Local buses on 164th Street SW in northern Lynnwood

Community Transit has long discussed its plans to radically restructure its commuter and local bus networks in anticipation of Lynnwood Link, and its first concepts were presented to the Snohomish County Council this week. First noticed last month by The Urbanist, the agency briefed the County Council on its preliminary plans for its 600,000 annual service hours, including a portion saved from avoiding the long slog on Interstate 5 south of the county line.

By and large, the commuter network would be truncated to Lynnwood City Center and Mountlake Terrace stations, which will both include large bus transfer areas. At Lynnwood City Center (today’s Lynnwood TC), Community Transit anticipates that commuter and local buses will arrive and depart from one of its bays every 35 seconds during peak periods, traveling out to Interstate 5 via its direct HOV ramp or onto nearby streets. The station will have 20 layover spaces for double-decker buses that will be held to meet Link trains as they arrive at the station.

Mountlake Terrace’s current freeway station in the median of I-5 will see less extensive use, with on-street bays under the Link platform preferred for the shortened commuter buses in the area. The current frequent bus service concept shows a route from Edmonds Station to Mountlake Terrace that will use State Route 104 and take advantage of the basketweave ramp at 236th Street Southwest (which allows for direct connections to the bus bays).

Community Transit reports that PM trips from Downtown Seattle to Lynnwood are scheduled at 30 to 45 minutes, but the actual travel times can vary between 22 and 86 minutes depending on traffic. The agency currently has just under 450,000 annual bus service hours and anticipates that the time savings from truncating routes will lead to a net gain of 150,000 hours after Link opens in 2024.

The backbone of the new, post-Link network will be two of three planned Swift lines: the existing Blue Line, which will be extended to meet Link at Shoreline North/NE 185th Station; and the new Orange Line, which will intersect Link at Lynnwood Transit Center and continue west to Edmonds Community College and east to Mill Creek. The Orange Line will replicate the core section of Route 115, which overlaps with Route 116 between Edmonds CC and Mill Creek, continuing north to interline with the Green Line until it reaches McCollum Park P&R.

The Orange Line is near the end of its first development phase, with environmental and public outreach expected to kick into high gear soon. The fourth Swift line, tentatively the Red Line scheduled to open in 2027, would connect Everett Station to Marysville and Smokey Point on one of the highest-ridership linear corridors in the county.

Proposed 2024 local network concept (Community Transit)

In the service concept that was presented to a county council committee last month, Community Transit envisions upgrading much of the local route grid in Southwest Snohomish County to 10-15 minute frequencies, including new service along Filbert Road (State Route 524) towards the fast-growing North Creek area that would be a precursor to a long-term Swift line. The gap left in the Orange Line between Edmonds CC and Downtown Edmonds would be filled by a high-frequency route and more frequent service on existing routes on 196th Street Southwest.

The redesigned commuter route network could also see some level of bi-directional service to fill deadhead trips with commuters from King County traveling to job sites in Snohomish County. While it’s far less popular and common, the addition of 25,000 industrial jobs to new centers in Everett and Smokey Point are anticipated to bring more demand for the reverse commute, according to CT. The agency is also looking at alternative last-mile solutions to prevent the park-and-rides at Link stations from being filled with people driving less than 2 miles from their home to the stations.

Together with Sound Transit’s early plans for the future Stride BRT on I-405 and ST Express routes that would feed Link from Everett, the express network in Snohomish County would look largely the same but see a large improvement in reliability and potential frequency. As future concepts are developed and released, there will be further changes and refinements to add needed corridors. In particular, the 2024 restructure will also be an opportunity to bring basic, 30-minute service to areas that are currently underserved, like North Creek, Brier, parts of Southwest Everett, and northeastern Mill Creek.

94 Replies to “Community Transit begins study of Link-based restructure for 2024”

  1. Also in that staff presentation are the first Swift Green Line ridership numbers I’ve seen. The ~1,800 boardings per day would place it around 65th place among Metro routes, equivalent to Route 125. I know transit is a much harder sell in the burbs, but that seems crazy low for a 2nd flagship service.

    1. It will likely go up a bit as the network is improved. It is also possible that people just don’t know about it. The first Swift Line was added with much fanfare, and was easy to understand (it went up and down SR 99). The route of the new Green Line is fine, just not as obvious (I would have to look it up, and I’m a transit nerd). I would expect ridership to go up, but probably still remain in well below the top twenty Metro routes. Snohomish County is a low density, suburban area. I wouldn’t expect a huge amount of all-day demand.

      1. Snohomish county isn’t that low density… It has a lot of smaller cities with plenty of apartment buildings. It also has the worst traffic in the country, so there is some incentive for people to get out of their cars.

        The green line is just a questionable route. It doesn’t go to Downtown Seattle. It only really connects Mill Creek to Boeing, and I’m not sure how many people in Mill Creek work at Boeing (I used to live in this area).

        Extending it to UW Bothell might help. I get the impression a lot of UW Bothell students are in the area, enough that there is a University Book Store in Mill Creek.

        The Swift Orange line makes a lot more sense. It connects Mill Creek to light rail going to Seattle. I would say it should extend east on 132nd though, because for some some reason they built a huge apartment complex on 132nd with very little transit access.

      2. The second Swift line really should have been Everett to Marysville. That’s really the thick of things when people talk about Everett having some of the worst traffic in the country. Or perhaps Lynnwood to Edmonds, which serves Edmonds CC and many apartment complexes with students and lower income and elderly folks (I know cause I regularly drive them around in Lyft). The Swift Part 2 they settled on mainly goes through less dense suburban parts of SnoCo, though it does at least reach Paine Field. Of course, I can’t imagine crossing Airport Way and Highway 99 to make the transfer between the two Swift lines every day. Very dangerous and hostile for pedestrians.

      3. The big holdup with getting Swift to Marysville is a section of State Avenue between 100th and 116th that is three lanes (2 GP + 1 center turn). The city plans to widen it to four/five lanes and run Swift in mixed traffic there. Most of the Red Line would likely run in mixed traffic, though I think North Broadway in Everett could see the BAT or red paint treatment, since it’s fairly wide because of its on-street parking.

    2. The Green Line is ahead of its time. The corridor already had mediocre ridership, so I was very surprised that CT went ahead with BRT. But growth in the area will likely catch up with service levels a few years from now. Also, CT plans to extend the Green Line to UW-Bothell when SR527 is widened in the Bothell area. I’m sure that will increase ridership too.

    3. I finally got to try the Green, at 10am on a weekday so I could see the shoulder period. I started at Mariner and went west to Seaview TC and east to Canyon Park. Ridership was dismal. It was highest in north Bothell, 4-5 people. Second was Mill Creek to 99, varying between 0-2. West of 99 there was absolutely nobody. Still, it almost meets our 10 riders/hour threshold for cost-effective service, and it’s still new and unknown so it will only grow. Did CT send a postcard to every resident in the area to tell them about it?

      The empty bus stops west of 99 were puzzling, because this was a big fanfare in the marketing. Either they’re busy peak hours or it’s a dud. There’s a station for the airport passenger terminal, then the bus gets on a freeway to Seaway Transit Center, which appeared to be in the middle of an isolated Boeing complex. (I didn’t see much opportunity for non-Boeing jobs nearby.) Boeing workers are used to walking long distances to their car so they may not be daunted by Seaway TC, but it looks like people going to almost all the other buildings would need shuttles.

