[UPDATE: Sound Transit says Metro did not check with them when announcing new train headways. It will remain every 6 minutes peak and 10 otherwise, with no trains turning around at Stadium. In 2023, it will be every 4 minutes peak and 5 off peak through downtown, with the South King and East King branches each getting 8 and 10.]

The Northgate Link restructure has started. Metro is studying routes 26, 31, 32, 41, 45, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 301, 303, 304, 308, 309, 312, 316, 330, 345, 346, 347, 348, 355, 372, and 373 for possible changes. (Not the 44, 48, 49, 70, or any routes west of Aurora.) At this point Metro wants to know what people think about the current network, and recruit people for a “Mobility Board” to review the restructure proposals starting this fall.

According to Metro’s briefing on the project, Northgate Link will open in 2021 with U-District, Roosevelt, and Northgate stations. Frequency will be every 4-6 minutes peak hours, with 4-car trains. Some trains will run Northgate-Stadium, as MLK will not exceed 10 trains per hour. Travel time from Northgate to UW will be 7 minutes. That puts Northgate-Westlake at 13 minutes and Northgate-SeaTac at 47 minutes.

There is a not a lot of meat on the project website. However, a glance at the Seattle Transit Map can provide insights on the current network. Some parts work pretty well:

  • Above Northgate Way, the system conveniently already funnels people into the Transit Center.
  • The 67, 45, and fellow travelers provide good connectivity to Roosevelt, U-District Station, and places in between.
  • The 62 provides a straighforward connection to Link on 65th Street.

But it’s not all roses. Lake City Way buses like the 522 whiz right by Link stations without really connecting to them. With 145th St BRT coming and Northgate an attractive terminus as well, it’s not clear what happens to lower Lake City Way.

Moreover, much like mighty route 7 further south, the main north-south routes east of the 67 parallel Link for a long time before winding up in a difficult transfer environment. Any bus route that funnels into UW faces a dilemma between a direct-but-congested route on that doesn’t really serve the campus, and a slower one that goes through campus but skirts the fringes of UW station and takes a while to wind up in the U-District.

Metro’s 2025 plan for the area is a preliminary network design published in 2016. While not a fully baked proposal, it doesn’t envision wholesale changes to the overall grid. The biggest impact is in the U-District, where buses come off Stevens Way in favor of circling the campus perimeter on Montlake, Pacific, and 45th. If the primary motion is delivering people to and from Link, this would certainly be the way to go.

You’ve already missed your opportunity to apply for the mobility board (sorry), but there will be lots of public comment leading up to a Summer 2020 commit to the new route network.

Mike Orr contributed to this report.

138 Replies to “A new network in North Seattle”

  1. I’m really really glad that’s they’re deciding to run a “stub” line from Northgate to Stadium!!

      1. Sadly this isn’t true. The Metro presentation is wrong. Only 6 minute peak headways in ’21, then 8 mins peak on each line (4 combined) in ’23. However 4-car trains in ’21 will still be a ~55% capacity boost.

    1. Looks like a full red line every 8 minutes, then a short red line (to stadium) every 8 minutes add well.

    2. As am I, though I’m wondering where they’ll store the cars at night during 2021 (after opening day), 2022, and 2023 before East Link opens. Will they declare the trackway ready for non-revenue movements while the stations are finished?

      Because the existing MF can’t hold enough cars for a set of short turns if the legacy system is operating with six-minute headways of four-car trains. Given a 19 minute run time and doubling drivers between Stadium and the pocket that would mean six trains on the turn back service plus twelve on the base service. That’s 72 cars (18 x 4)! Ths current MF can hold about sixty or so, zI believe. Will they leave trains parked at the end points?

      1. Short turns aren’t happening. The post was incorrect based on faulty Metro data. The current Kinkisharyo cars are going to be trucked out to the new yard in Bellevue one at a time as the Siemens cars come online. They’ll be retrofitted and lay dormant until East Link is ready for testing. 2021 is 4-car trains at six-minute peak headways, full stop.

      2. Thank you. I was wondering how they were going to do swing it with just the one MF.

  2. The obvious one is terminating 74 at 42nd and 8th. At the other end 74 could continue further north of Magnuson Park with some overlap with 75. For Sandpoint residents there would be the 62 for Roosevelt Station, 65 for UW Station and 74 for U-District Station.

    1. I don’t think there will be any Metro buses crossing the I-5 ship canal bridge once Northgate Link gets here. The only exception I could see are buses headed to South Lake Union or First Hill (or more likely, both). Metro truncated lots of buses after UW Link. Truncating the rest of them when better stations come on board is just the next logical step.

      It isn’t clear what Community Transit will do (and the subject has been discussed here quite a bit). They may truncate some, none or all of the buses at Northgate. At a minimum I would truncate the buses headed to the UW.

      As for the rest of the 74, I combined it with the 78. The combined bus would probably have decent frequency (e. g. every half hour) while providing the unique coverage. I don’t think it is necessary to give Sand Point another bus line, as it has the 62 and 75.

      1. 74 serves a different crowd than 75 and 62. There was a reason they rebranded the 30 to 74 for local trips, ie, quite the rebellion.

      2. I don’t follow you. Of course riders want buses that go everywhere to everywhere. But Sand Point is not a big enough destination to justify such redundant service. They can get to Link very quickly and frequently via the 62. They can get to the UW very quickly and frequently via the 75. They really don’t need a special, infrequent, somewhat squirrely bus that gets them to the U-District. Continuing to make routes like that weakens the route as well as the overall network.

        Put it this way: Imagine they double the frequency of the 62, so that it runs every 8 minutes (instead of 15). Now imagine a steady stream of buses (45, 67, etc.) running from 65th to the U-District. Now imagine the choice is between that, or the same basic network, except with the 74 running all day with half hour service. How many people do you think would prefer the latter? Even folks in Sand Point, who have this special connection, would prefer the extra service on the 62. They can still get to the U-District (fairly easily I might add) while others (like those who travel along the unique part of the 74) could get better service.

        The 74 and 78 have redundant sections, and can be combined to provide much better frequency along the pieces that are unique.

      3. Remove the useless 78. But 74(30) route is a lot different than 75. Given the 75 runs packed at 15min intervals and, unlike the 74, serves Childrens and UW (Stevens), the 74 has ample ridership to justify its existence for downtown Seattle riders. The only difference will be instead of running downtown it will now truncate at a Link Station. The two runs serve different clients. 62 is un entire different story. It basically runs empty until Roosevelt where it starts picking up steam has it heads south. If anything the 62 and 78 should be dropped or truncated.

      4. The 74 is not for Sand Point, it’s for NE 55th Street and the Ravenna Blvd/fraternity area.

        In the 80s the 74 local continued down Eastlake and Fairview to downtown, paraleling the 74 express. (The 71/72/73 did not serve Fairview.) The 30 ran from Laurelhurst along 45th and down Fremont Ave and I think to Magnolia. There was no service on N 40th Street then; the closest routes were on 45th.

        The 70s trolleybus was created in the 90s or so and it took over Fairview which was getting all those midrise towers then. The 74 local was rerouted on 40th, so it went from NOAA to 55th, 50th, University Way, Campus Pkwy, 40th, 35th, and Magnolia (?), but daytime-only west of Campus Pkwy. This created an enormous divergence between the 74 local and 74 express which went to completely different places in the west half. That became too confusing so the 74 local was renumbered to 30. (The old 30 had been deleted long before then.)

        In the 2014 cuts the 30 was reduced to peak-only. It was going to be deleted but the later rounds of cuts were canceled by the county council. If I remember it was deleted with U-Link when the 62 was created. There was grumbling and Metro later restored a 55th shuttle, now numbered 74 again. This was not long after Metro resurrected numbers 226 and 235 in the Eastside for something vaguely like their 1980s corridors. So it’s part of a general revival of traditional numbers. (I’m still waiting to see what the next 6 will be.)

      5. “The 74 is not for Sand Point, it’s for NE 55th Street and the Ravenna Blvd/fraternity area.” Not primarily but it does pass through the area, I know, I used it everyday where it turned off Standpoint onto Princeton.

        Also, in the same token, 75 is not a Sandpoint bus. It is more of a Lake City, Wedgewood, View Ridge and etc to Children’s and UW bus.

      6. The 75 is a Sand Point bus; it’s the primary route from Magnuson Park (the center of Sand Point’s density) to civilization at U-Villge/U-District and Lake City. The 62 now competes for this but I’d say it’s still secondary, especially because it’s slow going across 65th and up View Ridge hill and is not stop-dieted yet. (Eastern 65th has stops every two blocks.) This might change in the coming years but I’d say for now the 75 is still the primary route for Sand Point.

      7. The 62 is how people in View ridge will get to Link. Right now, Roosevelt Station isn’t open yet, so they’re getting to Link in other buses, such as the 65, or riding downtown directly on the 76. In 2021, I expect the 62’s ridership in that area to increase dramatically, since it’s such a straight shot to Roosevelt station.

        Similarly, it is important to have some bus that connects Magnesun Park and the homes nearby with what’s up the hill. Remove the 62, it’s a long detour. This section of the 62 is not just about avoiding a transfer. It’s about avoiding the combination of a transfer and having to travel way out of the way.

