In 2021, Sound Transit’s Northgate Link Extension will add three new stations to the light rail line formerly known as Central Link: University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. As with previous Link extensions, Metro plans to restructure bus service to improve connections to the new stations and reduce duplication with new light rail service. Given the large, heavily populated swath of North Seattle that the Northgate Link stations will serve, we expected this restructure to be particularly far-reaching. And Metro’s first proposal does not disappoint.
In the broadest terms, Metro wants to leverage Link for almost every trip where it could make sense, and to shift bus hours from redundant trips downtown into local routes and commuter service to destinations Link doesn’t reach. Riders traveling between the north end and downtown can expect to use light rail for at least part of their trips, while many riders within North Seattle will have new nonstop connections and buses that run more often.
Before we dive into what it means for specific areas (below the jump), we should note that this proposal is about high-level network concepts more than granular details. Metro is offering only general information about the level of service riders can expect on each proposed route, and says that it intends to gather feedback about specific tradeoffs during community outreach that will happen over the next few months. Based on experience of past Link proposals, it’s possible that this one could barely change, that it could be redrawn wholesale, or anything in between—depending on feedback Metro receives. Tell Metro what you think, whether or not you like what you see. Their survey is open until April 7.
Northgate and Points North
Northgate may be the clearest demonstration of Metro’s intent. To go downtown from Northgate, Metro really wants you to use Link—and it will be faster than a bus for nearly all trips. A massive number of service hours from route 41, currently one of Metro’s busiest routes, are redeployed in a variety of ways. There is a brand-new high-frequency crosstown route, significant frequency improvements to other nearby services, and reinforcements of commuter service to South Lake Union and First Hill.
New Crosstown Route 61
This new route (map below) would radically shorten a lot of east-west trips. Running at least every 15 minutes at most times of day, it would connect Lake City, Northgate, Greenwood, and Crown Hill, running via Northgate Way and N 85th St. It would restore a one-seat Greenwood-Northgate connection that has been missing since route 5-Northgate trips were deleted; provide a much faster connection than route 40 from Crown Hill to Northgate; and give Lake City riders a frequent one-seat connection to points west of Northgate for the first time. It would revise commuter trips for Crown Hill-UW riders to use Northgate Station, because it would replace the portion of route 45 west of Greenwood.
Other changes to the Northgate-area all-day network would be relatively minor. Service on the part of route 41 north of Northgate would be replaced by route 75, which will be moved from the routing taken over by the new route 61. (Expect route 75 to be further revised to serve Bitter Lake, rather than Northgate, when 130th Street Station opens.) Route 26X would be deleted, with service replaced either by more frequent route 61 or new connections from Roosevelt Station described below.
Commuter Service Changes
Commuter service from Northgate and its surrounding areas would change significantly. Almost everyone riding downtown on current commuter service—including everyone now going downtown on routes 41, 77, 301, 304, 308, 312, 316, 355, and 522 – would use a Link transfer. To make these transfers more palatable, local routes 345, 346, 347, and 348 would all get frequency increases to every 10 minutes along the common 345/346 and 347/348 segments, and commuter routes truncated at Northgate would also gain more frequency.
Fortunately, ST and Metro appear to have learned from past mistakes, and these transfers will be far more pleasant than some at other Link stations. Buses will terminate at a new off-street station directly below the Link tracks, and riders will not be required to cross streets, walk long distances, or get rained on.
Metro would substantially improve commuter bus service from Northgate to the growing employment centers in South Lake Union and First Hill. Today’s route 63 service between Northgate and SLU would be replaced by new route 68, which would run more often and extend service for the first time to Uptown and the new Expedia campus on Elliott Bay. First Hill service on route 303 would be supplemented by new route 302, which would also extend First Hill connections to parts of Shoreline and Richmond Beach for the first time.
The area around Roosevelt Station will see farther-reaching changes to its all-day network. This network primarily serves north/south trips today, and will be revised substantially to improve east/west connections to Link.
The core of Metro’s Roosevelt proposal is four frequent routes—routes 45, 62, 67 and ST 522—that will allow people to reach Roosevelt Station from most nearby neighborhoods quickly and reliably. These routes are all familiar to riders today, but all change a bit.
On its north end, route 45 will avoid the quicksand-like intersection of 85th and Aurora, using less congested N 80th St to travel between Green Lake and Greenwood. It would no longer operate west of Greenwood; Crown Hill riders would instead use route 61 to Northgate, with Link transfers to Roosevelt or the U-District. On the south end, route 45 would be shortened to terminate south of U-District Station, not continuing all the way to UW Station.
East of Roosevelt Station, route 62 would use today’s routing via NE 65th St (although Link will obviously make the route far more useful). West of the station, the route would be revised to speed service between Wallingford and Roosevelt, with the windy segment along Kirkwood Pl N and Woodlawn Av N covered instead by local route 23 (described below).
Route 67 won’t change near Roosevelt, although its routing in the U District will change to allow easier connections at U District Station.
ST route 522 (and its peak-hour Metro shadow, route 312) would be revised to terminate at Roosevelt Station instead of continuing all the way downtown. In exchange, they would run twice as often at most times of day. The change would also make the routes useful for north Seattle and U District connections they don’t serve today, finally replacing former route 72 service to south Lake City that many riders still miss.
New Local Connections
In addition to those frequent routes, Metro would revise local service for additional connections to Roosevelt. Route 73 would get a slight deviation to allow for transfers without walking from 15th Ave NE. But the far more interesting news is a set of three local routes which would actually operate as a single loop route, originating and terminating in the U-District. New routes 23 and 79 would be combined with existing route 74 to cover areas near Roosevelt and U District stations that otherwise wouldn’t receive service. Because presenting them as a single route gives a much clearer picture of the connections they offer, I made a primitive mashup from Metro’s maps.
These routes would offer local service along the length of NE 75th St for the first time; preserve a one-seat ride from View Ridge to the U District despite the deletion of mostly-redundant route 71; connect Latona and Tangletown to the U District; replace the Woodlawn Av N connection currently provided by route 62; and finally connect route 74 riders with U District Station and other U District connections.
Metro’s “Local” frequency designation probably means 30-minute headways off-peak, but we don’t know yet whether headways will be 15 minutes at peak, which would make the new loop considerably more useful for commute connections.
Commuter Service Changes
As at Northgate, many Roosevelt-downtown commuters would find themselves using Link, while Metro would improve connections with non-Link destinations. Routes 26X, 76, and 316 would be replaced, mostly with Link connections (although a new peak route, route 25, would serve some route 26X and 316 riders not well positioned to connect to Link). Especially in the afternoon, Link should meaningfully speed up downtown commuter trips. Meanwhile, route 64 would receive more trips, to improve commuter service to South Lake Union and First Hill, and to provide a better Link connection to north Wedgwood.
Metro proposes few major network changes in the U District, likely because most routes are already oriented toward the central U District. But there are many minor route adjustments to improve Link connections at U District Station.
The largest change is to routes 31, 32, and 75, which are all through-routed and together form a frequent corridor between Seattle Pacific, Fremont, University Village, and Sand Point. They currently serve the UW main campus, but would instead serve U District Station and NE 45th St (as pictured below). This would create a much faster frequent connection between University Village and U District Station, and speed many bus-bus transfers as well.
There are also lesser revisions to routes 44, 45, 48, 65, 67, 70, 73, 74, and 372 for better U District Station connections. Local connections to some neighborhoods west of the U District would be added through new local route 23, fully described above.
A few U District routes would be replaced by Link connections. Route 71 would be replaced by route 62 and Link for some riders, and through-routed routes 79 and 74 for others. Route 355 would be replaced for some riders by route 345 and Link, and for others by new peak-only route 16. Route 373 would be replaced for most riders by improved service on route 73, and for others by connections to Link at Northgate. Link would entirely replace the portion of route 74 between downtown and the U District. The low-ridership route 78 to Laurelhurst would disappear, with its one weekday bus reinvested into more productive service. Its accessible service between the UW main campus and Link would be replaced by connections to U District Station on routes 65, 67, and 372.
It’s worth noting that this proposal does not fix one stubborn point of confusion in the U District: the division of north/south service between University Way NE (“The Ave”) and 15th Ave NE. Routes 45 and 73 remain on The Ave, while routes 44, 48, 70, and 271 remain on 15th Ave NE, and routes 65 and 67 move to 15th Ave NE. While hardly the end of the world, this division does complicate bus-bus transfers a bit, and it would be nice to see it resolved.
Every time they restructure service around a new Link station, the agencies ask riders to take a leap of faith—faith that transfers won’t make existing trips worse, and that more frequency and new connections will make new trips possible. Riders in northeast Seattle took that leap just three years ago with the major UW Station restructure, and were rewarded handsomely. Earlier in Link’s story, rewards weren’t as clear; the full potential of Rainier Valley stations has yet to be realized, because of poor transfer environments and a lack of east-west connections.
But Metro (and its sister agencies Community Transit and Sound Transit, which are making similar proposals) have learned sometimes painful lessons from their Link experiences. Transfers at all three stations should be relatively painless, and the elimination of many I-5 delays will be a boon to peak-hour commutes. There are real connections in all directions from the three stations, and the new east-west connections at Northgate and U District are meaningful.
Especially for downtown commuters, this restructure will be a leap. But the new connections Metro’s proposal would enable are significant, and the promise of reinvesting future service hour additions in a good local network rather than endless sitting in I-5 traffic jams is great. While there are plenty of details to work out over the coming months, Metro’s proposal is a step in the right direction.
201 Replies to “Metro proposes new network for North Link”
The network is a little more grid-like, but I’m a bit disappointed that the 45 & 62 are still connected to long north-south trails rather than being connected to each other. The 74-79-23 makes a *circle*, not a grid! And while elements of this circle would work well in a grid (e.g., the 23 works as a weird north-south route that serves to the west between Link stations), even the parts that work well won’t run at all on weekends.
Which is another thing that bothers me. Metro should have a good enough general purpose grid that they don’t need to stick in routes that only run on weekdays (other than peak expresses). The 31 still doesn’t run on Sundays, even though Link could have made this more sensible.
I was hoping they would update the 78 to do a little loop in Laurelhurst (like the 995 custom school route, not like the old 25 loop), but instead they just killed it. A 30 minute route connecting to Link would be fine, especially with new service hours freed by Link, but it looks like just don’t want to serve it at all.
It seems now like the 62 should terminate at Roosevelt and the Roosevelt-to-Magnuson segment be replaced by a separate local route, with extra rush-hour trips for NOAA.
Also you might have wanted that service in Laurelhurst, the problem is your neighbors don’t.