      1. The presentation has bus stop numbers for the line. Very few people board a northbound bus (headed towards Seaway) after SR 99. It is better going the other direction, with about 100 a day headed towards Canyon Park. Just to be clear, this is *in between* Seaway and SR 99, the two bus stops themselves make up the bulk of boardings for a southbound bus. In general a lot of the riders are traveling between Canyon Park, SR 99 and Seaway. Fourth Avenue is, well, fourth in terms of ridership, with pretty equal ridership each direction (unlike the other popular stops).

        Interestingly enough, the distribution per hour is not especially peak oriented. More people ride it during rush hour (as you would expect) but not a lot more (e. g. ridership at noon is more than half the peak ridership).

      2. “Either they’re busy peak hours or it’s a dud”.

        They’re a dud. With the exception of 100th St (Paine Field), stops west of Hwy 99 are rarely used. This is based on my personal observations as I work in the area.

      3. There is no need to speculate, it is right there in the document (page 61). Here are the average number of boardings per stop for the stations west of SR 99, with north boardings first:

        SR 99 — 58, 252
        112th — 6, 25
        100th — 13, 38
        Kasch P & R — 4, 31
        Seaway — 0, 281

        Yep, not a lot between those two stops, although there are other duds as well (which is why, in general, the line is a dud at this point). For example:

        Dumas — 13, 7 (this is the worst)
        Trillium — 20, 20
        153rd — 31, 17
        196th — 26, 17

      4. I’m disappointed but not surprised at the low ridership. My backup route to work uses Swift Green to get to Paine Field (512 -> Bike -> Swift Green). My primary is vanpool, which is still much faster because it avoids the bike transfer and the Ash Way P&R. Swift Green seems to have very good frequency, reliability, and speed for what it does, but the bus was pretty much empty every time I’ve rode it.

        I I’ve never tried the part of the route east of 3rd Ave SE, but I will continue to rail on that lousy transfer from the 512 as a big barrier to the route’s usefulness in serving Paine Field. 512 is the only full day I-5 route, and Swift Green is the only full day route that serves Paine Field (105 only serves it peak hours). The fact that they don’t share a common stop is a big miss. The obvious fix would be adding a 512 stop at 128th, but that would slow the route down even further. It already has to deal with suboptimal routing around Ash Way. Maybe this just replaces the South Everett P&R Stop, which has no other all day routes, and should be re-dedicated to peak only express buses

      5. Replying to Jeremy:

        Yes, the huge problem with buses in this area is there isn’t a good connection to the 512 or any other all day Seattle bound bus at 128th.

        It seems like a big bureaucratic screw up that community transit and Sound Transit can’t get together and work this out. There are two park and rides there.

        I realize there are technical problems, but they should be able to work out SOME solution if they are spending all this money on the green line.

      6. @Brendan:

        The problem with any major investment in 512 improvements, like a direct northbound ramp at Ash Way or direct ramps in both directions at Mariner (replacing the South Everett P&R) is that this route likely will end at Lynnwood in 2024 and will be completely eliminated when Everett Link opens. It’s hard to justify major capital spending that will be obsolete so soon.

        Of course, a bus detour with no direct ramp to hit Mariner will come at a significant time penalty. I still think it would be worthwhile, though, to provide this connection.

      7. “It seems like a big bureaucratic screw up that community transit and Sound Transit can’t get together and work this out.”

        CT’s goal was clearly to benefit Snohomish County residents and CT ratepayers, and they seem to think east-west service on 128th is more critical than connecting to ST. I don’t live there so I can’t evaluate this. Snohomish has vast areas with only 30-60 minute or no transit, so any Swift corridor is an improvement. It’s good to know that there’s one concrete user with an essential trip that connection would help; that’s the kind of evidence we’d need to gather to persuade CT to improve the connection. But the chance is nil that CT will reroute the Green now; it thinks the current route is an important transit market, and part of the purpose of enhanced bus lines is that they’re reliably there; they don’t go getting rerouted out from under you all the time. If most of the Green’s problem is that people still don’t know about it or haven’t thought about how it could fit into their lives, then keeping it on a consistent corridor is essential to build that awareness of it.

        So if neither Swift nor the 512 can move (and I don’t know if the 512 could stop at Mariner now that there’s a regional transit connection there), the next best thing would be to make the 201/202 more frequent or add another route in the Lynnwood-128th gap. There’s probably another route that could parallel it, as if CT had the money for that. (Since it doesn’t seem to have the money to improve the STEX-Mukilteo connection.)

      8. @Jeremy — Surprisingly enough, the South Everett Park and Ride stop does fairly well for the 512, at about 200 riders a day each way (similar to Mountlake Terrace). It is also like Mountlake Terrace in that it takes very little time to serve. If I would eliminate any stop, it would be the one at 145th, which takes longer to serve, and is used by a lot fewer people.

        Anyway, it isn’t impossible to make that connection, it just requires another bus. So rather than 512 -> Bike -> Swift Green, it would be 512 -> 201/202/109 -> Swift Green. Of course there are probably more direct routes than taking a three seat ride.

        The obvious alternative is for the 512 to simply follow the same route as the 201/202, but skip some (if not all) of the stops in between. Other than the added stop, I don’t think this would be a huge delay. Google puts the time difference at three minutes. The cost to the system would be minor. The only riders delayed would be those riding north of Ash Way, which is roughly one quarter of the riders.

        Personally, I would get rid of the stop at 145th (which costs about the same amount of time) since it delays 90% of the riders, and swap it out with a stop at 128th.

      9. By the way, I think when Lynnwood Link gets here, riders should get a frequent 2 seat ride between 128th and Lynnwood. This is my proposal https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jSsFs-bi6avJgCRGRRQBzbqIKfMHUiwv&usp=sharing. That does mean a 3 seat ride between the Green Line and Seattle, but I think that is a given with Lynnwood Link. Here is my reasoning behind the bus routes: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2018/03/13/frequent-everett-bus-routes-serving-lynnwood-link/

      10. It seems like a big bureaucratic screw up that community transit and Sound Transit can’t get together and work this out.

        I wouldn’t call it a big bureaucratic screw up, just a little one. To be clear, I would have the 512 serve 128th, and would have served 128th a while ago. The stop at 145th is much worse (for the reasons mentioned above) and it would have been fairly easy (politically) to kill it when we lost the freeway stop. At that point it would have cost next to nothing to add 128th. But the point is that 128th is justified as a stop in its own right, given the apartments (and park and ride) there. Having the Swift Green Line there is merely a bonus.

        There is also the argument that CT built things out of order. They could have built the Orange Line next, since it connects to both Lynnwood and Ash Way TC. Ironically, they focus on the connection with Lynnwood Link (ignoring the connection with the existing express buses from Seattle).

        While I think ST should add the stop at 128th, I don’t think it would suddenly make the Green Line a rousing success. The 512 doesn’t carry that many people. Lynnwood TC is very well connected (much better than 128th is currently, despite the lack of Swift service) and has a lot more near it, yet Lynnwood carries about 700 people each way every day (by far the most popular stop). Who knows how many people would connect to the 512 from the Green Line, but even if it included every last rider that goes to Lynnwood, ridership wouldn’t double (although it would make it close). That would put it still well below an average Metro bus.

        The point is, the network (or lack thereof) definitely plays a part in the line’s overall weakness. But the connection to Seattle is just one part of it. There are other issues, and those issues are being dealt with as time goes on. The Green Line may have been built in the wrong order, but it will still play a part in what many hope will be a pretty good system for an area like Snohomish County.