      8. If you say Sandpoint Way then yes I would agree.
        But if you say Sandpoint then no, hardly picks-up anybody there. It is full before before there. And Childrens and UW, it’s two major stops, are not in Sandpoint.

      9. “The 62 is how people in View ridge will get to Link.”

        All ten of them.

        “it is important to have some bus that connects Magnesun Park and the homes nearby with what’s up the hill.”

        Yes, there’s a huge benefit in connecting Magnuson Park, View Ridge, Ravenna, and Roosevelt. And also to connect them to Fremont and Dexter. This is what we mean by a crosstown grid.

        “If you say Sandpoint Way then yes I would agree.
        But if you say Sandpoint then no, hardly picks-up anybody there.”

        I won’t try to figure out what you mean by “Sandpoint” and whether I’d agree. Children’s is a large destination but it also has the 65 going to all those other areas. The Magnison Park area has only the 75. You’re looking at it from the perspective of the 75’s ridership; I’m looking at it from the perspective of the Magnuson Park area’s access to civilization and groceries. Especially the low-income people who live in the park and the people who go to the community center.

      10. I won’t try to figure out what you mean by “Sandpoint” and whether I’d agree.

        Enter “sandpoint seattle wa” into google and note the shaded area on the map. This is what I mean by Sandpoint.

        “Children’s is a large destination but it also has the 65 going to all those other areas. ”
        No, 65 turns north before Childrens and covers an entirely different area than 75. 65 heads straight north up 35th to Lake City Way. It also runs to capacity so not a route to mess with.

        “The Magnison Park area has only the 75. You’re looking at it from the perspective of the 75’s ridership; I’m looking at it from the perspective of the Magnuson Park area’s access to civilization and groceries. Especially the low-income people who live in the park and the people who go to the community center.”

        Yes, but that’s what’s so nice about this route, it covers a lot of needs.

      11. If anything the 62 … should be dropped or truncated.

        Oh come on. Don’t be ridiculous. Look at Oran’s wonderful map. See the area called “Sand Point”. It is basically Sand Point Way between 65th and the entrance to Magnuson Park. It is a land of moderate density. It has apartments and condos, along with destinations in (or near) the park. For the rest of this comment, I will use that term for that area.

        That is the area we are talking about. The 74 can continue to go there, overlapping the 75, but why? Who will benefit? Only those going from Sand Point to the U-District. They would continue to have a slow, twisting ride to the U-District. That is nice, but not exactly essential. As I wrote above, it is quite likely that taking the 62 followed by another bus would be faster. More importantly, no one from that area will ride the 74 if they are headed downtown. They will take the 62 and save ten minutes, even if both buses arrive at the same time! It makes sense to truncate the 74 so that it can run more often, and put the service into other areas.

        It also makes sense to kill the 78. But one of the better ways to still serve Laurelhurst (again, see Oran’s map) is to send the 74 there. It costs very little, once you decide to *not* send the 74 to Sand Point. You kill two birds with one stone. You kill off the 78 *and* the wasteful tail of the 74, thus enabling much greater frequency for the core of the 74, which (as Mike rightly pointed out) is the area *between* Sand Point Way and the U-District. That is the area that suffers with poor frequency right now (despite high population density). It is also the part of the route that actually makes for a grid (enabling other truncations, which in turn enable better frequency).

        You are basically arguing for a bunch of overlap to an area that really doesn’t need it, and for the most part, wouldn’t use it.

      12. Oh, and you might want to look at the data. The 74 is mediocre during rush hour, despite being the fastest way to downtown for someone in the U-District (all its friends — 71, 72, 73 — have since been truncated) and the only direct bus to downtown from Sand Point. It lags behind the 76, 77 and other direct buses to downtown (that serve far less populated areas). Now we are removing those advantages (it will no longer be the fastest way to downtown). You are depending on basically what it does in the middle of the day, which is to provide a connection from Sand Point to the U-District. During that time, it is not mediocre — it is terrible. From a rides per hour, and passenger miles per platform mile it is literally the worst Seattle-only bus. Yet you think we should continue with this obviously weak run, instead of focusing on what is essential (the unique part of this run). I’m sorry, but Sand Point doesn’t really need — nor will it support — a third bus. The 62 and 75 are way more popular *now* — at every point of the day — and the 62 is ready to explode, as it become the primary way that people get to Link from Sand Point. Spending extra service hours on what is already a weak tail when it is about to become extremely weak would be crazy.

      13. The thing about the 74, is, there are really only two parts of the route that have more density than single-family homes. One is near the U-district, west of 25th or so. The other is over at Sand Point.

        The former area is close enough to the U-district to make walking faster than waiting for and riding the bus. Especially, since the people that live there are predominately UW students in their early 20’s – not elderly, frail people who can’t climb a fight of stairs. I used to live in that area and I almost never rode the 74 to the U-district. It was quicker and easier to just walk.

        The latter area, the twisting path of the 74 offers no improvement to the U-district over the straight and more frequent route 75.

        I do think the route still likely gets enough ridership to justify some rush hour trips to the U-district, but probably not enough to justify running all-day. Every single home along the route has alternative service they can walk to.

      14. Well that was the point of the 74, an “express” bus during peak to get people downtown. And this is the one that runs full, not the non-peak runs. When they discontinued the 30 there was an uproar, not sure why, but people wanted the 30 back and so they rebranded it and brought it back as a non-peak 74 (this was the status last I knew anyway), and it is the non-peak 74 which should not be continued. I know there are a lot of baby- boomer types that don’t care for the hike up the hill to catch the inconvenient 62 and the neighborhood will not settle for the disappearance of the 74. The 74 peak does great numbers on its own merit. Meanwhile the 62 gets all its ridership west of Roosevelt but has very little value east; there is really no comparison between the two in this area.

      15. The 30 was actually slightly faster to U-District Station than the 62 is to Roosevelt Station. I couldn’t believe it at first but the 62’s route is just more congested and has more lights and it takes longer to go up and down View Ridge hill.

        The overlap between 74th, 65th, and 55th is so small it’s not worth bothering about. It gets the bus to a multifamily/mixed-use area and that’s the important point.

        But the 1018 in Metro’s 2040 plan doesn’t even go to 74th; it turns around at 55th & Sand Point Way (and goes to Magnolia on the other end). I’m concerned about that because it puts the east end practically in the middle of nowhere and makes the route weaker than it would otherwise be.

      16. @RossB, regarding this:
        “I don’t think there will be any Metro buses crossing the I-5 ship canal bridge once Northgate Link gets here. The only exception I could see are buses headed to South Lake Union or First Hill (or more likely, both). ”

        Would you include routes like the 26 and 28 in that assumption? I rode the 26 from my place in Wallingford to DT for the good part of a decade as part of my 2-seat commute to work, first in Georgetown and then in North Delridge. If I still lived at my old place and needed to make that same commute with a now truncated 26, would I now be looking at a 3-seat trip via the U-District Link station?

      17. The 74 peak does great numbers on its own merit.

        No, it doesn’t. At rush hour it is mediocre. It is below the 76 and 77. It is well below the 70 and 49, although it is significantly better than the 43.

        It is mediocre, despite the fact that it is the only express bus from the U-District to downtown. Yet this characteristic — that raises it from poor to mediocre — is going away! You don’t seem to get that. There will be no express from from the U-District to downtown once Link gets here. The bulk of the riders who use it — those taking advantage of a very fast run from the U-District to downtown — will use Link instead. The other big set of riders — from Sand Point to downtown — will use the 62 and Link instead. You are eliminating the main set of riders from a bus that is simply average, and then somehow expecting ridership to be great. It makes no sense.

        You are also missing the point. I don’t think we should kill it. There is a moderate amount of density in its key coverage area (the part of the route that is unique). What we are arguing is that the tail — the part that overlaps the 75 — should go away. There aren’t enough riders going from there to the U-District to justify that section. If there were, then ridership in the middle of the day would be higher. It is a coverage run, just like the tail of the 78. If you combine the two, you can get decent frequency, and ridership should increase. Not to a really high level, but it should be able to at least approach mediocrity (which is just fine for a coverage run). I’m not talking about running it every five minutes, either — 15 minutes would do just fine.

      18. “I don’t think there will be any Metro buses crossing the I-5 ship canal bridge once Northgate Link gets here.”

        “Would you include routes like the 26 and 28 in that assumption?”

        Ross said I-5 specifically. There will still be many buses on the other bridges. Regarding specific routes, in Metro’s 2025 plan Wallingford would have the following southbound options: (A) 62 to downtown, (B) Latona to U-District Station, (C) 31/32 to U-District Station. So the only 2-seat ride to Georgetown or Delridge would be on Stone Way.

        The plan has two I-5 routes. (1) Woodinville-Lake City-Swedish Cherry Hill, (2) Kirkland-Expedia (via 108th, 520, UW Station, Campus Pkwy, I-5, SLU).

      19. “I don’t think there will be any Metro buses crossing the I-5 ship canal bridge once Northgate Link gets here. ”

        Would you include routes like the 26 and 28 in that assumption?

