Woodinville (Image: SounderBruce)

Work has begun on SR 522 BRT, with the first BAT lanes in Bothell coming online in late 2020, and Sound Transit’s Stride BRT service opening in 2024. Although phase 1 design recently concluded and the project is now entering the Conceptual Engineering and Environmental process, planners continue to evaluate how to serve the low-ridership Woodinville segment.

The BRT extends from the Shoreline Link rail station along NE 145th where Sound Transit will add bus queue bypasses and signal priority for transit at key intersections. On SR 522, the patchwork of existing BAT (business access & transit) lanes will be filled in to create an uninterrupted lane for transit from 145th to Bothell. In Bothell, the BRT is likely to operate on downtown streets, serving UW Bothell and connecting to I-405 BRT at NE 195th St.

Beyond that, there is a 3.5-mile segment to the Woodinville Park & Ride where the planned service is more basic. The ST3 plan does not fund any capital improvements east of I-405 and the buses operate in general purpose freeway lanes on I-405 and SR 522. The 10-minute headways west of I-405 drop to every 20 minutes into Woodinville.

Expectations for ridership on the Woodinville segment are low. Sound Transit models suggest 8,800 daily boardings on the BRT in 2042, of which just 100 are at the Woodinville stop.

SR 522 BRT
SR 522 BRT, with exclusive ROW in blue and purple (image: Sound Transit)

Like most residential communities on the Eastside, transit commuters are overwhelmingly going to Seattle. But overall travel patterns are more diverse. The greatest number of Woodinville commuters are to Redmond, and many drive to Bellevue. It’s simply that driving is easier than using transit for most Eastside workplaces, but transit is more competitive to Seattle.

This naturally prompts some rethinking about how to fulfill the ballot measure commitment – that Woodinville be connected to the regional high-capacity network – without unproductively expending too many scarce service hours. At a City Council meeting on May 7, Sound Transit explained four options they are exploring. (video here, presentation here).

Representative Project: This is simply the above alignment described in the 2016 ST3 plan. Travel times from Woodinville are about 60 minutes to Seattle, 40 to Bellevue, 50 minutes to Redmond.

Woodinville Connector: This splits the SR 522 BRT line. The BRT would operate only from I-405 to Shoreline. A separate bus would serve the Woodinville segment. Splitting the route would improve reliability on each part, while also allowing a more ‘right-sized’ vehicle to operate in Woodinville. For riders to Seattle, there is an added transfer at NE 195th. For other Eastside destinations, riders need to transfer anyway to get to I-405 BRT, and the service reliability on a connector may make this more appealing. to other Eastside destinations would not be adversely affected. Either the representative project or Woodinville Connector require one transfer to Bellevue or two to go to Redmond.

Bus on Shoulder: This appears less probable because it requires capital investments where no capital funding was identified in the plan. Low-investment improvements, if funded, might speed bus operations on the Woodinville segment, most likely along SR 522. Shoulder-running would allow some savings in service hours and mitigate the reliability challenges of running ‘BRT’ service over miles of general-purpose lanes.

Bellevue Express Route: This would replace the BRT to Woodinville with an express service to Bellevue (and a one-transfer ride to Redmond via the NE 85th station in Kirkland). The available service hours probably wouldn’t stretch to very much off-peak coverage. But this option does provide a direct and speedy connection to other Eastside destinations. Less obviously, it’s even faster to Seattle because it connects with East Link and other Seattle express buses from the Eastside. It has not been decided whether this option would connect to Bothell (which requires some backtracking north on I-405 from SR 522), or proceed directly to southbound I-405 to Bellevue.

This matrix sketches some of the implications for riders. Option 2 adds a transfer for riders to Seattle. Both options 2 & 3 have some upside in service reliability that isn’t captured in scheduled travel time. The Bellevue Express route has the fastest commute times and has the same or fewer transfers to any destination, but will likely be limited outside peak hours.

Discussions will continue at the staff level and at the Elected Leaders Group. A decision is targeted by late 2019.

57 Replies to “Reevaluating Woodinville BRT”

  1. Woodinville, WA. Population 10,938 (2010 census), estimated 11,997 in 2017.

    Here is their zoning map:
    https://www.ci.woodinville.wa.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=13447119

    Half the City is R-1 (one unit per acre). Three quarters is single-family. I’m having a tough time understanding how their land use patterns are at all conducive to transit. The least they could do is upzone everything to a minimum R-4.

