CT 29707 leaving Everett Station
A Swift bus leaving Everett Station

Community Transit has released a draft version of their 2017–2022 Transit Development Plan (TDP), which will guide the expansion of bus service across Snohomish County in the lead-up to Lynnwood Link’s opening in 2023. The 0.3 percent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2015 has now been funding expanded service for a full year, and will enable CT to spend an additional $30 million annually for new service and capital improvements. In total, Community Transit will use $1 billion in sales tax revenue and grants from state and federal sources to fund service improvements and capital projects.

Community Transit anticipates to increase bus service by over 136,000 hours (36 percent over 2016’s 375,000 hours) in a series of expansions, including a major service change for this fall and early next year. Annual ridership is forecast to reach an all-time high of 12 million in 2019, coinciding with an all-time high in bus service hours, and will increase even further to 14 million by 2022. A total of 543 new vehicles will be ordered to expand and replace the CT fleet, including 26 new buses (mostly for the Swift Green Line) and replacing older articulated buses. As part of the expansions, Community Transit will also need to hire more than 100 new drivers over the next six years, as well as 200 workers in “supporting functions”.

Future Swift Network Map (Community Transit TDP)

The star of the show for Community Transit’s upcoming expansions is the debut of two Swift lines—the Green Line in 2019 and the Orange Line in 2023—that together will bring bus rapid transit service to Mill Creek, Canyon Park, Edmonds, and central Lynnwood. Curiously, Community Transit marks the Orange Line, which is still in preliminary planning, as only reaching Edmonds Community College on its map of Swift lines. When asked via email, CT spokesperson Martin Munguia explained that the map shows a conceptual network and that the agency is “fairly certain” that it will reach as far west as Edmonds Community College, but the project’s currently underway feasibility study will determine whether it can be routed all the way to Downtown Edmonds and the ferry terminal. One small extension of Swift’s existing Blue Line to Shoreline’s NE 185th Street Link station is also planned for 2023, pending a separate feasibility study.

According to Community Transit’s financial forecasts, the 2020–2022 service expansions can use up an additional 15,000 bus hours annually, which haven’t been allocated to specific improvements. Among the basic goals are reliability and capacity improvements for the commuter routes, which will undergo major changes for Lynnwood Link in 2023; additional trips on existing routes to increase frequency; and improving Sunday service with longer hours and increased frequency.

Community Transit is taking public comment on the draft TDP through July 7, 2017. Comments may be made in several ways:

  • Emailing planupdate@commtrans.org
  • Calling (425) 353-7433 (RIDE)
  • Commenting on social media: Facebook.com/communitytransit and @MyCommTrans on Twitter
  • Sending written comments to Community Transit, 7100 Hardeson Rd., Everett, WA 98203
  • A public hearing at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, before the regular Board of Directors Meeting at Community Transit’s headquarters, 7100 Hardeson Road in Everett (accessible via Everett Transit route 8)

21 Replies to “Community Transit Forecasts More Transit Improvements By 2022”

    1. If this is were a plan for 2040, Mukilteo to the Paine Field Link Station would seem like a big omission. But, considering that this is a plan for 2022 and Paine Field Link Station doesn’t open until 2038 or 2041 (can’t remember which), this is understandable.

    2. It’s possible that it could happen before Link gets to Paine Field. The plans call for a Swift line along 126, intersecting with the end of the the Green Line (at Airport Way). The line could easily be extended a bit west.

      Of course you could simply run a less frequent bus there, as it would be the intersection of two different Swift lines. But I think Mukilteo is a tough nut to crack. There are very few people there. The biggest census block, by far, is around Harbour Point Boulevard and Chenault Beach Road. It has pretty good density, but everything else is very low. Even the main part of Mukilteo (where the ferry is) is very low.

      This explains, to a certain extent, the weird bus lines. They are coverage in nature, with a very small mix of a commuter line. The 113 goes all over the place on its way to Lynnwood (https://www.communitytransit.org/images/default-source/bus-service-images/17mar/routemaps/map113.png?sfvrsn=2) but at least it runs all day. The 417 takes a straight shot from the ferry, but only runs five times a day. Once the Swift line is built to serve SR 526, I could see sending the 113 over to Airport Road and SR 526 (instead of the ferry dock). Then truncate the 417 at Lynnwood and run both a lot more often. With stops where they intersect, you could still get to the same places, it would just mean a transfer from one to the other.

