Under the service proposal, Route 196 buses would make an additional stop at Lynnwood Transit Center

Community Transit plans to expand once again, restoring pre-recession frequency on the Swift Blue Line and re-routing local buses for better connections and usability. The service expansion proposal covers Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 and would add about 49,000 annual service hours (12 percent over March 2018). It would be funded by the 0.3% sales tax increase approved by voters in 2015, as well as a 25-cent increase in fares for local and DART service due in October 2018.

Fall 2018

In Fall 2018, the Swift Blue Line would be restored to 10-minute weekday headways that the line used prior to the recession cuts in 2012. An additional early morning trip would be added at 4:20 a.m., while headways on weekends and on weekdays outside of the 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. window would remain at 20 minutes.

At the same time, 13 mid-day and late evening trips would be added to Route 413, expanding into an all-morning peak-direction option between Lynnwood and Downtown Seattle. Southbound trips would depart from Lynnwood until approximately 11 a.m., and the first northbound trips would depart from Downtown Seattle around 1 p.m. Community Transit anticipates that the new trips would provide better flexibility and encourage greater use of the Swamp Creek Park and Ride adjacent to Ash Way, both of which are served by Route 413. As a bonus, Route 413 uses the 5th & Columbia express lane entrance, which gives late morning commuters an option to skip the congested Stewart offramp and travel faster to the south end of downtown.

The remaining changes for Fall 2018 would introduce short deviations to two local routes: Route 109 would move off of Highway 9 in Lake Stevens and take 99th Avenue instead, serving nearby residents and businesses. Route 196 would be moved yet again to intercept regional buses, this time finally serving Lynnwood Transit Center. In the process, buses would need to make an additional six turns and skip serving a four-block stretch of the street (dominated by the Fred Meyer, which has Route 112 service), but the change would make connections from North Edmonds to the rest of the county much easier. It would also introduce a slightly faster option between Downtown Edmonds and Lynnwood Transit Center, compared to Route 116 (which makes several zig-zag turns of its own).

Spring 2019

A worker shuttle on the Boeing Renton campus, similar to what could be used in Everett

The Spring 2019 service change would be triggered by the opening of the Swift Green Line and its northern terminal at Seaway Transit Center, in the middle of Boeing’s Paine Field complex. The Green Line would launch with 10-minute weekday headways and 20-minute weekend and night service, traveling through south Everett, Mill Creek, and to Canyon Park in northern Bothell. Route 105, which already runs along the whole Green Line corridor during peak hours and the segment from Mariner to Canyon Park at other times, would be retained and act as the Green Line’s “local shadow”, similar to how Route 101 complements the Blue Line.

Most of Community Transit’s current peak-only buses to the Boeing Everett complex would be truncated to the transit center, no longer making the long and circuitous loop around the assembly plant to the flightline. Boeing workers would transfer at Seaway Transit Center to company-run shuttles, which will have their own designated pick-up and drop-off zones similar to the old Overlake Transit Center on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Boeing already runs full-sized bus shuttles (pictured above) around their Renton campus and runs a few van routes around Everett and Mukilteo. In addition to the truncation, Route 107, the peak-only route from Lynnwood, would also deviate onto 84th Street on the west side of Paine Field, picking up a new bus stop near the Future of Flight Museum.

Fare Change (October 2018)

Effective October 1, 2018, the fares for local and DART paratransit service would be increased by 25 cents for all riders. This would be the first increase since 2015 for adult fares and 2013 for youth and reduced fares. The commuter routes would use a simplified fare (as proposed last year for ORCA 2.0), but would go further and eliminate the $1.25 surcharge for commuter routes that travel to cities to the north and east of Everett. This change would allow for riders to continue using these commuter routes, which pick up passengers at Lynnwood Transit Center, for the same fare and prevent overloading of South County routes. A minor increase to vanpool rates (averaging $14 per month per van) would also be included in the fare change.

And speaking of vanpools, Community Transit is exploring a pilot vanpool service aimed at bridging the last-mile gap for bus riders. A flat rate of $175 per month would allow a group of riders to borrow a vanpool and drive to homes and offices within a 20-mile round-trip.

