Metro route 3. Photo by Tim Bond.

After soliciting feedback last summer about a potential move to Yesler Way, Metro has decided to keep Routes 3 and 4 on James Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues:

We considered this change as a way for the routes to avoid traffic congestion near the James Street I-5 ramps, improving their speed and reliability. About half of those who responded to our survey supported the concept, but many people who work, live, or travel in the immediate area had concerns about how it could affect seniors and people with disabilities and/or low incomes who use stops along this steep section of James Street to reach housing and social and government services.

In addition to receiving public feedback on this concept, we also studied its feasibility and travel-time benefits, as well as the costs of improvements necessary for trolley bus operations along the Yesler Way routing. The study found some potential for travel-time improvement in one direction, but that improvement would not be significant for the routes overall, and would not justify the high cost of new infrastructure to support the change.

Though public feedback was in favor of the change, 53% to 40% (87%-13% from the Yesler Terrace Community Council), several organizations voiced concerns about access to services along James Street including municipal facilities and a food bank, that would be impacted.  We wrote favorably about the proposal, which would have saved riders up to 4 minutes and improved reliability, and suggested some mitigation strategies for impacted riders.

Between the equity and access concerns and the high costs of trolley wire, Metro decided not to pursue it.  Instead, they say they will work with SDOT and work with partners to “explore future large capital improvements to the James Street and I-5 interchange.” What that will look like is anyone’s guess, perhaps some kind of dedicated bus lane on James Street that skirts the I-5 queue.

44 Replies to “Routes 3 and 4 Will Stay on James Street”

  1. From my experience on this route, the turns around Harborview are the real problem.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to just continue the 3/4 on James (as it turns into Cherry) rather than taking two crowded, tight turns to move one block to Jefferson, only to have the 3 make 2 more turns to go back to the same street at 23rd?

    1. Because they put the wire on Jefferson. Now the question is, why did they put the wire on Jefferson?

      1. Isn’t there a county office building on corner of Jefferson and Ninth? Seem to remember a very well-used bus stop there. What about closing that whole corner to car traffic?

        I don’t think either Jefferson or Ninth carry car traffic important enough to completely block bus traffic. James Street Hill, mandatory to stay. Look at it as an elevator. But bus-only lanes can’t go in fast enough.

        I think traffic signals at Ninth and James could be set to hold buses alternately at Jefferson zone ’till cars clear the ramp, and cars until buses clear. Coordination couldn’t make either set of vehicles go any slower.

        Mark

    2. I think it is very difficult to change just one line. There are always going to be winners and losers, and there is little Metro can do to placate those who feel they are losing out. I think any change to this, as well as other routes, will require a major overhaul of the system in the area. It makes the most sense to do that when Madison BRT is built. That will enable some extra service, along with a very fast connection to downtown. This will set off a cascade of possible changes, resulting in a lot more service to the area. That is what enabled Metro to change things north of the UW station. It didn’t go as far as some wanted (we still have some old routes that are questionable, to say the least) but it actually was a very significant change, and bigger than a lot of people expected (and a lot of people wanted). It wasn’t because the UW station is great — far from it. For many, the transfer is a big pain. But it is very frequent, which makes a huge difference. Thus the combination of a more frequent regular bus and a very frequent train has lead to people to accept, if not embrace the changes.

      In this case, the sort of modification William mentioned here (https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/06/22/metro-wants-out-of-james-street-gridlock/#comment-778968) would go a long way to placate those upset with this change. Then again, by the time that happens, SDOT may have figured out a way to fix the worst of this.

      1. Hasn’t the Route 27, or whatever it’s now become, been on Yesler for decades? Diesel buses have been able to take those hills, east and west, without any problem. Why not just add more service, and do bus lanes and signals accordingly?

        Mark

    3. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just continue the 3/4 on James (as it turns into Cherry) rather than taking two crowded, tight turns to move one block to Jefferson, only to have the 3 make 2 more turns to go back to the same street at 23rd?

      Yes, absolutely. It would require moving wire, but it would be a lot better. Not only would the bus move a lot faster, but you would have better coverage. Union, Cherry, Yesler is better than Union, Jefferson, Yesler (the former is closer to equidistant).

