Typical southbound traffic on I-5 approaching Mercer Street

With the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct next month, the “period of maximum constraint,” now known, apparently, as the “Seattle Squeeze” is officially upon us.  Five years of construction as we rebuild the Waterfront, expand the convention center, and (maybe? hopefully?) build a streetcar on First Avenue and bus rapid transit on Madison St. 

Unfortunately, the squeeze is coming as the city is delaying bus and bike improvements.  Along with a diverse group of organizations, we are calling for the city to re-prioritize some of those investments.  While we recognize that not everything can be built at once, and we don’t want to minimize the considerable effort the city is making in re-prioritizing downtown right-of-way, there are plenty of opportunities for short term improvements to keep people moving over the next half-decade.

For example, we lauded SDOT for creating a temporary bus lane to get people moving out of downtown when there was a tragic duck boat crash on the Aurora bridge.  Surely the Seattle Squeeze merits the same (or greater) level of response.  Temporary bus lanes on key corridors could set the stage for permanent improvements when the bus corridors are built out in 2022-2024.

To that end, we have an expanded map for where buses deserve priority treatment, which could come in the form of queue jumps, dedicated lanes, or signal priority (ideally all three).  Many of these are already identified in the Transit Master Plan, and some are already in progress as part of the Move Seattle work.  Implementing them will require funding, yes, but also dedication to de-prioritize other street uses (e.g. temporary car storage). 

Finally, this isn’t just about buses: we’re participating in the coalition because we believe that sustainable transportation involves the integration of pedestrian, cycling, and transit investments to create alternatives to car travel. 

On Monday, Governor Inslee announced his vision for moving Washington to renewable energy by 2045.  While the vision is laudable, we submit that achieving zero emissions in the transportation sector will be nigh-impossible (and inequitable) with electric vehicles alone.  Seattle must lead the way in carbon-neutral transportation modes.  Let’s seize the twin opportunities of the Seattle Squeeze and the climate crisis to change the way we move about the city.

Learn more about how to get involved at the MASS Coalition website.

59 Replies to “The Seattle Squeeze is an Opportunity”

  1. Governor Inslee has finally grown some! He’s not quite in the same league as California’s governor, however he is finally headed in the right direction. One thing I would have done different is double or triple the amount of funds spent on emissions curtailment. I think there is a significant opportunity to fund charging infrastructure in places like Tri-Cities, Spokane, Vancouver and etc. E85 infrastructure would bode well as well; not everybody can get by with a Leaf.

    1. One thing Jay Inslee can do that- considering his likely opponent- could put him in the White House before 2020, Any money the State wants to invest, put it to wind and solar power stocks.

      As places like Texas start going renewable not to make hearts bleed, but to make their wallets not. Making him a Democrat who simultaneously assists the private sector to continue what it’s already begun: major-clean air and water by economics’ most truly conservative mode: The Free Market!

      While running footage of current tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania, at the top if his lungs, ordering tax money to subsidize fuel that’s now as overpriced as it is filthy. In the name of National Defense. The airwaves and the air are yours, Jay. Use them- for the first time in recent media history- wisely.

      Mark Dublin

  2. Electric vehicle market share is increasing rapidly: the Model 3 is outselling the rest of its class put together. Forecasts are for over half of new vehicle sales to be electric in 20 years.

    It would be a mistake to throw policies to accelerate EV adoption under the bus. There’s millions of trips a day in the region that will never be addressable by transit, and facilitating the adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles is key to reducing overall carbon emissions from the transport sector.

    1. This is not about emissions, it’s about road real-estate. Even if your car is electric it still contributes to congestion.

      1. But electric buses (automated or not) are still far more efficient than electric cars. While much of this area relies on clean energy, a major switch to “clean cars” would put pressure on the system, and next thing you know, you are looking at building new (carbon based) power plants. Furthermore, the switch over to electric cars may happen, but it will take a while. The changes proposed here would take months and be done long before electric cars represent a significant part of the automobile market. That would mean a reduction in carbon immediately (when we need it) not a promise to reduce it in the future.

