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Route 62 was introduced in March 2016. Many people like it, but there are two things about Route 62 that are constantly criticized. One is the eastern terminus during nights and weekends, the other is the articulated buses used on the route. Another criticism not directly related to Route 62 is that Route 71 duplicates Route 62 along NE 65th St.

Eastern Terminus

In an earlier post I suggested possibly having Route 62 use Route 71’s Wedgwood loop as an eastern terminus. However, people objected that because it broke the “crosstown grid”. I am not sure what they mean by that, but I think it means they want Route 62 to at least run to Sand Point Way. In this post I have came up with a few more solutions for a new Route 62 night/weekend eastern terminus.

One possibility is to loop around NE 65th, Radford, NE 64th, and Sand Point Way. At one point Route 30 used this loop, so I don’t understand why Metro couldn’t use it for Route 62.

Another possibility is to go south on Sand Point Way and then loop around Sand Point Way, NE 62nd St, 60th Ave NE, and NE 64th St.

Another possibility is to go south on Sand Point Way and 47th Ave NE to Children’s Hospital. However, I think it would be unfair to give the NE 65th corridor a one-seat ride to Children’s Hospital on weekends only, and having it run to Children’s Hospital during the full week will break the direct connection between NOAA and Roosevelt Station.

Another possibility is to go to Northgate via Sand Point Way, NE 95th St, Lake City Way, and Northgate Way. This extension would run all 7 days a week. However, this would create a ridiculously long route.

Routing between Fremont and Downtown

I don’t know what ridership is like on Westlake, but if it is lower than Dexter, maybe Route 40 and Route 62 could switch routings between Fremont and Downtown. Then Route 40 would run via Dexter, and Route 62 would run via Westlake. However, this might cause overcrowding on Route 40.

NE 65th Corridor

I really like having Route 62 along NE 65th St. However, Route 71 also runs along a large portion of this corridor, so I feel like NE 65th is a bit overserved. Though the one-seat ride to UW is nice, I would still prefer to have Route 62 run along this corridor rather than Route 71. I remember the original plan for Route 78 was to have it run all the way to View Ridge to replace the Route 71 tail. I wonder why they did not do this.

One possibility is to extend Route 78 to View Ridge like the original plan and delete Route 71 altogether.

Another possibility is to move Route 71 to the NE 75th St corridor and have Route 78 serve the old Route 25 loop in Laurelhurst. This would add new crosstown service along the NE 75th St corridor and restore lost service for Laurelhurst riders.


Comment below what you guys think of these ideas. Also, if you guys have your own ideas, feel free to put them down in the comments section of this post.

23 Replies to “Route 62 Restructure”

  1. One possibility is to loop around NE 65th, Radford, NE 64th, and Sand Point Way. At one point Route 30 used this loop, so I don’t understand why Metro couldn’t use it for Route 62.

    Good point. I agree, and think this would make the most sense. Ideally you would send the bus north towards 74th, even if you can’t enter Sand Point (when Sand Point is closed) but my guess is there is no easy way to turn around up there. That being the case, it is best to just truncate the bus at the most convenient location, and Radford seems like the best choice. The current routing just isn’t very good. It basically creates two different bus routes, but neither is available all day. I wouldn’t be surprised though, if Metro is basically just experimenting. If they pick up huge numbers with the nighttime tail (that loops around Bryant) then they may keep it and maybe even make it the default. If not, then they will likely truncate as you suggest just to save some money.

    . I remember the original plan for Route 78 was to have it run all the way to View Ridge to replace the Route 71 tail.

    Yeah, that sounds much better than what we have now. My guess is they kept the 71 not for its tail, but for the one seat ride from 65th to the U-District. That seems excessive. A bus like the 372 gets you to the Ave and Campus Parkway, you just have to loop around. A two seat ride (62 followed by a number of buses like the 45, 67, 73) can get you there as well.

    I think there will be another major restructure after Link gets to Northgate (and thus Roosevelt and the U-District). Sending buses to the 65th station will make a lot of sense. For example, a bus headed south on 35th (from Lake City) could turn on 65th and head to the station. That would be a fast way for someone in Wedgewood (or even Lake City) to get downtown. That leaves the rest of the 35th (south of 65th) which I would serve with a bus that replaces the 71. Here is a map:

    There are a lot of other possibilities, of course. But I do think serving the View Ridge Area with a north-south bus (that connects it to the UW as well as Children’s ) makes a lot more sense than the current setup. That would be good whether that bus looks like the one I drew, or the proposed 78 extension you mentioned.

    1. Yeah, that sounds much better than what we have now. My guess is they kept the 71 not for its tail, but for the one seat ride from 65th to the U-District. That seems excessive. A bus like the 372 gets you to the Ave and Campus Parkway, you just have to loop around. A two seat ride (62 followed by a number of buses like the 45, 67, 73) can get you there as well.

