Planned project refinements add up to much better travel times for riders than anticipated in 2016 (Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit has significantly refined the design for I-405 BRT which is anticipated to begin service in 2024. The final set of refinements from Phase 1 of design were shared with the System Expansion Committee at their March meeting. The design changes reduce travel times on the corridor and improve reliability. The shorter travel times make the service more appealing and ridership estimates have been raised correspondingly.

Construction will mostly occur in 2023-2024. WSDOT will begin construction of two stations (NE 44th in Renton and NE 85th in Kirkland) much earlier. Both are lengthier and more complex projects, and NE 44th is scheduled as part of the widening of I-405 south of Bellevue starting in 2019.

At the north end of I-405, the representative project envisioned buses running in general purpose lanes between Lynnwood and Brickyard. Although it would be faster to operate in the HOT lanes, the HOT lanes lack center exits to several stops in the Bothell area, setting up an awkward trade-off of speed vs access. Sound Transit has now identified several new locations where the buses can operate on the shoulder. Combined with existing bus-on-shoulder operations, the BRT will be able to operate on the shoulder for most of the distance between Lynnwood and Brickyard southbound while still serving all planned stations. As this is the most congested part of I-405 (and the only part where toll lanes have not met targets for 45mph travel 90% of the time) the benefits of getting buses out of general traffic will be significant.

In the northbound direction, a short stretch of new bus-on-shoulder lanes will be added to the existing peak hour general purpose shoulder driving between SR 524 and I-5.

In Kirkland, Sound Transit has abandoned a proposal for bus-only lanes between the NE 85th BRT station and downtown. The transit lanes through the highway intersection will stay in the plan, but study found little benefit to bus travel times from lanes between 114th and 6th St. Savings will be redirected to more strategic speed and reliability improvements. Sound Transit will also fund improved pedestrian connections to the station.

The latest design for the Tukwila BRT station moves the stops alongside the freeway with a pedestrian bridge connection to the rail station (Image: Sound Transit)

In Tukwila, the planned BRT station will be moved. It was previously envisioned that buses would exit the freeway to BRT stops at the Link station. Sound Transit now proposes a pair of BRT stops on either side of SR 518 so that buses would not need to exit the freeway. A pedestrian bridge would connect both stops to the Link station and might extend further south to enable walk-up connections from across the freeway.

These design updates are accompanied by a long list of minor modifications including transit signal priority and queue bypass at several stations. (Click for details for North and South). The net result is much faster travel along the corridor. Five minutes are shaved off travel times on the North Corridor (Bellevue – Lynnwood). Seven to nine minutes are saved on the South Corridor (Bellevue – Burien). The time savings improve ridership. Models project 12% more boardings in the north, and 22% more in the south, for a combined 19,200 to 25,800 riders in 2040. That’s 17% better than earlier estimates.

At the north end, Sound Transit is coordinating with WSDOT plans for a second HOT lane, though the schedule is dependent on funding from the Legislature. Those would move the Canyon Park stop to an inline station in the center lanes. Implications for the Brickyard stop are still being considered.

The connection between SR 522 BRT and I-405 BRT led to controversy which Martin described in February. At a meeting of elected leaders Friday, staff described their proposal to extend SR 522 BRT to the 195th St station with 10 minute headways (the low ridership segment to Woodinville would remain at 20 minutes). That makes for more frequent connections to I-405 BRT for riders from Bothell and UWB without having buses divert from I-405.

55 Replies to “Refined I-405 BRT to Speed Buses, Attract More Riders”

  1. The changes make a lot of sense. The freeway station at TIBS will save riders a lot of time.

  2. I am disappointed that BRT is proposed to Burien, instead of south to Kent and Auburn, where we aren’t getting Link, and where Sounder only serves peak hour trips (with no effort by ST to get any weekend or evening service).

    That being said, I am glad that we are making the investment in a flyer stop at TIBS. I thought that should have been built with the station originally and always scratched my head as to why it was never built.

