Page Two articles are from our reader community. Sign up for an account.

The RapidRide system is a nice addition to the bus system in Seattle, but right now I feel that there isn’t enough difference between RapidRide and regular buses other than WiFi, some dedicated bus lanes, and wider-spaced stops. In fact, some regular routes are more frequent than RapidRide routes. The Madison BRT (RapidRide G) is supposed to have more BRT-like features, so I think the whole RapidRide system should be like that. Here is a map of my proposed RapidRide system (uncheck the Link box) https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nBYvhYMteQDSepINtLnV9nfzVlA&usp=sharing

Service

Dedicated stops/stations (stations can be shared between RapidRide lines, but not with regular buses)
Off-board payment at all stations
Dedicated bus lanes on most sections, only a few sections in mixed traffic
Coordination with street lights

Frequencies (minutes)

Peak: 5-7.5
Weekday Midday: 10
Weekend Midday: 12
Early Morning/Late Evening (4-6 AM and 10PM-12AM): 15-20
Night (12AM to 4AM): 45-60

Expansions

G Line will be extended to Madison Park to replace Route 11.

D Line will be extended to Lake City via Holman Rd and Northgate Way. Route 40 will terminate at Carkeek Park.

E Line will have a new station at 38th/Aurora to serve Fremont, even though it is somewhat of a walking distance.

Route 65 will become a RapidRide K Line, going between Brooklyn Station and Lake City.

The Sound Transit 522 BRT will be extended west to Broadview to provide crosstown service on 145th St.

There should be some kind of rapid transit going between Seattle Center, SLU, Capitol Hill, and Madison Valley, similar to the east-west portion of Route 8. However, the city is still rearranging the streets in SLU, so they should get that done before putting such a RapidRide line into service.

Canceled

In this post, canceled means that the route will not become a RapidRide route. I only mention the routes that appear in the 2025 plan.

Rainier: The Rainier plan basically turns the 7 into a RapidRide. I think the 7 runs close enough to SeaTac Link, so it shouldn’t be a RapidRide. In Rainier Valley there should be Link feeders instead.

40: Ballard already has the D Line, so there shouldn’t be a parallel route. I would just extend the D Line to Northgate and truncate Route 40 at Carkeek Park. If there is a Ballard to Fremont rapid transit (BRT, Streetcar, Link), it should go to Wallingford and U District instead of SLU and Downtown. The 44 RR serves this in a way, but it runs too far from the center of Fremont. That is why I think a Ballard-UW Link line would be good. If there should be a Fremont to Downtown RR, it should also go through Queen Anne (possibly an extension of Route 13 to Fremont).

372: If there should be a RapidRide line in Northeast Seattle, I think 35th Ave NE would be a better corridor for it. That is why I suggested turning Route 65 into a RapidRide line. Also, Sound Transit already plans a 522 BRT, so the 372 should just be a local shadow.

Reduced

Roosevelt: The portion of Roosevelt RR between Northgate and U District is redundant to Northgate Link, so there should just be a local shadow rather than a RapidRide line. However, I think a RapidRide along Eastlake could make sense. It should be called Eastlake RapidRide, not Roosevelt RapidRide.

C Line: When West Seattle Link opens, the C Line will have much less purpose. In fact, people might even switch to the H (Delridge) Line when it opens. I think when West Seattle Link opens, the C Line should run to Alki Point north of Alaska Junction.

D Line: Ballard residents will probably switch to Ballard Link when it opens. I would assume that Ballard Link will be extended further north to Crown Hill after the first phase is opened. I think that when the first phase of Ballard Link opens, D Line should be truncated south of Market, and a local bus will run along 15th Ave W between Market and Downtown.

29 Replies to “Improving RapidRide”

  1. Metro has a dedicated RapidRide station pair at Pike Street, and maybe a few more should be added downtown, but dedicated stations everywhere is unnecessary and excessive. Swift has dedicated stations sometimes a half block from the local shadow, but I’ve never seen a local bus loading bog Swift down. If multiple routes are loading simultaneously, then the stop needs to be longer than one bus. Having combined stations allows other routes to use the in-lane stops and real-time signs, which is a signficant enhancement to the network.And sometimes people have a choice of multiple routes, whichever one comes first. It’s easier of those are at the same stop.

    The purpose of both the D and the 40 is so that one can serve Holman Road/105th and the other can serve 85th/Greenwood’s center. That’s not implemented yet it is in the LRP.