Public Comment

Community Transit will receive feedback on the service and fare changes until the end of April 6, via the following modes:

  • Mailed comments to 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett, WA 98203
  • E-mailed comments to 2018changes@commtrans.org
  • Phone comments to (425) 353-7433
  • Facebook and Twitter

A public hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, at the Community Transit Boardroom (accessible via Everett Transit route 8 and Community Transit route 105). Community Transit will also appear at two open houses, this Tuesday, March 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Mill Creek City Hall, and this Thursday, March 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Everett Station. A virtual meeting using “Community Transit Live” will take place on March 28 at 12 p.m.

40 Replies to “Community Transit Proposes Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Service Changes”

  1. Nice to see the 196 increasingly becoming useful for more than just Alderwood Mall.

    And since community transit insists on running almost totally redundant local shadows of their Swift lines, then they really should make the 101 more useful for connections and add the 1.2 mile (x2) deviation to Lynnwood. Sure it’s slower for thru-trips, but this is a special case because there is also a fast bus. No sense in trying to have the 101 “compete” with Swift because the 101 will lose every time.

    It would also effectively add two routes worth of use cases (northern 99 to Lynnwood TC, southern 99 to Lynnwood TC) for relatively cheap.

    1. The 101 is necessary because of the long distances between swift stops. Everett transit has a route that shadows swift from the city limits to downtown as well. There are many connections along highway 99 to Lynnwood transit center. I would hope that the work on Pacific avenue in Tacoma/ spanaway does the same thing.

      Unlike metro which merely replaced local routes and called the new ones rapid ride without any substantial benefits over regular service.

    2. Swift is a limited-stop or express service, so it needs a local shadow for the in-between stops. The express stops are the most-used because they’re intentionally the ones that the largest number of people go from and to and transfer at, but that doesn’t mean the other stops are unimportant. In King County, Link serves this role. Metro has sometimes had limited-stop routes like the 9X, 7X, 358, etc, but it has never been serious about it so they weren’t available for widespread use.

      At the same time, both Swift and the 101 are the highest-ridership routes in CT’s network, so it’s not like the 101 is running around empty. CT is hoping the same thing will happen in the Swift Green corridor.

      The lack of a transfer between a 99 bus and Lynnwood Transit Center has been a perennial problem, but it comes down to the geography of 99. I used to think that I-5 ruined the show by shifting downtown Lynnwood east, but when i saw how the Interurban Trail runs I realized that it used to come up Linden Ave (one block from Aurora) through Shoreline and then cut east to downtown Lynnwood. So downtown Lynnwood didn’t move; it was Highway 99 that bypassed it. And that made 99 the land of gas-station sprawl. So I-5 didn’t ruin everything because 99 had already done that; I-5 was just retrofitted into it and returned regional connections to downtown Lynnwood. Part of the Interurban Trail is just a block away from Lynnwood Transit Center. So i don’t think there’s hope to detour a 99 bus to Lynnwood Transit Center. Instead we need to focus on densifying 99 and improving east-west connecting routes. The situation is somewhat similar to the 372 on 25th Avenue vs Link at 10th Avenue and the future RapidRide lines at 45th and 65th.

  2. Not helping the border traffic. Where is Monroe or Snohomish to Woodinville/Bothell route other than peak hours?

    1. CT wanted to extend Swift Green to UW Bothell but it doesn’t have the money this round, and southern Bothell is outside the CT tax district so maybe the city or Metro should cover it. I don’t know about Monroe or Snohomish. CT’s long-term plan calls for more service on Highway 9. I don’t remember the details and I’m getting dead links on CT’s site and not much help from Google for the latest LRP.

    2. It’s the classic example of transit agency intertia. The Everett->Snohomish->Monroe->Gold Bar corridor probably got its service when whatever train used to run that route got discontinued. Back then, there was no highway 522, and the only to get from Monroe to Seattle was to go through Everett.