      1. I agree (selfishly, as someone who lives near Cherry) that it might make more sense to have the route continue on Cherry rather than Jefferson. However, traffic on Cherry tends to be worse than Jefferson, in my experience, so maybe it would not provide much benefit, unless bus-only lanes were added.

    4. “why did they put the wire on Jefferson?”

      The decision was made decades ago so we’d have to find somebody who was around then. Jefferson may have been the main neighborhood street before I-5, and there may have been a streetcar there. Or maybe because it’s across the street from the county hospital. Routes at that time had stops every other block and often detoured: the goal was to give as many people as possible front-door service and they didn’t consider the impact of slow meandering trips on passengers at other stops. Also, there was little freeway congestion then so it may have performed OK and they didn’t foresee the congestion on James Street.

    5. I always thought it is because they wanted to get people with mobility challenges as close as possible to the medical facilities at Harborview, not have them cross a busy road. Those Harborview stops always look busy, and could probably benefit from additional bus shelters.

  2. Can Metro change any routes in Seattle at all? How can they do any restructures except for cutting routes that very directly duplicate Link?

    What approval threshold is required to make a routing change? Is it 60%? 80%?

    Look at Metro’s long range plan service map and see how many route changes (of which this is one) can be done with the kind of community consensus that Metro is comfortable with. You’ll be lucky if you need two hands to count them.

    1. Yes, the 62 comes to mind, and the 40, and the 50. And the evolution of what’s now the 31/32. which was previously a 30 on Fremont-45th, then nothing, then an extension of the Sand Point 30, and now the 31/32.

      1. Yeah, that is quite dramatic and exaggerated. I guess it just seems that the 3/4 move is such a simple change that benefits nearly everyone that it should not be so hard to get people behind it. It feels a lot like how they kept the 42 for a long time.

        And while the U-Link restructure was very good overall, they did end up throwing a lot of bones to people who just want to keep their one bus to where they want to go. The 62 is a one-seat ride to downtown, even though that’s not the fastest way downtown from Sand Point. But it is true that for Wedgwood and some nearby neighborhoods, they “preserved” a one-seat ride to downtown, which is probably how they were able to make that work. That kind of thing is fine where it works, but then if they set a precedent that any neighborhood should get some slower one-seat downtown ride in addition to a Link connector, that’s a problem. It means that the Link connector might not be frequent (and in fact the 71, which they were also under pressure to keep, isn’t frequent, and does not run on Sunday. So on Sunday, the 62 might actually be the best way to get downtown, as slow as it is.)

        The 40 and 75 is kinda similar since it expanded slow downtown service to more places.

        The 30/31/32 is really unusual, and took years to complete probably because it had to. Metro seems really indecisive about service on the former 30, and now it’s an off-peak shadow of the peak downtown express (74) that doesn’t go to UW station.

        The 50 likewise took years to complete (starting 3 years after Link), and Metro still has downtown peak expresses 55 and 56 that prevents the 50 from being frequent at peak, because there are many peak downtown one-seat-rides that Metro won’t touch because some people will need to transfer. All progress on making the 50 every 20 minutes at peak came through better than expected financial outcomes rather than through reallocation of service.

      2. “What approval threshold is required to make a routing change? Is it 60%? 80%?”

        From the 80s up until 2014 it was 100%. One person complaining to the council before the final vote was enough to make the council veto the change to that route, and that caused cascading rollbacks on other proposed changes. That made Metro so skittish that it began to self-censor, and either didn’t propose restructures or withdrew them if a handful of people protested. The 2 in 2012 was the most famous case, along with the 3, 5, and 26/28 which were part of that round. In the U-Link restructure Metro wanted to replace the 11 and 12 with a 49-Madison and 8-Madison, and SDOT wanted to replace the 11 and 12 with an all-Madison route, but squeaky wheels on the 12 got it retained and even boosted frequency (which the squeaky wheels on 19th benefit from because it’s part of the trolley wire).

        But there was a big turnaround in 2014 when the recession was pummeling Metro and the council had to vote on a 2-year tax surcharge to forestall cuts. That’s when the councilmembers faced reality that Metro could no longer afford to keep funding inefficient routes and spaghetti service to avoid angering status-quo advocates. The council made a grand bargain to simultaneously approve the surcharge, eliminate the Ride Free Area downtown, abolish the 40/40/20 funding formula that caused resources to be diverted from Seattle to the suburbs, and tell Metro to base its routing decisions on its new performance metrics rather than appeasing status-quo advocates. And it has mostly succeeded since then, with some minor backsliding like the 71, 2, and 12.

