This map was accidentally accurate for the past three months.

After over three months of pouring concrete along the bus loop at Tukwila International Boulevard Station, the project is complete, and buses have returned to the loop as of 4:30 am this morning.

Riders on Metro’s A Line and route 124 are likely rejoicing. Riders on the F Line and 128, not so much.

Route 124 and the A Line both terminate at TIBS, so stopping below the station makes sense, and provides off-street layover space.

The F Line would have originally had stops on Southcenter Blvd in front of the station lot, but the City of Tukwila wouldn’t allow them.

The pavement project became a three-month reprieve for F-Line through-riders annoyed at having to go through the loop. It was also a reprieve for other F Line riders happy to walk a couple minutes to the street and catch the bus there instead of having to wade through traffic to get out to the street, where they could have already been waiting.

Consider the math of what Metro could have done with the platform hours it now has to use to have the F Line run the TIBS loop-de-loop:

The F Line runs 1060 one-way trips per week. The TIBS loop adds roughly five minutes to the trip (keeping in mind the bus has to wait at the light at the station entrance, twice). So, the cost of running the loop is approximately 87 platform hours per week. Each trip, including recovery time, takes roughly an hour. 87 trips spread out across the week is about 12 extra trips per day, which would be a 7-8% service bump.

That would be enough to extend 15-minute headway all the way from 5 am to midnight. Or it could have extended the PM period of 10-minute weekday headway by four hours to start before noon.

Whether Metro would take the opportunity to keep the F Line out of TIBS with stops on Southcenter Blvd if Tukwila were to allow it is an open question. But I, for one, grieve for the loss of the streamlined F Line.

60 Replies to “Requiem for a Streamline: Buses return to the TIBS loop today”

  1. The bigger problem with the F-line is that its windy route makes a mockery of the idea of bus rapid transit. Obviously it has to serve Southcenter, so it’s not going to be an A-line style of straight route, but even then it takes the long way around to Southcenter, and then the long way around back out.

    I don’t think there’s a good reason to serve the Sounder Station all day every day, when there would be dramatic speed improvements by taking W Valley Highway all the way to Grady Way. A stop at Longacres could be added that’s a doable walk to the station, and a Sounder connector could connect to specific trains.

    1. Not saying this is a good reason for AD/ED service but don’t forget Tukwila Station also gets 8 Amtrak Cascades trains per day.

      1. And TIBS gets about one hundred A Line and route 124 buses per day. I’m sensing a little train bias creeping into the conversation.

      2. I don’t think it’s worth such a diversion for 8 non-Sounder trains per day. It would be fine if it were right on the way, but it’s not really. And there is a walking path from WVH where an F-line stop could be that is a couple minutes walk to the train station. It’s less convenient, but for people coming from the east, the father route might even make up for the walk.

        It would be worth it for like a light rail station, or a BRT station, but not for 8 trips per day.

    2. Speed improvements by taking West Valley Highway? How does that work? That highway is stop and go during peak hours. You’d be making many runs less timely, not more. I agree the F line is Rapidride in name only, but I don’t think this would help any.

      1. The old route 140 used to go Strander to West Valley to Grady, and never got bogged down on West Valley.

        Sam. Discontinued Route Expert.

      2. It does already take West Valley Highway about 4ish blocks to get to Longacres way, but then it turns in a long windy route. To get to Grady, it would only be to continue about 3 more blocks on WVH, then it’s at a road that goes straight to Renton (the same way the 140 used to go).

      3. To get to Grady, it would only be to continue about 3 more blocks on WVH, then it’s at a road that goes straight to Renton (the same way the 140 used to go).

        I’m with AlexKven on this one. The business park north of the freeway is more likely to generate passenger trips than a string of huge parking lots selling large items that are hard to carry on a bus is. KC Elections HQ is there, and ought to be less of a pain to reach by transit.

      4. I’ve thought of putting the 150 on West Valley Highway. That would be better for Seattle-Kent riders but worse for Southcenter riders, and Southcenter is an important destination. The problem is 405 and the limited overpasses over it, That adds two extra turns and backtracking to the four turns it would otherwise take if it went directly from Interurban/WVH to Andover Park West and back.

        On the F the Southcenter station serves at least a third of the riders and is a transfer to the 150. So it’s a big deal. The problem is the winding to the Sounder station, which Metro added to avoid running a separate route to Sounder. The Boeing station in southwest Renton is also questionable. I’m sure it’s used a lot peak hours but off-peak the entire neighborhood is devoid of pedestrians. Peak-hour destinations should have peak-hour routes; don’t distort the only all-day frequent crosstown service to go to its front door.

      5. The Boeing / Kaiser office park adds a significant problem for the route because there is a huge area through there with no through streets. It’s an industrial office park version of suburban cul-de-sac land.

