With the Spring 2019 service change, routes 21X, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, and C Line began serving two stops on 1st Ave. This will be the first time this century that [ed: some of these] southwest Seattle routes will connect directly to Pioneer Square. Both stops are centered on King Street, albeit at the furthest end of the intersection, with the northbound stop closer to Jackson and the southbound stop nearly at Dearborn.
The two stops add an important connection to routes that previously used the viaduct’s Columbia and Seneca ramps, making them an anomaly amongst the rest of the downtown routes as they did not serve any stops in or near Pioneer Square or the International District. With the viaduct out of commission, routes have been traveling along 1st Avenue South making a quick jog on Dearborn to access the new ramps to SR-99.
A walk between these new stops in Pioneer Square and their next closest stop is three quarters of a mile, or about 15 minutes. These new stops will be a boon to anyone heading to Pioneer Square or even the adjacent stadia.
Additional stops in Pioneer Square along 1st are not likely to happen, as SDOT’s Ethan Bergerson explains:
Many of the sidewalks along First Ave are built on top of empty spaces dating back to when the street was rebuilt after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, with retaining walls and support structures built over the next 50 years. While these walls are strong enough to support the weight of passenger-sized cars in the right lane, some of these retaining walls could not safely support the added pressure of buses travelling in the right lane adjacent to the sidewalks. This is not an issue at the new bus stop locations which were specifically chosen because they are not adjacent to any empty underground spaces.
1st Ave has parking restrictions on both sides weekdays from 6-9 and 3-7, so the right lane is usually unavailable outside these times anyways.
Eventually, Columbia will become a 2-way transit pathway connected to Alaskan Way. While the stops along Alaskan Way have yet to be decided, Metro notes that it is unlikely that they would switch to Alaskan Way before at least one pair of stops is available on Alaskan (in Pioneer Square and/or at Columbia).
The new stop pairs show in Metro’s trip planner, and were posted in a rider alert, but are not listed on the C Line’s map and are new visible on OneBusAway.
6 Replies to “West Seattle and Burien Routes Add Stops in Pioneer Square”
first time in this century? until fall 2011, routes 15, 18, 21, 22, and 56 served 1st Avenue South and connected West Seattle and Ballard via 1st Avenue, Belltown, and Uptown. for AWV related projects, the routes were shifted to 3rd Avenue; WSDOT built the WOSCA detour that carried AWV traffic; SCL opened up a vault at Cherry Street.
Also, routes 17-130-132 also used 1st Avenue South in the recent past. between the fall 2013 and the CCC Streetcar utility work, northbound routes 16 and 66 or 62 and 99 used 1st Avenue between Jackson and Seneca streets. There were above the area ways.
Perhaps the area ways are weaker. What did SDOT say?
My historical knowledge of these routes is limited as are my trips to West Seattle.
Exactly what I quoted above.
A “quick jog” onto Dearborn???? Hahahahaha.
The only stop that will be of use to the riders is if the bus driver lets the passengers off the bus on the SR-99 offramp. From there the passengers can walk to 3rd Ave faster than the bus.
I don’t know if the STB is aware, but the current configuration of these routes is a complete disaster and baseball season hasn’t even started yet. Public outcry has been building for the buses to be routed back to the SODO busway. The buses can return to the SR-99 route in a year when the viaduct stuff is done.
I rode the C line on Sunday from West Seattle to downtown, and my first thought was that, whenever there’s a Mariners game, the Pioneer Square routing is going to be a complete parking lot. There are alternative options, but they all have their problems. The water taxi avoids the traffic, but it runs once an hour, and on evenings, there’s no bus connections out of Seacrest Park. Link to 50 doesn’t work because the 50’s Holgate detour means it will get stuck in gameday traffic, anyway. Plus, it only runs every half hour, and SODO is a terrible place to wait for a bus.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear how moving the C-line back to SODO busway would really solve that problem. There’s still that jog in front of the stadium, so the bus would end up getting stuck in gameday traffic anyway. The best option to avoid the gameday traffic might be a reroute which has the bus go north to SLU, then get on the highway 99 tunnel there. But, this option would require you to wait at a completely different set of stops downtown in and around game time, as well as have the newly added Pioneer Square stop be skipped. It would solve the traffic problem, but create lots of riders confusion. Some would inevitably be left stranded as a result of waiting at the wrong stop.
Seacrest Park has the King County Water Taxi shuttle running on the water taxi schedule serving routes to Admiral and Alaska Junction neighborhoods with some service to Morgan Junction.
Residents North and Southeast of Alaska Junction can call (or use the Ride2 app) the Metro Ride2 shuttle for rides to Seacrest Park using their ORCA card and transfer to Metro downtown.
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