        Automated buses would represent a huge change in transit. It would make transit, everywhere cheaper. That means that serving areas that aren’t quite appropriate for all day transit right now would become quite cost effective. Furthermore, nothing on that map represents a transit hole — every single spot mentioned has a lot of buses (and thus a lot of transit riders). In other words, while “millions of trips a day in the region will never be addressable by transit”, that isn’t what this about. This is about the millions that are.

  3. Does our current fleet of buses have enough capacity to meet demand? This article really took me by surprise: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/metro-cant-add-all-the-bus-service-seattle-wants-to-buy-to-improve-service/

    Improving the flow of the buses we have is a great idea but if all the buses are packed ass-to-elbow and adding buses to the fleet is too challenging/expensive in the short term are we really ready for the influx of reluctant drivers that are willing to step out of their vehicle and take transit for the first time?

    1. Giving the buses more right-of-way would allow them to complete more runs in less time, reducing crowding on each individual trip.

      1. Frank, yes, improved flow would be great. but improved service frequency implies more trips and less waiting; this would attract more riders. Crowding will not be reduced. Still good. This is what has been happening on the best and most frequent routes.

      2. Eventually, as you add more and more service, you reach a saturation point. If you are running a bus every two minutes, you aren’t going to see a bump in ridership when you run it every minute. Bus bunching aside, this means that adding more buses will eventually reduce crowding. Making the buses faster allows you to add more service without actually spending more money (as Frank said).

        I would say that the hiring crunch is likely to become less of an issue as time goes on. As the article mentioned, part of the problem is the time needed to train new drivers. Basically it just takes a while to ramp up service. When Link gets to Northgate (and Bellevue) it will also free up plenty of service, which can be put other trips (at no additional cost).

      3. 5-10 minute frequency should be the baseline goal, then add runs as necessary to manage capacity. When people know a bus will come within 5-10 minutes they make those marginal decisions to use transit. But below 5 minutes it doesn’t really matter.

    2. SDOT is leaving capacity on the table by not having done these improvements already. Transit lanes and queue jumps mean a bus can do more runs per day, which gives you greater frequency “for free” (no additional buses or drivers, and less additional fuel than other alternatives). This both increases capacity to fit more people, and lets passengers wait less, which makes them more satisfied and more willing to use transit for more of their trips and recommend it to their friends. So everybody wins except car drivers and parkers, who are displaced by the improvements.

      1. Translink Route 99B has very tight headway and growing ridership. Better service attracts more ridership. The next step is a a tunneled SkyTrain.

    3. It’s not a matter of not having enough buses in the fleet, it’s actually a manpower problem.
      They’re missing their recruitment goals for new drivers, and that’s preventing Metro from adding all the new service their own crowding-relief policies call for, let alone the additional service Seattle wants to buy from them.

      As others have pointed out, speed & reliability improvements can help mitigate this problem, by allowing the same number of drivers to make more trips in the same amount of time.

      1. SDOT would be able to have more bus runs in Seattle, without additional drivers, if it allowed the buses to have more right-of-way priority. Not painting 3rd Ave red is going to prove expensive.

  4. Two things are clear:

    1. The “squeeze” is imminent and it’s too late to make any street changes in anticipation of it. We should instead have a triage team ready to fix pinch points for buses if possible.

    2. We have major transit changes inside Seattle with Link openings in 2021 (Northgate), 2023 (Judkins Park/Eastlink) and 2024 (145th/ Lynnwood). Our network should look to Link to carry riders where possible. That means some bus restructures that still need to be refined in the community before adopted. Then, how those buses get to the stations and how riders change modes will be much more important. To not take advantage of the thousands of new seats soon to be available at peak hours (4 car trains at 3 minutes at 600-800 riders per train as opposed to buses at 6-15 minutes at 90 riders per bus + 3 car trains at 6 minutes) would be foolish.

