I-405 BRT
Credit: Sound Transit

Thursday, the Sound Transit Capital Committee approved funding for project development for two bus rapid transit routes. As part of the ST3 package, the projects will add 45 miles of BRT to the region.

One BRT route will run between Lynnwood and Burien along I-405 and State Route 518, with 11 stations in between. The other future BRT route will connect Woodinville and Shoreline along SR 522, with nine stations serving communities on the northern tip of Lake Washington.

Both are scheduled to open in 2024. ST anticipates bringing preferred alternatives for both projects to the board early next year, with final designs selected by 2020. As part of community outreach, an elected leadership group, comprised of elected officials that represent the service corridor and the Sound Transit Board, will convene for the planning process. Elected leadership groups are charged with reaching community consensus over key project decisions and recommending a preferred alternative to the Sound Transit Board. 

To keep the “rapid” in bus rapid transit, ST says its planning to implement all-door bus boarding and off-board fare payment options along the two lines. Buses will be branded for easy identification — similar to the distinctive branding King County Metro Transit gave to its RapidRide lines.

To support the lines, a bus base and operation and maintenance facility will be built in Bothell, where the two lines meet. The BRT buses will run 19 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and 17 hours on Sundays. ST is considering using electric buses for the routes.

The I-405 BRT line will run every 10 minutes during peak periods, and every 15 minutes during non-peak times. The 37-mile route will begin in the north at Lynnwood Transit Center, travel further north along I-5 to I-405 and south to Bellevue. From there, it will continue south to Renton before heading west along SR 518 to the Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station, with the last stop in Burien. A new transit center will be added in South Renton.

Stops include:

  • Lynnwood Transit Center
  • Canyon Park
  • NE 195th
  • Brickyard
  • Totem Lake/Kingsgate
  • NE 85th
  • Bellevue Transit Center
  • NE 44th
  • South Renton Transit Center
  • Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station
  • Burien Transit Center

New parking will be added at Totem Lake/Kingsgate, NE 44th and the South Renton Transit Center. ST predicts peak travel times between Lynnwood and Bellevue will be 42 45 minutes, 25 48 minutes between Bellevue and South Renton, and 20 minutes between South Renton and Burien.

SR 522 BRT
Credit: Sound Transit

One end of the 8-mile SR 522 BRT line will begin in Shoreline at the future light rail station at NE 145th and I-5, travel east along 145th/SR 523, then turn north on SR 522 and head to Kenmore. Buses will then travel to Bothell and connect to the future I-405 BRT before heading to Woodinville. A total of nine station pairs are planned, with parking garages added in Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell.

A major part of this project entails completing the business access and transit lanes along SR 522 and adding a series of bus queue jumps along 145th. The line will run every 10 minutes during peak and non-peak periods, except that only every other bus will continue from NE 195th to Woodinville.

Based on the representative alignment, the preliminary cost estimates for the two BRT lines and the supporting operation and maintenance facility is $1.8B and $1.2B, respectively. The project budget will be set in 2020 during the final design phase.

Based on the representative alignment, the preliminary cost estimate for the two BRT lines is $1.8B capital with the supporting operation and maintenance costing an additional $1.2B. The project budget will be set in 2020 during the final design phase.

81 Replies to “ST3 BRT Lines Move Forward”

  1. Good to hear that this line is going to run all day at decent frequency.

    48 minutes from Bellevue to Renton seems very excessive, especially during the non-rush hour. Even as I write this post, at 8:14 on a Wednesday morning, Google Maps estimates the trip to be a 19-minute drive to go 12.2 miles. The one stop at 44th St. should add about a minute at most. I sincerely hope that we’re not going to have a bunch of “early” buses sitting in Renton for 20 minutes, just to kill time and conform to an excessively padded schedule.

    1. That… doesn’t mesh with what’s on the ST website, which claims 48 minutes for Burien-Bellevue, not Renton-Bellevue.

      And that roughly matches the peak-direction/peak-time solo-driver travel time.

      1. Lizz said peaj travel times. I was taken aback too: almost an hour to get from Bellevue to Renton and Bellevue to Lynnwood? It sounds like that’s all buses getting stuck in traffic. But I don’t go north-south in that area during rush hour so I don’t know what the typical travel time is.

        For those concerned about freeway stops in the middle of nowhere, if looks like NE 160th, NE 85th, and NE 44th are the only ones of those. I don’t know the freeway exit configuration at 195th and Canyon Park to evaluate those. How far is the freeway from nearby buildings, or how much will the bus detour off the freeway? And is there anything at 160th yet, or any plans for anything?

      2. I live at 160th/Brickyard, and I wouldn’t quite call it the middle of nowhere. There’s actually a good amount of 3-story apartment buildings within walking distance and many SFHs a bit further. When I get off the bus, probably 10-20% of people do not walk to cars. To the east, there’s a strip mall that really should be re-developed, but with the proximity to Totem Lake and 100th St, it’s hard to say when/if it will be. For the suburbs though, it is pretty dense, especially to the east of 405.

        The west side though is a problem. The park and ride takes up a large amount of space but the parcel it’s on could fit a lot 3-4 times the size of the current one. North of the P&R is Willina Ranch, which is a nice, if somewhat sparse, set of apartments.And then there’s the Cedar Park church/school which takes up a ton of room that could be easily walkable.

        Practically speaking though, if you wanted to redevelop the west side, you could (and probably at a huge profit given the property prices here), but you’d need to re-do the whole road network there, shrink the P&R parcel, and force the church to become smaller. I don’t think Bothell is going to do that soon, since their main focus is on downtown right now and, secondarily, Canyon Park.

        Speaking of which, I’d argue Canyon Park is somewhat worse. There are no apartments there and apart from strip malls (to the west) and very spread out office parks, I don’t know what else is there. 195th is similar, except that UW Bothell is within walking distance, but not exactly close.