      Then, highway 522 opened, providing a shortcut for car drivers between Woodinville and Monroe, but CT’s budget was not increased, so there was no money to operate service on that route without taking away service from existing routes, which is a major no-no. (In effect, every opening of a new highway creates an unfunded mandate on the transit agency to run buses on it, at least if they want to maintain their existing level of time-competitiveness with the private car, and not slip further).

      Furthermore, highway 522 has about a 15-mile gap between Woodinville and Monroe, with no places to stop. Transit agencies, in general, don’t like buses that drive long distances without stopping because the same full-ness level means fewer passengers per mile than a bus that constantly turns its ridership over. There are exceptions (e.g. metro route 41), but it has to be a major ridership corridor for that to happen.

      Eventually, CT cobbled up the money to run two rush hour trips per day down 522, but their budget priorities have been elsewhere, with most new money going to the higher-ridership Edmonds/Lynnwood area.

      What I think the ultimate problem is is that CT has the wrong priorities in the highway 2 corridor, with the money that could be spent on better connections between Monroe and the rest of the region instead paying for extending the Everett->Monroe bus all the way out to Gold Bar. Besides being a lot of miles chasing very few riders, the Gold Bar extension subjects the bus to a lot of random traffic delays, as people clog up the highway coming back from hiking/skiing trips, thereby ruining the reliability of the entire rest of the route.

      If I were designing things, I would have CT pay ST to extend the 522 to Monroe (at least every other trip for hourly service), and pay for it by getting rid of the Sultan/Gold Bar service (with the exception of the weekday commuter trips to Boeing).

      1. Long-term, I think a bus connecting Lynnwood, North Creek, Maltby, and Monroe via Highways 524 and 522 could make sense. Maltby would need to be fully annexed by CT, but the rest of the corridor is built up enough for a low level of bus service.

        I wouldn’t try and get rid of Sultan and Gold Bar service, seeing as the bus is still a lifeline out there and both cities joined CT very early on (in the early 1980s).

      2. Another possibility, in a few years, is to have the 424 just go between Monroe/Snohomish and 195th St in Bothell. From there, people can transfer to 405 BRT or 522 BRT as needed. If you drop the route between Woodinville and Seattle, you could probably triple the number of trips. Yes, there’d be some transfer time, but if 405/522 BRT frequencies are 10 minutes, it shouldn’t be that bad.

      3. It may be faster for the 424 to run via I-405 and I-5 to Lynnwood TC (though with a bit of time devoted to city street navigation) and force a Link transfer. Commuters are going to want a direct Link connection.

      4. @Bruce, I don’t think so. The 424’s currently scheduled for 43 minutes from the Woodinville flyer stop to Seneca St. The 535 is scheduled for 25 minutes from UW Bothell to Lynnwood TC during AM rush hour, and Link will take 30 minutes from Lynnwood TC to downtown, adding up to 55 minutes. It won’t work.

        I agree that a direct Link connection is ideal, but the best way would be for Community Transit to pay Sound Transit to extend some of the BRT buses as an open BRT. That might work – Pierce Transit pays Sound Transit to extend the 595, and the state used to pay Sound Transit for the 592.

      5. It makes sense as a Sound Transit bus, because you are crossing county boundaries. A Highway 2 bus may not be a great bus, but it stays completely inside Snohomish County, and serves the biggest city in the county (Everett).

        In contrast, a 522 bus from Monroe does very little until it gets to King County. Then it either goes to Seattle, or connects to buses spending just about all of their time in King County. ST was created to serve those sorts of cross-county transit routes.

        It could work as a (sometime) extension to the 522 BRT project, as William suggests. But if that messes with the reliability of the 522 project too much (because there aren’t many HOV lanes north of Woodinville) then it could just be a separate bus route. At a minimum, it would serve NE 195th. That way a rider could easily get to Bellevue as well as Link. While ending there would be efficient, there is very little there, so I think it makes sense to serve that stop, then end at UW Bothell (where there is decent all day demand).

