KCM coach 6854 running route 101 with test white LED signage
KCM 6854 sporting unusual signage. Photo by Erubisu.

After almost three years without any significant service cuts, we’ve gotten pretty used to happy service change announcements from Metro.  The latest change, which begins this coming Saturday, March 10, is no exception.  Service additions are sprinkled throughout the system without much countervailing bad news.  (The redundant route 99 does disappear, but ridership numbers suggest that no one will notice.)  This service change brings no major restructures of service, so increased service is the big story.  It’s scattered throughout the system, but with a particularly welcome and overdue focus on the greater Kent area.

Other news includes:

  • a new approach to Renton-downtown service on routes 101 and 102;
  • construction reroutes in Sodo and the Central District (including significant hassles for the relatively few riders of route 4’s Judkins Park tail); and
  • minor routing changes in downtown Seattle and downtown Redmond to match changing traffic patterns.

Specifics below the jump.

New Thinking in Renton

Metro route 101 is an all-day, quasi-express route between downtown Seattle and Renton, serving both South Renton Park and Ride and downtown Renton.  Until now, it ran every half hour (15 minutes at peak hours) in this order:

Seattle – S Renton P&R – Downtown Renton
Downtown Renton – S Renton P&R – Seattle

Obviously, this routing favors suburban drivers parking at the P&R (many from Renton Highlands, Fairwood, and Kent East Hill) over central Renton residents and riders transferring from other buses, by giving them a shorter trip.  But for this service change, Metro is going to reverse its priorities.  In conjunction with an improvement to 15-minute frequency all day, route 101 will now run:

Seattle – Downtown Renton – S Renton P&R
S Renton P&R – Downtown Renton – Seattle

All is not lost for the majority of P&R riders who commute at peak hours.  Metro will convert about half of peak-hour route 101 trips in both directions into new trips on route 102, which retains the existing routing between Seattle and the P&R.  The converted trips will not continue to Fairwood like existing route 102 trips, but they will ensure that the P&R has direct peak-hour service to Seattle.  Riders wanting the shortest trip between Seattle and the P&R will want to use route 102, while existing route 102 riders from Fairwood will want to check before boarding the bus in Seattle to make sure signage says “Fairwood.”

The curious among us are wondering whether the frequency improvement and the change in routing are intended to allow routes 101 and 169 to be through-routed easily once route 101 leaves the downtown transit tunnel next year.  Not only would such a through-route offer efficiency improvements on its own, but it could also take advantage of common terminals with route 150 on both ends, allowing further efficiency and routing improvements.

All-Day Frequency Improvements

The following routes get all-day frequency improvements (which always excite us most, because the all-day weekday network is the fundamental baseline for Metro service):

  • RapidRide F Line between Renton, Southcenter, and Burien gets 15-minute evening service until 10 p.m.  It was the only RapidRide line without 15-minute evening frequency.
  • Route 3 between the Central District and Madrona will have 15-minute midday service (up from 30) on weekdays for at least as long as Route 4 Shuttle (see below) is running.
  • Route 31 between the U-District, Fremont, and Magnolia will have 30-minute service extended until about 9 p.m. weekdays only.  This will also extend the span of 15-minute service between the U-District and Fremont on the combination of routes 31 and 32.  There is still no route 31 service on Sunday.
  • Route 74 will regain the weekday midday service that used to be numbered Route 30, running every 30 minutes between Sand Point and the U-District only.  Unlike former route 30, the new route 74 shuttle trips will use the same routing in the U-District as existing route 74, serving Roosevelt Wy NE southbound and 11th Ave NE northbound.  Transfers from other U-District service are available along NE 50 St.  This routing is quite puzzling, because it makes any transfer to Link difficult while also staying a quarter-mile away from most of the UW campus.  The only easy transfer to downtown is to route 70 at 15th Ave NE/NE 50th St, no one’s idea of a quick or efficient trip.
  • Route 101, as already mentioned, will have 15-minute midday service on weekdays.
  • Route 150 Sunday service between Kent, Southcenter, and Seattle will improve to 15-minute frequency.
  • Route 153 between Renton and Kent via E Valley, previously peak-only, will add new weekday midday service running every 30 minutes.
  • Route 183, a local connector route serving several Federal Way and west Kent neighborhoods, will have 30-minute weekday midday service (up from 60) and will add new hourly evening service until 10 p.m.  The low frequency and span of route 183 compared to its peer routes has been a Metro mystery for years and this is a welcome change.
  • Route 240 connecting Bellevue, Eastgate, Factoria, Newcastle, and Renton will gain 30-minute service (up from 60) evenings (all 7 days) and Sundays.
  • Route 269, now weekday-only (peak-only before the last service change), will add 30-minute Saturday service–the first Saturday service in Sammamish.  Routing will continue to serve Issaquah, Bear Creek, and Overlake, bypassing downtown Redmond, even on Saturday.  CORRECTION: Saturday service will run between Bear Creek, Sammamish, and Issaquah only.  Overlake will not be served on Saturday.  But downtown Redmond riders will still have to transfer to ST 545 at Bear Creek.

West Seattle Construction Reroutes

The City of Seattle will soon begin construction on its new Lander Street overpass (having ignored our plea for design changes).  This will displace all of the routes currently using Lander Street in Sodo, which include all-day routes 21 and 50 as well as peak-hour routes 37, 116, 118X, and 119X.