    Only a few of these corridors would benefit this eventual new Link reality. Even those that do aren’t proposed in concert with restructuring. Instead, we need to begin with the Metro 2025 and 2040 plans and work at making those better. Consider how the U-District station gets no direct improvements in the above map; the corridors in the map don’t make the last three blocks around station entrances better at all.

    Finally, many of the obvious and useful bus lane improvements have already been made. I’d like to see how the remaining problems with them can get resolved before adding new ones.

    1. This is focused on 2019-2021. As the projects in that bottleneck get completed things will get better again (“better” in the sense of like now). All those things you mention for 2021 and the following few years are in process. Some of them (Madison and Roosevelt RapidRide) will not make the Northgate Link opening exactly due to funding understimates but will come within a few years after it. Metro has a planning target which Seattle has given input on. The county is working on a countywide Metro measure to fund the improvements, and Seattle is starting to think about a fallback in case it fails. The waterfront park may be delayed because downtown businesses are objecting to the tax rate; so that may alleviate part of the bottleneck’s tightness.

      Hopefully there will be some street improvements right around U-District Station on 45th, Brooklyn, and 43rd by 2021. Those are planned anyway for Roosevelt RR and 45th RR and the 67, and 43rd is to become a greenway. University Way was already renovated in 2000. The map above seems to be focused on circulation before Northgate Link opens, not on Northgate Link and Judkins Park station areas which will hopefully be addressed too by their opening.

    2. Mike, it takes more than striping and new signs to create an improvement. Changing traffic signals requires many months if not a few years of designing and equipment ordering and installation, even if there if is no controversy. Readers should not expect that any of these changes that involve signals can happen overnight or even 2019 and maybe even 2020.

      Madison will even require new buses so that’s delayed even further. The obsession of median stops delays the project significantly and it’s still not clear that the non-trolley buses can operate at a decent speed uphill. It could be operating today with right-side bus only lanes for Route 12 and through the squeeze period. When taking the squeeze timeline into account, SDOT blew it!

      1. I don’t see how “the squeeze” effects a bus on Madison in the least. Make the 12 a little bit faster, and it doesn’t change the way that people deal with the viaduct being down or buses kicked out of the tunnel (since both involve traveling perpendicular to the route).

        I don’t know why folks downplay the importance of the Madison line. BAT lanes are nice, but they are often clogged with people turning, especially in an urban environment. The Madison route will be almost entirely in an urban environment, meaning BAT lanes would only do that much (it is like Northgate — you can add BAT lanes if you want, but everyone in the right lane is currently turning right anyway). I’m sure it would help in some spots (and there will be BAT lanes in some spots) but not nearly as much as what is proposed. The route will be congestion free all day long — that is not easy to do without center running buses. Furthermore, while a diesel bus may be slow getting up the hill, it won’t be horribly slow. It won’t take several light cycles to get through an intersection (which is routinely the case with many bus routes). It just isn’t far until you are up on the hill (and diesel electric buses are not that slow). I see the project as a foot in the door — both for this route as well as the city. Eventually the buses will be replaced with electric buses, but more importantly, the route will involve fast urban speeds. We really have never seen anything like that here operating on the surface (the only comparison is the bus tunnel). If it works out, it not only means very frequent, very fast service for the corridor, but it sets a good example for other areas as well.

      2. Does the squeeze affect bus lanes on Leary or Avalon shown on the above map? It seems to me that Madison is more affected by the squeeze. After all, it’s about more than just the viaduct closure.

      3. The emergency bus lane during the Ducks disaster was deployed within hours, with no studies etc. It worked. We know red paint tends to work. The best way to study the impact is to deploy the paint, and see if any tweaks are needed later.

      4. The squeeze is caused by two thing: the viaduct coming down and buses being kicked out of the bus tunnel. Both are north-south corridors. Buses that run on Leary and Avalon are definitely effected. Buses from West Seattle head downtown and are effected by the closure more than just about any set of buses. Any time savings they get anywhere on the line will help offset the closure. Buses along Leary are the alternative to driving (on Aurora or 15th) and thus any speed improvement there can tip the balance towards taking a bus.