        The 26 and 28 don’t cross the I-5 ship canal bridge. I was trying to be careful in specifying “I-5”. Buses that cross the Aurora Bridge (and other bridges) will still run. It is just the I-5 buses (which are express in nature) that I think will go away (except to go to First Hill/South Lake Union as noted).

      20. My therapist used to be in Greenlake, and I live in Burien, so I sometimes rode the whole 131/28 line to get there, and honestly? the F>Link>45 was a much nicer and more predictable ride to get there and back. I’d constantly be late if I took the 131 unless I left 2 1/2 hours early (vs 2 hours via Link, though it could’ve been 1 1/2 if the atrocious offpeak EB F/Link timing were better), and the one lane stretch of Latona was frequently blocked by cars, and one time by a construction company’s dumpster (that one took a half-hour to clear). Georgetown, if the throughrouting were broken, I’d call the Link version better for a rush hour commute by catching the 131, and Delridge the 131/120 depending.

        Obviously I’m somewhat of a newcomer to things, but I really don’t see why people cling to wanting 1(/2) seat rides to places vs transferring to Link, simply because there’s very little chance of getting stuck in traffic with Link versus any of the surface street buses.

      21. “I don’t think there will be any Metro buses crossing the I-5 ship canal bridge once Northgate Link gets here.”

        As awful as traffic is on Montlake and its bridge is, does it make any sense to send one/some of the 520 bridge routes to Northgate instead of UW?

      22. @RossB
        “I was trying to be careful in specifying “I-5”.”

        Thanks for the clarification. I clearly misread your earlier comment. (That’s what I get for reading this blog in the wee hours.)

        Fwiw….The 26 and 120 2-seat commute I used to take to get from my home in Wallingford to my office in North Delridge was usually a fairly quick one as I was getting on the 26 toward the end of its Wallingford slog with just a few stops to go before its Aurora express section. My connection to the SB 120 was pretty reliable and, since I got off at the very northern end of Delridge, my total commute time was very reasonable (under 40 minutes from what I recall).

        Anyway, sorry for the confusion on my part.

      23. My impression is that it indeed took time for 62 to catch on but that it has seen steady increase in ridership between Green lake and Sand point. Just try to catch a bus on the corner of NE 15th Ave and 65th when Roosevelt high school empties out each day. And it is the only serious east west connection. Try getting to Ballard without this bus.

  3. I wrote a series of posts on Page 2 about the subject. This is the latest one, and it has links to the others: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2019/04/13/north-seattle-bus-routes-after-northgate-link-third-version/. I encourage people to check out the map, the text and especially the comments on those posts. There are a lot of good ideas there. Here are a couple key elements:

    The 522 should serve the Roosevelt station. Doing so is faster than serving Northgate, and would retain the very popular stop at 20th. I also combine the 67 with the 73. The 67 would avoid its extremely wasteful button-hook to Northgate. South of Pinehurst Way, there would be no all-day service on 15th. However, the street would retain peak service via the 77, which would be truncated at Roosevelt (the hours of which could be extended).

    One of the big questions is whether it makes sense to look ahead to Lynnwood Link, or whether we should just change the bus routes for Northgate Link, and not worry about changing them again in a few years. For the most part, I took the latter approach with my proposals, although I’m not confident it is the way to go.

    1. Metro agrees that there are tradeoffs between on restructure or two. I discussed this with Metro public-relations rep Travis Shofner, and he said they’re trying to restructure routes once but in some cases that’s not feasible because 2021 Link can’t support 2024 routes. There’s also 522 Stride and the deletion of the 522, which may not occur at exactly the same time as Lynnwood Link. (Shofner said, “Sound Transit’s Stride on SR-522 is currently planned to replace the existing ST Route 522”.)

      By the way, I couldn’t confirm that the “4-6 minute” peak service is a definite increase or that there will be Northgate-Stadium runs. Shofner said, “Link will operate very similarly [frequency] to what’s seen today”. Metro is not ST so the briefing is a secondhand source. The “4-6 minute” may be an unusual interpretation of the current service, reflecting peak-of-peak dispatching that somehow dissipates when it reaches Rainier Valley. For instance, shorter headways at UW may cancel out congestion in the DSTT resulting in adhering to the 6-minute ceiling in the valley. But all this is just my speculation.

  4. Is there any way to make the Lake City-Bitter Lake route work without 130th St. Link station? If both 5th and 15th Ave. have perpendicular buses to Northgate, it seems it could be done. The utter dearth of crosstown service north of Northgate is a major hole in the bus network. Even south of Northgate, there’s a huge gap between the 75/40 and the 45/62, and, even a ride from Lake City to Greenwood takes at least 45 minutes on a bus for a 10-15 minute drive.

    1. It is a tough challenge. This gets at what I said up above — if Metro wants to make this restructure and have it work for Lynnwood Link as well, then you could do it. You would get riders, I’m just not that sure how many.

      Part of the issue is that it would be a connector bus. Neither Lake City or Bitter Lake is a huge destination. There are lots of people there, but they are headed all over the place. You get great value from a crossing bus, but almost all the trips involve a transfer. Without a connection to Link, it would be hard to justify a high frequency bus. Without high frequency, the connecting bus becomes a lot less valuable. If Metro ran a bus all the way across and it only ran every half hour, it is hard to see many riders using it.

      On the other hand, if Metro could squeeze out a 15 minute bus, the people who rode it would be thrilled (for the reasons you mentioned). It would plug a huge hole in our transit system. It wouldn’t be cheap, though. I don’t see any way of bending the system to create that run. Other buses would still go to Northgate (or Roosevelt, UW, etc.). This makes it very different than when Lynnwood Link gets here. At that point, buses like the 41 could just go across on 130th instead of turning to serve Northgate. In the map I made for a Lynnwood Link restructure (https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2019/05/02/seattle-bus-routes-after-lynnwood-link/) I do exactly that. The same route could be built on top of a Northgate Link based restructure (and get some very happy riders), it is simply a matter of whether Metro can afford it (or has other priorities).

      Otherwise, folks would have to wait until 130th Station gets here (which should happen in only a few years, unless ST drops the ball). Maybe that is an argument for adding the bus line now — it would send a clear signal to ST that they should add the station with Lynnwood Link.

      1. I was thinking maybe run it every 30 minutes initially a then upgrade to every 15 minutes when 130th station opens. Yes, 30 minute service isn’t great, but it’s enough of an improvement over alternatives to make a 30 minute bus worth waiting for. Even for Lake City-Greenwood, I think taking the 130th at. Bus and switching to the 5 still beats the 75->40 transfer. You have a straighter route with less traffic, and no grand detour at Northgate. The bus will also likely move much faster than the crowded existing routes, since it will stop less and spend less time at each stop.

      2. There is no question that it would be a dramatic improvement in speed. But if you run the bus every half hour, it becomes a lot less attractive. If you miss that bus, then you end up just doing what you’ve always done. This would dramatically cut into the buses popularity, and perpetuate the myth that folks aren’t interested in everywhere-to-everywhere transit. They are, but not if it means waiting around forever.

        A good example of this is the 67 and 73. The 67 is a screwy route, but it runs often. In contrast, the 73 is very fast and straightforward, but it runs only every half hour. In Pinehurst, I’ve found myself taking the 347/348 (which itself only runs about every 15 minutes) and making a terrible transfer at Northgate Way and Roosevelt Way to avoid the long wait. At times, this has worked out OK. Other times I would have been better off waiting. I know I’m not alone, which is why the 73 has very low ridership, and the 67 is so popular. Again, the 67 route is terrible — the transfer from Pinehurst is terrible — but people will choose that over just sitting around, hoping that the next bus will be here on time. If you add in another transfer, then this is even more the case. We’ve already ruled out the folks that won’t take a bus if there is a transfer.

        I really think this is an all or nothing affair — either run it every 15 minutes, or forget about it.

      3. There is also the danger that an inferior routing becomes set. There isn’t that much time between the two projects (assuming NE 130th is built with Lynnwood Link). As Mike said above, Metro is reluctant to change things around every few years. I fear that we may be stuck with the 67 — a bus that is reasonable now, but very weak once Northgate Link gets here.

        The same could be true with a bus that cuts across. If it is a brand new route (as you suggest) then there is no issue. If it is a continuation of some other route (like the eastern part of the 75, as I suggest) then it is. The eastern part of the 75 is relatively low density, and low frequency. A connecting run should run a lot more often, as it would be the fastest way for folks in Lake City and Bitter Lake to access Link. Speeding up the connections simply adds fuel to the fire. That is the type of run that sees increasing ridership as you increase frequency. A bus along Sand Point Way is not (or at least, not to the same degree). Again, I think a route like that would make sense now, but have a big mismatch in ridership when the NE 130th Station is built.

        As annoying as it is to wait, it might be the best course of action.

    2. Metro is already planning frequent crosstown routes with Lynnwood Link, so the density of Lake City and Bitter Lake is not an issue. (75 extension on 130th to Shoreline CC; 65 extension on 145th to Shoreline CC. Ballard-Lake City is addressed after Ballard Link with a Fred Meyer-to-Fred Meyer route.) The only hinderence on doing it sooner is limited service hours and other priorities. Maybe these can be included in Northgate Link; we’ll see what Metro’s first proposal has.