We’ll see if they don’t – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Laurelhurst residents being disproportionately represented at meetings screaming about “losing service” that even the people complaining likely never used.
This is largely fine, with one glaring exception. The 31/32 currently serve lower, upper, and east campus destinations. The proposed reroute detaches lower Wallingford, Fremont, Queen Anne and Magnolia from UW Med Center and the Stevens Way stops.
This is a huge unforced error. Given the loop de loops required to get to 11th NE, this re-route will get to U District Station perhaps three minutes earlier than the current bus would drop folks off at Stevens Way. True, the buses will stop closer to the station than they do now, but losing the large mid-day traffic that the Med Center attracts and generates is a big mistake.
I have a similar concern. I don’t think there is anything wrong with sending the 31/32 to 45th. I think the trips from Fremont to the U-District are similar to the trips from Fremont to south campus (e. g. UW hospital). I just don’t like the way they get there. It’s slow and heads north too soon. Transfers to places south are a lot more cumbersome. This includes south campus, but also Bellevue (271), Montlake and the Central Area (48) and even Eastlake (70). In all cases you end up spending a lot of time going up north then going back south.
The problem is that they paired it with the 75. This has other issues. The 75 replaces the 41, one of the more popular buses in our system, that runs every ten minutes. There are plenty of riders who board in Pinehurst, and ride to Northgate. This bus will soon be extremely unreliable. Not only is it very long, but it has to cross the Fremont Bridge before getting to Lake City.
Both problems can be solved fairly simply, although it would likely cost more in service time (and thus frequency). You also have layover issues. But I still think it would be worth it.
I would basically send the bus far to the east, then north. I proposed as much in this map: https://tinyurl.com/sqthwwa. The 31/32 make fewer turns than today, let alone the proposal. It means that the 31/32 would be heading due north, on the underserved “Ave” and then just keep going, all the way to 65th. The 75, meanwhile, just ends right in the U-District. You serve more of the U-District, while enabling a fast connection to those headed to south campus (and beyond). There are other alternatives (the 31/32 doesn’t have to go all the way to 65th) but I think that routing is better.
Let me say that there are definite offsetting advantages to switching to 45th. “Through riders” (of whom there are probably not many but certainly some) are much better off. The reroute will be more reliable.
Still it will force a lot of mid-day riders to transfer, and for the 31/32 end riders, double back significantly.
How reliable will it actually be? Metro has proposed a lot of turns in the vicinity of U-District Station in general and is asking a lot of routes to use some part of 45th. Eastbound the 31/32 turns onto 7th, turns onto 42nd at a light, turns again onto Roosevelt at a light, uses 41st to turn around onto 11th, then turns right onto 45th. Westbound it turns left onto 15th, right onto 43rd, then gets back to Roosevelt at a non-signalized intersection (at least when I lived there), then turns onto 42nd and left onto 7th. Meanwhile the 67 would rather turn onto 47th and 12th than brave the Roosevelt/45th light, while the 44 is making two left turns from 15th onto 43rd and from 12th onto 45th. Non-intuitive routing with more chances to get bogged down in traffic.
For the 31/32, I would just head up Campus Parkway and the Ave to 45th. If it was trying to get back down to Stevens Way or Pacific St after serving the station I could see why they routed them as they do, but the proposed route of the 75 heads straight down 45th.
For the 31/32, I would just head up Campus Parkway and the Ave to 45th.
The problem there is making the left turn going the other direction (from 45th to the Ave): https://goo.gl/maps/aPPuncuzer8fCc237
You could keep the westbound route the same, but it is as messy as the eastbound route, and you still don’t have a Campus Parkway stop going westbound.
I really think the problem is in trying to send the 31/32 east. They shouldn’t do it. As I understand the proposal — and I think it is a bit vague — the 75 and 67 are coupled. Fair enough — I think that will work (they are coupled now). The 31/32 is not coupled to anything. It just adds extra service between Children’s and the U-District. That is nice, but I don’t think it is worth it. If you send the 31/32 up to 65th, then you add redundant service for The Ave/Roosevelt corridor. As proposed, only the 45 and 73 serve it. I would get rid of the 73 and send the 31/32 up to Green Lake Park and Ride.
That would mean trading one corridor for the other. That seems like a fair trade. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but that it is much easier to send the 31/32 north.
Aach — haven’t had my morning coffee yet. Obviously the new 67 and new 75 won’t be coupled. I still stand by my statement about coupling the 75 and 31/32. I think that is a bad idea — they shouldn’t do it.
I assumed the westbound 31/32 would turn left from 45th onto 15th (not the Ave), and get to 43rd that way. 15th already has a protected left turn signal.
Frankly if giving Fremont a connection to Children’s is so important, I’d leave the 31/32 unchanged or even send it down Pacific. Not everything has to go through U-District station and there are still plenty of transfer opportunities at Campus Parkway and UW station. If it has to drag the 75 with it, there’s still the 65 to serve 45th; that would be a big change for the 67 but it would still produce a more sensical routing, especially if it serves the station on 43rd in both directions. (And of course here’s hoping for some trolley wire so the 44 can head that way someday!)
asdf, what you describe is what Metro is proposing, whereas we’re talking about my proposal to make the route more straightforward by going Campus Parkway-Ave. Taking 15th to 43rd westbound makes some sense, but if you’re not turning directly from 45th to the Ave you re-raise the issue of how you get back down to 40th and that leads you back in the direction of something cockamamie like what Metro has proposed.
Frankly if giving Fremont a connection to Children’s is so important, I’d leave the 31/32 unchanged or even send it down Pacific.
Yeah, but there is no particular reason why Children’s Hospital is a bigger destination for people in Fremont than anywhere else. The only reason I could see that being important is if you want to double up service between Children’s and the U-District. That may be a worthy goal, but I would think doubling up service between 65th and the 45th (along the Ave) would be just as valuable.
My guess is that ridership to the U-District station will greatly exceed the number of through riders, which is why either ending there, or extending to 65th seems like a better option.
That would be a lot of buses running on 45th which is already congested and will only get worse with additional traffic around the station. I’m not sure any of this will work without a plan to get buses through that section.
I would also not bother with the 74/79/23 loop except maybe a few peak runs and invest the rest of those service hours in existing routes.
If you read the fine print, the 23, 74, and 79 are all proposed to run weekdays only. And, also, that the connection of Green Lake to the north gets downgraded to peak-only. This isn’t a lot of service.
I personally think the 23 deserves more service than the 74 and 79, and should also be extended northward, so that the connection of Green Lake to the north doesn’t cease to exist outside of rush hour. Even if the 74 and 79 don’t, I think at least the (extended) 23 should run 7 days/week.
I think Metro is overcorrecting for the complaints about having to cross streets to get from the bus to Link. It’s a problem at Mount Baker and UW because Rainier and Montlake are big, highway-caliber roadways and Pacific is built to funnel cars onto Montlake. I can see the concerns about crossing 45th, but I don’t see much of a problem with having eastbound buses use 43rd outside the 23 and 44 which are coming from 45th on the other side of the freeway. (Certainly Roosevelt to 43rd seems a lot easier to understand than the 47th-12th-45th zigzag they’re proposing for the 67.) Forcing so many buses onto 45th will be unacceptable without a bus lane on 45th between 11th and 15th.
Unfortunately, SDOT is redesigning 43rd to be one-way westbound.
If they aren’t also adding a bus lane to 45th eastbound that just underscores how Metro should have been working on this, and working with SDOT on it, much sooner.
I think Metro is overcorrecting for the complaints about having to cross streets to get from the bus to Link.
I agree. I think there is too much zig-zagging all to avoid what is basically a very short, very urban walk.
I worry about the busy single lane exit in the I-5 South/NE Northgate way exit loop. I do see construction along that exit – does anyone know if it’s related to providing new bus-dedicated lanes in that exit loop? I sure hope so.
Yes, I think the city is looking into adding bus lanes for that section to accommodate the buses from Community Transit (which will take the same path).
In the long run, I think the improved pathway could be used by the 40. That would save the 40 a lot of time (if it did this: https://goo.gl/maps/nZiLkawh3KyCXueV6, instead of this: https://goo.gl/maps/Q2rebs6CkFCMiD92A). Not only would that be much better for riders on the bus, but it would enable Metro to increase frequency on a bus that really should be RapidRide. You would still have service connecting the NSCC side with Northgate (with the 345/346) along with the pedestrian bridge, while improving a very important bus route.
I would prefer if in the long term the D went to Northgate and the 40 used the D’s terminus loop if not picked up at least some of the proposed 61. I can kinda understand why they don’t, but having the 40 serve 105th and Northgate kinda underscores how Metro screwed up the bus that was supposed to be the main Ballard-to-downtown bus. But yeah, the pedestrian bridge kinda makes the NSCC loop-de-loop unnecessary.
Greenwood would love that 61! Where is the 45’s northern terminus? Looks like maybe 85th and greenwood, but it’s hard to see where you stash the buses there.
I suspect it’s the current 5X terminal at NW 90 St/1 Av NW.
The map is somewhat confusing, but I would imagine David is right. The map shows the route with two northern ends. One at Greenwood, north of 85th; the other at 3rd, north of 85th as well. My guess is that it will do the same sort of loop as the 5X.
A big thank you to Kirkwood Place NIMBYs who complained enough to get the 62 moved to the much better Latona Ave routing!
They get the Sam award for the most productive or interesting NIMBY proposal.
The Latona routing is actual worse operationally. Eastbound buses are now required to make two uncontrolled turns into/across traffic (56th to Latona NB, and Latona to 65th EB). The turn onto 65th EB is particularly troublesome, even in a car.
A better routing would have been to stick to Kirkwood/Woodlawn as far as 65th, but then turn onto 65th at the Woodlawn/65th 4-Way stop. That is a quicker, less problematic routing because all the turns are at controlled intersections (Except the existing turn onto Kirkwood of course).
Of course if the intersections are all converted to 4-ways things would improve, and there might be other reasons to do that, but when it comes to infrastructure changes Metro is pretty pathetic.
I’m pretty sure Metro feels like this will speed up the 62 considerably. I guess we’ll see (maybe the assume the addition of stop signs in the future).
Positives – I like that this is an even more aggressive restructure than for UW station. For UW Station, Metro kept the peak hour downtown routes like the 64/74/76. This time around they’re not planning to leave any peak hour 41/312/522. As with the UW restructure, there will be a lot of people upset about losing their 1 seat ride to downtown. Hopefully Metro holds firm.