        Of the corridors listed, Madison and Montlake are the least effected by “the squeeze”. Market/45th seems like a stretch, but I could imagine someone who wants to get to the airport from Ballard weighing a slog through downtown or a slog on the 44 (followed by a transfer to Link) as opposed to using the viaduct (via Western) they’ve used in the past. I’m not saying those corridors shouldn’t have immediate help, but they should be a lower priority.

      5. SDOT should be able to repaint a few streets within six months, even if it can’t install concrete and stuff.

      6. “The squeeze is caused by two thing: the viaduct coming down and buses being kicked out of the bus tunnel.”

        The squeeze is caused by the viaduct coming down and other construction projects. There aren’t enough buses in the tunnel to make much of a difference. If you look at any part of the six-lane viaduct, there are cars passing you continuously with never more than a few seconds’ gap. In the two-lane DSTT you can wait several minutes without seeing a bus, and the trains don’t count because they aren’t coming out of the tunnel. Two lanes of intermittent buses will be spread out over several multilane streets, so it won’t take more space than a handful of cars. The impact is to the passengers of those buses, not the surrounding traffic.

    3. Madison was always going to get new buses; that’s an intrinsic part of RapidRide. There are probably not enough extra red buses for an additional line. As for “median stops delays” (I assume you mean center lanes without contraflow), that was part of the plan decided a year or two ago so it’s not really a “delay”. I also am concerned about adequate speed going up the hill, and hoping that SDOT would postpone it if they can’t find guaranteed-adequate buses in time.

      Median stops are what give you transit lanes. Side lanes would have right-turning cars crossing it or going into it. You could avoid left-side doors with contraflow lanes (so that the lanes would be car-east, bus-west, bus-east, car-west), but that increases the potential for collisions and miscalculations, and SDOT apparently decided that’s not worth it because it would contradict Vision Zero (to roll back collision risk factors).

      1. I’m not saying that side lanes don’t have problems.

        What I am saying is that the urgency clock has run out, and in retrospect the City should have chosen to implement some low-end bus lane improvements to Madison in 2016 to be completed by now. We could have had at least five years of bus-only lanes on Madison (2018-2023) if not many more.

        Frankly, I wish the Madison money was used to build a pedestrian connection from 5th to 8th or even Boren using escalators or a diagonal underground elevator or something. Of course, that was never studied. Keep in mind that when the Madison project evolved, there was no Midtown Link station at 5th. I personally think we should quickly add curb transit lanes on Madison and as we do advanced planning on a better First Hill strategy to implement by 2030 or 2035 given ST3 adoption and the failure to get a First Hill Station out of it.

      2. Al S. with you 100% on First Hill Station. As tunneling equipment continues to improve, likely in both our lifetimes. But like I’ve said, Mike, I’d personally insist on eyes-on human hand on the signal switch. With diagonal crossings only at beginning and end of the transitway.


        Much worth reading. Also train fare to Eugene to see it. I recall Eugene proud to show it off . Note the strips of heavy duty plastic (or fiberglass?) along every concrete curb at close quarters. Really mandatory for Madison with either treatment. Would’ve helped DSTT as well. No need to “shy” away from curb or platform.

        Make this public, Mike, and given the years of experience one train-ride away, I really think that under any administration you have a chance to get this line. If extra-door buses are slow to get, think we could run contraflow (good to avoid that term, because if done right we’re firmly separated from car traffic) ’til the special buses get here.

        Somewhere I remember 100% lane reservation achieved by an evil iron rake in a trough at end of each segment with vicious spikes down flat for transit. Illegal entry? “We Slash, Your tires, Your cash”

        Other places, steel-edged concrete trough horizontally across the tracks (easy with streetcars, harder with unguided buses) so that only transit gets through with the transmission still in place and all wheels still round.

        Also, really think that bringing City engineers in on the plan instead of only officials and PR people, better chance than anybody thinks now.

        Mark Dublin

        What’s the Madison business community’s take on this project so far?