The downtown routes (all except route 50) will use Edgar Martinez Dr (aka S Atlantic St), which flies over the tracks, to travel between 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S.  When there is no Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks game, this is a fantastic solution, which should improve reliability on the subject routes and also route 5 (which is through-routed from route 21).  At game time, buses will instead use S Holgate St, which (like Lander today) is subject to train delays, and may have some additional game-related congestion.

Route 50 riders, as usual on that star-crossed route, will suffer worse.  Their reroute will use Holgate, adding 3-4 minutes to travel time without any reduction in train delays.  Riders from the west wishing to reach downtown would be well served to transfer to RapidRide C at 35th Av SW/SW Avalon Wy, rather than trying to use Link.

Route 4 Construction Shuttle Map
Map by Metro.

23rd Ave Construction: The Fun Starts Again

The City of Seattle is about to start Phase 2 of the 23rd Ave rebuild project, which will see total reconstruction of most of that street through Judkins Park.  As during the previous phase, route 4 will be truncated at Garfield High School on weekdays.  Responding to criticism from the previous phase, Metro will offer half-hourly weekday shuttle service between Center Park and 21st/James to replace the missing route 4 tail.  The shuttle will start at the service change, but will initially use the usual routing.  Starting in April, buses will use Martin Luther King Jr. Way south of Jackson, not serving the neighborhood loop in Judkins Park.  I expect this shuttle to serve mostly riders accessing First Hill medical facilities; other riders will have better options.  Route 4 will serve its normal route on weekends, when construction isn’t active.

The change should be less painful than it was the first time, because alternative services have significantly improved in the intervening three years.  Route 48 is now frequent throughout the evening, while frequent service on route 8 extends later into the evening.  Route 27 midday service was restored, and route 14 is more frequent during the day.

One positive consequence of this change is that the segment of route 3 between Madrona and First Hill will see a weekday frequency increase to 15 minutes.  The layover at 21st/James does not have capacity to handle all of the existing coaches on both route 4 and short-turn route 3 trips after adding the shuttle, so some route 3 trips are being extended to Madrona. I strongly hope this service pattern continues permanently.  The full route 3 provides better network connections and has fewer alternative services than route 4.  (Full disclosure: I live somewhat close to the route 3 Madrona terminal.  Fuller disclosure: I hoped for this years before I moved to Madrona.)

Peak-Hour Frequency Improvements

The following routes get additional trips to improve peak-hour frequency or relieve peak-hour overcrowding:

  • C Line (2 AM, 1 PM trips)
  • D Line (1 AM trip)
  • E Line (2 AM, 2 PM trips)
  • 5 local (1 AM trip)
  • 5X (1 AM trip)
  • 24 (1 AM trip)
  • 50 (1 AM, 1 PM trips)
  • 64 (1 PM trip)
  • 70 (2 AM trips).  This change represents an early start for trips that have previously been added during Amazon internship season.
  • 156 (3 AM and 3 PM trips).  This change allows Route 156 to run every 15 minutes in the peak direction during most of peak hour, improving transfers from route 150.
  • 180 (4 northbound AM trips)
  • 181 (2 AM trips in each direction)
  • 212 (2 AM trips)
  • 218 (3 AM trips)
  • 245 (3 AM trips southbound, 2 AM trips northbound)
  • 312 (1 PM trip)

Minor Routing Changes

Metro is making minor routing changes to a few routes in central Seattle and downtown Redmond to reflect changes to the street network.  Riders of the following routes should double- check their stop location to ensure that they aren’t left behind:

  • Downtown Seattle: routes 7, 29, 217, and Metro-operated Sound Transit routes 522, 545, and 554
  • First Hill: route 60
  • Downtown Redmond: routes 224, 232, 248, and Metro-operated Sound Transit route 545

67 Replies to “Service Change: Metro’s Music Keeps Playing”

  1. Actually, route 269 Saturday service does *not* bypass downtown Redmond and serve Overlake, like the weekday routing does. Instead, the Saturday service just truncates at Bear Creek P&R, with a forced transfer to the 545 to continue onto downtown Redmond and Overlake.

    It would have been nice if the 269 trips (both weekday and Saturday) could have been routed to serve downtown Redmond, instead of Bear Creek P&R. It has the same connections that Bear Creek P&R has, and more. It would give the Saturday service a one-seat ride to a part of Redmond with useful destinations, vs. a P&R in the middle of nowhere. And, for weekday commuters, getting in and out of Bear Creek P&R requires so many long stoplights that it’s not really all that much faster for thru-riders than just serving downtown Redmond.

    Furthermore, with the combined 542, 545, and B-line, the weekday extension to Overlake is redundant. And, since many of the 542/545 riders don’t get on until Overlake, anyway, a forced transfer wouldn’t even impact those routes’ capacity. The extension made sense when the route was peak-only (since it was on the way to East Base, which every bus was going back to, hence, almost free). Now, it’s just a bunch of extra service hours prioritizing a one-seat ride over more frequent service those hours could buy, elsewhere in the network (or have the service run slightly later in the evening, or on Sunday). Microsoft commuters from Sammamish who wish to avoid the transfer already have the Microsoft Connector shuttle, so it’s not necessary to roll out the red carpet for them with the regular bus service.

    I would not be at all surprised if this route gets included in a larger service restructure once the downtown and SE Redmond Link Stations open.

