Sound Transit is entering yet another round of public feedback for the I-405 BRT project and has revealed the name of the service: Stride.
In their online open house and an e-mail to STB, Sound Transit described their criteria for choosing the name, the first new ST brand introduced since Link and Sounder were chosen in 1997. Stride (with a set of dangling legs in its logo to presumably represent someone running for the bus) was chosen with help from interviewed stakeholders because it was short, memorable, and integrated well with ST’s other brands.
The name had been mentioned a month earlier, which we only recently noticed thanks to a tip from commenter Robert Norheim. As other comments in the thread point out, the name could also be read as “ST-Ride”, but Sound Transit insists it’s prounounced like the word “stride”. Cambridge defines it as “to walk somewhere quickly with long steps”, which definitely fits the bill of freeway-running BRT with long stop spacing.
Details about the BRT stations and a rant about transit brands are after the jump.
While Stride is only the fourth brand under the Sound Transit umbrella, it adds yet another piece to our complicated mess of transit brands used across the Puget Sound region.
Just for BRT and BRT-like express services alone, we have Community Transit’s Swift and its colored lines; Metro’s RapidRide and its lettered lines; and an undetermined brand that will be used by Pierce Transit for their Pacific Avenue project. Sound Transit has not chosen what sub-brand will be used for the individual lines, but they must tread carefully to avoid confusion.
Imagine describing a rail-and-bus trip from Redmond to Aurora Village, using a combination of buses: you can take Stride to the (Link) Blue Line to…the (Swift) Blue Line. Trying to communicate the difference would take all day.
Compared to other systems with top-down integration of services like Los Angeles’s Metro (which considers its BRT-like services to be equal to light rail on maps and in their names), we’re a ways behind on legibility front. As the system grows further, a serious look at harmonizing transit branding will be needed (and is a subject for a future rant or brainstorm post).
Besides the brand name, the I-405 BRT open house also serves to give us a preview of where Sound Transit will place stations. From Lynnwood to Totem Lake in Kirkland, Stride buses will switch between general-purpose lanes and bus-only shoulders to reach stations that are located on various offramps, including a transfer to the SR 522 Line at UW Bothell Station (the 195th Street interchange). It then switches to the median express toll lanes and only exits the freeway entirely at Bellevue Transit Center, where riders would have to transfer to continue further south.
The Bellevue-to-Renton section will use a new set of express toll lanes that WSDOT plans to construct by 2024, with a median station at Northeast 44th Street in northern Renton. Stride buses switch back to using general-purpose lanes between South Renton Transit Center and Burien Transit Center, with an intermediate stop at the Tukwila International Boulevard Link station on the shoulder of State Route 518.
Sound Transit and WSDOT are proposing the addition of short bus lanes and queue jumps at various offramps to help Stride buses navigate interchanges, but there’s only so much that can be done for non-median stations.
Preliminary station designs (as seen in the lead image above) look more similar to those on Community Transit’s Swift than Metro’s RapidRide, with a prominent beacon and larger shelters. Passengers would pay off-board using an ORCA (2.0) transponder or at a ticket vending machine. The station would have real-time arrivals information, seating, wind screens, and a raised platform for level boarding (at all doors).
Sound Transit is also soliciting feedback on station access issues via its online open house, with a map that identifies issues for pedestrians and cyclists. Given that most stations will be at freeway interchanges, these impediments are typical of regionwide problems: missing sidewalks, wider-than-comfortable streets to cross, missing curb cuts and other accessibility features, and a lack of lighting on the streets. ST will also collect feedback at public meetings that are scheduled to take place later this year.