      3. The problem was long half-hourly routes to downtown near parallel frequent routes, like the former 42 and 66. The 62 is a different kind of thing, more like the 106. It connects many non-downtown activity centers and is an important crosstown route on 65th. The fact that it does that and eventually gets downtown too gives the best of both worlds: connecting non-downtown activity centers and secondarily giving a one-seat ride to the die-hard one-seat riders. This is the best way to deal with those situations. The 42 fizzled out in single-family Rainier View but the 106 connects MLK to Renton which are economically and culturally similar. With the 42, the fact that it went downtown was its only reason for existence. With the 106, it’s a secondary feature.

        The 40 provided sorely-needed Fremont-Ballard service, and the ridership bump spread to all the neighborhoods around it. It’s an open question whether the Westlake-Leary segment should be the same route as the Ballard-Northgate segment, just like it’s an open question whether the Sand Point-Greenlake route should be connected to the Greenlake-Fremont route and Fremont-downtown route. But those are judgment calls and somebody has to make the decision. The 62 is very popular for Fremont-Roosevelt trips that would be broken if the route were split and the halves attached to other routes.

        What Metro did in the U-District restructure was to preserve the peak expresses from 55th on north. The reasoning behind that is that Roosevelt Station isn’t open yet, they didn’t know how well U-Link would perform, and there’s the long gap between UW Station and 45th, and between UW Station and the Stevens Way buses. Restructuring peak expresses is more politically fraught than restructuring local service, so it left them alone temporarily and extended their span into the shoulder period. But all the local routes east of 15th NE now require a transfer to downtown.

        The NE 55th route has been a long saga. In the 80s it was the 74 to downtown on Fairview. Then it was truncated at Campus Parkway, and extended west to Fremont and Magnolia (restoring service that the 30-Magnolia-45th had served a decade earlier). That made the 74 and 74X so different that the same route number was untenable, so the 74 local was renumbered to 30. The North 40th corridor had never had an all-day route before that, and it quickly became so popular that Metro added the 32 to give 15-minute daytime frequency. Then the 30 was reduced to peak-only in the recession and later deleted, and the 32 was created to take over its N 40th daytime service. Metro has been positioning the 31/32/75 through-route as a new Fremont-Children’s crosstown service and it has similarly exploded with ridership, catalyzed by U Village’s and Children’s growth.

        The most efficient route length is 5-10 miles I think, and that’s what Metro has been tending toward with its splits and through-routes. Very short routes lose riders because they’ll just drive rather than enduring a transfer to a short tail, especially if it’s infrequent because it’s short. But attaching that tail to a stronger route can rescue it and even make it more popular. That’s the reasoning behind having the 40 and 62 go downtown and to their other ends, and it’s why the 26/28/131/132 and 24/124 are through-routed. I used to hate those through-routes because it gave an extraordinary one-seat privilege to two arbitrary streets when there was no evidence that people traveled between those streets more than other combinations. But over the years I’ve found them useful in unexpected ways. For instance, from north Seattle it’s convenient to transfer to the 26 or 28 and take them through downtown to Costco in SODO. That avoids a high-traffic, scummy transfer downtown, in favor of a quiet, soothing transfer in the north end. The 24/124 connects SODO with Magnolia, which may seem silly until you think about the growth of Pioneer Square and Elliott Avenue businesses. The 5/125 connects Greenwood with West Seattle. Some of these would be too inefficient for dedcated routes, but if they can get a de facto route through the efficiency of through-routing, then it’s a win-win.