      11. “There is also the argument that CT built things out of order. They could have built the Orange Line next, since it connects to both Lynnwood and Ash Way TC. Ironically, they focus on the connection with Lynnwood Link (ignoring the connection with the existing express buses from Seattle).”

        I think this is spot on.

        This is further complicated by the shortsightedness that ST demonstrated by eliminating the Ash Way station (as well as the Alderwood station) in the revised ST2 measure after the failure to secure passage of the 2007 measure. I know that this can all be viewed as Monday morning quarterbacking but I really think this was a huge mistake in regard to ST’s Snohomish County transit planning. The Swift green/orange line ordering might ultimately be seen in a similar light in retrospect (we will have to wait to see how the green line’s ridership numbers progress of course) but at least we won’t be talking about living with a potentially errant decision for over a decade.

      12. I’ve never understood why the ST3 station at the crossroads of the Green and Blue Lines (Airport Way and 99) is optional. Wouldn’t this be the critical transit connection for the system?

    4. The area with the biggest density/transit gap is Bothell. North Bothell has more multifamily housing and shopping centers than anywhere north of it, yet that’s the area Swift doesn’t serve, and it only has the 30-60 minute 105 and no Metro route, even though part of it is in King County.

    5. “The corridor already had mediocre ridership, so I was very surprised that CT went ahead with BRT.”

      It was political, to get a line to Boeing that would attract a state grant. Snohomish was burned when Siemens looked at the Everett Tech Center for an industrial plant and asked, “Where’s the high-capacity transit plan?” and was nonplussed that it was free parking and freeways. They said in Germany an industrial center without a high-capacity transit plan to transport most of the workers wouldn’t be allowed. That’s what sent Snohomish scrambling to get Swift in there and route Link to Paine Field.

      “CT plans to extend the Green Line to UW-Bothell when SR527 is widened in the Bothell area.”

      My understanding is it was due to budget limitations, not highway size. ST couldn’t afford to extend it to UW Bothell in the first phase so it left that for later.

      From a ridership perspective it should have gone the other way, from UW Bothell to Mill Creek and then somewhere (99? A 512 stop?) But the county/agency split and the Boeing imperative counteracted that.

      1. Thanks. This explains a lot. I think Mill Creek area needs better transit, but the green line seemed like such a weird approach.

      2. I would think a 512 stop at Northgate would have make more sense than at 145th.

    6. “They literally just finished the MLT freeway station a few years ago. What a waste of money.”

      That was my thought too. It was thinking short-term. It’s like why is there a Yarrow Point freeway station when 405 express buses can’t transfer to 520 express buses.

    7. More praise for Bothell. Its urban area/population compares favorably with Fremont and the West Seattle Junction, and the current Spring District (maybe not after the highrises go up). In fact, compared to all of suburban King County I’d put it third or fourth, after Bellevue and Redmond and maybe Kirkland. It blows away Renton’s and Kent’s and Federal Way’s downtown. If we’re allocating transit strictly by size and density, Bothell would be fourth easily. Its main problem is its distance from other population centers (the Seattle-Redmond axis), which deters some people from going to it and depresses ridership. But its size and density should count for something.

      1. Do you have some numbers for Bothell that justify the glowing appraisal? I personally don’t see it. I mean that literally. From the air, it doesn’t look like Bothell has leapfrogged Magnolia, let alone Fremont. I honestly don’t know where you are talking about. Don’t get me wrong — I see a lot of apartments — it is just that I still see a lot of pavement, and parkland, and houses on really big lots. Please draw me a picture (with words or otherwise) and tell me where you think it is so so dense. To me it just looks a lot like Kenmore.

      2. Have you looked north of Bothell Way?

        No, I don’t have numbers. I don’t know where to get those from, and I’m not going to go digging around for them.

      3. Have you looked north of Bothell Way?

        You mean in Kenmore or in Bothell? Anyway, I would not get too excited because one tiny part of town has new apartments. I think it is great (or could be great) for the community, but it is not what makes up a city, or a dense neighborhood.

        But let’s start north of Bothell Way, in Bothell. OK, first you have the Bothell Park and Ride. Then you have old Bothell — restaurants, bars and shops that make up the cultural center of the city. Go a bit further north and you have some new apartments. In less than a mile you are in a land dominated by houses on big lots. It is really challenging to draw a square mile of Bothell and say “Look, this is a real city”. In contrast, I can draw you a mile in Fremont and say that quite easily. Of course I include houses (on much smaller lots) but I also have duplexes, and tiny old apartments even though I am quite a distance from the main street. Do you really think there is a square mile in Bothell that has more people than a square mile of Fremont? What about 4 miles?

        I’m not saying that Bothell hasn’t undergone a significant increase in density. I’m just saying that it probably hasn’t leapfrogged too many places, and remains low density compared to just about any part of Seattle.

      4. “From the air, it doesn’t look like Bothell has leapfrogged Magnolia, let alone Fremont.”

        I guess we look at it differently. You’re thinking in terms of statistics and bird’s-eye view. I’m thinking in terms of how it looks on the ground and how comfortable an urbanist would be living there. Maybe I was shocked by the contrast with Snohomish County, and I should spend more time walking around Bothell to confirm it. One question that came to mind is how long it would take to walk from one of those apartments to UW Bothell via the trail.

        “You mean in Kenmore or in Bothell?”

        I meant Bothell, the road up to Canyon Park where the 105 is. I forgot it’s also called Bothell Way. Why the hell did Bothell take a road named Bothell Way NE and NE Bothell Way and make it turn onto a different perpendicular highway named Bothell Way, while going straight on the first highway the name changes to Woodinville Drive? I’m sure there’s good names for the north-south street, something like Main Street or North Bothell something or such.

      5. So, wait, did all those confusing reference to Bothell Way actually mean Bothell-Everett Hwy?

      6. When I looked at Kenmore a few months ago to see the famous community center/cafe/park, there was only about one mixed-use building around it. Granted, it’s growing, but I wouldn’t say Kenmore has much of an urban neighborhood compared to Bothell. It would be nice if it did, because Bothell is an hour away from Seattle while Kenmore could have a closer relationship with it.

      7. Bothell resident here. Downtown Bothell has densified substantially. I definitely think the city council here is pushing towards that, though there will come a time (soon) when either substantial code changes will be needed to densify further or things will return back to normal suburban status. Canyon Park is another opportunity for densification – again, we’ll have to see what happens there. Of course, once you step outside of the downtown core, you go back to single family homes. Even between UWB and downtown you don’t have much density. Still, from what I’ve seen of the current council, more densification is very realistic.

        In any case, I think a lot of people locally are in support of adding a frequent DT Bothell – Canyon Park bus (like the 105, but actually frequent). The problem is that DT Bothell is in King county while Canyon Park is Snohomish. If Swift were extended to UWB, that would help quite a bit.

      8. “So, wait, did all those confusing reference to Bothell Way actually mean Bothell-Everett Hwy?”

        It’s called Bothell Way in Bothell. North of that the signs change to Bothell-Everett Highway.

        “The problem is that DT Bothell is in King county while Canyon Park is Snohomish. ”

        CT said the problem was funding. It only had enough money to reach Canyon Park so it left UW Bothell for a later phase.