        That would provide a nice two seat ride to Bellevue (as well as Lynnwood, Renton, etc.). While a three seat ride to downtown (or the UW, Northgate, Capitol Hill, etc.) seems a bit much, it isn’t when you consider the distances involved. It is the sort of trip that not too long ago would be taken via Greyhound.

      6. So, thinking about this some more, I’m starting to warm up to the idea of a separate route, rather than an “open BRT” extension.

        Advantages of a separate route include savings from smaller buses and King County Metro not being the operator, better reliability, and better flexibility to make local stops in Monroe (a forced connection at Monroe P&R to an hourly bus would be far worse than a forced connection in Bothell to a frequent bus).

        The route I’m thinking of looks like this.

        The route begins at highway 2 and Main St., then follows the path of the existing route 271 about 2 miles to the junction with highway 522. Then, it gets on the freeway and heads west. Next stop is the Woodinville Freeway Station, followed by I-405/195th, then UW Bothell as the terminal. This route would connect to the future Sound Transit BRT routes along both SR-522 and I-405, in addition to various local King County Metro routes serving Woodinville and Bothell.

        Since the important connections on the west end are to frequent service, the route can be scheduled based on the east end (Monroe side). I would run it once an hour, but intentionally stagger the schedule with the 271, so that trips within Monroe (at least the eastern half) would get a combined frequency of every half-hour. For parking, just create a new P&R lot, rather than deviating the bus to serve the existing Monroe P&R (out in Monroe, a simple, small surface lot should be relatively cheap).

        One downtown of the staggered schedule, of course, is that it means a 30-minute wait to connect onwards to Sultan/Gold Bar. As I mentioned earlier, I’m kind of on the fence whether Sultan/Gold Bar even need all-day service. But, if they do, I would consider swapping the tails so that the Bothell route serves Sultan/Gold Bar, while the Everett route just ends in Monroe. This would greatly reduce the time to reach Seattle, Bellevue, SeaTac airport, or pretty much anywhere in King County, over today’s service. I would also consider limiting Gold Bar service to weekdays only, partly to save money, partly to avoid getting the westbound bus getting stuck in traffic jams around the Sultan/Gold Bar area, which would kill reliability for the rest of the route (this traffic comes from people driving home from the mountains, not work commutes, so it happens primarily on weekends, not weekdays).

      7. Sultan and Gold Bar have stronger ties to Everett, so I would prioritize that over a one-seat ride to King County. At worst, missing the connection in Monroe would mean a rider would continue on to Everett and ride ST Express from there.

      8. @asdf2 — That is exactly the type of route I was thinking about as well. Good connections to Bellevue as well as Seattle.

      9. “Sultan and Gold Bar have stronger ties to Everett, so I would prioritize that over a one-seat ride to King County.”

        1) Is the “ties to Everett” really all-day demand, or is all Boeing commuters going to/from work at a fixed time (which could be served by a bus running two trips per day, rather than all-day).

        2) If you just survey bus riders, of course it’s going to seem like nobody goes to King County. It’s because the bus service is so terrible that people pretty much either drive or don’t go. There are plenty of cars driving between Woodinville and Monroe, so there are obviously people traveling that way. If there’s enough demand for WSDOT to widen the freeway, there should be enough demand to run a bus on it.

        The whole bus network around Monroe smells like something that was designed 50 years ago, when highway 522 did not exist, and was never updated (except for a belated route that runs just 2 trips per day and doesn’t even really serve Monroe, just Monroe P&R).

  3. I’m glad they’re finally beefing up Swift I, but I’m shocked that it only runs every twenty minutes evenings and weekends! Myself, I’d rather up it to twelve minutes weekends than ten minutes midday. Though, I don’t know how actual ridership is – does anyone have statistics?

    1. It’s a huge step forward for Snohomish County. Before Swift there was no such thing as a 20-minute local route, and few 30-minute daytime routes. Evening and weekend service was hourly where it existed.

      “I’d rather up it to twelve minutes weekends than ten minutes midday.”

      That’s great for those who can take the bus midday weekdays, but those with 9-5 jobs are at work all that time, which means they can only do errands weekends and evenings.