        Honestly, all three areas could be developed but it has not happened too much.

      3. I don’t travel that way regularly, but in my experience, 405 South from Bellevue to Renton is horrible at rush hour. Even the carpool lane is frequently stop and go. If there was ever a candidate to go from HOV2 to HOV3, it is this stretch of 405.

        That being said, WSDOT will be constructing HOT lanes on 405 between Bellevue and Renton with construction completing in 2024. If those complete on schedule, peak travel times for transit should improve significantly.

      4. The HOV lanes across all of 405 were always horrible. The HOT lanes are better, but if you want to keep 45 mph, you’d need to add a bunch of direct access ramps so that people don’t constantly merge in/out of them. I doubt you can ever have HOT lanes going 50 mph and GP lanes going 5 mph where you can merge between them.

      5. I recently rode the 120 from the Canyon Park stop. It meanders through the Canyon Park office complex which is a sizeable employment center and adjacent to the stop before heading along 228th to the intersection with 527. Though no apartment complexes that I am aware of in walking distance of the stop, apartment complexes are rather spread out along 527 and 228th. I don’t have any experience with other routes in the area.

        The Canyon Park stop is also where the swift green line will begin. That seems like quite the plus. There will be several apartment complexes along that route.

      6. Regarding “middle of nowhere” stops: the problem isn’t that the freeway stops are in the absolute middle of nowhere, it’s that the route must avoid most “somewheres” that exist, and the stops that are added are thwarted from ever becoming “somewheres” by the freeway itself.

        The “Kirkland/85th thing” is the example that’s given a lot of people heartburn around 405 BRT, because it’s the newly proposed stop. The freeway could not go directly to the places you’d want to in Kirkland without destroying them; the bus cannot go to these places without a long diversion; and the middle of a cloverleaf interchange is as close to as unsalvageable as a location gets, in terms of potential for improvement.

        But beyond that one stop, we should remember that, for similar reasons (i.e. the enduring awfulness of freeways):

        – The “Renton thing”, with fairly similar tradeoffs: here they’re willing to divert as far as South Renton P&R (seeing as it’s already a thing) but not to the more walkable vicinity of Renton TC.
        – The “South Kirkland thing”: by any reasonable network design 405 BRT and the 545 ought to connect with eachother and with local transit somewhere near where they cross. This not only isn’t happening, it’s essentially impossible to do.
        – The “Canyon Park thing”: there’s a pretty good variety of stuff around the station in some sense (I used to work there so I know the area), but… the two bus stops are split really far from eachother because of the interchange, connections between the different land-uses are really fractured because the positive value of general connectivity is outweighed by the negative value of cut-through car traffic, and the station is sort of the last place you’d really want to concentrate new development around because there the freeway is on the surface, which maximizes its disruption to local circulation.
        – The “Totem Lake thing”: similar to Canyon Park, but there’s more overall intensity — more of the stuff is within a reasonable walk of the bus platforms, but walking to these places is particularly unpleasant or unsafe because you’re forced through major car-dominated intersections to get just about anywhere.

        So, you know, most of the stations on 405 BRT are horrible, and they’re horrible because 405 is horrible. This is basically the same thing that limits today’s 535 and 560, to say nothing of the even-lower-ridership routes corresponding to other alternatives and spurs that were considered. Relative to the 535/560 pair, 405 BRT cuts out two of the less-horrible stops (UW-Bothell and Renton TC) in the name of speed. For all that, it should at least be fast! As our region’s unusually successful express bus service has proven, speed is a real value. Maybe (maybe!) speed/reliability improvements (especially during peak hours), plus the ability to ride through Bellevue without transferring, will lead to ridership that justifies the investment.

      7. What limits the 535 and 560 is frequency. The 535 doesn’t run at all on Sundays. I was coming back to Seattle on Sunday afternoon and a woman was at the 535 stop at Bellevue Transit Center and asked if this was the 535 stop. I said it is but I don’t think it runs Sundays, and I looked at the schedule and it doesn’t. She said she was going to Bothell. I said they only way I know to get to Bothell at this time is to take the 550 to Seattle and the 522 to Bothell. Then I asked if she knew were the 522 stop is downtown so she wouldn’t get lost. She said she knew.

      8. All good points Al. Connecting 405 buses to 520 buses could be done. It would be expensive I’m sure, but currently we have two stations (Yarrow Point and Evergreen) that could have been removed in favor of putting one station at the 520-405 interchange that could serve buses on both highways.

        I do disagree that Totem Lake is not pedestrian unfriendly. As such places go, there are good sidewalks, good crossing places, and none of the streets are major arterials. Sure, as you go down to the new development it gets worse, but it’s a start. In contrast, places like 85th street are horrible. Speeds on 85th are high and there aren’t even crosswalk markings on the ramps.

        You also could alleviate some of the problems with 405 by centering development on one side of the freeway and having all buses stop there. For example, the 311 always stops at the “southbound” Brickyard stop, even going northbound. The time penalty is, I believe, only a few minutes, and could be made even less so with some changes. Or you could move the stop off by a quarter mile or so via bus-only lanes, increasing your walkshed while adding only an extra minute or two.

      9. Regarding the 195th Street stop, there’s a huge apartment complex right next to the existing 522 and 535 stop, about 50 feet from the west side of the exit ramp from 405 South. From there it’s a healthy but doable walk to UW Bothell-Cascadia College (although the 522 line will also stop there). On the east side of 405 is the North Creek office park and the Northshore YMCA.

