Planning for the conversion of King County Metro route 120 into RapidRide H has begun a second round of community input.

Graphic from King County Metro’s website

Most of the alignment will be exactly how route 120 runs today. However, the alignments north of downtown, through White Center, and near Burien Transit Center, are being reconsidered, as is stop spacing.

The first survey on the H Line was conducted by SDOT back in March, covering just the stretch from the West Seattle Bridge to Roxbury Ln SW, and focusing on road improvements. Zach summarized the lane options.

The latest survey covers frequency, reliability, span of service, fare, number of rides to complete typical trips, pedestrian accessibility, stop spacing, lighting, traffic signals (mostly for pedestrians), bike lanes, and, since it is being conducted by Metro, is for the whole corridor.

Community meetings are planned for the second week of December in Burien and White Center, time and date to be determined.

The survey responses so far for this round are available for public viewing. No deadline has been set for participation in this latest survey that opened November 14.

Funding for the H Line is coming from Metro, the Move Seattle levy, and various grants, not all of which have been funded yet.

The H Line is planned to open in 2020, and will be the second of 20 additional RapidRide routes planned to be open by 2040, with 13 of them planned to be open by 2025.

22 Replies to “RapidRide H (Metro 120) Is Having a Second Survey”

  1. I really hope the routing on 15th through white center can be shifted to the freer-flowing routing that the 560 takes using 16th/17th. Just avoiding the 107th st zig-zag could easily shave 2-3 minutes off (double or triple that at rush hour when it takes multiple light cycles), to say nothing of the way 15th itself can turn into a stop-and-go crawl.
    On an average day, the 560’s routing through White Center takes half the time as the 120’s.

    The popularity of the stop at 15th x Roxbury makes the shift an uphill battle, but the survey will reveal if those riders use that stop because of its location at DSHS’ front door, in spite of its distance from 16th st retail, or as a transfer point with 128 & 60 (which can be harmlessly moved to 17th & Roxbury).

    I suspect the downtown Burien routing may be shifted to 152nd; the stops on 148th are barely used, and anecdotally, there’s a lot of foot traffic from the transit center south to 152nd.

    1. While the stops in White Center are not in ideal locations (I use the 15th Ave/Roxbury stop just about everyday), I can’t imagine changing the routing would help all that much. I’ve never seen 15th get all that backed up (though I could be wrong), but I know I’ve seen 16th turn into a congested mess. In addition it’d be unlikely to find a good stop location on 16th anywhere between Roxbury and 100th that didn’t back it up more or take away parking (I’m not opposed to removing parking most times but not sure it’d be great in the heart of the commercial part of WC).

      And as far as moving the stop to 17th and Roxbury, the 128 and 60 run on 16th and Delridge respectively and do not stop at the 17th ave stop that the 120 does, and passengers transferring would have to cross the busy 5 way intersection to get to the other routes. Not to mention that the 17th and 15th Ave stops of the 120 are equally far from 16th Ave commercial area. And, personally, westwood village is nice for us folks that use the bus to go to the grocery store/target because we don’t have cars, or need to transfer to the C/21 to other WS destinations.

      I hope no one takes this as a ton criticism, just glad folks are talking about it and sharing ideas :) I think with some bus jumps, removing a handful of stops that are close together, and some creative short bus lanes, we are going to see some decent improvements on time to DT and reliability. I’m really happy with the plans so far, I think they are a step in the right direction!

      1. You’re right, the 128/60 transfer is harder to adjust than I thought at first glance; done without adjusting the other routes it would require a block or more walk with a few ugly crosswalk situations.

        I think stops could be inserted on the 17th/cutoff/16th routing easily enough, though. On roxbury at the 17th intersection, on 16th in the 10000 block, and from there on south to Burien Transit Center, it can really just stop anywhere in-lane on the 4-lane road.

        The backups I see riding the 120 on 15th are mostly long lines at the 4-way stops from 98th-102nd at certain times of day, not bonafide congestion.

      2. I support moving the 120 through White Center from 15th to 17th. RapidRide should use the most expeditious routing, which ST has determined is along 17th. I’d put stops at 16th/100th and at 15th/Roxbury. The 560 should also stop at 15th/Roxbury for consistency.

  2. How about the zigzag to Westwood village? I realize that Metro loves to deviate buses to anything with the word “village” in the name. But the old 120 route, where the bus just kept going in a straight line was considerably faster.

    (Note: it would matter less if the Burien – downtown expresses could be made to run all day).

    1. Villages are where a large percent of riders are going to or coming from, as Rocco said above (“westwood village is nice for us folks that use the bus to go to the grocery store/targetor need to transfer to the C/21 to other WS destinations”). The fact that villages don’t always have centers that are in-line with bus routes is as much about the car-bias of land-use decisions as it is about bus detours.

      For instance, the Rainier Valley neighborhoods are centered on Rainier Avenue. But Link runs on MLK because Rainier was considered too narrow and congested for light rail. Whereas a sensible system would have installed track lanes or a subway tunnel on Rainier forty years ago when the population and congestion were lower, so displacement and impact would have been less, and the neighborhoods would have grown with trunk transit already there, . The same might be said for Delridge and the 120.

    2. The purpose of the Westwood deviation is transfers – it’s not just an urban village or a shopping center. But I’m not wholly convinced many people are actually taking advantage of that transfer point, and someone would have to analyze ORCA data to find out. I’ve used it a few times to get to the C, but if it wasn’t there I’d probably just use the 128 transfer at Orchard.