      If the 75 is rerouted away from Northgate, something would have to replace it. There might also be pushback from Sand Point on losing direct access to Northgate Station and the shopping district. I think that would be small because there’s not a lot of people in the Sand Point area, and they will have direct access to Roosevelt and U-District stations. (And you can get to Northgate the other way via Roosevelt. The 67 is slow but Link will be much faster.)

      1. Right, I think we all agree that there will be a crosstown bus once Lynnwood Link gets here. There is plenty of density in both areas to justify a frequent bus route, since for many it would be the fastest way to connect to Link. It also works for connecting to other buses as well as those who could use a one seat ride from one place to another (e. g. Bitter Lake to Lake City).

        The problem is, that last group is pretty small. It isn’t like going to the UW, or even Northgate. There are lots of businesses and medical offices at Northgate. This means an infrequent bus connecting to Northgate is likely to get a lot of riders, even if it didn’t have the fastest connection to downtown (via the 41 and eventually Link). A crosstown bus isn’t likely to have that.

        Which means that it is largely dependent on riders making a transfer. It really becomes an all or nothing proposition. Either you bite the bullet, and add enough frequency so that it saves a considerable amount of time when making a transfer, or it probably doesn’t pencil out. As I said, before the station at NE 130th, there is no sensible way to bend a similar route, because it would mean moving a route away from Link. This makes it different than say, modifying the 75 to go to the U-District (which would likely *improve* the Link connection, while still maintaining a connection to a major destination). Any bus that goes across is a brand new, expensive overlay. You still have to have the basic 41 (across 125th, then south to Northgate). Even if you modify the network, that means a fair amount of redundant service along 125th.

        I’m not saying it is impossible, I’m saying it wouldn’t be easy. Here is more or less how I would do it:

        1) Send the 75 straight across, and terminate at Shoreline CC or the terminus of the D. The former is a reasonably popular destination, the latter would make for a great connecting bus (getting from Lake City to anywhere west of I-5 would be much easier). The 75 runs every 15 minutes, which seems like barely enough frequency.

        2) Run a new bus from Lake City to Northgate. It would start at the current terminus for the 41, and follow the western section of the 75 (Lake City Way to Northgate Way, then on to Northgate TC).

        3) Truncate the 41. Although perhaps no longer justified, I think you would have to keep 10 minute frequency there (otherwise you are telling riders along the corridor that they will have less frequency even though they have to transfer to get downtown).

        4) Have the 522 go to Roosevelt. Take the truncation savings and bump up the frequency to every 15 minutes.

        That gives you three buses from Lake City to Link in the middle of the day. If the new bus (2) runs every 15 minutes, that is still pretty good frequency (10 buses an hour, although they wouldn’t be staggered in an ideal fashion). Going the other way (Link to Lake City) is worse, as you would be limited to two buses instead of three. If you ran that second bus every ten minutes, then you might be able to pair it with the truncated 41. That would mean 5 minute service between Lake City and Northgate. I’m just not sure if you could pull that off, but that would be ideal.

        Either way, it still costs extra money. Even if the new bus runs every 15 minutes (as often as the existing 75) it still costs extra. You are adding a new section (Lake City to Bitter Lake and beyond). I have no doubt that we can afford that when the 41 is truncated, I’m just not sure if it is the right thing to do. It isn’t that I see anything in the area that needs a lot more service, it is just that other parts of town could use improvements as well. Sunset Hill has no all-day service. Yesler Terrace has buses running only every half hour. I’m not saying this is a bad idea, but I’m saying that before we get a station at NE 130th, I don’t know if this would get more riders than improvements in other areas.

    3. Extending “Stride” past 145th to Shoreline CC would be a good start, making stops at Aurora and Grennwood.

      1. This is so bleeding obvious (connecting to the highest ridership line in all of Metro’s bus routes!) and yet so far from the radar or anyone whose views actually matter. The indifference to network connectivity and E-W service our transit agencies display is incredibly frustrating.

      2. In Metro’s long range plan they send the 65 up there. It actually makes a lot of sense. From the current northern terminus, it goes to the station via 145th. Since the station is actually a bit north of 145th, the bus would head north on 5th from the station to 155th, then head west, crossing under the freeway. Then it would head north as it reaches Aurora, and west again to the college on 160th. That is a lot of turns, but that bus is used to making turns (and it at least has long straight stretches).

        There is also likely to be a bus going across on NE 130th. The big mystery is whether there will be a bus across 145th. It isn’t that easy to justify, and becomes more coverage in nature. In my proposal for a Lynnwood Link restructure, I have a bus there, but not a frequent one.


  5. With construction on campus over the next month Stevens Way is closed to all bus traffic until 28 August.
    Metro has routed the 75,65,372, etc buses up the 45th Street viaduct then down 15th AV NE. No buses are going anywhere near the Link station at Husky Stadium. With UW on a summer schedule, does anyone here know why Metro has decided on such a crappy reroute that ignores all of the transit users that need to get to the Link station? I have contacted metro over a week and a half ago but haven’t heard a peep from them.
    Metro route planner tells me to take the 75 and then the service advisory tells me there’s no point in that unless I plan to walk from U Village or 15th AV NE and Campus Parkway over to the light rail station.
    Any advice will be appreciated.

    1. Yeah I rode the 372 yesterday and it’s a mess. My solution is to take the 372 Southbound and the 65 Northbound.

    2. The 44, 48, 271, and other routes run every few minutes between 15th and the station. It’s hard to say whether it’s better or worse than the regular route because while you do have to transfer, the transfers are frequent, the walk is shorter, it bypasses the Montlake congestion, I haven’t seen 45th westbound congestion although it may occur, and it also bypasses the meander up Pend Orielle hill, Stevens Way which can be slow, and the meander on the west side of Stevens Way and jog up to Campus Parkway. Overall I’d say the detour is better for everybody except people going to campus and people who like the Rainier Vista walk.

      It also makes it easier to catch the 75 eastbound although I haven’t tried it. But you just take one of the Pacific Street buses to 43rd & 15th and transfer to the 75 at the same stop. Transferring to the regular 75 is horrible:

      (A) Take 65 at Husky Stadium one stop to U Village and transfer. Possibly a 10-15 minute wait for both routes.

      (B) Walk 7 minutes walk to the Stevens Way stop at Rainier Vista or the one west of it. The Rainier Vista stop has no place to sit and no shelter from the rain. You could be standing there 15 minutes. The other stop has a seat (covered?) but you can’t see the bus coming from the seat.

      (C) Take a Pacific Street bus to 40th or 42nd and walk around the Campus Parkway intersection to the transfer stop. That intersection has no pedestrian access so you have to go around up to the bridge and back down, or cross at 40th or 41st a block away. While you’re doing that you might miss the 75. (You can’t take the 67 westbound for this because it doesn’t come down to Pacific street.)

      (D) Same as C but walk east to the first campus stop. I haven’t tried this.

      The 372 situation is just as bad as the 75. The 65 situation is at least better one direction (eastbound). I’ve also found it convenient to ride the 67/75 from Roosevelt to the Husky Stadium stop. Westbound you have to take the 45 because the 67 is up at Stevens Way like the 75.

    3. Like you I have contacted Metro and like you I have not heard a peep out of them like they don’t care.

      As far some posters saying you need to take a bus from the light rail station to 15th Ave NE and transfer to the # 372 there is a stupid idea. Why should riders have to take an additional bus when it is not necessary to do so as Metro can route the #372 to the light rail station via Pacific to the stop just north of the station which is used by the # 65 and # 78 and just like Metro did the last time Steven Way was closed and it worked just fine and no reason not to do it this time.

      But I have my own resolution to the stupidity of Metro. Until the #372 resumes its regular route I am driving my car and the heck with Metro.

      1. I imagine part of the problem is that Pacific already has a bunch of routes (43, 44, 45, 48, 65, 71, 73/373, 167, 197, 271, 540, 541, 542, 556, 586) , many of which are frequent at least at peak, and with stops that are already pretty short (the ones at 15th & Pacific can barely accommodate one 60′ coach, and the one westbound can’t even let people off in the grass like the eastbound stop). All of these other buses do go by the station, and transferring at 15th isn’t that bad.

      1. The UW is on summer break so eliminate the students who use the # 372 and most of the other passengers do connect to Link. The few other passengers go to Campus Parkway so going past the link station doesn’t affect them.

        But I assume that you are not a rider of the # 372 so it is easy for you to make your suggestion to ride another bus to make the transfer to the # 372 but for those of us who do ride the # 372 this reroute is stupid something you don’t want to admit.

      2. I ride the 75 which has the exact same problems as the 372. (I ride it more southbound because the northbound transfer is much worse as I outlined above. It’s one thing to walk 7 minutes to a 10-minute train. It’s another thing to walk the same 7 minutes to a 15-minute bus with no bench or shelter at the stop.) We’ll have to agree to disagree on which routing is best and how the factors weigh. The point is that you’re assuming that what’s best for you personally is what’s best for everybody and the network overall.