      10. The solution is *not* to deviate the bus, but to fix 85th St. and make it safe. Making 85th safe helps people not only access the bus, but also access the businesses (e.g. Costco) on the other side of the freeway. Simply picking a side of the freeway and deviating the bus is a bad solution all around. First off, you’d probably have to run the bus all the way to 6th St. just to get to a place where it can turn around, at which point, you may as well have the bus stop at Kirkland Transit Center. So, the real time penalty for thru-riders would be as much as 10 minutes, not 2, and when 85th is at a rush-hour standstill, it might be even worse. Second, deviating to Kirkland Transit Center would make access to the bus all but impossible from the east side of the freeway.

        My ideal option would be a pedestrian bridge over the entire I-405 junction, alongside 85th. Halfway across the highway, the bridge would intersect a bus ramp in the median, and that intersection point would be the bus stop. Since the ramp is bus-only, it can cross the pedestrian pathway at grade (so no additional ramps/elevators to reach the bus stop, once already on the bridge), and be controlled with a simple stop sign (at a point where the bus is already stopped, to serve the bus stop, anyway).

        I don’t know what exactly Sound Transit has planned, but they definitely have to do something, and for a project with a $1.2 billion budget, they had damn well better do something. Simply slapping a bus stop on the existing interchange, without any improvements is just plain dangerous.

      11. Nah, my comments definitely aren’t for 85th St. That’s a lost cause as far as 405 bus service given how long the deviation would have to be. My suggestion was moving the other stops off a bit. For example, let’s say the totem lake stop was moved to the transit center and the buses had a bus only lane and signal priority. You could get into the TC within a minute of getting off 405 and get back on equally fast. Meanwhile, the stop itself would be closer to places people want to go instead of in the middle of 405. Brickyard, 195th, and Canyon park have similar opportunities, given the large park and rides and the relatively low density areas around them. The trick will be minimal turns for 405 (the totem lake park and ride is a bad example of this), bus only lanes, and signal priority (including overrides).

        As for 85th, I’m not quite sure what you mean by a bridge. if you want it to cross over 405, you’d need to make a very tall bridge, plus elevators and the like. If it crosses at grade to the buses, you’d need to make the bus ramps go up 15 feet or whatnot. that would require long ramps. I agree something needs to be done there, but I’m not exactly sure what.

    1. I can’t speak 100% to the accuracy of that number, but the 405 BRT plan involves several new freeway on/off ramps from the center HOV lanes, and ramps are expensive.

      1. Is there a page or document that shows the costs for the new bus base and the additional fleet required to support the new services?

        I know when we look at the project capital costs for Link projects like East Link and Lynnwood Link, some of the confusion about the total cost estimates comes about due to the costs of the new O&M Link facility being built in Bellevue and the additional fleet acquisition needed to support these new lines.

  2. The proposed TIBS stop on the 405 BRT Line should be moved to Sea-Tac Airport.

    Sea-Tac is the larger regional destination, and a stop there can provide the same Link and A-Line connectivity as a stop at TIBS. Getting off the freeway to serve the bus loop at TIBS is not exactly fast, and the current ST route in this corridor, the 560, serves the airport. Assuming that this BRT Line replaces the 560, it would leave Renton and Burien without direct airport access.

    Another great idea would be building a center freeway station where 405 passes Southcenter. Stairs/elevators could connect to Southcenter Blvd on the north side (near a 150/F stop) and Tukwila Blvd and the mall on the south side.

    1. Rrrreeeeeeeee……

      No, I don’t want every trip to the Eastside to have to loop through the airport baggage claim drive the way the 560 does today. That loop is a time waster and will be made less useful when Federal Way / Tacoma Link comes online and we no longer need the 560-to-574 connection.

      Getting off the freeway for TIBS involves sitting through 2 lights and about a half-mile of 35 MPH arterial.
      Looping through the airport requires 4 miles of 40 MPH and 20 MPH ramps, with significant traffic delays and unreliability at peak travel times.

    2. ST asked for public input on SeaTac vs Burien and the majority said Burien, because SeaTac already has Link and the A, and Burien is underserved and faster to get to.

    3. What I’d like to see is a freeway flyer stop on SR518 at TIBS, with a pedestrian bridge from there to the mezzanine at TIBS. Doesn’t look too far.

      1. Agree, would be great if the bus doesn’t have to exit the freeway, but I’d imagine that will be very expensive.

      2. Alex, I think this could be part of the structure I think more about every time I have to rent a car at the Airport. I see an enclosed moving-sidewalk bridge from the car rental now reachable only with a half-hour bus ride to the terminal.

        Could also have an espresso stand at both rental and TIBS ends of the bridge. But in addition, major benefit to TIBS passengers will be access to a clean toilet that works all the time. Which will be worth it to pay the Car Rental people to keep clean.


      3. It’s an open shot on 154th from TIB to Burien, because the south side of the road is airport property and the north side of the road is all low-volume residential streets. So it doesn’t have to get back on the freeway.

  3. Can we have a map with enough detail so show exactly which lanes the BRT lines will run, especially on I-405? And will carpools and motorcycles still be allowed on them?

    Also, are there any places where the buses have to cross several lanes of traffic to get from center (if those are the lanes where buses will run) to get to stations?

    It would also be good to find something else to call curb lanes that can suddenly put a car directly in front of a Rapidly moving Bus. Nobody here would tolerate Business Access and LINK Lanes (except on game days at the stadiums.)

    Over time, what we call things comes to define, and limit, our expectations for them. And worse, what we just accept we have to live with. On all our arterials, we could have an alternative: center lanes behind a convincing barrier- thinking of raised reflective bumps for motorists to feel as well as see.

    And for station access, the bus triggers GP lane signals to stop traffic while the bus cross diagonally from center to curb. Remember, we’re talking limited stops. Or about doing this maneuver faster than five or ten miles an hour, after driver is sure the cars or stopped. Not speed. Just access.

