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Unlike some of my other proposal ideas, this is not directly related to an opening of a new Link or RapidRide line. This is just a proposal to improve bus service in Magnolia.

Background

For a long time, Route 17 provided service on 32nd Ave NW. When the 17 was made peak-only in 2012, Route 61 was created to replace the 17 during off-peak periods. Route 61 was cut in 2014 without replacement, and now 32nd Ave NW only has peak service. Sunset Hill residents were upset about losing their off-peak bus service, but many people claimed that the bus was always empty, and they did not find the bus to serve any purpose.

The very original plan for Route 61 was to have it run all the way to Downtown via 34th Ave W to replace a portion of Route 24. The plan also included converting Route 33 into a loop. People were against the 33 loop plan, so Metro left Magnolia alone and truncated Route 61 in Downtown Ballard. I did not like the 33 loop plan, but I think the original 61 plan would be a nice way to make transit in Magnolia more efficient. That way, people living along the 34th Ave W corridor can have more efficient bus service to downtown, and Sunset Hill riders will get off-peak bus service.

Proposal

Put in service the Route 61 I mentioned above. This will provide a connection between Sunset Hill, Ballard, Interbay, Magnolia, and Downtown.

Route 24 will no longer run to West Magnolia. Instead, west of Government Way/34th Ave W, it will run to Discovery Park like Route 33.

Route 31 will be extended to replace Route 24 along Viewmont Way. It will also travel via Dravus instead of Emerson to provide a connection with RapidRide D Line.

Maps

Route 61 Map: http://bit.ly/2qDVcq2

28 Replies to “Magnolia Restructure (Route 61)?”

  1. Anything that fixes the 24’s crazy routing will be welcome. The first time I took it I swore we were in a time warp when we went by all of the E-W streets for a third time. Living in Wallingford, when we visit Discovery Park, I find taking the 44 to be faster than any kind of Magnolia bus service, so only use the 24/33 if we’re really tired and don’t feel like walking back to the locks.

    1. As a kid I used to ride the 24 at night. One of my friends got off the bus and then walked down the hill to catch it again. The bus driver didn’t like it, of course, but the rest of us thought it was funny. The problem in general is that western Magnolia has a lot of hills, and not many people. There is no easy way to provide folks there with what they want (a one seat ride to downtown) while maintaining decent coverage.

  2. I think the big problem with suggestions like this is convincing people that a one seat ride is not always better. You have to “get over the hump”, in my opinion. You have to have service frequent enough to make the transfer painless. We have that with Link. So much so that people are OK with making the transfer, even though in many cases the trip takes longer. People are used to waiting a long time for transit, and even when that changes, it takes a while before they see a transfer being advantageous.

    Unfortunately, most of Magnolia doesn’t have the potential ridership to justify the service to make this attractive. The 61 as you propose, will connect up several neighborhoods. But I doubt it would be frequent enough to get people to make a spontaneous trip. This means people have to time their trip. This is fine for a commute, but there are very few people commuting along this section (I’m sure there are few people in Magnolia that work in Ballard, but still not big numbers). From Sunset Hill, you want a bus that goes downtown as quickly as possible — there is no way you are staying on that bus. That is fine, but it means a transfer, which again (in the other direction) means trying to time your trip. Likewise, the folks on Viewmont who are used to their one seat ride to downtown won’t be happy with a two seat one.

    It is a very tough nut to crack, and personally I wouldn’t try and do anything too radical for a while (maybe if Magnolia upzones). For now, I would keep things more or less the same, except change the 31 and 32. I would run both of them to Magnolia, via Dravus. The 31 would be very similar to what it is now, except that it would use Dravus. The 32 would go towards Discovery Park and end there, at 36th and Government Way.