    I could name two dozen cities that deserve transit more than Woodinville. Give them whatever is cheapest.

    1. Most of Woodinville has on-site septic systems. These require a lot of land. My 1/3 acre lot has more than 50% used for septic system and reserve. Maybe you could explain how that rezoning would work given these constraints.

      1. The zoning law is the maximum allowed by sewage disposal systems, up to 10 per acre. That covers the now situation of septic systems, while immediately allowing more development if a sewer main is constructed in the future. Also, require plats to illustrate how additional housing could be constructed if sewer is made available.

      2. A real “City” would provide full utility services. Even my hometown, classified as a “village” not a “city” with less than half of Woodinville’s population, provides and require connection to a central sewage system and modern wastewater treatment plant, within village limits. Zoning can be increased up to whatever level the City wants to see it. If developers, homeowners, etc, wish to develop to the full allowable levels, indeed, they would need to figure out how to get over technical hurdles. i.e. build a connection to the nearest public sewer system. It is no different from the technical hurdles required when building on a piece of land that doesn’t have safe or adequate emergency vehicle access or water service (build a road and either dig a well or connect to a neighboring water system).

      3. King County spent a good chunk of money to build a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant just north of Woodinville (Brightwater) that won’t be at capacity for decades (the county has a plan to increase capacity by 50% if needed). Surely it can’t be that hard to tie into it?

      4. It’s not about the plant. It’s about the cost and disruption of installing new sewer mains on miles and miles of roads.

    2. What matters is the zoning around the BRT stop and that is the CBD area on the zoning map which permits the highest density and mixed use. The P&R is on the northern edge.

      There are already 5-story apartment buildings going up on NE 171st St and they are not well served by the proposed BRT routing. Perhaps the ridership projections would not be so low if they sited the stop in a more central location.

    3. Woodinville is at the edge of the UGB. A moderate amount density in the Town Center and SF elsewhere seems appropriate for the edge of the metropolitan area.

      1. Woodinville is within the UGA. If they want transit service, they need to have densities to support ridership. I’ve seen plenty of cities – not in the US – that are dense, and abruptly stops at a city limit where it becomes forest or natural area. Moreover, we have a regional housing crisis that Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond have employers contributing to, but are not helping to solve. A place like Woodinville can only do so much, but in the absence of Seattle absorbing the population that their biggest employer has brought to the region, it is falling to surrounding suburbs to pick up their slack.

    4. I’d rather spend the energy to push for greater density around Link stations than around bus “rapid” transit stops.

      Since upgrading to full BRT in Woodinville is not even on the discussion (nor should id be), I’d tend to be in favor of the express bus to Bellevue option, if I lived there. I suspect not many people will take a bus from Woodinville to Bothel or Kenmore–they’ll drive. Express busses (to light rail for Seattle) have proven to be a robust option in this situation, local busses to BRT to light rail, less so. Much less so.

    5. It’s not just Woodinville. If the service is useful, people will drive to it from Monroe, Duvall, or other such places. The point (which RossB has made) is that an hour to DT Seattle isn’t useful enough to make very many people willing to so that.

      1. Monroe to Woodinville park and ride is 25 minutes on the highway, per Google. It would actually be faster to drive directly to 405 (20 minutes) and take a Stride BRT bus. But both of those drives are longer in peak traffic, and are significant commutes in their own right, not short drives to the park and ride. I kind of doubt many people would drive from Monroe to the Woodinville park and ride, or even to Stride. Some places are just too far out for transit to be viable.

      2. Some regions just don’t make viable transit available. In Germany Woodinville and Monroe would probably be on S-Bahn lines, and they wouldn’t build cities where regional trains don’t exist and they had no plans to extend them to. Woodinville, Redmond, Kent, and Marysville were on existing railroads that could have been upgraded to all-day commuter rail like the ones from Cologne to Essen and Cologne to Bonn and Caltrain and Metra. I don’t know if Monroe or Federal Way or Lake Stevens were on suitable railroads, but assuming they weren’t, we could have declined to put growth there. Pugetopolis’ development until the mid 20th century followed the railroads, then afterward it completely ignored them and followed the highways or spread like peanut butter. That’s what created the situation of a significant number of people in Woodinville and Monroe that have few if any good transit options, and Stride and Link can only do so much.