    Signals should also hold GP traffic while the bus makes a normal left turn. Though BRT routes shouldn’t have many of these.

    But Irritating sense that “Branding” came from a “Brainstorm” on a “TED” talk. Though seriously, could really inspire most popular logo ever: Shape and font that’ll fix sight and scent of hot steel on leather hides in passengers’ minds. Like it was, well, branded on their brains!

    For speed-image, horses better image than cows. So different routes could be designated as “Sorrel”, “Dappled Gray”, “Palomino” …kids will always demand “Appaloosa”. Even on routes that don’t stop at Bridlewood Stables. Well it IS on I-405! Also, passengers will always respond to commands from a driver with shiny boots, tailored red jacket, and a riding crop.


    1. “Can we have a map with enough detail so show exactly which lanes the BRT lines will run, especially on I-405?”

      That’s all in the more detailed proposals later.

      “And will carpools and motorcycles still be allowed on them?”

      That’s up to WSDOT, not ST. Presumably it will be the same HOT and HOV lanes as today, and regular lanes where there’s no HOV.

      1. 2024 with same performance level as now, except with six years’ more of last four years’ population growth. Hate being proved right about ideas and attitudes that keep us rightfully disrespected World Without End.

        Since we’re going to end up with same conditions we have now, what’s the rush? Since traffic can’t go any slower, what’s to gain by spending the next three ST-‘s money to maintain exact same speed? Use the time planning a good BRT system, while we’re building out LINK.

        And not telling anybody we’re doing our bus-side too. After about fifteen years’ more of WSDOT’s chosen consequences, if we’ve got good BRT plans ready to gp, younger successors to present WSDOT chiefs might really appreciate not having to end their own careers with same reputation and job satisfaction as their predecessors.

        So spend these years working on something else, Mike. However much time you’ve got ahead, compounding disaster will give you ever-younger WSDOTeers (hard-hats with Mickey Mouse ears ™ finally respecting one of their elders.


      2. “2024 with same performance level as now, except with six years’ more of last four years’ population growth”

        We’ve been trying to get WSDOT to guarantee 45 mph in the bus lanes for years, as it’s required to do under 405’s federal funding. WSDOT has refused to lower the number of HOV-2 cars or toll-paying cars to guarantee that. The only other thing we can do is build our own lanes or a rail line.

      3. I’m pretty sure the lanes the buses will run in are already known (unless things change). The 522 BRT will have BAT lanes that they’ll use (almost the whole way). 405 is a bit more uncertain, but not much is going to change on the north end, so we know it there. From Lynnwood, the buses can run in the HOT lane to Canyon Park. Then they’ll go in the regular lanes (or shoulder) to 195th and Brickyard. Then in the HOT lanes from there to Bellevue.

        There’s simply not much you can do to change that on the north side of 405 since you’d need to build ramps into the HOT lanes for 160th, 195th, and Canyon Park. Based on the current configuration, 160th and 195th would both need to be built for any benefit, and Canyon Park could be done separately. And if you went to the trouble of doing all this, you may as well rebuild the 405-522 interchange to add a second HOT lane, which WSDOT is considering I believe.

      4. Referenced above as well, but WSDOT is building HOT lanes on the stretch of 405 between Bellevue and Renton. The lanes are scheduled to complete by 2024.


        Paired with the HOT lanes on the north end of 405, this should be a pretty good corridor for transit performance IF the legislature will raise the $10 maximum fee. That maximum isn’t currently sufficient to keep traffic flowing freely.

      5. Didn’t WSDOT say something about extending the HOT lanes north of wherever they end? Has that been scheduled?

      6. North? Definitely they’re going south, but I don’t think there’s been any talk of putting HOT on I-5. There has been a lot of talk about adding an HOT lane between Brickyard and Lynnwood (where it’s currently one lane). But that’s not simple due to the 522-405 interchange needing to be completely rebuilt. The current bridges there have no spare room to allow an extra lane.

      7. That’s what I mean. The complaint is that installing the HOT lanes shifted the traffic bottleneck to north of it, and I thought WSDOT said it was getting enough extra toll money to do something about it.

      8. I think there’s even a preliminary study funded for adding a lane. But again, that’s not going to be simple. North of 522, except for a few spots, should be very straightforward and not even that expensive (not much property acquisition I think). But that interchange will be a problem, since you’d have to re-build the whole thing. At the moment, you can’t even expand the through lanes without hitting the bridges to 522. And hopefully, if they actually decide to re-do the interchange, they’ll also think about things like adding direct access ramps and maybe ramps to 160th and 195th.

      9. 405 long range plan includes 2 lane HOT lanes the full length of 405. Next up is widening 405 between Bellevue & SR167 to have 2 lane HOT lanes the entire lenght between Bellevue and Renton.

  4. If only we can extend the SR522 line to Shoreline Community College via Aurora Ave & 145th & Greenwood & 145th. There is a huge gap in service between Lake City and anything west of I-5.

    1. If only, but it’s not a priority for 522 BRT’s stakeholders, which are people in Woodinville to Lake Forest Park. They want to get to downtown, near north Seattle, and the airport, and many of them barely know Bitter Lake exists and don’t plan to go there. Shoreline Community College is an interesting point though. I don’t know how much it draws people from that northeastern area.

      1. That’s what the planned metro route serving the 130th St station will be for.

        It does mean disconnecting Lake City from a more regional line, but that seems like manifest destiny for ST now.

        In the city, I guess we have to take care of our own. We north enders won’t let Lake City and Bitter Lake be forgotten. They’re important and growing parts of district 5.

      2. A clearer way of putting it is: the purpose of 522 BRT is to connect Woodinville to Lake Forest Park to the high-capacity transit network. I’m not sure how much Lake City was a goal for bus route 522, or whether it just happened to be on the way and was served by the 522’s predecessor the 307. In any case, North King wasn’t paying for it and it’s outside 522 BRT’s scope.