      3. What I am saying is that the urgency clock has run out …

        Dude, you don’t get it. The urgency clock doesn’t effect Madison at all. It is *perpendicular* to the problem. Go ahead and keep the viaduct. Paint all of Third Avenue red. Better yet, put all of the buses back into the tunnel, with a ride free area, and magically run the train there as well. Do all of that, and the 12 isn’t any faster, nor will it be any slower when the viaduct is closed and buses are kicked out of the tunnel. It is simply unrelated.

        Madison is more of a long term problem, requiring a long term solution. Of course we want this all to be done sooner, rather than later. Same with Link to Northgate. Same with Link to anywhere. But if you have a project that involves moving utilities, buying up property and making the street wider, it takes time. Maybe we should have painted a few streets in the meantime, but again, that has nothing to do with the upcoming “squeeze”.

      4. I do get it RossB.

        Viaduct and its Downtown exits will be closed. More traffic will be on I-5 and its exits.

        That then impacts streets that feed I-5 like Madison. Traffic will be heavier and drivers going to and from those exits will be on Madison, which has back-ups from on-ramps today on it.

        Don’t insult me, dude.

      5. Oh, yeah, Madison will be impacted. We’ve already seen what a mess box blocking has made of South Lake Union. It’s coming to downtown.

        Want to prevent the box blocking? Get the private cars off the streets where buses should have priority over everything except emergency responders.

      6. Accelerating Madison RR would alleviate the existing bottlenecks which are severe. In the PM peak it can take half an hour for the 12 or 2 to get from 3rd to Broadway. The center lanes and rerouting it from the freeway entrance should clear that up, and that would be a major improvement to people’s trips, which aren’t just one-seat rides on the 12 but often 2-seat rides. Madison RR would also allow the 2 to move to Pine-12th-Union out of its Seneca Street bottleneck, and that would allow the 49 and 60 to be restructured.

      7. As partial support for Al S, a few weeks ago I was taking a wekend Pine Street bus westbound and there was a bit traffic jam ahead. I told the driver I had never seen it like this when there wasn’t a parade or something. He said it’s because of all the traffic on 1st Avenue because the viaduct was closed, and it was interfering with buses and cars turning at 2nd and 3rd, which delays the vehicles behind them. I don’t understand why displaced viaduct drivers would take 1st en massem since it goes to a different place at the north end, but that’s what he thought it was.

    4. Here is to hoping Sound Transit holds on to all 154 days of float in the Northgate Link project plan and opens 4 months early

  5. Let’s keep maintaining that e-scooter ban though. Because Mayor Durkan thinks they’re deadly, unlike the roving cloud hugs that private automobiles are.

    1. Somebody said they visited two other Bird cities and the scooters weren’t endangering pedestrians on the sidewalk or passing them narrowly. I’m wondering why it’s not happening there. Are all the scooters in the street? Or do the cities have such a small number of pedestrians that there’s usually nobody walking or maybe one person at a time?

    2. In Europe, don’t Gypsies sometimes bring in bears balancing on unicycles? Built in source of hugs! And not only Fairness but Balance. But does “bicycle” lane always mean two wheels no more no less?

      Regarding Continental bears, dogs probably firm about how immigrants need to be “vetted”. Which every male dog knows is not a good thing. Ferret lobby also has teeth. A lot of them. And are usually seen ready to counterattack from inside the neck of their owners’ shirt. Have never seen a cat on a bicycle, and wouldn’t want to be first to put one there.


    3. Not deadly, just dangerous and extremely obnoxious. There’s plenty of cities that allow eScooters that are great examples.

      A local example is the few (illegal) mono-wheel riders that act like jackasses around SLU’s sidewalks and bike lanes. And you want to expand that by orders of magnitude?

      I don’t understand the obsession a few very vocal people have with allowing eScooters when bike share is almost ubiquitous. It’s a horrible solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.

      1. Yep, and there are also cities that banned them (like San Fransisco) or still haven’t allowed them (like New York).

      2. Are eScooter users more obnoxious than bikers, who we keep getting told by drivers that they don’t obey the rules of the road? Are eScooters more obnoxious than the drivers who run red lights and block the box and make traffic a nightmare for their fellow drivers, as well as for the obnoxious bikers and the dirty people who ride buses?