      3. The point is, a frequent bus that goes from the I-405/522 interchange to the UW would be popular for people from places like Monroe and Duvall. If you are headed to the UW, it is a pain to park there. 405 BRT does nothing for you, and 522 BRT does very little. But an express bus solves the problem nicely. It is probably faster than dealing with parking, if you time it right, and also likely cheaper. It is also the fastest way to get downtown, where parking issues are even worse. The fact that this bus also serves Woodinville is just a bonus, and the result of lucky geography as well as a promise (of sorts) made by ST when they designed the 522 BRT. They implied that SR 522 could go to Woodinville — it is just that a different express bus makes a lot more sense for them (and everyone else).

    6. It is ridiculous that they’re honestly discussing sacrificing reliability so they can serve 100 people in a suburb that’s low density even by suburban standards. Do you know how many low-density areas on the fringes of the RTA area that aren’t receiving any meaningful Sound Transit service? But serving 100 people in Woodinville is somehow vital? They can get in line for a Metro service to the closest BRT stop like the rest of the area.

      I truly do not understand how they determine who gets service and who doesn’t.

      1. Yep. If Woodinville wasn’t a different city, then we wouldn’t be discussing it. Seriously, if this was simply “east Bothell”, no one would think this was worth it. Time for Woodinville to be given something that won’t ruin the rest of the line — maybe even something they would use a lot more often, like an express run to the UW.

  2. I think the most sensible option is to continue to Woodinville at 10 minute frequency, except instead of doing that short U-hop on I-405 to 522, just stay on 195th and follow the 238 route. Then at 132nd Ave, go north to 195th, then turn right and follow the 522 path to the park and ride. Include stops at I-405, 120th/195th, 180th/126th, 180th/132nd, 130th/192nd, 195th/130th, 190th/Woodinvolle-Snohomish road, and Woodinville P&R (so the bus is local-ish with RapidRide spacing). Then have Metro truncate the 931 in Woodinville, the 238 in Bothell, and have Metro partially fund Stride 522 service in Woodinville. Mitigate reliability issues with a 4-minute buffer at UWB.

    Here’s my reasoning. Taking the bus to Seattle is popular in Woodinville because of a frequent one-seat ride. That ride is already split with Link, but the reasoning there is people will be fine with a transfer if it’s from a well-branded BRT bus to a light rail train, even if for the wrong reasons. It’ll also help because of the fact that transferring to Link is clearly what the BRT line is for, so that should clear up doubts in their mind that the transfer won’t work. Both legs are still frequent, so that helps. If it’s not frequent in Woodinville, that will make fewer people decide to take the bus to Seattle, because now they have neither a frequent bus nor a one-seat ride, and the reduced frequency on Stride 522 will make Woodinville seem like “extra,” like it’s not really for that. It’s also a last-mile problem that will frustrate many people.

    The absolute worst thing to do is to make a special 2-mile-long connector bus. There is no universe in which that makes sense to me. If that’s done, then no one will ride it because they don’t want to navigate a 3-seat ride from Link to BRT to non-frequent bus, and then its frequency will never be increased because ST will say “no one is riding it.” And unless you want to run it at an odd frequency like 15 minutes (which is functionally as bad as every 20 minutes anyway if you connect to 10 minute buses, just don’t do it), it’s not going to be as cheap as just driving the BRT bus up to Woodinville at half frequency, even with some added buffer time.

    Express to Bellevue is highly duplicative, and has all the same problems as the special connector bus.

    For trips to Bellevue, there are a couple things at play. There is a transfer, which is staying, but I think people feel confused by the 535/532. The 535 and 532 in my experience (the UWB detour notwithstanding) are as fast as BRT will be because they have the express toll lanes already. It’s probably even faster because they don’t have the fake downtown Kirkland stop that the BRT will. I think what’s holding back ridership from Woodinville is the lack of awareness (which Stride will fix if done right), and the very real frustration of where do I wait. The 535 and 532 have different stops on 195th street, and BRT will make it easier to decide where to go. Drop the Woodinville segment to 20 minutes though, and you give people another reason not to ride.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with getting rid of that circuitous route up 405 to 195th and back through UWB. Make it a straight shot down 522 to transfer at Bothell P&R. People will be more inclined to use transit if it is direct and not bob and weave all over the place.