    1. One things about Bear Creek P&R that I’m not sure Metro understands – there is zero reason for anyone to drive park there other than peak-hour commuters to downtown Seattle, plus a few long-distance vanpool riders. And the only reason it makes sense, even for those people, is limited parking availability at other P&R’s, which are closer to the freeway and more on-the-way.

      *Nobody* is going to park their car there to ride a local bus route, like the 248, 269, or anything else. Hence deviating any local routes to serve that P&R is just delaying thru-riders for no useful purpose. You can’t even justify the deviations in terms of connections it creates because riders can make the same connections to the same destinations at Redmond Transit Center, instead.

      1. Maybe extend the 248 to the park and rides in Cottage Lake go grow ridership on that route?

    2. Corrected. I didn’t read the new timetable carefully enough. Thanks.

      I’m positive everything in this area will see a major restructuring for Link. The existing 269 routing makes some sense given how long the 542/545 take to get from Bear Creek to Overlake, but Link will take care of that.

  2. I wish Metro would just give up on the 50 serving Sodo and let it be an express on the West Seattle Bridge.

    1. +1. How far north does the 50 have to go before it effectively turns into the old 39 again?

    2. I do see some riders getting on or off route 50 when I pass by the stop on the way to SODO Station. That said, most of them going to West Seattle can catch route 21 or other options downtown, like route 120 if going to Delridge.

      For riders going to the neighborhood portion of route 50 not in other buses’ walkshed, riding the train to Columbia City Station and then taking a more frequent route 50 westward is probably a wash or better.

      I’d much rather see the hours used for the extreme diversion invested back into better frequency this poor route has been waiting for for six years. Make the switch to express on the freeway/bridge an emergency re-route, but keep the operators who picked that route on that route.

      1. Who would lose if the 50 terminated at Beacon Hill Station both directions? With a scheduled “meet up?” With LINK travel time, Seattle CBD itself could count as real destination- shopping, shelter, lunch, etc. And BRT to West Seattle?

        When ridership warrants and budget allows, West Seattle express via Spokane can be added without any complications.

        Mark

      2. Who would lose if the 50 terminated at Beacon Hill Station both directions?

        Seward Park.

    3. The trip time savings should be able to increase the frequency somewhat. SODO is actually the closest (in terms of total walking involved) two seat ride for me to get to Alki (ride Link 2 stops then transfer), but I don’t do this because of the poor frequency plus traffic unreliability. If it were more frequent but not stopping at SODO I’d just walk a bit further for the C, transfer at the junction, and I’d be fine with that. Or if you just want to focus on Alki/Admiral/Junction, run DART continuously every 15 minutes, for which I’d gladly pay a $2.75 fare.

      1. Whatever solution happens, route 50 has to run shorter buses because of route obstacles, and is not sufficient (especially with its poor frequency) to serve summer Alki ridership demand. Not. Even. Close.

        I’m still a big fan of extending route 128 to Alki Beach.

    4. It would not only reduce travel time (enabling more frequency), but it would be much more reliable.

      As it is, Route 50 is so infrequent and unreliable that it is a horrible feeder bus for Link.

      1. Whole passenger experience is something that needs to be checked out by a human before it gets entered into the system, as fact and as information. Except for a 100% certain transfer or a headway much past five minutes, who’d blame anybody for getting a car?

        Beacon Hill has coffee a hundred feet from the elevators,l and there’s food two blocks’ walk away. Downtown Seattle, more things to see and buy, much larger choice of refreshments. Someplace warm, populated, and dry.

        Connected by LINK to a lot of other places, in case somebody thinks of something else they need that’s not available downtown. This should be an easy one. Can’t think of anything else we’d have to buy to make it work, for a lot of return.

        MD

    5. That would go a long way to address MAJOR reliability issues Eastbound in the evening peak. Trying to connect from the 60 or 107 or LINK to Eastbound 50 in the afternoon is very hit/miss due to the reliability issues.

    6. >> As it is, Route 50 is so infrequent and unreliable that it is a horrible feeder bus for Link.

      It is not only unreliable and infrequent, but generally slow. Part of the reason is the unreliability, but consider that Google Maps seems to hate the SoDo transfer. If you are right next to the Westlake Station and want to get to Alki, Google Maps says you should ignore Link and instead take a bus to West Seattle and then transfer to the 50. Even from Capitol Hill it says you should get off the train, catch a bus, then transfer to the 50. I’m not saying Google Maps is right, but for them to suggest a three seat ride from Capitol Hill suggests that the 50 is spending a lot of time stuck somewhere.

      I think the 50 is trying to do several things:

      1) Provide a cross town route.
      2) Connect to Link as well as other bus routes.
      3) Provide service to Alki.

      If is failing as a connection to Link, then there is no reason for it to go to SoDo, since that is the main reason for the detour. You lose out on other connections, but only a handful of connections are worse. Might as well speed it up, since that makes it better for both the other purposes.

      I also find it odd that every high density neighborhood* has direct, all day service to downtown, except for Alki. This is especially strange given that it is a destination in its own right, with activities, bars and restaurants that other densely populated parts of West Seattle (such as High Point) could only dream of.

      With that in mind, I would do the following:

      1) Run the 56 all day.
      2) Have the 50 avoid SoDo, as Martin suggested.

