Page Two articles are from our reader community.

A while back I posted a Route 32 restructure having it go through central Queen Anne instead of Interbay because I felt the Interbay portion duplicated the D Line too much. However, people wanted it to go until at least 15th/Dravus so that it keeps the 15-minute frequency with Route 31 between U District and 15th. I came up with a couple other alternatives below. Here is a map of the alternatives:


South of Dravus, Route 32 will run like Route 1. A drawback of this is that Route 1 is a trolley route, and it would be a waste of trolley wire if a diesel route is operated full time on roads with trolley wire.

28th Ave W

West of 15th/Dravus, Route 32 will take Dravus, 22nd, Gilman, Govt. Way, and 28th Ave W to Downtown Magnolia.

34th Ave W

West of 15th/Dravus, Route 32 will take Dravus, 22nd, Gilman, Govt. Way, and 34th Ave W to Downtown Magnolia.


West of 15th/Dravus, Route 32 will take Dravus, 28th, Tilden, 30th, and Emerson to Discovery Park.

16 Replies to “Alternative alignments for Route 32”

  1. Excellent map and excellent ideas. Good work. A few thoughts:

    I like the Dravus/Emerson idea, but I think it would be very difficult. Dravus is extremely steep, and I’m not sure if a bus can make it up there. If it could, it would be great. Better yet, go up Manor Place, where much of the density is, like so: I think that would be great, but I doubt you can actually do that.

    Backing up a bit, I’m no fan of the Emerson part of the 31. You only have one stop along Emerson, which is fairly close to Gilman (which is served by the 33). I would move the 31 as well, so that it serves Interbay. Basically, I would use both the “28th Ave W’ and “34th Ave. W” ideas, and call them the 31 and 32. Now you have a bus route that is basically the same for most of its route, which in general is a good thing. It means that if there is an accident or congestion somewhere, it is likely to effect both routes equally, making spacing consistent throughout the route. It also means that you would have 15 minute service from Magnolia Village, Gilman, Interbay, SPU, Fremont and the UW. Not only is this great for making any of those connections, but it offers up options for those who are used to taking other buses. If you miss the half hour 33, you can grab the D, ride it to Interbay, and then take one of these buses.
    You also have a classic split. Where the split occurs is where the density is lowest. So the areas that get half hour service are not very densely populate areas, while the 15 minute areas are. In general, both of these runs seem much faster than the current 32 (those streets in Magnolia don’t have traffic lights). If you do save service hours, then it can be put into the D or other Queen Anne service (to make up for Queen Anne losing its one seat ride around the hill).

    1. A couple more thoughts. First, I don’t think that the 28th routing can use McGraw. Just like Dravus, it is very steep there. That is no big deal, though, you just go a little bit farther, and cut back on Condon Way. There isn’t even a stop sign on McGraw, so going that way doesn’t cost much time at all. You pick a couple more bus stops, and get closer to the 33. This means that if you miss the 24, you might be able to catch this bus (going the same direction) walk a block and catch the 33. So basically, from Government Way (where the split occurs) it would do this:

      One of the minor issues with my proposal is that the 28th routing takes just a bit longer than the 34th routing. I think that can be put to good use, though. Extend the 34th routing to and then up to Ray, like so: Normally I’m no fan of button hooks. In general I think they are a bad idea. But in this case, it is actually difficult to walk those two blocks, because the school is in the way. Walking from Albertson’s to a bus stop on 34th is actually a big pain ( You can walk south, to McGraw, but that is five minutes as well. If it doesn’t cost much to turn the corner (and I think it would be very cheap) I figure you might as well.

      One of the weird things about this proposal is that you would have two buses on McGraw, each going in opposite directions, but each (eventually) serving the same destinations. It is pretty obvious when you look at the map, but would be hard to easily explain at the bus stop.

      1. “One of the weird things about this proposal is that you would have two buses on McGraw”

        Like the 168/169 on 104th to Kent Station, and the former 3/4/13 on Queen Anne Ave. Undesirable in a long-term solution.

      2. Yeah, I agree — that would be less than ideal. I think that is a decent argument for doing something else. Personally, I would be tempted to just make the simplest change, like so:

        Keep the 32 as is, but change the 31. Have it follow the “34th Ave. W” routing. This would then give you 15 minute service from Interbay, which would make all the difference in the world in terms of transfers from the D. This would be a very minor change as well. Some folks on Thorndyke and Condon lose out, but people on Gilman, 34th and Interbay come out ahead.

        You could wait until headways get a lot better on the D before exploring other options (i .e either sending the 32 somewhere else, or simply getting rid of it, and giving all of its service to the new 31). If the D is improved considerably, but people still prefer the one seat ride of the 32 (versus the more frequent transfer) than maybe we just live with the redundancy.

  2. I personally like the idea of simply ending the 32 at SPU, but thru-routing with the 13, so that the one-seat ride between Fremont/Wallingford and Seattle Center is maintained. The Interbay section of the 32 can be dropped, as it’s completely redundant with the D-line. It also finally give upper Queen Anne an all-day bus connection to the north.