        I also thought at the beginning of the U-Link restructure process that going straight down to UW Station was best, and the UW students and other non-Link riders could just live with it. But as I see the number of students and the packed buses between the Hub and Fremont, and the number of people going from U-Village to Fremont, I can’t just discount that factor anymore. And tradition has some weight too: it’s not necessarily good to jack around the routes wildly several times.

      3. In our discussions it looks we got off track.

        My complaint is with the reroute of the #372 during the construction on Stevens Way while you began to discuss about the normal routing of the #75 and the #372.

        I agree with you on the load factor on the #75 which continues on as either the #31 or #32 as I have ridden those routes and they are busy both ways. No question about that and they provide a needed service. On the other hand the # 372 terminates at Campus Parkway and that is why it should be routed past the light rail station in the NB direction on its reroute. It does so on the SB reroute.

        I am still irritated that the former riders of the #72 have to ride the #372 and have to walk from Stevens Way to the light rail station while the riders of the #71 and #73 have direct routing. I griped about that to Metro planners and that was useless.

      4. Moving either route south to UW Station is better for Link riders but worse for non-Link riders. Moving them north to 45th is better for U-District riders, unclear for campus riders, and we disagree for Link riders.

        I didn’t pay enough attention to the fact that the 75% of 75 riders who get on in U-Village and don’t get off at Rainier Vista have no counterpart on the 372. It may be that a higher percent of 372 riders are going to Link, and that may be why we have differing perspectives.

      5. I do ride the 372 just about every day, mainly in peak hours, so I’ll add my experiences. Weekdays during the academic year, by far the most popular stop is Pend Oreille Road. Weekends during the academic year, the most popular stop is Rainier Vista. During the summer, ridership is generally less, but the trends are broadly similar. Also, the trends in the morning to UW and afternoon from UW are broadly similar.

    4. The current UW detours is a preview of what Metro will be considering in 2021. UW is a large area, not a point. There are 3 major destinations and each bus can only serve 1 of them well, maybe 2 with the right routing.
      UW Station / stadium / hospital
      Main campus
      U District Station / U District

      Compounding this, neither of the “UW” stations will actually serve the campus all that well. Kane Hall, home of the 700 student lecture hall, would be a 10+ minute walk to either station. During the academic year, it’s still important to serve campus itself. Even after U District station opens, I wouldn’t support sending all of the buses up the viaduct or down Montlake since that leaves out central campus.

      I’m not sure why Metro preferred 45th St over Pacific for the current detour. I suspect it’s because Metro assumed there’d be more people travelling to campus and/or the Ave than to Link. Right now UW is on summer break, but there are still summer classes, and a decent number of employees work all 12 months. It’s a lot easier to get from the Quad to/from 45th than to/from Pacific.. The 372 can get from the viaduct to northbound 25th Ave to still serve U Village, but since it can’t get from southbound 25th Ave to the viaduct, it had to take the “backup” option of Pacific. The other option would be the gameday detour up 20th Ave to 55th St, but that skips U Village. All the other buses could use 45th in both directions.

      1. It took a week but I finally get an email response from Metro and it consisted of nothing more then a corporate response which is to thank you for writing as we are always happy to hear from our customers but didn’t respond directly to my complaint.

      2. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback regarding alternative solutions to what I see as a clear Metro fail. I live next to Magnuson and ride the 75 or 62 when using transit and not having a simple and clear alternative to access Link over this month seems to be a clear signal from Metro as to how they value or don’t value maintaining connectivity for the residents in the condos, apartments and ‘workforce’ housing in and around Magnuson Park.
        Another 108 units of workforce housing are currently being leased at Magnuson, and we know that condos are typically starter homes for those who can’t afford a house, or a common option for those who are downsizing as part of retirement. Providing transit connections for the residents of these housing types being developed here becomes more critical as the closest reasonable commercial areas and jobs are down around u village, up in Lake City or up some significant hills on 35th av Ne.
        For my downtown commute and my daughter’s (who doesn’t drive) commute to First Hill, Metro has dropped to the bottom of the list for transportation options. Companies like Children’s with their exclusive shuttles from Link to their facilities in NE Seattle play a part in this Metro decision as well when Metro doesn’t have to provide a connection from Link to their destinations.
        Even as just a temporary detour, this decision seems to fly in the face of the connectivity that is a hallmark of good transit.

  6. Since Link runs every 10 minutes midday, I’ve thought it might be a good idea to, instead of having as many routes as possible run every 15 minutes, have a “10-20” network, where certain routes run every 10 minutes (every train) and others run every 20 (every other train). Seems like a good split for this would be to have east west buses that connect to Link run every 10 minutes (such as the 62, 45, and new east west routes), and north south buses that largely parallel Link (though it may connect to Link at the ends) run every 20, such as the 75, 65, 67.

    One nice thing about this is that the north south routes that run every 20, could overlap when it’s close to the Link station (for example, the 65 and 75 run the same route until about Seattle Children’s) and still provide combined 10 minute headways close to Link.

    1. That makes things worse for people who aren’t taking Link, such as those going from northeast Seattle to the U-District or campus or further west. 15 minutes is the minimum for convenient service; 20 minutes starts to be a long wait.

      And I don’t believe 10-minute buses timed with the train can work. Buses have random delays all the time. People come out of the station at different speeds. And if a bus leaves 5 minutes after the train for people coming to the bus, then it would have to arrive 5 minutes before the train for people going the other way, and that means it needs a 10-minute layover. There’s no place to layover that many buses at UW Station. The existing layovers on Pacific Place let you off a longer walk to the station than where they pick you up at on Montlake Boulevard. The most successful routes (the ones people prefer for transferring to Link) don’t layover but just go through (65 at Husky Stadium, 71/73 on Montlake Blvd, 48/271 on Pacific Street. Not the 45 which lays over. I’m not sure whether the 44 lays over.)

      1. I don’t really mind the 45->Link transfer and don’t think it’s significantly worse than the 65->Link transfer. Since the 65 has to wait for the traffic light before turning left onto Montlake the transfer time is usually a wash between the two.

    2. I wouldn’t worry about it. To be clear, there are some buses that should be 10 minutes, while others are 15, 20, etc. But trying to match the frequency of Link is very difficult. In general trying to time the transfer is hard. Some people take a long time to walk to the platform, others don’t. If going from bus to train, a bus can be delayed. Even a train can be delayed (ask a New Yorker). Going the other direction it is better, but many of those buses will be through buses. Then you have all those riders who aren’t even using Link. Even the 41 — which is primarily an express to downtown — has plenty of riders going from Northgate to Lake City.

      There are exceptions. For suburban shuttles, this makes a lot of sense. I think East Link will have a lot of this. A bus headed from South Bellevue to Renton should probably run every ten or twenty minutes, and wait until it appears that all the riders have had a chance to transfer. Likewise a bus from Mercer Island to Issaquah. The only area where that would apply to Northgate Link is for express buses serving the northern suburbs. I could see truncating the 512 at Northgate, and alternating between ten and twenty minutes, as opposed to what it is now, every fifteen and twenty. For rush hour truncations, however, Link is frequent enough to not worry about it.

    3. Even after Northgate Link there are still going to be a lot of bus trips in NE Seattle that don’t involve Link at all.

      Dropping from 4 buses per hour to 3 is a pretty serious degradation of service.

      1. 20 minute frequency also meshes horribly if you have to transfer to another bus that runs every 30 minutes. And, for a suburban express, it is hard to imagine the local routes it connects to running any better than every 30 minutes.

    4. Good points. Here are some considerations I’m thinking about:

      A 15 minute bus connecting to a 10 minute train, even with delays and uncertainty, still has a “full trip headway” of 10, then 20, then 10, then 20. Meaning if you have one person take each bus and hence leave every 15, they will get to downtown (or wherever) at 10, 20, 10, 20 intervals. So half of the time, your effective headway will be 20 minutes, plus a wasted extra five minutes waiting for the train. In some ways, a 20 minute bus headway might be more desirable because at least it can be timed to the train a little better. For both 10 and 20 minute buses, though they don’t have perfect reliability, they can be timed to *usually* meet their train on time, and shifted behind or ahead as travel patterns emerge. This doesn’t really work well with 15 minute buses, and timing tends to be completely random.

      Also, 20 minute headway routes would be routes that are likely to see less transfers to/from Link because they largely parallel it. Of course this will inconvenience some people (the example brought up are people going to the UW campus). There are winners and losers, but for these 20 minute routes, I would imagine that most of them are one-seat riders. And frequency is much more important for 2+ seat rides than one seat rides. For one seat rides, you choose when you get to the bus, so you can align your departure with the bus schedule. For two-seat rides, you don’t choose when you get to your second seat, the previous bus does.

      I also do recognize that two-seat bus rides under a 10-20 system would also be worse. But it would also be the case that the vast majority of transfers would be between a 10 bus and a 20 bus, and very few between two 20 buses. It’s less convenient than between two 15 buses, yes, but that’s part of the tradeoff.