    Metro is bullish on the 65 (35th Ave NE), the way it’s also bullish on the 31/32 (NE 40th Street) and the 62. 35th strikes me as too low-density for its current service, much less RapidRide. 25th doesn’t have much more density but it is close to U Village and the apartments north of it, and a more direct route between UW, U-Village, and Lake City, so it seems like a better RapidRide corridor. The 372 is slower than it should be for this corridor, so RapidRide-izing it would be a chance to improve that.

    The Rainier plan splits the 7 into two lines. One just serves north Rainier and Jackson. The other is connected to the 48 (23rd-Rainier). A lot of working-class people ride from one part of the valley to the other; the 48 shows that a lot of people ride between the valley, 23rd, and the U-District; and the 48 used to go to Rainier Beach and it’s been a loss ever since it stopped doing so (as in my trips to Columbia City). Plus Judkins Park Station is right in the middle of the line. The weakest part of all of this is north Rainier, but it has to have something, and Jackson Street certainly needs Rapid Ride, and it’s only a mile south of Jackson, so why not.

    “Roosevelt RapidRide” is just a planning name. I lived at 56th & University Way for fifteen years so I saw how many trips a Roosevelt RapidRide can serve, from 55th to 42nd, 65th, and Eastlake, from 45th to SLU, and many other popular combinations. It’s like a mini Aurora or the 48. And it will become bigger because Roosevelt is in the middle of the U-District upzone. So Roosevelt/Eastlake RapidRide makes perfect sense, and Link doesn’t serve those trips at all.

    The C will become a north-south line in Metro’s plan. In the second phase (when DSTT2 and Ballard open), the C goes on Alki – California – Burien. The 120 becomes RapidRide, and the 21 becomes a Frequent north Admiral – 35th – Burien route..

    1. I picked 35th Ave NE because it is more centralized than 25th Ave NE and it also would serve Children’s Hospital. However, if 25th Ave NE is picked for the RR corridor, it should only go as far as Lake City.

    2. 35th strikes me as too low-density for its current service, much less RapidRide. 25th doesn’t have much more density but it is close to U Village and the apartments north of it, and a more direct route between UW, U-Village, and Lake City, so it seems like a better RapidRide corridor. The 372 is slower than it should be for this corridor, so RapidRide-izing it would be a chance to improve that.

      That is the problem in general. Lake City has very good density. The UW is an outstanding destination. Yet there is very little in between there. This is an interesting map I ran across — https://jeffreylinn.carto.com/viz/681ff218-0a5d-11e6-8f50-0ea31932ec1d/embed_map. Aside from Lake City Way, there really isn’t much between Lake City and about 55th. Serving the Children’s hospital or the area around the mall makes sense, but it is hard to argue that what they need is better north-south service. If anything, they need better east-west service. On 45th, they will get it (as the 44 is extended). On 55th, you could send the 74 to 45th, truncate it somewhere in the U-District and just run it more often. Now folks in the area can get to the U-District (and the Brooklyn Station) quite easily. My guess is that doing so would be preferable to heading south, even if a RapidRide was added. Replace the 372 or 65 with Rapid Ride, and I’ll still prefer the expanded 44 if I’m headed to Link. It would run just as often (if not more), and connecting to the Brooklyn Station is easier.

      Looking at the maps again, there is only one corridor between Lake City and the U-District that goes through apartments (or other destinations) the entire way. That is Lake City Way to Roosevelt. It also happens to run right by a light rail station. As mentioned, connecting to the U-District is just as good (if not better) than connecting to the south campus of the UW. I wouldn’t eliminate the 372 (by any means) but if you are going to create a new RapidRide for the area, than it would be on the Roosevelt/Lake City Way corridor.

      So, instead of ending the Roosevelt BRT at 45th, you continue it, to Lake City. Yes, it parallels Link much of the way. But Link only has two stops there (45th and 65th) while that corridor has several top destinations not served by Link. You have South Lake Union (huge), Eastlake and Lake City. If traffic is light (say, 10:00 AM) then I could easily see someone riding the bus from Lake City to South Lake Union, instead of the three seat ride that would involve Link. You also have plenty of destinations that are in between Link’s suburban stop spacing. Campus Parkway, 50th, 55th, 60th, etc. There are places on Lake City Way south of Lake City that seem to have high ridership as well. I look forward to the next report for the 522, for example, because I’ve seen a lot of people getting off at 20th.