    2. I understand what you are saying, but I just don’t see that as a good value. I just don’t see that many people taking the extended 522 BRT. Existing ridership in Woodinville is tiny. It isn’t hard to see why. It is a very long way to Seattle. When the BRT is built, it will still take a while before you get to the end of the line, and the end of the line will be … Shoreline. There is nothing there. You still have to transfer to get anywhere. That is a very long trip — a trip that no one would take via a car.

      I can’t emphasize this enough. Outside of downtown Seattle, the highest ridership on the 522 is in Lake City, followed by Kenmore. Every other community is well below that. I’m sure geography plays a huge part. If you are headed to Kenmore from downtown Seattle, you pretty much have to take SR 522. Google recommends a route that follows Link and the 522 BRT exactly (https://goo.gl/maps/fRMQycqPyL5tvrrn7). But if you are headed to Woodinville, it would be crazy to go via 522. You go via 520 and 405, I-90 and 405, or even all the way around on I-5 and 405. Those are the three options shown by Google for good reason. Expecting lots of people to take a route that would be extremely slow (even if it didn’t have lots of bus stops and require a transfer) is a fantasy.

      The main value for Woodinville riders would be the connection to the 405 buses. That would enable you to get a fast ride to Bellevue. But a local bus could do the same thing.

      There is some value to getting to other places along 522 with a one seat ride (Bothell and Kenmore) but again, a local bus could provide most of that. The 238 gets you right to UW/Bothell, likely the most popular destination for someone from Woodinville. The 238, by the way, performs very poorly — across the board, in every metric, it in the lowest 255 of suburban routes (which perform worse than urban routes).

      Of course it costs money to run local buses. Theoretically it is just as expensive to run a separate bus as it is to extend the route. The problem is that you run a very high risk of screwing up the rest of the line. If a bus is delayed getting from Woodinville to Bothell, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the route is reliable. Your bus is late, and you lose faith in the system. There is a good chance you get bus bunching. If only half the buses go to Woodinville, then bus bunching is likely. I think it is likely that half the buses go to Woodinville, even if the initial schedule has all of them going there. Bus segments with very low ridership are often cut, and that segment would have low ridership.

      1. I agree – if I’m Woodinville, connecting to 405 BRT seems much more useful than 522 BRT. Most eastsiders commute within the eastside, and most eastside job centers on along 405 or East Link. If I’m trying to get to Seattle, it’s BRT to Link either way.

        I think it’s important to serve Woodinville from a coverage standpoint, but that’s a local route, not a HCT service.

    3. Then at 132nd Ave, go north to 195th, then turn right and follow the 522 path to the park and ride.

      No, that route is mostly low density SFH and light industrial areas not conducive to ridership. It’s also really circuitous.

      Instead, the bus should go south on 132nd Ave and left on 175th St, which is the main street of downtown Woodinville. where all the people and attractions are.

  3. I believe the best course of action is to truncate the 522 BRT at I-405, and then run an all day 311 to the UW. The 311 would run every 15 minutes or so. With the 311 truncated at the UW, it is not a very expensive bus to run when traffic is light, and popular when traffic is heavy. It would have a few stops in Woodinville, then a stop at the I-405/522 stop, followed by freeway stops on Totem Lake and Yarrow Point. With a quick turn-around at the UW, that is a quick bus. The route would enable several things:

    1) Provide coverage for Woodinville. Riders would have a one seat ride to the UW, along with a frequent connection to 405 destinations (Bellevue, Lynnwood, Renton, etc.), 522 destinations (Bothell, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, etc.) as well as Link destinations (downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, etc.).

    2) Connect various northeast destinations in a much faster way. UW Bothell to the main campus becomes much faster. Canyon Park to the UW is much faster. Totem Lake to anywhere in Seattle is much faster (finally Totem Lake would have an all day bus to Seattle that wouldn’t require detouring to Bellevue).

    3) Increase the value of the 522/405 stop, making it a de-facto transit center. Buses like the 236 and 238 could be modified so that they avoid the twists and turns to serve every destination. As long as they connect to this stop, they would be OK, since they would provide a connection to the three main routes in the area (522 BRT, 405 BRT, and the 311).

    4) Provide another all day 520 bus to the UW. It remains to be seen if Metro is going to send all the 520 buses to UW, or whether it will continue to send 520 buses to downtown. If it is the latter, then having another bus stop at Yarrow Point and then go to the UW allows riders to transfer to get to the UW.