Neutral – UW is a tough nut to crack. I like that the UW campus buses are extended to U District station. Anecdotally from riding buses to UW daily (and I’m sure Metro has better data), peak hour riders to UW are 20% to Link, 20% to the med center, 10% to the U District/Campus Parkway, and 50% UW campus itself. It seems a mistake to move too many buses out of central campus to serve either Pacific or 45th. People traveling from the HUB to Wedgwood/Sand Point/Children’s Hospital will have a choice of walking to 45th, walking to Pacific, or transferring somewhere (the 372 doesn’t directly connect to the 65/75 until Lake City!)
Negative – Metro continues to be bad at communicating. I got a text alert yesterday about this proposal, which took me directly to the survey. So I didn’t even know there was a full list of all affected routes with a text description of changes until AFTER I submitted my survey and comments. The maps included with the survey were hard to read fully. So, for example, I was under the mistaken impression that the 67 would be the only bus remaining in UW campus travelling in both directions, and that the 75 would be the only bus connecting Lake City and Northgate.
I like how they are largely eliminating “strictly downtown” expresses, while also doing some new things with SLU, which Link doesn’t yet serve (and would require significant backtracking on slow buses to get to). The 68, for example, seems like a good idea if frequent enough during peak. Interesting how it clearly dodges bad traffic on Mercer street. And from other routes that drop off at Northgate to allow riders to transfer to Link, riders could catch the 68 instead of they are heading to SLU or Expedia (the western terminus of the 68 is clearly meant for Expedia since its location coincides with a good place to end it).
The 64 continuing to split the difference between SLU and Northgate seems like it might be slow (I don’t ride this bus so I don’t know how it is in practice), but the fact that Boren Ave is a short and fast connection directly between the two destinations seems like a good opportunity for a bus that does both and might need both to have the ridership to justify it.
The fact that the 302 and 303 serve downtown seems like it might be too redundant with Link. On the other hand, they do have direct access ramps to the I-5 express lanes, which is good for speed. And they are definitely not “downtown buses,” but rather “First Hill buses” that incidentally have a couple stops downtown, because it goes into downtown a little bit to access the fast ramp. I think it makes sense, considering how bad the 3 and 4 routes are, especially at peak.
I don’t get the 68. There is no tail beyond Northgate, so all riders will already be at the Northgate station. Wouldn’t it be better to just get on Link to Westlake and then have a frequent route that goes up to SLU and then over to Expedia? That route would then provide SLU, LQA, and Expedia connections for people coming from all directions, not just Northgate.
Removing the transfer is nice, but the speed of Link vs I5 during rush hour should more than offset, and KCM is going to burn a ton of service hours on the “reverse” runs in regular I5 express lanes.
*regular non-express lanes
I agree with AJ. That makes more sense. That would pick up plenty of other riders, transferring from other buses or Link the other direction. Running that bus would be a lot cheaper, too. Furthermore, it isn’t clear if the 68 is meant to run bidirectionally. If so, the bulk of the riders will simply be going from Lower Queen Anne to South Lake Union. Either way the return trip is very inefficient, either as a deadhead, or a route that might as well be for the bulk of its trip (South Lake Union to Northgate). Overall, it just looks like a bad value, as do most of the buses that go downtown (and I’m calling South Lake Union and First Hill “downtown”).
I wonder if the proposed 68 is intended as a stopgap until they can declog the 8/create or revise a route to connect Expedia to Link? As it is it’s not too difficult to connect at Westlake to routes going to SLU (40, 70, C, SLUT), Seattle Center/LQA (1/2/3/4/13/D), or Expedia (24/33), even if you have to walk to 3rd to get there (except for the SLUT).
“I like that this is an even more aggressive restructure than for UW station. … As with the UW restructure, there will be a lot of people upset about losing their 1 seat ride to downtown. Hopefully Metro holds firm.”
That was the plan all along. Keep the peak expresses north of 50th until Northgate Link. When the U-Link restructure was decided, nobody knew how well U-Link would perform, how much congestion would bog down buses at the station, or how much rider acceptance there would be to going down to UW Station. It’s barely in NorthSeattle; it doesn’t really serve the area. Adding busloads of peak routes on Montlake Blvd to UW Station may not be a good idea.
What surprises me is the number of peak downtown routes that remain. I’m trying to figure out whether all of them are justified. It does follow the philosophy of redirecting routes to SLU and First Hill which Link doesn’t serve very well. Metro should be given credit for that.
I think the truncations will stick. It’s easier to get to these stations than UW. and Link’s advantages increase the longer the distance. (At least up to a point, that being Kent-Des Moines.) Running buses parallel to Link between 65th and downtown would look really bad; aren’t these what we built Link to replace? The 522 is ST’s decision so I expected it to be more conservative, and I’m glad it’s taking such a big step forward.
The 522 will create a precedent of Lake City-Roosevelt service that will be hard to delete later. There’s latent demand for a better connection between Lake City and north-central Seattle, plus the 72 riders who have been suffering. 522 Stride will replace the 522 and terminate at 145th, so Metro will have to pick up the gap. Expect a 372-like route to Roosevelt.
You are worried that Metro won’t emphasize 130th, aren’t you? I think it’s fine for there to be connections between 125th and LCW to 130th, Northgate and Roosevelt. One thirtieth will be the quickest way to put one’s foot on a train car, but going down to Roosevelt might be just about as fast to anywhere south of there, and there is a nice star of connecting buses that would make a one-connection ride.
Northgate will clearly be the slowest to the train, but there’s lots of travel between “downtown Lake City” and the Northgate Urban Center.
If the stops in downtown Lake City are adjacent (farside WB 125th and nearside SB LCW) a rider can just take the first bus. Obviously that doesn’t work coming back, but if the buses are timed reasonably well they can all pass their respective stations three minutes after some train so a rider just gets off at the best station.
People traveling from the HUB to Wedgwood/Sand Point/Children’s Hospital will have a choice of walking to 45th, walking to Pacific, or transferring somewhere
I don’t think it is that bad to walk to Pacific. If anything, I think the problem is that Metro hasn’t decided how to run buses between these places. The 372 and 67 both do the same thing — from 25th and Pend Orielle Road, they head through campus. But on the way back, the 67 loops on Pacific, while the 372 takes the same route through campus. I have no idea which is better, but I think they should follow the same route. I would simply choose whatever route is faster. If it is essentially a tie, then I would go with the inner route (the one closest to campus). That does mean a longer walk for those headed to the hospital, but a shorter walk for those headed to the other side of campus. It would mean a longer walk from the UW Station, but that seems like a small issue, given that there are plenty of options using the other station (that people will gravitate towards).
The 65 move was originally to get at least some one-way service to UW Station’s front door. Which is better it’s hard to say; it depends on whether you’re going to UW Station or central campus, and there are a significant number of both. So it’s hard to say whether 372 riders are better off or worse off than 65 riders.
There needs to be an accessible connection in both directions between Link and central campus, and it will now be up to the 372 to provide it.
Yeah, Mike, right now, UW Station is the only station north of the ship canal. But with Northgate Link, a lot of people will use the other stations (even if the bus(es) go Montlake Boulevard). The difference is slight (and it may even favor Stevens) which is why I would go with the fastest route (which I’m guessing is Stevens Way).
There needs to be an accessible connection in both directions between Link and central campus, and it will now be up to the 372 to provide it.
Won’t the 67 do the same thing? Furthermore, if the 372 was moved to Stevens Way, wouldn’t it be better? Either way you get off at the U-District, and catch a bus through campus (either one will do). Going the other direction, again, you catch either bus. I don’t really see much value in going along Montlake Boulevard anymore (unless doing so is significantly faster, and I don’t see that).
The 67 will only provide the accessible connection westbound, not eastbound. Feedback seems to support the current 65/67 couplet routing; the Link transfer in the northbound/eastbound direction is *really* nice.
I don’t see any reason the outbound routing of the 65 and 372 has to be exactly the same. Both are frequent enough to stand on their own.
The 67 will only provide the accessible connection westbound, not eastbound.
As opposed to the current setup, which doesn’t work either direction. Getting from the UW Station to an eastbound 67 bus is much harder than getting from the U-District station to an eastbound bus on 45th. The north entrance to the U-District station will be a few feet from 45th, and a rider won’t have to cross the street. Westbound the U-District station is much, much easier.
I don’t see any reason the outbound routing of the 65 and 372 has to be exactly the same. Both are frequent enough to stand on their own.
The 65 runs every ten minutes, the 372 every 15. Neither is what I would consider frequent. If you are on campus, and just want to get to U-Village (or for that matter, another place on campus) then adding frequency would help quite a bit, even if they aren’t timed.
There’s a ped bridge from just even with the main Stevens Way stops: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Husky+Union+Buildingemail@example.com,-122.3091427,250m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x5490148d64534c71:0xc91793fd02335246!8m2!3d47.6553893!4d-122.3050845
I think that makes up for the longer walk to Steven on the outbound leg.
I have real concerns that rerouting the 45 from 85th to 80th will help anything. The problem with the 45 isn’t the intersection with Aurora. If anything, 80th and Aurora is worse than 85th and Aurora because it’s only 2 lanes (therefore no possibility of ever putting a bus lane there), and the sudden change of grade at the intersection slows down eastbound cars quite a bit at the intersection in any kind of darkness or inclement weather. The bottlenecks along this route all along were Wallingford and Green Lake Dr. 85th is solvable with real bus priority.
What I would rather see is running the 61 and 45 along the same route on 85th in a *DEDICATED BUS LANE* between Aurora and Greenwood (my selfish preference would be 8th Ave NW where the road narrows, but I can live with Greenwood). At Aurora, the bus jogs over to the diagonal Green Lake Dr and turns onto the new Green Lake loop using the new stop light.
I agree. I don’t like the new routing on 80th. It doesn’t really make sense. They are saying that traffic is too bad on 85th, yet you are putting a brand new bus on 85th (the 61 to Northgate). It should be fixed with new bus lanes, and both buses should follow the same path.
The new route manages to avoid all the apartments in the area*. It goes all the way up to 1st (where it encounters plenty of freeway traffic) before heading south, where it then encounters the same traffic you mentioned. It is suddenly a coverage route, in an area that deserves better. It also means that the value of the new 61 is diminished. Overlapping the two routes would mean that riders can catch either bus if they are trying to get to Link. The overlap will be minimal, if there even is one.
It is really a bad strategy to manage traffic. You should have both buses on 85th, along with bus lanes between Wallingford Avenue and Greenwood. I would also ban left turns on 85th unless there is a turn pocket (like Wallingford, Aurora and Greenwood Avenue). That will push drivers towards 80th, while providing faster travel for buses along 85th.
Until they get the bus lanes, they should keep running the 45 on its current routing anyway. Having two buses on that section increases the chances that we get the bus lanes.