      The big problem with Lake City Way, though, is traffic. But that is a big part of these RapidRide+ projects. It isn’t just about the headways, and the off board payment, but it is about big street improvements. For this route it would be a challenge to just go straight down Lake City Way to Roosevelt. That would be great in the middle of the day, but terrible during rush hour. But that is why the city should study alternatives. If you can’t take a lane, then try and find a way to maneuver around the problem. You need to study alternatives (both expensive and cheap). Ideally you just follow Lake City Way to Roosevelt (since that is the fastest route without traffic) but if there is a way to greatly speed up the bus, then do something else.

      Or you just live without RapidRide service in the area. It is hard to see why you think the 40 doesn’t need RapidRide service, but anything in this neck of the woods does. This just has way fewer people. The only significant density is by Lake City and the U-District (and the Roosevelt/Lake City corridor I mentioned). The U-District is served by Link, which means that the main thing you need is a way for people in Lake City to get to Link (or places west, like Ballard). Getting to the UW is important, but Link would help with that anyway. If I’m headed from Lake City to UW Medicine Hospital, in a few years I will take a bus to 130th, then ride Link. I think I would get there before either the 65 or 372, even if they are RapidRide buses.

    3. “Lake City has very good density. The UW is an outstanding destination. Yet there is very little in between there.”

      The city could do something about this with zoning.

      “it is hard to argue that what [35th-area residents] need is better north-south service. If anything, they need better east-west service.”

      Interesting point. Metro made the 65 full-time frequent and soon night owl to address the chronic underservice in northeast Seattle, but it’s questionable how effective the 35th corridor is. I’d like to hear more from people in the area. I think the 65 is frequent for three reasons: it runs the full length of the U-Village/Laurelhurst commercial area, it serves Children’s, and that 145th extension gets some service to Jackson Park. The 35th area in between comes along for the ride like the 12’s 19th tail when Madison needs frequency, and on paper it’s halfway between 15th and Sand Point Way (although the low density means few people can use it, and just as many are outside its frequent walkshed.)

      “On 55th, you could send the 74 to 45th, truncate it somewhere in the U-District and just run it more often.”

      That’s the same as resurrecting the 30, which Metro intends in March.

      “instead of ending the Roosevelt BRT at 45th, you continue it, to Lake City.”

      Good idea. It won’t happen because Northgate, but it’s a thought. Although the traffic on LCW would make the rest of the line unreliable, sabotaging the promise of Move Seattle. Roosevelt RR will go to 65th. It’s unclear that 65th to Lake City has to be the same route, like it’s unclear that the 62 from Sand Point to Greenlake and Fremont to downtown have to be the same route. However, Metro plans to adopt the 522 (downtown-Woodinville), which people seem to not notice, so that preserves at least something through Lake City to 80th, where it transfers to the Frequent 15th route (Richmond Beach – 175th – UW Station).

      Having 522 BRT, Express 522, and RapidRide 372 overlap on Bothell Way sounds like a lot of overservice, so there may be political room to modify that Express 522 when people feel more reassured about that 145th Link connection. In that case maybe it can be downgraded to RapidRide from Roosevelt stn to somewhere north (145th stn via LCW/145th?, or even continuing west for that Greenwood Ave extension you want).

      “I look forward to the next report for the 522, for example, because I’ve seen a lot of people getting off at 20th.”

      I heard the stop wasn’t well used, but that was just one report.

      1. “instead of ending the Roosevelt BRT at 45th, you continue it, to Lake City.”

        Good idea. It won’t happen because Northgate, but it’s a thought. Although the traffic on LCW would make the rest of the line unreliable, sabotaging the promise of Move Seattle.

        I’m not sure Northgate makes sense as an extension of the Roosevelt HCT. I know that is the plan, but plans change. In terms of potential riders, I would say Lake City has more. If the Northgate route extended beyond Northgate TC, then it might be able to catch up, but that is not likely to happen. But the main argument for serving Lake City is that Northgate will already have a way to get to the UW and Roosevelt (using Link). I just don’t think you add that many riders if you go north of 65th to Northgate.