    2. 20-minute service is the baseline for weekday “frequent” service for some of the county’s busiest routes, so it’s not exactly a step down for those used to transit here. I do think weekend midday service deserves to be bumped to 15 minutes, but not much further than that.

  4. I’m glad CT is expanding. Snohomish county is growing, and as population rises so should transit reliability.

    In the future, I think increased weekend frequency on the Swift Lines as well as some local routes may be necessary.

  5. My friends live in an area around Lynwood High School. The school is around 10 years old I think. It has absolutely no bus service that I can find. Why is that? I grew up in Seattle and I have not always used bus service, but it has always been around the schools at least. Does anyone know why this area is a transit desert patch? Just curious. Seems like a huge lost asset for students.

    1. The LHS opened in 2009 after asking us Edmonds School District taxpayers to approve a bond measure for capital funding back in 2006. The district chose this site on North Road, which is actually outside the city of Lynnwood, because it already owned a large piece of property there.

      The idea at the time was that the city was going to annex that area, along with several others in the surrounding unincorporated section of the county, by taking advantage of a state sales tax credit plan Washington state had in place then but which has since expired. The idea of the tax credit was to help municipalities that annex such areas to ramp up their city resources over a period of time to be able to provide their new residents the usual city services.

      This annexation plan all fell apart when the city of Lynnwood got into a legal challenge with Mill Creek over a contested region (Thrasher’s Corner I believe) that delayed matters for a long stretch. Then the city of Lynnwood’s financial woes worsened and the then Mayor Dan Gough’s personal issues surfaced and the plan was scrapped. The Great Recession followed and by that time the state’s tax credit plan had expired.

      That saying about the “best laid plans”comes to mind. Lol. Anyway, this area is indeed a transit desert and unfortunately, even though it has been some eight plus years since LHS opened, CT has not recognized this particular area as a high priority in its expansion plans.

      1. Anyway, this area is indeed a transit desert and unfortunately, even though it has been some eight plus years since LHS opened, CT has not recognized this particular area as a high priority in its expansion plans.

        It just looks like a desert in general. It looks like a terrible place to put a high school. I get it, the land was cheap, and Lynnwood (and the other surrounding cities) only have so much money. But holy cow, what a terrible place to imprison, sorry teach young adults. You can’t get anywhere on foot. Not after school, not for a lunch break, nothing. It does have some nice woods I suppose (plenty of places to smoke some pot) but wow, what an isolated way to spend your formative years. I feel sorry for the parents, too, as they face tremendous (and quite reasonable) demands by their kids to supply them with cars.

        I can understand why Snohomish County doesn’t have much in the way of bus service in the area, because other than the High School, there is so little there. Even along the highway, there are very few people (and very few shops). Either they heavily subsidize the area (in which case they might as well run the bus right to the school) or focus on more important places. I suppose eventually they could run a bus out to Thrasher’s Corner. There are some businesses there, a few people, and it would provide a connection to the other Swift Line. But that might have to wait until bus service is automated.

      2. OK, I retract the cynical comment about the high school being practically hopeless from a transit standpoint. As Bruce suggested below, you could easily add a bus route that curved around between Lynnwood T. C. and Ash Way Park and Ride. That would make the high school “on the way”.

        But my cynical comments about the location of the high school still stand.

      3. At least they (someone?) have put a bit of money into improving North Road in recent years. When the HS was built much of North Road between 524 and 164th had no sidewalks, bike lanes, or even shoulders… and, as is common of minor through-roads on the exurban fringe, it’s a magnet for terrible driving (I don’t even spend much of time in Snohomish County, but probably 5 of the top 10 stupidest things I’ve seen people do in cars since moving here have been on such roads in Snohomish County).