      I do realize that not all trips will involve Link, but transfers to Link is arguably the main point of a Link restructure. Not the only part, otherwise there would only be Link connectors, but the key is finding a good balance. And I think aligning every bus to the tick-tock of Link would probably be more time efficient for riders overall, even some buses only come on the tick or only come on the tick or only on the tock. More importantly, I think the somewhat arbitrary notion that only a bus with 15 minute headways or less is a “frequent” and therefor “good” bus is holding us back a little.

      1. The 8 is 20 minutes evenings/Sundays because Prop 1 couldn’t stretch to 15 minutes. It’s a negative impact to everyone who rides the 8, and I don’t think the presence of a 10-minute train station makes it better. If a bus is 20 minutes, somebody will inevitably have to wait the full 20 minutes. I would rather wait 15 minutes for a bus and 10 minutes for a train than 20 minutes for a bus and 0 minutes for a train, because it’s so unpleasant to wait so long at a bus stop.

        However, I must remember that the awful UW-Station-to-Stevens-Way transfer is distorting our perceptions, and it will be gone when this restructure goes into effect, so all bus-train and bus-bus transfers will be better than that. Yet I still transfer between 15-minute bus routes, and I’d hate for one of them to drop to 20 minutes, just to coordinate better with a 10-minute train. Waiting a maximum of 15 minutes is better than waiting 20 minutes.

        From northeast Seattle the only one-seat north-south rides are to the U-District, Fremont, and Roosevelt/Northgate. Everything else is a multi-seat ride and would get worse with 20-minute routes.

  7. Metro is studying routes 26, 31, 32 … and 373 for possible changes. (Not the 44, 48, 49, 70, or any routes west of Aurora.)

    Well that is disappointing. The 44 should be extended to Children’s hospital. That would make it a lot easier to get between the U-Village or Children’s to Link, the U-District or Ballard. The 48 and 49 are OK for the most part, but they waste a lot of time making turns in the U-District. It makes way more sense to consolidate service on the Ave or Brooklyn, even if it means adding more wire (in the case of the 49). For that reason I could see waiting on those changes (and sticking with the current alignment).

    But the 44 should continue straight, as failing to do so sets off a chain reaction of changes. It means that a bus like the 65 or 75 heads across 45th. If the bus then terminates like the 49, it means less frequent service to south campus from those areas. That, in turn, justifies keeping the 78 (a largely redundant route). If it turns south and goes through campus, then it spends a lot of extra time on its way to the UW, and the 78 again is harder to kill. It just makes way more sense to extend the 44.

    1. Metro is confirming the scope of the study area now, so we can give feedback arguing that some of these routes should be included. The first link in the article has an interactive map and comment form; they will be up for the rest of the year.

      1. Good point about the wire. I forgot about that. That is likely a killer. Well, that sucks. The 44 RapidRide+ project should be done before (or at the same time) as Northgate Link, but we ran out of money (thanks Kubly and Murray). Maybe we can find some money by cancelling the streetcar, or get that magic money that is going into burying the Ballard and West Seattle stations.

        I think we are stuck with re-routing from the east, and the possibility that they get re-routed back once the 44 is extended.

      2. The 44 hasn’t run a trolley bus in almost a year for some inexplicable reason (maybe the duct bank work on Pacific?). Is Metro actually committed to electric service on the 44? If not, that would make the Children’s Hospital extension more feasible.

    2. That’s one big issue. This is a revenue-neutral restructure. The RapidRide 44 project will add the wire if that alignment is chosen and battery buses don’t supercede it. Before that, where would the money for trolley wire come from? Or would you dieselize the entire route? That would be a significant contraction in the trolley network and bring more pollution and noise to the corridor, plus more carbon emissions.

      1. At least on weekends, it appears as though the 44 is already dieselized, anyway. What’s the point of having the trolley wire if you don’t use it?

      2. It seems like most trolley routes are dieselized on weekends. Weekdays the 44 seems to be primarily 60′ trolleys with a few diesel artics thrown in at random times.

      3. The routes are dieselized when there’s construction or maintenance somewhere that requires de-energizing the wire. That happens a lot of weekends. The point of having trolley wire is you can use it most of the time, but there are times when you can’t.

      4. It seems like every weekend, not only the 44, but every trolley bus in the entire system is replaced with diesel buses. There is no way that wire maintenance is necessary all day, every single weekend. This smells like classic beurocracy, where Metro doesn’t trust the city to tell them what wires will be deenergized when, so they just blindly convert every single trolley route to diesel every single weekend, just to be safe.

      5. It goes through phases. There are periods lasting several months where all routes in an area are dieselized on weekends.

      6. The new generation of trolleys can operate off-wire but I’m not sure for how long. Perhaps select peak hour trips can remain on 45th St to serve Children’s??

      7. Another good point, Jordan. I’m back to supporting the extension. :)

        They are supposed to be able to handle 3 to 5 miles of travel without wire. I think back and forth it is a bit less than 3 miles, but I would be concerned because of the hill coming back. I’m afraid it might poop out. A charging station at the layover point would likely solve the problem, but that is probably costly as well.

      8. This past weekend every ETB route on Queen Anne was running diesel, at least most runs. If there are ANY routes that ought to be ETB all day every day, they are the 2 and the 13 up and down the Counterbalance (AKA “North Divisadero”).

    3. I would totally love to see the 44 continue straight along 45th. But that cuts access to the UW Medical Center, so Metro would be trading one hospital for another.

      1. It’s too bad they couldn’t split 44 at the new U-District Station into two lines, one could head straight East along 45th and the other head South along 15th. Kind of like the 71,72,73 use to do, that is same route most the way with a separation toward the end.

      2. Yeah, sure, but that is a very good transfer. There are lots of buses that are headed that way. Going the other way can be done, but it means going all the way around. This encourages the system we have, which is both wasteful and slow for many riders. If I want to get from the U-District to the U-Village, I am dependent on the 65. Truncate that bus inside campus (like the 75) and I’m stuck with a long, time consuming trip that also involves a transfer — all for a trip of about a mile. To get from Children’s or University Village to Link always requires the long slog across the Montlake Triangle.

      3. The 78 is pretty much useless except for a 1-seat ride for a handful of Laurelhurst residents to the UW Station. Is what I would do is redirect it up the hill to the U-District station and then let it continue on as a 44b heading west. Kind of like what they do with the 75-32.

      4. I agree the 78 is useless. It’s also a small fish right? I’m pretty sure there’s only 1 vehicle on the entire route, so it’s not like it’s a deep pool of service hours and personnel ready to be transferred elsewhere.

      5. Its about a 30 min interval run and it does that long loop around campus. If they straightened it out it might reach I-5. Cut the 62 off at Roosevelt and redirect those funds to extend the 78 to Ballard. OK, not quite Ballard but getting closer.

      6. You also have the funds saved from truncating the 74. That will be a huge chunk of change.

      7. les, how about it continues as a “44X” (e.g. a transfer stops-only poor-man’s RapidRide) and goes north on 24th to about 65th? That gives U-Village and East Campus access to everywhere in northwest Seattle.

  8. Didn’t realize that Northgate to UW would be just 7 minutes. That makes it worth the transfer from SnoCo busses., assuming that is what Community Transit decides. Timing a 7 minute walk to a 7 minute train ride to minimize the wait time for the bus in the evening should be doable.

    1. The issue I’m a bit wary of is getting to/from I-5 and the station. After exiting southbound, there are 4 traffic lights on the way to the transit center. Morning traffic isn’t nearly as bad as the evening, so weaving through twists & turns might not be worth it. Northbound wouldn’t be so bad, as there’s only 2 traffic lights to go through to reach the freeway.

      1. There are plenty of traffic lights for those same buses downtown. Northgate does not make for a perfect terminus, but neither does running a bus downtown. The service savings would be dramatic, which could go into increased frequency or expanded coverage (in Snohomish County). Riders would also get a good connection to Northgate as well as the UW (both employment centers, with the latter big enough to justify Community Transit express buses right now).

    2. That would certainly be OK for the 512 and “800’s”, but there won’t be enough cars to truncate the other Community Transit buses.

    1. See above on how to make 78 purposeful. 74 is a successful line and I wouldn’t touch it except for a U-District Link connections

      1. No, the 74 is not a successful line. It lags every other line in the city. The tail is redundant, which is why it should go. Combining it with the tail of the 78 (which is coverage in nature) would save a tremendous amount of service hours, while costing only a handful of riders some time. After Link gets to Roosevelt, many of those riders (who took the bus downtown) will switch to the 62, even if did have a tail.

      2. The 74 express is packed because people don’t want to transfer at UW Station. But its justification will go away when Roosevelt Station opens.

        The 74 local has always been near the bottom of ridership east of University Way. 55th has fewer businesses or residences than 65th or 45th. But the uproar about losing it (which was probably small) was that there’s no east-west bus service on 55th. And it is the fastest way from Sand Point to the mid U-District as I said above.

      3. “no east-west bus service on 55th”

        I mean no off-peak or reverse-peak. The 74 express is useless if you don’t go to downtown in the AM peak and from downtown in the PM peak.

      4. “But its justification will go away when Roosevelt Station opens.”