    With all of that, I think an all day 311 would be a good value. I think ridership per hour would be very good, while greatly increasing the value of the large investments in the 405 and 522 BRT projects.

    1. I’m generally in agreement with RossB on this one. A shuttle from Bothell to Woodinville P&R sounds pointless, since anyone with a car to drive to the P&R can just drive a couple miles further to a different P&R with better bus service.

      An all-day 311 would add a lot of value, to not just Woodinville, but also the Totem Lake/Kingsgate area, for which taking the 255 all the way to Seattle is too long of a slog.

      This option would address another factor that has always bugged me about the 522’s Woodinville service, which is that it doesn’t even really serve Woodinville, just Woodinville P&R. There’s a lot of shopping opportunities in the Woodinville town center, and it’s not crazy for a student at UW Bothell, living car-free within walking distance of campus, to be interested in a 5-minute bus ride to the stores in Woodinville. What I think is crazy is for the only all-day Bothell->Woodinville bus (excluding the 238, which is weekday daytime hours only) to bypass all of the useful Woodinville shopping, and go only to a deserted park and ride.

      My only concern is that I don’t see the service-hour math really adding for all-day route 311 service, without spending additional money. Maybe a truncation of the 252/257/311 at UW, plus truncation of 522 BRT at 405, would provide enough money to run the 311 every minutes midday, during the weekdays. But, I still don’t see where the service hours to run it on evenings and weekends would come from. I suppose even running “partial” all-day, and in both directions is still an upgrade over rush-hour only, in just one direction.

      1. I think the money comes from Metro and Sound Transit. Sound Transit diverts some of the money that would go to extending the 522 line to Woodinville, while Metro chips in via a restructure. Truncating the 311 at the UW would save some money for the dozen or so trips that exist right now. Right now the bus spends about half its time getting from the UW to downtown, so that’s about three hours of service right there (with buses running every 15 minutes). You also make a good chunk of the 238 redundant. A restructure in the area could save a fair amount of service.

        But the big contribution is likely to come from Sound Transit. I think the bus would make the most sense as a Sound Transit bus, since it would be an all-day express.

        More than anything, I think this would be extremely popular. I really don’t think there are that many people in Woodinville who would get excited about extending the SR 522. But an all day, frequent express to the UW would be a big change.

      2. “another factor that has always bugged me about the 522’s Woodinville service, which is that it doesn’t even really serve Woodinville, just Woodinville P&R.”

        That was my thought the one time I took the 522 to the end. I got to the P&R and a depressing shopping center with a Haggen with an oversized parking lot and I thought, “Where is Woodinville? Is this it?” I intended to go down to the trail and walk west, but since I couldn’t see the trail from there and didn’t know if it was a mile or more away, I took the next bus back and only stayed in Woodinville 15 minutes.

    2. I kinda like this. It could also make use of the NE 85th stop at very little time cost once BRT opens. This also cleverly mitigates most of the issues I associate with the connector bus option.

      Also, once the basic carpet ramp from WB 520 to the Mercer Street side of I-5, this new 311 will probably go to SLU, at least off peak.

      1. Yes, it could definitely stop at 85th. Any stop that requires so little effort to serve should be served. I also like the long term SLU idea as well.

    3. If I’m on a bus on 405 heading south, and I’m trying to get to Seattle, wouldn’t I rather head to Bellevue & transfer at East Link, rather than slog through the 405-520 interchange?

      Coming from Kirkland or Redmond, heading across 520 and transferring at UW is great b/c you don’t need to navigate the 520-405 interchange, but for routes starting on 405, at peak I think it will be much faster to aim for Bellevue rather than UW.

      Otherwise, great points.

      1. Taking Link on I-90 is a much longer absolute distance and has more stops. Also, the 520 bridge itself is usually pretty quick because of both the toll and the HOV 3+ restriction.

        It also depends on where in Seattle you’re going. If you’re going to IDS, you’d probably want to transfer in Bellevue, but transferring at UW isn’t crazy. For going to Westlake, UW is probably a little bit preferable. If you’re going to UW, then taking Link down to I-90 and then up through downtown IS crazy, and needlessly takes up downtown train capacity with people going to UW from the north eastside .

      2. “If you’re going to UW, then taking Link down to I-90 and then up through downtown IS crazy, and needlessly takes up downtown train capacity with people going to UW from the north eastside”

        That’s when you take Stride to 145th and Link to UW.