      Try (as best as possible) to time these two routes evenly, to provide 15 minute all day service to Alki. This would cost some money (obviously), but not a fortune. You would save a bunch by having the 50 skip SoDo, and in general, both bus routes should be pretty fast most of the day. This would not only provide more direct service (and more frequent service) to Alki and Admiral, but for parts of West Seattle, it would provide the only midday service that doesn’t require a long walk (this, instead of this).

      I think this would be very popular. If you are at Alki headed downtown (or anywhere north), you take the first bus that arrives. If you are lucky, you get the all day 56. If not, you transfer at 35th and you are bound to catch a bus very quickly. Going the other direction, it is the same though process. Check to see if the 56 is coming, otherwise catch a bus to West Seattle, and then transfer to the 50. Meanwhile, you still have almost all of the nice connections that are available now. From Alki you can get to the Junction, Delridge, the V. A,, Columbia City (and in turn Link southbound).

      1. The 56 was curtailed in the 2012 restructure because, outside of peak hour, productivity and ridership were low enough to put the route in the same danger zone as the off-peak 27 and 30. People love Alki, but it seems they all drive to it.

      2. The 56 was a long slow infrequent milk run that sucked service hours away that prevented Metro from establishing frequent corridors between urban villages, and it completely bypassed the Junction where people are going an the center of the West Seattle community. Its hours went into the C, and the C’s frequency may not have been feasible without deleting it.

      3. Fair enough, but it is hard to see the 50 being any better. The only part of the 50 that is unique in West Seattle is serving Alki, it doesn’t connect to Link very well at all, and it is very slow getting to Alki. Calling the 56 a milk run while discussing the 50 is silly — the 56 is a straight shot from Alki to downtown, while the 50 is a very slow bus route that wanders all over the place.

        Hard to imagine Alki not deserving 15 minute bus service, just based on density alone. But if folks there don’t ride the bus, they don’t ride the bus. That being the case, you might as well give up on the 50, and just run a shuttle from Alki to the Junction (and figure out something else for the east half of the 50).

      4. I’ve always thought the 128 should have gone to Alki instead of the 50. That would tie West Seattle together rather than leaving it a fragment of isolated routes that tie it to other places but not to itself.

      5. I always hated having to take the 56 to Alki because its only access point was downtown so I’d have to ride the entire milk run; on 1st Ave S instead of the Viaduct like the 54, 55, and 125. I always thought I’d have to live along that route because there’s nothing in between except a tiny bit at Admiral & California, so you have to go all the way downtown to get to anything.

      6. @Mike — You must have a different definition for “milk run” than I have. I always thought a milk run was a bus that wanders back and forth, trying to serve every last spot along the way.

        The 56 seems like an express, not unlike the 41. It serves the neighborhood, then gets on the freeway and goes downtown. As far as I can tell, it does go on the Viaduct, like most of the other West Seattle buses (https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/056-057.aspx#route-map).

        As far as getting to other places in West Seattle, you can simply transfer. It crosses California, which means you can take the bus from the Admiral Junction to the Alaska Junction and beyond. There are plenty of things in North Admiral — restaurants, a movie theater, grocery stores and a library branch. It also isn’t a far walk to the High School. It is hard for me to see how more folks would ride the 50 from West Seattle than the 56 if they ran just as frequently. You can still connect to a lot of places in West Seattle from the 56, and the 56 has a much faster connection to the system as a whole (via downtown).

        While I think having the 128 go to Alki is worth considering, I think that is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The north end of California would be in the same boat that Alki is in right now. Bus service would be very infrequent, slow, and indirect to most places.

        I think the only way to get a marginal place like Alki decent service is to “oversupply it” after we make savings in the system as a whole with Link expansion (or by spending more money). This isn’t a lot different than what parts of Northeast Seattle got. There a lot of places with 15 minute bus service, even though the population density (or ridership) probably doesn’t justify it, but it is a good thing. Half hour bus service is really bad. It tends to be used by folks who have no other choice, or are headed to downtown. The west part of the 50 seems to do neither.

      7. “The 56 seems like an express, not unlike the 41.”

        I was talking about the 56 local that used to exist. I thought that’s what you meant to revive. The 56 local had the same route through Admiral Way, then it stopped at the SW Spokane Street P&R that nobody ever uses, then went up 1st Ave S to downtown. From the Admiral District to downtown it may have been reasonable, but from Alki it’s quite a long slow way, and frustrating because there was no other way to get to Alki outside peak hours.

        All Metro has to do is switch the 50 and 128 tails. That’s not unlike going from east Bellevue to Bellevue TC and transferring to a fast/frequent trunk route to get to downtown. When the 50 started I thought the SODO transfer was great, but after using it I found it’s also a long slow way between the Junction and SODO because of the steep narrow streets in between, so going from Alki to SODO starts to feel like “Why?” You get access to all of Link, but the C takes you to Link just as easily.

        As for making the 56X all-day and even 15-minute frequent, that’s funny, ha ha. Northeast Seattle would like that too, please. Metro would have to take the hours out of another route (and the 50 between California and Delridge provides crosstown service that doesn’t otherwise exist), and Metro has been moving away from one-seat rides. Greenwood has a one-seat rides to downtown because it’s directly north of it, not off in a corner. Latona has a one-seat ride to downtown but it’s debatable how justified that is; in any case it serves the “east Greenlake north-south corridor” for whatever that’s worth.

