Westwood Village.
Alki: Alki Av SW/Harbor Dr SW would be served by a frequent all-day route connecting to Youngstown Station.
Wedgwood/Roosevelt: NE 75 St would gain service, connecting to Roosevelt Station.
Bryant: NE 55 St would regain the all-day service it lost with the cancellation of route 30.
W Green Lake/Phinney Ridge: New frequent service would serve NW/N 65 St and Linden Av N (between N 65 and N 80 Sts), connecting to Ballard and Northgate Stations. This corridor would require major road work on NW/N 65 St between 3 Av NW and Linden Av N.
Sunset Hill: Frequent service would return to 32 Av NW, connecting to Ballard Station.
Broadview: All-day service would return to 3 Av NW (without the “jog” to 8 Av NW made by current peak trips on route 28X).
Haller Lake: Crosstown service would connect N 130 St with the NE 130 St Station, Bitter Lake, and Lake City.
South King County
NE Auburn/Lea Hill: Two new all-day north/south routes would flank existing route 164, one running on 112 Av SE and one on 132 Av SE. Both terminate at Green River College and serve Kent East Hill. These are relatively undeveloped areas today, but the City of Auburn expects further development.
West Valley: All-day service would be provided on West Valley Highway north of 15th St NW, connecting to Auburn Station.
Lakeland Hills: All-day service would be provided on Lakeland Hills Wy SE for the first time. Years ago, a few peak trips on route 151 served the area.
4th Av SW: Residents on this corridor still remember their all-day service on route 137, and then its short-lived peak replacement on route 134. Frequent service would return, connecting to Burien TC, Westwood Village, and several neighborhoods in West Seattle. Link connections would be available at Avalon Station.
Boulevard Park: New all-day service serving 8 Av S would connect to all-day express bus service at S 128th St Freeway Station, to Burien TC, and to Link at Sodo Station.
Gregory Heights: All-day regular bus service would return in place of alternative Route 631, connecting to Burien TC.
Des Moines Memorial: All-day service would return to the portion of Des Moines Memorial south of S 152 St, once served by route 132.
Meridian Heights/Wax Road: New all-day east-west service would be provided on SE 256 St and SE Wax Rd, connecting to Kent Station and Wilderness Village.
Woodmont: New all-day service would serve 16th Av S near Saltwater State Park and S 260 St, connecting to downtown Des Moines, Angle Lake, and Star Lake.
Steel Lake: Steel Lake and the residential area directly north of it would get all-day service along Military Rd S.
Lakeland North: New all-day service would be provided along Military Rd S to the west of Lake Doloff.
Lake Killarney/Lakeland South: These areas of SE Federal Way would get service for the first time, connecting to Link at S Federal Way and Federal Way.
Tudor Square: New all-day north-south service would serve the southern part of Kent East Hill via 104 and 108 Aves SE, connecting to Green River College and Renton.
Soos Creek: New all-day service would serve 132 Ave SE, connecting to Lake Meridian, Green River College, and Renton.
South West Valley: New all-day service would serve 68 Av S and S 277 St, connecting to Kent and Federal Way. This area is currently devoted to agricultural use but is likely to be redeveloped for industrial or residential purposes.
West Maple Valley: New all-day north-south service would use Witte Rd SE and 216th Ave SE, and serve the west side of Lake Sawyer, connecting to Wilderness Village and Kent.
Renton Highlands: A new all-day north-south route would serve Edmonds Av NE and Windsor Wy NE, connecting to I-405 BRT at Kennydale and to S Renton P&R.
Lake Kathleen/Maplewood Heights: All-day service would serve a loop similar to the one currently served by peak-only route 111, and connect to Renton Highlands, South Renton P&R, and Rainier Beach Station. Separately, new all-day service would serve 156th Ave SE and connect to Fairwood.
Benson Hill: New all-day service would serve 116th Ave SE, connecting S Renton P&R, Lake Meridian, and Green River College.
Lake Youngs: New all-day service would serve 140th Ave SE and SE Lake Youngs Wy, connecting to Renton Highlands, Fairwood, Lake Meridian, and Green River College.
Riverton/Riverton Heights: New all-day north-south service would connect 24 Av S with TIB Station, South Park, and Sodo Station.
McMicken Heights: Local service would be expanded considerably, going from today’s route 156 to four separate all-day routes mostly connecting to Airport Station. Coverage would be newly provided to S 170 St, both northern and southern segments of 42 Av S, and the portion of Military Rd south of S 176 St.