      3. If I’m on a bus on 405 heading south, and I’m trying to get to Seattle, wouldn’t I rather head to Bellevue & transfer at East Link, rather than slog through the 405-520 interchange?

        Depends on the time of day and where you are going. Remember, we are talking about all day service here. Outside of rush hour, my guess is you could get to downtown a few minutes quicker by going to UW first. By train, it only takes about 6 minutes to get from the UW to downtown, while it will take around 20 minutes from downtown Bellevue. I think it is rare if not unheard of for a bus to take an extra 14 minutes to get to the UW instead of downtown Bellevue.

        If you are headed to the UW, it isn’t even close. The bus is much faster (a savings of at least 20 minutes). Likewise if you are headed to Capitol Hill or Roosevelt it makes more sense to take the 520 bus. Using East Link only starts getting competitive for trips to the south end of downtown (and as of today, way more people use Westlake).

        The point is, someone in Woodinville, or the 520/405 stop, or Totem Lake, or (eventually) the 85th stop would find tremendous value in such a bus. It might save them a few minutes to get downtown, while saving them a huge amount of time to other, very popular destinations like the UW, Capitol Hill and Fremont (just to name a few). Slight backtracking to UW Bothell is worth it, because of the tremendous time savings. Heck, someone who just misses the 522 BRT would probably just walk to campus, and still get there well before “rounding the horn” the other way. Which leads me to Mike’s point:

        That’s when you take Stride to 145th and Link to UW.

        Right, but that would be much slower. The 522 BRT won’t be magic. It will have somewhere around 15 stops. It will go along a highway that has multiple intersections. According to Sound Transit, it will take 30 minutes to get from “UW Bothell/Cascadia Community College to South Shoreline”. Presumably that means from the college to the end of the line. From I-405 you have a few more minutes, and you still haven’t gotten on the train yet. 145th to UW is 10 minutes, not counting the waiting. So basically around 45 minutes, give or take. My guess is an express bus could do that in a half hour, easy. Without traffic the drive takes less than 20 minutes. You only have three stops along the way, none of which involve leaving the freeway (Totem Lake, 85th and Yarrow Point). The express would be at least 15 minutes faster most of the time.

    4. This all-day 311 instinctively seems like the smartest approach. It’s a mostly freeway route with bus priority. It would leverage the somewhat questionable value of I-405 BRT investments in ST3. UW itself is the second largest destination after downtown. Once at UW, downtown is 6 minutes away, etc. It might even be faster even to backtrack to Northgate via this route than to slog from Woodinville to the lovely non-destination of South Shoreline and transfer to Link there instead. I have a feeling all-day 311 would end up being a popular route.

  4. Not to hijack the Woodinville routing discussion but I’ve always wondered why the route isn’t being continued west of I-5 (say, making a loop around Westminster Triangle). Perhaps Woodinville riders don’t have a need to continue to 99 and/or transfer to RapidRide (or other local Metro routes); however, it just seems like a missed opportunity.

    1. And Shoreline CC. This seems pretty obvious, especially considering that it’s already a good grid route.

    2. There is no municipality that has asked for this. The north Lake Washington cities don’t care – they just want to connect to Link/Seattle, and this BRT route already connects them to their local community college- Cascadia. Seattle & Shoreline don’t care b/c Shoreline CC will be served by more local buses.

      ST isn’t interested b/c 145th Link station is being built with the infrastructure to be the termination of a high frequency BRT route; if the route endpoint moved, ST would need to recreate that layover space, etc.

      1. Then this is where inter-agency coordination is important, because I think Metro would have a huge interest in having the BRT continue west. It would be a phenomenal example of a robust, frequent east-west line that makes a nearly perfect grid pattern with the 5, E-line, and 346. And it’s hard to imagine that it doesn’t have justifiable ridership all the way to Shoreline CC, where it already has layover space. Having the terminal-like stop at the Link station (with a little bit of a delae for through-riders) would still be fine because so many people will switch to Link.

    3. It makes sense to urbanists but not to the people in Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville who are the reason this is being built. They think in terms of going downtown and perceive 146th Station as the fastest way to get there. Shoreline CC is in North King (as is Lake Forest Park), yet it’s East King that’s funding the line, and East King doesn’t care about getting to Aurora or Shoreline CC. Metro’s plan has routes going west and east of the station but not across it, although some will turn north (e.g., a 65 extension to 155th & Aurora and Shoreline CC).