        A milk run to me is a long slow one-seat ride that’s excessively long and/or parallel to other similar routes or a trunk route. Especially if it bypasses urban villages along the way. The former 42 and 39 come to mind. Basically routes that make you feel like, “Why do I have to take this godawful route? Why can’t they restructure it and provide more frequent/faster trunk service on the main corridor?” Metro has fortunately been moving away from these. I guess the biggest remaining problem, and you may not think of it as a milk run, is the 150. It makes Kent an hour away from Seattle because it turns-turns-turns in Southcenter traffic. You can’t take Link because there’s no faster way to get to Link (the 180 takes 20 minutes plus transfer time). There’s no Seattle-Kent ST Express, and Sounder has a limited schedule. So you’re at the mercy of the 150. And it doesn’t even go to the residential eastern part of Kent so many people have to transfer just to get to the 150.

      8. No, I was talking about the 56 that exists now. I’m sorry, I don’t know about historical bus routes, (nor do I have an easy way to find about them. Let me repeat what I wrote:

        1) Run the 56 all day.

        I’m not sure how that is confusing. There is only one 56. In all the literature and in every map, it is just called the 56. There is no 56X.

        The fact that some old, poorly designed, milk run that used to be called the 56 performed poorly doesn’t mean that the new 56 (the only one that exists now) would suffer the same fate.

        Anyway, I never wrote that I wanted to run the 56 every 15 minutes, either. I said I wanted to run the bus every half hour, and then run the 50 (that skips SoDo) every half hour, but have them timed so that Alki gets 15 minutes service.

        Is that too much service? Probably, but you can say the same thing about Wedgwood or Matthews Beach. We added that service so that at least one set of relatively low density neighborhoods (similar to Alki) gets decent service.

        The 50 is really not a good bus for West Seattle. It performs really poorly. It is the second worst route in West Seattle (only the 22 is worse) in terms of riders per hour or per mile. It is worse than the 31 (a similar bus). The 56 performs better than the 50 during the hours when they both run. I realize that might not be a fair comparison — since the 56 is bound to be used by downtown commuters a lot — but similar runs don’t see that much of a drop-off. The 33 and 24, for example, see big drop-offs during the day, with almost half the ridership per hour that they get during rush hour. But even if the 56 performed that way, then it would be better than the 50.

        The 50 just leaves Alki with basically nothing during the day. To get from Alki to Capitol Hill in the evening or during the day (when traffic is light heading out of West Seattle) takes close to an hour. Same with the UW. That means that anyone who lives in Alki simply pays for a cab or drives if they want to go out just about anywhere.

        If we can’t afford to run the 56 all day, then why are we running the 50 to West Seattle? Just run some sort of Beacon Hill to Seward Park shuttle, and run the 56 every half hour. The 50 is just one of the many buses that looks pretty good on paper, but the details on the ground just don’t work out (because it doesn’t hook into Link very well).

      9. This evening there was a fire at UW Station just as I was about to enter it, so I went to take the 48 trying to figure out how I’d get to southwest Capitol Hill. I thought the 8 ran every 20 minutes, the 11 every 30 minutes, the 2 every 30 minutes, and while the 12 was probably every 15 minutes it ended up further south than I wanted. So I was hoping I wouldn’t have to wait too long for an 8. Luckily a 43 came first; I forgot it still partly existed. If we have extra hours I’d rather put it into evening service on the 8 and 11 before running the 56 midday.

      10. I don’t know. When I was on the 67 from Roosevelt an emergency vehicle speeded past us. When I got to the station the train signs said “Fire, evacuate” with the voice announcement and alarm. I didn’t see any smoke or anything.

      11. Another solution for Alki is to move the 128 to Alki and coordinate the 50 and 128 to provide 15-minute service between Alki and the Junction. Then extend Route 22 to North Admiral to replace the lost 128 service. Riders going between Downtown and Alki can take the C and transfer at the junction to either the 50 or 128. The transfer would be much simpler than it is now because the buses would be frequent.

    7. I wonder if ridership on the 50 will drop significantly and that might get Metro’s attention.

      (I’m also wondering if those new export tariffs that Mr T is set to sign tomorrow will cause a recession, and how that might change the political landscape if so.)

      1. I doubt it’s going to make much difference. Most of the 50’s ridership probably comes from people traveling one of the two ends, not taking it to SODO, and, hence, not really affected by the detour.

        The extended SODO detour may make things less reliable for people making connections to Alki/Seward Park, but those people are basically stuck waiting for it anyway, because a captive audience has no alternatives. I suppose there’s always Uber, but that gets expensive.

    8. Actually, for those of us who actually ride the 50, the SODO diversion causes most of the ridership. This bus was relatively empty until Starbucks employees realized it gave them door to door service. About 3/4 of the now full 50 in the mornings gets off at 1st and Lander. Also, many of us who proceed Downtown but work in Pioneer Square or the ID often catch a 50 or 21 at 35th and Lander because it is just as fast and easier than going to the middle of downtown on a C and backtracking south.

      1. I do ride the 50 sometimes, but almost never to West Seattle unless there is no alternative. I would take it quite frequently if it weren’t so much slower than driving.

