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This restructure could possibly happen when East Link opens, but the main purpose of this restructure is to make buses in Central District more efficient. A while back there was another post about the Central District. I commented some of my ideas on there, but I only gave a brief overview of it. Here I go into more detail. I will divide this post into routes.

Routes 14 and 27

Currently, Route 14 is rather unbalanced. It has high ridership along Jackson St, but low ridership along 31st Ave S. Route 27 is also unbalanced, with high ridership along Yesler but low ridership along the Leschi tail. However, the section of Yesler between 12th and 31st is a short walk to Jackson, and the section between 3rd and 12th is scheduled to be served by a reroute of Route 3. I have an idea to solve the unbalanced route issues.

Between Downtown and 31st, Route 27 will move to Jackson, and it will be renumbered 25. The current Route 27 will remain as a peak-only route running between Downtown and Leschi. Routes 14 and 25 will each run at 30-minute frequency, providing combined 15-minute service along Jackson. Route 25 could possibly be a trolley route as well, though it would require placing trolley wire to Leschi. Route 14 will also stop serving the tail to Hunter Blvd.

Routes 3 and 4

Metro plans to delete Route 4 and increase frequency on Route 3. I agree with this, but I would keep Route 4 running peak-only between Downtown and Mt Baker TC, acting as a 3X along Jefferson. I would also split Route 3 in Downtown. Route 3N will run as Route 34, and Route 3S will run as Route 3. Routes 3 and 34 could possibly be through-routed, but that would depend on future ridership patterns. Between Harborview and Downtown, Route 3 will run via Yesler instead of James (Metro already has such a plan).

Route 7

I am sure that Route 3 will still be crowded between Downtown and Harborview even after the Yesler reroute. I think Route 7 should run via Yesler instead of Jackson to relieve this. Plus, it would take Route 7 out of the congestion in Little Saigon. So basically Route 7 will continue straight on Boren until Yesler and then turn on Yesler.

Route 8

Route 8 will run straight on MLK instead of deviating to 23rd between Yesler and Jackson. Instead of going to Mt Baker TC, Route 8 will run via Massachusetts and 23rd to the Judkins Park Station.

Route 2

Route 2 will no longer run north of Downtown. It will also run via Pike/Pine instead of Seneca/Spring (Metro already has such a plan).

Route 106

Instead of going via Rainier and Jackson to International District, Route 106 will run straight on MLK until Massachusetts, then take Massachusetts and 23rd to Judkins Park Station.

Routes 49 and 36

Metro has a plan to combine Routes 49 and 36 and run it through First Hill via 12th Ave instead of Downtown. I like the overall idea, but I would prefer a routing on 14th Ave because 12th is too close to Broadway and too far from 23rd, currently the only two north-south corridors in that area. 12th can be served by the peak-only Route 9 instead.


Route 25 Map:

Route 49/36 between Jackson and Capitol Hill:

8 Replies to “Central District restructure”

  1. “I think Route 7 should run via Yesler instead of Jackson to relieve this. Plus, it would take Route 7 out of the congestion in Little Saigon.”

    Little Saigon and Chinatown are where a lot of the people are going to, because Jackson and Rainier are culturally similar. It’s like the similarity between Rainier and Renton that means families and shoppers travel between them. Yesler is only three blocks away so it’s not that big a deal, but it’s not where the storefronts are, or the businesses behind them. It would be like taking a bus off Broadway or University Way, when that’s where a lot of the riders are going, and the businesses want non-patrons to see their storefronts, and it’s a more pedestrian area which gives it an urban ambience. So I would question breaking the Rainier-Jackson connection. And while a 15-minute overlap on Jackson sounds great, it already has less than 15 minutes with the 7 so that would be a downgrade.

    Sending the 106 to Judkins Park is an interesting idea. And from there it could, ahem, go over to 31st and take over the 14 to downtown. That would make a squiggle like the 8 does, but it could take care of two routes, and it would leave a one-seat ride to downtown for those die-hards, following the rule that we’ll preserve one-seat rides only if it doesn’t detract from better service in the area.

    1. I agree Re. Route 7. From an ID-er perspective, until the streetcar runs at 5-10 minute headways, the busses along Jackson provide a much needed “just go to the stop” quick connection between Chinatown/ID Station and the businesses in Little Saigon.

      One thing the 7 could do though is go down 1st to the ferry docks instead of 3rd–i.e., where the train doesn’t go. It would seem to be an ideal connection for those taking luggage on the ferry to get to the airport or Amtrak. Or even tourists staying by the water front. Of course, the streetcar is supposed to eventually provide this connection in a few years (and for Christ’s sake, it had better be frequent!), and I’m not sure how beneficial this would be for those coming from Rainier Ave.