      9. Prior to WWI a highway was built from Seattle to Everett via Lake City, Kenmore, and Bothell, which is why “Bothell Way” turns north in Bothell towards Everett. The road east to Woodinville and then later as far as Monroe came later – you just wouldn’t know it as it is now all part of the main highway through the town (SR 522). I’m not sure when or why Snohomish County changed the name of the road north of the county line to Bothell-Everett Highway or if it was always that way.

  2. Now CT can use some of these extra service hours to start meeting what should be a long-term goal for CT and every other transit provider in the metro area – everyone in the system gets a one-seat-ride to rapid transit.

    For example, any route that ends at Mariner or Ash Way and doesn’t already stop at Lynnwood or MLT, should be extended south to serve Lynnwood. As a guy who grew up in Snohomish and suffered through crappy transit service my entire childhood, a route 109 that goes to a mass-transit station would have been a huge deal.

  3. Maybe I missed it, but is there a link to the actual proposal? I see a link to an article written by The Urbanist, as well as a link to the minutes of a Snohomish County meeting, but I don’t see a link to the actual proposal.

    1. I found a presentation linked on the linked agenda page. It didn’t go into much specificity though.

      1. I linked to the minutes page specifically so that readers could also find the meeting video without having to navigate through the (admittedly okay) Snohomish County Council website. Sorry for any confusion.

      2. Agreed. The OP should’ve just linked to the granicus site. Since I live in SW SnoCo and follow the council’s activities fairly regularly, I’m familiar with accessing county documents but that’s probably not the case for most STB readers.

  4. Kudos to CT for promoting wide discussion at this point (glaring at KCM)!

    I can’t help but wonder if short-distance (15 to 20 minute round trip with two vehicles) circulators should be introduced. Lynnwood /Alderwood looks suitable for one in particular. Otherwise, I generally think it’s a reasonable service design for a post LRT future discussion.

    1. CT’s planned Orange Line will take care of that. Service will be every 10 min and the mall would be 2-3 stops away from Lynnwood station.

      1. That’s true that the Orange Line would function that way.

        The main advantage of a shuttle-like system is its adaptability and maybe its reliability. If the Orange Line includes bus-only lanes, it helps to resolve those issues.

    2. “Express buses to SLU and First Hill — not from Snohomish County — make some sense.”

      There’s also context to this: Metro is deciding what to do with the existing express routes. One option is to delete them. Another is to reroute them to a nearby job center that is harder to get to on Link. These First Hill and SLU routes are an attempt to do the latter. There are good arguments both ways on this; it’s a judgment call. One of Metro’s 2040 routes is an Express on Fauntleroy-WSJ-SLU via the 99 tunnel. Does that complement West Seattle Link or compete with it too much? What are people from Vashon Island supposed to do if their island expresses are deleted? And I could see riding it from Lincoln Park or WSJ.

  5. The Mountlake Terrace freeway station will see “less extensive use,” but the report doesn’t seem to propose any specific routes. Any thoughts on what it might be used for?

    I think probably a Lynnwood to SLU express, a major Link hole until the mid 2030s.

    1. CT’s current attitude toward non-downtown destinations is very rigid and antiquated. I repeatedly hear bus riders lamenting about a lack of service to 1) SLU and 2) Microsoft. CT’s usual response is “there’s plenty of connecting service” to these places. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see such a service. : /

    2. The I-5 distance is too long for an SLU route to be feasible. It works (barely) for Metro routes because the distance is much shorter: you’re only coming from 65th or 145th at most. But coming from Snohomish County is a lot more service hours on I-5 with its unreliable traffic. That’s why CT is so head-over-heels eager to truncate the routes at Lynnwood and MT. A route from Snohomish County to SLU just doesn’t make sense after Lynnwood Link opens. It would be more worth pushing Metro and SDOT to improve the connection between Westlake and SLU.

      1. Yeah, it kinda goes without saying that this is super duplicative with Link. But considering the agency in question, there seems to be a high degree of tolerance for duplicative service. For instance, both Swift lines have local routes duplicating most of their length (101 & 105). They run both a 413 and 415, where (aside from going slightly farther into Lynnwood) the only difference is which side of downtown it goes to first. While ST has all-day frequent bus service to Ash Way, running the 413 until after 8pm is a priority for CT. So I’m actually kinda shocked that they are proposing such aggressive truncation in the first place.

        But in any case, I think the value in an SLU express is that with Link overshooting SLU and surface transit to SLU leaving much to be desired, having a bus that goes directly to Mercer St via the express lanes would be attractive to many. With WSDOT building a direct ramp to 520 for buses doing this, Mercer Street will clearly be a peak bus corridor of some sort. It seems likely that mercer street will get peak directional BAT lanes at least.

      2. A bit OT, but Route 413 has become my main choice in the late mornings if I can’t get a direct 510. It avoids the slog in the non-express lanes (taken by the 512) and the ramp congestion at Stewart Street, so I’ve found it to be worth the extra fare.

      3. “both Swift lines have local routes duplicating most of their length (101 & 105)”

        Those are necessary when you have a limited-stop route. Otherwise the areas in between would have no bus service. Swift is like New York’s express subway: you take the express between major stops and the local to smaller stops in between.

    3. Its a good topic! I think the freeway station may turn out to be barely used. It might even end up closed unless a good role can be found.

      The SLU idea isn’t a bad one. Still, a route like that would be better to terminate at Lynwood CC Station. I’m not sure how many riders would board at Mountlake Terrace.

      One future advantage of the median platform is it’s “drop and go” design for I-5 HOV users. Every other station on I-5 requires a driver to leave the freeway. Enabling that use would however require some regulatory approvals to allow for HOV users entering and then SOV leaving the stop — or a waiting pickup zone northbound. It gets into messy legal and safety details to do that though. Elevating the bus lanes to the south of the stop up to 236th Street (no I-5 access to/from the south) could resolve that — but I’m not sure if it’s worth the investment.

      Another option would be to target the station over for private bus stops. It is well suited for a quick Bolt Bus stop to/ from Vancouver or maybe for major employer shuttles. I’m not sure what regulatory changes would be required for that function.

    4. Express buses to places like First Hill and South Lake Union are reasonable. We have a few in our system right now. Often they do double duty — they work as both a coverage route of sorts, while allowing for a direct connection. Good transfer points allow some riders to transfer well outside the urban core. A good example is the 63. It is the only bus on 5th Avenue Northeast. Riders in the area can take that bus to 65th and transfer to express buses to the main part of downtown. Other riders can pick up the bus at Northgate (or 65th) and get right to First Hill or Cherry Hill.

      I could see a bus doing the same thing. It could serve some neighborhood close to Lynnwood, but instead of ending there, it would keep going (and obviously stop at Mountlake Terrace). I’m not sure if Community Transit wants to do that, though. Lynnwood is a long ways from Seattle (a lot further than Northgate). You have the same issues that Community Transit seems happy to get rid of. A bus will often be faster, but it might be a lot slower. More than anything, it is very expensive to run buses like that. They only run during rush hour, and the ridership per hour is very poor (people just sit on the bus a long time). I wouldn’t rule it out, but I think CT is basically leaning the other way. I think they want to focus on service *within* the county, and let Metro deal with getting people from the stations to greater downtown (which includes First Hill and South Lake Union).

      1. “It could serve some neighborhood close to Lynnwood, but instead of ending there, it would keep going (and obviously stop at Mountlake Terrace). I’m not sure if Community Transit wants to do that, though. ”

        I think it’s pretty clear that that is not CT’s intention. I periodically attend CT board meetings and I get no sense that they want to go in that direction. They have essentially been salivating for the chance to truncate their commuter routes and free up service hours to add coverage to underserved areas and to increase frequency on certain popular local routes.