        No, it justification will be more significant with the opening of U-District station. Us older folk don’t like those hikes up to the 65th st stations.

        Also, this might also, like the 78, be a good candidate for a east – west route to Ballard.

        Any wagers on it disappearing?

      5. “It” meaning the peak express to downtown. I’m intrigued by Metro’s idea of plugging the all-day route into the 32 to Magnolia in the 2040 plan. That’s one of many attempts to save the route by attaching it to something stronger. During the 2014 cuts Metro proposed connecting it to the northern tail of the 26. That didn’t make it to the final, partly because U-District Station wasn’t there as a strong draw.

  9. The current routing for 347/348 would still serve Northgate Link well and mostly shouldn’t be changed. Frequency along 15th Ave in Shoreline and N. Seattle definitely would need to increase in the evening and weekends and likely 10 min during peak. The only change to consider would be the routing for the 347. It zig-zags to/from 5th ave to serve what is seemingly a low ridership area.

    1. Yeah, I went back and forth on that, and decided those routes are quite good as is. The 347 does go back and forth, but I wouldn’t mess with it until Lynnwood Link gets here. Even then I’m not sure exactly how to improve it.

  10. Metro should reroute the north Seattle buses for Northgate Link when it comes online, not for future Lynnwood Link. Their first pass at restructuring northeast routes when University Link was opening had some really weird features that seemed to be geared to future Northgate Link, not current University Link. All of the “features” made no sense, adding time to bus rides for no gain. Eventually they removed those features.

  11. Given the double opening dates of Northgate in 2021 and Lynnwood in 2024, combined with the increase in service from East Link/ Blue Line in 2023 …

    And Seattle’s tendency to latch onto the status quo …

    My suggestion is to not restructure anything major until 2024. I suggest minor adjustments (minor reroutes and frequency changes) only in 2021.

    That way, lots of things can happen that would be advantageous to Metro:

    1. Routes or segments of routes that lose ridership will become obvious. Public outcry to save routes lessens when productivity markedly drops. Those hours can then support new service.

    2. The Link frequencies and possible overcrowding will matter less once the second line opens

    3. The public advocacy in getting to a nearby Link station will grow, building support to get riders to Link rather than carry them further to Downtown.

    4. STRide will also open, including some Metro and ST Express changes required below 145th.

    5. A 2024 Metro network can benefit by doing major planning outreach in 2022 and 2023 instead of now, as the public meetings will have more “restructure for the opened Link station” supporters and fewer “save our route” opponents. It reduces the messy politics that can arise like what happened (and is still happening with 520 bridge routes) with the U-Link restructure.

    1. I tend to generally agree. However any route that is exclusively south of Northgate I would modify. For instance, there is absolutely no reason to hold off on modifying 74, 62 and a few other southern routes.

      1. I think the 41 should end at Northgate. Since it got kicked out of the tunnel, a lot of the advantage of that one-seat ride to downtown has vanished.

    2. My suggestion is to not restructure anything major until 2024.

      Sorry, but that is crazy. Are you saying we should continue to run the 41 to downtown? I know some folks would be happy with that (especially when the bus blows the doors of the train) but that is nuts. Likewise, sending the 522 downtown is also nuts. It should be truncated somewhere, and I would argue that somewhere is Roosevelt.

      If we truncate those buses (and just about everyone agrees we should) then what do we do with all of those service hours? That is the question.

      I do think it is reasonable to not jump the gun, and make changes that are anticipating the next restructure. Adding service on NE 125th/130th should only be done on its own merits, not so that folks can get used to the bus before it undergoes a dramatic increase in usefulness and frequency. Likewise, it makes sense to keep an eye on the future, and tread lightly around Lake City, since it will soon have a much faster route to Link (and a vital link to the rest of the city with a fast crosstown bus). There is some nuance involved for that area, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that much of the region (pretty much everything south of Lake City) can be restructured soon after Northgate Link gets here, and that area could remain that way for the foreseeable future.

      1. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that we shouldn’t do a complete system restructuring until 2024. Dropping a route segment or reducing frequency is fine. Even adjusting routes that should feed U-District or Roosevelt is probably fine as long as it’s not controversial.

        I’m stating my suggestion mainly for political reasons rather than analytical reasons. No I am not crazy. People get attached to bus routes, and get upset at even minor changes.

        The U-Link restructure was a horribly messy process that is still not completed. I’m cautioning about not repeating that episode.

      2. Yeah, but consider what we are debating up above: What to do about the 74 and 78. I say we combine them. Others say we should leave them alone, or just kill one of them. That is a debate that should happen now, as Lynnwood Link is irrelevant to that discussion.

        The same thinking involves the 67 and 73. Again, I want to combine the two routes. Get rid of the 67 button-hook, move the 73 to Roosevelt and you have a faster, straighter, and quite possibly more frequent route. That change could happen now, as the bus still makes sense after Lynnwood Link. Of course in the future that bus (like the 65 would be extended to 145th). But until then, the current terminus is fine.

        Then there are other changes that are temporary in nature, but essential. For example, what to do about the 522. ST has made it clear that it will truncate it (good for them). The question is where. This is something that has to be figured out now, as it will be irrelevant in the future.

        Like it or not, we will be making changes that will likely be altered in a few years. It does make sense to err on the side of caution — to favor existing routes. It also makes sense to keep an eye on what the network will look like in the future, so we don’t switch a route back and forth. But there are a lot of changes that should be made as soon as the buses get to Northgate.

  12. Some frank talk about Northgate as a transit hub after Lynnwood Link opens:

    1. The direct east-west access streets (the “ribs” to the “spine”) are terrible at Northgate. That adds local bus travel time.

    2. The mall as we know it is going away. The new uses will attract people all over the region rather than serve primarily north Seattle’s shopping needs.

    3. There will be a new transit center at 145th anyway. (Yeah I know that bus access may be horrible here too.) Metro could then split the Northgate TC functionality between 145th and Roosevelt (with a bit better east-west access). 145th is also closer to the Metro bus base.

    As ideas move forward, I hope at least one Metro option de-emphasizes Northgate.

    1. A good discussion to have–when Lynnwood Link is finished. For now, for Northgate Link, the 41 should terminate at Northgate station.

  13. Metro’s 2025 plan for the area is a preliminary network design published in 2016. While not a fully baked proposal, it doesn’t envision wholesale changes to the overall grid. The biggest impact is in the U-District, where buses come off Stevens Way in favor of circling the campus perimeter on Montlake, Pacific, and 45th. If the primary motion is delivering people to and from Link, this would certainly be the way to go.

    I think Metro’s 2025 plan also includes some interesting and positive changes to the grid around the Roosevelt station area and Green Lake to the west.

    It would provide frequent service on Latona through two different routes (the 62 would be rerouted off Kirkwood to Latona to provide frequent service to Roosevelt station on Latona north of 56th, and a new route serving Kirkwood and some areas currently served by the 26 would provide frequent service to the U District station on Latona south of 56th).

    It would create something of a hub and spoke model around the new Link stations, so once you get to one of these stations you can catch a variety of mostly-frequent bus lines serving neighborhoods all over north Seattle. Service across the canal would be reduce in order to free up service hours to increase frequency on these more local routes.

    I think this 2025 map from Metro’s long-range plan would be a good starting point for any restructure proposal.

    1. “I think this 2025 map from Metro’s long-range plan would be a good starting point for any restructure proposal.”

      It is a good starting point. It addresses some things we’ve been asking for for years. It has some innovative ideas I’d never thought about, but when you look at it it’s like, “Of course we could extend this route to serve this hole, why didn’t I think of that?” Like extending the 65 to N 155th St and Shoreline CC. A straightforward idea that both makes the 65 stronger and gives much-needed crosstown service at 155th. Overall it’s a good attempt to create a grid and get people from may places to Link and other urban villages.

      However, it’s three years old, and now we know how the U-Link routes are performing, and there has been more construction that changes trip patterns somewhat. So those points will have to be reconsidered. The 62 is conceptually great but is slow, so should it really be upgraded to RapidRide as one route?; the 10 isn’t performing as well as expected, while the 11 has been breaking records and deleting it is questionable; the 71/73 situation was a compromise with mixed results; etc.

      Some aspects also seem aspirational. It’s an unfunded concept so they could throw everything in there without having to make service-hour tradeoffs, like Santa giving a present to everyone on an existing coverage street regardless of how justified it is. Will people really ride the new 55th route when they don’t ride the current one? Will they really ride an Aloha route? Will they ride the revised 25? Will they ride an 8 stub from Mt Baker that only goes to MLK & Madison? Will a 15th Ave NE route from UW Station to Mountlake Terrace really make it through the process when it goes so-near-and-yet-so-far past larger destinations like Greenlake, Northgate, and the Crest Cinema area?

      1. The 10 is probably not performing well because it’s so short, it has to compete with walking. It is also very slow. Pretty much everywhere you can go on the 10, you can get there faster (after accounting for wait time) by either walking to Link and/or walking all the way.

        It’s only use is to act as a diagonal elevator for people that can’t walk up or down the hill. And there’s not enough people that need that to fill a bus every 15 minutes.