        Metro’s LRP has a crosstown route on 125th/130th to Shoreline CC, Sand Point, and the U-District). For 145th it has an extension of the 65, running on 145th east of the station and on 145th west of the station, to Shoreline CC. 155th is the center of the 155th urban village, while 145th is on the periphery between that and Bitter Lake village which is focused on 130th-135th. By 2040 two Frequent routes are proposed for west 145th: one to 3rd NW, Ave, 8th NW, and Magnolia; and one south to Meridian Ave and Northgate and on the other end north to Mountlake Terrace. There isn’t proposed to be a full crosstown route between Greenwood Ave and Lake City Way, but 145th is on the periphery of Lake City and Bitter Lake anyway, whereas Metro’s routes connect the center of Bitter Lake and the 155th village to Lake City, which will be useful to those who live a few blocks north or south of 145th.

      3. an extension of the 65, running on 145th east of the station and on 145th 155th west of the station, to Shoreline CC.

      4. Relatively soon, the 40 will be converted to RapidRide (actually RapidRide+). What eventually makes the most sense (after the NE 130th station) is to extend the D to Northgate, and terminate there. Then change the north end of the 40. After Crown Hill, stay on 85th to Greenwood, then take a left up to 130th, go across 130th to Lake City Way and end in Lake City. Ideally you would end at 145th. The problem is there isn’t a great place to turnaround there, and it isn’t a great terminus (although it is fairly good from a population density standpoint). So you might have to end where the 41 ends.

        Either way, the advantage would be very good service for Lake City, Bitter Lake and North Greenwood to Link, along with much faster service from Lake City to Bitter Lake, Greenwood, Crown Hill and Ballard. You would finally connect the east side with the west side. Given the frequent bus service on both sides, there are a lot of great connections that would be enabled that don’t even include Link. For example, Lake City to Phinney Ridge, Licton Springs (or anywhere on Aurora). Or Bitter lake to Wedgewood or Sand Point. As a result, the new 40 (if it was built this way) would be extremely popular.

  5. If only we can extend the SR522 line to Shoreline Community College via Aurora Ave & 145th and Greenwood & 145th. There is a huge gap in service between Lake City and anything west of I-5.

  6. I continue to find it completely insane that 522 BRT stops at the freeway. The opportunity to extend it two more stops, at Aurora and Greenwood, would provide a massive increase in the functionality of a regional grid, and connects this route to two major frequent N-S routes, including the busiest route in the entire Metro system, while also giving a lot of people in N. Seattle/S. Shoreline meaningful access to the light rail they’re paying so much money for.

    Has this even been studied? Is it just a matter of our stupid budgeting system (This is coming out of East King’s budget, that extension would be more beneficial to N. King)? Is there something wrong with 145 West of the freeway that makes this too difficult? What am I missing?

    I’m on the edge of Juarez’s district, but on the O’Brien side of the street, but I’ve contact here nonetheless to see what she says about this. Also curious if Roberts or some other Shoreline politicians could be pressured to ask some questions here. Seems like huge missed opportunity.

    1. “Has this even been studied?”

      Not that I’m aware of.

      “(This is coming out of East King’s budget, that extension would be more beneficial to N. King)? Is there something wrong with 145 West of the freeway that makes this too difficult? What am I missing?”

      The motivation for the line is to connect the cities on 522 to the high-capacity transit network. The people who live in that area don’t care much about Aurora or Greenwood, That area does not have the population of either Kenmore or Bothell. Extending the line west is not a priority for Seattle or Shoreline, otherwise ST would have been forced to consider it, or at least put it in the long-range plan.. North King is packed full with expensive projects. An extension could be added in a later phase.

      1. The motivation for the line is to connect the cities on 522 to the high-capacity transit network.

        The E is high capacity! 17,000 a day is a lot! It goes places light rail doesn’t!

      2. The definition of high-capacity transit is somewhat arbitrary. Link definitely is. Curibita-style BRT is. Vancouver’s B-lines, RapidRide, and Swift may or may not be depending on your cutoff. ST doesn’t consider RapidRide to be so, and who knows about Swift.

    2. Shoreline’s connection to Link will be served by Metro, not Sound Transit. Check out Metro’s long range plan for proposals to connect to both 145th and 130th.

      Click “2025” and select “frequent” routes.

      Route “1019” does what most of the commentators are asking – connecting Shoreline CC and Lake City to each other & to Link .

    3. To paraphrase Jarrett Walker, this is what happens when the bus people don’t talk to the train people. No one seems to be interested in building a transit network, but merely granting a few places the opportunity to get to downtown faster. It is possible that like the former head of Metro, they simply have no idea how to build a fast transit network that could provide fast, efficient anywhere-to-anywhere travel.

      The writing was on the wall with the 145th street station. This is a classic interchange station. A textbook example of a station that would make no sense if not for the possibility of good bus service for it. Not shuttle service (in the mode of Mercer Island) but crossing bus service. It is pretty obvious that if you put a station at 145th, and then run buses along 145th, you kill a lot of birds with one stone. You not only provide fast service for those on either side to Link (and its connections) but you connect to several very popular, frequent bus lines on either side.

      And all of this could happen in the future. We are talking about a bus route here, not rail. Of course you want the same sort of investment (bus lanes) on both sides, but that is fairly easy to add. At worst you simply deal with some slowdowns, which is par for the course for the other BRT line (get on the freeway, move to far left HOV/HOT lane, drive two miles, move to far right general purpose lane, exit the freeway, stop, wait for a light, repeat).