      I live in the eastern half of Ravenna and take the bus to/from the U-District at least once a week Here are my observations:

      Route 71: It’s a direct single-seat ride to the U-District, so it’s the fastest way to get there once you get on the bus, but it only runs once every 30 minutes, service shutsdown at about 10pm, and it doesn’t run on Sundays.

      Route 62 + Route 45/57/73: Each of these routes runs at least every 15 minutes for most of the week, so in theory, heading to the bust stop at a random for a two seat ride should almost always be faster than waiting for a 71. A surprising amount of the time, each of the N/S buses arrive at NE 65th St within a few minutes of each other, and so if you miss one connecing with route, you probably also miss connecting with each of the other routes, which means waiting another 15 minutes, at which point a 71 may have already shown up. (This is just my subjective experience- it would be interesting if someone did some data mining/analysis to see how often this actually occurs)

      Route 65/372 through campus: Each of these routes also runs at least twice as often as the 71, and runs nights and on Sundays. If you’re riding them during nights or weekends, they can be an OK way to get to the south end of the U-District, but if you’re riding them during the day, the crawl through the campus loop while thousands of students are changing classes can be agonizingly slow. There’s also several stops where you have large numbers of people boarding/deboarding and it would help speed things if

      1. (In the short run) Drivers encouraged people to exit at the rear instead of the front, so that people boarding the bus can start boarding as soon as the bus stops.

      2. (In the medium term) Metro only ran articulated buses on these routes. When the shorter buses are packed, too much time is wasted while people maneuver around each other to get to the doors.

      3) (In the longer run) Switch to buses with wider center aisles- either center-facing seats, or at least 2+1 seating. When the bus is standing-room only, the current narrow aisle makes moving around other riders to get to the exit slow and laborious.

      The 372 also only goes as far as Campus Parkway, so if you’re headed to the north end of the U-DIstrict, it’s either a long walk, or a transfer, though the 65 does continue north as the 67

      In practice, I usually heat to NE 65th and catch the either the 62, or the 71, whichever comes first, though if a 71 is behind a 62 by only a few minutes, I’ll wait for the 71. During nights and weekends, I’ll sometimes take a 65 or 372 if I’m headed to the south end of the U-District.

      1. YMMV, but on Saturday mornings the 372 + 62 + 45 transfer works well. I very rarely use the 71.

        For laughs, I have ridden the 71 a couple of times all the way to its terminus. After 65th/40th, it is a serpentine waste of time. I was usually the one keeping the bus driver company.

      2. I have a friend who lives right along the 71 tail, so I’ll take that if we can. If not, the 65 is no more time for me since the frequency boost cancels out the extra walking time.I remember someone saying that the 71 stole hours from the 45, which is unfortunate, since I have yet to see someone (outside of a particular county councilmember) who would consider the 71 “essential”.

  2. I just wish they’d extend the route past Sand Point Way & NE 55th on evenings and weekends, as having to wait for the 75 adds a lot more time to a trip for those of us who live near, or in, Magnuson Park. It’s just a bit too long of a walk back to my place near 74th St.

    Looping at 70th St makes the most sense to me, cutting over at 55th or so. The Radford option could work too.

  3. You can thank Rod Demkowski for the reason that the #71 is still operating because the original plan by Metro was to cancel it but Demkowski and his family ride the # 71 so he demanded that the route be retained. Another example of a politician only concerned about serving his own interest.

    1. While I don’t name names, I do believe there was a small but loud group that rides along the 71 tail that didn’t want to walk to a different bus or have to transfer buses. Of course, when I lived in the area, I had the choice of peak only buses or the 65, usually easier for me to time.

    2. There were two or three factors. The strongest one was restoring 15-minute service on 15th up to 65th. The second was preserving a one-seat ride from 65th to the U-District. Third was preserving service north of 65th which hardly anybody used. So Dembrowski was probably responding to both his family’s convenience and these other factors. I don’t know which part of the route Dembrowski lives on. But it did have the good effect of preserving service on 15th which is the densest part of the route. More creative thinking could have done something better, such as putting the hours into the 73 (best), or terminating at 65th & 35th or 40th or continuing from there up 35th to Wedgwood and Lake City.

  4. I never liked that Route 62 and 71 had excessive duplication on NE 65th St. I would move Route 71 to NE 55th between U Dist and 40th Ave NE (basically replacing most service on the former Route 30), then north on 40th Ave NE to NE 65th St, then regular route to the Wedgwood terminal at NE 85th St.

  5. I was on the sounding board when route 62 got created, and it looked great at the time. Since then, my enthusiasm has dampened when Metro abruptly changed the terminus so that the connection to Magnesun Park effectively exists in only one direction. The Green Lake to downtown section is also horrendously slow, and the giant diesel-belching buses through NE Seattle with 5 people on board is less than ideal.

    All in all, having frequent east/west service on 65th St. was a good idea, and a one-seat ride between Fremont and central Wallingford is something that should have happened ages ago. I’m just not sure that coupling a crosstown NE Seattle route with the busy Fremont->downtown corridor was the way to do it.