    This would greatly improve the transit situation in Magnolia. There would be no one seat ride to Ballard, but a much better two seat ride. The 31/32 would provide a frequent (15 minute) one seat ride to Fremont and the UW for the bulk of apartment dwellers in Magnolia (and Interbay). Savvy bus riders (including those using trip planning services) would soon gravitate towards two seat rides, rather than wait for their infrequent bus. If I’m on Gilman trying to get downtown, I’m just going to catch the first available bus. At worst I transfer at 15th and Dravus, but that is likely to be much faster than waiting for the 33.

    Of course folks at the tail of the 32 lose out, but only slightly. They have to transfer to the 31 or 32, but that is easy. In many ways, they are ahead as well. Right now if you miss the 32, you can take the D, but getting the 31 is a big pain. Now it would become trivial (just catch the bus on 15th after Dravus).

    With all of this “voluntary” transferring going on, maybe folks will get used to it, and consider it normal. Then maybe you can do something more substantial, like what you propose.

      1. The problem with getting across Gilman is that it isn’t particularly easy to get people to let you cross the street at that particular intersection. You can do it, but the several times I have done this hasn’t been particularly pleasant.

      2. It is exactly what people on the 33 have to deal with every day, though. If you live in one of the apartments on the south side, you have to cross that four way stop intersection. People may drive too aggressively there, but the pedestrians manage. Speaking of which, what if you are headed Fisherman’s Terminal from downtown? Do you think people make the transfer, so they avoid the 3 minutes of additional walking (and the crossing)? Of course not, they just take the 33 and walk.

        I would feel like this is a bigger trade-off if this was a bigger distance (and there were more stops). But one stop a mere 3 minutes away is akin to a stop diet, but with a much, much bigger upside.

    1. How would someone coming from the U-District or Fremont on the 31 make this happen (get to Fishermen’s Terminal)?

      1. I thought I already answered that (above). Take the exact same bus, but get off at a different bus stop. Walk a mere additional 3 minutes. Look at the map I drew — https://goo.gl/maps/Y96MtwrcWSq — (make sure the “extension layers are unchecked). Now zoom in so that you can see the actual bus stops. You should be able to see that the old 31 only had one bus stop along that stretch, and it is very close to the existing bus stop for the 33, which would be shared by both bus routes.

    2. Frequent service works for some places, but there are other places where synchronized transfers work pretty well for infrequent routes.

      The bad news for the area around Fisherman’s Terminal is traffic gets really tangled up during peak traffic periods. This makes trying to schedule synchronized transfers impossible due to the unpredictable time for the bus to get through traffic.

      Once a dedicated transit bridge becomes possible (you could, conceivably, build the new light rail bridge as both bus and train) then it becomes much easier to accomplish some scheduled transfers in places as the routes should become more reliable.

      1. I think this is one more argument for avoiding Emerson. Other streets get bogged down during high traffic periods, but they get bogged down on a consistent basis. Emerson gets bogged down when the bridge goes up. So does 15th, but rarely does it back up all the way to Dravus. This means a bus can skirt the worst of it. The city could do some more (relatively cheap) work to improve things, by adding a bus skip ahead/right turn only lane on 15th. But with Emerson, any work to be done would be really expensive.

        As it is though, the 31/32 will struggle with consistency, because it crosses the Fremont bridge. But with enough service and the right connections it could be decent.

  3. I believe Metro’s long range plan calls for Magnolia riders to transfer to Link at Interbay to get downtown. Of course, that’s not happening for another 15-20 years. In the meantime, I’m somewhat concerned that having the Magnolia->downtown bus originate from Ballard might do more harm than good by subjecting people who aren’t even crossing the Ballard bridge to the whims of Ballard Bridge traffic.

    As to Sunset Hill, we’ve already seen that the old 61 wasn’t popular, and introducing a new 61 that continues to Magnolia won’t make it more popular (and could make it worse if northbound trips are less reliable). Sunset Hill isn’t that far of a walk to the #40, and it already has east-west service in the form of the 44 (south end) and 45 (north end).