      All of that is more expensive that what exists now, of course, so it is hard to say if it will happen.

    3. Guys, I just want a link from the Green Line Terminus to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal that serves Sound Transit, ferries and several key aforementioned Community Transit routes.

  1. If Sounder North is ever going to have an extension to Marysville and Arlington and/or Snohomish and Monroe, Community Transit will be the agency to make it happen. Since these cities are outside Sound Transit’s boundaries, it will require Community Transit to develop the extension and enter an interlocal agreement to extend Sounder service outside Sound Transit’s boundaries. Please submit comments to Community Transit asking them to incorporate an extension of commuter rail into their long range planning.

  2. I really like the Orange Line. Ideally it would serve downtown Edmonds (as you wrote). But even as shown, it is outstanding. It would pick up some of the more densely populated parts of Snohomish County while providing a great amount of connectivity. it ties together Link and the Swift lines. It only crosses the main Swift line (the Blue Line) once, but it comes very close to it at 164th. It is a two minute walk from 168th and 44th to SR 99. That means someone at say, Martha Lake, has a frequent, fast, straight shot to SR 99 along with the other connections.

    Eventually I would like to see fairly frequent express service that complements this network. These would probably be Sound Transit runs (after Link gets to Lynnwood). It is a given that all the existing express bus routes get truncated at Lynnwood Transit Center. With that in mind, I would build something like this:

    1) Run the 511 a lot more frequently. The 511 connects the Lynnwood Transit Center to Ash Way Park and Ride and would save a lot of time over the Orange Line, while connecting to it. So a trip from Martha Lake to Lynnwood TC could involve a one seat ride (the Orange) or a faster transfer via this bus (assuming the transfer would be easy).

    2) Run an express from the Lynnwood TC to 128th and SR 99, via I-5. Stop at Mariner park and Ride (or maybe just 128th and 4th) and that’s it. You essentially make two stops north of Lynnwood TC — one enabling a connection to the Green Line, the other a connection to the Blue. It would not have off board payment, but it would be able to take advantage of the bus lanes on 128th/Airport Road. That would save a huge amount of time for those trying to get from Lynnwood to the north end of the Swift Lines and would not be that expensive to run. You are running in HOV or bus lanes the whole way, with very little in the way of traffic lights.

    3) Get rid of the 512, but run the 510 all day. That means running a bus from Lynnwood TC to South Everett and Everett (skipping Ash Way). Very few people travel between Ash Way and places north (about 30 a day) so there is little loss. Meanwhile, you save folks getting to South Everett and Everett a lot of time. From Ash Way, the connection from the park and ride to the south is excellent (there are bus ramps — https://goo.gl/maps/tDbKULeioPE2) but the connection to the north is not.

    In general this means more of an express to Lynnwood set of routes. Once you get on the freeway, it only makes sense to get off the freeway when you can do so easily. North of Lynnwood, South Everett is the only station like that — unless WSDOT does some work. That wouldn’t be that expensive, but we can’t count on it. So that means a bus that serves the Ash Way Park and Ride might serve the neighborhood after it gets there from Lynnwood, but not get back on the freeway.

    Making the connection between the main crossing streets (where there will eventually be Swift service) and the park and rides make for tough choices. As mentioned, it isn’t clear whether you want to serve the Mariner Park and Ride or not with the second bus. Likewise, it is a bit of schlep from the Ash Way Park and Ride bus station to 164th. Same with the South Everett Park and Ride and 112th. The map shows a future Swift line running on 112th (a good idea). Such a bus could detour into the lot, or make riders walk about five minutes to a connecting bus. Neither option sounds great.

    Even with those problems, I could see a very good system. You could have two sets of high quality bus lines connecting to each other; fast suburban express buses to downtown Seattle (via Link) as well as frequent, fairly fast lines serving the neighborhood.

    1. Mike

      I had a better idea than 511.

      After my initial posting in March I looked at frequency additions to existing routes instead to make a frequent transit network connecting to Link.

