Metro coach 2758 operating route 41, turning into the express lanes from 9th Ave.
Metro route 41, soon to get more frequent. Photo by Bruce Englehardt.

Over the last three years, we’ve gotten used to a continuous stream of service improvements from Metro.  The pattern continues with this fall’s service change, which starts next Saturday, September 22.  There are almost no substantive changes to Metro service this time around.  The big picture is a peanut-butter-style scattering of new trips throughout the Metro system, some funded by Metro itself and some by the Seattle TBD.

New 10-Minute Service

The most headline-worthy addition is that routes 41, 70, and RapidRide E Line go to 10-minute frequency during the day on weekdays.  This is a minor adjustment for the E Line, which already has 10-minute frequency most of the time, and just needed a few gaps filled. It’s a bigger change for the 41 and 70, both of which have 15-minute midday service today.  Weekend and evening service will remain at current 12- to 15-minute frequencies on all three routes.

SR 99 Reroutes

Metro has finally disclosed what will happen to West Seattle Bridge and SR 509 service once the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes.  The changes will happen in two phases.

Phase 1 covers the time when both the viaduct and the new SR 99 tunnel are closed.  Plans for this phase remain subject to change.  Routes that currently use the Alaskan Way Viaduct to reach the West Seattle Bridge, including RapidRide C Line, 21 Express, 37, 55, 56, 57, 120, and 125, will use surface streets: 4th Ave northbound, and the current route 21 routing (but without local stops) southbound.  Service on these routes will be slower, but stop locations shouldn’t change.  Routes that proceed south on Highway 99, including 113, 121, 122, and 123, will use 1st Ave S south of S Lander St, missing stops along E Marginal Way S and resulting in a long walk for passengers in that area.

Metro will shift to Phase 2 after the SR 99 tunnel opens and the new ramps connecting SR 99 to S Dearborn St are operational.  All ex-Viaduct service will use 1st Ave S to reach those ramps and then resume normal route along SR 99, serving all normal stops.  The Phase 2 routing will likely be in place for several years, until the City of Seattle has completed construction of the new Alaskan Way as far as Columbia St.  1st Ave S service has in the past been prone to delays, and it is still not clear if buses will receive any priority along 1st Ave S between Columbia St and S Dearborn St.

Other changes, all minor, below the jump.

Other Frequency Improvements

Metro is making a few frequency improvements that don’t reach the 10-minute level:

  • Route 240 serving Renton, Newcastle, and Bellevue will gain 15-minute midday service.
  • Through-routed routes 31, 32, and 75 connecting Fremont, UW, and Sand Point will collectively have 15-minute frequency (30 minutes on the 31 and 32 tails) extended until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • Route 345 connecting Northgate and Bitter Lake will have 30-minute night frequency extended until 10 p.m. weekdays.
  • RapidRide F Line will gain 15-minute evening service until 10 p.m. on weekends.
  • Route 180 will have scheduling improvements to existing trips to allow consistent 15-minute service in the peak direction during peak hour on its busiest segment between Kent and Auburn.

Increased Peak Service

Metro is adding peak trips to address overcrowding and improve peak frequency on many routes throughout the system, including RapidRide C, D, and E Lines and routes 3S, 5, 8, 17, 18, 28, 40, 56, 57, 62, 63, 111, 114, 120, 181, 245, 331, 345, and 372.

Metro usually avoids trips that end before the usual end of the route, but is scheduling them for route 40 during the afternoon rush hour to address severe overcrowding between South Lake Union and Ballard. If you ride Route 40 past NW 85th St in the afternoon, make sure your bus is signed “Northgate,” not “Crown Hill.”  During the busiest two hours, northbound route 40 will now have 5-minute frequency, but with only half of trips continuing to Northgate.

Minor Routing Changes

There are no significant route changes, but passengers on a few routes may want to watch out for detail changes.