* Good look at both built apartments and zoning here: https://jeffreylinn.carto.com/viz/681ff218-0a5d-11e6-8f50-0ea31932ec1d/embed_map
I like adding a bus on 80th. Right now there’s no east-west service between the 45 (on 85th) and the 44 (on Market/46th). Measured along Phinney/Greenwood, that’s a distance of 2 miles between east-west connections. Adding an option on 80th cuts the walking distance to a Link connection down by nearly half a mile for everyone living between 65th and 80th. I think that’s a worthwhile change to make.
I used to live on 73rd and east-west travel was kind of a nightmare. Walking to 85th took too long, but it was nevertheless often a faster option than waiting for a bus to go 12 blocks.
I used to live on 73rd and east-west travel was kind of a nightmare. Walking to 85th took too long, but it was nevertheless often a faster option than waiting for a bus to go 12 blocks.
Yes, and now someone on 73rd gets to walk only 7 blocks. But someone on 90th, for example, has to walk 10 blocks. Oh, they could catch the other bus (headed to Northgate) but if they are going to do that, they might as well catch the bus going north-south, then catch the bus headed directly to the UW (a much bigger destination than Northgate).
It is robbing from Peter to pay Paul, except in this case, the *vast majority* of riders have to walk an extra five blocks. 85th has lots of apartments, 80th doesn’t. It is a coverage route that isn’t quite that. It doesn’t make that much difference if you are far away, and yet most of the riders have to walk an extra five blocks.
I am all for a bus route on 65th. But running on 80th is just a bad idea.
I’d definitely prefer a bus on 65th over 80th, but 80th is better than nothing for the people in the vast unserved area between current routes 44 and 45.
As to the person on 90th, what trips do you see them walking an extra five blocks for? Green Lake, sure. For UW trips I’d expect they’d be better off taking the 61 to Northgate and taking Link south than either walking to the 45, or doing a two-bus journey.
65th doesn’t really work for E-W travel from Phinney for various reasons (narrow street, the lake).
Ross – what makes you think a Greenwood-UW traveler will choose a 5-44 combo vs. 61-Link? The latter is going to be more reliable, no? Especially during peak.
Not a fan of buses running a quarter-mile apart for any significant distance, and between 85th and 46th/Market 65th is probably the only other east-west street remotely suitable for bus service.
Ross – what makes you think a Greenwood-UW traveler will choose a 5-44 combo vs. 61-Link? The latter is going to be more reliable, no? Especially during peak.
Fair enough. My point is that the 61 is really no substitute for the 45, whereas the two seat ride is roughly the same. If I’m on 90th and Greenwood, I’m used to walking five blocks, then having a one seat ride right to the UW. Instead, my choices are:
1) Walking five blocks, then catching a bus up to Northgate, followed by a train.
2) Walking ten blocks then catching my old bus.
3) Taking a bus right from my door (the 5), then catching the 44.
Option 2 works best for me, unless I just broke my leg. Then option 3 is clearly the best. Meanwhile, consider what the folks on 85th and Fremont have to do to get to the UW. Previously, they just took the 45, right outside their door. Now, they have a couple choices:
1) Walk five blocks, and catch the old 45.
2) Take the 61 up to Northgate, and then the train back to the UW.
The people at 80th come out ahead, while the people at 90th come out behind. Meanwhile, the people at 85th come out way behind. They lose their one seat ride to the UW.
But here is the kicker: Way more people live off 85th. That is where all the apartments are. This is trying to turn the 45 into a coverage route, which is ridiculous. I like the 61 — it is OK. But it is no substitute for the 45 — way more people are headed to the UW than Northgate.
65th doesn’t really work for E-W travel from Phinney for various reasons (narrow street, the lake).
Right, but it could work in Ballard. I would keep the 45 as is, but send the 61 like so: West on 85th past Greenwood, then south on 8th NW, then west on 65th, then north on 32nd, laying over as planned.
There are other options, obviously, but 65th really should have (at least) 15 minute service between 8th NW and 32nd NW. That makes way more sense than spending money on express service from Northgate to First Hill.
Anyway, my point is, 80th is no substitute for that. A bus on 65th attracts lots of new riders from both directions (the bulk of which are between 70th and 60th). A bus on 80th is too close to 85th — you get very few new riders, while annoying old ones.
You also lose consolidation. If I’m heading south on the E, and want to get to Greenwood, it would be nice I can catch both buses, the same way I catch the 2 or 13 to get up to the top of Queen Anne. With the current proposal, it isn’t even clear whether there is a bus stop in Greenwood served by both buses. If I just want to catch the bus to Link, then I guess I have to stand close to the corner, looking around for the first one, ready to cross the street. This means that it isn’t clear whether this is actually good for the one group of riders this would actually help: those on Phinney Ridge, south of 85th. Let’s say you are on 65th and Phinney, headed to Capitol Hill. Again, you aren’t sure where to get off the bus. You can get off at 80th, and catch the 45, or get off at 85th, and catch the 61, but you can’t catch both.
This wouldn’t be so bad if 80th had lots of people, or if the buses ran really frequently (as in every four minutes), but that simply isn’t the case here. This is just a bad attempt at coverage — too close to the other route, but with no shared bus stops.
Interesting point: will having the bus retreat to 80th lose any leverage to get transit-priority lanes on 85th? The net result might be fewer bus lanes anywhere, and thus buses slower than cars everywhere. At first I thought fine but now I’m questioning it.
In my view, if the 45 and 61 both use 85th there’s no apparent reason to the ordinary rider why the 45 should terminate in the middle of the shared segment, though extending it all the way to Loyal Heights is probably overserving it. Frankly I could see the argument for replacing the 45 entirely with the 61 and a frequent, all-day 23 that continues up Woodlawn, 1st, 80th, and Wallingford to NSCC and Northgate, though I can understand why Metro would want a bus coming as close as it does to Roosevelt Station to serve it.
It’s still a 2-seat ride from Lake City to the Ballard commercial district, so I’m not sure what’s gained by having the 61 serve 85th instead of the 45. If you extend the 61 just to 15th then people would be able to transfer to both the D and 40 to go the rest of the way to Ballard. For people on 85th, they’d probably rather go to the U-District than Lake City, so I’m not sure it’s worth disrupting the long-established pattern just so you can say you’re connecting Ballard and Lake City, when you’re not really. You’re just making it faster than the current situation where you go to Northgate, transfer to the 40, and loop around the college. Although if they have to transfer to the D or 40 anyway, I’m not sure it’s gaining much.
As someone who sometimes goes from Loyal Heights to Green Lake on the 45, this proposal is kind of a bummer – I won’t have a way to do that without a transfer anymore, and in the winter that means I probably just won’t do it at all. But at the same time, that bus is always empty when I’m on it, and I only do it a couple times a month, so there’s probably not enough demand to keep the route running west of Greenwood. That being said, though, it would be preferable for it to run on the same street as the new 61 so that I can transfer in Greenwood instead of having to go 85th -> Northgate -> Roosevelt and then walk to Green lake
The proposal is for the 45 to serve 85th and Greenwood and terminate just west of there, so the transfer you describe would be possible.
Now that people will be relying on the 345 for Link connections, it is time to straighten the route and eliminate its two deviations. Having to sit through them, every day (or randomly have to sit through it, depending on whether the 345 or 346 shows up first) gets very annoying, very fast.
The vast majority of hospital commutes are employees, not patients, and are more than capable of walking from a regular bus stop. For those that can’t, the hospital should be running its own shuttle to the Link station, not depending on Metro to detour a bus, at the expense of all of the other riders.
I agree. The guy who goes by “Eddie” had a very nice idea: Send the 345 stair stepping up towards Greenwood, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/btvb5uvVCAiF9cyq5. That still gives you coverage to the other side of the hospital, while adding stops along Aurora (125th). Most of the doubled up coverage north of there is very low density housing. The only significant loss in coverage is Ingraham, but high school students can walk a little ways (https://goo.gl/maps/6vLzrzpa347txsmr7). It is especially crazy to think that they are going to stick with the current routing (which is clearly coverage in nature) while telling folks that it is a substitute for their old express bus.
Metro’s webpage lists the 345 and 346 as a combined frequent service corridor. But, if the 345 is going to detour in and out of the hospital, it is impossible for both route to combine for frequent service with even headways. However you schedule it – if both routes run individually every 30 minutes, either the section north of the hospital or south of the hospital is going to have to be alternating 10/20 minute combined headways, rather than 15/15. South of the hospital, you’re not going very far before you get to the Northgate ped bridge, at which point, you may as well just walk to the station, and not bother waiting for a bus at all.
So, in light of this, maybe having the 345 turn off 115th, like you suggested, and just abandon the “frequent corridor” combination altogether is just as well.
From a Kenmore perspective – I think the 522 and 312 changes make sense, and on average will save commuters time. It might be slower in ideal traffic conditions but during rush hour allows customers to avoid congested streets downtown, on I-5, and on the on/off-ramp connecting to highway 522.
Of course, in my case, this changes my two-seat ride to work to a three-seat ride to work, which might be asking a bit too much of me in terms of commuting time. There’s a good chance that this time next year my display name here will end with something other than “Kenmore,” although that’s not really because of the service change but due to other factors.
I think it is inevitable that there will be lots of folks making lots of transfers. You could have a trunk and branch system for SR 522, but I don’t think that is going to happen — not with brand new “BRT” service going to 145th in a few years. The best hope for the area is that the transfers be easy and have little waiting. Link should be frequent, although there is talk of ten minute service in the middle of the day, not six. The 522 won’t be frequent, but 15 minutes is a lot better than 30. During rush hour, though, I would imagine service would be extremely frequent on both, making the only issue timing that first bus in the morning, and last bus in the evening.
Better off-peak and weekend service would definitely be a huge upgrade for the 522 corridor, and I think it would be worth losing the one-seat ride for it.
Right now it’s hard to consider taking transit to the U-District on the weekends due to the fact that the 372 terminates at Lake City on those days. But with a more frequent 522 on the weekend, and an easy transfer to the light rail, it makes it a much easier choice to make.
The 15-minute frequency is probably to pre-build ridership ahead of 522 Stride.
The north loop at Roosevelt is by far the best connection at the station. The door opens on NE 66th right next to the station. It will be one of the finest bus-to-rail transfers in the Northwest.
The others kind of suck except possibly Roosevelt BRT if it loops at 66th. That will open to the north and people will have to cross the bus street, but it won’t be super busy with a stop sign at each end of a fairly short block.
Interested to see what % of 75 riders transfer to a 67/65/372 vs offload at the U-District Station.
Also interested to see the number of transfers from 45 to 75.
East – West flow will definitely open up now for access to Children’s and U-Village.