      1) Extend 109 to Lynnwood TC and overlay a new Route 110 to provide 15 minute service along 128th. You then would have 201,202 along Ash Way for a very high frequency, not requiring additional service with 511.

      2) If we look at 410, Community Transit found it faster to use Ash Way to get to Mariner Park and Ride. 109,110,201,202 can cover this and I hear of low utilization of these routes in the Lynnwood segment to Mariner Park & Ride. Might as well fill them up rather than make a new route.

      I am putting together potential timetables and I have to work out how to work FTN routes to 7 days per week if not 6.

      1. Extend 109 to Lynnwood TC and overlay a new Route 110 to provide 15 minute service along 128th.

        Sure, but that is pretty much what I said, only with a different agency. When I said “a bus that serves the Ash Way Park and Ride might serve the neighborhood after it gets there from Lynnwood”, that is what I meant. Extending the 511 to serve Snohomish and Lake Stevens is essentially the same thing as extending the 109 to serve Lynnwood. Sounds good, and makes more sense than just ending the bus at Ash Way.

        Having multiple bus routes split from Ash Way probably makes a lot of sense, but it can be more difficult to keep them in sync. But with enough frequency (as you say) then it probably doesn’t matter.

        If we look at 410, Community Transit found it faster to use Ash Way to get to Mariner Park and Ride..

        Excellent. That means that the second bus I suggested — an express from Lynnwood to 128th and SR 99 (via I-5 and 128th) need only stop at 128th and 4th. There is no need to serve the Mariner park and ride as long as you have some service in the area (which you do with the 109).

        One key point I made is that getting on and off the freeway to serve either Ash Way or Mariner is not a good idea. Yet that is the current route of the 512, which is why I would get rid of it. It is also the current route of the 201 and 202. Which argues for splitting them. So, that might lead to something like this:

        1) A new express bus with the following stops: Lynnwood TC, 128 and 4th, 128th and SR99. This should run often (ideally as often as Swift).

        2) Extend the 109 to Lynnwood TC (as you suggested).

        3) Truncate the southern end of the 410 at Lynnwood. Extend the northern end of the bus route up 4th all the way to SR 99. A route like that is overdue, really, given the relative density there. I would change the number of this bus to the 110.

        4) Synchronize the 109 and 110 as much as possible.

        5) Have the 201 and 202 skip Mariner and Ash Way, but serve South Everett instead.

        6) Run a bus from Everett to Ash Way Park and ride. Go via the freeway, with a stop at South Everett Park and Ride. Get off I-5 at 128th, then go on Ash Way to the park and ride.

        7) Complement as needed with truncated routes or new variations. For example, the 109 and new 110 would connect Ash Way with Lynnwood. The 201/202 would connect Everett, South Everett and Lynnwood. That means the 510, 511 and 512 are redundant and could all be eliminated. But at least with Ash Way, that would mean a lot less frequency. One way to solve the problem is just run the new 110 more often. If you can’t justify that, then run a truncated version that ends around 128th.

        With these changes, a lot of people would have faster rides to Lynnwood. Those in Everett, South Everett and Marysville (201/202) have a faster ride, because they don’t have to deal with getting on and off the freeway at stops not designed for that. The new bus route (the first item) would make getting to to the north end of both Swift Lines much faster

        The bus described in item 6 means you can still get up to Everett from the various park and rides. If the data from the 512 is any indication, very few people are taking buses from Ash Way to Everett. That means this bus would not need to run very often. If folks got tired of waiting, they could take a bus to Lynnwood, and then backtrack up from there.

        Those riders (the ones going from Ash Way to Everett) are the only people who come out behind, and I think there are so few that it isn’t worrying about. Meanwhile, lots of people come out ahead, and my guess is this is significantly cheaper to operate. Once Link gets to Lynnwood, getting on and off the freeway to serve Ash Way is a significant expense. Overall, for the vast majority of riders, I think it be a lot better.

      2. Ross

        Given 201 and 202 are not very filled between Mariner Park & Ride and Lynnwood, why continue with a duplicate express route with the sames stops and same frequency on the way in? Especially if you had 109 extended to Lynnwood with an overlay with 110 that stops along 128th and Cathcart Way. That is it.

