King County Metro has a survey up, aimed at people who work in the SODO area, which the agency defines as between Royal Brougham Way and Lucille Street. This is part of Metro’s Community Connection program, “in which Metro works with local governments and community partners to develop innovative and cost-efficient transportation solutions in areas of King County that don’t have the infrastructure, density, or land use to support regular, fixed-route bus service.”

I have several questions in to Metro about how these alternative services might be applied to SODO, and whether any changes to SODO’s fixed-route service could be possible. While I’m waiting for answers, I wanted to get this survey link out, as the deadline is tomorrow, the 27th, so if you’re a SODO commuter, go fill it out.

18 Replies to “Metro Survey for SODO Commuters”

  1. “don’t have the infrastructure, density, or land use to support regular, fixed-route bus service”

    Well, technically, maybe it doesn’t, yet the area has tons of bus service since you have to pass through there to go anywhere else.

    1. They have a freaking Link station, what more do they need? Seriously. You can get to Downtown Seattle from practically anywhere — and if you can’t that’s a bigger problem than getting to SODO. From there it’s a quick trip on Link to either Stadium or SODO. Short of downtown Seattle itself, I can’t think of a part of the county that’s better served.

      1. I work in SODO and filled out the survey, which told them I mostly take the bus and link already.

        But a lot of people drive to this area, and I most of the questions were basically asking “what can we do to get you commuting by bus or subway, if/when you aren’t?” Seems useful for them to learn, even if the result is just “everyone who would take transit already is”.

      2. The freaking Link stations can be a 15-20 minute walk to destinations on First Ave S. Not many will walk that far as a twice daily commute

      3. Especially not with the crossings of the BNSF rail right-of-way. A freight train can be a four or five minute delay.

  2. I would like to see some service return to First Ave S between Pioneer Square and S Lander. I recognize that Metro moved the service because of reliability, but having absolutely no service is not a good solution.

    There are few routes across the railroad and they are not good walking experiences. If they want to make First Ave S transit accessible there needs to be one route on it. And live with delays on stadium event days

    1. That was my comment too. It’s a long and unpleasant walk from 1st Ave over to 4th Ave/SoDo Busway/Link stations.

      I’ll just point out that other cities (including Los Angeles) establish temporary bus only lanes on game days using traffic cones and enforce them with the help the traffic control officers that are already in place for the game.

      1. As they do here at Husky Stadium. Granted, those games are on Saturdays, but weekday games in SoDo end in the evening so doing so should be of minimal inconvenience all around. @Ricky – spot on.

      2. Yes, this is a good idea. It would also encourage people at the baseball stadium to patronize Pioneer Square establishments knowing they could get to the park reliably before the first pitch.

    2. I wonder if it would make sense to simply have Route 50 continue north on First Avenue past Lander all the way to Edgar Martinez Drive — then to Fourth Avenue to Stadium Station then back to SODO station on the busway where it would resume its normal routing.

      Route 50 needs more riders anyway. Providing better frequency would also be great in general and this would help justify this. It would also give Route 50 a crossing over the railroad tracks and it wouldn’t have to stop for trains on Lander, which can throws Route 50 horribly off schedule. At some times, the trains crossing Lander between First and Fourth Avenues take at least 10 or 15 minutes to clear.

      1. I wish the 50 would run nonstop from West Seattle to Beacon Hill, and this would just make it more entrenched in SODO.

  3. Question 5: I hope it’s ok to put multiple modes adding up to more than the # of days worked;).

    I don’t work in the area, went through it mostly to provide open ended comments in the end. It sounds like a frequent DART-like circulator service connecting to the Link station would be very helpful for those commuting or having business/errands in the area. Analogy would be the U-district to/from Link (until the new station opens), which has pretty extensive frequent bus coverage and now Spin/Lime as an option. Most people just aren’t going to walk more than 10 minutes, and they’re not going to call an Uber from the station every day either. Very common “last mile” dilemma. There are quite a few Spin bikes in the area with a concentration near SODO station, so biking is definitely part of the answer, as is making it more attractive to walk.

  4. Street crossing times are very long while walking and we need that 1st Ave bus service back for trips within Sodo

  5. Filled out the survey. I commute to Starbucks corporate five times a week through this area, mostly by walking, because I am not aware of where a transfer would be possible from the RR E (and dislike a long wait for an infrequent bus). However, I am pregnant, shuffling a little slower every day, and sometimes would like a break (and often commute at an hour in which I can’t catch the corporate shuttle).

    Let’s see if anyone in this thread knows – where the heck do you transfer to the southbound 21, or some other bus that stops nearer to Starbucks?

    1. Transfer from SB RR-E to SB Route 21 on 3rd Ave, such as 3rd Ave at Columbia St, in Downtown Seattle.

      1. OK, so I need to make the decision in downtown… thanks for the answer, it helps a lot.

  6. Other comments about transit through the SODO area, now that I’ve been a carless commuter for over a year (my profile – youngish, female, white, pregnant):

    –East/west travel in this entire area is brutal, utterly brutal. I love the light rail but the slog across the enormous car-sewer roads and rail lines is a lot to ask, especially with almost no pedestrian amenities. I finally chose a commute that has no east/west travel in SODO whatsoever, mostly because I feared someone taking a right hook onto 1st or 4th would eventually end my life otherwise.

    –Frankly both 1st and 4th are almost unbearable for pedestrians in every way. I even avoid traveling north/south along them, even though it has more amenities, because it is so unpleasant to choke on car exhaust from the constant traffic, and there are almost no street trees to provide relief. The crappy no-sidewalk potholed road next to the port has slower traffic and more eyes on the street (due to all the parking there,and people hanging out behind the establishments). I do walk along 1st in winter because it has streetlights after dark.

    –A large proportion of the city’s homeless hang out in the SODO district because there are a lot of dead ends, parking lots, industrial spaces and less official oversight. However I have had nearly no problems from this (just some catcalling, probably wasn’t even from the homeless). The unnerving populations for a pedestrian are found underneath freeway overpasses, esp. 1-90 and east of the stadiums ( I NEVER walk here), and ESPECIALLY Pioneer Square (where I must walk, because that’s where RR E ends, and also this is where I can access a bathroom and a late breakfast if needed). Most of the Union Mission’s population, again, is harmless, but there are a few hanging about there who are young, strong, angry, and completely out of their mind. Recently I have seen cops on bikes monitoring the streets, which is great (and I have seen them in action defusing situations), but I am concerned that they might only be there for tourist season…

    –The existence of the stadiums is a pet peeve of mine. You have to walk so far to get past one… and then there’s ANOTHER ONE. The streets around them are hulked up on steroids to accomodate a million cars, and crossing them is the most dangerous part of my commute. My heart is heavy that they might build a third installment along my commute. I also know that no one else in Seattle cares at all about any of that. On the other hand, I really like the bustling street activity when a game is going on – I like ballpark hot dogs! Also – go Sounders! :)

    Suggestions from my wish list: Better channeling of cars on roads around the stadiums, helping them see me and go slow enough not to kill me. Make the pedestrian facilities better on east/west! FIX the incredibly crappy crossing lights where you can actually turn off your signal if you push it at the wrong time!!! Also, plant trees, trees, more treeeeeees.

    Oh, and I would also like a bus that ran down 1st which I could easily transfer to and get dropped off at work.

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