        If you could get Boeing to convert the nearly abandoned road along the BNSF right of way between the south end of Longacres Drive and the Sounder station at Longacres Way into a transitway, you could still have the F serve Southcenter and the Sounder station without the big long loop around Boeing. This would at least make the Oaksdale part of the absurd loop go away.

      6. The service road on the east side of the BNSF tracks connecting to 16th St used to be open — and was not at all a service road — at least during peak hours prior to the reconstruction of the Sounder station. The old 110 used to wait for the Sounder train on the east side of the station and exit through that road (which is now parking for the campus, I think) and out to Oakesdale Avenue. It was the classic commuter-connector shuttle route, running through essentially non-arterials in Renton to drop off people at their various offices anywhere between the station and what is now The Landing.

    3. “The bigger problem with the F-line is that its windy route makes a mockery of the idea of bus rapid transit.”

      RapidRide is not bus rapid transit. Even Metro stopped calling it that years ago. The initial marketing said RapidRide would be BRT like Swift, but budget limitations forced it to replace local routes rather than being an overlay like Swift is. Eventually Metro got called out so many times about it not being even minimum BRT it withdrew the label.

      What RapidRide is is an enhanced local route, and an attempt to designate one primary route in the various communities.

      1. Well, I’m certainly not saying that it is (hence the comment), or that any of them are (the quality ranges widely between RR lines, probably best-to-worst IMO in the order of E, D, B, A, C, F. And just to make things confusing, RR G is more like real BRT). But the fact that they are billed as BRT (interesting that Metro stopped calling them that, despite still calling them “RapidRide”), and that BRT was essentially promised in the 2006 TransitNow vote, there’s a sense in which the comparison is warranted. It seems like Metro shouldn’t be completely off the hook for completely botching BRT.

      2. I’d put the A first because it has full BAT lanes on 99. That’s more like BRT than the rest of them.

      3. The E has 10 minute (or better) frequency all day, while the A has only 15 minute frequency most of the day.

    4. It also serves kaiser permanente and Boeing, both big job centers during the week. It’s not just about the trains.

      1. Do lots of people go into and out of them all day or just peak hours? RapidRide is not a peak commuter service; it’s meant to connect all-day, weekend, and evening destinations. When such a route goes out of its way to serve peak-hour job centers, it wastes service hours and makes the rest of the route less effective (because it takes longer to between other destinations). The wasted hours also cut into hours that could be used for more frequency or to boost another route. If southwest Renton Boeing and Kaiser need some midday service, maybe a 30-minute or 15-minute regular route would be appropriate for them, not RapidRide. The city and companies also need to take a hard look at their land use. Oakesdale is a non-walkable, superblock, single-use wasteland. That’s part of the problem, and part of why routing RapidRide there is questionable. It should have been built like the industrial areas in Brooklyn where people walk from the subway to multistory industrial buildings, for instance.

      2. The bus has to go south anyway if you want it to serve the busy area by Southcenter. The politically easy fix would be to finish the connection between SE 27th and Strander so the route doesn’t make the second north swing.

        I don’t know how you keep the new connection from becoming s congested through road. Also, you’d have to tunnel under the UP mainline like they did for station access further north.

      3. The problem is – they’re trying to do too much with one route. There really needs to be two routes. One that stays on Grady Way/Southcenter. One that focuses on the stuff south of 405. Yes, the service hour math probably means that both routes can’t run every 15 minutes all-day long. That’s ok. Just do it and don’t call either of them RapidRide. I’ll take an extra 15 minutes of wait time for 15 minutes less of sitting on the bus. At least with wait time, it’s possible to avoiding most of it by looking at the schedule. Ride time, there’s nothing you can do.

      4. “The problem is – they’re trying to do too much with one route.”


        I’d hesitate to bypass Southcenter because that’s where a lot of the ridership comes from. Renton’s ridership is hardly anything most of the day, so bypassing Southcenter seems like it would lose most of the ridership that remains. Taking the F to TIB and transferring to Link to downtown is not much better than the 101; it’s more like a stopgap when the 101 is half-hourly or you’re starting from The Landing. When the 150 is running every 15 minutes it’s better to transfer to the 150 in Southcenter than to Link at TIB. 405 Stride will have express service between Renton, TIB, and Burien.

  2. Any route I take where I’m through-routing, any variation in the route is a wasteful detour, and the route should be streamlined. Any route I take where I’m not through-routing, the variation is a necessary part of the route.

  3. Any chance ridership would support two routes to Renton, one of them via Southcenter and the other direct? With Sounder served by whichever one makes more sense?

    Also, what’s Tukwila’s reason for not allowing the bus line its preferred stop?

    Just curious.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Also, what’s Tukwila’s reason for not allowing the bus line its preferred stop?