      4. Those are excellent points. I do not remember Metro very much before 2012, but I did follow the 2, the Madison st proposals and the evolution of all that. Lots of things that were proposed for 2016 would have been outright heresy for them even two years earlier, with the biggest problem being that a lot of those ideas never got farther than being simply proposed. My point about the 62 is that it is a really good example of a restructure going well, in that even though going downtown is a secondary feature, because of that, Metro is able to make the most people happy. It’s noteworthy that it makes so many people happy even though it fits well with the grid network, and that it fits in the grid network even though it’s “L” shaped! (as opposed to the 43, which is “L” shaped but does not make sense in a grid). I’m just worried about people being conditioned to getting downtown rides against the grid network, and metro caving and re-entrenching anti-grid habits for decades to come. Win-win is great, but it’s not so great when you need to have a win-lose, and the side that needs to lose is used to winning. It’s not just peak expresses that it’s reluctant to touch, because the local 43 to downtown is still retained at peak. I think routes that could be restructured at upcoming Link openings might just stay the way they are instead because of this. Two examples:

        The only realistic chance I think we get at eliminating the duplicative 4 tail to Judkins Park is at the opening of Judkins Park station with East Link. I could imagine Metro truncating the 4 tail at Cherry making it a short 3, and in return making the 8 run every 10 minutes instead of 12, and also moving the 8’s 23rd ave segment to be between Judkins st and Massachusetts st connecting to JPS, which would be beautiful. What is Metro going to do when people on the 4 tail don’t want to transfer to a train to get downtown, even though a connection to JPS would cut that trip time WAY down?

        Right now the 26X goes by very close to the future U-district station. And the southwestern portion of the 26X is mostly an express from downtown, with some stops in Wallingford. Basically all of the Wallingford part is also covered by the 31/32 and the 62, so making the 26 go east toward UW instead and truncating it at UDS makes a lot of sense. What is Metro going to do when people on the 26 want to keep their one-seat ride downtown? Will they cave and forgo the new UW connection and improved frequencies for the 26?

      5. The 26 isn’t just about downtown. It’s also about serving Belltown, plus SLU/Seattle Center (with a bit of walking). Link serves none of these places. The 26 is not redundant with Link.

      6. Walking across the freeway is not “close enough” to Link. It’s very depressing.

        Metro’s plan for the 26 is to convert it to a Frequent route from U-District Station to NE 40th Street, Latona, 55th (Tangletown), Woodlawn, East Green Lake, and I assume the regular route to Northgate. That will replace part of the 62’s routing, which be straightened out to 45th-Meridian-55th-Latona-65th.

      7. I think it’s important to remember that Metro’s last CD restructuring was done right before Capitol Hill Link Station and the First Hill Streetcar opened. There was still much more community bias to continue traditional routes in that work because the riders had little reference on what to expect.

        Generally, I’m in favor of a clean-slate restructuring to councide with the new 23rd entrance and the Judkins Park Station/ Eastlink opening. Using the I-90 freeway station was never easy — especially from the CD but also First Hill and Capitol Hill — because the Rainier-only entrance seemed so unfriendly in accessing the I-90 boarding area. Frankly, I’d think there will be a strong enticement to get to this station for any rider heading east of 23rd and south of Union because the Eastlink trains will run every 8 minutes and will get Downtown quickly. Also in 2023, Link from Capitol Hill will be reduced to every 4 minutes! Perhaps more compelling will be the much better off-peak frequency (10 minutes Eastlink/ 5 minutes combined ID to Northgate) during middays and evenings until 10 pm. This amazing future situation of having almost continuous light rail transit will profoundly affect CD, First Hill and Capitol Hill transit use even more beyond the U-Link opening.

        I’m not sure what will be going on with Madison BRT but there could be “with Madison” and “without Madison” scenarios.

        Metro has already done a long-range scenario with some good adjustments . However, it’s internal and hasn’t been adjusted with neighborhood input.

        A single new rapid trunk route that serves CH or Westlake Station, Swedish, Harborview, Swedish Cherry Hill, Judkins Park Station and ends at Mt Baker would be included in my ideal hope — although I’m open-minded to other restructured ideas.

        We are on the verge of almost continuous transit service east of Downtown! Let’s do this effectively!

      8. I would add that the rise in popularity of the bus routes on 40th between Fremont and UW also corresponded to the end of 45th as a reliable corridor between UW and Fremont. There was a traffic calming project on 45th that substantially lowered speeds in the corridor and increased the time and unpredictability of the 44 through Wallingford. Add to that increasing i5 ramps related traffic and now both 65th and 40th are faster and more reliable transit corridors.
        Proximity to i5 ramps is the kiss of death for reliability

      9. “Walking across the freeway is not “close enough” to Link. It’s very depressing.”