      The problem is, even if the bus route is extended, it will include a roughly six block detour, along with several turns, just to let people off reasonably close to the train station. That is why it is likely that getting from the east side of 145th to the west side will likely involve two buses. If it doesn’t, then when you ride the bus from one side to the other, somewhere in the middle you will have a strange deja-vu feeling as you get back on 145th. That is because you were right there, five minutes ago (or more) and your trip was delayed merely because the folks in charge had no idea how to build a transit grid (or they ignored the folks who did).

      Let’s hope we can avoid the same mistake for NE 130th.

      1. I agree with your RossB!

        I also think that the way that good rail transit decisions require more input from those that have lived daily using light or heavy rail. Few of our elected leaders have lived around light rail’. Few of the “stakeholder group” advisory board have lived elsewhere. Even many ST senior staff don’t come from places with subways, and many haven’t ever come from places that even have light rail before ST did. They are still in a child-like “isn’t light rail cool” stage, and not able to fully absorb design problems, especially with overcrowding issues.

        Unfortunately, many are so prejudiced (or perhaps arrogant) that they won’t dialogue from those that do. The vibe that I often get is that senior staff think they know best, and that anyone else who comments is one of those obnoxious gadflies that shows up at open mike times in meetings — or is too dumb to understand what experienced subway riders are telling them — or is some sort of transit-hating conservative looking to whine — or that suggesting another solution to a problem is offensive because the best one has already been proposed by staff.

        The shortage of down escalators is a perfect example. The assumption is that people don’t need them, and they are some sort of unnecessary addition. The provision to add ascalators wasn’t even considered at Mt. Baker, in the DSTT or in several ST2 stations (Judkins Park). More escalators would also allow for ST to be move flexible in which direction they run at peak times or when one goes out of service. We’ll spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a station, but can’t find a measly million to put in an extra escalator for most of the riders to use? What’s the logic in that? Anyone who has ridden subways for years does not understood this logic.

        If you attended last night’s West Seattle Open House, you saw this typical scenario repeated once again. It seemed that each time I heard a seasoned subway rider make a comment to staff, it was responded with complete silence, a polite nod, or an elementary explanation about light rail with the implication that the commenter was stupid. The entire thing was about building and not about operating; there were no operations options even on the table.

  7. Meant to say we DON’T need to swing from center to curb at speed much more than ten. Remember having to do that maneuver right-ward across rush hour traffic on 405.We’l need signal lights that’ll command extra attention. And even more, have signals and timing worked out so that nobody either needs a panic stop or has to fear getting hurt by a diagonally crossing bus.

    And one more point. I’m talking about arterals too narrow for center platforms and elevator equipped bridges. For those- Eugene has a lot of experience with left side doors. Incidentally, their platform stops have lane-side curbs with with yellow fiberglass bars for sidewalls of tires to run along. So drivers don’t have to hesitate while coming in.


  8. It’s been said, many times, many ways… but they really should pick up the Lake City ridership by taking 130th not 145th. I hate to see ST make such obvious mistakes even from the planning stage.

    1. The description is missing the three blocks of buses stuck in congestion on 5th Ave NE between 145th and 148th. It’s a terrible setup at Shoreline South.

      Of course, ST doesn’t want to talk about this bottleneck at the most critical end of the route or show it on a map.

      Let’s be critical and honest about this serious routing problem.

    2. It does make the transit map messier without serving NE 130th. But I don’t think it is the end of the world. Consider this variation of the 40, terminating at 145th — https://goo.gl/maps/9Js68Hzcw5D2. (You have to imagine it going farther south, and serving Belltown the way that the 40 does). It should be pretty clear that this is an outstanding bus route. It serves densely populated areas that will become more densely populated (as Crown Hill, for example, becomes an urban village). You have density and destinations pretty much the entire way, along with great connectivity. Unlike some bus routes where you could say the same thing (the 8 and 44) it is also reasonably fast. The point is, a route like that would be more popular than the 522 BRT. Ridership per mile would be a lot more popular, which means that like the E, increasing service is no big deal. It would require a lot less of a subsidy to make that bus a lot more frequent than the 522 BRT.

      It does mean a two seat ride from Lake City to Bothell, but that is a small price to pay. Something like the 65 would still continue up 30th, and on to the 145th station (and probably beyond) which is a bit redundant, but arguably worth it anyway. The point is, disconnecting the relatively low performing suburban end of 522 from the much better Seattle part of 522 may actually be a blessing in the long run for folks in Lake City. They might have worse headways to Bothell, but much better service to Link (and the rest of the city).

  9. How many people making these design decisions actually ride the bus on these corridors? I hate seeing a group disconnected from daily realities empowered with possibly messing up other people’s lives for years to come.

    1. They’re responding to demand by people who live in the 522 corridor and do ride the buses. It has occurred to them what the impact of diverting to 145th Station on their travel time to downtown, and they’ve found it acceptable.

      1. It will interesting for that commuter ridership to discover that the time savings will be a wash.

        145th to downtown is about 45 minutes on the 522 to I5. 145th to the base of 148th station is going to be variable, but with buses blocked by the induced ride cars some coming from Greenwood and Haller Lake, all circling for a no parking spot (e.g. TIBS), figure on a good 20-25 minutes. Then a good 3-5 minutes playing escalator chess to get to and wait on the platform for the peak train every 4 minutes, and then 18-20 minutes to Westlake. A good 30% of the current ridership gets off at 6th, not 4th, so it will be a 5 minute walk from Westlake.

      2. Even if it’s a wash to downtown, it’s still going to be much better for people that aren’t going all the way downtown. And, don’t forget, the truncation will fund more frequent service. You can either have a bus every 10 minutes connecting with a train every 5 minutes. Or, you can a bus all the way every 30 minutes.

        And, of course, the train connection avoids the I-5 traffic, which is only going to get worse.

