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Currently, Route 49 runs via Pine between Broadway and Downtown. I feel like this would be a bit redundant to the future Route 2 on Pine, but then I also think Route 2 would not have enough capacity to carry all the riders between Seattle Central College and Downtown. Moving Route 49 to Madison would be nice, but that would duplicate RapidRide G. Metro has a plan to merge Routes 49 and 36 and run the combined route through First Hill. However, this has received much criticism because many 36 riders ride to International District, and this combined route would break that one-seat ride.

Map of proposals:

Merge with First Hill Streetcar

The First Hill Streetcar would take over Route 49 north of Pine St. One problem with this is that the First Hill Streetcar is ridiculously slow, and having it take over the 49 route would not be so desirable. A solution is dedicated transit lanes, but 10th Ave is a bit narrow for that.

Replace First Hill Streetcar

Route 49 would replace the First Hill Streetcar entirely, running via Broadway, Boren, and Jackson. One problem with this is that so much money was spent on the First Hill Streetcar, and now the track exists, so it does not make too much sense to get rid of it.

Hospital Campus

Route 49 would run via Broadway, Seneca, 9th Ave, 8th Ave, and Yesler to Pioneer Square. Route 60 would move to 14th/15th. This would relieve some congestion on Route 3 between Harborview and Pioneer Square. This would also make use of some existing trolley wire on Seneca and 9th.


Route 49 would run via John, 15th, Pine, 14th, and Yesler to Pioneer Square. This would extend the Yesler service to 14th if Route 27 is reduced to peak hours (refer to my Central District restructure for more information). However, this would require placing new trolley wire along 14th and 15th. It would also mean that 49 riders lose their one-seat ride to SCC, but then they gain a one-seat ride to Group Health.


This is similar to the 14th/15th/Yesler proposal, except the bus will run via Jackson instead of Yesler, and terminate at International District Station. This would connect people along the 14th/15th corridor to the International District.


Route 49 would run like Route 43 between CHS and Westlake. This would allow Route 10 to move back to Pine between Bellevue and 15th to supplement Route 2, but then riders along 15th Ave would lose their one-seat ride to CHS, and 49 riders would lose their one-seat ride to SCC without gaining any new one-seat rides.

5 Replies to “Alternative Alignments for Route 49 (south of CHS)”

  1. I’d take your “Hospital Campus” option and extend it down to 1st st or all the way to the waterfront by the ferry docks. It would be a (more-or-less) direct connection from the ferries to the hospitals, Seattle Central, Capitol Hill, Montlake, and the western edge of UW and U District which until Northgate Link opens is a hike from Link. And streetcar to the hospitals would be doable but a bit indirect. And those going downtown from Seattle Central are probably more suited walking to Link or Madison rapidride. Note: this option would also help with frequency on Yesler.

    14th/15th and Yesler–also a good idea, but again, extend it down to 1st or Alaskan Way.

    In fact the 49 already makes some trips all the way down Broadway and even to Jackson, and I’m like the only person on those busses (and I get off at Yesler).

    1. In fact the 49 already makes some trips all the way down Broadway and even to Jackson, and I’m like the only person on those busses (and I get off at Yesler).

      In case you weren’t aware, routes 49 and 43 make stops on the southern part of Broadway when they’re going to and from Atlantic Base. If you look at the OneBusAway schedule for a northbound stop, you’ll see the trips as being marked “To route [n] via Broadway.” Similarly, looking at a southbound stop shows the occasional trip as “Broadway” (49) or “Capitol Hill” (43).

      Incidentally, this is why the route 43 schedule (OBA link) looks so odd. Those are both regular peak-hours route 43 trips and route 44 trolleys going to and from base. To avoid confusion, the 44 trips run as route 43 (“Capitol Hill”) south of the University. They did these trips (and many others) before route 43 was mostly-deleted after U-Link opened.

  2. The best solution from a grid perspective might be to thru-route the 7 and 49 with a straight-line connection down Boren, while having neither route go downtown. Of course, this cannot be seriously proposed because the people headed downtown who prefer the one-seat ride with least amount of walking over all else (even if a transfer to Link would be just as fast, if not faster), would riot.

    1. Alternatively, the 49 and 36. But, then, both 7 and 36 passengers apparently insist on a one-seat ride to the International District.

    2. That has been proposed many times over the years including by me; it would resurrect the 9-local. Having it go to Beacon instead of Rainier is a variation that may have some merit. And what does Metro’s LRP have? Why, a UDist-Broadway-Denny-12th-Beacon-Othello route and an Uptown-Denny-Boren-Rainier-MLK-RB route.

      “both 7 and 36 passengers apparently insist on a one-seat ride to the International District.”

      That’s not surprising. It’s culturally similar and a lot of people shop there. I’ve been hesitant all along with splitting the 7 and separating south Rainier, north Rainier, and Jackson because it breaks up the neighborhood. The valley is too long to walk to everything so a lot of people take buses within it every day to the store and library and other things. It’s one of the best-functioning transit neighborhoods we have. However, I’m gradually warming up to the 23rd-Rainier route.

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