    1. A Bellevue to Kent/Auburn STRide line could be added later. Surely ST Express 566 and 567 will be restructured at a minimum when East Link opens in 2023 anyway (so buses may terminate in Downtown Bellevue, providing service hours to make more round trips).

      Like these STRide lines (at Lynnwood or TIBS), one added there should probably connect back to Link at a place like Federal Way or South Federal Way Station.

      1. 566 is so unreliable and unfrequented. Route 180 gets you almost fast as 566 and has more frequency. I honestly think should wrap up 566/567 with low rider ship and also metro is creating new rapid ride from auburn to Renton in 23. ST could just subsidize rapid ride construction to fasten. And possibly add more sounder

      2. O: I’ve ridden both 566/567 and they get decent enough ridership actually , 567 is standing room only a lot of the time in the mornings when I’ve ridden it. And 566 is honestly more of an Express for Renton and Kent than Auburn per say. As it saves time like the 560 from going on the meanandering milk run through the Renton Highlands, Newcastle, Factoria, Eastgate, and Woodridge on the 240.

      3. I can’t talk for morning ride, but when I rode in evening there was no one else but me and my friend. I think I’ve saw a pretty low ridership for 566 within st express and on 180 is only slow as couple minutes from auburn to Kent despite less stop and using a 167. I think having rapid ride between auburn and Renton is better way to utilize the resources from Renton rider can connect to stride. I also don’t see much benefits of auburn park and ride as doesn’t provide any connection to local routes

      4. Besides new rapids ride I literally connects auburn Kent Renton as for right now 180 between Kent and auburn takes 29 minutes as of 566 takes 28 minutes. I have no idea why are we keeping this unpractical route

      5. The plan according to the draft operating plan is to keep the 567 exactly the way it is today (It is actually a Sounder connector, and it has one trip for every peak direction Sounder train, which is sensible because it would not be a good idea to stick Sounder riders to Bellevue with a 3-seat ride).

        566 will likely stay *mostly* as it is today, with additional stops at Kennydale and the Newport Hills park and ride (which is served by the 560 and shoulder-peak 566s). I say mostly because the plan compares it to today’s 566, but describes service as peak-only. The purpose of the 566 here north of Renton is to keep the connection between downtown Renton, the Landing, the right-side freeway stops, Bellevue, and Microsoft.

        It doesn’t say anything about the Renton-terminating 566 trips (which are hourly mid-day trips that don’t go to Bellevue, but are timed to connect to 560 in Renton to get off-peak riders to Bellevue without running extra buses to Bellevue). I’m assuming that they would remain, since it would make no sense at all to cut them (in fact, the new BRT service connection makes the transfer in Renton easier to trust).

        What I think would be sensible is to make the southern half of the 566 operate all day, 7 days/week, terminating at S. Renton, and extend it to Puyallup to reinstate the strong SR 167 corridor service they have been chipping away at all these years. Peak 566 trips should skip the Landing, go up 405 to the right-side freeway stations, and terminate at S. Bellevue for connections to Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond (replacing the direct routing to Redmond). 567 should stay exactly as it is, but with an added stop at NE 44th (it’s a left-side BRT stop that will take nearly no time to stop at), then continue to Federal Way to make easier a loooong and painful bus ride from Federal Way to Bellevue and Redmond.

      6. As for low ridership, off-peak hourly 566 service is terrible, and even peak 566 service is super confusing (there’s a 566 that only goes to Kent and a 566 that goes all the way to Auburn, but if you’re going to Kent you’ll want the 567 anyway), and looks very poorly thought through. This is because they moved resources from the south 167 corridor to more commuter Bellevue service, and did so in a really haphazard way. I can’t blame people for not wanting to try to figure out the 3 different 566s, or not trying the hourly off-peak 566 that forces a transfer. Certainly ST thought that a 7-day BRT project was worthwhile on a corridor that certainly doesn’t warrant 7-day frequent service at present (560 runs every hour on weekends, and 535 doesn’t run at all on Sunday). But a lot more people will ride now. So if they make a frequent Puyallup to Renton route with a BRT connection that doesn’t suck, then there’s a chance at good ridership.