    Hopefully, the opening of Roosevelt Station will result in the 62 becoming much more heavily used. But, if the routing east of 35th St. can’t get fixed (e.g. it will only connect people to the Link Station in one direction), then it may not get all that heavily used. 25th Ave. to Green Lake is close enough to Roosevelt Station for walking to be time-competitive with waiting for a bus that comes every 15 minutes. That leaves only a narrow section of 65th between 25th and 35th where riding route 62 to Link will actually make much sense. Again, if they can find a way to keep the bus on 65th St. both eastbound and westbound, that would help a lot.

    1. Is Metro running 60′ buses on the 62 because they feel there could be spiky demand, or is it that they bought more 60′ vs 40′ buses than they should have? I have only rarely seen the 62 SRO, though I mostly ride it off-peak.

    2. The 62 was getting crushloaded in the peak direction between Fremont and downtown. That led to all articulated buses and extra short runs from Greenlake. The articulateds run all day due to the overhead of taking a bus to the base to exchange it for another one.

      There’s no extra 60′ coaches; there is or at least was a shortage. The recovery and Prop 1 happened so suddenly after the recession that Metro didn’t have enough articulated buses and couldn’t order them fast enough so it had to be careful to allocate them to the biggest needs. After the 2014 cuts the 11 was assigned a single bus and got overcrowded and there was no articulated bus to spare. So in the U-Link restructure when Metro rerouted the 10, that was expected to put additional pressure on the 11 and people begged Metro to guarantee an articulated bus on it. With the 62 it’s hard to believe it ever gets crowded and I’ve never seen it such, but the reports are that the crowding was so severe it was leaving lots of people behind.

      1. Metro should at least consider moving the 3-door 60′ coaches to routes that can actually benefit from them, like the 5, 7, and 44 (when it’s not running trolleys). I’ve been on a 44 that’s got every seat filled with people standing at 10:30PM, but the 62 is never that busy.

      2. They could at least use smaller buses for the 62 on weekends. Even the Fremont->downtown section is almost never beyond the ability of a 40-foot bus to handle on weekends.

        Weekdays, I understand that switching out big buses and smaller bus in the middle of the day probably costs more than just running the big buses all day, since the overhead of the switch would involve lots of empty bus driving to/from the base.

  6. One thing the 62 could do right now at Green Lake is to stop on Woodlawn at the stop reserved for the 82 nightroute, instead of at the Ravenna stop around the corner, more often than not making it necessary for passengers, including wheelchair occupants and those using other mobility-assist devices, to enter and exit in the middle of the street. Since the 45 also stops there, it can often be a clusterfuck mess!

    1. The 26 should use that stop, rather than taking an around-the-block detour simply to serve a stop right across the street, instead.

      As to the 62, there is something to be said for being able to catch either 45 or the 62, whichever comes first, in one place. There are some trips where that may prove useful. There could also be operational issues with using the bus stop before the turn. It’s a sharp curve, and an articulated bus needs to swing left before it can make the right turn onto Ravenna, and if the bus is pulled all the way to the curb right before the intersection, it could make the “swing left” part difficult.

      1. It is technically the same spot–only ten steps or so between these two corner stops.
        I suspect that the 26 detour is done so that Metro can save that old 26 layover spot– if they stop using it, it would probably be used for on-street parking, which is in short supply in that area.

      2. @Elbar That is definitely a possibility, but it doesn’t seem like Metro put a deviation for Route 8’s Group Health loop after it was extended to South Seattle. Metro somehow managed to keep that layover spot even after it was unused. Also, Metro could have kept Route 30’s old layover spot to use for Route 62.

    2. Maybe Route 62 could just go straight on 65th instead of diverting to Ravenna? That would make a more direct routing, and it would avoid the sharp turn from Woodlawn to Ravenna.

      1. Running straight down 65th would make too much sense. KC Metro prefers stupid diversions that just add running time and length to routes.

      2. Just by my eyeball estimates, I would say that 65th has nearly as many businesses as Ravenna, but no E/W bus service until east of I-5. Ravenna already has the 45 running at the same frequency as the 62, so sending the 62 down 65th seems like a no-brainer.

        At the same time, let’s have the 26 go east on 65th as well, until it can make a left turn on Ravenna at the stop lights. That avoids one of two left-turns-from-hell that the 26 has to make (the other one being at 80th & 1st) without any signal assistance at all. I’ve been on a 26 that has been at the stop sign for close to five minutes waiting for a break in traffic.

      3. Ravenna over 65th adds hardly any time at all, probably less than minute, and it does serve the Green Lake business district.

        There are also rules in which Metro can’t run buses on streets that don’t have strong enough pavement to accommodate the pounding. Ravenna was just repaved and already designed for buses, since the 45 and former 48 have used that route forever. 65th St., west of I-5, however, has no buses, and I don’t know if the pavement is designed to handle them.

      4. I suggested that when this route was proposed–use arterial 65th instead of zigging and zagging on narrow residential streets, but Metro preferred to keep as much as the old 16 routing as possible.

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