        As far as traffic goes, Lake City traffic is no worse than Roosevelt or Eastlake traffic, and it is obvious at this point that they aren’t going to solve that problem. The bus will run in regular lanes for the most part. Besides, as mentioned, Lake City has alternatives, while much of Roosevelt/Eastlake doesn’t. If the problems close to the freeway are impossible to fix, then you zig-zag to 15th or 20th. For much of the road (especially close to Lake City itself) there is the opportunity to take parking, and add bus lanes (and in some cases, they are already there). I wouldn’t be surprised if in general, it would be the other way around — the Roosevelt or Eastlake section would be slowing down the Lake City Way section.

        Having 522 BRT, Express 522, and RapidRide 372 overlap on Bothell Way sounds like a lot of overservice, so there may be political room to modify that Express 522 when people feel more reassured about that 145th Link connection.

        I agree. At most you need two buses north of 145th (the BRT and something else). Unfortunately, since the BRT turns on 145th, it makes sense to send two routes up to 145th, if not farther. A lot depends on how much right of way they add on highway 522. I would be tempted to send the 372 to at least Kenmore, but with limited stops (to prevent slowing down the BRT). The Roosevelt/Lake City Way HCT bus would not go further north than 145th. It would be tempting to send it farther, but that would be a very long bus route.

        But I could also see this: Run the Roosevelt HCT to 65th and end it there. Run the new 522 from Kenmore (or even Bothell) to the U-District via Roosevelt, and give it off board payment. This new 522 would overlap two routes that are also off board payment (making for good transfers and fast service). The 372 would be down graded. It could then end at 145th, or even before then (e. g. where the 41 ends). Either way, the 372 would continue — it would simply not be as important. It would be useful for serving 25th, and connecting Lake City to lower campus. I would try and keep headways the same, which is why if push came to shove, I would run that only to Lake City.

        Again, a lot depends on how much right of way they add for highway 522. There really isn’t a great turn around spot at 145th. There is plenty of density there, and it drops off rapidly after that, so by that standpoint, it is a logical terminus. It also enables the key connection (to the Sound Transit BRT). It is just that there is really nothing there. There isn’t much at Lake Forest Park, either, which is why I suggest Kenmore. An express (with only a couple stops between 145th and Kenmore) wouldn’t take too long, really, as long as the SR 522 problems are fixed with adequate bus lanes. So much depends on how well the ST 522 BRT project is built.

        As for now, I think the Roosevelt BRT project should not go farther than 65th. The 522 (if it exists) should end at Roosevelt, or the U-District. Whatever traffic problems exist for that bus are nothing new for riders. At some point, they should study sending the Roosevelt HCT to Lake City. If it turns out they can do that without spending too much money, then they should do so, and start shuffling things around.

  2. Totally agree about rapid ride not being so “rapid,” this was pretty disappointing to me when I moved out here. And I’m a skeptical about calling Madison rapid ride and the I-405 expressway busses “BRT” (though Madison seems to come closer). If Metro and Sound Transit want to use the term BRT, at least make it a true BRT for the majority of the route. Start with banning cash payment on RR, and stop putting busses behind cars!

    1. Metro has already stopped using the term BRT for Roosevelt or any other RapidRide. ST hasn’t yet decided what the branding for 405 or 522 will be, so it may or may not be called “BRT”. They might call it “Swift” because that’s what it most closely resembles.

      1. They are still calling it Madison BRT, though. It is always a judgement call (when is a river a creek?) but I think they have it right. Based on the plans, Madison will be a congestion free line that is very frequent and serves a high demand area along the entire route. Like the other RapidRide+ routes, it will be 100% off board payment. That sounds like BRT to me. Roosevelt, on the other hand, will be stuck in traffic for a lot of its route (much of Eastlake as well as Roosevelt). I think calling it “HCT” (meaning more frequency) is a fair assessment. It will still be a bit faster, with the off board payment, but I would consider it a stretch to call it BRT when the buses will likely be stuck in traffic much of the day. On the other hand, it might seem like BRT at noon.

      2. It’s RapidRide G now. Madison BRT is probably just on documents they haven’t bothered updating. I would be fine calling it BRT. To me the most essential feature of BRT is frequency, 10 minutes minimum until at least 9pm, so that it’s always there like a subway.

        High-Capacity Transit means it supports high passenger volumes, which is a level beyond this. Only light rail or a bus system like Curitiba or Mendellin are genuinely “high” capacity, The combined buses on 3rd Avenue and Jackson Street west of 12th approximate it, but HCT implies an optimized corridor for one or a few routes, not a spaghetti of routes and cars.