  • Commuters who use the Rainier Ave S/I-90 freeway stop will need to revise their commutes, because the freeway stop is closing for Link construction. Routes 7, 9, and 106 will connect with Sound Transit route 554 at Rainier Ave S and S Charles St. Connections from Rainier Ave S to other Metro or Sound Transit I-90 routes will require either a trip downtown or a second transfer from ST 554 at Mercer Island or Eastgate.
  • I-90 routes 111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, and 219 will be changing their outbound stops at the south edge of downtown. They will no longer serve stops on 5th Ave S, and will pick up instead at 2nd Ave Ext S and Yesler Wy.  This will result in a longer walk for commuters going home from the International District.  Route 630, alone, will continue to pick up at 5th Ave S & S Jackson St.
  • Some route 73 trips in the reverse peak direction will be extended into route 373 trips, providing new reverse peak service to several Shoreline destinations.
  • Route 128 will no longer serve any stops south of Baker Blvd in Southcenter.

40 Replies to “Metro Service Change: More Service, Again”

  1. Several years ago, Metro revised to the 240 to go to Eastgate P&R instead of South Bellevue P&R, on the way to Bellevue Transit Center. While slightly improving connections to infrequent milk-run routes on the eastside, this change effectively cut off Newcastle from Seattle by replacing a connection to a frequent 550 with less frequent 554, on top of adding an extra east/west jog that also increases the trip time to DT Bellevue. On weekends, the schedules of the 240 and 554 are beautifully timed to stop at Eastgate at the same time, except one stop is upstairs while the other is downstairs, so you can’t connect in either direction without waiting the full 30 minutes, in an area with zero commercial establishments or open restrooms.

    When East Link opens, the 554 may get truncated, making the Seattle connection now a 3-seat ride to downtown (4 seats minimum to anywhere in Seattle that’s not a Link station), so the problem gets even worse (or, you can detour south to Renton and take the 101, which is one less connection, but considerably out of the way).

    It’s great to see Metro investing into improving the frequency of the 240, but if you want people to use the route, you have to be able to get to useful places in less than 1-2 hours. At a minimum, Metro should revert the Eastgate detour when East Link opens, and give the 240 a direct Link connection. They should also consider branching the route in Newcastle to provide more direct service to more people. Frequency matters, but in this case, the current route is circuitous enough that more direct service every 30 minutes is still superior to a roundabout route every 15 minutes.

    For example, one way to branch route 240 would be to split it into 240A and 240B. These routes assume the completion of EastLink and I-405 BRT. Route 240A focuses on coverage in the Newcastle/Newport Hills area, connecting the residential areas served by the 240 today between Factoria and Newcastle Transit Center, plus new coverage to parts of Newcastle and Kennydale, which lack bus service today. Route 240B focuses on the southern half of today’s 240 route, but provides the area with a much faster connection to Factoria, Bellevue, and Seattle, than what currently exists, by staying on Coal Creek Parkway all the way, with no grand tour of Newcastle residential streets. In Factoria, the two routes combine to provide frequent service between Factoria Mall and South Bellevue P&R, with onward connections via Link to DT Bellevue, Redmond, and Seattle. Both routes truncate at South Bellevue P&R, with a connection to Link required to complete a trip to DT Bellevue.

    Of the two routes, I would expect 240B to have most of the ridership, as it moves the fastest while serving most of the current 240’s multi-family housing areas, while 240A is essentially a low-density coverage route, except for the combined Factoria->South Bellevue section. This could be reflected in the schedules. For example, maybe route 240B runs from 5 AM-11 PM every 30 minutes (15 minutes peak), while route 240A runs something like every 30 minutes 6AM-7PM Monday-Friday, every 60 minutes 8 AM-6PM Saturday. The change would also allow route 240B to switch to larger buses if demand warrants, without being constrained by sharp turns on narrow residential streets. And, with more direct routing, ridership would likely increase. 240A could probably switch to smaller buses, perhaps get run with the same shuttle fleet used for Trailhead Direct on weekends.

    Eventually, when technology allows it, driverless Uber/Lyft could replace all non-rush-hour service on the 240A, allowing Metro to focus even more of its resources on the probably-much-more-popular 240B.

    1. The 2440 change was to address the surprisingly large demand between Renton and Bellevue College.

      “f you want people to use the route, you have to be able to get to useful places in less than 1-2 hours”

      The answer is, hardly anybody lives in Newcastle. It’s has shockingly low density or commercial activity. The people are in Renton.