    I’m also not sold on the idea of routing the 32 to Magnolia, given the low ridership on this segment of the 31. Long-term, I believe that Fremont should have a bus to Seattle Center, but it should be in the form of an extension of the 13 (once an acceptable way to do it without spending millions on more trolley wire can be found).

    1. Speaking of the Fremont-Seattle Center route, I think Route 32 should go through Queen Anne Hill instead of around it. Maybe Route 32 could run like Route 29 between SPU and Uptown. That would allow Metro to increase frequency on Route 13 without taking away service along 6th Ave W.

      1. Ideally, I would have the 32 just thru-route with the 13 at SPU, getting rid of the 32’s interbay segments. Ideally, scheduled in such a way so that the Fremont->U-district corridor has 15-minute service evenings and Sundays, not just weekday/Saturday daytime hours.

    2. @asdf2 and Anthony — The thing about the 31 and 32 right now is that they provide 15 minutes service (or better) to the 15th Ave. corridor. That means that you should — in theory anyway — be able to get from Ballard to SPU easily. Just take the (frequent) D, then transfer to the (frequent) 31/32. Having the 32 turn early and go up and over the hill really screws that up. Having to wait for a bus that runs every half hour is the transfer from hell that gets people to the car dealership.

      The problem with the 31, though, is that while this transfer looks great on paper, it doesn’t work well on the ground. The Emerson/15th interchange is not amenable to the type of transfer I mentioned. It is a seven minute walk, according to Google (https://goo.gl/maps/Y96MtwrcWSq) which is enough time for you to walk the road, see your bus go by, and be powerless do anything about it. I understand what Metro was trying to do and I applaud them. Too often I see bus routes that seem to ignore the fastest route (the way people would drive). But in this case, the lack of good bus stops and the shared nature of the 31/32 make the use of Emerson a mistake. You do connect up to Fisherman’s Terminal (one stop) and you do cover some of the apartments on 22nd, but not enough to justify this routing.

      At a minimum, I would move the 31 to Dravus. Have it cross over the railroad tracks, head south and end where it currently ends. That gives you a much better connection to 15th. It means you can catch either the 31 or 32 there. You lose a handful of stops, but given the growth in Interbay, relatively small ones.

      But I would go one step further, like so: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EDI0cT31ZpXXYpZuQCUUlWb8xQU&usp=sharing. This extends the 15 minutes service to a lot more people. Neither tail should take very long (there are no traffic lights in the area). But if it turns out that ridership is very low on the tails, then Metro could just stop trying to split this run, and just end it at 22nd and Dravus. Magnolia Village is really overrated as a destination. While it is certainly the retail and cultural center of Magnolia, it is not the population center. The areas to the east (where I would have 15 minute service) have way more people.

      1. Yeah, your idea makes sense. However, I would have your Route 32 travel via 34th Ave W instead of going to Discovery Park. That way the Route 24 routing can be fixed. To fix Queen Anne, I would extend Route 1 to serve 6th Ave W and also the old Route 4 loop.

  4. I’m not sure what you mean by “travel via 34th”? But I would like to hear your suggestion.

    In playing around with it, I can see some things that might be an improvement, but in the end I don’t see it making much sense. For example, I just updated my map, but added a couple extensions.There are a couple of variations. Start by selecting “32 Extension” and “31 Extension A”. At first glance this does a few nice things.

    Both buses go to Magnolia Village and Discovery Park (albeit different parts of the park). This means 15 minute service to both areas, which changes the dynamic (I think a lot more people would ride the bus to the park).

    This also makes the 24 much faster. 2 of the 3 Magnolia corridors are now covered. This means the 24 can be a simple run up 28th, ending at Government Way. Except now the 24 has very low ridership. The highest demand part of it (Magnolia Village and 34th) has been removed. The core riders have traded a looping one seat ride to downtown, for a looping one seat ride to Fremont and the UW. I think it becomes difficult to justify extra service that could make up for what most would see as a degradation.