I always thought a campus shuttle system would be best with metro bus transfers remaining on the campus fringe. This appears to be the way it’s headed.
No more 78! Yea. I got the 3 things I lobbied for (74, 75 mods and the deletion of 78). Kudos metro!
The majority of 75/31/32 riders get on/off between U-Village and Fremont. There aren’t many transfers to the 65, 67, or 372. If you’re going from Sand Point Way to those routes. you can just as easily transfer in Lake City, or take the 62. If you’re going to Northgate, you can go around the north end of the 75 rather than transferring to the 67.
I’m talking about future transfers after the changes. Not now.
There are a large number of riders coming from Sandpoint that get off at Childrens.
It makes no sense to bus up to Lake City Way to get to all places south.
People that take the 74 don’t care for the 62. 62 is a pain in the ass route that doesn’t carry anybody east of Roosevelt.
Les, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The 65, 67, and 372 will go to the same neighborhoods they do now, so people will transfer to them in the future at the same rate they transfer to them now. The 31/32 get absolutely packed; there’s more people riding them than those other routes in my experience.
“It makes no sense to bus up to Lake City Way to get to all places south.”
You didn’t say which destinations you’re targeting so it could be either south or north of 125th.
“People that take the 74 don’t care for the 62. 62 is a pain in the ass route that doesn’t carry anybody east of Roosevelt.”
Are you talking about the 74 express or 74 local? The 74 express is full because it’s a peak express that uses the express lanes. The 74 local is as dead as a doornail, no more lively than the 62. The 74 ran for decades half-hourly on 55th and got practically no riders, then it was renumbered to 30 and had the same, then the 62 replaced it on 65th and had the same, then a 74 stub on 55th was re-added and probably has the same.
Riders that normally take the 75 to campus coming from the Sandpoint and points east of UW will now have to transfer onto a 372/67 in order to continue on to the HUB, Stevens Way and etc. 75 will now meet up with the 44 at 45th and 12th where they can transfer and head west to Ballard. I will be interested in the number of transfers at these two transfer points.
Yes, that’s the tradeoff between 45th vs Stevens Way. The current routing is maddeningly slow if you’re going to the U-District or UW Station. On the other hand, a lot of students go to central campus. The argument is that 45th is close enough to central campus and better for parts of it. As to whether congestion is a problem, we’ll see. Metro previously moved routes from 45th to Stevens Way to avoid congestion, and now it’s doing the opposite.
Correction: Also interested to see the number of transfers from
4544 to 75.
East – West flow will definitely open up now for access to Children’s and U-Village.
“There are a large number of riders coming from Sandpoint that get off at Childrens.”
What do any of these other routes have to do with them? The 75 goes door to door.
If you’re comparing them to the people traveling between U-Village and U-District/Fremont, then no, there aren’t a lot of them; the latter is much more numerous. If’s more numerous in one run than Sand Point-Children’s is in two hours.
That is a reply to your “The majority of 75/31/32 riders get on/off between U-Village and Fremont” There is also a huge number of Children’s riders.
I live near Aurora & 80th, and I often walk across Aurora Ave there. The cars often are backed up so they can just barely all get through the intersection on one green light. I don’t have any expertise in traffic engineering. While I hope the 45 could get across Aurora on its new route faster than it does at 85th, I’d need to see some data before I am convinced.
I highly doubt this is an improvement. I think the cause of the backup at that intersection is just bad roadway. The grade suddenly changes when 80th hits Aurora on the west side, so any inclement weather or darkness gets cars to slow down a lot at the intersection. They can never add a bus lane here, either, because the road is too narrow.
The fact that 80th passes 2 churches and 2 school zones between 1st Ave NW and Green Lake Dr N also probably doesn’t help things. The stoplight timing is also trash.
In my experience 80th is a bit better than 85th, but not that much better. In both cases, the issue is the traffic light. It favors Aurora traffic (as well it should). I agree, there is basically nothing you can do for 80th, which is why it is bad idea to move the buses there. They can never add a bus lane there, and if they add a bus lane on 85th, it means only the new 61 will use it.
You don’t really improve coverage, because it is too close to the other route (only a handful will now consider a bus stop close enough). But you increase the amount of walking for the majority of riders, since way more people live closer to 85th than 80th. It is a bad routing. I’m not saying the current routing is perfect, but this seems like a bad idea.
The traffic volumes on 80th are probably lower than 85th, and it hits fewer stop lights. However, there’s really no way to improve 80th. 85th has an obvious solution that just needs a little bit of political will.
85th is also flatter. I know that both of them are “Emerald” for snow clearance, but I don’t know if I’d route a snow bus route on 80th between Greenwood/Dayton and Linden/Aurora. It’s generally simpler when a snow route and regular route are the same.
One last complaint about 80th that I didn’t think of: The sidewalk is really narrow near the intersection of with Aurora, too; not just the road. It abuts auto-oriented businesses at all four corners of the intersection. Take a look at street view and see all these driveways. Where do we put a bus stop there?
Another concern that I had here – the 28x is shown as “local service” now, but they’re not really clear what that means. The bus does go all the way downtown (albeit at 30 minute frequency), basically running express along Aurora south of the bridge, and gets through-routed to the 131/132. I find the route useful, even if a bit unreliable. Are they making changes to it?
Also, what does deleting the 26x, the other through routed bus that turns into 131/132, mean for those routes?
There is no indication of any change to the 28X in this proposal. “Local” refers to half-hourly service frequency.
When the new 25 isn’t running, there is no other obvious through-route partner for the 131/132 on the north end, so I expect we’ll see a lot of 131/132 trips terminating downtown.
My dream choice here would be the 124, which I thought was getting a frequency boost at some point? It uses the same downtown stops as the 28x.
Sorry that last comment about the 124 made no sense and can be disregarded. I’d delete if this blog allowed me to.
124 is already through-routed with both the 24 and 33.
This is Metro’s first time using its four-level categorization in the long-range plan. “Rapid” means RapidRide. “Frequent” means full-time frequent (like the 62, 44, 45). “Local” means 30-minute service (a coverage route). “Express” means 30-minute express, usually all-day but sometimes peak-only.
In Metro’s traditional classification, “express” means it bypasses one or more bus stops. It’s a signal to check rather than assuming it will stop at your stop. In the 28’s case, these are route 5 stops on Aurora. So it’s barely an express, and will probably remain the same, and the “X” may or may not get dropped. The 372 was express because it bypassed some 68 stops, but after the 68 was deleted I think the 372 eventually dropped its X or it became inconsistent. Likewise the 15, which has never had an X next to the number on the bus that I’ve seen.
Aurora is being reconfigured to add a Harrison-Mercer stop with good connection to the cross streets and businesses, so probably all express routes will stop there.
I actually asked Metro about the 372X. It is considered an express bus because it skips the stop at 95th street. Metro admits the designation is stupid, but says it’s a legal requirement.
Now that Metro has a service proposal, and I presume some forecast of expected bus ridership and transfers, can Sound Transit please publish a study of Link capacity?
Simply assuming that trains will come frequently enough that capacity won’t be an issue is not really acceptable.
In particular they need to marry up this expected ridership with the ridership they expect to cone from Lynnwood when that gets on line.
There could be some crowded trains…
It’s a valid question. I wonder the same thing.
I also wonder why there isn’t more explanation about travel times via Link. When routes no longer go Downtown, there will be negative reaction if an agency doesn’t explain how a Metro+Link trip will benefit their travel time.
Reading through the survey comments, this seems to be the biggest problem. It looked like folks were assuming their bus to Link to downtown trips would take more time in addition to the transfer. Metro should provide some more concrete information about travel times.
Relative to today, peak Link capacity will go up by approximately 1.5x in 2021 (4-car trains at 6 minute headways). In 2023, it could range from 2.3x (if 4-minute combined headways) to 3.1x (if 3-minute combined headways). Intuitively, if Link isn’t quite full during peak today and you triple capacity by 2023, that’s a decent amount of slack to play with. But yes it’d be nice to see a formal analysis.
Well, eliminates my 71->271->Bellevue route. I guess that turns into… hmm. Walk a bit to 65->271->Bellevue (9 min longer because of the two walks). That is the way I did the return trip. Or the new 79->Roosevelt light rail->271->Bellevue or other two transfer options (never promising on a 3 mile trip, imo). Or just biking to the 271 (or just biking the whole way).
Seems to me that the 271 is uniquely positioned to provide a fast ride between the present UW Link station at University Hospital and the Bellevue Station.
In my mind’s eye, at least, given condition of the 550 while Eastlink is being built, if I had to go from Downtown Seattle to Bellevue, I’d take Link to present UW Station (are they still going to call it that?) and ride the 271 across the lake.
Am I close? If so, I’d e-mail Councilmember Balducci to keep that connection. If not? Just a thought.
71 is wedgewood, view ridge, roosevelt, university ave, UW hospital. So it goes from closer-NE-Seattle to UW hospital/station but around the sandpoint-45th-montlake backup.
I, personally, am fine with the 65 (I usually bike it anyway, so it’s really a backup route for me). Just wondering if, generally, the connections to 520 might be getting worse (requiring a 1 stop light rail ride).
Eventually (about a year after this opens) it might make sense for you to just round the horn (via Link). But the same issue will exist for riders heading to Kirkland (and Redmond unless they want to spend a long time on the train).
I can say that part of the reason we moved from the Ravenna area was because I fully expected my commute to Bellevue would get worse. The problem with the 65 coming back from Bellevue in the evening (at least at the time I did) was that you would reliably “just miss it” at UW station and thus add 15 minutes to your commute. The problem with the 372 or 65 in the morning is that during summer in particular (when Microsoft interns ride the 271) you can miss getting a seat if you don’t get on at the first stop, and if you try to get on at UW station you often get left behind. So the only reliable morning option is to take the 3 seat ride.
Is the 372 or 65 really any worse? The 71 makes you go west, then east again, which the 372/65 avoids. Or, depending on where you live, walk to Roosevelt Station, ride Link to UW Station, and get on the bus there.
I used to commute from Ravenna to the eastside; I generally found the fastest option to be riding a bike down the Burke-Gilman to the Montlake Triangle and getting on a bus there. From what I can tell, that’s not changing.
In the summer at least it’s actually pretty hard to get a bike slot on the 271 at the UWMC slot. In the winter it’s fine, though, yeah.