      “240A is essentially a low-density coverage route”

      It sounds like you’re saying that yourself. Newcastle maybe needs a van or a flexible service route like Black Diamond-Enumclaw rather than a full sized bus. And with so many other uinmet transit needs, maybe we should focus on where there are concentrations of people first. New Newcatlites knew there would be few transit or walking options when they moved there, and that they could have gotten a less expensive apartment or condo in Bellevue or Renton if they’d wanted. Of course that doesn’t help their kids or if they break their leg and can’t drive, but again there are other places in the Eastside with a greater need for service.

      1. If that’s the case, then why increase service levels in the 240 today vs. put the money into other routes? Somebody must be riding it. Anecdotally, most of the ridership comes from the part near Renton, where incomes are lower and apartments exist, rather than just single family homes. If the 240 could just stay on Coal Creek Parkway and avoid a grand coverage detour, the route would be more useful for people on the south end. The cost would having to sink money into a shuttle service so existing coverage does not decrease, but it doesn’t need to cover the full span of service, and I think that’s still better than just running the circuitous route we have more often.

        As to the north end routing, Bellevue College is not a bigger destination than the entire region, and the bus doesn’t even serve the college all that well, stopping only at the Eastgate bus bays, several hundred feet below.

      2. Yeah, cutting off the 240 from Bellevue college seems like a terrible idea. I don’t use it that often, but when I do there’s more on-and-offs there than anywhere else. I’d wager the student+employee population of BC is larger than all of sprawling, auto-centric Newcastle. We’re almost certainly going to serve more riders keeping BC access robust than chasing the SUV drivers of a wealthy, car-centric suburb.

      3. “Yeah, cutting off the 240 from Bellevue college seems like a terrible idea.”

        I’m assuming you’re referring to the north part of the route that connects Bellevue College to DT Bellevue. I agree, that needs to remain, and remain with decent frequency. If the 240 were to *not* go to Bellevue College, some other route would have to take that section over. Sorry, for not making that point clear in my earlier comment.

        That leaves the question of what to do with the south part of the route. The way things are currently set up, everybody on the bus is subjected to a 15-minute detour through winding residential streets to serve Newcastle, which depresses ridership, by unnecessarily slowing down the trips to useful destinations (Factoria/Eastgate/DT Bellevue) for the portion of the route that travels through lower income communities (east of Renton, along SR-900).

        At the same time, when you finally finish the Newcastle detour, and pass within a mile of South Bellevue Link station, actually getting to the train requires either staying on the bus an additional 20 minutes, with miles of out-of-direction travel required to get to Seattle, or make an *additional* transfer in Factoria to a bus (route 241) that only runs every 30 minutes (not any faster, by the time you wait for it).

        This is that part that needs fixing. My idea of the Newcastle shuttle was never really about huge ridership expectations from Newcastle. Rather, it’s about building ridership for people passing *through* Newcastle from SE Renton, by allowing the main line through the area to stay on the main road, and not be burdened with coverage of all the single-family home neighborhoods it passes. If Metro is going to put more money into the corridor (by making it more frequent), I would argue that the time saved by straightening out an overly circuitous route matters more than the wait time saved by improving daytime frequency from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. If you show up at the bus stop at a random time, without consulting the schedule, the actual difference in wait time between 30 minute service vs. 15 minute service has an equal probability of being 0 minutes or 15 minutes. Straightening out all the twists and turns saves a guaranteed 10 minutes by car (according to Google) and probably more like 15 minutes on a bus. If achieving the straightening requires sinking into a shuttle that almost nobody rides, to avoid the political pain of cutting the coverage area, then so be it. It’s still no more money than improving the frequency for the entire existing milk run would cost, and if ridership on the shuttle is as low as most of us expect, it will be easy to eliminate come the next recession.

        That leaves the final question of what the 240-south should do after Factoria – Link to Bellevue College. Today, I can at least see the argument for Bellevue College. But, when East Link opens, I think connect to Link is ultimately more important for getting more people where they want to go quickly. It’s not reasonable to expect a bus down Coal Creek Parkway to have a one-seat ride all the way to downtown Seattle, but it is reasonable to expect it to at least connect to Link at the nearest station. Having to slog it out on the bus east to Eastgate, then north to Main St., when you really want to go just west down I-90, is too much. One potential hybrid option I’ve thought of is to have the bus go east on SE 36th St. to 142nd St., serving the I-90 freeway station, instead of the bus bays (which is actually slightly closer to Bellevue College, at least vertically), then expressing straight to South Bellevue P&R. When combined with a truncated 554, this could make for very frequent service between Link and Eastgate, which many people traveling to Bellevue College might find attractive.

