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Mike Orr brought up in my West Seattle restructure post that Alki Beach is underserved. I definitely agree with this. The roads to Alki Beach are not particularly difficult to navigate, but it is only served by the infrequent 50 and the peak-only 56. There is also the Water Taxi to Seacrest Park, but it doesn’t run enough to actually be considered a way to get to Alki Beach. I think there should be a frequent route to Alki Beach.

Currently, Routes 50 and 128 are coordinated to provide 15-minute service on California between Alaska Junction and Admiral Way. I find this a little strange, considering these routes are completely different. Route 128 runs straight to North Admiral while Route 50 goes west to Alki Point. Metro has a RapidRide route between Alki Point and Alaska Junction in its 2040 plan, but I think there needs to be a better solution in the meantime. I have come up with a proposal:

Route 128 will run to Alki Point instead of North Admiral. Route 50 will be upgraded to 30-minute frequency on Sundays. Routes 50 and 128 will be coordinated to provide combined 15-minute service between Alki Point and Alaska Junction.

Route 22 will be extended to Seacrest Park via California to replace Route 128 in North Admiral. It will be coordinated to provide efficient transfers to the Water Taxi.

10 Replies to “Transit to Alki Beach”

  1. The hourly evening and Sunday service to Seattle’s most popular sandy beach has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I have often postponed going to Alki because of it. It would also enhance Seattle’s tourism if you could get to a beach easily by bus. And a more frequent bus would make people stop thinking the only way to get to Alki is by car. The water taxi is not a substitute because it’s hourly, stops two miles from the main part of Alki, and has very limited service off-season.

    The reason for double-frequency in upper California is to replace the all-day 55 which was deleted in the C restructure, and because California Avenue and the Admiral district are growing urban villages. 30-minute service to Alki is tolerable for me; it’s the 60-minute service that really bothers me.

  2. How is the water taxi not frequent enough to be considered a way? It’s certainly got some limits (particularly the shuttle not running late in the evening on extendend nights for the bus), but it currently runs hourly on weekends during the summer daytime (as frequent as the 50 on sundays) and runs half hourly during commute times on weekdays (going to every 45 minutes when they move the dock). When i worked in southern downtown that (shuttle and water taxi) was my daily commute). It’s still my first choice when going downtown on a weekend (I live on the beach).

    Not saying I wouldn’t love more service (particularly better frequency on the 50 at night on weekdays), but the water taxi definitely is frequent enough to count.

  3. Most of the time, when I do go to Alki beach, it’s on a summer day when the water taxi is running, and I have time to do the two-mile walk.

    That said, the whole Alki Beach area is underserved, considering that you’ve got a consistent row of multi-story buildings on one side, but not even all-day, all-year bus. Forget the tourists, the residents of the buildings, have no good transit options half the year.

    This issue came up during the RapidRide C restructure a few years back, when Metro actually proposed running the water taxi shuttle year-round, as a coverage route, even when the water taxi, itself wasn’t running. I think this would have been good. Unfortunately, the people decided that a one-seat bus ride to downtown during rush hour was more important than having consistent off-peak service, so the #37 bus (slower than the water taxi and not very frequent) stands, and all-day service along Alki Ave. remains summer only.

  4. The water taxi shuttle buses need a rethink, as they have become somewhat more important than simple “get to the ferry” routes. People have realized that they’re a free circulator of sorts and thus use the route with no intention of starting or ending at the ferry dock. Time to think about taking the kid gloves off the 773 and 775.

    1. Yes, Alki Ave. should have regular bus service, rather than special-purpose shuttles. Ideally, the 773 and 775 would be replaced by extensions to the 50 and 128. It’s ridiculous for the 128 to stop right at the top of the hill without going down.

      Also, Alki needs a lot more staircases to connect to the beach to the nearby neighborhoods. There are plenty of places where room for such staircases could be found simply by clearing away some of the blackberry bushes.

  5. One idea that may be good is to have the 125 not go downtown, but connect to the C line and continue to Alki via a California/Alki Ave/Admiral Way loop, and run it every 30 minutes all day. The C line is very frequent anyway, so why not create a feeder to it?

    Hours cut be cut by #1 discontinuing the 55/37/56 (or is it 57?) peak express routes that serve this neighborhood, and #2, shortening the 128 by having it turn left after Sylvan way and ending at Westwood Village.

    1. Also cut out the deviation to SSC from the 128, and have an actually good times transfer to the 125 (like 10 minutes. Timed transfers is low-hanging fruit that Metro and ST are particularly bad at). That way, every 128 trip including weekends can connect to SSC and Admiral/Alki (with more coverage in Alki), and duplicate service can be reduced, and creates a strong transfer-based network that takes heavy advantage of the very frequent C-line.

  6. Rumors have it that the 50 is going to have 30 minute frequency nights and Sunday in a future service change. That will make only the 22 as the only route with hourly frequency in the Seattle area.

    1. So this is one of the things that would go away under Eyman’s initiative. It would be ironic if the service starts for two months and is then cancelled. That would be another roller-coaster for Metro, which just went through a huge layoff/rehire.

      Still, I forgot about the night-owl reorganization. Was this part of Move Seattle or another vote?

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