The problem with the UW Stevens buses going to the 271 is two-fold. First, it adds about 5 minutes because of going through campus (class change time is rough to get through) and second, it drops you farther down along the line. I actually used to do this a lot but getting a seat at the UWMC stop on the 271 became a crapshoot in the summer, and if you ride all the way to Campus Parkway you may as well take the 71 instead and be guaranteed a seat at 43rd. Plus it’s a shorter distance between the stops anyway. Coming back, as I mentioned the timing of the 271 to 65 transfer is horrible, and the 372 isn’t great but if you jog up to Stevens you can usually catch it.
One more thing I forgot to mention: getting rid of the 71 also makes it harder to get from Bryant or Ravenna to the North end of the Ave. This isn’t a huge deal most of the time but it’s actually kind of annoying at certain times (e.g. going to the Farmer’s market on Saturdays) or for some people (don’t know if they still do this but some of the elementary schools up there have volunteer days where they take the kids to help at one of the charities on the Ave – used to be I saw them every Wednesday morning on the 71). Shepherding thirty kids through a couple of transfers or on and off Link will get a little more challenging. There is, of course, an argument to be made that they should have a private shuttle for this purpose, but that’s neither here nor there…
I’m a little concerned about the resiliency of a system that is so dependent on one line of tracks. There’s a lot that can go wrong to disrupt service, and the more stations and track there is there more things can go wrong.
Different tools for different tasks. Trackways lend themselves to carrying very large loads through very slender areas. Also ideal for ability to add both bridges and tunnels as more capacity is needed. Incidentally, Dardanelles, beautiful name, awesome history.
I don’t live in this area so I can’t expound much in the specifics. However, I can comment on the process here — and it looks fairly amateurish.
1. Are there systems alternatives? Why just one alternative?
2. Why does the questionnaire ask about how the participant “feels” about the service change — with no technical background about changing travel times or reliability? This is bus route planning and not a rider therapy session. How can a rider react to a change unless there is better information on what the change will mean?
3. Why are there so many proposals to offer supplemental long-distance peak service when this is the time period when roads are most clogged? Isn’t the big advantage of Link that trips are faster and more reliable during peak times? Is there some capacity issue that Metro isn’t explaining?
Finally, I really wish that there were separate service maps for different periods of the day and on weekends. Trying to fathom a service restructure involves understanding trips at specific times. Trying to see them all overlaid suggests the intent is to confuse the participant rather than explain how a rider’s transit trip can change.
#3 is clearly Link capacity before Lynnwood and East Link come on line.
The fact of the 23/79/74 being a loop is a nice bit of operational trivia, or potentially helpful for some odd through trips (Latona to Wedgwood, say), but I think it’s otherwise unhelpful to think of it as a loop. It’s two-way service with separate route numbers, and likely intended to be seen that way from a system legibility perspective. If it were designated as a bidirectional loop you’d have to indicate clockwise or anticlockwise directions and add another signage convention. Doing it as three through-routed routes allows for a simpler understanding for the vast majority of trips intended to connect to Link, such as Latona to U District, 75th to Roosevelt, and Sand Point to U District, etc. The 23 in particular seems really helpful connecting “East Wallingford”, Latona and Green Lake to both Roosevelt and U District stations, where I had feared they would retain the slow-as-hell 26″X” and force people wanting to ride Link to walk across I-5 at 45th or 50th, walk to the 44, or walk to the 62.
I think it helps understand where the bus actually goes, though. I was confused when I read about the 23, for example, since it seems to just end on 65th. These are all through-routed, as 23 to 79 to 74 (and the opposite the other direction). I wouldn’t call it a loop though, since (presumably) the 74 does not through route with the 23.
Metro is expressly promoting some loop trips on the 74/79 side, including View Ridge-U District (to replace lost 71 service) and Roosevelt-Bryant.
I feel like numbering the 23 and 79 as one route would be useful, especially considering how relatively short the 79 is. But it looks like 7479 might be more useful for through trips, and that would look weird as a single route. Presumably eastbound-to-southbound 74/79 trips would change the headsign at 74th and 50th, while northbound-to-westbound trips would change it at Magnuson Park.
I doubt it will eventually be numbered that way. I think it is numbered that way only so people can comment. For example, “I really like the 79”, or “Why does the 23 go all the way up to Ravenna, instead of just turning on 65th?”.
If it was up to me, I would scrap the 23, and just combine the other two routes into one. The bus is either heading towards Green Lake (the park and ride) or the U-District (Campus Parkway). That is a lot less confusing than a bus route that suddenly changes numbers.
Before I get into the particulars (and I have already in response to other comments) here are some things I like:
1) The truncations (especially the 522).
2) Better east-west routing (via the 61 and 75).
3) Faster routing that retains proximity to apartments (the 62).
Things I don’t like:
1) Too many buses going to downtown or greater downtown (First Hill) during peak. I think these buses will be a bust. Most go by a train station. Thus they will be full with riders headed to station (to transfer to go downtown or the UW). But very few people will do the opposite (take a local bus then an express bus to First Hill). First Hill is just too close to Capitol Hill to be worth it. People value frequency — and the train will be a lot more frequent. They will also have poor ridership per hour of service because of all the extra time spent getting on the freeway and the very real possibility that it will deadhead back.
2) Too much coverage that isn’t really coverage. The 79 and 74 are OK — they are far enough away from the main route to attract riders. But buses like the 23 and 73 will fail miserably outside of rush hour. The will be too infrequent and too close to frequent routes. If you look at the schedule and realize your bus won’t get here in 20 minutes, but there is a bus running every 10 minutes only a few blocks away, you just walk.
3) Too many turns in the U-District? Things get complicated, because you have to deal with tricky layovers, as well as traffic. So it may be that this is the best they can do. But it seems like in many cases, the buses are spending a huge amount of time to get really close to the station, instead of asking riders to walk a block or two. If the issue is traffic, then we really should get moving with the bus lanes — in terms of the ratio of bus riders to bus lanes, downtown (for all the criticism of not painting this or that street red) is way better. Work needs to be done downtown in terms of adding or extending bus lanes, but adding them in the U-District is more important.
I have particular criticisms (which I’ll deal with in separate comments) but they mostly follow these themes. In general I would say that this is big improvement, but a bit disappointing.
You make a good point, RossB! Station area circulation matters greatly! Every turn will likely delay a bus. Even right turns can take time because pedestrians will often be in the two crosswalks that the buses may have to wait through several light cycles.
I’m also bothered by Metro using a giant and vague dot for a station. They should show the entrances! The systems map dot is so vague that it’s hard to follow bus routing in station areas. Even the individual route map shows a dot. What’s badly needed is a blow-up of the two new bus transfer points at U-District and Roosevelt to explain things to a rider.
As a former bus+rail commuter for 24 years of my life in two metro areas, I know how the last block or two matters greatly. One route I used was so bad in the mornings that riders would get off a stop early, and cross two streets at a signal rather than at the station plaza (ironically making riders on the bus wait even longer for the bus to turn left to reach the plaza stop), for example. I’ve even been able to jog to the next stop to get to a bus because station area traffic is so bad.
This is also important to discuss now, because it requires coordinating with SDOT. Frankly, we should have had this come out a year ago so that Metro could work with SDOT to lay out station area bus operations in time for opening day. 19 months from opening day is just not enough time.
I think the big dot is fine, but there should be a detailed view of the U-District, so that folks don’t have to click every bus route.
One route I used was so bad in the mornings that riders would get off a stop early, and cross two streets at a signal rather than at the station plaza (ironically making riders on the bus wait even longer for the bus to turn left to reach the plaza stop), for example.
Yeah, I think we’ll all had similar experiences. Meanwhile, through routers get hosed. It is the same idea as Brent White mentioned a while back: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2019/10/05/requiem-for-a-streamline-buses-return-to-the-tibs-loop-today/. No one wants to walk an extra block or two to make a transfer, or get to their destination. But it is much worse (for those involved, other riders, and the system as a whole) if the bus spends an eternity trying to avoid that.
In response to things you don’t like:
1) I’m conflicted about this, but with a fifth express lane coming that empties into Mercer coming in 2023, getting started with building ridership for that seems like a good idea (68), even if it can’t use the express lanes all the way to Mercer yet. The 302 and 303 can already use the express lanes all the way, take the special fast exit, and hop over to First Hill. And the one that takes Boren, that one might be the trickiest. It doesn’t have an express lane exit yet, has to take longer to serve SLU first, but that Boren Ave is a direct connection to First Hill, so it may be more attractive than having to take Link and then the 3/4 (the 3/4 suck).
As for inefficient deadheading, that’s nothing new. Metro runs N Seattle expresses with long deadheads today, which requires a lot of riders to be worth it. But if Metro thinks it’s worth it, and it’s more than just a downtown express replaced by Link (74x, 76, and extra peak trips on the 41) I’m inclined to think it’s worth it.
2) very much agree with you here. I’d also add the 45 and 61, and the 25/23 and 62. The 73 should end at Roosevelt Station, and then it could replace the north/south part of the 79. Seems dumb that they have all this redundant extra coverage, but still can’t get a 30 minute loop through Laurelhurst, as if that makes less sense than the old 25 taking an hour plus to get downtown.
3) the thing about these turns, is *every* bus on 15th takes them. So I’m thinking Metro might have a plan to work with the city to get bus-only left signals here. This would be an improvement actually, since the bus could avoid the busy arterial left turn from 15th to 45th entirely, while dropping people off at the welcome Matt for the Link Station.
Obviously I could be wrong about working with the city on improvements, but they’ve been doing that with the 255 restructure (there’s a really neat bus lane with a left turn from the right side at UWS), and Northgate Link opening would be a good impetus for these changes.
As for inefficient deadheading, that’s nothing new.
Sure, of course not, but for the most part, we can’t avoid it. But express buses of this nature are extremely expensive, and we now have an obvious alternative: use Link. I realize Link doesn’t directly serve every destination downtown, but so what? There are dozens of combinations that would be similar. How about a bus that follows Link in Rainier Valley (like the 106) but then goes up to First Hill, instead? That makes way more sense that these proposals, but the difference is that these ideas are more in keeping with what exists right now: lots of express buses. That is the only reason that Metro is proposing it. It is a failed mindset, that implies that we need to take baby steps (let’s only send a few buses downtown, and only to places on the edge of downtown). These are buses that will have popular with a handful of riders, but be terrible values. If we had a robust system, then it would be worth it, but right now, we don’t (nor will we when Link gets to Northgate). Why are we running buses to First Hill so that riders can avoid a simple, very frequent transfer (that may easily get them to First Hill sooner) when we can’t afford to run a bus from Lake City to Bitter Lake (that would dramatically improve thousands of trips). It just isn’t a good value.