        I thought I had mentioned there is a reason they run on Ash Way, because I-5 is jammed and Ash Way is more reliable. Whoever decided not to make sure Ash Way was a 5 lane arterial made a big mistake.

  3. Generally, it always amazes me about how Link is not shown on every other transit system map in a prominent way. In this case, Link is shown only as a “transit emphasis corridor”, like many other corridors.

    Overall, it’s a great summary graphic! It just needs enhancing to show Link more clearly.

    1. Agreed. It would be great for this map to highlight connections to major transit including WSF terminals, Amtrak and Sounder stations, and LINK stations.

      1. Link is by far the most important to show. It is supposed to be running at 3.75 to 5 minute intervals in 2023! That’s much more frequent than any of these Swift lines.

    2. It isn’t a transit system map, it’s a Community Transit network map. Not only is Link missing, but so is Sounder, ST Express & BRT, and any Everett Transit corridor not served by CT. I trust that an actual map of the system would include all of those.

      1. And it’s not CT’s production map, it’s a planning map showing the future Swift network. That’s a big deal in Snoho because its one Swift line is in the same position as Link’s current single line and the Monorail’s initial plan (one line first, six lines later). Users in those situations are especially keen to see what the multi-line network will give them, and it’s not just more lines but also more multi-seat connections on top of that. Users often don’t realize the potential of these multi-seat connections until they see it in a map like this. It’s not “complete” because it doesn’t emphasize connections to Link and 405 BRT, but this is just one step in a planning+implementation process, and everybody knows about Link’s coming because it was highly publicized and they voted on ST2 and ST3.

        “Transit emphasis corridors” is an ambiguous term but I think that was the point: just to say that these areas will have above-average transit without getting into specifics. That also indicates that those are the areas you’ll be able to get to most easily, and that if you’re looking for a place with above-average transit to live or work or do other things, these are the places to focus on.

  4. Does a “transit-emphasis” corridor on SR-522 to Monroe finally mean that there will be a bus that runs more than twice a day? Outside of those two trips, Bothell to Monroe is quite an ordeal – a three-seat ride on the 535, 512, and 271 totalling about 2.5 hours for what, in a car, is a straight-shot 15-minute drive. (You can theoretically do it as a two-seat ride if you’re willing to detour all the way to downtown Seattle).

    1. I think you have a valid point. The lack of providing a clear meaning of ‘transit emphasis corridor’ is the biggest graphics problem shown here. Some corridors will have great service like Link and 405 BRT, and others won’t. Some will be served by CT and others won’t. The term ’emphasis’ also seems too vague, as many of these corridors are probably not going to be redesigned for an occasional transit vehicle.

      I would have suggested creating at least two different classifications, like:

      1. ‘High-frequency transit corridors served by other operators’ for Link and 405 BRT.
      2. Other transportation corridors.

    2. (That still wouldn’t work as a two-seat ride; you’d need to use the 522-512-271 even if you went via Seattle.)

    3. Once ST’s 522 BRT and 405 BRT lines are serving Bothell, a Monroe to Bothell express service becomes very compelling because those two BRT lines connect you either directly or indirectly (via Link) to pretty much every job center in the region. I’d hope once either of those lines open, CT will respond by ramping up service along 522. Same story for service along Hwy 9 that terminates in Bothell …. the future Transit Center in UW Bothell may end up being a major transfer point between CT and ST.

      Slightly off topic, but when I’ve been to the Evergreen State fairgrounds, I’ve always thought that would make for a excellent P&R when the fair isn’t going on, similar to the red lot in Puyallup.

  5. Just a polite nudge about the use of the word ‘forecasts’ in the title. Generally, forecasts are what will result in the future — as a result of actions or external forces. Appropriate examples within the article include a financial forecast or a ridership forecast which would result from implementing the TDP.

    I would have used the word ‘plans’ or ‘programs’ in place of ‘forecasts’ in the title as this is about the proposed active decision of adopting the TDP by the CT Board. Adoption can be anticipated or predicted, but probably shouldn’t be forecasted. Frankly, ‘forecasts’ reads just a bit too Orwellian.

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