      1. Has Metro published this plan? Seems even Northgate and Roosevelt changes are still a mystery.

      2. The Metro Connects map with 2025 and 2040 vision is here. Two things to bear in mind when reading the map, though.
        (1) we’re already behind schedule on the 2025 rapid ride routes. Expect more changes to get delayed downstream.
        (2) there’s always a detailed public process. The Metro Connects map is a starting point for that, but they may revise plans when they do the more detailed analysis. The recent Kirkland plan deviated in some important ways from the Connects plan.
        http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/

    4. It is just political history. There are dozens of questions like this. For example, why do two completely different agencies run express buses from Lynnwood to Seattle? It just evolved that way.

      In this case, the north lake suburbs (Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and to a lesser extent Shoreline) wanted a fast way to get to Link. They focused on the shortest route, which is SR 523, or NE 145th. They weren’t interested in making a better transit network, or overall ridership, or anything else. They simply wanted a fast way to get from the top of the lake to Link. They then convinced Sound Transit leadership to fund it, as part of ST3.

      Other parts of the county have different interests. It is possible that the line could be extended west, but my guess is it won’t. As Dan said, Metro has plenty of ideas for making that connection. I have some as well (https://seattletransitblog.com/2019/05/02/seattle-bus-routes-after-lynnwood-link/). It is worth noting that the train station design make it tougher to provide a normal, natural through route. It is similar to the Northgate Transit Center, although not quite as much of a dead end. You can’t keep going on 145th without requiring riders to schlep their way quite a ways to the train station. In other words, to reduce the distance between bus and train stop, you have to get off 145th. Once you reach the station, it is easy for the bus to park, thus encouraging bus agencies to treat the stop like a dead end, rather than simply a spot on a major east-west corridor.

  5. This situation is indicative of planning transit lines using the ballot box rather than using carefully studied options. While some projects in ST3 were more clearly valuable, some were included to build a yes vote consensus.

    In this case, I would have rather had East King money better site the 405 BRT at the South Renton stop.

  6. Why not both an Express and Connector? The Express traffic is going to be highly commuter oriented, given the long distance and P&R oriented ridership. The express route can run only at peak and be backstopped by a Connector local run with a full span of service.

    If I’m a Woodinville commuter, I have a great express bus most days, and then when my schedule needs to flex, I know I’ve got a BRT + local bus route to fall back on, which might be less convenient but is there when needed.

    This is a great approach for a far out suburb. For example, the Issaquah Highlands has the excellent 219 during peak, which is packed to the gills with Seattle bound commuters, and then outside of peak there is the much slower 554. The 554 is basically empty by the time it gets to the Highlands, but it’s there as an all-day option for transit riders, which helps buttress 219 ridership.

  7. One element not discussed in the presentation is crowding on Link. If the loads north of Westlake are so high, wouldn’t it be better to siphon off the Woodinville riders and instead send them to/from Downtown Bellevue? That makes the Downtown Bellevue express option more attractive.

    Would a Woodinville rider going to Downtown Seattle prefer to stand in a packed train for 20 minutes from South Shoreline, or possibly get a seat on a less packed train from Bellevue for 25 minutes (and get to Link five minutes faster so the total trip time is similar)?

    ST planning continues to ignore overcrowding generally. It’s terribly naive if not careless and even a tad arrogant. Here is yet another example.

    1. With 311 to UW station, you only have to put up with the packed train for 6 minutes. People will survive.

    2. That’s the elephant in the room: there’s long been a debate whether Link will be overcrowded in North Seattle and Capitol Hill. The current line is already almost full peak hours, and adding one more car doesn’t seem like a lot of buffer. The north end will have twice as many trains with two lines, so that’s something, but at the same time North Seattle ridership is likely to be significantly higher than South Seattle, plus all the people coming from Lynnwood and 522. ST had some early reservations about capacity but I guess they’re OK with it now because they haven’t announced any changes for a long time. But if Link becomes overcrowded, then the agencies will have to run more express buses than they were planning.