      7. “a corridor that certainly doesn’t warrant 7-day frequent service at present (560 runs every hour on weekends, and 535 doesn’t run at all on Sunday)”

        The current service is based not only on demand but on what fits into the ST Express budget after higher-priority routes get the first allocation of service hours. The only way to build a larger ridership and find its natural limit is to provide more frequent service. Otherwise you’re losing not only the people who can’t travel on the bus’s schedule, and also those who don’t know the schedule and don’t want to look it up but make their decision based on the average frequency. (“If it’s every15 minutes; I’ll take it. If it’s every 30 minutes I might take it. If it’s every hour I won’t.”)

      8. I can understand the 566/567 continuing to Bellevue, but not Overlake. Once you’ve taken the trouble of exiting the freeway to serve Bellevue Transit Center, you may as well just switch over to Link the rest of the way. Getting back on the freeway requires a ton of stoplights that won’t be any quicker than waiting for the train. Plus, in the southbound direction, the ramp from 520 to 405 would ruin service reliability for people getting on in Bellevue.

        Just run the bus to Bellevue; to continue on to Microsoft, switch to Link.

      9. From the comments, it sounds like 566/567 needs a major revision after 2025 once East Link, Federal Way Link and 405 STRide open. It sounds horrible today, resulting in low ridership and long waits.

        Perhaps a restructuring could even address a big omission in the 405 STRide South concepts: Factoria. The current plan has no Factoria stop, so riders from the south have to go north over a mile and transfer to get back to Factoria. A supplemental service could intertwine with STRide at a few places, while serving the skipped destinations along the route like Factoria and Renton Landing.

    2. Nearly everybody on the 560 today is riding from Bellevue Transit Center to SeaTac airport and it makes sense to lot lose this connection. A transfer to Link at TIBS is reasonable. A transfer to the 180 in Kent is not.

      Also, the F line from Burien to Renton is such a joke that, without an express alternative, there is effectively no connection. Kent to Renton at least has the 169, which follows a mostly straight line.

      1. “Nearly everybody on the 560 today is riding from Bellevue Transit Center to SeaTac airport” – I don’t think that’s true, I think most of the ridership is between Renton and Bellevue. Check out page 167 of the current SIP. The airport stop accounts for less than 20% of boardings.

      2. The “Rapid”Ride F Line is one of the most circuitous routes I have *ever* seen, on par with the 183, and is *less* direct than the 140 it replaced since it serves the Tukwila Sounder station on every single trip. With the other RR lines, at least they made attempts to make them rapid-ish.

  3. This is wonderful news! The modifications to the TIBS station will greatly improve travel times, and is pretty close to my idea of an “ideal” station. Hopefully the pedestrian bridge will connect to the mezzanine of the light rail station, and I hope there will also be direct access to the BRT stop from International Boulevard above it.

  4. The TIBS design leaves me scratching my head.

    The heavy two-lane westbound exit to SeaTac is right there at the TIBS north stop. I don’t see buses easily moving back to 518 across those exit lanes like the diagram shows.

    The opposite is true for the eastbound stop on the south side. Buses would have to weave across traffic from SeaTac to get to the stop.

    Then the pedestrian connection would have to include very tall elevators to get riders to TIBS.

    Let’s also remember that 518 is on a slope there.

    ST may have a more detailed layout in mind. Still, it’s kind of insulting to put out this simplistic diagram which appears to be unworkable.

    1. I was thinking the same thing – anyone who ever has to drive to the airport frequently knows to not even get in the far right-hand lane but use the second (interior) lane to exit – there is always a slowdown and usually a substantial backup there and how they intend a through bus to make that weave is far from clear. My guess is that at least half of all westbound traffic there uses that exit for the airport or International Blvd – that’s a lot of cars for the bus to get back through in a short space. I’d also be interested in a more detailed schematic as to how they plan to do that.

      I’m not sure the eastbound issue is quite as bad only because a lot of the onramp traffic is making a pretty quick weave to the left-hand lane so as to be in the I-5 exit lane and even if the bus wasn’t stopping it would be dealing with that issue (as do cars). Traffic is joining the direction of the bus, not cutting in front of it as it is at the westbound stop. It’s still not pleasant.