This [using 43rd] would be an improvement actually, since the bus could avoid the busy arterial left turn from 15th to 45th entirely
Yeah, but wouldn’t the left turn from 15th to 43rd be just as busy? Keep in mind the left turn onto 45th is transit only right now (https://goo.gl/maps/5MCjZngFW1ByGvGGA). Meanwhile, even if all the buses turn left at 43rd, they also will have to turn right on Brooklyn (an area that will have a ton of pedestrians) and take a left again from Brooklyn to 45th. Either they are trying to avoid eastbound traffic on 45th, or they think that people are incapable of walking across the street. The former is bad policy, and similar to sending the 45 bus to 80th. Buses *will* use 45th; if there is a traffic problem, then add bus lanes. If it is the latter, then they are giving some riders a nicer experience, but delaying others. Not only through riders, but riders who don’t even take that bus, but find that Metro can’t quite afford a better level of service.
Why the fascination with Laurelhurst? The people there have never ridden in any significant numbers, even when they had a peak-hour downtown express many years ago, and most of them just want buses to be far away. Sand Point Way is close enough.
The map is pretty clear that the 44 at least will use 12th Avenue to return to 45th Street. The 31/32 will continue to Roosevelt on 44th, so there will have to be a light added there. Private cars should be banned from the street westbound so that this light can be bus-only demand actuated.
This is one of the good things about re-routing the 31/32 combined route. A rider to mid-Wallingford between 40th and 45th can just get the first bus that comes along on any of the three routes.
I would LIKE to see a single-lane bus-only roadway for westbound buses only between 15th and Brooklyn. That would leave the current eastbound lane for a broad pedestrianway. Put a bridge to cross 15th.
Eastbound traffic will still have to come as far as Brooklyn because of the UW Tower.
This makes a natural terminal loop for the 75. Buses can lay over on 12th between 44th and 45th.
Is the Mercer express lane exit not open? Last I was aware it already existed; is it closed while they add the extra lane?
The first hill buses will almost certainly be faster to Northgate than Link for people coming from the uphill city/county employment cluster (basically Columbia Center to Yesler). Maybe from First Hill too. It takes a while to get down into the tunnel. I am planning to use them as part of a 355 replacement if this plan goes through.
Yeah, I can see that, but using the same logic, we should keep the 41, at least during peak direction (when the express lanes are in their favor). You would usually save a lot of time avoiding a transfer, and all those stops in between.
But that is nuts. If you keep doing that, then you end with a terrible system. Some people love it — it works for their commute — but the vast majority of people think the system sucks, and drive. The buses run too infrequently, or too indirectly for it to work. That is because you spent all that money running all those express buses. The train, meanwhile, picks up fewer people, so even it runs less often. It is just a bad idea for the amount of time savings we are talking about.
In its current form, the 73 exists because the distance from 15th to Roosevelt between Lake City Way and Northgate is more significant than it appears on a map due to the grade. It’s probably not worth it to continue down the Ave past Roosevelt Station though, unless Metro thinks the Ave north of 50th deserves the combined frequency of the 45 and 73, on top of the 67 on Roosevelt. (Worth noting that when I lived on Roosevelt south of Ravenna in the pre-Link era I was disinclined to walk to the Ave to catch a 70-series when the 66/67 was right there, in large part because of the change in grade between Brooklyn and the Ave, and that grade doesn’t force streets to break up the way it does in Maple Leaf.) Meanwhile the 23 likely owes its existence to a combination of grade and the weird spacing between Woodland Park and I-5, plus making the new 79 worthwhile.
In its current form, the 73 exists because the distance from 15th to Roosevelt between Lake City Way and Northgate is more significant than it appears on a map due to the grade.
Not really. Here is a topo map of the area:
It is a bit hard to read the street names, but Lake City Way is easy to pick out. You can see the label “Maple Leaf”. The street just left of the “M” does not go through, but the one to the left of that one is Roosevelt. (If you scroll down you can see it). 15th is harder to pick out, but it between the “l” and “e” in Maple (and again, you can see the label if you go up). For the most part, you aren’t crossing many contour lines if you go east west, once you’ve made it up to 15th. The hard part is going further east (towards Lake City) or north-south. For example, here is what it is like to go from 20th to 15th, on a bike: https://goo.gl/maps/4aZCku8aPu7fwc1v6. Ugh. 161 feet of elevation gain. Now over to Roosevelt: https://goo.gl/maps/zfK13xYgZEACxC7T8. Not flat, but nothing out of the ordinary (30 feet). That is about as bad as it gets between 15th and Roosevelt.
If anything, it is Fifth Avenue that suffers in that regard. Here is a typical walk, that is far enough away from Northgate Station that you want a bus: https://goo.gl/maps/n6mCsxvJWJN9JNwGA. There are also apartments on 5th (around 85th or so). That walk is not as steep, but still about as bad as the worst trip between 15th and Roosevelt: https://goo.gl/maps/1dBTxzYhy2Zu5dby5.
To be fair, there is a bigger coverage hole if you eliminate service on 15th, but we have bigger holes that effect a lot more people. At most I would run the 73 as a peak route (both directions) because that is the only time it will be frequent (enough). If the 73 is frequent, then people will actually use it, and avoid the short walk to the 67 (that is always frequent).
That leaves two choices (that you mentioned). One is to send it to the U-District, as a way to add service when it is needed most.
The other is to just truncate at Green Lake Park and Ride. That would open up the option of turning on 65th, which might be faster, and would give some riders additional service. Those on 15th between 65th and Lake City Way would have service beyond the new 79.
Ross, my understanding is that the 73 exists in its current form because people on 15th complained about the inability to trudge up to Roosevelt to catch the 67, as Metro originally proposed they do. So it’s not just me saying that. My experience in the U-District, Capitol Hill, etc. is that topographical maps and measurements can seem to understate the lived experience of Seattle’s hills.
I walk around the area a lot. It isn’t that steep. Really. It is steep getting up to 15th, but not getting from 15th to Roosevelt. If anything, the steep grade is a strong argument for adding more stops along Lake City Way, but as long as Sound Transit is responsible for the main route there (the 522) we are stuck with the poor stop spacing, and barely adequate frequency.
The main reason the 73 was kept is because otherwise you have to transfer just to go the same direction (e. g. from Pinehurst to Roosevelt). The transfer is also awkward because of the turns involved — no matter which direction you go, you need to cross a major street. This creates the common phenomenon (that I’ve experienced) of standing on the corner, seeing your bus slowly approach, while you frantically hammer the beg button and wonder if you can jaywalk across a five lane road . Forcing a same direction transfer at a major destination (e. g. the UW) is one thing. Forcing it at place like that is another.
It really wasn’t about the extra walking or the grade. Otherwise, Metro would have service on 5th. Again, it is a steeper walk from 5th to Roosevelt and there are a lot more people on 5th. It was about the through routing.
Extend the 67 up to 145th and you solve that problem and save quite a bit of service time. I would consider keeping the 73 as a peak only route, but an infrequent coverage route that runs only five minutes away from a frequent route is a bad idea.
I also think that if they keep the 73 it will have horrible numbers when it runs infrequently (which is most of the time). They’ve even killed off some of the coverage (nothing on 15th south of 80th). Someone on 15th headed south just walks over to Roosevelt (as they do today). Someone in Pinehurst headed to the UW or Roosevelt may wait for the 73, but if they see a 347/348 (which already runs more often and is supposed to run even more) then they’ll probably take one of those instead. It really only makes sense if you are going between Pinehurst and Maple Leaf, or can time it just right. Outside of rush hour, there are very few people who do that.
I really don’t hate the 73, as bad as it looks. Like the proposed 23, perhaps it can be justified for the one retirement home along the way. (Although if that is the case, they really should move the southbound bus stop closer to the home). The problem is the 67. It shouldn’t loop around, and the existence of the very infrequent 73 is an excuse to keep the poor routing. Let me just quote Alon Levy when it comes to frequency:
“An urban bus with an average passenger trip time of 15 minutes should run every 5 minutes or not much longer; if it runs every half hour, it might as well not exist, unless it exists for timed connections to longer-range destinations. But an intercity rail line where major cities are 2 hours apart can easily run every half hour or even every hour.”
“An urban bus with an average passenger trip time of 15 minutes should run every 5 minutes or not much longer; if it runs every half hour, it might as well not exist, unless it exists for timed connections to longer-range destinations”
So we should delete the 11?
I agree with this RossB list. One-way peak-only routes should attract very full loads to cover the cost of their deadheads. to the extent we can, the network should serve SLU and First Hill with two-way all-day routes. The network could avoid well known points of traffic congestion near freeway interchanges when it can: Mercer Street, James Street, Boren Avenue, NE 45th Street, Northgate Way, NE 145th Street. sometimes there is no choice; sometimes there is a choice. reliability is important. riders want short waits. the network should connect with Link and have short transfer walks.
Why does Metro hate Broadview so much?
Because when the 28 ran through there full-time nobody, and I mean nobody, rode it. Essentially every passenger on the bus off-peak was a through rider trying to reach 145th/Aurora or 145th/Greenwood.
The last round of cuts got rid of all but a bit of the system’s low-ridership service. If you wonder why there isn’t service to a place, the answer is almost always because there was and nobody used it.
And how long ago was that? The population has probably increased since then, and it doesn’t seem like it would take too much effort to add a few additional runs to the 28 along with better access to east/west with the 345.
The population of Broadview has fallen, like most other single-family areas in Seattle, as boomers’ kids have moved out and they have remained in place.
Route 28 (except for one-way peak-only extensions) was truncated in fall 2012 when the D Line and Route 40 were implemented and Route 5 provided 15-minute headway north of North 105th Street. I expect the Broadview population away from Greenwood, Linden, and North 130th Street, that are served by routes 5, 345, and 355, has remained pretty constant.
The very first project goal mentioned is to serve historically underserved populations. Seems like Broadview and Blue Ridge are historically underserved.
There is a single homeowner in Blue Ridge who is mostly responsible for most bus service having been taken out of Blue Ridge. I suppose he is your underserved population.
The think that sticks out to me is how this will potentially affect NE Seattle riders who are looking to catch buses to the eastside – particularly the 540,542, 550, and 271.
By taking the 31/32 onto 45th, it now appears that only the 67 will be taking passengers East of U-Village (between Mary Gates/Blakely and NE 40th Ave) through UW to connect at Rainier Vista with Eastbound buses. That’s a non-trivial loss of frequency.
Somebody earlier posted on the breakdown of the Stevens Way buses between Link, Campus, UWMC and the UDistrict… I’d posit that a good 15-20% of riders in the AM are walking down to the Pacific Ave bus shelters for rides across the lake.
The fast way to make this transfer will be to take the 31/32 west and make the connection at 15th/43rd.