    What would make more sense is the second alternative. To view that, select “31 Extension B” and deselect “31 Extension A”. Now you still have the 15 minute service to the Village (although the 32 is a lot more direct). You can also get to Discover Park a couple ways (more or less). You’ve also kept the connection between 28th and Magnolia Village that exists now (and improved it).

    It could work, but I don’t see it as worth it. Most of Magnolia can’t justify that kind of service. I’m not sure I want to spend so much of the service of the 31/32 (which serves a vital connection that will likely get even more popular when Link expands) by having buses run on streets like 28th or Viewmont. I know why everyone thinks the 24 is terrible — and it sure would be nice to make that bus route a lot straighter — but I don’t know of an easy way to do that without spending a bunch more money or cutting service to areas that people have had for years.

    1. My idea for Route 32: http://bit.ly/2rrKCSQ

      This would make a less duplicative 32 routing while also replacing a portion of Route 24. Maybe it could be extended to Uptown to keep the connection. I would also extend Route 31 from its current routing to provide service along Viewmont Way.

    2. Never mind, I see you swapped the numbers. My idea is similar to your 31 extension A and 32 extension.

  5. What they should do is make 19 all-day, and make 24 all-day as well, but just have the 24 do a one-way loop with a single bus to connect the northern part of Magnolia with the southern part so people could transfer to the 19.

    Maybe during peak hours two buses could be used for the 24, one going clockwise, one going counter-clockwise.

    What do others think of my idea?

    1. Running an all-day 19 would be too expensive. Instead, Metro could just extend the current 31 along Viewmont Way. I do think the 24 Magnolia loop idea is interesting, though I am not sure how much better it would be compared to the current 24.

      1. How would running an all day 19 be any more expensive than running an all day 24, which is what they do now.

      2. >> How would running an all day 19 be any more expensive than running an all day 24, which is what they do now.

        Because you are running an all day 24 and an all day 19. OK, it might not be that expensive, because the 19 plus the new 24 loop is not much more than the looping 24. So now the problem is that the 34th corridor — the most important corridor that the current 24 serves — is only served with a connecting shuttle.

        The way to solve that problem is to connect the two weak corridors in Magnolia via a shuttle bus. So that means Viewmont and 28th are connected (via the Magnolia Village). You can see a map of this by selecting “32 Extension” and “31 Extension” (and deselecting the other layers) on the map I referenced up above (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EDI0cT31ZpXXYpZuQCUUlWb8xQU&usp=sharing).

        Now you have shuttle bus for the least popular parts of Magnolia service. People still have service, they just have to transfer. That not only makes the bus paths more direct, but it decouples them, meaning you could increase frequency on the 24 and 33 in the future without having to waste time running buses zig-zaging all over the place. It also offers up the option to run this shuttle bus into Discovery Park, while the 33 is truncated (which would make sense if the 33 adds service). In other words, I could see a simplified 24 along with a truncated 33 running every 15 minutes, while this connector bus runs every half hour.

        I kind of like the idea, but I doubt it would be popular. For folks on the old 19, it is a nice trade-off. It is a two seat ride to downtown, but a much faster one. The people close to 28th, though, simply lose out. They have to transfer, and in so doing will not be happy. They were lucky to have the old 24 (in that they were “on the way”, even though they really weren’t) and no one wants to lose that without getting something in return.

        The problem is starting to feel like Seven Bridges of Königsberg (the mathematical puzzle, not the bridges in the city). Trying to come up with a revenue neutral solution, or even a novel way to add value while shifting service is very challenging, and may be impossible. I like puzzles, so I may think about it some more and try and add something, but I think the key to the puzzle are these two bad corridors (Viewmont and 28th). I think it is telling that David simply skipped one of them, while giving folks 15 minute headways http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/david-l.FNP-Base/page.html#15/47.6420/-122.3821).