      I do hope they can make this work as done correctly it is a great transfer opportunity to connect 405/518 communities to the airport.

      1. Looking at the satellite view perhaps they plan on following the airport ramp and then creating a new diverging transit only lane before the airport ramp ducks under 518 – it would continue west, probably re-joining 518 just before the onramp flyover to west 518 from the airport. That looks as though it might be possible.

    2. The TIBS stop configuration would likely maneuver better if STRide ran down to the SeaTac Airport Station and make a median “U-turn” there before going to Burien. Burien already has RapidRide going to TIBS already. RapidRide I riders and the entire Eastside would also then have a single transfer to reach the airport (direct airport service on 405 STRide). It may not be ST3 consistent, but it seems more logical and more beneficial for the system in a number of ways.

      1. That’s what the 560 does today, and it’s not ideal because it causes the bus to get stuck in airport pick up and drop off traffic, and requires substantial out of direction travel. The TIBS flyer stop will save at least 15 minutes between Renton and Burien over this.

      2. Oh I wouldn’t recommend it without exclusive bus lanes on or next to Airport Expressway, especially southbound.

      3. I think TIBS is a better transfer point than SeaTac, as it’s the nexus of Link, RRA, and RRF. SeaTac is a great destination but we already have HCT between TIBS and SeaTac, seems a poor use of scarce resources to duplicate that.

      4. This routing I suggest could allow these proposed TIBS stops to remain. It would however put buses in the general flow of traffic to/from SeaTac so that the weaving to go to Burien on 518 wouldn’t be needed in either direction.

        I’m just looking at the 518/Airport weaving problem at these stops, and trying to suggest a solution. That solution would also get Bellevue and Burien riders directly to SeaTac without having to transfer at TIBS as an added benefit.

    3. So is the bus going to be in GP lanes on SR518? I thought it was going to get BAT lanes in that area.

      I think the pedestrian bridge will work well with the geography, assuming it intersects with the TIBS mezzanine.

      1. I doubt there will ever be a need for BAT lanes, certainly not west of TIBS. The freeway is three lanes between the airport merge points and I-5/I-405 and two lanes west of there. The airport gives/take two lanes. So, at least westbound there are three lanes feeding the split and four lanes leaving it. The majority of the traffic is headed to the airport, so west of TIBS the buses should cruise almost all the time.

        Eastbound may be a bit sketchier since there are four lanes feeding into three.

    4. From the diagram it looks like the traffic to the airport will exit EAST of the platform, so the bus will just be in the second lane (the one that’s “through” or “exit”) and pull into the platform which will be between the exit ramp and main lanes.

      Similarly on the eastbound side the merge will occur after the bus leaves the station. It can pull into the southmost lane and thereby have merge priority over traffic from the airport.

      That’s what the orange line looks like it’s there for, at least to me.

      1. Yeah, good catch, Tom – I can see that being a good possibility (and thanks for the Google links, Ross). I think that would work well – although eastbound no matter what you do there is that major weave that a lot of traffic does from both the Int’l Blvd and Airport ramps into the far left lane so as to be able to exit onto I-5 NB. The 405 bus won’t have to do that of course, but a whole lot of traffic will. Again, though, there’s really not a great solution to this issue and the benefits of the transfer interface will be huge.

        I really like the fact they are considering bus/rail transfers at least here and only wish they looked at other stations a bit closer where the buses aren’t only ST routes. (N 130th Station will be a huge litmus test for this.)

    5. From the diagram it looks like the traffic to the airport will exit EAST of the platform, so the bus will just be in the second lane (the one that’s “through” or “exit”) and pull into the platform which will be between the exit ramp and main lanes.