  3. Nice additions, all around. Metro’s description of the changes on the 181 are kinda funny though:

    “On weekdays, morning peak-period service frequency will improve to every 20 minutes between 6:23 and 8:23 am when operating northbound from the Twin Lakes Park & Ride to Green River College, and between 6:25 and 8:28 am southbound from Green River College to the Twin Lakes Park & Ride.”

    The 181 is an east-west route, so “northbound” and “southbound” don’t make a whole lot of sense.

    The 180 & 181 AM improvements are good as neighborhood connectors to Sounder service, as the parking garage fills up earlier and earlier in the morning, and we see an additional trip or train car every year or two. The more people we can feed in from neighborhoods on bus, the better.

    I’d ultimately love to see the 180 get split to improve reliability. A one-seat ride on that route doesn’t make much sense. It is faster to travel from SeaTac to Auburn on the 574 with a transfer to the 181, than to slog through the backroads of Kent on the 180. Splitting at Kent Station might make sense?

    1. Unless you work in the North kent industrial area and live in Auburn. Or work at the airport at 3 AM and live in Auburn, when the 180 is the only bus in town.

  4. The 60/107 de facto trunk serving Beacon Hill Station to Georgetown on 15th Ave S is still scheduled to be pre-bunched outside of weekday daytime hours. Sigh.

  5. Route 4 Shuttle:

    – 3 blocks short of Cherry Hill medical buildings on one end (a high boarding point); and

    – 3 blocks short of a grocery and drug store on the other end; 5 blocks short of Mount Baker TC too.

    As a route without buses on wires so it could go anywhere, this looks completely useless.

    1. The uselessness of the route 4 tail has been obscured until now by a combination of poorly structured alternative service and very high ridership on the First Hill segment.

      It almost seems as though Metro is trying to highlight the uselessness of the tail now.

      (The final nail in the coffin would be an upgrade of route 14 to 15-minute frequency.)

      1. Route 14 has needed this for years. Oddly, the “bus routes to get you around town” guide shows it as frequent, even though I don’t think that has ever been the case.

  6. The 101 change is interesting. Metro seems to be getting more grief on Twitter than you’d expect for this change (which I think makes the routing more intuitive).

    But it also seems kinda half-hearted if they are adding 102s to bring back some of the quicker Seattle runs to S. Renton to make up for the change. Seems like they can’t make up their mind. We’ll have inconsistent travel times from S. Renton P&R now. If I were them, I’d go all in and even have route 102 follow the 101 and serve Renton TC and S. Renton on the way to Fairwood.

    Speaking of, having “route 102” trips that don’t go to Fairwood is confusing and silly. The whole reason they created route 102 was that some route 101 trips went to Fairwood while others didn’t, which was confusing, so they simply renumbered them 102. If history is any indication, then the Fairwood trips will become route 103 or something.

    I think a better name though would be 101X. Maybe skipping SODO if possible would be a good improvement as well.

    1. Before this announcement Metro just said several peak 101 trips would be reassigned to 102 and didn’t mention the reroute. That led me to believe Metro was simply extending them to Fairwood because Fairwood needed the capacity (hard to believe, but). Instead it looks like there are two motivations: to address the longstanding complaints that the 101 should serve the transit center immediately after arriving in Renton because of transfers and pedestrian destinations, and to prepare for moving the transit center to the P&R. The “reassigning the extra 101 trips (for capacity management) to the 102” seems to be about preserving the direct routing to the P&R. Metro did a muddled mess of not explaining that these wouldn’t go to Fairwood, so I agree with calling them 103, since Metro has moved away from letter suffixes.

      But when the transit center moves, then the all-day Seattle-Renton express will have to move with it. The short 102s seem to be a preparation for that, but on the other hand the rerouting of the 101 contradicts it.

      One casualty of this change is that the fastest way from eeast Kent to Seattle used to be 169+101 transferring at the P&R, because it was only a 10 minute wait (shorter than other combinations) and it avoided the surprisingly-long overhead of meandering to the TC before going to Seattle (which somehow adds ten minutes to the trip even though the distance is short). A future 101/169 route would be excellent, but until then, this change may make riders in the Benson area worse off.

      1. Why can’t the 101 follow the same routing through the center of downtown Renton and just not stop at a “Transit Center”? Just because Renton City officials are being foolish doesn’t mean that Metro has to follow their example.

        Or has Renton said it will be banning buses from downtown also? That seems pretty radically autoista.

      2. Metro’s LRP has four RapidRide lines passing 2nd & Burnett, but it doesn’t look like it has been updated for moving the transit center, so I don’t know how many routes will remain in downtown Renton. Presumably it won’t go down to zero, and the routes to The Landing, the Highlands, and Bellevue really have to go through downtown because there’s no other way. I suspect Renton’s complaint is mostly about layovers and peak-express buses and P&R users, rather than the all-day routes we focus on.

    2. The purpose of the SODO busway is to bypass traffic jams on I-5, and perhaps to avoid overloading the freeway entrances north of it. So it’s unlikely Metro will move any routes out of it. Although if West Seattle Link replaces the roadway, then the buses will have to go somewhere else. But maybe the roadway will remain open and the train will be above it.

      1. If the DSTT tunnel won’t have any buses, the value of the SODO busway is significantly reduced.

        It the BAR station opens in 2030, I would think that it would become the hub for several Renton and Kent routes.