      In brief, Tukwila prioritizes keeping car traffic flowing.

      But it should be clear by now that Southcenter Blvd north of the station is a pedestrian zone, and ought to be treated like a school zone, except all day (and well, all night, just so there is no confusion about when cars have to slow down).

      The fast traffic is a sign that there is capacity to have a pair of in-lane bus stops.

      For those wondering about how pedestrians would cross to the westbound bus stop, I would suggest one of those mid-block flashy light crossings, and don’t forget the curb cuts. Give pedestrians priority to cross the street and catch their bus. The westbound bus stop that just disappeared was in the right spot. That anti-pedestrian wire fence is blocking where the eastbound bus stop and the crosswalk should be.

    2. The 560 is express between Burien and Renton. It’s half-hourly weekdays and hourly weekends so it’s often not there when you want it. 405 Stride will replace it with full-time frequency.

      All F runs should serve Southcenter because it’s one of the highest-used stations. It’s much busier than Renton TC off-peak.

      None of them should serve the Sounder station. It needs a peak-only route that meets the Sounder trains. Where it should go depends on where Sounder riders are coming from. I guess they’re coming from east Renton, south Renton, and north Tukwila. This route could swing down to south Renton Boeing to check that box, and Southcenter for anyone who’s transferring there or working there. I don’t think it needs to go as far as TIB. I can’t imagine people are taking Sounder to get to western Tukwila or Burien, not when there’s Link at TIB and Burien-Seattle peak express buses.

      1. The 405 Stride is essentially the F-line express referenced, though I think it is so only by coincidence (its goal is to get people south of the lake to Bellevue, not to be a faster F-line, though it will do the latter quite well).

        I’m actually pretty pumped for it. Its freeway stop near TIBS looks like it will actually be the most ideal for speed and reliability, even more ideal than the F-line temporary stop on Southcenter Blvd. Not to mention its use of ETL lanes north of Renton (where Stride will piggyback off of WSDOT projects, rather WSDOT piggybacking off of Stride projects like NE 85th).

    3. “Any chance ridership would support two routes to Renton, one of them via Southcenter and the other direct?”

      That’s basically what I was proposing (see below). I think the answer is “yes”, just not at RapidRide-level frequency. Most likely, you’d have one route running every 15 minutes weekday daytimes, 30 minutes weekends/evenings, while the other route would run every 30 minutes weekday/Saturday daytime, 60 minutes evenings/Sundays. So, it is a tradeoff.

      In the end, better frequency is important, but if achieving it requires combining multiple routes into one by adding zig-zags, to the point where you send more time on the bus, sitting through those zig-zags, than what you save at the bus stop, the better frequency just isn’t worth it. Especially with many of the zig-zags running all-day to support what are essentially peak-hour-only destinations.

      Even more important than upgrading frequency is running bus routes in a reasonably straight line so that, least, the route you take when riding the bus is the same, or similar to the route you would take driving (at least, avoiding freeways). That way, any time penalty for riding transit becomes overhead of walking to the bus, waiting at the bus stop, and making stops along the way, which can be improved over time by adding more frequency, streamlined fare collection, etc.

      Bus, when you have buses meander around like spaghetti, you introduce a *structural* slowness in the route, to the point where, even if the bus shows up right when you arrive, without having to wait – even if you are the only passenger on the bus, and it plows through every single bus stop without stopping – the trip will still take at least twice as long as driving would. And with real world wait time and passenger stops, it becomes more like 4X.

      Ultimately, when designing bus routes, the first focus needs to be straight lines. Second, service frequency. 3rd, reducing walking distance to major destinations. Without straight lines, there’s no point in improving frequency beyond 30-60 minutes, because the service will always be slow and unattractive to riders, no matter how often you run it. Without decent frequency, there is no point in worrying about a 5-10 minute walk between the bus stop and a major destination, since the wait time at the bus stop is a much bigger time sink than the actual walk.

      For South King’s other RapidRide line – the A – Metro mostly got this right. The A-line stays on SR-99 all the way from the start of the line in Federal Way to the end of the line at TIBS, and runs every 15 minutes. And, they eliminated the old airport deviation made by its predecessor – the 174, trading 5 minutes walking to reach the airport for a much faster and more reliable trip for everyone else (and, often saving time even more airport riders, by avoiding pick-up/drop-off traffic). With the F-line design, Metro appears to have lost its way.

      1. The bigger issue is that in a true BRT structure (and community transit And Everett transit do a good job on this at least on the aurora village to Everett line) is that the BRT like service is mirrored by a local service. So essentially keeping the 140 and adding the f line. But there’s not money for that so they cut corners.

      2. A real BRT line does not have to be mirrored by a local line. If you look at the BRT scorecard, ITDP only gives 3 points (our of 100) for having an express, limited and local service. ( Things like off board fare collection, dedicated right of way, or busway alignment are 8 points.