  6. All of Magnolia is coverage territory. Magnolia made the same deal with the city that Madison Park did: we won’t upzone you but in return you won’t get any transit upgrade. So Magnolia’s future is 30-minute routes, possibly increasing to 15 minutes in some parts. Within that framework there may be ways to straighten out and reconnect routes to make them more generally useful.

    32nd Ave NW is another coverage area. The 61 was a holding pattern, to keep something there until it could later be re-extended or killed. Metro has done that kind of thing elsewhere, like the 78 now.

    Metro’s original intention was to connect the two coverage areas with a downtown-Magnolia-Ballard route. That would be more grid-correct than the 24, and would connect Magnolia to Ballard for however few people would ride that. (It’s the same kind of situation as extending the 13 to Fremont.) I don’t have a precise opinion on Magnolia routes since I don’t know the area much, but why not? My biggest concern is the travel-time overhead of going from 32nd NW to the Ballard Bridge and back to 28th NW and then southeast to downtown. Will that be reasonable for Ballard-Magnolia and Ballard-downtown trips? Maybe we should do it anyway because there’s no better option (i.e., no bridge west of 15th, and 32nd NW just can’t expect a Nickerson-Street-almost-Fremont milk run to downtown).

    If you ride the 24 end to end it makes more sense than it does on paper. People actually ride it from one part of Magnolia to another, and even from 28th to 34th. They do it because there’s a very steep hill in between. To find a similarly-steep hill you have to go to John Street between MLK and 23rd (which is why both the 48 and 8 exist), or Mt Baker between 31st and Lakeside Ave (why both the 14 and 27 exist). I’ll defer to Magnolia’s residents whether these two can be consolidated.

    If you continue riding further on the 24, you’ll see that almost everybody has gotten off by Magnolia Village and only 0-2 people remain for Viewmont Way and Discovery Park. I love that segment with its breathtaking view and its proximity to the South Beach Bluff inside the park, but it is extremely low ridership. The 19 used to run all day but it had the lowest ridership in Magnolia, so when it was deleted the 24 added the third zig to compensate. Maybe it would be better to connect Viewmont to an east-west route, as others suggested the 32. Transferring from the D or U-District Station would be fine of occasional trips to the park or when the rich residents rarely take a midday bus, and I’ll let them argue with the county what they deserve peak hours. And Metro wants to try connecting Magnolia to upper Queen Anne and northern Capitol Hill (E Aloha St).

    So I’m favoring a north-south route to Ballard, an east-west route including Viewmont Way, and something around the Gilman/Thorndyke apartments. And maybe try that Queen Anne thing, as long as it’s secondary to Magnolia – U-District. But I don’t have a precise idea of the what the exact alignments should be.

  7. >> All of Magnolia is coverage territory. Magnolia made the same deal with the city …

    Zoning changes are neither here nor there. The city has very little control over bus routes, and they certainly don’t play favorites. There was no significant upzone in northeast Seattle, yet they had a huge increase in frequency. Lack of density is certainly a problem, as it is in most of Seattle, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better. David’s amazing map (http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/david-l.FNP-Type/page.html#15/47.6462/-122.4014) doesn’t assume an increase in density (because it doesn’t assume an increase in service) but provides a much better network for the city.

    I agree with your point about hills. Hills are one of the big problems with Magnolia. Access points is another. There are only a handful of bridges into Magnolia, and all of them come off the same road (15th). This makes it is significantly different than Northeast Seattle, where low density areas get good service in part because they lie between the UW and Lake City. Magnolia is a peninsula, and one with tough geographic challenges. The combination of this tough geography and density make things worse. For example, consider Magnolia Manor (https://goo.gl/maps/NRyLvhKDXPt). As one of the more densely populated places in Seattle, it would certainly warrant good bus service. Except that the street which cuts through the area (West Manor Place) is very steep (https://goo.gl/maps/1pPRSQSXELH2). Without running wire, you are going to have a very tough time getting up that hill in a bus. This not only means that residents have to walk a long ways to catch a bus, but that you can’t run an east-west route anywhere, greatly limiting routing possibilities.