        Which mode has no obnoxious users?

      3. Are eScooter users more obnoxious than bikers, who we keep getting told by drivers that they don’t obey the rules of the road?

        Bikers being told they don’t obey the rules of the road is different that them not obeying the rules of the road. Car drivers tend to not have a realistic grasp of the actual rules of the road.

        Sure there are plenty of bikers that disregard the rules of the road, but they do it at their own peril. It’s a self-limiting form of obnoxiousness.

        Are eScooters more obnoxious than the drivers who run red lights and block the box and make traffic a nightmare for their fellow drivers…

        Cars blocking intersections is a result of an oversaturated mode of transportation and lack of willingness to enforce traffic laws. Just because that mode of transportation is obnoxious does not mean we need to make other modes of transportation equally obnoxious.

        …and the dirty people who ride buses?

        The one or two times a year that becomes an issue, I can move a seat. Wouldn’t call that obnoxious.

        As a pedestrian, I have a certain level of expectation of safety, after all, I have the right-of-way pretty much everywhere. Crossing an intersection, I should have that expectation of safety, but that’s not reality and I adjust accordingly to be more alert. Obnoxious sure, but that’s been the reality since I was born.

        But there’s one spot where I should have an absolute expectation of safety as a pedestrian, barring extremely unlikely circumstances: sidewalks. But you are telling me that because everything other mode of transportation has some level of obnoxiousness that we should remove that last bastion of safety and allow people to obnoxiously and dangerously ride eScooters on sidewalks to solve some non-existent problem, just because eScooters tickle your fancy? I haven’t sided much with Durkan much, but I’m with her on this one.

    1. Driving those pilings through the core of the Earth would’ve blown out everybody’s air conditioning while they were stuck in traffic on all those thousands of miles above the thin ceiling of Hell.

      That’s why present plan is to put the whole thing on same giant platoon network for all traffic between Snoqualmie Pass and Siberia. And let Climate Change do something positive for a change. Speaking of which:

      Now that you’re back….can we have that cartoon dog for PR? Didn’t he have a buddy named Stimpy? Ok, what’d you do with him?


      1. Actually the name RennDawg comes from my time in the Navy. Some people decided to mock me with the name because my best friend was black. I took the name and kept it. I changed the dog to Dawg for the Huskies.

  6. Thanks for reminding me to avoid Seattle?

    What about truncating some of the South-End buses at Rainier Beach Station, especially during rush hour? After all, keep vehicles out of the City is beneficial to all, and shortening transit commute times is useful to those commuters and the overall budget.

    1. There’s many here who would support that, but Link doesn’t have the rush-hour capacity to spare to accommodate those riders, and won’t until the Northgate Link trains start being added to the fleet.

    2. If they aren’t standing-room-only and require you to wait for the second train that arrives before there is room for you, then it has more capacity than the 565 had eight years ago when I took that on a daily basis. Literally every day, I would show up at Bellevue TC, get to the back of the line, wait, watch the people in front of me fill up a bus, inch up to the front of the line, wait another 15 minutes, and get on the next bus.

      You could probably still truncate some of the routes, if not all of them.

      It’s too bad nobody thought through any of this.

      1. Typical Seattle solution. Screw the South End. The squeeze effect on the South End is being ignored by our government. When I brought this up I was told about improvements to the East Side. The South End is going to be hot harder by this.

  7. Of course, the CCC streetcar cannot be built in this period, but it is in the way. In the short term, 1st Avenue is needed for SR-99 routes until Alaskan Way is ready. Its right of way on 1st Avenue with signage and paint could be used for existing and funded bus routes that would otherwise be stuck in traffic. Its local capital funds could be used to connect Route 7 with the Henderson Street Link station, improve connectivity at the NE 45th Street station, build the projects on your map, and build sidewalks on the frequent transit arterials that lack them. The bus and Link network in downtown, if 1st Avenue was used, would provide better circulation than the CCC would, as it would have much better frequency (shorter waits).