        Tacoma is muddying the waters by calling its Pacific Avenue corridor HCT. That may be appropriate given that Tacoma is a small city with small capacity needs, but it sounds grandiose and misleading.

      3. As of August 21, 2017, the website still says “Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit”. (http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/MadisonBRT.htm). The web page is pretty clear that it considers this BRT (it is mentioned several times on the page). It also says, and I quote:

        When service starts in late 2019, King County Metro will operate Madison Street BRT as RapidRide Line G..

        In other words, Madison Street BRT *is* RapidRide G. They are one and the same.

        Contrast that with the Roosevelt project. When I search for “Roosevelt BRT”, it used to send me to a page that said “Roosevelt HCT”. Now it says “Roosevelt RapidRide” (https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/RooseveltHCT.htm). I can’t find the term “BRT” anywhere on that page. It has transitioned from BRT to HCT to “RapdiRide”. This latest transition is right there, in Project Update (and I quote):

        Roosevelt to Downtown HCT is now Roosevelt RapidRide!

        From a branding standpoint, I like it. As you said, I think this is fairly accurate. My guess is that Madison BRT is the first project in Seattle that would qualify as at least a bronze level BRT (according to the ITDP standard). I would continue to call it BRT, and hopefully it will live up to its moniker. If so, that would be great, as folks would embrace the concept and want it in other parts of town. I could see them arguing for example for “real BRT, like on Madison, with the G”. The fear, of course, is that if they made a mistake — and it gets stuck in traffic — then it simply becomes “better than most RapidRide buses, but still not very fast”.

        Meanwhile, the Roosevelt project is setting expectations low. Your point about HCT is a good one, so now they just call it RapidRide. This means that it will be fairly frequent, have off board payment for part of the route, but still be stuck in traffic a lot of the time. I find it strange that they decided to focus on that corridor second, when other corridors have more promise or are more vital. Oh well, it does look like we will get some very nice bike improvements along a key bike corridor.

  3. So much will change about 2024, 2030 and 2025 because of Link. I wonder why some RapidRide routes won’t be extended to Link at both ends as the system expands.

    I would not be dismissive of outer Rainier. Segments of Rainier are as far from a Link station as Aurora Avenue will be. Rainier RapidRide will feed Link at Judkins Park, making a Downtown Seattle trip as fast or faster than taking a feeder bus to a Link station.

    I also think that with the high frequency, the short trip to IDC Station and the second entrance along with escalators and elevators, Judkins Park will emerge as a very well-used station – despite the blindness about this future shown by Metro and SDOT in current advance planning.

    1. Too bad there’ll be a 450-foot walk eastbound from Rainier Ave to the Link platform. Still better than Mount Baker, but that’s not saying much.

      1. Yep, but I’m not sure which entrance will be more important. It’ll probably depend on how Metro arranges the buses.

      2. Yeah, I expect the 2024 restructuring will be modest because Metro didn’t get ST and SDOT to put in a turnaround for buses at Judkins Park.

        It’s not perfect, but the Forest Hills Station bus stops in San Francisco show one easy way to do it.

      3. Yep, but I’m not sure which entrance will be more important. It’ll probably depend on how Metro arranges the buses.

        If things go as planned, there will be plenty of service to both ends. Corridor 3 as well as Corridor 4 will serve the station (https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/12/21/rapidride-the-corridors/). Corridor 3 will serve the southern end of Rainier, so for the rest of this paragraph, I’ll call it the truncated 7. I’ll call Corridor 4 the extended 48. I think the truncated 7 has has the greatest potential for improvement. You can only do so much on 23rd, and who knows what you can do on the southern end of Rainier. But according to the document, “for just $4.4m/mi., SDOT is proposing transit-only lanes for the entire [truncated 7] corridor.”. That is huge in my book. Of course what isn’t clear is whether they are talking BAT lanes or (center) bus lanes. But even with BAT lanes, this could be a much faster run, and thus a lot more popular.

        Meanwhile, the extended 48 would connect the southern end of Rainier Avenue with the Central Area (via 23rd). While this will be nice for many, it will also lead to a lot of transfers. If you are headed downtown, you will use the station at 23rd, or switch to the truncated 7. I doubt many people on the truncated 7 will transfer at Judkins Park, unless they are headed to Bellevue. If there is no congestion (and the transfer is a bit of a pain) you might as well stay on the bus. I suppose you might transfer early if you are going to transfer anyway (e. g. if you are headed to the U-District) but my guess is that you will see a lot more people entering Judkins Park station from 23rd instead of Rainier.

