Last week, Sound Transit kicked off a summer of public events centered around SR 522 BRT. “Project Refinement” will be done in early 2019, the board selects a final project for preliminary engineering in January 2020, and the line should actually open in 2024. This phase collects input on station locations, parking location and type, road and sidewalk changes, access, branding, and connections to other transit.
Daytime headways will be 10 minutes between Bothell and Shoreline; only every other bus will continue to Woodinville. Service would be 19 hours a day, except for 17 on Sundays.
Moving West to East, the level of priority treatments will vary. On N 145th St, there is currently no bus lane, but the project will add these around stations.
As the bus turns North onto SR522, there will be a new northbound Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane to compliment the existing Southbound one. Through Kenmore, there are already BAT lanes both ways. Through Bothell, there is currently nothing but BAT implementation will be only partial.
All of these improvements are a significant step forward. Yet they serve as a reminder that there is no free lunch in the real world of North American transit planning. When agencies make the decision to economize down from light rail, whether to BRT or some other cheaper measure, the most expensive piece of that investment — right-of-way — has to give way.
On the other hand, At the moment, ST is assuming light-rail like off-board payment along the line — meaning there would be a ticket machine at each stop, and no means of paying on board. It’s still quite early in the process, so these preliminary ideas are subject change. Nevertheless, 100% off-board payment is relatively low-hanging fruit and it’s good that wasn’t value-engineered away.
ST Spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham says ST is working on a distinct brand for I-405 and SR522 BRT to separate it from both ST Express, Metro, and Community Transit services. This would add a seventh bus brand to King and Snohomish County.