        My concern about the original route, is that it feels inconsistent. We spend a lot of money to boost frequency through a bunch of milk runs because only one tiny part of that route (DT Bellevue->Eastgate) actually needs it. At the same it, it also increases expectation of service in the milk-run portions of the route, that will make it politically hard to eliminate the detours later. In summary, I basically feel like the 240 is trying to do too many things at once, and doing them badly. This is similar to the predicament of the 271, where the tail to Issaquah drags down ridership numbers, and hobbles frequency on the much-more-popular-and-important DT Bellevue->U-district segment.

      4. asdf, I don’t think you realize how the 240 is being used.

        Almost everyone who wants to use transit to go downtown from Newcastle is on the 114. Those few people (and game attendees) who want to go downtown during non-peak hours are park-and-riding at Eastgate. The 240 is not really serving downtown transfers. I drove the old route at peak hour for a shakeup, and usually had zero people getting off at S Bellevue.

        The 240 is serving some white-collar commuters to downtown Bellevue, but those aren’t its biggest ridership base by a long shot. Many more are students, both high school students attending Hazen and Newport, and college students attending Bellevue College. That is the reason for the deviation to BC a few years ago. Another group is intra-Renton travelers, very different demographically from anyone residing in Newcastle (and many of these are going downtown, but on the 101). Those groups are the reason ridership justifies a frequency increase (which it does, although perhaps not before the 180 and 164) and why the route looks like it does.

        In an ideal world it would be easier to transfer from the 240 to the 560 or similar at Coal Creek Parkway for easier downtown Bellevue access, but the route makes sense as is.

      1. Problem is, RayK, that for every driverless van you have, you need a number of safety officers and also Base Chiefs who are also robots to ascertain why the van keeps jumping the curb and killing same number of people at same place for three runs in a row, which mandates termination.

        Bringing in another necessary participant. A robot shop steward to make sure that Metro is being fair to the van. If the mechanics could not find anything wrong with it, possibility that the electronics shop was down because update didn’t arrive.

        You see what I’m getting at. Main difference between a human driver and an electronic one: Nobody’s been able to invent a program to make a machine give a crap if it gets killed, or kills somebody else.

        Though there is a new computer game where you’re driving the Route 7 while trying to keep your zorkon poles on the intergalactic wires while one of those annoying passengers from the planet Gleef is asking you every place in the galaxy you go.

        OK, the score you’ve entered is “Barely Fit to Survive.” Just leave your facial image on the screen at the desk and we’ll get back to you.


    2. There are communities that are truly cut off from transit. Somerset and most of Mercer Island on the weekends are cut off completely. Hilltop is cut off from transit 24/7. Southwest Medina is a transit desert. But Newcastle is not cut off from transit to Seattle. At Eastgate there’s the 554, plus 4 or 5 peak routes. And when East Link is here, you can take the 240 to Surrey Downs Station. (I refuse to call it East Main).

    3. What a joke, Newcastle is a ridiculously low density area *that already has direct peak service to Downtown Seattle*. If anything, they should make the 240 more direct, it gets slowed down immensely by being forced to run through the suburban neighborhoods between Factoria and Renton. Just take the 114, it serves everything you want for all the people that want it.

  2. As a 120 rider, having some dedicated ROW is important for the routes that use the Alaska Way viaduct, at the very least during peak times. Traffic is particularly bad in the mornings and the bit of bus lane that exists on the current 99 north between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums is a godsend.

    Perhaps some parking needs to temporarily be removed until The new Alaska Way is completed as a compromise. Northbound parking should turn into a bus lane in the morning and southbound parking in the afternoon.

    1. Do we have anything at all about reserved lanes and transit friendly signals? Though because I think so much of this will be trial and error, or try-it-and-see-if-it-works-even-at-very-short-notice- wouldn’t cement the lane separators in place.