        Well given the context of a restructure, I wasn’t talking about walking at all. I meant that the northern part of the 26 begins in relatively close proximity to UW station, meaning a 2-3 minute reroute to the UW Station and truncation. Downtown-bound riders who would stay on the route from that point would reach Pike st near Westlake station 25 minutes later, while the worst case Link transfer of 3 minutes bus + 10 minutes waiting max headway + 8 minutes train ride = 21 minutes at worst, meaning 16 minutes average off-peak, 14 minutes average peak, and best case 12ish minutes.

        Oh but Belltown. We can’t change this route to NOT go to Belltown because it goes to Belltown now. It will be longer for those people. I think this complaint illustrates my point. Restructures have winners and losers, and we can’t decide that something is worth doing only if it has 0 losers. Yes, under this scenario, certain riders on the 26 will have their trip to Belltown go from one seat to three seats. Kind of like most places in NE Seattle after the U-Link restructure, it will be three dreaded seats to Belltown. That’s kind of what you get sometimes with a transfer-based system. Does that mean the restructure is not worth doing? No, it just means there are losers and winners. But even the losers have access to tons of overlapping routes on third Ave that can take them to Belltown, and with an upcoming capacity crisis on 3rd, removing the 26 helps there too.

      10. As someone who grew up a block away from the old 74 and rode it consistently, the current shadow seems sort of silly what it does in the U District, not even going down the Ave to the Campus Parkway transfer point. Are they positioning it for the U District station when it opens in a few years? I can’t imagine that route (non express) gets much ridership on its current alignment.

      11. This goes to what I said up above. Metro can make big changes, but it is very difficult to do that in isolation. There are winners and losers no matter what you do, but if you do a big restructure, it is easier to mitigate the loss. In this case, the loss is service on James. The gain is speed, for the rest of the trips (those that don’t involve those stops). With this restructure, Metro didn’t make anything better for those stops. In contrast, if they made a change as William proposed (https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/06/22/metro-wants-out-of-james-street-gridlock/#comment-778968) then that area has improved service, just from a different direction. Some trips are worse, other trips are better; but each *area* is a bit of a wash.

        Let’s not forget that the north end restructure was massive, and way bigger than lots of people expected. Lots of people just assumed that Metro would do little until the train got to the U-District. Lots of people argued against a restructure. I’m not talking about people who favor one seat rides — I’m talking about people who love this sort of thing (http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/08/19/your-bus-much-more-often-no-more-money-really/). They just figured that a restructure based on the UW station would do more damage than good, simply because that station wasn’t located very well.

        But things changed dramatically, even though Metro hedged their bets with a handful of express routes. But most of those express routes to downtown are fairly easy to justify. The 74 helps create a bit of a grid, while covering relatively densely populated areas between 25th and 15th. The 26 serves as more of a north-south coverage route (along Latona/Thackery). You could send that bus to the UW, but that would take a while, given all the congestion from there to the Husky Stadium. Like other changes, that would make for *less* of a grid. Likewise, the 62 is really not about giving folks at Sand Point a one seat ride to downtown. Hard to imagine anyone really doing that. It is just a combination route. It is the main east-west route for 65th, but instead of just getting on the freeway (and going downtown) it continues, covering more of the north end. and connecting to Fremont. At that point it could continue to Ballard, but that would be duplicating the 40. It would also make it tougher for folks in Fremont/Stone to get to downtown, unless you beefed up the 40. Unless you are right on 45th, and want to connect to the E, there is really no alternative for getting downtown than sending another bus there. Meanwhile the 62 provides good service for Dexter. It is easy to argue that Dexter doesn’t need a dedicated bus route, but with the lack of pedestrian connections to Westlake and Aurora, I’m not sure if I agree with that idea.

        The only bus routes that seem redundant are the 76 and 43. In both cases I think they are easy to justify, at least for the time being. Both are rush hour only express routes, and there are plenty of cities with robust transit systems who have express overlays during rush hour. The 76 makes sense in part because of where they sent the 71 — towards the U-District, not Husky Stadium. That means someone who rides the 71 to get downtown has a long ride back and forth in the north end before they make the dreaded transfer. The 43 exists for the same reason. The alternative is to take the 48 and transfer to the 11. But that bus isn’t especially fast or frequent. If you wanted to take the 8 to Link, then you have to use a different bus stop. That means that taking the 8 as a backup plan (in case the 11 is late) just doesn’t work. Thus both bus routes, although somewhat redundant, really don’t have good alternatives for the time being.