      That deviation does annoy me because I am riding through 99% of the time, but the stops are actively used, and once in a while I use the stop to hit a shop there. For a period of time I had a gym membership in that complex, which I wouldn’t have used if the bus didn’t stop there.

    3. The change is hope to see happen in the Westwood Village area is moving the bus stops to reduce the current 3-block distance between the 120 and the C and 21.

      The best way to do this is to move the C & 21 terminal stops closer to the 120, to the corner of Barton & 26th.

    4. The thing is – when buses do the same movement patterns as most of the cars (going in a straight line down a major arterial), the intersection designs will naturally favor the movement of buses. When buses start making twists and turns that only a small minority of drivers are going to do (drivers headed to one specific destination), that forces traffic engineers to choose between buses vs. cars in intersection design (2-way stop, 4-way stop, or traffic light; if traffic light, how much green time does each street get).

      Inevitably, the choices nearly always favor the cars, which contributes to bus riding taking much longer than driving, and then we wonder why more people don’t ride the bus.

  3. Presumably, the H Line will have a stop on Delridge nearby the planned West Seattle Delridge stop, which would be of great service to White Center residents as well as people considering moving to White Center?

    1. For certain. The existing Andover stop is an extremely popular stop, and the Link station is likely to be located close to that stop, or possibly the existing genesee stop.

  4. I’m wondering if the proposal should convert RapidRide F to RapidRide H from Burien to TIBS, or extend RapidRide H to Angle Lake Link, or extend RapidRide F to Westwood Village. I’m not sure of demand patterns in Burien, so this is merely unsubstantiated wondering. Still, it seems tragic to end a long, high- frequency rapid bus at anywhere other than a Link station when one is less than 2 miles away.

    1. There’s a hugely higher number of people who queue for the northbound 120 vs the eastbound F Line, at all times of the day. Most of them stay on until after Westwood (I’d say maybe 15-20% of those who get on at Burien TC get off before White Center/Westwood), the rest stay on until Downtown Seattle, really. I don’t think extending the H to Angle Lake would be a good idea, sure there’s going to be a frequency increase but I’m not sure that would be enough. Possibly in the future after Angle Lake isn’t the terminus anymore, but right now I’m not sure it’s worthwhile (given the F Line is at most 15 minutes from Tukwila).

    2. If they did it, people in my part of Burien could have a faster, more reliable trip into downtown Seattle by riding the 120 south to Link instead of tying up a seat on the bus for it’s whole trip through West Seattle. I’ve argued for it in the past but to no avail.

      If I just happen to be leaving home at just the right time, I can do this connection today with the 560, but it’s infrequent and has a lengthy detour through the airport drive, so most of the time it’s quicker to just get on the 120 and take my chances.

      1. Connecting with the 560 is like finding a unicorn practically. I like having it because it’s a way to get to the Eastside without going into Seattle to cross the bridges, but it is really hard to time right. When I’m coming back from Redmond via the B, I usually get off at Renton TC and wait for the F.

      2. I’ve occasionally tried taking the F to Link to get from from Burien to Seattle. From Buriien Transit Center, it’s something of a wash. If anything, the 120 might be slightly faster. It’s the combination of the overhead of the transfer, Link itself not being super-fast, and the fact that the Link route is a lot of extra miles, so you have to go at a higher average speed to make up for the extra distance.

  5. Most useless survey ever. Metro should pay me back for the time I wasted trying to fill out that survey (on a phone), especially the map that kept zooming out to all of the Americas.

    No questions about preferred stops or routing, which are the only degrees of freedom a Rapid Ride conversion has. Lots of questions about what stops you use and when you ride, which can only provide a collection of anecdotes far less useful than the stop-and time level boarding data that Metro already has. Lots of questions about “what features are important to you” as is the Rapid Ride brand is not already fully defined.

    1. I agree, I only realized I had screwed up working that overly-complicated map on the last question, and couldn’t go back without losing what I had already filled in. Oh well, I don’t care that much about RR H, since most of the time I’m biking in West Seattle rather than taking the bus.

  6. Maybe this just hasn’t come up in this discussion, but we seem to be leaving out the thing that from here on ought to be the only thing. “Business-Access/Transit” has got to come out of transit’s vocabulary. Or start including Square/Circles.

    Nobody ever says: “Business-Access Express Trains.” Why don’t we call somebody on that every time they say it or print it? [OT]

    Somebody needs to stay in SDOT’s face on this one for about a year. For starters. First agenda item, first comment, first paragraph in every STB posting on this subject. More than routing, more than stations, more than trolleybus or not, no Ride can be Rapid without those fully-reserved lanes and signal pre-empt.


    However, I think it’s time to get with the Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives. [OT]

    Mark Dublin

    1. BAT lanes are fine, the way transit+HOV lanes are fine. The big slowdowns occur when transit is in general-purpose lanes. I’ve never seen a BAT lane backed up with cars; it’s just one or two at a time.

  7. The 60 stops at the opposite side of the shopping center from the other routes, which seems bad for transfers. Is there a reason it does this or is it just an oversight? Can we put all the routes together in the H restructure?

  8. I wonder what the downtown pathway will be between the opening of the deep bore tunnel and the completion of the CCC streetcar construction on 1st Avenue before the new Alaskan Way is available?

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