      2. Yeah, everything I’ve read (including this document) suggests that as well.

      3. In general, I’m of the opinion that running express buses from Lynnwood to First Hill or SLU is not the greatest use of resources. You’re essentially paying the cost of sending the buses down I-5, all the way to downtown Seattle, just so it can take a different turn and serve stops a few blocks away once it reaches downtown. The value of such a route feels dubious. We’re talking about extremely frequent connections – for example, the combination of the 40, C, and streetcar (for SLU) or Madison BRT (for First Hill). In practice, the overhead of waiting for the connection is likely to be outweighed by the time saved by getting the commute out of traffic – not just on I-5, but also on the local Seattle streets, since these critical local connectors will be operating in bus lanes, while a bus lane for the Mercer St. or James St. exit off I-5 would be a complete nonstarter, due to the massive traffic impacts it would cause. Plus, these distances are short enough that you don’t necessarily even need to deal with the connections – those who are capable can just get off at the closet Link station and walk. I’ve walked from Westlake Station to the corner of Westlake and Denny many times, and it doesn’t take more than about 10 minutes.

        Even if, at the end of the day, there exists some nonzero value in having the Lynnwood->SLU express bus available, it comes at a huge cost, as the bus has to not only go from Lynnwood to downtown, but also run empty back the other way; then repeat again in reverse in the afternoon. That’s around two service hours per one way trip, enough to add a whopping 4 trips to the local feeder routes that serve Lynnwood instead (at 30 minutes per run).

        Overall, I feel the concept of such a route very reactionary – a workaround for one agency not trusting another agency to get its local transit needs taken care off. The solution for SLU and First Hill should focus on fast, very frequent, and very reliable bus service (e.g. KC Metro’s responsibility) from the nearest downtown Link station, instead.

        This is very different from the concept of *local* routes that skirt the edge of downtown, say, SLU to First Hill via Boren. In this case, Link is a detour, and the overhead of switching to it magnified for what’s a very short trip, and the cost – in service hours – to running a direct bus from SLU to First Hill a fraction of what it would cost to run a direct bus from SLU to Lynnwood.

        I am also a big fan of having transfer opportunities outside the downtown core, rather than funneling everybody into the downtown core going anywhere in the city. Again, this is something that utilization of Link does very well, since every Link Station the train passes through on the way to downtown becomes a transfer point. For instance, maybe if you’re headed from Lynnwood to First Hill, it makes more sense to get off at Capital Hill Station and either walk from there or ride the streetcar down Broadway, rather than go all the way into the downtown core. Lynnwood to Fremont, you likely get off at the U-district station and choose the 31/32 over the slog through Belltown and SLU.

    5. Okay, so this is a real shame. They literally just finished the MLT freeway station a few years ago. What a waste of money.

      Yes, the best thing that I can see is a direct commuter route to SLU, or via SR 520 to Redmond. It may not currently be on the books for either CT or Metro, but those routes may become high-demand once service hours are available. Hoping that the MLT investment isn’t for nothing

      1. My thoughts exactly. MLT is still a fairly new facility. With the arrival of Link, combined with CT’s culture of planning, there’s no use for the freeway station.

      2. Any bus that would serve the Mountlake Terrace freeway stop will serve Lynnwood. Lynnwood is a much bigger destination (and transfer point) and to even get to the HOV ramps it takes some effort (it would be difficult to reach those ramps from 220th, for example). That makes it difficult to justify a bus route.

        I really don’t think an express from Lynnwood to downtown (or part of downtown, like South Lake Union or First Hill) will happen, for the reasons mentioned. It costs you a bundle, and while you save some time, you don’t save that much and you introduce uncertainty. An express from Lynnwood to Redmond seems possible, but I think it would likely go via 405 (or CT just relies on the 405 BRT).

        I could see it as a very low cost (to riders) drop off point for Greyhound buses, but again, I’m not sure if they would rather spend an extra minute, and drop people off at Lynnwood. Although with Lynnwood Link busy, it is possible that Sound Transit won’t allow them to use Lynnwood Link, while whoever owns the Mountlake Terrace stops (WSDOT?) wouldn’t mind allowing Greyhound to use it. So that could happen, I guess.

        I can imagine other routes, like a bus that goes from Lake City to Lynnwood, but I just don’t see it. Not only would it be a pretty weak value, but that involves two different agencies (and Sound Transit seems disinterested in routes like that).

        Unfortunately, many of the things that make it great will be obsolete. If you are on a bus that is in the I-5 bus lane, it costs you very little to stop there. It is great that you can send a bus to Lynnwood (or Everett) and basically pick up Mountlake Terrace for free. The problem is, once Lynnwood Link gets here, it is tough to justify sending buses south from Lynnwood onto I-5. (That ramp, by the way, will also become obsolete — although I guess carpool users will use it). It is difficult for buses that are on the freeway a short distance to use (it is inaccessible from 244th) and I don’t see anyone eager to send buses on I-5 a long distance.

      3. Checking Wikipedia, the MLT freeway station opened in 2011. Considering that the Lynnwood Link schedule has slipped since then, and that adding a freeway to a transit center like that is expensive but massively less so than Link, I think a 13 year run of heavy use (plus a possible second life of lighter use or private shuttle use) is worth it.

      4. Good point, Alex. I agree completely. If you build a great gravel road and it is eventually paved, that doesn’t mean it was a waste. (I think that is an old Scottish saying, but I’m not sure).

      5. Those covered freeway stations and pedestrian bridges cost a lot more than a gravel road.

    6. “Express buses to places like First Hill and South Lake Union are reasonable. We have a few in our system right now. Often they do double duty — they work as both a coverage route of sorts, while allowing for a direct connection. Good transfer points allow some riders to transfer well outside the urban core.”

      Express buses to SLU and First Hill — not from Snohomish County — make some sense. The overhead to take the 2 or 3 or 12 from First Hill to 3rd Avenue where the express buses are is so time-consuming that it doesn’t look much better than driving so people drive instead. First Hill has had a hard time attacting the percentage of transit riders that downtown has because of this. At the same time First Hill is a large job center — larger than most people assume — so it’s kind of low-hanging fruit to get express buses there and a higher transit mode share. SLU is similar.

      City centers generate the largest number of transit trips, but downtown-adjacent neighborhoods are also high-ridership and have traditionally been neglected by transit planners. So you get higher overall ridership and mobility access by having routes not just to the central core (3rd Avenue in Seattle), but also from the surrounding neighborhoods to SLU, Broadway, and Pioneer Square/ID/SODO. And routes that skirt the core like the 8 and 60 and the Jackson part of the 7 and 36. And routes that go all the way through downtown to the adjacent neighborhood on the far side, as the C, D, and E do, and the 26/28/131/132 through-route. All these serve trip pairs that simply going to 3rd Avenue and terminating near 3rd & Pine don’t do.