        That is why Madison BRT is a bigger deal than the Judkins Park station as far as restructures in the area. There is no question that folks will hop on the 48 southbound, then transfer at Judkins as a means to get to downtown. But if you are north of Madison, you just take a bus downtown (or take a bus and transfer at CHS). If you are west of 23rd, you do the same. It is hard to see the push for new routes, or a major change in routes because of the new subway stop, as nice as it will be be.

        On the other hand, I definitely see a change with Madison BRT. Six minute, all day service, which is equal to, or better than East Link. It intersects a huge area (it has many stops, not just one). It is pretty easy to see a cascade of route changes, as a result. Personally, I would send the 11 to downtown via the current route of the 43 (Thomas/John/Olive/Pike/Pine). That means the 43 goes away, since folks in Montlake would have a very fast way to get downtown and First Hill (via Madison BRT) as well as an easy way to get to Capitol Hill and another part of downtown (via the 8 or 11). Similarly, I would modify the 10, and make it a north-south run. It would intersect Madison BRT, but keep going south, providing service on 12th. I would kill the 12, and run a bus on the back way to South Lake Union: Aloha to Belmont, to Lakeview to Harrison (on the new busway across Aurora) and on to Lower Queen Anne. That means a real grid for the area. All you need is a line from South Lake Union to Mount Baker (via Boren) and you have a really good system for that area. There is no question that the Judkins Park station would enhance a lot of that (the bus from South Lake Union to Mount Baker would cross it, as would the new 10). But big changes to the network are a lot easier to make when you have a big improvement; something that includes lots of stops, not just one.

      12. “I meant that the northern part of the 26 begins in relatively close proximity to UW station, meaning a 2-3 minute reroute to the UW Station and truncation.”

        I think it was outside the study area for the restructure, which probably ended at I-5. It’s quite a detour from Latona to UW Station.

        “We can’t change this route to NOT go to Belltown because it goes to Belltown now.”

        I doubt Belltown is an essential transit market for this route. It only goes through Belltown because it has to get to Aurora.

    2. A couple of decades ago, Metro took buses off of Lake Wash Blvd ne north of Carillon Point, and had them go on Lakeview Dr and State st s, instead. This change was made to avoid traffic congestion.

      Same with the 249. It used to continue east on 20th then left/north on 148th, intersecting Fred Meyer and Sears. But due to congestion, they changed the routing and it now skirts around that area by about a half mile, going up 29th.

      Metro will make routing changes if there is no outcry.

      Sam. Eastside Transit Historian.

      1. It might also be significant that 29th Place, where the 249 currently runs, didn’t exist till comparatively recently – so the 249 originally couldn’t run there.

        William, Who Actually Knows Something About The Eastside.

      2. William,

        Were you aware that when Metro renumbered the route 233 into the route 248 about 9 years ago, they first decided that the new 248 would not go into the Bear Creek P&R, like the 233 did. The 248, Metro decided, would just stay on Avondale, missing the P&R by about a quarter mile, and shave about 5 minutes off the route. But then people started complaining, and Metro quickly backtracked, and within a month, changed the routing back so it would go the P&R again. And Metro made this post-outcry route adjustment between the official service changes, something they rarely do.

      3. Back in 2006, as a Microsoft intern, I was living for about a month up on Avondale Road, and tried riding the 233 to work a couple times. I likely would have ridden it more, if it weren’t for the huge time sink getting in and out of Bear Creek P&R. It looks not that far out of the way on the map, but it requires waiting for left turns at multiple traffic signals that take seemingly forever to change, because the lights are timed to favor vehicles that go straight (e.g. the route I would take when driving to work, instead of riding the bus). In the short term, I ended up driving most of the time, but about a month into the internship, I ended up moving to a closer apartment, and started walking to work, instead.

        The deviation into Bear Creek P&R is even more ridiculous, given that 545 already serves it (as a terminus, so it doesn’t delay everyone else), so it’s not like people can’t get a ride from there. The fact that Metro would cow to one or two loud complainers, is very concerning.

        That deviation is still a major obstacle for a usable transit system that everyone up Avondale Road is required to pay, in order to ride the bus. I realize that this neighborhood is not the greatest to begin with, in terms of ridership potential, but if you’re going to serve it, at least do it right and run buses that travel in a straight line to useful destinations. The current scheme, all who try the bus once, except for the most die-hard transit fans, will just immediately go back to driving.