        These are all judgment calls, of course. But Madison RapidRide may well be the first BRT in the state, and yet it won’t have a shadow. It will be the only line on Madison, because it isn’t a very long street.

        But your overall point is right. There simply isn’t the money to build a real BRT structure in the area. It is expensive to split routes or have both a limited stop (or express) run along with a local. Having multiple “BRT” lines serve the same route is also expensive. There just isn’t the money for that.

      3. They can think what they like but it makes a real difference when you’re going longer distances and the travel time adds up. The two biggest things that make BRT BRT are dedicated right of way and full-time frequency. The former often means it can’t serve in-between stops or be right on the main street, so another route is needed for those. What I mean is, Swift could have made all stops — the road allows it — but in some other incantations like LA’s in freeway medians (which I haven’t seen), or perhaps Curitiba using parallel bypasses, it can’t make all stops even if it wanted to. This leads to a second route, maybe not exactly on the BRT street, that provides shadow service. In Oakland there’s a bus along MLK which acts something like a BART shadow and also serves other purposes (it continues along MLK when BART turns away from it). That’s the kind of thing I mean. To the extent that these routes are not exactly on the BRT street or have other additional purposes, they may not be counted in the scorecard, but they still exist.

      4. The two biggest things that make BRT BRT are dedicated right of way and full-time frequency.

        Right. Just like a subway line. But you wouldn’t look at a subway system and say it isn’t a real subway system because it doesn’t have two versions — one that makes all the stops, and an express. That would be silly. Besides, for systems like that (in New York, for example) which is the “real subway line” — the local, or the express?

        Without a doubt there are times when it makes sense to have both, especially with a bus. But that introduces other issues (like buses passing buses). These are important (which is why ITDP grades them) and we don’t have that. The closest we ever came to that was downtown Seattle, where we had the potential for a decent open BRT system (but it lacked off board payment, level boarding, and some other features).

        This begs the question. Let’s say we had gone a different route. (Just to be clear, I’m not saying this would have been the right thing to do). But let’s say we built on our bus tunnel. Add all the freeway improvements to the south (as well as the SoDo busway) so that buses would be in their own lane once they got onto I-5 or the West Seattle freeway until they exited to the north. Extend the tunnels to the north, so that they connected to Aurora and Elliot (with a few stops along the way). Add full on bus lanes for Aurora as well 15th West. Heck, add a new bridge while we are at it. So now you have buses from the Aurora corridor, Ballard, West Seattle, Renton, Tacoma, etc. all going through a series of tunnels and busways for miles. Buses pass buses.

        OK, now assume that all buses make all stops inside the city (like the E, D, etc.) Also assume that there are no express overlay buses. There is no Link. Yet you have a network of buses serving about a dozen stops in the core of the city, including Belltown, South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne. You have stops in places like Interbay and Aurora that have the same treatment (no traffic, no traffic lights). Are you saying that isn’t BRT?

        Of course it is. I just think that folks are looking at what we have here and saying “that is more like BRT”. There is also a bias towards longer trips (something that is worse within our rail system). With lines like Swift, the E or the A being the closest things we have to BRT, this makes sense. These types of lines are very long, and probably should have variants. But there are plenty of lines that don’t need them, and while it is nice to have, it certainly isn’t a requirement. There are a lot more important things.

      5. The NYC locals stop every 10 blocks, not every 5 blocks. And look at what you wrote yourself, “full bus lanes on 15th Ave W”. Those lanes allow the bus to travel fast so the number of stops isn’t as critical. The problem isn’t BRT stopping every 10 blocks, it’s stopping every 5 blocks as on Aurora between 73rd and 105th, and 145th to 200th). That’s excessive for BRT and it makes transit less competitive with driving. You may need 5-block spacing in a few strategic places like 100th and 105th (Oak Tree plaza and Northgate Way buses) but not all along the line.

  4. “It was also a reprieve for other F Line riders happy to walk a couple minutes to the street and catch the bus there”

    It’s less than that. Both d.p. and I timed it separately, walking at an easy/middle-aged pace from the base of the Link escalator to the street and it took less than 30 seconds.

    1. If it’s right where Southcenter Blvd meets the wide path from the station, then that would work quite well. It’s a nice straight shot once you get off the escalator.

    2. One thing I didn’t check is the relative time difference of walking to the street vs walking to the bus bays. Walking to the street may take 25 seconds but if it takes 15 seconds to walk to the bus bays then it’s only 10 seconds more. I’ll confirm that the next time I’m down there.

  5. I notice some of the same commenters who decry the 30 second walk from the future East Link Bellevue Station to the Bellevue Transit Center, support a 30 second walk from Southcenter Blvd into TIBS.