    Of course, for all this to happen, either lots of new trolley wire would have to be built, or the existing trolley buses are going to need to be equipped with much bigger batteries. It might also lead to a route that’s too long, once the thru-route with the 75 is added if this bus goes all the way downtown. Maybe this could be an idea for after Ballard Link opens, when a truncation of the 13 at Seattle Center becomes acceptable and battery bus technology will, by then, be presumably much better (and cheaper) than today.

  3. The Interbay section of the 32 can be dropped, as it’s completely redundant with the D-line.

    I don’t follow you.

    The 31 doesn’t go to Interbay, which means that with your change, the only way to get from SPU to Interbay would be to take the 31 to 11th, then walk about a third of a mile ( and catch the D. What is true of Interbay, is true of any place on 15th as well as Elliot. Oh, and the bus only runs every half hour.

    The big problem is the 31, not the 32. The connection between the 31/32 and the D looks great on paper. The 31/32 have 15 minute headways, and the D is even more frequent. But the transfer doesn’t work, thus — from a practical standpoint — the only way to make this connection is to wait for the half hour 32. Making matters worse, the same is true for Ballard. From SPU, the 31 has the same problem. The good news is that it isn’t that bad going the other direction. If you want to take the D southbound, then the 31, you have a much shorter walk. The problem is, now the 32 doesn’t serve the same stop! Imagine this: You take the D southbound from Ballard and get off right after the bridge. You go under the bridge and stand by the nearest bus stop. While standing there, you see the 32 zoom by you (in the inside lane). You are hosed. The 32 simply serves as a timer, meaning your bus will be around in about 15 minutes.

    The problem can be easily solved by simply moving the 31 to Interbay. Anthony’s “28th Ave W” route would do nicely. There is a trade-off. Riders on Thorndyke lose out, while riders on Gilman and 28th get extra service. But that is a wash, really. If people don’t like that, then simply go across Dravus, and turn left ( Heck, if people really want the old route, then double back, like so ( That seems silly to me, but still better than the current route.

    The big benefit is that both the 31 and 32 would serve Interbay. Given the newfound density in Interbay, that is justified in its own right. But more importantly, now you connect the D with the 31/32. Interbay is a great transfer point, both directions. Now if you want to go to SPU from Ballard, you take the D, walk across the little bridge, and wait at most 15 minutes. It is even easier if you are headed the same direction. This means that if you miss the 32, you just catch the D, and get off at Interbay. Odds are, you just saved yourself 15 minutes.

    1. Another thought: After you fix the 31 — by having it serve Dravus — the question remains what to do with the 32. I proposed an all Magnolia combination above, but we could serve Queen Anne instead. Running on the 13 means skipping Dravus, which is the whole point of the 31 change (making both buses serve Interbay, so you would have a good, frequent connections between the D and the 31/32). So you want to go as far as Dravus, but not necessarily follow the current route (which is a bit redundant). So how about this:

      Folks on Gilman would now have service. This provides extra service to 10th, and 6th, which are served by infrequent runs right now. But the nicest thing about this is that you have somewhat of a grid for Queen Anne. From various places on this route, it is much easier to get to upper Queen Anne. But more importantly, it is much faster to get to Ballard. Right now, if you are anywhere on upper Queen Anne and want to get to Ballard, you have to go south, and go all the way around the hill. This way, you have a much more direct route towards 15th. Google Maps says this route is as fast as any from the top of the hill (

      You still have the same issue — you have some steep roads. It isn’t clear whether Gilman and 10th (the zig-zag to get up to McGraw) is too steep. It might not be. They made Gilman diagonally to make it easier to go up, and that might be enough. If so, then the only problem is Queen Anne Avenue. You have a couple options:

      1) Connect into the wire at McGraw, as you suggested.

      2) Just end at the top of Queen Anne Hill. As long as you got to Galer, I think it would provide a lot of value.

    2. I guess it depends on just how important service between Interbay and Fremont actually is. Is there anything in Interbay worth riding too. Is there enough density there to warrant east/west service, not just north/south?

      I agree – the connection between the D and the 31 at Emerson is effectively non-existent.

      1. Is there anything in Interbay worth riding too.

        There is a QFC and a handful of restaurants. There will be more as the apartments fill in.

        Is there enough density there to warrant east/west service, not just north/south?

        It is OK (much better than it was). I would say that Interbay ranks above the Magnolia Village, but below the top of Queen Anne (and well below Lower Queen Anne). By itself, that wouldn’t warrant extra service. But it isn’t about what is there, it is about its location. The density is decent, but the connections are outstanding.

        This would be the best way to get from Ballard to SPU. It also works well for transfers coming from the south. Either way, you transfer at Interbay. If you send the buses to Magnolia (as I proposed) you then cover pretty much all of it. So basically, everyone in Magnolia, Ballard and Queen Anne would have a good two seat ride to SPU and for a lot of them, a trip to Fremont, Lower Wallingford and the U-District.

        All of this would be better than today. Even if you are trying to get from Uptown to Fremont it isn’t that good right now. A one seat ride is great, but not when it runs every half hour. But with this change, the D is so frequent (and the 31/32 frequent enough) that you are better off making the transfer (in Interbay).