        The fact that the transfer is better on the 23rd end suggests that SDOT has the right idea with this restructure. The truncated 7 will be very fast, and people will stay on it to get downtown. The extended 48 won’t be as fast (there is only so much they can do) but it will be frequent, which is arguably more important, since a large percentage of the riders will be making transfers from it.

    2. “I wonder why some RapidRide routes won’t be extended to Link at both ends as the system expands.”

      Which routes in Metro’s long-range plan do think should go to Link stations but don’t? A lot of them do, like the “boomerang” route from UW stn – Laurelhurst – 75th – Roosevelt stn. And the Roosevelt stn – Meridian – 145th stn route. And the 75 reroute to 130th stn.

      As for the existing RapidRides, the D goes to Northgate station (Ballard – Lake City). The E is unchanged but arguably should continue to connect Aurora to Aurora Village. (And Aurora’s access to Link may be similar to the 35th Ave NE situation: the solution is more east-west service, not rerouting the E.) The C becomes an Alki – Burien line serving AJ station. The B meets Link at each end, as does the A.

  4. I wouldn’t consider the D and the 40 overlapping service, nor would I consider Link and 7 overlapping service. I think in both cases they service different neighborhoods & different transit corridors. Both definitely merit RR upgrades.

    For the C, your proposal matches what Metro is proposing, which I think is a good idea. I also like the idea of break the D line in two at the ship canal once Ballard Link opens, but I don’t think Metro is keen on this idea.

  5. No offense, but why does everyone forget about the 7? First Josh Vredevoogd proposed a fantasy subway system the other day. That proposal — https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/09/12/greater-seattle-lrt-map/ — would likely mean that Seattle would have the largest subway system in North America by mileage. It is great to dream (I can’t wait for the hyperloop to carry me to San Fransisco in a couple hours) but if you are going to dream, then you might as well include lines that are important and popular now. But he completely ignored the 7.

    Likewise you did the same thing here. As this chart shows, the 7 is the third most popular bus line in our system: http://s3.amazonaws.com/stb-wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/08221717/Screen-Shot-2016-08-08-at-10.16.52-PM.png. It is more popular than most of the RapidRide lines. The only two lines that are more popular are the E and the D. It is popular, despite not having any of the improvements that these RapidRide line systems do.

    Hopefully, that will change soon. Here is the plan for the RapidRide+ routes: https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/12/21/rapidride-the-corridors/. It does include the 7. The route is probably one of the more interesting and underappreciated potential improvements in the area. Jackson and Rainier both could use some major improvements. There are some tricky issues (we are seeing that already with the current plans for Rainier). How the city deals with them could play a big part in transit mobility for a lot of people in the city.

    1. OK, my fault. I looked at your map before I read your article. You remembered the 7, but inexplicably rejected it.

      This is a classic case of preferring geographic balance over adding cost effective improvements to the network. It is the same sort of thinking that has lead to serving West Seattle before serving the Central Area, or Interbay before Fremont. Things look good on a map — there appears to be a nice balance to the system.

      But when you dig into the details further, it just doesn’t make sense. There are places with a lot of density, and there are places without it. There are also subtle details that make a big difference. In the case of the 7 and Link, here are a few:

      1) The streets are fairly close together, but far enough that people aren’t eager to walk it.

      2) Link does not have urban stop spacing. There is a trade-off there (the train moves much faster through the valley) but it means that people on Rainier Avenue have to walk a lot farther to a stop. For example, it is about a 15 minute walk from Rainier and Orcas to the nearest train station (Graham — not yet built). It is farther if you live to the east of Rainier.

      3) Rainier Valley doesn’t lend itself to a grid very well. By all means I would like to see more crossing bus routes (we need them everywhere) but there are only so many places to go. To the west you have fairly low density, and then run into the water. To the east you run into the freeway, and streets that just don’t go through. Besides, even with a grid, you would have big holes in the system because of the stop spacing problems mentioned above.

      For example, there is a big gap between Graham and Columbia City (which essentially serves Alaska). So assume that you have east-west bus routes on Graham and Alaska. Great, but that is a very long walk for someone on Orcas. You could also add a bus that serves Orcas, and then does a dogleg to serve Graham. But you still leave out the section between Orcas and Alaska. Let’s say I’m on Rainier and 42nd Avenue South, a relatively urban area (https://goo.gl/maps/SHmUkXdm1xN2). So either I walk 15 minutes to the station, or I wait for a bus. That does what exactly? Serves this area of Rainier, then cuts over on Graham? Now you don’t really have a grid, but a messy system of bus routes that are neither efficient, nor popular enough to warrant better service.