        There’s also the problem that while these short “elevator” routes sound good, people that need them are likely to have problems at the other end of their destination isn’t exactly where the bus stop is, or the whole thing just takes too long.

        For instance, I had one moment a few weeks ago where I was coming from Olive and Summit home to Kirkland. Normally, I would just walk to the 255 at Olive and Boren, but I had strained a muscle in such a way that walking downhill aggravated it. I considered the 10, but a connection between a 15 minute bus route and a 30 minute bus route would mean a lot of waiting – it would probably be at least a half hour between arriving at the bus stop to wait for the 10 and actually boarding the 255. I decided it wasn’t worth it and just took Uber all the way home instead. Later, when the muscle recovered, I went back to just walking down the hill to the 255. The whole walk took less than 10 minutes. The 10 never entered the equation again.

      2. The problem with the 10 is when it moved from Pine to Olive, its riders switched to the 11, and it turned out there aren’t many Olive riders. That was masked by the 43 because it also had riders going to the U-District/CD/23rd/19th, which turned out to be almost all of them.

  14. I noticed no one made any comments on Route 71. There is already excessive duplication of bus service on NE 65th St between 15th Ave NE and 50th Ave NE.

    1. The 71 is so controversial it’s beneath contempt. Metro wanted to delete it in the U-Link restructure but one county councilmember whose wife rides it convinced the rest of the council to override Metro and fund it from its contingency hours. The argument is it provides more direct service to the U-District than the 271 or 65, especially the northern U-District. It also provides half the 15-minute service on 15th to 65th, which was another community concern. The 71 is absent from all Metro’s future plans so the assumption is it will go away with Northgate Link without us having to do anything.

      1. That council member is Rod Dembowski who was completely hypocritical when it came to the restructuring of the Metro routes in NE Seattle.

        I and others attended several meeting with him concerned about the changes planned and especially route #72 and he expressed to us that he understood our concerns and would meet with Metro and do everything to help out on this when actually he was only concerned about saving route #71.

        I testified at a public hearing on the changes which he chaired and I remember him sitting there with a smirk on his face because he didn’t care what I and others had to say because he knew he had saved the only route he cared about.

        He is a typical politician that only cares about saving his read end and doesn’t care one iota about the people in his district.

  15. Some interesting observations on connections…

    A transfer from an infrequent route to a frequent route is generally not a big deal – whenever you get there, you won’t have to wait long.

    When transferring *to* an infrequent route, the frequency of the first route matters less than the alignment of the schedules and the reliability of both routes. For example, let’s imagine a transfer from route X to route Y, where route Y stops at the connection point every 30 minutes at :00 and :30 every hour. A 30-minute route X that hits the connection point at :25 and :55 each hour makes for a good connection, provided that both routes are reliable, and can be trusted to follow their schedules. Upgrading route X to add additional trips at :10 and :40 for 15-minute frequency would make exactly zero difference.

    On the other hand, if either route X or route Y is unreliable, even at 15-minute frequency for route X, the transfer becomes almost unusable. Taking the hypothetical schedule from before where route X arrives at :10, :25, :40, and :55, while route Y departs at :00 and :30, now, all of a sudden, a :25 arrival for a :30 departure is cutting it too close, so you need the :10 arrival, which means a 20 minute wait time when everything is running on-time. If route Y is also unreliable and, itself hits a minor delay, the 20-minute wait time can easily balloon into a 30+ minute wait time.

    Similarly, when both routes are reliable, the alignment of the schedules is king to determining whether the transfer is viable. A :25 arrival for a :30 departure, good. A :05 arrival for a :30 departure, not good. The role of frequency of route X is to simply guarantee an arrival time that isn’t too bad, but as shown above, without reliability, it doesn’t help all that much. A collarary of this is that any connection between a 30-minute route and a 20-minute route is inherently awful because a good alignment between the two routes can happen only as often as the least common multiple of 30 minutes and 20 minutes, which is 60 minutes.

    To provide some concrete examples. Eastgate P&R->Kirkland TC, the connection of route 240->234/235 is two 30 minute routes. But, they’re both pretty reliable, and their schedules are coordinated. The result is a two-seat ride that actually takes less time than the alternative one-seat ride on the 245. By contrast, imagine using the 44 to connect to the 28. Both routes have significant reliability issues, so the connection is going to require either a long wait or being very lucky.

    1. “By contrast, imagine using the 44 to connect to the 28….”

      Oh I hear you there. I don’t have to imagine that at all as I experienced it firsthand for the ten years I lived in Wallingford and visited close friends who lived in Ballard. Sometimes I just walked to my friend’s house instead of waiting for the next 28.

  16. Why can’t Sound Transit build light rail in Renton? The Renton corridor is the only one without light rail, and it’s the most congested in the state. Now, after all the corridors are complete, they are using Renton’s 509 million in taxes for Woodinville and Issaquah, two tiny cities with much less tech and other employment than Renton. And Renton is about to welcome 5000+ new tech jobs later this year. The news is quiet, but there are many well-known companies looking to lease the 700,000 sq. ft. space.

    And, the biggest blunt this poses for cities up North is no LINK access to the airport. So for those Renton haters who hate Renton for absolutely no reason, you shouldn’t because the Renton corridor is your route to SeaTac Intl. Airport. Only Seattle has direct access to the airport.

      1. I like it. This is what is needed for ST4. I’m a kent resident who can’t even get to Bellevue in 2 hours. Light rail in rent in would be great, and maybe from kent to renton along 167

      2. ???
        I’m just saying that they should just build a line through renton in the next ballot. Stop being stupid.

    1. Which Renton corridor? Renton-Burien or Renton-Bellevue? ST studied a downtown-West Seattle-Burien-Renton corridor in the run-up to ST3. It had surprisingly competitive travel time (40 minutes — same as the 101), but it was high cost with low ridership numbers. South King, Burien, Tukwila, and Renton got remarkably quiet about it after the study came out. As for Renton-Bellevue, ST thinks it will take a long time for sufficient ridership to build up in that corridor. ST3 has 405 Stride, which will both significantly improve service and show how much ridership it generates. The main reason Renton is not getting light rail in ST3 is the Issaquah mayor was on the ST board and he strongly pushed for light rail to Issaquah next and for accelerating ST3 generally. A Renton-Burien line would be South King’s responsibility in Tukwila and Burien, and South King is the poorest subarea and spent what money it had on Federal Way, Sounder, and BAR Station.

      1. Renton bellevue to tukwila obviously. It will make 405 sitters happy and give you all airport access.

    2. Les, thanks for the interesting contribution. The diagonal line from SLU through Wallingford and Lake City to Bothell is intriguing. I won’t speculate at this point how big ST4 will be or when — we have to hear the subareas’ priorities first and they probably won’t get around to it until the late 2020s or 2030s, but we can keep this for reference.

      1. I like it, too, though it would absolutely require replacement of nearly everything south of 50th between Aurora and Meridian to make it worthwhile.

    3. Yeah I generally agree. It remains to be seen if 405 BRT (or STRide) will be an effective substitute. After all, the South Renton stop is off of the freeway, the next stop is up at NE 44th (none in-between), the bus will have to mix with traffic between South Renton and TIBS, there is no Sounder stop for the BRT, and getting to/from Seatac will require a messy connection between the 518 bus stop and Link at TIBS.

      I’ve long argued that ST’s 2014-15 study of a Bellevue-Renton connection was effectively sabotaged with the assumption that the ERC had to be used and that it’s narrowness meant that only one track could be assumed for a few critical miles (less frequent trains) and that Factoria was skipped. That meant low frequency and low demand as well as a high cost to build in other segments.

      I also think that Renton’s historic and current demographics play a role. The diverse population (around half of the adults are foreign-born) doesn’t actively play the Seattle process well, while the rest of the region is clueless that Renton is no longer a blue collar suburb with little interest in transit.

      Finally, I never got why a seemingly obvious SR 900 surface light rail alignment to the now-funded BAR Station has not been studied (and maybe a Duwamish Bypass thrown into the operations scenario). Routes 101/102 carry more riders than the entirety of RapidRide F yet this odd obsession with a Renton-TIBS-Burien future rail line is the long-standing concept; a rail line idea that makes getting to either Seattle or Bellevue so circuitous and long that no one will want to do it.

      1. I suggest building a Bellevue Burien line, Renton Kent line, and a Renton Issaquah line. I would use it, and I know many who would use it.

        As you mentioned, rentons changes are very behind scene and renton needs to speak out more on that and the benefits lf it than on getting solutions itself.

        Also, a Renton study isn’t good enough because kent, Newcastle, Covington, Fairwood/Meridian and Maple Valley residents will need the rail as well.. Along with a simple way (better bussing) to get to the renton station via 167/169/18

      2. It’s too bad that places east of Renton, Kent and Auburn aren’t in the ST taxing district. It remains to be seen how and when enough interest occurs to add Covington, Maple Valley and other places.

      3. “East of Renton”

        Renton is an eastside city, and Kent and Auburn are not. The downtown is closer to the center though.

        The other cities can come later, but Renton is paying, so they need to get it.

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