      The last paragraph was mostly about local routes and express routes to downtown, but there’s also an argument for express routes directly to downtown-adjacent centers, and not just to get the commute mode share up. If a downtown-adjacent neighborhood is large, there are probably a lot of people going to it all day, even from distant locations. And having some express buses go there spreads out the transfer points (which should be pleasing to the Downtown Seattle Association who’s bothered by large crowds at 3rd Avenue bus stops). Because just as some people can take an express bus to 3rd and transfer to First Hill, other people can take an express bus to First Hill and transfer to parts of downtown that aren’t as convenient from a 3rd Avenue route. And as Link replaces 3rd Avenue express routes, downtown-adjacent express routes can provide express-level service to areas Link isn’t as competitive in. So if they’re designed well they don’t compete with Link but complement it, and increase transit’s overall potential.

      Finally, for those who disapprove of distributing so many service hours to downtown express buses and neglecting the other job centers, remember that this is what brought downtown’s SOV mode share below 50% and even 30%. If those express buses weren’t there or are deleted without replacement, that mode share would reverse and we’d be another American city with no high transit mode share anywhere and less support for better overall transit. Express routes to downtown-adjacent neighborhoods can’t accomplish as much as they can downtown because the number of jobs is less, but they can have the same kind of effect.

      1. Express buses to First Hill will attract a TON of riders. How many non-physician hospital staff can afford to live in Seattle? Oh, none? So they’ll all be commuting from SnoCo & South King? Yep. Because of transit’s insistence that everybody work 8 – 5, anybody on 12s, evenings, or nights still won’t take a bus, but you could get a lot of day staff on direct buses – staff who work on scheduled daytime outpatient surgeries, staff on 8 to 5 clinic shifts, folks working 8-hour day shifts, managers working daytime hours, and most clerical & paperwork personnel. That’s a lot of people who would normally drive a car or be stuck with really bad transfers.

    7. One thing I just thought of is a Boeing Everett computer route for early morning commuters, starting in Seattle or even farther south. It’s physically duplicative with Link, but it would start running much earlier in the morning than Link (by comparison, Metro 952 starts running at 4:20 AM).

      It’s worth noting that it’s possible to get to Boeing Everett at 6am by bus from Auburn and Kent, but not Seattle. MLT and Lynnwood would be cheap stops that could accumulate many riders.

      1. Yeah, that is a possibility (probably the best idea so far). Of course it is hard to say if it would pull many riders. One of the reasons why downtown has a better transit share is that it is expensive and/or a big pain to park there. My guess is this isn’t the case with Boeing. A reverse commute to Everett (especially early in the morning) is not that hard, unless you happen to be south of downtown (which might explain the 952). (Man, what a dreadful commute — ouch).

        Nonetheless, I guess I could see a similar bus, but one for Seattle (if you can justify the 952, I guess you can justify the other one).

      2. Yeah, the 952 hits a ton of stops, probably because it takes a lot of stops to get significant ridership. On the plus side, it runs so early in the morning that most of them have perfect traffic on I-405, so it can fly from one stop to the next really quickly. I suspect the story would be the same on 5, with stops also at NE 145th, 45th, Lynnwood TC, Ash Way, S. Everett park and ride, and maybe starting in Tukwila if there’s interest.

  6. The current frequent bus service concept shows a route from Edmonds Station to Mountlake Terrace that will use State Route 104 and take advantage of the basketweave ramp at 236th Street Southwest (which allows for direct connections to the bus bays).

    OK, I’m confused. SR 104 starts at the ferry dock and eventually becomes 244th. Are you saying a bus will then head north, to Mountlake Terrace? I don’t see how a bus (or any vehicle) can easily do that. Right now the northbound entrance from 244th to I-5 doesn’t enter I-5 until well after 236th. You can’t enter at 244th and exit at 236th. Are they planning on adding a new ramp? Or is the plan to simply follow the surface streets (https://goo.gl/maps/him7VzFLENoX5cjK8).

    In any event, it seems weird. I don’t understand why you would suddenly head north, if your goal is to connect to Link. Just go south, and connect to 185th (https://goo.gl/maps/gMXyCtp41yx3h2jV6). There are a lot of options (Meridian, 1st, 5th) and since none of them lead to a freeway ramp, are probably not that congested. First and Fifth don’t even go through, which means that I would expect them to be fairly fast any time of day. Fifth would be the logical choice (it is where Google is sending me) but the right lane might be crowded (with people trying to get on the freeway southbound).

    I can understand why a bus would tend towards Lynnwood (because it is a destination in itself) but I don’t see why you would go to Mountlake Terrace when my guess is 99% of the riders just want to head south.

    1. Agreed. A ferry connection would be better served via 185th because it also brings local Edmonds residents into Shoreline/Aurora Ave area where there’s plenty of destinations.

      1. I think it would do that either way (based on the diagram). The bus would go by Aurora Village (allowing for a transfer to Swift or the E). The only question is what it would do after that. They show it continuing, but then heading north. I would send it south, either doubling up the service from Aurora Village to 185th (with Swift) or on a different route via Meridian, First or Fifth.

      1. It’s actually 205th that the bus takes between Aurora Village and I-5. And really, once anyone gets on the bus at Aurora Village it will take maybe five minutes (10 minutes at most if there is traffic) to get to the train station at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center.

        If I’m on that bus and want to get to the train fast, then the option of taking a detour 20 blocks to the south, through essentially a residential area with intersections and stoplights sounds like a negative.

        and, as for Meridian, there are Metro buses that cover that area so I don’t see it as either a need, or a priority for CT to provide additional service.

      2. Another thought. – I’m curious to find out what the impact, if any, will be to North Sounder ridership of a fairly quick bus connection between Edmonds Station and the Link stations along I-5.

        I could see more people riding north sounder, because they know if they miss the train heading back home they can still catch link and a bus.

        Or maybe people in Edmonds ride sounder less because they will have easy access to a train that runs all day, and gets them closer to where they want to go.

      3. 205th is the same as 244th. (It depends on what county is doing the labeling). But if it makes you happy, I’ll use the term 205th.

        I don’t see why you think it is faster to get to Mountlake Terrace than it is to get to 185th. Google claims it takes three or four minutes to get from 205th to 185th (https://goo.gl/maps/WcPmhnLhBjdYD8wQ6). It takes seven minutes to get to Mountlake Terrace (https://goo.gl/maps/89zb5QpGb7WZU7hN6). It takes about three minutes for Link to go between the stations. So, for anyone headed to Seattle (the vast majority of riders) it would be a penalty of around six or seven minutes.

        If I’m on that bus and want to get to the train fast, then the option of taking a detour 20 blocks to the south, through essentially a residential area with intersections and stoplights sounds like a negative.

        You will have more intersections and stop lights if you go north. There are no traffic lights on Fifth or First between the station and 205th. Meridian has one traffic light (on 200th). All are arterials. I’m not suggesting any stops be added (although that would have to be viewed as a bonus). If there were no bus stops, then it is driver’s discretion how they make the connection. Any way you look at it, going to Mountlake Terrace is the detour, not going to 185th.

        Meanwhile, you have doubled up service to Aurora Village. The main Swift line runs every ten minutes. If you timed this bus route to run every ten minutes as well (which seems easy to justify) than someone getting off the train at 185th heading to Aurora Village would alter their worse case wait time from ten minutes to five.

        There are only a couple ways to justify the detour to Mountlake Terrace. One is if you think eliminating the transfer is worth it. I don’t. I am pretty sure that ridership between Mountlake Terrace and Aurora Village/Edmonds will be tiny, and those riders can live with a two seat ride. The second is if you add a bunch of stops between 205th and the station. That would provide coverage for that area. Unfortunately, that would also delay the overwhelming majority of riders from Edmonds, who simply want a fast ride to Seattle.