    1. The difference with Bellevue is that is a question of where to put the train station, and tracks that will go directly to the station no matter what, and whether that should be “pretty close” or “really close” to the existing transit center (in my opinion, the way it is now, being pretty close, is probably fine, and definitely a win when you consider that things like the Vision Line was at one point a real possibility).

      Tukwila, on the other hand, is a question of whether it is worth the bus taking an additional 3-5 minutes weaving into the bus loop to save riders 30 seconds of walking. If we were actually building real infrastructure for the RapidRide F-Line (like we are for some nearby actual BRT line), then the situation looks a bit more like Bellevue.

      1. Yeah, the problem is often that the station placement itself forces the awkward choice between a long walk or a time consuming loop. We can see that with several of our stations. Mount Baker is a prime example — it is too far to the west. This means that riders have a time consuming transfer (and as a result, many of them just stay on the bus). The buses could detour to the station, but that would be a big waste of time. The station should be in the little triangle to the east — there is even a transit center there. The transit center would only be used by buses that terminate there. The main value would be that buses that go on MLK or Rainier would let riders off right by the station, and then keep going.

        The same is true with the UW Station. They put it in the worst possible spot for pedestrians, as well as bus transfers. The main hospital is a much bigger destination than the stadium, and the campus itself is bigger than that. From a bus perspective, it is terrible. Riders have to cross a very busy street — sometimes twice — to access the station. Metro is improving the situation, but there is a trade-off. Riders (on some buses) will be able to get to the station without crossing the street, but those same riders lose the easy access to the hospital (and are no closer to the campus). The “fix” only works one direction. Worse yet, it is a detour in the sense that riders headed to the U-District have a delay. Not as bad as this one, but still significant (extra distance and an extra traffic light). It is still a good change (in part because it avoids some bus congestion in the area) but it is clearly less than ideal.

        Things would have been much better if they put the station in the triangle. The transfer would have been easy, no matter what direction you are coming from. The underground station would connect to the existing underground tunnel — which means riders could get to the hospital (and the other side of the street, for buses coming in that direction) without dealing with traffic. They would have added another tunnel to connect to the campus, and that would be it. Getting from the station to either the campus or the hospital would have been easier (and quicker) while bus transfers would be much better. As with Mount Baker Station, Metro wouldn’t have to decide between a long slog for those making a transfer, or a big detour for the buses.

    2. What makes Bellevue Transit Center so egrigious is transfer to the B, 240, 234/235. The B and 234/235 serve the primary multifamily/commercial areas that Link doesn’t. The 240 serves one of those commercial areas (Factoria) and a residential corridor that’s not near any other route.

      At TIB the situation is different. There’s nothing there but the P&R. It wouldn’t even be on the map if it weren’t for the station and P&R. The surrounding area is mostly industrial, which doesn’t generate many walk-ups to bus stops, and most of the retail has huge parking lots in front that also depress bus ridership. There are a few apartments around the station, but most people have to go through a no-man’s-land to get where they’re going. So the south end has a landscape that’s hostile to pedestrians and transit, and even an excellent bus/train station wouldn’t be able to fully overcome that. So TIB’s potential is less, and that makes it less urgent than in downtown Bellevue, which could have hordes of pedestrians and bus riders like New York or London if it tried.

  6. If what Metro came up is the best they could do, the F-line should have never been designated “RapidRide” in the first place. And the route really is an abomination. As many have said, detouring everybody on an all-day route to serve a connection that exists only during rush wastes everybody’s time.

    Really, I think the F-line should have just taken the straight-shot route of Southcenter Blvd. to Grady Way, and not cross 405 at all, and those going to Southcenter Mall would just have to walk the 1/4 mile to reach the bus stop. To maintain coverage for the portions of today’s F-line south of 405, I would simply extend the 156 to Renton, following the path of today’s F-line from Southcenter Mall, eastward (except for the Sounder detour, which is never justified, since that’s a very short walk).

    I don’t know how the service hour math would work out with this scheme vs. the actual scheme. The 156 is currently half-hourly weekdays, hourly weekends, so maybe we end up with a scheme where, weekdays, we have a half-hourly 156 and an F-line every 15 minutes, while, weekends, both routes run half-hourly. If that is indeed the way the math works out, I would just give the F-line a regular route number, rather than dilute the RapidRide brand by calling it RapidRide. It could be upgraded later, as additional funding permits.

  7. Taking Amtrak up to Vancouver BC I spent the night in one of the cheap hotels by the airport and took the bus up the hill from the Amtrak station. I was expecting to take a F line bus up the hill because that’s what Google Maps said was the only option, but the first bus to leave was something else. I got on before the driver turned on the route sign so I’m not sure what route it was. Possibly a 128? Was it extended to Tukwila Amtrak during this construction? It was 11:30 on a Sunday evening what else it could have been.