    There are also areas in Magnolia that are not dense at all. You could simply skip them, but that would mean people would have a very long walk to the bus. That might be a reasonable choice, but given the density in similar places in the city (e. g. Leschi), that would be very inconsistent.

    The hills and the distances involved mean the only reasonable way to serve the area is with four north-south corridors. The four are (from west to east):

    1) West Viewmont Way. This is the tail of the 19 and 24. It serves the least dense area. It is a pure coverage segment, as without it, people would have to walk a very long way to catch a bus.

    2) 34th Avenue. This is the second most densely populated corridor. It includes some apartments as well the cultural center of Magnolia (containing schools, churches, shops and a community center).

    3) 28th Avenue. Like Viewmont, a very weak corridor. Except for the places close to Magnolia Manor, there are no apartments on this section.

    4) Thorndyke/22nd/Gilman — The strongest of the corridors, this is covered by the 33 right now. Almost all of this route is next to apartments.The area is reasonably dense, on par with places like Wallingford, Fremont, and Phinney Ridge. It is well above areas like View Ridge, Wedgewood and Sand Point that now have 15 minute service.

    Oh, and the four corridors don’t all converge on the north and south ends. The north end of the first corridor is at Emerson — essentially a dead end, given the hill to the east (https://goo.gl/maps/4qaaCyuEVnz). The other three, fortunately, do converge to the north. All of the buses converge to the south, but with some overlap, and in a low density area.

    Given all that, it is tough to come up with a decent network. It makes sense to serve the least popular sections with the lowest headways. Serving that first corridor (Viewmont) with another coverage run in a different neighborhood makes sense, and it is tough to find one. You can pair it with a line in Ballard (e. g. 32nd) which is definitely an option. But since you have to go south anyway to serve that corridor, I figure it makes sense to cross at Dravus. Since a bus crosses at Dravus, I thought of a different idea, involving Queen Anne:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DFY008e6EwXZGmk6LUoW0RgfeB4&usp=sharing

    The blue run is both a coverage run and a connecting run. For people on Queen Anne, this gives them a decent way to get to Ballard or Magnolia. With the tail end of the 19 covered, I decided to extend the 31/32 to cover the third corridor. This doesn’t make a split, but is only one bus route, which I’ll call the 31. Now the 24 can be simplified, and just go straight to Magnolia Village and then north on 34th.

    This adds several nice things:

    1) The 24 is now a straight shot.
    2) The 31/32 is just one bus route. This bus would provide 15 minute bus service (or better) to Interbay, East Magnolia and Magnolia Village to Fremont, SPU and the U-District.
    3) Like my earlier proposal, the new 31 would provide 15 minute bus service to 15th West, which means a connection to Ballard is much easier (Ballard to SPU becomes much better)..
    4) Service in the northeast part of Magnolia — the most densely populated part of Magnolia — to downtown is much better. They have the existing 33, but also the new 31. With 15 minute service to 15th, a rider may decide it isn’t worth waiting for the 33. Anything that involves a transfer (e. g. Lower Queen Anne or Ballard) is now done with this much more frequent bus.
    5) You cover Gilman, which is a nice, fairly dense area. Folks there have an easier way to connect to the system, as well as a good way to get to the top of Queen Anne (which is a terrible connection right now).
    6) From various places on Queen Anne you have a much better way to get to Ballard. You no longer have to head to lower Queen Anne and swing around the hill.
    7) You connect Queen Anne with Magnolia. There probably aren’t a lot of people going between the two regions, but this covers the main neighborhoods (or provides quick transfers between them).

    With this plan, just about everyone comes out ahead. The only people who might complain are those on Viewmont and those on 28th (the first and third corridors). They lose their one seat ride to downtown. But the first group get a faster trip to downtown, even if it does involve a transfer. They also have a one seat ride to Queen Anne along with a much better transfer option to Ballard. The folks on 28th get a frequent ride to SPU, Fremont and the UW, along with a frequent (and much better) transfer option to Ballard. Getting to downtown involves a transfer, but the number of people who are worse off is likely to be tiny.

