In September 2016, Route 106 was revised to run like the old Route 42 between Rainier Beach and Downtown. Some people like this new routing, but many people think it is redundant to Route 7 between Mt Baker and Downtown. During that time, Route 9 was cut to run only during peak hours. Many people depended on Route 9 to get from South Seattle to First Hill. I have also seen throughout comments sections on STB that some people want Route 106 to serve SLU by using Boren Ave.
I have made several proposals for a new Route 106 routing:
Between Mt Baker Station and Capitol Hill, Route 106 will run like Route 9 during weekdays only. On weekends, Route 106 will terminate at Mt Baker Station. One disadvantage of this plan is that it is duplicates Route 7 and the First Hill Streetcar.
South Lake Union
North of Mt Baker Station, Route 106 will run via Rainier Ave, Boren Ave, and Fairview Ave to South Lake Union.
Between Mt Baker and Downtown, Route 106 will run like Route 14 (without serving the tail). The main disadvantage of this plan is that Route 14 is a trolley route, and it would not make too much sense to run a full-time diesel route on streets with trolley wire.
Comment below which one of these proposals you like the most. Also feel free to add your own proposals in the comments section too!
6 Replies to “Route 106 Routing north of Mt Baker”
My favorite option was always to route it up Rainer (becoming Boren), then turning onto 12th, and staying on 12th until E John street, terminating at CHS. That created a new transit corridor on 12, which is called out in the LRP map, and makes new connections to CHS and Seattle U.
Layover space may be an issue, though the 60 has layover space on Broadway at Republican street, and the peak-only 9 has layover space on Aloha street adjacent to 10th, so maybe the 106 could be further extended on Broadway to make use of those.
I greatly favor the Boren option, because that would give us a new frequent-service corridor between SLU and a connection to Link in Rainier Valley.
Alternatively, if Boren is considered too traffic-clogged, it could run on 8th like the 63/64, or perhaps take 8th/9th all the way to the front door of Harborview.
After 2023 (when Judkins Park opens with the 23rd Avenue entrance), it could make more sense to put Route 106 on 23rd to Jackson than to leave it on Rainier. It’s not on the list of suggestions in the article, though.
Generally, we should be rethinking the but route structure better after 2023 when this station entrance opens anyway. I could see it being a more popular place to transfer than Mt Baker, simply because there will be no parallel bus routes to the rail line here. In fact, I wonder if it would become faster to transfer here to get Downtown from SE Seattle than using the Mt Baker Station because there will be three fewer rail stations to stop at.
I favor the Boren option. (1) It’s an unserved area that we have tried to get a route on for years. (2) It’s four-lane so better suited for the 106’s articulated buses. (3) The commercial/multifamily area will be a ridership draw similar to other parts of the 106. (4) There’s a good chance of latent demand between Renton/RB and Boren/SLU/Uptown that will turn into ridership. (5) Metro’s LRP already has a route along most of this corridor, it would just have to be extended from RB to Renton.Although Metro’s turns west on Denny rather than north on Fairview. Is north better than west?
The Mt Baker option seems unbalanced. (1) 31st Ave S is a two-lane street, small for an articulated bus. (2) The 14 itself is unbalanced because it has two different ridership markets: a large one on Jackson and a tiny one on 31st. They should arguably have different frequencies, but there’s no way to get a bus to 31st & Jackson except via one of those streets, so that suggests why the route is unified. But it does not suggest why adding a huge long tail to it would be a good idea, except to preserve coverage on 31st. But coverage is not an appropriate purpose for a potentially-major route like the 106, when nearby “urban corridors” exist. (3) I doubt there’s any demand from MLK to 31st, or much from MLK-31st-Jackson (sounds like a slow detour).
The Broadway option’s biggest stumbling block is “daytime”. Either it’s needed peak-only or it’s needed full-time. “Daytime” service gets into problems like the 47, where you want to use it evenings and weekends but it’s not running, why not? In the 14’s case it’s because of lack of money and its coverage nature. Neither of those apply to the proposed routing. Also, what is the motivation for this routing? To restore “9-like service”? That’s a worthwhile goal but it’s not clear it has to be connected to the 106. We know that the 9’s ridership is kind of lackluster. We don’t know what Boren/SLU’s ridership will be, and it’s another straight line (that also goes near the hospitals), so why not try it and find out its potential.
Al S makes a good point that we should think more about Judkins Park Station, and spend more time evaluating Metro’s plans for it. That would make a good article in itself. Judkins Park might become popular because it’s nonstop to Intl Dist, adn the train would be more frequent and much more pleasant than the current freeway stop. Routing the 106 to Judkins Park is an interesting idea, but I wonder about balance and demand. The 106 already serves several Link stations directly so it hardly needs another one or two. And if I were in the lower valley or Renton, I think I’d rather go to Boren and SLU (which has no other way connection) than 23rd and Judkins Park. One thing to watch might be trips from the lower valley to the Eastside; they wouldn’t want to cross the side platforms at Intl Dist and backtrack. Which parts of the lower valley will be accessible to Judkins Park Station? Is that enough? What about Beacon Hill? I wouldn’t worry much about Renton-ish because it has the 566 and soon BRT.
Another thing about the Boren option, in ST3 it would access both the SeaTac line and the Ballard line, giving people elsewhere on the route more options. The 23rd option would access the Ballrard line and the Eastside line (and northern line). Is one of these better than another?
Oops, SeaTac and Ballard are the same line. It gets confusing remembering how ST3 will change ST2. So the 23rd route would actually be the one that intersects three lines: SeaTac at RV, Othello, CC and Mt Baker; Eastside/Lynnwood at Judkins Park; and Everett/Lynnwood/Eastside at Capitol Hill.
That makes a tradeoff between the Boren and 23rd routes. Boren serves more job/multifamily destinations that are difficult to get to in the current network, but 23rd acceses more Link lines.
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