    By far the worst part of the trip (other than having some guy from Denver loudly complain the whole way about not being able to take one bus between the Amtrak station and the airport) was trying to get across 154th at the Tukwila station and the lack of a good pedestrian pathway between the bus stop at street level through the parking lot to the Link station. It’s a really pedestrian hostile intersection at that time of night. A pedestrian bridge as built for the A line stop at the airport station would make this vastly better.

    1. Pedestrian bridges over arterials are for drivers to go faster. Pedestrians end up just crossing the street at-grade anyway, instead of adding the time to go up to and come down from the bridge.

      See the pedestrian bridge across MLK and Rainier. This type of pedestrian bridge should be avoided like the plague.

      1. You already have to go up in order to get to Link, so the bridge would make it quite a bit more direct to get to Link by avoiding a half block diversion. See pedestrian bride for the A line at the airport. It’s quite busy.

      2. The pedestrian bridge over MLK/Rainier is much better than what SDOT proposes as the alternative – making people wait not once – but twice – for very long light cycles in order to cross the street.

        Of course, if the bridge went up to the mezinnine, it would be even better, but it’s still quite useful, even at its current location. It could be made even more useful with minor tweaks to some of the bus stop locations of the 7 and 106.

      3. There are exceptions. If you are already headed up anyway, then it makes sense. A good example is the pedestrian walkway next to Schmidtz Hall ( The campus is up high. That means that someone who uses that pedestrian bridge doesn’t go down after going up. As a result, it is quite popular.

        Another example is what Glenn is talking about. If the platform is up high, then having a pedestrian bridge that crosses the street and connects *to platform height* is very good. The problem with Mount Baker is that none of the pedestrian bridges do that. Riders have to go up, down, up again to reach the station (assuming they don’t cross at ground level). Another example of a similar bridge is at the UW. There is a pedestrian bridge, high above the surface, which leads to a station that is underground. Crazy.

        Anyway, like a lot of new modern pedestrian bridges, there are alternatives. you can always stay on the surface if you like. Seattle just added a surface crossing to Holman Road, which means you can use the bridge, or the crosswalk ( By the way, that bridge is a good example of a poorly designed pedestrian bridge. If you are coming from the park and use it, you have to walk extra. Same with the other side. It is common for these types of pedestrian bridges to either “switch back” or spiral, which makes the trip across the street not only involve extra up and down, but extra walking as well. Here is another example — colorful, but poorly designed:

      4. Is the Aurora overpass that bad? It’s not like the on-street crossing alternative would result in an instant green light. In the name of keeping traffic moving, you’d be standing at the crosswalk signal for a good two minutes or so, waiting to cross. How is that an improvement? I also like the fact that the ramp on the east side makes the slope more gradual. If course, it could have been better with a similar ramp on the west side too. Oh, well. Can’t have everything.

        Of course, it would be better if Aurora were not such a car sewer to begin with. But, car sewer it is.

        In the case at Holman road, the root problem here is that people drive too fast. The road is only two lanes, not three, so with a normal crosswalk, it shouldn’t be too hard to cross halfway, then cross the other half. The problem is people drive the road too fast, and whenever an opening materializes, somebody floors the gas pedal until that opening is filled. There needs to be more traffic signals, and they need to be timed to encourage a steady traffic flow at 30 mph.

      5. See pedestrian bride for the A line at the airport. It’s quite busy.

        Of course it is busy. You can’t enter the station without crossing one of the bridges. That’s not comparable to an optional-use pedestrian bridge at TIBS that would simply give Tukwila an excuse not to have a safe at-grade pedestrian crossing that slows down cars.

        Consider also that not everyone crossing Southcenter Blvd would be heading for the train. Some are heading for the A Line, the 124, or their car. For them, the bridge adds time.

        The SAS eastern bridge would be a whole lot more functional if there were an elevator on the west side of International Blvd, not just to avoid the at-grade crossing, but because the eastern bridge desperately needs elevator redundancy. Still, if it had both elevators (in service), I doubt anyone would take them just to avoid crossing International Blvd at-grade.

      6. Is the Aurora overpass that bad?

        It isn’t that bad if you are walking along Aurora, and wish you were on the other side of the street. But it is terrible if you are trying to get from one neighborhood to the other: You have to walk right up next to the street, and then back. In neither case is it integrated with the neighborhood. The spiral ramp should split , with one ramp connecting to the sidewalk in front of “Zoom Room” ( That would be quite elegant, really. As you turn the corner (by the dental office) you would have a ramp right in front of you, inviting you to keep walking forward, over the street. On the other side it is the same thing. There should be a split, so that pedestrians can keep going up 102nd.