    From a service standpoint, this adds some cost. You save a bit with the 24, but not a huge amount (it only runs every half hour). The new bus route connecting Magnolia to Queen Anne is a brand new route and would take up all the savings (and then some)..I think the bus adds a lot of value though, making it worth it. The tail of what I’m calling the new 31 is probably about the same as the tail of the old 31/32.

    As a big savings measure, you could get rid of midday 33 service. Unfortunately, folks on Thorndyke would have to transfer to get downtown. and everyone on what I assume to be the most popular bus in Magnolia has to transfer. I wouldn’t cut the 33 until folks voted with their feet. If 33 ridership went down on the section that overlapped the new 31, then it is obvious frequency is more important than a direct ride (to downtown). If so, then cutting the 33 (and bumping up other service) would make sense.

    There are flaws with this idea, as there are with any Magnolia restructure I’ve ever considered. The 31/32 is watered down with a relatively weak tail. So much so that maybe that shouldn’t be connected to the 31/32, but something less frequent (like a bus to Sunset Hill). The 31/32 could just end at 22nd and Dravus (more or less). The map (not the labels) would be unchanged. Half hour service doesn’t change the dynamic as much as 15 minute service though. Folks on 28th are likely to complain. Again, the numbers there aren’t significant (except for Magnolia Manor). If it really was a problem, you could modify the tail of the 33 so that instead of going into Discovery Park, it went up to Manor Place.

    Anyway, that is a long essay on the challenges (and opportunities) in Magnolia. As I’ve said a few times on this post, I think the immediate thing I would do is move the 31 tail. Just going across Dravus would be a good start. A split (as I suggested earlier) or just truncating a single bus at Dravus (or better yet, Gilman and Manor Place) would be a huge improvement for the system. An Interbay/SPU/Fremont/UW bus is a very nice bus, and one that doesn’t need to go much farther.

    1. “The city has very little control over bus routes, and they certainly don’t play favorites.”

      It actually has a lot of control. It chose the RapidRide+ lines and is paying for the street improvements and buses. It can buy additional regular service wherever it wants, as it’s doing with the night owls and probably does with a few day runs beyond Prop 1. It can prohibit Metro from using a street.

      “No upzone, no transit upgrade” means it won’t be getting RapidRide or a guaranteed-frequent route or something like that. If Magnolia Village did upzone into a real urban village, then a RapidRide line would be a natural next step. Magnolia may end up getting better service anyway as part of Metro’s countywide project and spreading Prop 1 money around, but that’s different from getting extra attention because it’s a new urban village and no longer just a coverage area.

      As I said, Madison Park made the same kind of deal, and while it may eventually get a RapidRide G extension, it won’t be because Madison Park is so urban it has to have it, it would be for Metro’s operational convenience and to complete a silly 1-mile gap in the grid.

      “There was no significant upzone in northeast Seattle, yet they had a huge increase in frequency.”

      Northeast Seattle did not make that kind of deal as far as I know, that it would be left out of upzones and transit upgrades. And it’s a much larger area so it would be more problematic if it did. That would be like leaving all of north Ballard up through Crown Hill off-limits to upzoning and urban villages. Northeast Seattle has two urban centers and three urban villages at its periphery, and the potential to turn Jackson Park, Wedgwood, Sand Point, Ravenna, and possibly others into larger urban villages someday. The big new Bryant apartment building on 65th somewhere is not something you see in Magnolia or Mad Park.

      I like your restructure idea, although I wonder if 28th and 34th should exchange routes. If 34th has Magnolia Village and the most general ridership potential and 28th is weak, shouldn’t 34th get the most frequent route that goes the most places?

      So you would not have any Magnolia-Ballard route? You wouldn’t connect any of the Magnolia routes to 32nd Ave NW? Do you have any other ideas for 32nd?