      4) Finally, it serves a different area. It serves Jackson and other parts of Rainier Avenue. Just to connect to other parts of Link you are better off taking the bus. That sounds crazy, but consider this scenario. You leave Franklin High School, and want to head to Bellevue. You could walk to Mount Baker station (which is on Rainier) and then take the train to IDS, then over to Bellevue. Or you could take the bus on Rainier north, and get off under the freeway. Even when you are standing right next to the station it is faster to take the bus.

      One way or another, there is going to be a 7. You could make it fast, and improve the system as a whole, or let the many riders wonder why the city has spent so much money on improving transit, yet ignored them.

  6. >> G Line will be extended to Madison Park to replace Route 11.

    I know people really want to extend the G to Madison Park (despite the huge drop-off in density and destinations east of 23rd). Putting aside the very low bang for the buck, I think people aren’t considering alternatives for the area.

    It would be pretty simple. Just have the 11 follow the current 8 and 10 to downtown, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/89DHvhW24CR2. This does several nice things for the folks in Madison Park:

    1) One seat ride to the north end of downtown (as they’ve always had).

    2) One seat connection to CHS. This makes the trip to the north (e. g. the UW) much better than they are now.

    3) Good connection to the G, for fast trips to the south end of downtown, as well as all of Madison (Seattle U, the hospitals, etc.).

    Both Link and the G will be very frequent, making the transfer fairly painless. In short, this will be a huge improvement in mobility for those in Madison Park.

    Of course if you extended the G, you might be able to save some service hours. I’m not even sure about that. The G may run so often, that the savings are pretty minimal. But with the new 11, you do have some redundancies. But those redundant areas are also where you have high demand. For example, both the 8 and the 11 would run between Summit and 23rd. I consider this a good thing. It is likely the 8 will see increased frequency, but I don’t think bus bunching (with just those two buses) will likely be a major problem. The 11 will probably run every 15 minutes (as it does now) and that is fine.

    If you are looking for cutting lines and shifting service, that can happen with the current route of the 12. But that is a much bigger, more involved subject.

  7. About the 40 and D: They both should have RapidRide service. They are parallel, but not for very long, and far enough apart to justify RapidRide service on both (densely populated) streets. Plus they serve different southern ends. The 40 connects Ballard, Fremont, Westlake and South Lake Union. Even if the 40 ran on 15th, it would make sense to give that corridor special treatment.

    Then you have the issue of extending the D to Northgate. Given the nature of the Northgate Transit Center, this is essentially two different runs. A long one (from downtown to Northgate) and a short one, from Lake City to Northgate. Even if you make this RapidRide, it is a very long trip from Lake City to Ballard this way, given the Northgate Transit Center detour. While connecting Northgate to Lake City is nice, it will drop in priority once the station is added at NE 130th. If you are trying to connect to Link, then you will take a bus to 130th.

    Furthermore, improving the area around Northgate will be very difficult. I don’t think you can add bus lanes, as there is no parking to take, and you certainly don’t want to narrow the sidewalks. The big improvement you could make is to add off board payment. But that is a problem because of all the buses that converge towards the stations. Adding frequency would be nice, but there are likely to be alternative ways of getting there, which means it might not even be necessary. For example, assume you just truncate the 41. If you are in Lake City, you wouldn’t pass up a 41, just to catch the extended D — you just get on the first bus that arrives.

    What makes sense is to end the D at Northgate, and then extend the 40 to Lake City (as a RapidRide bus). This RapidRide 40 would take a different route after Ballard, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/YXmkj2a6nDH2.

    When the station is added at 130th, it would be by far the fastest way to Link. This would make getting from Lake City to Bitter Lake, Greenwood and Ballard much faster than it is today. Given the density all along this route, it would make sense for this to have off board payment the whole way. If this bus was reasonably fast, I see this as being a top five bus.