        There is just something demeaning in having to go the wrong direction, when it seems like you shouldn’t. You start your trip by heading towards the other side of the street, and then immediately turn the other way, then you turn back — then you do the same thing on the other side (or in this case, spiral around). Studies have shown that people hate this. I was on jury duty once, and this was a key point. People want to go the shortest way, even if it seems like a minor inconvenience. If you have a hazard along the shortest path and it isn’t marked, you could get sued if someone gets hurt (the nature of the lawsuit).

        The point being, this makes pedestrians feel like they are second class citizens. It is better than nothing, but it still isn’t that good. In contrast, consider another crossing of Aurora, at 41st: The bridge isn’t beautiful; it isn’t special. But it works. For both sides you just keep heading the direction you were heading. The only penalty you pay is going up and down, but that is unavoidable in that area.

        But again, not all pedestrian bridges are like that. Consider that first one I mentioned. Let’s say you just left a bar, restaurant, or the playhouse across the street from Schmitz Hall You cross the street and you are on the corner ( From that corner, you could go left, but that takes you right by the car sewer that is 15th Avenue. You go right instead (south). Although you are going around to the right, you don’t go downhill. You go up a couple steps (which can be avoided by going to the left) and you are at building level. You round the corner, and you are above the buses, even though you have been level the whole time ( Then you get on the pedestrian bridge. At every point, the stairs are headed your direction (southeast). You get off on the other side, and you are essentially level with the other side. You’ve never backtracked. You’ve never gone up to go down. If anything, it has felt like you’ve taken a shortcut. Skirting the edge of what would otherwise be a hideous building (Schmitz Hall) gives you a newfound respect for one of the most disliked forms of architecture (brutalist). I’ve done that walk dozens if not hundreds of times, and not once did I think of using an alternative, or imagine that somehow they could make it better.

        Often it really comes down to the little things. The same is true here. There should be bus stops on the street. But riders shouldn’t then have to press the beg button to cross the street, then navigate through an ugly parking lot, followed by a long walk up. There should be a pedestrian bridge from the north side of the street to the platform. This is one of those cases where a curve actually makes sense. The bus stop would be on Southcenter Boulevard, about 50 feet south of SR 99. The ramp would initially go west, towards the highway, then curve around south, so that the distance is fairly short. Building a pedestrian bridge that long is not cheap, but neither is a loop through the parking lot, or having a walk that makes people want the loop.

    2. The 128 meanders slowly to West Seattle, and slowly the other way to Southcenter. I don’t know what you mean by “up the hill” from TIB or the F going up a hill, so I can’t speak to other alternatives. The 124 goes north to the Museum of Flight, Georgetown, and downtown. It’s slower than Link but faster than the 128, which squiggles around through coverage areas.

    3. Did you mean going from Southcenter to TIB? I’m still confused, but that is probably up a hill because I-5 is on a ridge, although it doesn’t seem a hill on the F where it’s more gradual. Yes, the F and 128 are the only ways from Southcenter to TIB that I know of. If by Amtrak station you meant Tukwila Station, I haven’t heard of the 128 being extended there, nor did I know there were any hotels there. Most of the hotels are along 99, although there’s a Doubetree across from the south side of Southcenter Mall. At least one airline I know of puts flight attendants in the Doubletree when they’re in Seattle.

  8. There is something that really bothers me, how the city of Tukwila has veto power regarding where Metro is allowed to put in a bus stop, and Metro is just supposed to pay for, at its own expense, the service-hour cost of detouring the buses to work around the city’s refusal to allow them to put up a bus shelter and a pole in the ground, in the name of car throughput. Not to the mention the value of all the passengers’ time passing through.

    Ideally, there the law would grant Metro the right to choose where to place its bus stops, on any road that is not a controlled-access highway, and also install crosswalks as necessary to make access to the bus stop safe, as long as the stop is important enough to the transit network to justify Metro paying for the cost to install it.

    If we think of the precedent this sets, what if the city of Tukwila were to decide they don’t want Metro buses making *any* in-lane stops, city-wide. Is Metro going to respond by running a bus that detours into and out of every single parking lot? Under such a scheme, travel time on all of the bus would would, at least double. Plus, does that mean that the owner of each parking lot has veto power over whether the people that live or visit the property are entitled to basic bus service? Where does this end?

    1. Seattle commits similar sins.

      A street in Seattle has to be designated as a transit street before Metro can use it. That has become a NIMBY veto power in practice.

      We deny buses transit lanes more often for the sake of a few parking spots (also a NIMBY veto power over transit lanes) than for adding an additional lane for general traffic flow.

      Don’t get me started on how 3rd Ave is kept paintless for the sake of a few off-peak delivery spots, for which the City could easily issue permits.

      Various other suburbs gladly build reverse bus bulbs so that buses have to pull out of the lane at the stop, and then wait for some driver to obey state law and allow the bus back into the traffic lane. Most drivers don’t yield to let the bus back in.