        One of the key arguments for the old 32 has also gone away. Not too long ago, it was one of only two ways to directly get from Lower Queen Anne to SPU. It was either that, or the infrequent 13. Now you have the 3, 4 and 13. So, for example, someone traveling on the 8 trying to get to SPU has a lot of options, and the best one is probably to take the 3 or 4 (since they serve the same stop). The 32, as a means to connect to SPU, really isn’t needed anymore. It is still nice for getting to Fremont and the U-District (and would remain an indirect option) but there are other ways to get there from Lower Queen Anne.

        Which is not to say I wouldn’t love to have 15 minute service on the 13. Half hour service really stinks. That is essentially what I’m arguing — more frequency, even if it means more transfers. The 31 and 32 are so disjointed west of SPU that they operate as half hour, independent buses. That is OK for western Magnolia, but not OK when you want to connect to Ballard, Queen Anne or even eastern Magnolia.

  4. Why doesn’t Magnolia have any loop routes? The relatively low density and parallel and close north-south minor corridors, as well as the fact that its geography isn’t conducive to a grid network, make it ideal for a loop (in conjunction with the fact that the area is relatively small).

    I could imagine changing the 24 to be a Viewmont/Emerson/34th ave loop, the 33 to a Thorndyke/Gilman/Govt/28th loop, and either having the 31 and new 32 either split and do the same loops as the 24/33, or combine then and do a Govt/34th/McGraw-Condon/28th loop.

    1. That might work. It might save you a little time, which is always good. But I could see some drawbacks, such as:

      1) No Layover in Magnolia.

      3) You would skip the Daybreak Center, which would be controversial.

      3) A lot of people have slower rides to downtown or back. As it turns out, the areas with slower rides are also more densely populated. Those living on Gilman would have a longer ride to downtown. The most important corridor on the 24 is 28th, and those folks would now have a slow ride from downtown.

      With the 24, people come out ahead, but there is less a lot less density there. That is one of the interesting things about the 24. It is a crazy route (with all the zig-zags) but it serves the most important areas first, which is a good thing.

      The interesting thing about your proposal is that the 33 would take over the two biggest corridors in Magnolia. You could then make the case for 15 minute service on the 33, and half hour service on the 24. Doing that might make it possible. Some people have a longer ride to downtown, but they have more frequent service to make up for it.

    2. “Why doesn’t Magnolia have any loop routes?”

      The 24 is almost a loop.

      “It is a crazy route (with all the zig-zags)”

      The final zig is because Metro deleted the all-day 19 and the 24 absorbed the tail.

      Surprisingly, half the midday 24 riders ride it from one part of Magnolia to another, because of the steep hills if you try to walk it directly. But not on Viewmont Way; that gets practically nobody except me going to the South Park Bluffs and admiring the views. Metro’s 2040 plan attaches Viewmont Way to the Mercer Street – E Aloha Street – 23rd & Madison route. 28th becomes a Frequent route to Interbay and 145th Station. Thorndyke becomes a Frequent route to the U-District and 55th. 28th becomes a Local route from northeast Discovery Park to to Mercer Street & Fairview.

      Of Anthony’s alternative, only 28th and 34th sound feasible. You can’t go to Magnolia without serving the highest-density areas of Magnolia Village and Thorndyke/Gilman; I can’t see that being approved. And the Kinnear alternative serves an area Metro has repeatedly downgraded due to low ridership. The 1 used to go to Beacon Hill (36); now it’s attached to the 14 to be better balanced. Although the LRP makes the 1/14 permanent and Frequent, but I’d say that’s more the 1 coming along for the ride and assuming an abundance of resources than need. (I don’t expect everything in the 2040 plan to appear if the economy is not stellar.)

      1. I wonder if the problem with the 1 is where it ends. It is essentially like the old 2, 3, and 4. It just ends, with no connections to anywhere. That was good back in the day, when almost every transit trip was downtown, but now that folks want to go to other places (like Ballard, Fremont, or SPU) it is very limiting. That routing is interesting, and I could see it being paired up with one of the Magnolia routes. Select “34th Ave W” and “Kinnear” and imagine those as the 31 and 32. Maybe instead of supplementing the 1 (which you suggest is not very popular) it replaces it. That would be a degradation in service for those folks, but not terrible. There are so many buses traveling from Lower Queen Anne to downtown, that it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

        Of course the alternative is to just extend the 1 all the way to 15th. That gives you the same set of connections (to Ballard and to SPU/Fremont/UW) but without as much disruption.

        Either way, the challenge is dealing with the hill. For the 1, it would be a matter of extending the wire. If you sent the 32 up that way, you would probably need to use some wire as well.

    3. I forgot to answer the other part about loop routes. Metro tried them several times in various areas like the Ballard-Fremont one but they flopped.

  5. Once upon a time there was a great, very fast, short route from the U-District to Seattle Center: the old peak hour 45 that went via 40th, Aurora Bridge, then turning right immediately past the bridge to Queen Anne, then down the counterbalance, turning left on Mercer. Would something like that be feasible/desirable today on a full-time basis?

Comments are closed.