      4. Valid points.

        Maybe CT is simply thinking that not all people want to go south.

        If, for example,,someone wants to head north to Everett then having both lines go south to 185th guarantees time lost to out of direction travel.

      5. “that will use State Route 104 and take advantage of the basketweave ramp at 236th Street Southwest (which allows for direct connections to the bus bays).

        I still don’t understand this part. The basketweave ramp forces traffic getting on I-5 at highway 104 to continue *past* 236th St. In order to take the 236th St. exit, you have to get on I-5 at least as far south as 175th St., back in Shoreline.

        Also, turning back north makes Aurora Village become quite out of the way. At a minimum, that’s a lot of stoplights, and a lot of left turns.

        As an alternative, I’m starting to wonder if a route that just takes regular streets, following the most direct route to Mountlake Terrace Station, avoiding 104 and Aurora Village altogether, might be best. Of course, such a route would need to be in addition to, not a replacement for, the 130.

      6. If you are headed north from Edmonds, then take the 196, or the new BRT equivalent (which is shown on the same map). That means a faster, one seat ride to Lynnwood (which is the only destination on Link north of Mountlake Terrace).

        If you are headed north from Aurora Village, then take the main Swift bus (which is also a two seat option for other parts of Lynnwood). Likewise, an option for getting to Lynnwood TC is to take a very frequent bus to 185th followed by a frequent (and very fast) train ride north. If they are headed to Mountlake Terrace, they can take the 130 (which can be truncated at Aurora Village).

        From Westgate to Mountlake Terrace they can take the more direct route (shown on the map). In both those cases, the trip to Mountlake Terrace won’t be as frequent, but there are fewer riders heading there. Likewise, some riders (between these locations) will have a two seat ride to Mountlake Terrace. But it is faster to get to 185th than it is to get to Mountlake Terrace, which means that the buses could be more frequent.

      7. @asdf2 — I agree. I think the basketweave idea is bogus. There is nothing in the document to suggest this (the drawings are all vague, with no street level detail). Unless there is a major change to the freeway (e. g. new ramps added) the only way to get from Aurora Village to Mountlake Terrace TC is via surface streets (https://goo.gl/maps/3NQqMBnPEkcaLy496). However, you can use the freeway the other way (https://goo.gl/maps/S9mB9sPka5EXypfG8). That is fast, as long as there is no traffic. It would involve leaving the nice bus lanes and then merging over, though (likely pretty slow during morning and evening rush hour).

        Also, turning back north makes Aurora Village become quite out of the way. At a minimum, that’s a lot of stoplights, and a lot of left turns.

        As an alternative, I’m starting to wonder if a route that just takes regular streets, following the most direct route to Mountlake Terrace Station, avoiding 104 and Aurora Village altogether, might be best. Of course, such a route would need to be in addition to, not a replacement for, the 130.

        If you look at the map, there is a route that is basically like this: https://goo.gl/maps/dgqWc27L7UtWeFfh8. I’m not fond of the button hook at the end (I don’t like button hooks), but that seems like a solid route. I also think the eastern end of the 130 is fine (basically this: https://goo.gl/maps/uFAG1NF3JS1rP8d66). Both of these allow folks to get to Mountlake Terrace. Not as quickly (or frequently) but they can still get there.

        It really comes down to frequency. A bus that goes from Edmonds to 185th (via Aurora Village) seems like it could have Swift level frequency. There is a fair amount of density all along there, and it follows one of the two big trip patterns (people headed towards Seattle). The other new Swift route (the 196) covers the other main trip pattern from Edmonds (people heading towards Lynnwood).

        There are people headed to Mountlake Terrace, and they should have connecting bus service, but it shouldn’t water down either line.

  7. From what I hear, Swift won’t serve Aurora Village. This makes me either 1) cringe that CT will cut off several vital connections or 2) wonder what Metro has planned for Aurora Village when 185th St is so close by…

    1. I’ve thought about this a lot, and drawn prototype networks in Shoreline and North Seattle ever since Lynnwood Link got underway. The Swift routing to 185th is the best, and I’m glad CT chose it. The E should continue to go to Aurora Village and not turn on 185th. For somebody continuing north or south; e.g., from 85th to Edmonds, such a routing would allow them to transfer at the same stop on Aurora. If both routes turned, they’d have the overhead of turning and have to cross the street. I’m also assuming Shoreline P&R will be a significant node either as-is or transformed into something else. Earlier Shoreline was thinking about moving the Aurora Village transit center to Shoreline P&R, but that was later abandoned. Still, I think the location can be useful for something, and having both lines stop there might be useful in the future. The E could be extended from Aurora Village to 185th station on Meridian, so that it would have a direct connection to Link.

      Beyond that, the governments need to make a strategic decision on what Aurora Village will be long-term. It had department stores but they’ve left. The P&R has been there for a long time. Costco is a significant destination. Should it have both the E and Swift? It depends on what it’s going to be.

      1. I agree with Mike. I think the detour (by both bus routes) makes sense right now. But when 185th is added, it makes sense to terminate the E there, but have the Swift line continue on SR 99. Detouring the latter to serve Aurora Village and then back would really slow things up. On the other hand, terminating the E at Aurora Village is as good a place as any. From the maps that are part of the presentation, it appears that they view Aurora Village in a broad sense (in other words, a stop on Aurora is serving Aurora Village). I think this is reasonable, but it does bring up some issues.

        First, if you are just headed up SR 99, then you have a long walk (or you have to transfer from the E). This doesn’t seem like it would make things that bad for that many riders. It seems like most people are closer to the highway than Ashworth.

        As far as bus connections, I don’t think it is an issue. The CT buses (130 and 115) cross Aurora, so they are OK. The Metro 331 also crosses Aurora, while the 346 crosses 185th. That leaves express commuter buses, and those will certainly be redone (and largely not present an issue).

        In general, I think it will work out nicely.

      2. This does bring up another issue with the bus route that jas and I are arguing about. If this bus route (from Edmonds to Mountlake Terrace) replaces the 130, then it becomes a lot harder to get from Aurora to Edmonds. You can do it, but it would mean walking from the transit center probably to Meridian (the first stop they could add there). That is an ugly ten minute walk (https://goo.gl/maps/CCBCxYNnWsWWW4Bp6).

        This is another argument for having the Edmonds-to-Link bus serve 185th. It would just follow Swift to 185th. It would be faster than serving Mountlake Terrace, while providing what is likely to be a more important connection. Mountlake Terrace does have buses from the east, and connecting them to Edmonds is a worthy goal, but that can be achieved by continuing them to Westgate via 228th (even if that means a two seat ride).

        I would also keep the eastern part of the 130. That would provide service along 76th, and still connect Aurora Village to the Mountlake Terrace TC. That means duplicating service from 76th and 228th to Mountlake Terrace, but that is not that far, and there are apartments along the way. I would also add a stop to Swift at 228th. That way someone on 76th, could head up SR 99 fairly easily (by walking a little ways https://goo.gl/maps/2oUpyUnhqmue73Fs6).

  8. Getting between Edmonds and pretty much anywhere in Seattle besides Aurora Village is pretty terrible today. I would was with a group walking in the Edmonds area, and saw firsthand how terrible. For instance, at 3:15 PM on a Saturday, one of our group members realized that the only way to get to Ballard by 5 was to order an Uber or Lyft. In other words, for a simple trip between two urban villages that Google pegs as 26 minutes by car, allowing 1 hour 45 minutes by transit isn’t good enough.