    1. eddie, didn’t we run the DSTT buses over grooved streetcar style rail from 1990 to 2009? So why can’t we just pretend that First Avenue is really just practice for DSTT-2?

      Maybe do like they did in the real Old Seattle and put a roof over the whole neighborhood. The Underground used to be main floor. Because maybe this time, tracks or not, ST board may realize its mistake after nineteen years and just keep the buses in there. Historic Association might give you some trouble about taking out another generation of streetcar tracks, though.

      Rumor you might want to check out, though. If your plan succeeds, The Seattle Times might still have this one in the archives. Would anybody put it past them? Only worse piece of transitslander out of Hollywood was Demi Moore in “Disclosure” getting on a 302 at University Street. Station.


      But here’s the thing. Even though this mob is just “moonlighting” (sorry) on Frankenstein, they’re really just getting in shape for their (Break-of) day job. In other words, if you tell the Pike Place Market Association how you’re going to kill their streetcar, you’ll want to steer clear of all their STAKEHOLDERS!”


      Owwooooooooooo and out.


  8. Whooooo-eeeee! Won’t do that again! Any way I can kill this before it escapes? This was one posting I really don’t want to screw up.


  9. The cover picture for this post is another example of why the proposed route 255 service restructure needs to happen. There is nothing to be gained by sitting in that kind of traffic to go downtown vs. having people switch to the train. Even at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, when I-5 and downtown streets were practically empty, I clocked the 255 as getting downtown in virtually the same amount of time as the truncated 255 would. (As we left Montlake Freeway Station, the next Link train leaving Husky Stadium was 8 minutes away; assuming a drop-off zone right in front the station, anyone with an Orca card would have easily made it; while we were all the way at Stewart and Denny by the time this train left the station, the train is very fast, once it starts moving; that very train entered the DSTT at the same time we did; we actually had to stop and wait to let it go by). In this case, a wash in travel time for downtown-bound passengers is a win for the system overall, since it allows for higher frequency, better reliability, and doesn’t screw over those headed to the UW or north Seattle in general, once Montlake Freeway Station closes. The alternative of transferring to the 542 at Yarrow Point is not acceptable. First off, during off-peak hours, both routes are, today, running only every 30 minutes, so you could be in for a long wait time. But, even if they tried to coordinate the schedules so the wait time were, say, only 5 minutes, you could still be screwed over if there’s any kind of delay getting through downtown. If you pull out OneBusAway at 10 PM, you can see that, even at that time, delays of 10 minutes or more getting through downtown on the 255 or 545 – especially the 545, which doesn’t use the tunnel (which the 255 soon won’t either) are quite routine.

    And, when I-5 traffic is anything resembling the picture shown above, the truncated 255, plus Link, will get you downtown much faster than the current 255 – especially during rush hour, when trains are running every 6 minutes.

    1. It is crazy to send buses from 520 to downtown during rush hour. That is when the train is frequent and the bridge is down. It is also when traffic downtown is the worst. We may disagree about sending buses there in the middle of the day (when the train is infrequent and the bridge is often up) but we both agree that sending any bus downtown from 520 during rush hour is nuts.

    2. correct. Routes 545, 424, 255, 252, 257, 268, and 311 should be restructured to not use the I-5 general purpose lanes as soon as possible. If new Route 544 is implemented, it should not use them either.

  10. Why does everyone thing right hand transit lanes are such a problem? Here in Europe they are the normal case. The car lanes for right turns are left of the transit lane, and the transit lanes have separate signals (usually with on deman priority) to avoid incursions.

    1. Unfortunately, most Americans see single-occupant car travel as an unwritten right, and anything that impedes that implied “right” to travel anywhere quickly in a car is a problem.

      1. Hey that right was even set to music in a great song.
        “Super highways coast to coast just easy to get anywhere
        on the transcontinental overload: just slide behind the wheel
        how does it feel when there’s no destination that’s too far
        And somewhere on the way you might find out who you are?”
        James Brown Living in America

Comments are closed.