  3. I hear a loud sound of people moving out of the Central District to some place with reasonably fast bus service, if there’s no hope for the 3/4.

    Although if the 27 is made frequent, then the 3/4 wouldn’t matter as much.

  4. On a whim, I rode the 3 from Belltown to Madrona last weekend. Even on a weekend, the bus was glacially slow – without any congestion at I-5 and James – due to extremely tight stop spacing, large volumes of people riding the bus for short distances (basically, as an elevator up the hill), and the one block jog to Jefferson and back.

    Has there been any consideration of giving the central district an express alternative that skips most of the stops, at least during peak hours?

    1. If people use it as an elevator, then maybe we should move the route and build a gondola up James street.

      1. I’ve long advocated for a cable-pulled “diagonal elevator” solution. My preference would be on Jefferson Street and for a funicular or incline. Bicyclists would benefit greatly from an easier transit option to use getting up the hill. There is even a giant wheel in Pioneer Square Station as a relic of the past cable car on that hill!

        The problem with the concept is that the 3/4 is both a cheaper solution and 3/4?relies on the Harborview area for ridership to justify the frequencies. Yesler and James are generally the only I-5 crossing options unless the route cuts northward on 8th and jogs at Madison or Spring or Seneca.

      2. All hills attract riders to vertical-elevator routes. That doesn’t mean they should all be converted to gondolas.

      1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/37812152572/in/dateposted-public/

        Specs are even on the picture. Even says it was in Bellevue (shame on you, Kemper!) But notice the power source attached to the freight conveyance on the down-bound platform.

        If they still have horse-drawn tourist carriages in Pioneer Square, First Hill can cash in on being an extension of our historic district!

        And in addition to a bike flatcar like they have in Germany, FHS trains could have one for horses. And best of all, since Pioneer Square One has a Link station….only fair, right?

        And wait a minute! Didn’t Yesler have a cable car all the way over the hill to Leschi? And didn’t somebody just notice the “bull wheel” is still actually in place, lubricant cans and all? Might want to start digging around Leschi just in case. Come on, if they did it a hundred yeas ago, no such thing as “can’t”.

        Now, those historic carriages will have same problem as with fossil fuel- before fuel can be converted, has to be collected at its source. And can no longer be used as de facto pavement.

        But bet there’s a stately lithographed patent somewhere…..GOT IT!

        https://patents.google.com/patent/US5738047A/en

        Mark

  5. Well, it’s unfortunately the social service agencies are using their influence at city hall to block transit improvements. But they are a business like any other, and they look out for their customers/users.

  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLbkF4qgZTo

    Excuse after excuse bites the dust, I mean cobblestones. Stakeholder meetings should be a howl whether the moon is full or not. Well vampires can also be werewolves, just read Dracula, the book. Which came out when cable cars were the new Link.

    Also note new ORCA cards released this morning. Makes fare inspection much easier. Cable car machinery at Pioneer Square mezzanine should convert to a great transfer punch. Thrown off the car into a pile of horse exhaust by conductor, maybe, but doubt anybody got fined $124 in 1889 money for tapping anything wrong number of times.

    Mark

  7. The3 and4vserve Harborview and 2 Swedish campuses. There are some of us have to go to these places for medical reasons . boo fucking hoo for Yesler Terrace. Metro already cut off bus service from UWMC to downtown in the name of light rail When they killed the 25 and essentially killed the 43.Let them take link should be Metros motto. Oh but link expansion takes forever to happen. How many more years6until Northgate_ still 3 I think…God forbid they listen to comments from people actually using their system. Their answer to anything they can’t manage well seems to be to kill it or move it instead of fixing it.

  8. We used to take the 27 up the Yesler hill on the way home. When that was hopeless, (e.g., on weekends when it runs once an hour), would end up on the 3/4 and walk down from Harborview. I don’t think many people do this, but it begs the question of whether a more frequent 27 could help reduce the burden on the 3/4, which might speed things up a bit.

    Of course, a proper First Hill Link station would be 10X better than any bus solution, but looks like that ship has sailed.

    An escalator system like in Hong Kong would likely greatly reduce “vertical elevator” bus trips.

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