Angle Lake: New all-day service would be provided to the south and east sides of Angle Lake via Military Rd, connecting to Link at Angle Lake Station.
S 200 St: Three local routes serving Normandy Park and Des Moines would be reoriented to connect with Link at Angle Lake Station, providing new service to S 200 St in the process.
Foster/Thorndyke: New all-day north-south service along 42 Av S would connect to Link at TIB Station.
Tukwila South: New all-day service connecting to Tukwila Station and Kent would be provided to this area south of S 180 St, currently in the early stages of major greenfield residential and commercial development.
Bridle Trails: All-day service would be restored to 140th Ave NE for the first time since route 220 was discontinued, connecting to Link at 132nd Ave NE, and to Rose Hill and Totem Lake.
Kenilworth: A revised route 249 would use 180th Ave NE to connect NE 24th St with W Lake Sammamish Pkwy. Separately, a new local route would also serve the area of Ardmore Park and 172nd Ave NE, connecting to Link at Overlake Village.
Vasa Park: New frequent service connecting Issaquah, Bellevue College, and Eastgate would use SE 34th St, which currently has no service.
Cougar Hills/Lakemont: New all-day service would serve a wide swath of currently unserved territory in these neighborhoods, via 164th Av SE and Village Park Dr SE. Link connections would be available at Eastgate and Issaquah.
Tolt Hill: All-day service would connect Tolt Hill Rd with Redmond and Carnation.
Mountain Park: New all-day service would connect to Issaquah Station and downtown Issaquah.
Talus: All-day service would connect Talus to Issaquah Station.
Providence Point: All-day service would be restored to Providence Point, connecting to Issaquah Station.
Cougar Mountain: Express service would connect to Issaquah Station and Renton .
Tiger Mountain: Express service would connect to downtown Issaquah, Issaquah Station, and Maple Valley.
Juanita/Holmes Point: Would regain all-day service along Juanita Dr NE, unserved since Route 935’s cancellation.
Rose Hill: A RapidRide route and an all-day local route would serve 132nd Ave NE between Old Redmond Road and NE 80th St.
North Mercer Island: All-day loop-style service to North Mercer Wy and SE 40th St, similar to deleted routes 203 and 213 and serving Mercer Island Station, would be restored.
East Seattle/Town Center: All-day loop service would connect West Mercer Way north of SE 40th St to Mercer Island Station and the town center.
South Mercer Island: Route 204 would be extended to serve SE 78th St.
Newport Hills: New all-day service would cover 116th Ave SE south of Newcastle Wy. The service would connect to downtown Newcastle, I-405 BRT (at Kennydale), The Landing, and downtown Renton.
East North Bend: Local service would extend east on SE North Bend Wy to 436th Ave SE, serving the Mt. Si trailhead.
English Hill: All-day service would serve Sunrise Elementary and the surrounding neighborhood.
Union Hill: All-day service would connect NE Union Hill Rd, downtown Redmond, and Sammamish.
Allen Lake: New all-day service would serve Inglewood Middle School and 244th Ave NE, connecting them to downtown Sammamish and Redmond.
Pine Lake/West Sammamish: A modified route 269 would serve a north/south corridor west of 228th Av, using 212th Av SE and 216th Av NE. It would connect to Redmond and Issaquah Highlands. (Existing route 269 service along 228th Av would be replaced by an all-day expansion of route 216.)
Klahanie/Beaver Lake: Two separate, new all-day routes would serve Klahanie, both connecting to Link at Issaquah Station. One would use SE Klahanie Blvd, connecting to downtown Sammammish and Issaquah Highlands. The other would use SE 32nd St, connecting to North Issaquah, and would serve Beaver Lake as well via SE Belvedere Wy.
North King County
Westhill/Shelton View: Would regain all-day service, connecting to 522 BRT, for the first time since the cancellation of short-lived route 334.
Hollyhills/North Creek: Would regain all-day local service along the route formerly followed by route 251.
North Kenmore: Would gain all-day service connecting to 522 BRT through several neighborhoods north of SR 522.
Simonds Rd: Would gain all-day service connecting to 522 BRT and 405 BRT (at Totem Lake).
Briarcrest: Would regain service not seen since the 2004 cancellation of route 314, connecting to NE 185 St and Northgate Stations.
Echo Lake: Would gain service along 5 Av NE between NE 185 St and NE 205 St.
Wine Country: Would gain all-day local service, connecting to downtown Woodinville and Redmond.