      Metro seems to get this because it’s already planning express routes and frequent routes that would seem redundant. A 577 replacement (that may be more for travel time than capacity). An all-day 311 or 312 (it mentioned that at a 522 open house somebody said; I thought it was the 311, but maybe I hadn’t taken the 312 seriously enough) RapidRide 372 (parallel to Stride and the 311? That’s at least 8 buses an hour on Bothell Way). A Fauntleroy-WSJ-SLU expiress (isn’t that what Link is for?). It remains to be seen how many of these will be realized. But it shows that Metro is in some sense thinking about Link’s limitations in terms of capacity and travel time and the demand for short wait times in some of the feeder corridors.

    3. If it were me taking a bus from Woodinville, give me Bellevue. Sometimes I’d be going *to* Bellevue, but I’m probably never going to 145TH and I-5, and I’m probably driving the shorter trips to Bothell or Kenmore. Bellevue to UW, presumably there will still be a bus that does that too.

    4. It’s important to remember that seats represent only about half of a train car’s capacity. It’s also true that a rider can’t walk between cars to get a seat. Standing is fine for some — but the longer a rider stands, the more frustrated that rider will get.

      Also, even if a rider gets a seat in the morning, they may have to stand most or all of the way home in the afternoon.

  8. The “problem” with Woodinville is that they have not prepared themselves to be “transit friendly.” Look at Bothell and Kenmore. Both have redesigned their downtown cores for high-density development. That development is not taking place in Woodinville. I cannot help but feel that this is by design.

    Most of the people of Woodinville must be satisfied with their rural density and do not wish to have a high-density core. That is OK, but they cannot then cry because BRT or other high capasity transit is not available.

    It is kind of a chicken or egg thing, but they have known for more than 10 years that transit was expanding their way – and the civic leaders CHOSE not to attract the kind of development necessary to support such infrastructure.

    Woodinville can offer wide open space living on the Eastside, but it comes with the single-occupant vehicle hell. Enjoy the traffic jam.

  9. I mean, Woodinville has no direct connecting service to Redmond (a 40min-hour+ bus ride vs a 20 min or less car ride from the town centers) or Bellevue. No bus service at all along the 202 (which could not handle it anyways) serving the very popular ‘tourist district’ south of the main town center by over 2 miles, which is bursting at capacity for parking already with additional restaurants, wine tasting, and a hotel coming soon and taking away the overflow parking that currently exists. I’ve rescued 3 people in 4 years trying to get to Chateau Ste. Michelle for the concert series only to wind up at the Park and Ride and realize they would have a long walk ahead of them (plan your trip, people!). With so many people drinking in the area, a public transit or shuttle option (even seasonal) to supplement rideshare would at least be appreciated.

    The core area by the park and ride is getting many 5 story apartments and adding density, with more to come. So in less than a decade we’ll likely have the population density to require the additional transit service connecting us south to employment centers (and the Redmond and Bellevue light rail stations).

    1. And I’ve never been to Chateau Ste Michelle because there are no buses there.

      The article says Woodinville to Redmond would be a three-seat ride. One way around that would be to make the express bus go the other way. That is, instead of going from Woodinville to Bellevue, it would start at UW Bothell, go to Woodinville and then down to Redmond. That would duplicate the least with 405 Stride and 522 Stride and open up a new transit corridor that’s the worst-served now. The congestion on 202 would have to be addressed though.

      1. “The article says Woodinville to Redmond would be a three-seat ride.”

        To be clear about that, it would be a three-seat ride via the BRT. (522 Stride to I-405, then 405 Stride to NE 85th, then the 248 or its successor on NE 85th).

        There are two-seat local Metro options available. But not compelling because lower frequency.

      2. Hey! It’s going to be a three-seat ride from Seward Park to UW after 2035. It’s going to be a three-seat ride from Admiral to Seattle Center. .

        Three-seat rides aren’t great — but they are inevitable.

      3. Inevitable in our network, not in an ideal network. But ideal land use would make an ideal network more feasible, and that means putting a higher percentage of housing near frequent transit.

  10. And metro is thinking of making it a three seat ride from Brickyard P&R to Downtown Seattle, which is currently a one-seat ride. :(

  11. I live in Woodinville and work in Redmond. All the transit options more than double my commute time to well over an hour, so I never take any of them. Of the options listed above an Express bus to Bellevue is the one that I would be most likely to ride and might even turn me into a bus commuter. I hope it would connect with light rail in Bellevue, I would probably prefer transfer there over the bus transfer in Kirkland to get to Redmond and also, then it might be a viable way to Seattle and the airport.

Comments are closed.