      Yeah, that makes sense; basically the westbound bus stop would be right here: https://goo.gl/maps/F7z1jQ6VHb12. That space would be widened, but that little median is where the bus stop would be. It would be relatively simple to turn that lane into a bus lane, to allow for easier merging and smoother traffic flow. Through traffic is basically three lanes after the exit (https://goo.gl/maps/MgYv87Gh2U82) which then converges to two lanes almost a mile later (https://goo.gl/maps/9KPmh9SCRm62). That means that the right lane is a very long merge lane, and would be a great candidate for a bus lane. It would not be an immediate bus lane, but by the time you reach the bus stop, it would be solid red. From there on, it would be red as well, all the way to the merge point. It isn’t that the bus needs it, it is more that it makes merging smoother, and makes for a better traffic flow in general. What you don’t want is someone to switch into that lane, and then have to switch back a quarter mile further.

      Similarly on the eastbound side the merge will occur after the bus leaves the station. It can pull into the southmost lane and thereby have merge priority over traffic from the airport.

      If I understand you right, that would mean a stop right here, where the drain is: https://goo.gl/maps/aT6ezFrkSnQ2. Again, that makes sense. To get to the bus stop will require the bus to leave a general purpose lane and go into a bus stop (basically here, right after going under the bridge: https://goo.gl/maps/wPpSktfQH5G2). At worse, someone is slowed down a bit (in the right lane) while the bus exits. To allow the bus to merge back into traffic, you build the same sort of bus only merge lane. I think you basically “take” one of the two merge lanes coming from SeaTac (shown on the right in that last picture). Those lanes eventually merge to one lane anyway, so all you are doing is forcing the merge earlier. That might actually allow things to flow more smoothly (people merge closer to SeaTac, when they are going slower). The only downside is traffic backing up a bit at SeaTac, which is no big deal.

      It all seems relatively cheap and easy to me. No big expensive overpasses, or replacement of bridges. I think the freeway was overbuilt. I think it was designed so that it could be expanded (e. g. to eventually have three westbound lanes to Burien) which is silly now. They can take advantage of that space to carve out room for the bus to exit and merge, along with a big pedestrian bridge (which is way cheaper than a car bridge). Makes sense to me. Good work ST (assuming it all goes smoothly).

      1. Thanks for the Maps links. It makes it a lot clearer for folks.

        On the eastbound stop. Yes, basically what you picture. BUT, I think the orange line is wide for a reason. I believe that it’s saying the the onramp will be moved south a ways and the merge point will be extended toward the east. Anyway, that’s what makes the most sense. So, yes, by the drain, but NOT by the merging roadway, or at least not so tightly by it.

        By the way, I think the wide orange line on the north side is saying the same thing. The off-ramp will be moved a lane’s or so width to the north to make the flyer stop comfortable for tolks.

      2. Yeah, I agree. There will be some moving around. The main thing is, from what I can tell, there will be no major work. It is quite possible that there will be no new pavement. If the road is widened, it will be widened just a little bit, on some of the soil to the side. There will be no change to the existing bridge, which means it won’t be that expensive. Most of the work will be in redoing the lanes and building the bus stops/bridge. This is consistent with all of these changes. Nothing on here is that expensive, but it will add up to much faster, more consistent service.

  5. The station design idea for Tukwila is legit. Glad to see ST spend a few more $$ for improved speed & reliability. Now, if the pedestrian bridge could have direct access to the platform without having to go up/down stairs to the surface and then again to the station would be perfecto.

    1. I’m a big fan of good bus/rail transfers and hope they can make this one work. That said, access would presumably be to the mezzanine and not to the platform – you could only access the northbound platform if you accessed it directly. Since the bridge would have to be high enough to cross the freeway anyway, it’s unlikely they’d try to access the station at ground level where you’d have to cross the bus lane to even access the escalators/stairs/elevators.

    2. Direct platform access would work only for northbound trains. Southbound trains, you’d have to go down and back up again. Connecting to the mezinnine splits the difference, so it’s just one level change in both directions.

    3. Actually, guys, the freeway is down in a cut there. The pedestrian bridge will probably be at the same elevation as the International Boulevard overcrossing. So expect that it will end at-grade with an entrance to the back of the station. There is a hill between the parking lot and the freeway cut so that might be at the mezzanine level. In any case, it will be quite slick, and I do hope they extend it to allow folks walking from PHS south of the freeway to use it.