      3. First of all, I doubt it will be as bad as you suggest baselle. But time will tell.

        Secondly, asdf2 makes a very good point — it isn’t just about going downtown.

        The big question is whether it would have made more sense to intercept the line somewhere else. On possibility would have been Roosevelt. There is plenty of congestion on Lake City Way, but it is possible that it could be avoided by doing some work (perhaps less expensive work than that being done along 145th). Such a line would have required a lot more cooperation (and perhaps investment) by Seattle, but the benefits would be much greater. At the very least it is an option that should have been studied. Unfortunately, the folks in charge assumed that 145th was the fastest way to connect to Link (and therefore get to downtown). We’ll see.

  10. The Lynnwood line should really be extended west to meet SR 99 and CT’s Swift 1. It’s not very far, and makes both lines way more useful.

    1. It will, at the Mulkiteo speedway, and perhaps again at Evergreen Wy & SR526

      Additionally, SWIFT 1 will intercept with Link at 185th street station.

      1. Huh? I got the impression that the proposed route for the I405 BRT uses I5 north and south from the Lynnwood TC to access I405 at the I5/i
        I405/SR525 interchange.

    2. It would overlap with the Swift Orange Line (planned to come online around 2023) and would have no place to layover. Lynnwood TC has the driver facilities and infrastructure to be a terminus.

  11. I see that half of the 522 buses will go to Woodinville. I wonder if the other half should go to Canyon Park and Lynnwood — or into Mill Creek somehow.

    Similarly, I wonder if some of the 405 buses should go to Woodinville. Keep in mind that Lynnwood to Bellevue on Link will take a comparable 50 minutes — so most of the 405 BRT riders won’t be too excited to ride this from these two stations.

    1. Fwiw. My spouse makes this commute from SW SnoCo (just north of Lynnwood) to northeast Bellevue by vehicle daily and would be inclined to take the Link option from the Lynnwood TC since the BRT option would still require a bus transfer at the Bellevue end whereas Link would not (office within walking distance of a farther stop).

  12. I’ll be interested to see if and how the four major connection points in Renton and Tukwila will be served by a 405 BRT. The South Renton garage, Tukwila Sounder Station, South Center and TIBS are hard to connect to a freeway median station and the budget is too limited to build a BRT roadway to connect them. RapidRide F may be a trip-making alternative but even this connection at the Renton end appears difficult.

  13. While this seems like a matter of semantics, IMHO we should stop calling it BRT and refer to it as an enhanced/premium express bus network. Which is still a great regional transit option! Question: Does any US city currently have such a robust expressway bus network that runs frequently all day into the night? Calling it “BRT” hides the fact that this is really a new approach for regional rapid transit in the Seattle area, which has it’s own advantages and disadvantages compared to proper BRT.

    1. BRT is just a placeholder name during development. We don’t know what its production branding will be. ST’s main commitment is “more frequent and higher road priority than ST Express”. It’s futile to argue which levels of service on the BRT spectrum are or are not real BRT because it’s a never-ending flamewar. The best thing to do is to go with the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Basic levels in the industry BRT standard because at least those are well-known threshold by people who have tried to organize the criteria. Have fun debating which levels RapidRide, ST BRT, and Swift belong to. (Or whether all RapidRide lines are equal.)

      High-level BRT originated in Latin America and took off there as low-cost metro equivalents. They do have a lower capacity limit than rail, so Curitiba which pioneered BRT is now upgrading some lines to rail. But where volume is high but not extreme, they work. Los Angeles has a few similar lines in freeway medians: I haven’t seen then and they have a reputation of being mostly commuter routes. San Francisco has been planning street BRT in exclusive lanes on Van Ness Avenue, and Chicago’s Ashland BRT plan is on-again, off-again. I’m sure San Francisco’s and Chicago’s will meet RapidRides frequency and span standards like ST’s do.

      As for a “robust expressway bus network”, one line on 405 is not a network, and 522 is not an expressway. I don’t know if there are any 3+-line, priority-lane, full-time frequent BRT networks in the US.

  14. Al, I don’t presently know any of these people personally. But I don’t think it would take any of them very long to find out how many commenters to these pages have equally strong opposite opinions whatever decision is made.

    Wonder if anybody’s ever done a survey to see how many planners ride what transit. But would be prepared to be asked about my own travels. But more to the point, have also seen today’s best decision- like taking advantage of all the unspoiled space in a giant country- to degrading both the space and the other entity.

    So to me, a civil engineering project really is born the first time somebody even starts discussing it, and finishes up when everybody on Earth is provably dead. In thirty years, 145th or 130th could be different stops on local electric bus route running the whole length of homes, schools, parks and factories on the scenic lid over I-5 city line to city line.

    So, where you see a wrong decision get its ribbon cut, be already thinking about how to turn it toward the use you want. “Future Proofing” in these pages has usually carried the sense of a permanent disastrous mistake whose bad consequences never go away. But making anything improvement-proof- just cheaper and easier to redesign, repair, or dump it.


  15. What would it take to get Community Transit to connect these lines with Monroe, at least once an hour? It is depressing for what should be a 15 minute drive to have to involve a multi-hour adventure to Everett and downtown Seattle.

    1. >> What would it take to get Community Transit to connect these lines with Monroe, at least once an hour?

      A federal grant?

      Seriously though, the country is filled with trips that are much faster by car than by bus, but it is expensive to address that. While the folks who would ride would very much appreciate that bus ride, there are only a handful that would actually ride it. Given the distances involved, that would make this a costly bus ride.