    Mukilteo is even worse – the only bus route that goes there is also once per hour, and takes a very circuitous route, so just getting to Lynnwood is a 43-minute bus ride vs. a 17-minute drive. CT does not seem inclined to change this anytime soon. Their 2024 plan continues to show the circuitous route to Lynnwood, at hourly frequency, being the only way in or out of Mukilteo. Maybe the Paine Field Link station will be finally be the catalyst to get this to change. A connector shuttle would be so short, it would be crazy not to run it.

    Another difficult case I didn’t see much mention of is Monroe. The quick way in or out (by car) is SR-522, but transit-wise, that stretch of SR-522 sees only two buses per day. The rest of the way, you have to ride the bus for 45 minutes to Everett, followed by more buses to get where you really want to go. While driving back home from Leavenworth a couple Fridays ago, SR-522, going the other way, was already packed from Woodinville to Monroe even at 3 PM. I can only imagine what it’s like at 5 PM. Yet, all these people in their cars have no transit alternative whatsoever, except for a single bus route from downtown Seattle that runs twice per day.

    1. Three different areas, all with their own issues. I would say this, though:

      1) Edmonds — The world will change for Edmonds when Lynnwood Link gets here. They will have relatively fast, frequent service to Lynnwood TC. In my opinion, they should have fast, frequent service to 185th (via Aurora Village) as well. In many cases (like a trip to Ballard) that means a three seat ride, but Edmonds is a pretty long way away from Seattle.

      2) Mukilteo — Mukilteo is even farther away, and much smaller. If it wasn’t for the ferry (or the speedway) I don’t think most people would have heard of it. It is basically Covington with a ferry doc. The ferry connects to Clinton, a town of about 2,500 people (if the ferry connected to Bremerton it would be a different story). Due to its isolation and low density, it will muddle along with mediocre transit.

      3) Monroe — Monroe is similar to Mukilteo in terms of size, density and isolation. It is a place that people have gone through, but there simply aren’t a lot of people there, and they are spread out. It is also a long ways away from any big city. It could use a better transit to Seattle/Bellevue, but it sits in the wrong county. They are adding a lane each direction to SR 522, but they will be regular lanes. If they were HOV lanes then I could see Sound Transit running a few express buses there, but since they won’t, I think ST will focus on easier, more cost effective projects.

  9. I would love for Community Transit, Skagit Transit, and Whatcom Transit to put their heads together and create a route that runs from Lynnwood TC (and eventually just Everett Station) to the Peace Arch, with a stop in Everett, Mt. Vernon, and Bellingham. Hopefully Translink would then have a bus from the Peace Arch to King George Station in Surrey. Riding around the region on transit ought not require a reservation weeks ahead.

    The American and Canadian routes would need to be separate so the buses themselves don’t have to sit through Customs for an hour. But please ramp up Customs pedestrian staffing.

    Oh, and on electric buses. Pretty please. My working title would be the “Pony Express”.

    1. Meh. I’d rather my SnoCo CT dedicated sales tax dollars go toward higher priority immediate and long range plan goals rather than such a niche market as your proposal.

    2. There should be all-day and weekend service of some sort between Everett, Mt Vernon, and Bellingham. It’s clearly outside CT’s mandate and Skagit Transit can’t afford it, so this is where the state should step in because it’s a statewide issue. The inter-county connectors exist; they just need a longer span. You would still need to transfer in Mt Vernon but I’m not as concerned about that; some service is better than no service, and this is just the kind of infrequent rural chain service where a timed transfer is appropriate.

    3. It should also stop at Smokey Point to give Marysville and the future Swift terminus access.

      1. Definitely. It’s absurd that Smokey Point doesn’t have a stop on any of the express routes that pass right by, despite being the hub of the North County network. The lack of a park-and-ride (which was downgraded to the current transit center) has apparently been the holdup for its own express service.

  10. Will there be better connections between routes serving the two ferry terminals and Link at Lynnwood TC?

    1. I think Edmonds definitely — they will eventually get a Swift line from Edmonds to Lynnwood TC. Hard to say about Mukilteo, but I would assume that things improve (just as all areas will improve).

  11. Miscellaneous:
    The Swift Green line is the only connection for most people insouthwest Everett/Mill Creek to the regional transit service at Canyon Park, for there is only periodic Everett Transit two-bus service to the 112th Street Park & Ride from southwest Everett, ranging from the connection to their #29 has already left to it isn’t for an hour to there is no connection. ET could have helped significantly if they extended their #12 to the 112th Park & Ride, where connections to the #512 and #532 await. Instead, its eastern terminal is the Everett Mall, 1.4 miles away. BTW, the #29 starts in north Everett, where most of the city councilmembers live, passes two connections to regional (ST) service: Everett Station and the 112th freeway station, then going on to the mall, a long route. ET also doesn’t offer two-way service on their #70 to/from the Sounder in Mukilteo, either, they only serve the Boeing workforce.

    The Green line should have been initially extended to UW Bothell via I-405 , but at least there is connectivity is still there via the local #105. The third Swift (Orange) line is planned between McCollum Park, Mill Creek, Ash Way, Alderwood, and Edmonds Community College by 2024. Everett to Arlington is the Red Line, the fourth line, by the late 2020s. All of this is several years before light rail is to reach Everett. ST could help by opening up the southern three stations (Lynnwood to Mariner) independently of the rest, which would offer connections between Swift Green and Link in the late 2020s. It’s comparable to Northgate Link in # of stations and slightly shorter in distance without any tunneling required.

    @Mike Orr Your assessment is in line with what I’ve observed from taking a few trips midday. It’s mainly a Boeing route going north: a station at 94th would have been useful for BoMarc and other employees in that area, with ironically old CT bus shelters in the parking lot on the north/east side of Airport Road, and running every other bus to terminate at Paine Field might have been a wiser choice. Re: Seaway, a part of the arrangement was for Boeing to operate shuttles to take employees closer to their work sites, which also freed up thousands of bus service hours since they no longer have to circle the massive complex. On Aurora Village, we need to lobby that the reconfigured Swift Blue (2024) will have a station at 200th to serve Aurora Village as well as at 224th to serve Edmonds’ international area.

    Having a northbound ramp at Ash Way would eliminate “the weave” between 128th and 164th, and with the number of buses in that area becoming an armada in 2024 due to their terminating at Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace: the congestion will greatly increase, a bus every few minutes. It would also greatly reduce traffic on 164th between I-5 and Ash Way as well as on Ash Way itself, which becomes problematic in inclement weather, in part due to poor design for the Park & Ride (exit not at the existing traffic light to its south, the one just north of 164th) or simply to have a traffic light for transit at the existing exit (Swift Orange buses are to use the round-a-bout to the north to turn around due to this). The ramp could be completed in a shorter time than most, as it’s probably already designed and there’s no freeway overpasses to construct.

    @Alex Kven Yes, the 101 and 105 are underlying service, but they serve far more stops. For instance, the international area of Edmonds, where a lot of elderly people shop, around 224th, isn’t served by Swift Blue, an the nearest stations are at 238th and at 216th. Unfortunately, the 101 only runs hourly on weekends.

    Lastly, most transit planners in the outlying areas do not ride transit regularly, and those who ride at all tend to take the same trip/bus pattern. Therefore, it’s up to us, the transit riding community, to write and comment frequently, though realistically knowing that we’re up against folks with a superiority complex.

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