        In the interim, Rainier Beach Station could work — but no agency has planned a good layover transit center there. If Metro or ST would lease and clear a property very close to the platform (and pave and install a temporary center with lighting and shelters), I would think it could be in place by 2021.

      2. There are tons of industrial lots just south of the station, one of which already has a fleet of buses. Surely one of them must have some extra space it can lease to Metro.

      3. What about the quadrant to the northeast of the intersection with the power lines? Nobody seems to want it for anything else. It’s not even a Pea Patch.

      4. And, isn’t ST going to be taking the roadway for the new Red Line elevated? I doubt that buses will be able to navigate around the construction of the supports.

      5. The main utility of the busway is to make a much more reliable pathway into downtown for buses primarily coming out of Kent and Renton. Even with WS Link and without buses in the tunnel, the busway will continue to be important to Metro for time savings in SODO. That is why we need to try to have both rail lines and a busway in that corridor.

    3. 101 hooray!

      I rode the 101 for a long time, and this ticks just about all the boxes.

      1. Eliminate the stupid wrong-direction loop around S Renton P&R. Check!
      2. Remove running on congested Rainier Avenue. Check!
      3. Simplify F/101 transfer pattern. Check!

      The only losers are those F/101 transfers, for whom a trip all the way into the transit center is now necessary (where there were stops on Rainier before), and at least transfer quality will improve at the transit center instead of directly along 6-lane Rainier.

      1. If only the 148 would cease to serve the S Renton Park and Ride, as most boardings there are transfers from the 101, which now could just as easily be done from the RTC.

    4. Interesting to know whether those who objected to the original routing of the Renton Rocket (101) are the same people objecting now. It lasted about a couple of shakeups as I recall the first time before the clockwise circle to S Renton P & R after Downtown Renton was reversed – although there was a forced transfer to Fairwood routes then at the P & R. Transfers never worked as the 101 was always late arriving from Downtown – or NB 101s wouldn’t wait for the transfers to arrive from the hill.

      How much has changed in twenty five years!

  7. The 74 is odd in many ways. Not only does it skirt the U-District but it has no reverse-peak service. The service pattern is: AM peak southbound express, midday bidirectonal to “lower Roosevelt”, PM peak northbound express. Apparently the purpose is to serve people living on 55th midday. Although why they’d want to go to the outer edge of the U-District is beyond me.

    This does illustrate the fate of people on Roosevelt RR though, if it remains on Roosevelt/11th to 65th rather than detouring to U-District Station. They’ll have to get off at the edge of the U-District, and a hike to campus if they’re gong there. But it will be faster for people going further north. And the upzone area is centered on Roosevelt so perhaps in a decade it won’t look like the outer edge of the urban village.

    1. The 74 had a very clear purpose, which was to take North Seattle residents who work downtown by Trader Joe’s on their way home. (I’m pretty sure that’s the use case.)

    2. That’s the peak-hour 74. The midday 74 doesn’t do that segment. The remaining purpose is a direct path down 50th/55th from Wedgwood to the north part of the U-district. It’s not useful for connecting to Link because the 65, 75, or 372 are going to be faster. That’s not to say the 74 shuttle isn’t useful for what it does, as it’s much faster than riding another route all the way around through campus.

      One weakness of the 74 shuttle route is that if you live in the most dense portion of the route (e.g. around 50th/20th), the distance to the U-district is short enough that it’s faster to just walk up the hill than to wait for it. I know because I live in that area, and even when the 30 was running, I never bothered to wait for it – it was quicker and easier to just walk up the hill. Of course for people further east, the bus has more value, but the density drops off, so fewer people get that value. Hence, the corridor has always struggled with low ridership.

  8. 150 should convert to a rapid ride line hitting downtown, southcenter, and Kent station. I would say nearly every single person gets off at those stops every time I ride (every few months, not commuting). Kent is not connected to downtown nearly as much as Federal Way is, and will be, and I always wondered why. The light rail we voted for in ST2, if it ever shows up, won’t connect directly, Sounder trains only run on weekdays, etc. I understand the light rail alignment, but in light of that, other things don’t make sense.

    1. I’d go further.

      1) Convert the 150 and the south half of the 180 into RapidRide between Southcenter and Auburn only.
      2) Make the part of the 150 between Southcenter and downtown into a daytime-only route that’s infrequent outside of peak commuter hours. At other times, Southcenter-downtown trips can use F + Link.
      3) Divert ST’s 577/578 service from Federal Way to Kent, replacing it with a new Federal Way stop and larger buses on the 594.

    2. “Kent is not connected to downtown nearly as much as Federal Way is, and will be, and I always wondered why.”

      Because Federal Way is on I-5 and considered halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, so the Powers That Be consider it entitled. And it is entitled, thank you, if it does say so itself. That’s why it pushed so hard for Link and got it, even though the Kent-Auburn axis has more people and is the center of the population.

      The 150 in Metro’s LRP is a Frequent route on Rainier Beach – Kent. It goes right past BAR Station. I don’t remember if BAR was certain when Metro wrote the plan. Maybe it’ll truncate it at BAR? But a BAR – Auburn makes sense too. Metro’s plan for the 180S is an Auburn – Kent – East Hill – Renton RapidRide. Maybe it should switch the southern half of those two.