      The 424 does what you want, so it is possible that they could run it all day. But it takes almost two hours to make that run, so that isn’t cheap. You could truncate it at Woodinville, but my guess is very few people actually ride it between those two places — they are headed to downtown Seattle. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but like every other agency (Metro, Everett Transit, etc.) there are plenty of other improvements they could make to speed up travel. For example, from Totem Lake to downtown or the UW requires either a detour to Bellevue, or a longer detour through Kirkland. This is right from the freeway station — it is worse where people actually live. The result is that outside of rush hour, it is much, much faster to drive. I would say that is life in the ‘burbs, but the same is true within Seattle proper. From Sunset Hill to Phinney Ridge is a 45 minute trip by transit (involving a fair amount of walking) or a ten minute drive (https://goo.gl/maps/9wWnB6AKK8S2 versus https://goo.gl/maps/iiVgAVKwP4M2) but Metro (or Seattle) doesn’t want to spend a lot of money there. It is hard to see Community Transit spending a bunch on an area that has a lot lower density, and is a lot farther away from the more populous areas. My guess is they will continue with the Everett detour, although when Link gets to Lynnwood, at least you will see buses moving quickly and frequently between Lynnwood and Everett (and Bellevue to Lynnwood with this change).

  16. Forty five minutes is a long time from Lynnwood to Bellevue, even during rush hour. Some of that is congestion in the HOV lane, but a lot of is simply serving the stops along the way. There are five stops in between. According to the planning documents, only the station at 85th will have substantial work done. Three out of the four existing stops require getting from the HOV lanes to the far right lane, exiting, waiting for a green light, merging back onto the freeway in the right lane, then getting over to the HOV lane. Only Totem Lake (and presumably 85th) let you stay in the HOV lane. Even Totem Lake requires going through the light. As much as I like off-board payment, I don’t think change fumbling is the biggest issue with this route.

    This makes me curious. First of all, there are at least four traffic lights that are between Lynnwood and Bellevue on this run. In the middle of the day, these might be the biggest delay (and at rush hour it is just another annoying delay). Are there any plans for signal priority on these lights?

    Second, what are the plans for the 532 and 535? The 535 seems redundant, although the new BRT line doesn’t directly serve UW Bothell. The 532 is rush hour only. It seems like a rush hour only service would make some sense, just as the peak direction only 510 and 511 make sense. The 510 skips everything between downtown and South Everett (even the easy to serve Mountlake Terrace stop). A similar approach might make sense for this corridor, but there is a lot to consider.

    The 510 and 511 essentially replace the 512 during rush hour. But it helps that Community Transit picks up some of the slack, and provides service from Everett to Ash Way and Lynnwood. So having the 510 skip those stops means that someone can get from just about anywhere to anywhere, either direction, although it might require a transfer (e. g. Mountlake Terrace to Everett means stopping in Ash Way). That is a pretty good model, but it would be tricky to have the I-405 BRT sit idle during rush hour.

    Then there is the issue of serving Everett with direct service. I’m not sure it is worth it. No one likes a transfer — especially one that involves back tracking — but you could skip some stops that are very time consuming to serve. It could mean the buses involved in an Everett to Bellevue trip never leave the HOV lanes.

    The first thing I would do is run a bus like so: Ash Way to Lynnwood, Totem Lake, 85th and Bellevue. That would be much faster than the I-405 BRT line from Lynnwood during rush hour (the only time it would run). By including Ash Way, you give riders there a one seat ride to Bellevue (as they have now). Folks in Everett and South Everett would have a two seat ride, but it would be faster than the 535 much of the time, as they would avoid the mess surrounding Ash Way and Canyon Park.

    That leaves three stops (195th, Canyon Park and Brickyard). Unfortunately, it gets expensive to operate direct service to all three. Brickyard is not especially well served right now. That might change (Metro might run more 237s) but they might not. That still leaves 195th and Canyon Park, as well as dealing with service running the other way (towards Lynnwood). I don’t see things working on I-405 BRT the way that they do on I-5. I think new express buses (if they are added) would simply add to the service during rush hour, and not replace it.

    That would make the express bus mentioned above even simpler and faster. It would consist of just just three stops, Ash Way, Lynnwood and Bellevue. That is a fast bus that doesn’t involve any traffic lights and is in HOV lanes almost the entire way. The other place I would add an express is from Canyon Park. There is substantial ridership from there to Bellevue. Just on the 535, more people ride the bus from there than from Everett or South Everett combined.

    As with all buses of this nature, it might make sense for the tail to serve the neighborhood. For example, instead of ending at the Ash Way Park and Ride, it could go farther on Ash Way itself. Likewise the bus serving Canyon Park could go up the highway. In both these cases, though, there is plenty of feeder bus service. Canyon Park will be the end point for the Swift Green Line, and Ash Way has lots of buses running to the transit center during rush hour.

    The express service could be provided by Sound Transit, or it could be provided by Community Transit. Community Transit has a lot of express buses to Seattle that will end or be truncated once Link gets to Lynnwood. Express routes to Bellevue would be simpler (and cheaper) no matter who runs them.

  17. The BRT project on SR 522 looks like a good one, but the I-405 BRT is a real disappointment. I would have thought good transit connections to Sea-Tac Airport would be a priority for a multi-modal transportation network. For an Eastsider who uses the airport a lot, the main problem today is hourly service in the evenings on the 560. If you fly a lot, the convenient return trips from other cities to Seattle are in the evenings. With the 560 eliminated, the higher frequency on the BRT would be an improvement, but in return they want to dump you with your bag on a dark windy platform in the outskirts of Tukwila for up to 20 minutes to catch your bus. I don’t find that to be especially attractive or even safe. Certainly not a great example of multi-modal connectivity, nor a great use of 100s of millions of dollars. I’ll use my car, thanks.

    1. You’ll have two transfer options. 1. BRT with transfer at Tukwila, or 2. East Link with transfer downtown at ID.

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