      1. I do hope they extend it to allow folks walking from PHS south of the freeway to use it.

        That is the only part of this I don’t understand. There sure doesn’t look like there is anything over there. Is there bike access or something? Maybe that is the point of making that part of it be a possible future addition. If something is actually added over there, then it would make sense to build the bridge. Otherwise it looks like you are building a pedestrian bridge to parking lots. (Which, I guess is the other possibility, a bigger park and ride).

      2. There’s only a marginal difference in cost to go a bit higher if they desire, and serve the mezzanine directly – the cost is really only in materials between the two heights as the elevators would be the same in either case.

        I do see the benefit to terminating at grade – there’s not a ton of bus traffic through there, and of course it’s going quite slowly – that would enable a direct bus-to-bus transfer. On the other hand, if the vast majority of people are transfering to/from the trains the mezzanine saves a bit of time.

        I also agree that if they can serve the neighborhood to the south they should. It’s not quite the game-changer that the Northgate bridge would be, but it would certainly be useful to the people across the freeway.

      3. I think you’re right about extending it directly south. It would be a very good idea to have the bridge “L” over to the cross-walk on the bridge so that people originating to the south who want to take the BRT don’t have to cross the freeway then double back on the connection bridge.

        If the bridge were simply extended at the most efficient height — e.g. the same height at PHS — it would run smack into the PHS to SR 518 on-ramp. I expect that the VERY low value parking lots south of 518 will fairly soon be wiped away by apartments. There’s a LINK station right there! And there soon will be BRT to downtown Bellevue.

        Not many places have direct high capacity transit to both downtowns. Basically it’s stations on East Link and HSS. This is a great place for some low-impact, high value density.

      4. That wasn’t very clear. So, restating:

        I agree with Ross that at least at this time it doesn’t make sense to have the bridge continue straight across the on-ramp from Sea-Tac, because it would run smack into the PHS to 518 on-ramp. It would require either a level change or an overall higher bridge. The mezzanine level.

        If the bridge is to be that height well, then continue it straight. If at the lower height make it “L” over to the PHS cross-walk. It’s shorter and doesn’t have to cross the two lane on-ramp.

        Clearer? I think a bit.

  6. A pedestrian bridge would connect both stops to the Link station and might extend further south to enable walk-up connections from across the freeway

    The diagram makes it look like it’s about 100 feet from the existing sidewalk on the overpass. Why spend $1m+ to save such a short distance?

    1. A pedestrian connection to 158th would greatly improve the walking distance to the residential areas south/south east of SR518. But if you are walking from, say, the rental car facility to TIBS, yeah it wouldn’t be a major improvement.

  7. One of the flaws of TIBS is having no bike/pedestrian access to the Seatac neighborhood to the south of the expressway. There is really no safe and easy way to walk or bike it (42nd Ave. S underpass is just now getting *sidewalks*), and local bus service within the neighborhood is spotty. It is a situation where a ped/bike bridge (or tunnel beneath the expressway) would really come in handy. There are several parking lots and dead end streets on the south side of the highway that it could connect to, so it’s not like anybody’s home or business is in the way. In fact, this eventually turned me away from the neighborhood during my house hunting (I was willing to deal with the sketchiness and airport proximity to be near a Link station.). Of course, it is mostly “just” single family homes with a few apartments mixed in, but it just seems like a waste for that neighborhood to be “so close and yet so far away.” Additionally, there are bike lanes to the north and south that do not connect, and this would serve as a critical “missing link” regional bike connection. We should at least ask ST about this (assuming nobody has done so yet).

    1. How would that work? I asked the same thing above (and apologies if you, or someone else answers twice). From what I can tell, if you extended the bridge from the stops, you get to the “WSP Vehicle Inspection Station” parking lot, right about here: https://goo.gl/maps/ZNeBNqPovN72. Then what? That is all private land, from what I can tell (with freeway ramps to the north). I think the land would have to change hands (to someone who wants to develop apartments, offices, or something) before it makes sense to build the pedestrian bridge.