  2. I definitely support route 8 going straight on MLK. I don’t ride the 8, but I recall looking at boarding statistics and noting that the number of people actually getting on or off the 8 at 23rd/Jackson is far from impressive.

    I asked a Metro planner once why it does that. Apparently, a long, long time ago, only half the route existed, and 23rd and Jackson was the turnaround loop. Later, the route was extended, but Metro and/or the county council decided it was easier to keep literally every stop of the old route (including the turnaround loop) and just append new stops at the end, so that no one person who previously rode the old route would have to deal with the slightest change. And, so we’re left with several minutes added to the trip of everybody passing through, for no good reason, other than shear inertia.

    The northbound route 26’s jog around the block at Ravenna presumably exists for a very similar reason (only it’s much worse, since the extra walking distance to a stop along the direct route is about 50 feet, rather than 1/4 mile).

  3. I like the idea of doubling up on S. Jackson frequency and having half-frequency for the 27 tail. 27 tail may be low ridership, but it’s more of a hike than the 14 tail, so it should have some baseline service.

    What I’m thinking is move route 27 entirely to Jackson and don’t make a 25. Then take a heavily-modified 4 (which is redundant anyway), and (since it’s already going to be on Yesler) keep it on Yesler to 23rd, then follow the 48 and turn on McClellan street (passing very close to MBTC, but not actually terminating or stopping inside MBTC, but still close enough to transfer easily), and do the 14 tail (which will be removed from the 14). Run the new 4 either peak-only or hourly (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running a low ridership route hourly, even in Seattle proper).

    This way, Jackson becomes the CD east-west workhorse, most people will want to walk the extra 3 blocks for frequent service (but have the option of waiting for possibly hourly service on Yesler that may be closer to their points of interest). The high-ridership corridor gets double the frequency of the tails, and the 14 tail keeps a direct connection to MBTS and gains a connection to Judkins Park without backtracking to 31st (albeit at hourly frequency).

    1. The 14 along Jackson currently runs at a snail’s pace due to a mix of general traffic, badly timed lights, and a high percentage of disabled riders. Doubling service on that route seems like a recipe for even slower service overall than currently exists. The Judkins link station will be a good ways off from Yesler, so you’re essentially dooming residents along the Yesler/Cherry corridor to a walk over to Jackson, followed by an irritatingly slow bus ride every 15 minutes. At that point, people there may as well walk or bike to work.

  4. The mere 3-4 minutes to get to IDC Station or the mere 11 minutes to get to Westlake station from a frequent Eastlink train at Judkins Park Station will be a powerful connection, as compared with the 20-30 minute trips on buses in the CD today. It’s much faster than the current 10 minutes to go from Mt Baker to IDC on Link today. That’s not even considering how Eastside access will be easier.

    As you also note, many CD routes have unproductive eastern tails because the non-Downtown end doesn’t connect to much activity.

    With this in mind, Metro should restructure routes to better use the new 23rd Avenue entrance to Judkins Park Station as a major stop to serve not just Route 48 but also routes that serve any area east of 23rd Avenue (Route 48) and maybe even any area east of Broadway.

    That could require rethinking Routes 3/4, 8, 14 and 27. It may even end up with adjustments to other routes.

    It probably would require a few major systems assessments before settling on one — but better serving Judkins Park at 23rd Avenue should be an important restructuring principle.

  5. I’m afraid this sounds like little field work and mostly desk design. As they say in Japanese factories, “Go to gemba,” that is, go to the actual place and see the actual process.

    Ride the 8 from Rainier Valley to Madison Valley. It detours at Jackson and Yesler to pick up retail and apartment riders along Jackson and 23rd, not just *at* Jackson and 23rd. Although it’s true that a new 500+ apartment building is going up at 23rd and Jackson, and more riders will be getting on the 8.

    There’s no retail or apartments along MLK between Jackson and Yesler. Yes, it slows the full progress of the 8, but so does going all the way up to Madison Valley before turning toward Capitol Hill, Denny and Seattle Center. It’s a *bus run* — it stops at lots of places where people need rides.

    It’s not just fit 20-somethings that ride the bus, and can walk a quarter-mile more to a new merged route. It’s older riders, often of limited means, that need nearby and regular bus service for, say, their wheelchairs.

    1. >>Ride the 8 from Rainier Valley to Madison Valley. It detours at Jackson and Yesler to pick up retail and apartment riders along Jackson and 23rd, not just *at* Jackson and 23rd. Although it’s true that a new 500+ apartment building is going up at 23rd and Jackson, and more riders will be getting on the 8.<<

      So what? Those people can walk east to MLK, or take another bus route east to MLK if they don't feel like walking. Why should everyone riding through be inconvenienced by a nonsensical deviation? Transit systems should operate on a grid (or as close as possible). This deviation unnecessarily breaks that grid.

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