      And before I forget: How long is this whole project expected to take?


      1. Phase 1 will be relatively quick 4-5 weeks but phase 2 is estimated to take 9-12 months while SDOT rebuilds the new Alaska Way. During this time most of the busiest lines from West Seattle heading straight to downtown will have to use 1st.

        A temporary no parking for buses to move in the peak direction doesn’t seem like a big ask. I do agree with your assumption that traffic signal prioritization would be unnecessary for the duration.

  3. Those service improvements are great. Nice to see Metro adding service (to ten minutes on several runs) while ST is forced to cut back.

    1. Improved Metro service- no argument. But you’d better be kidding if you’re saying it’s “great” that ST is “forced to cut back.” I’m waiting for a posting about exactly how we’re going to handle losing the heavier of our two cross-lake corridors.

      Somebody regular on the 255 or the 545 now, tell us what’ll happen to your schedule between Montlake and your Downtown freeway exit at rush hour when I-90 becomes yours as well. If we’ve got any buses, drivers, or passenger patience left at all, how will we deal with SR520 at all if we don’t turn those routes at UW Station?

      Because LINK-to-Bellevue service will need a lot of very fast very short-headway buses to become the new 550 ’til the EastLINK of the future arrives. Doubt Metro will happily part with its own added buses to fill that service. Granted, if enough east-side passengers then choose to work from home, maybe Metro won’t need those extra buses either.

      Sound Transit was founded for a reason. For work, school, shopping and the rest of life, our days aren’t local anymore. And whatever’s still wrong with it, including an inane fare system, owes mostly to still-uncured left-over “Interagency” turf war. So tell you what: Paint everything blue and white in the region either green or purple and yellow starting next Easter and we’ve got a deal.


    2. Ha, I never imagined that someone would interpret that sentence that way. It is too bad that ST is cutting service. It is great to see Metro adding service. I only mentioned ST because what Metro is doing is not simply part of a large increase in transit service. Nor is what ST doing part of some large hiring problem. The two agencies are acting independently in terms of service. One is adding it, the other is cutting it.

    3. forced? clearly, ST knew the I-90 changes were coming several years ago; they initiated them for East Link.

  4. Given all these buses now ending up on First Ave south of Columbia, we should thank our lucky stars that the CCC construction in this area isn’t happening in this next year.

    1. If the mayor wasn’t such a NIMBY (i know, it doesn’t feel like that, but name one thing she’s done in office herself, for transit) construction would already be underway and the streetcar would be open next year.

      1. “construction would already be underway and the streetcar would be open next year.”

        Underway, maybe. But halfway done and with a dawning realization that the city doesn’t have nearly enough money in the budget to finish.

      2. >> i know, it doesn’t feel like that, but name one thing she’s done in office herself, for transit

        Let’s see. Free ORCA passes for students. All off-board payment for buses on Third Avenue, along with no left turns and extended hours for bus-only service. Oh, and then there are the improvements mentioned in this very post. Or, as King County put it: “King County Metro will offer more frequent and reliable bus service on some of its most popular routes beginning this fall thanks to significant investments by Amazon and the City of Seattle”. She also commissioned a study to look into congestion pricing. But like most work, it takes time to actually implement. Remember, she hasn’t been in office for very long (and we don’t even have a permanent SDOT head). To be honest, I can’t think any of any mayor who accomplished as much as she did for transit this soon into her administration.

        I think the confusion stems from some of the BS attacks coming from streetcar fetishists. Folks have conflated a skeptical view towards an obviously bloated and dubious streetcar project with opposition to transit. Then there are the SDOT scandals. The previous administration managed to screw over transit big time, but word didn’t get out until recently. The gross mismanagement caused by an arrogant, good old boy network have left Durkan with a mess. The streetcar fiasco is bad enough (who in their right mind would spend that much to add so little?), but worse yet is the MoveSeattle levy. The city promised significant improvements and won’t be able to deliver them. She will probably get the blame for this (as ignorant folks just assume it is her fault) but the blame clearly rests with Murray and Kubly.