      1. The chicken or the egg, I suppose. It’s not Northgate, but there are a few apartment complexes that essentially have no walk/bike access to TIBS, as well as bike lanes to the north and south that are broken up by the freeway. Without it, the freeway and interchange with 99 really is a barrier to completing any regional bike network. Also, to a less extent, people working at businesses along 99 where the A line stops on the other side of 99 are difficult to access. It’s not quite a Northgate situation, but 1) The Northgate bridge would have come in handy and would have been cheaper had it been built earlier, and 2) We’re digging and bringing in the heavy equipment, why not just build that final stretch?

      2. Yeah, I can see how the apartments are isolated. 42nd looks terrible for biking, while SR 99 and the connecting roads are no picnic either.

        But I’m still confused as to how you would remedy the situation. Build a bridge over the freeway, and then what? Hope that the owners sell, and build a bike path south to 34th, and east to 158th? OK, fair enough, but then what? 158th doesn’t look great for biking. About the only thing is has going for it is that it is relatively flat and has sidewalks. 34th has a lot of potential. It is wide, and could definitely incorporate a bike lane. But it also looks like a huge grind up the hill (https://goo.gl/maps/zvU4nK4rUKQ2). I just don’t see it, but maybe I’m missing something. Assuming you had a good bridge and connections to the street network beyond, where would the bike lanes go?

        In general, I like the idea of redeveloping the area north of 160th. That is a huge chunk of land that is basically just used for parking. It is easy to imagine the whole thing being part of a really big development project. Given the money involved, I could easily see a handshake deal between the state and some developer. Build a big apartment or office complex, complete with public access pedestrian/bike paths, and the state will connect it all to TIBS. Everybody wins, in that case. But even then, I see it as more of a pedestrian route than a bike path.

        The other issue is that none of that may happen. Parking is obviously a huge business in the area, and it is low risk. Look at the area next to the SeaTac station (https://goo.gl/maps/HWvRNyE15sx). There are some hotels and convention/office space, but there is also lots of parking. Not only for the hotels, but just big park and shuttle lots. This is ten years after the train station (and several more years after it was clearly going to be built). Much of the land is prime land for small scale conventions. Those who live in town can take Link, walk across the bridge, and get to the convention. Those from out of town can get off the plane and walk to the convention without calling a cab. Yet despite the obvious value from a public transportation standpoint, it is still mostly parking lots. All of this happening while Seattle is booming. I think it is quite possible that the land north of 160th just sits in its ugly state for years. Building a bridge might encourage someone to develop it, but it might take a really, really long time for the bridge to actually become useful.

      3. Agreed. Combining a modest upzone with a requirement to provide that pedestrian connection could be a great opportunity for public-private partnership. Assuming that path is “mixed use” then that helps both walkers & bikers.

        “Build a bridge over the freeway, and then what? ” – we actually did the reverse in Issaquah. The city required the new Anthology development set aside a public easement for a landing pad for a future pedestrian crossing of I90. The city doesn’t yet have money for construction, but the easement is in place, which will save millions once the time come to build the crossing. I think it would be smart to plan ahead, even if ST/SeaTac doesn’t yet have funding to complete the connection.
        https://www.google.com/maps/place/NW+Steelrake+Pl,+Issaquah,+WA+98027

        I wouldn’t worry too much about the hill – as electric bikes become more of a thing, that shouldn’t be as big of an issue. But you ask great questions, and it’s really up to City of SeaTac to work with that neighborhood to make it more multi-modal friendly.

        One thing ST can do is charge for parking at TIBS. Right now, I’m not surprised that people in the neighborhood would rather drive 5 minutes than an unpleasant 20 minute walk. But if the tradeoff is $150 park or bike for free, I’d imagine walk-up ridership will increase.

        My understanding is that the city of SeaTac wants to move that area away from long-term parking; it will take time, but at land values & rental rates continue to increase, the business case to redevelop those parcels will increase.

  8. Any TIB station designs must have duplicate elevators and must have a second elevator installed from Mezzanine level to LINK platform levels and to the ground bus bay levels. Without elevator duplication, we will continue to have ADA issues with TIB station. I’m assuming that the bus bay will be connected via bridge to the Mezzanine LINK station level.