      1. >> … the potential to turn Jackson Park, Wedgwood, Sand Point, Ravenna, and possibly others into larger urban villages someday.

        But they aren’t urban villages now. That is the point. Nothing has been done to change those areas, just like nothing changed in Magnolia. Sure, they could be urban villages in the future, just like Magnolia Village could be an urban village in the future. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the bus changes.

        Those places (Wedgewood, etc.) where density is actually *lower* than parts of Magnolia saw their headways double, and it has nothing to do with promises to maybe, someday, possibly increase density. It has everything to do with truncating the routes. Metro simply asked people to transfer, instead of giving them a one seat ride to downtown. Urban villages and zoning was irrelevant, just like it was on the top of Queen Anne, where the bus routes recently changed (and the zoning did not).

        That was Metro, and I’ve never heard them say (explicitly or otherwise) “No upzone, no transit upgrade”. Seattle, when it comes to RapidRide+ could definitely make those changes. But my guess is the failure to extend RapidRide G all the way to the water has little to do with that. My guess it has everything to do with the fact that extending the G to the water would do absolutely nothing to improve the grid. East of 23rd, there is no north-south bus service. There is no grid!. From a topological standpoint, Madison Valley is a peninsula. You could extend the bus out there — and give people a faster ride to downtown — but in exchange you would be giving them a slower connection to Link. You can’t give them both. You would actually have to have *more* potential ridership in that peninsula to make up for the lack of connecting bus service. As it turns out (of course) you have less. Way less. There are no hospitals, no office towers, no college campuses. There are a handful of large residential towers, and even then they have less density than many of the places west of 23rd. The census block at Madison and Pine has twice as people per square mile than the one that includes the towers — and it is surrounded by more people, instead of water. That could change if they changed the zoning, but even if they did, it would be a very, very long time before they caught up (if they ever did). Again, it only makes sense to extend the G out that far if the tail is actually *more* of a destination, not on par with an average place along the way.

        As far as running a bus from Magnolia to Ballard is concerned, that is definitely an option. I think I mentioned that as a possibility. Basically that would be very similar to this map (https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1DFY008e6EwXZGmk6LUoW0RgfeB4&ll=47.64000643702892%2C-122.39359849862478&z=14) but instead of the red line heading towards SPU (the 31/32) it would be a different bus route, headed to Ballard. That would be fine. The problem is — what I’m getting at — is that nothing is very good. There is no way — short of running wire — to come up with a decent proposal for Magnolia that doesn’t involve some tough sacrifices. The combination of physical geography and density make it very difficult to serve in an efficient way.

        >> You wouldn’t connect any of the Magnolia routes to 32nd Ave NW? Do you have any other ideas for 32nd?

        No, 32nd wouldn’t have anything. Most of Magnolia is stretched too thin as it is. Running on yet another north-south corridor (and a short one at that) just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe if they upzone ;) Seriously though, I wouldn’t worry about 32nd. It is fairly flat there, and folks can walk from one of the other streets. A live loop around the village (e. g. south on 34th, east on McGraw, north on 32nd) sounds fine, but only if you kept existing service on 34th. Otherwise you are asking folks on a decent corridor (34th) to transfer. I would rather ask people on weaker corridors to transfer.

  8. We live on the 24 route in west Magnolia. It is very disheartening to see an empty bus stop in front of our house every 20 minutes. During a snowstorm there were 2 buses stuck sideways on our hill for 5 days. It’s a 5 minute walk to 34th downhill and maybe 15 min to walk back up. I just don’t get it. Listening to the bus groan up our hill to pick up essentially no one is ridiculous. I understand that by the time it finishes 28th Ave it’s packed, but they are not coming from west Magnolia! Save some commuters some time and stop snaking through hills and hairpin turns to pick up 1-2 passengers. It makes no sense. Perhaps if the routes were faster I can yes actually use them to get to work. Thank you for listening.

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