    Even with the overall benefit to mobility, this might not be politically possible until Link adds the station at NE 130th. Until then, you have a pretty easy alternative. Just end where the D ends, by going via 8th, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/YXmkj2a6nDH2. By ending where the D ends, you have a good existing layover spot for the bus. You would add only one stop, on 85th, close to 8th. The stop would be permanent (since the bus will eventually just stay on 85th to Greenwood). So you add the ORCA reader there (and the special bus stop). This provides a connection from Greenwood to Ballard that will only improve as this bus route is extended to Lake City.

    1. On the other hand, Metro’s LRP extends the 40 down 85th to Wallingford to 92nd to Northgate. I think that’s another very logical route that needs service, and more direct than taking Northgate Way and then detouring south for the station (let alone the college). Maybe 130th would be better for the D?

      1. Good point, I hadn’t thought of that. I like it.

        The only problem with doing that, though, is that now you would have a gap on Northgate Way (which has too much of a gap as is). Unfortunately, I don’t see a good way to solve that problem. Here are some alternatives:

        1) When the current 40 is heading towards Northgate, it heads south when it hits Meridian. Instead of doing that, it could head north, to 130th. The problem with that is there is very little three. The Meridian/Haller Lake is very low density, while you skip the avoid the much better Greenwood/Bitter Lake Area. I think that is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        2) Instead of turning on Meridian, the 40 could continue all the way under the freeway, then turn north on 5th. It would have to go all the way to 130th, to serve the station. Then it would head towards Lake City. The 41 would then become obsolete, I would imagine (there would be other ways to get to Northgate, and you would retain coverage along 5th). Unfortunately, that approach has backtracking, along with other problems. There is an awkward connection with other bus routes. For example, if I’m headed south on the E, and want to get over to Link, I would have to go all the way down to Northgate Way and then come back, to 130th (or go all the way to 85th, and come back to 92nd).

        Oh, if only the Northgate Station was at Northgate Way!

        I still like your idea. I think you do what you said. You the 40 as mentioned (as RapidRide) and the D via Holman, Greenwood, and 130th. You either live the gap in service along Northgate Way, or run some sort of local bus over there. Maybe the 28 could be sent to Northgate. Right now, most of the runs end at Carkeek. Instead you send the bus (which runs every half hour) to Northgate, via Northgate Way. Better yet, truncate that thing in Fremont (or SPU) and then run it every 15 minutes. A rider could easily transfer to the D (both would share part of Holman Road) or the 40 (at 85th) or stay on the bus to get to Fremont, more directly than they did before.

      2. Aach. I just realized that my idea of extending the 28 to the east to cover Northgate Way, won’t work. 8th NW goes under Holman Road (of course) which means that you can’t easily get over there. I think you either live with the gap (which really isn’t that big) or run an infrequent connector of some sort. Here is an idea: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ped7HgluGUQJWmP7gBV8OzIzIic&usp=sharing

        I think this works out just fine. The buses that you are running all the time don’t waste much time getting to their destination. The 40 makes a few turns, but gets to Northgate without much fuss. The D is very fast. It makes turns on Greenwood, 130th, and 125th. The coverage bus (what I call “New Bus”) serves mainly as a way to connect to other, more frequent buses. But you also have all day coverage for the 17, even it this bus runs every half hour. I run it on 80th (not 85th) for two reasons. First, you might as well add some coverage on 80th (which is lacking) and second, to avoid conflicts between regular buses and RapidRide buses on 85th. It makes sense to turn the 45 into a RapidRide bus route at some point. With these routes, much of the way will have ORCA card stations (e. g. RapidRide stations). You could even send the 67 over to 15th, while the 45 goes down Roosevelt, meaning that to turn the 45 into full on off board payment, you would only need to add a handful of stations (on 85th, east of 24th, and on Green Lake Drive). Once Link opens at Roosevelt, I expect the 45 ridership to increase dramatically, and with it the value of converting it to RapidRide.

      3. Ross, you could still send the 28 through on Northgate Way: 8th – 100th Pl – 3rd – Holman, using most of the D’s current turnaround loop.

        Alternatively, you could have the D go north on Aurora instead of Greenwood (which I think is a superior destination anyway) and either live with the smaller gap or have another route (like whatever’s the successor to the 345) pick it up.

    2. Extra turns is ridiculous. The D should continue north on Holman Road to wherever it goes, and the 40 should continue east on 85th to Greenwood and wherever it goes.

      1. Yeah, I agree. You still have the Northgate TC problem, but there is no reason for either the 40 or the D to turn when they hit 85th and 15th. Just go straight through the intersection, and turn later.

Comments are closed.