  5. I find it interesting that the #40 will now have 5-minute headways (as far as NW 85th) around 5PM while the D-line has 6-minute headways. Moreover, the #40 will sustain its maximum frequency over a longer period than the D. Probably some of the #40 buses will be 40′ coaches, while all of the D’s should be artics. Nevertheless, it looks like the #40 will have similar capacity to move people as the D at the evening rush, if not a little more.

    Maybe this says something about the Ballard Link station siting (though, of course, land use patterns may be quite different in 15 years if zoning alleviation spreads eastward).

    In any case, d.p. might feel vindicated on another of this pet peeves.

    1. It seems like the relative rush hour frequencies have less to do with the part of Ballard they serve and more to do with the fact that the 40 serves SLU and Fremont whereas the D (the more direct Ballard route) competes with the 15X, 17X and 18X for the downtown and LQA to Ballard market during peak period.

    2. It was always a dilemma whether to upgrade the 15 or the 18, and the correct answer seems to be both. When Metro added RapidRide 40 to the long-range plan, it essentially gave up on opposing it. The new Fremont corridor is not to be sneezed at either. Whenever Metro adds a new inner-city corridor it becomes so popular that it eventually becomes a frequent route. That happened with the 8, 48, 31/32, and U Village. That doesn’t have much to do with the 40’s Ballard routing except that Ballard was the route it was attached to.

      DP was right that “real Ballard” is where the density is, where the nightclubs are, and where there was existing demand to walk to frequent transit. Before RapidRide you always had to check the schedule to see whether the 15 or 18 was coming first, and when you’d walk to one and miss it (because you were late or the bus was off-schedule) you’d miss the other one too if you walked back to it. What I never understood about DP was, even though he was right that the 40 should have been the original RapidRide corridor, I wouldn’t have taken the 40 like he did. He took the 40 in the evening because he liked it better, whereas I would have taken the D because of its 15-minute frequency and real-time signs.

      1. The 40 was so, so necessary, even before SLU became a major job center. It really amazing to think that just six years ago there was no bus connecting downtown Fremont and Ballard. Madness.

      2. djw,

        That’s not exactly true. When the 17 ran all the way to Loyal and View, a person could walk across the Fremont Bridge and take it to downtown Ballard. That hasn’t happened for quite a while, but it was a sort of Fremont-Ballard service.

  6. It’s a quibble on Metro’s terminology, but I don’t see how adding a single 372 trip at 5am from Lake City to UW Bothell counts towards either increased peak service or relieving overcrowding.

    1. The first and second 522 northbound runs are often insanely, bafflingly crowded, so it might help with that, although it’s significantly earlier.

    2. Larry, schedules are often written to serve more than one purpose. Most likely there are passengers who have to be at work at a certain time. But djw, you might want to call your ST Board member and ask why this is happening.

      Or speak with some of the passengers. My guess is there’s either work or education involved. But might also show that ridership now makes more buses necessary. I’d say that crush loads are better news for transit than comfortably roomy ones.

      Might as well face that Lake City Way is an old, familiar, and popular route and serve it accordingly. Real problem is always northbound, because a diamond lane is impossible to build there. For buses or light rail, we’ll probably have to bore a tunnel.


  7. Which is more harmful to humans and earth, man-made pollution or Mother Nature?

    A couple of forest fires hundreds of miles away covers the entire northwest in a thick layer of hazardous smog that blocks out the sun. People are told to close their windows and not go outdoors. There’s a run on respirator masks. The air is so unhealthy that the elderly may die if they go outdoors.


    A non-forest fire day with hundreds of thousands of cars on the roads = crystal clear blue skies.

    Something to think about.

    1. Sam, I’ll pay you twice my plane ticket if you can tell me where I be in hundred car traffic jam and not see a whole 360 degree horizon full of airborne fried fossils. Too bad rain’s got the wrong chemicals in it, because my Massive “Goobegone” tm sprayers are all sold out.

      You also have to think (come on, you vicious armed fresh-air -addicts, it’s still wrong to kill him if he can’t) that it was the heat trapped by all those floating former mastodons and giant sloths that got those former rain forests hot enough to figure well, if we can’t lick it…charcoal is the new moss.

      Sam, just found out from all those YouTube offerings that if you just click on “Even ISIS is Scared of Obama Because He Called Out His Own Mother for Being An Unbeliever Who Hates Big Oil ….”
      Well, you’ll end up with the world’s cutest Finnish nazi who used to be in my Hebrew school class.