      Regular bus bulbs, BTW, are not for buses, but for putting parking in the lane with the bus bulb. They should not be paid for out of transit funds.

      1. We deny buses transit lanes more often for the sake of a few parking spots (also a NIMBY veto power over transit lanes) than for adding an additional lane for general traffic flow.

        Since when? I’ve followed the various projects, and it is the opposite. Taking a lane of general purpose traffic is damn near impossible. Taking a parking lane is tough, but it happens. A street like Denny has no parking, with two lanes each direction. How about we make one of those lanes a bus lane? Not gonna happen.

        This is a common myth here. Someone reads about how people are trying to preserve parking, and people think that is why we don’t have more bus lanes. But it is backwards. If you find a street that has parking and a frequent bus, there is a good chance that parking can be taken and used as a bus lane. But if you have a lane of traffic that is used all day (like on Denny) then it is extremely tough to take it. That is why improving the 44, for example, is such a challenge. Parking is not the problem. You can take those spots in Wallingford. The problem are place like this ( or this ( as well as everything in between.

      2. So, your point is that I understated the sins that Seattle commits against transit priority? Sometimes, we can’t even admit we agree.

        And then you point to pictures where the issue is taking a parking lane so that there can be a transit lane in the direction that gets congested. Neither of those general-purpose lanes have to be taken away in order to have a bus lane heading toward I-5.

      3. My point is that you stated something as a fact, and you have no evidence to support it. Let me repeat what you wrote:

        We deny buses transit lanes more often for the sake of a few parking spots (also a NIMBY veto power over transit lanes) than for adding an additional lane for general traffic flow.

        Weird sentence structure aside, I’m pretty sure you are claiming that it is much easier to take a general purpose lane than it is to take parking. Yet you provide no evidence to support your claim. None. This would make a good post, by the way. Feel free to analyze projects like Roosevelt Rapid Ride. I think you will find that almost all of the new bus right of way (as well as new bike lanes) came from streets that allow parking. Of course it did. It is one thing to say “people will just have to park around the corner”. It is another to cut off traffic flow, which could have negative consequences felt throughout the city (in ways that could mess up other bus service).

        The point is, you are spreading an unsubstantiated myth. This isn’t a trivial claim, especially on an advocacy blog, and especially when made by someone who is a publisher on that blog. It gives the impression that it is easier to “take a lane” of general purpose traffic, than it is to “take a lane” of parking. Neither are easy, but taking parking is much easier. Yet by spreading this myth, people make suggestions that are unrealistic (e. g. transit lanes on Denny) while ignoring ones they really should fight for (e. g. transit lanes on Harrison).

        And then you point to pictures where the issue is taking a parking lane…

        No, I pointed to pictures *where there is no parking*. Look at it. There are No Parking signs everywhere. You can’t park there. A quick look at the SDOT parking map ( shows no parking on 45th between Latona and Montlake Boulevard (and beyond).

        As I said, you can take parking to the west (in Wallingford). There are other issues. For example, it is actually only two lanes in places, as the curb sticks out. That means to add a bus lane, you would need to work on the curb, and maybe move some utility poles. This costs money. But the biggest issue, by far, are those lanes *that don’t have parking*. I’m not saying it can’t be done — I’m saying that is by far the toughest task. Just look at how rare it is — in every city. Bus right of way is almost always taken from lanes that allow parking (on Aurora, 15th, etc.). It is hardly ever taken from lanes that currently ban parking.

  9. Yep, this stinks. Buses shouldn’t detour to serve an area like this, unless they are terminating or changing directions. It is a judgement call, but two extra traffic lights isn’t worth it, even if it is a major destination. It is especially bad westbound, as buses wait for the left arrow coming and going. Eastbound I would imagine isn’t that bad — at least a bus take a free right to get there, and another free right to exit.

    It is especially bad that the city didn’t allow a stop. It would be one thing if Metro made that judgment call (e. g. they wanted to spare some riders the walk) but for the city to disallow a couple bus stops is quite nasty.

    1. Well, Tukwila is a car-oriented suburb, so we don’t have as much clout there as we do in Seattle or the larger Eastside cities. It’s sad that Tukwila puts cars first, even if they know one bus serves the equivalent of 25-50 cars, but probably the overwhelming majority of Tukwila voters want unencumbered car lanes and would look unfavorably at councilmembers who took them away.

  10. As someone who used to take the F from TIB to the Amazon warehouse in Renton….I think what would help is if they put the stop closer to that warehouse. For now the stop that is across the street from Boeing and the stop that is further up SW 16th Street at Lind is where Amazon employees get off/on and then walk to the warehouse.

  11. How about a map one can actually read or an explanation that is understandable for people who don’t actually use the routes in question??

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