  9. “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Away…”

    1. Route 99 Waterfront Industries (FWI inc,)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/25807967017/in/dateposted-public/

    2. Route 99 Spur From Iowa
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/27772690195/in/dateposted-public/

    3. Route 99 Bike/Streetcar Cease-fire
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/40637140382/in/dateposted-public/

    4. Route 99 Portland-Vancouver BC with Restaurant
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/39100949651/in/dateposted-public/

    Well, first line worked for the movie. Should’ve gone sequel-free, though, so I could keep thinking Darth Vader was either Luke’s father or cloned from Henry Kissinger. Would also ascertain whether Vader, on the BN line to Portland was last remnant or legendary capital of the Evil Galactic Empire.

    Either wait or remember long enough and all things are either possible or radio-carbon. No Vulcan technical reason this can’t happen. Whole galaxies go into or come out of Black Holes in time span since Benson line was shut down and now- tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park still there.

    Only question is whether The Force will blow every substation from here to DC Metro- where nobody will notice. Is that line crew still working on the dead spot at the bottom of the Counterbalance?

    Mark Dublin

  10. The 594 is already a long enough trip. Stopping at Federal Way would just make it longer. And diverting the 578 to Kent would not work well because of all the city street travel in Downtown Kent and to get back up to I-5. It would just add a lot of time.

    The 150 is now operating at 15 minute intervals 7 days a week (the last Sunday without has already passed). The 150 has several intermediate stops, too, like the mall and North Kent industrial area, that are important. And having direct service between downtown and the mall is crucial, because unlike the mall’s “friends” of Bellevue Square, Southcenter actually supports public transit. So we owe it to the mall to provide direct service from downtown. And having 578 serve Kent instead of Federal Way would take a lot of extra time. And even if the change is made, the 577 should continue to start in FW and not serve Kent. Kent has peak service on the Sounder. FW if we ever get the money will eventually get light rail, which will make the 577 redundant as well as the 578’s FW to Seattle portion.

    But changes could definitely be made. Looking forward to seeing ST3 if we ever get there.

    1. No reason to send the 578 back to I-5 after Kent. It should be a Sounder shadow (minus Tacoma).

      With the dedicated ramps, a FWTC stop should add only 3-4 minutes to a 594 trip.

      I think it’s silly that we send all of this service up and down I-5 but require off-peak Kent riders to take a bus that meanders through the West Valley, around Southcenter, and up Interurban, stopping every quarter mile nearly the entire way and taking more than an hour to get downtown.

      Read again and you will see that I proposed Southcenter-downtown service. Just less frequent, and not running outside of mall hours. All of the intermediate destinations between Southcenter and downtown are even more daytime focused.

    2. The 594 could make back the time by skipping the SODO busway slog and staying on I-5 to Seneca St., like the 578 already does. Even when I-5 is backed up, there’s an exit-only lane to Seneca that goes quite awhile back and usually moves, with an HOV lane preceeding that.

    3. I think they could restructure the I-5 south corridor off-peak expresses in a similar way they did in the north with the 512:

      591 – 10th and Commerce, TDS, Federal Way TC, Seattle: every 30 minutes
      593 – Lakewood Station, SR 512 P&R, TDS, Federal Way TC, Seattle: every 30 minutes
      579 – Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Federal Way TC

      TDS and Federal Way get 15 minute frequency to Seattle. Downtown Tacoma retains 30 minute frequency to Seattle. Lakewood retains 30 minute frequency to Seattle, but service is at least 10 minutes faster without the I-705/Pacific loop into downtown Tacoma, instead using the current 574’s routing in Tacoma. Auburn through Puyallup are the losers here, with a forced transfer to 15 minute service at Federal Way. Still WAY faster than a future Link truncation would be though.

      Not sure if this would be totally budget neutral. Here are the pluses and minuses:

      – Truncating the 578 at FW saves a Federal Way leg every half hour: +20 miles every 30 minutes
      – Making the current 594 skip downtown Tacoma while adding essentially a 590, and a FW stop adds and subtracts. It comes out to roughly: -29 miles every 30 minutes

      It’s not revenue neutral. It could become so most likely if the 574 were to be truncated at Tacoma and be timed with the 593, but that’s really making some drastic changes.

      From there though, it seems pretty natural to change the 579 to go through Kent to Seattle.

    4. I was thinking of an additional ST Express route, Kent-downtown or Auburn-Kent-Downtown. The 578 may be useful as it is. However, its claim to be a “Sounder shadow for when Sounder isn’t running” is a slap in the face to Kent, which is a major Sounder market but somehow gets ignored for a Sounder shadow.

  11. Keeping 102 getting the fast route to Seattle ought to make it more politically palatable to connect 101/169 to Rainier Beach Station all day.

  12. I certainly notice the lack of any bus going up the hill from either the waterfront or 1st up to 3rd in the Pioneer Square area. I see Amazon and other company shuttles going up Yesler constantly, and am really angry that Metro can’t have anything going up Yesler, Cherry, or one of the streets, and that it’ll be this way until 2021 or whenever the CCC is ready. They also mention that people in Belltown have the 29 that goes between 1st and 3rd.

    I guess it doesn’t bother anyone else though.

  13. Correction. Not quite the first time Sammamish has been served on Saturday. The Dart 927 (withdrawn in 2013) used to terminate every 2 hours at Sammamish Highlands Plaza and every 2 hours at Providence Point giving a 1 hour headway from Pine Lake to Issaquah Highlands, Issaquah Transit Center and downtown Issaquah

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