      4. The road and associated ROW improvements were the result of Snohomish County’s Public Works Dept. The North Road project had been one of the county’s long-awaited plans, perpetually rolled forward each year with the county’s updated TIP, pending securing the needed funding sources. The project was finally funded and completed in 2014-2015. The bulk of the funding came from the county’s dedicated road fund account, which is itself funded by a road fund levy assessed on property owners like myself living in unincorporated areas of the county. (The maximum road levy rate is limited by statute to $2.25 per $1,000 assessed value.)

        https://snohomishcountywa.gov/709/North-Rd-Mill-Creek-2014-2015

        In general, these unimproved thoroughfares in the county such as North Road have always been dangerous roads, having been constructed in another era with different standards for ROW and lane width minimums, the smallest of shoulders and simple drainage culverts, etc., etc. The speeds posted for motorists are frequently exceeded and very rarely enforced due to the enormity of the sheriff’s department’s coverage area. Thus, pedestrians and bicyclists traveling over these roads have been doing so at ever higher risks as traffic has increased. The county was and is well aware of the situation but lacks the financial resources to adequately and timely make these road improvements as ongoing maintenance costs and a shrinking tax base due to municipal annexations has limited their spending on such projects. The opening of LHS in 2009 probably helped move the North Road project up the priority ladder.

    2. As Tlsgwm says, its lack of a city to negotiate on its behalf hurts the neighborhood’s chances of getting real bus service. Much of North Creek also suffers the same problem, and will likely be included in the next long-range plan.

      I think it would make sense to put Route 196 onto the North Road corridor, which would be a fairly natural extension (replacing an already well-served branch on Alderwood Mall Blvd, which would be easy to access via the Lynnwood TC transfer) and link back up to Ash Way P&R (or even to Mill Creek).

      1. Havin a bus go down 524 like you mentioned earlier seems reasonable also. It gets within .5m of the school. I would’ve walked that far for a bus in high school. Not perfect , but better.

      2. Yeah, that could work. I think I would head the bus to Ash Way Park and Ride (which is essentially a transit center). That way you provide extra service along 164th as well as all the connections you want from the area. The middle of the route might be a bit weak (with only the high school) but the tail ends of both seem strong.

        I would just get rid of the 196 at that point. The 115/116 already serves most of the route, and there are no stops between Beech Road and 196th anyway. That means you don’t leave anyone without service. There might be someone trying to reach Alderwood Mall Parkway and 196th from the north (on the parkway) but that is about the only connection that is worse. Even from Ash Way to there you can get there, just via the other direction.

        You would probably want to beef up service on the 115/116 a bit or possibly add a bus that only served the part of those routes between Ash Way Park and Ride and the Lynnwood T. C. Adding service along that corridor seems justified in its own right.

      3. I should clarify that I would leave the west part of the 196 alone. From a practical standpoint, that would mean moving the east part of the 196 over to serve North Road (as opposed to creating a new route). With this recent change (to have the 196 serve the transit center) It makes even more sense to send the 196 out to North Road. Serving the transit center essentially splits the route. Of course you can stay on the bus (and some people will) but the transit center becomes your main transfer point, which means that this bus serving the Alderwood Mall becomes less important. For example, right now I could easily see someone taking the 112 south, then transferring to the 196 at 196th (where they cross) to get to the mall. Now, someone will ride the bus all the way to the transit center, and then take the 115, 116 or 196 (whichever comes first). With this change, the eastern part of the 196 becomes more redundant, since it is no longer a fast way to get to Alderwood Mall from the west. Folks who ride it will be headed to the unique part of it’s route, which would be served just as well from a new 196 that went out to North Road.

    1. Isn’t that what the Everett Transit 70 does? Are you saying it should run all day? If that is the case, then sure, maybe, I guess. Maybe when the second Swift line is implemented and jiggles the surrounding routes a bit. I could see an all day version of the 70 simply ending where Swift II ends — at Seaway.

      1. Thanks guys, I think CT should run an all day Route 70. Everett Transit needs to focus on… Everett.

        Be also good for Mukilteo tourism. Take a morning Boeing factory tour, get on the bus to Mukilteo for lunch and a peaceful afternoon hiking, and then head back. Or go to a Paine Field event and then get on the buses to eat at Ivar’s for dinner, then home.

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