      She tells me she likes you because she knows you’ll help her weld those Finnish CCC cars to the track and blame it on either Jenny Durkan or Scot Kubly. Be careful, though. Who do you think killed that guy lying their at the beginning of the show? Also, the blonde is Kellyanne Conway. You’re forest-fire generated toast.


  8. Whoa, the bombshell news finally drops, that they expect West Seattle routes to almost double their time from peninsula to downtown!

    Silver lining/good news: recognition from Metro that the Admiral routes are overcrowded, and they added another 57 run in the morning! All my recent 7:45am runs of the 57 have had to leave people behind from the Starbucks to the bridge, which of course means a few stops of long delays squeezing people in and missing the green cycle at every traffic light.

    Bad news: despite going from 4 to 5 inbound morning runs, the span of service has shrunk! Now the last inbound run leaves before 8am. Want to get to work at 9am from Genesee Hill? King County Metro says “eff you, walk a mile in the rain to the junction, where you can take a space from some downstream C Line rider and make both of you 20 minutes later than otherwise”

    I think they’re moving the runs earlier to absorb the extra running time without the viaduct. Looks like the last inbound ride from about 55th/Genesee to downtown is increasing from 24 to 39 minutes, a scheduled increase of 62% running time, all of which will be due to sitting in a morass of traffic creeping up through Sodo. This seems like the first official estimate of how catastrophically the Viaduct closure is pwning the West Seattle bus commuters. At least my newborn might be able to take Link to UW in 18 years. In the meantime I think our best bet will be to bike to the water taxi, for those of us lucky enough to afford its high fares (or have them covered by commuter ORCA passes).

    1. JT, what I’m getting out of this is that for a long time to come, West Seattle will now have too little transit right of way. But on the positiveside, too many voters who want to ride buses. What’s your assessment of your City Council member. Lisa Herbold, right?

      And County Council…Joe McDermott, Council Chairman. Can’t their constituents persuade these people to do something about what’s planned to happen in public transportation? Or replace them if they don’t? Because I can’t believe you’ve got no choice but to put up with what you’re describing.

      Minimum, I think you’re going to need transit lanes, at least through rush hours,between West Seattle and Downtown. The more reserved the better. And those infuriating just-missed-greens- which bus drivers hate too-can be made not to happen.

      Unavoidable situation: as long as cars get top priority, soon nothing will move. Starting with their own cars. From what they tell you, how do your voting neighbors like the idea of leaving your own cars home and riding buses? Because this is really what it comes down to.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Matthew, what she says is exactly true, except, unfortunately, I believe that the streetcar wasn’t to have had its exclusive lane between Yesler and Jackson, so the bus probably wouldn’t either.

      2. Thanks for sharing Matthew, I hadn’t seen that. I appreciate that she’s going to bat for us on this issue. I’m also generally ambivalent about her as a councilmember (NIMBY reactions on housing but pretty good on other social justice issues, and until now pretty neutral on transit). If she can get bus lanes on 1st Ave, I’d sing her praises on high.

      3. Hi Mark, you’re spot on about the problem and the treatment plan. We’ve got some sort of helpful bus lanes on the West Seattle Bridge and 99 right now but they all just sort of hopscotch a bit of the traffic to dump the buses in to mix with cars right at the worst bottlenecks. I’m sort of surprised we can’t use the Sodo busway for express travel between the Spokane Viaduct and downtown, but I don’t know all the details about its current bus volume to speak authoritatively.

        Richard, your suggestion also points to a huge problem that will arise especially on the non-express routes, like the C Line, whose coaches circulate pretty continuously between WS and downtown: with current number of service hours supplied, adding a 25-minute slog of traffic to each run will seriously shrink the frequency, leaving a ton of riders on the curb, many of whom will have to drive/lyft/uber,

      4. Metro is adding a significant volume of hours to West Seattle service to try to keep frequency constant during the detours. The hours are being paid for by a combination of the city, WSDOT, and Metro.

    2. Why not increase water taxi service (e.g., half hourly all day) and bus connections to help mitigate the significantly increased bus travel time from West Seattle to downtown?

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