  9. Is there any indication of where the 195th station would be other than “near the NE 195th St. ramps”? Design here is important for connections and for people who might walk to that station from either side of the freeway.

    I’m trying to figure out if it would be easier for me to walk there directly (roughly 30 minutes before getting on a bus) vs. walk half the distance to the park and ride for the 522 (15 minutes), wait 5-10 minutes, then add in the time the bus takes to get to 195th and layover before taking off south on 405. That’s too long of a walk for a daily commute (I bike now anyway), but it would be nice to have an alternative. Bike parking would also be potentially helpful as it would save 30 minutes there and back without having to fully gear up for a ride all the way to work.

    1. Realistically speaking, the only place they could put the stops is on the ramps. You could conceivably route the northbound bus via the UW Bothell campus using the 522 ramp to the UW Bothell exit, but that’s going to add several minutes and there’s no equivalent southbound route. Given their focus on speed, I doubt they’d do that unless UW Bothell spent a lot of money on transit improvements or something like that.

      Plus, I’m sure the eventual goal is to add HOT ramps at all three Bothell exits (Canyon Park, 195th, and Brickyard), so may as well keep the stops near where they’ll be eventually.

  10. Isn’t general bus maneuvering in the TIBS parking area next to the station horrible? Plus, stopping buses on 99 is rather dangerous — so RapidRide doesn’t do that.

    Even though it’s probably not ST’s dime to fix it, I could see that this could be a chance to rethink overall bus circulation at the station. Perhaps the ultimate solution would be to have a one-way bus loop from 99 and the 518 eastbound on-ramp, run east until it could cross over 518 (overpass), and turn north with the Link station stops right under and to the east of the Link platforms, ending at SouthCenter Boulevard near the parking lot entrance and exit. Next to it could be a wide pedestrian walkway that could access STRide as well as an easier link to destinations south of 518.

    Depending on feasibility, that would then put STRide at a position to connect with both RapidRide A and RapidRide F and other lines in a bus-only area, as well as provide a short walk into the TIBS station itself. It would be to expand the idea of the pedestrian connection bridge proposed here to add a bus-only loop from 99 into the station and shift it further east.

    A variation could be to lift STRide out of the median onto an exclusive bus line like at Eastgate. That would provide fully level transfers for all buses as well as eliminate the need for weaving and new elevators for STRide. I don’t know if that could be engineered, but it seems worth exploring.

    During construction, it’s even possible to close that on-ramp from 99 onto eastbound 518 because there is another ramp just a few blocks away at 160th Street on the other side of the rental car facility.

  11. WSDOT is not being helpful with information on the construction of the I-405 widening. The website still says construction will begin in “2019,” which I would have expected to be better planned out by now.

    If you look through the documents on what it’s going to take to complete the widening (including taking the entire current SB bridge over Coal Creek Pkwy to use for the NB express toll lanes), this whole corridor is going to be BAD for 5 years (starting in “2019,” whenever that is exactly)

    1. Construction on the 44th interchange starts this year. Widening elsewhere I’d imagine will start later, in stages.

  12. This looks like excellent work by ST. These all look like very cost effective changes that will make a big difference. It is easy to imagine better solutions, but those fixes would cost a fortune. For example, getting from Lynnwood to I-405 is not easy. There is no connection from the northbound I-5 HOV lane to I-405. That means that you can’t just exit the transit center onto the freeway, like a bus would if it were heading to Everett. Ideally you would build a ramp connecting the two freeways, but that would be very expensive. The solution outlined sounds great. A bus might have to stop at a stoplight or two, but it won’t encounter traffic until it is on the freeway. It isn’t perfect, but it is pretty cheap for something that will make a huge difference.

  13. What about improvements to the black hole of a time sink in Renton?

    I see the vacant Sam’s club conveniently located next to the freeway, and have to wonder if that property could be used as the TC – if they could figure out an inline station on 405 adjacent to it.

    Other than that I see a lot of wasted time getting on and off the freeway here.

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