540 and 541 are being deleted. The 255 will go to the UW station in two months. The 550 runs on I-90. And you forgot the 556 goes from the UW station area to the Eastside.
I mentioned up above, but it was buried: I don’t like pairing the 75 with the 31/32. The 75 will take over one of the more frequent routes in our system (the 41). People have an expectation that it will run similarly. Not only is the new pair a lot longer, but it involves crossing the Fremont bridge. The routes should be split.
Splitting also avoids the awkward back and forth that the 31/32 takes to get up to 45th. It would instead go up to 50th like so: https://goo.gl/maps/4X7A2n77cswQ6o2n9 to layover close to the 70. After laying over, it would loop around and head back: https://goo.gl/maps/LjMAe36VN2b5pExE7. That involves very few turns, either direction, and most would not effect the average rider (who boards or alights south of 50th). It would mean an extra block walk for that transfer, but the improved speed of the bus would more than make up for that. Transfers to buses heading south (towards the UW hospital, south campus, Montlake, the C. D., etc.) would be much better than the proposal. They would have a simple, efficient transfer instead of riding all the way up to 45th (and back) or walking an extra three blocks.
The 75 would just terminate where the 49 currently terminates, essentially making a loop (after a layover) like so: https://goo.gl/maps/vc6hW2rS7VcVxCCz7. Again, this involves minimal turns (all occurring with largely empty buses).
This will come with a cost, of course, but I think it will be worth it.
The problem is that the 31 and 32 were explicitly paired with 75 to allow for easy one seat access from Fremont and farther West to Children’s Hospital. Prior to that, the 32 didn’t exist (I think) and the 31 was through routed with the old 68 that went down from Northgate to 75th, then down 25th to the U Village and then into campus where it turned into the 31. But not enough people were using that through routing, the 31 emptied on campus and the 68 filled back up (and vice versa).
I can definitely see the value of through routing, but that is not where the bulk of the riders will come from. I can think of several groups that will have more riders, all of which will be adversely effected by this change:
1) Link riders (Northgate, 65th especially) to Children’s Hospital. Those riders could take the 67, but that transfer is terrible.
2) U-District to Children’s Hospital or Sand Point.
3) People on other buses making a similar connection (to either place). For example, Ballard to Children’s or Sand Point. That is a nice connection, really, involving a same direction transfer. But it isn’t so nice if the second bus is ten minutes late.
I just think they are setting themselves up for an eventual overlap. It may be that is what they want from the beginning. Unlike David, I don’t think these are actually through-routed. I don’t see anything in the documentation that says that. They show the 31/32 ending at Children’s Hospital (where there is layover space), and the 75 ending where I suggested. This is different that other routes (like the 74) which explicitly mention that they through route.
If that is the case, and we’re wrong on the assumption, then I would be fine with that. It does mean a lot of extra service between the U-District and Children’s, but that is better than through-routing. I don’t think it is the best overlap (I would send the 31/32 all the way up to 65th if I wanted to overlap) but it isn’t a bad overlap, since there is plenty of demand between the two areas.
Some things I don’t like, in more detail, starting with too many buses going to downtown-ish destinations:
68 — This is flawed for the reasons mentioned before. A bidirectional bus that did this: https://goo.gl/maps/dcrotZfDSPq3zkng6 (and kept going south) would serve a lot more people, for far less money. It is worth noting that the 68 is the first bus that seems to be designed to serve Expedia, yet it doesn’t work at all for getting East Side riders to their old workplace. Whether they ride East Link or an express bus to the UW (or downtown), the 68 is largely useless to them. OK, wait, I guess it might connect with the new 544, but that is about it. The vast majority of riders will just walk over to catch the 24, 33 or D, wishing that the former were more frequent (in reverse peak) and the latter stayed on the main corridor.
25 — This replaces the 26, but it seems no better. It is a weird combination of a coverage bus and peak route. The main problem is the northern section. Once it crosses 45th, it is a mess. It manages to get as far away as possible from the 65th station as possible, thus ensuring that those covered by this route have a long slow ride to downtown (or anywhere else Link goes). It should either make a beeline towards the U-District (laying over at Memorial Way) or better yet, find a layover close to 45th. If neither of those alternatives work, then just follow the 62 and park underneath the freeway.
302/303/309 — These should be truncated at Northgate. Both seem designed to placate those that miss their one seat express to downtown, while kinda sorta going somewhere else (First Hill). Way too much money will be spent on way too few riders. There are lots better ways to serve riders.
I get it. We all want a bus that goes from our home, right to our work. But ultimately, it is about value. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money giving some riders a little better trip, while plenty of other riders struggle. Where is the express to First Hill from Ballard, or Rainier Valley? Don’t those folks deserve the same level of service, especially since it would likely result in more riders per level of service? Holy cow, we still don’t have a bus route connecting South Lake Union (where lots of people live and work) to First Hill (where lots of people live and work). These are just not a good a value.
The great irony in the 302/303 situation is that a Cherry Hill worker is being offered a 12-mile direct bus to Shoreline but not a direct bus to SE Seattle just a mile away. Once East Link opens, a Judkins Park Station and maybe a Mt Baker Station connection would open up all sorts of transfer options to eliminate the need for the expresses to and from Cherry Hill and likely be faster and more reliable for riders coming from much of the region.
Route 9 connects First Hill and the Rainier Valley and has declining productivity; it duplicates Link and its connections with Route 60 and the FHSC. Route 4 connects part of SE Seattle with First Hill directly and slowly with 30-minute headway. MI has Route 630 with a transitvan on I-90.
Route 9 doesn’t serve Cherry Hill. Route 4 won’t serve either Judkins Park nor Mt Baker stations as now configured.
Meanwhile, Cherry Hill gets two direct express routes to Shoreline and one to Federal Way.
I forgot to mention the 64. It is a solid route all the way until it gets to Roosevelt Station. Rather than getting on the freeway, it should just be truncated at the Park and Ride. This route then becomes an affordable way to deal with excess demand along 65th. You could run the 62 more often, but because it is an extremely long route (also going downtown) that doesn’t make sense.
Worth noting that the 25 overlaps the 62 from Stone Way/Bridge Way to 56th, and the 23 (an actual coverage route) from there to Ravenna. So south of 56th its main use is to bypass any Fremont Bridge openings, from there to Ravenna it’s an implicit admission that the 23+Link isn’t that useful for getting downtown, and along Green Lake Dr it actually is a coverage route with the 45 moving to 1st/Woodlawn, except it doesn’t connect to Link and instead spends a lot of time overlapping other routes. If Green Lake Dr needs its own service separate from 1st/Woodlawn I’d rather run an actual coverage route (maybe extend the 79 and decouple it from the 23?).
Personally, what got to me about the 25 is this: it doesn’t serve the ferry terminal or Seattle Center, it uses Wallingford instead of Stone Way from 40th to 45th, and it uses Green Lake Dr instead of 1st/Woodlawn from Ravenna to 80th, but other than that it’s basically a peak-only carbon copy of the old 16. Yet Metro is using the 16 number for a completely different peak-only route that also uses Aurora but essentially extends the 5X to 130th. I get why they’d number the 25 this way, for consistency with the 23 and old 26, but it’s still odd.
My initial thoughts of the 23 and 25 is that the 25 should be split. The southern half of the 25 is about providing additional peak-hour capacity for Wallingford->Belltown/SLU->Downtown. The northern half is about coverage and still seems necessary. I don’t like the idea of downgrading the link between Green Lake and north, which has always exited all-day, into a rush-hour-only option.
Putting the two together, perhaps the “split point” of the 25 could be around 45th. Run the south half as a peak-only route. Then, you can combine the north half of the 25 with the proposed 23 as an all-day route.
new 23 (all day): https://goo.gl/maps/vSqsXyrBurcW6QEx7
new 25 (peak only): https://goo.gl/maps/GanaXHYd6YVfyEYy5
The problem I see is that it gets worse and worse the farther you get from downtown. Up to 45th it is fine. In fact, I would even say it is good. As much as I don’t like express buses to downtown, this is the type of express bus that actually makes a lot of sense. If you are at 40th and Wallingford — where there are a few apartments and lots of townhouses and duplexes — Link is not a great option for getting downtown. You would have to walk five blocks, then catch a bus to the U-District. Either that, or take the 31/32, and watch as it zig-zags its way to the freeway. If you are on Stone Way, then the 62 is an option, but again, you are messing with the Fremont Bridge, and everything that goes with it. The 25 would save you oodles of time.
But if you are really *on* 45th, then this bus is silly. It reminds me a lot of my friend, who lives close to NE 65th and 25th NE. He can take the 76, and it will save him a lot of time when going downtown. But more often than not, he takes the 372, and transfers to Link. He isn’t going to wait around for the other bus. Going the other way, he always takes Link. Frequency beats speed.
At about 50th, you are doubling up the 62. Again, the dynamic is the same. No one wants to take a bus the wrong direction. But the bus going to 65th will come more often, and get you downtown at roughly the same time, if not sooner (since it isn’t fighting traffic). Frequency is more important.
North of 56th it is just ridiculous. That is a slow bus, running at rush hour, when there is an extremely fast train a little way to the east. Just walk over and take the 62, or take the 45 or 61 (depending on where you are). All will be much faster, and more frequent than this “express”. I would do one of two things:
1) Just run it to the U-District. That becomes a fine bidirectional bus. It is a bit redundant with some of the other routes (the 31/32 and 44) but that’s OK during rush hour. It takes some of the heat off them. That is probably the best value.
2) Have it turn on 65th, and head the station, do a loop, and layover at Green Lake (like so: https://goo.gl/maps/a3TNP5r8n5m1o62a7). That is not as efficient, but it provides coverage for parts of Green Lake. That would then allow Metro to skip the silly 23.
I don’t like the idea of downgrading the link between Green Lake and north, which has always exited all-day, into a rush-hour-only option.
Service to Sunset Hill all day used to exist “always” — now it doesn’t. If the 45 followed the current routing, it would be a simple transfer (between the 45 and 61). Why should those fearing a transfer between two frequent buses (instead of the old, very infrequent one) be favored over those who have no other choice but to walk a long ways to their bus?
RossB, regarding your friend in Ravenna, it’s a very informative anecdote. My own anecdote from the same area is that I prefer to take the 71 to the U District and transfer to the 271 vs. the 372 despite the half hour frequency, because it has other advantages (like opportunity for a seat). So I would not take it as a given that most people do what your friend does. The 76 is pretty well used at that stop, at least from what I have seen, and that’s true of everyone catching it along 65th.
If we think that the cost of running the downtown expresses is too high for the benefit they provide, that’s fine, but I would not assume that there will not be a cost in changing. There will be a somewhat large (as a percentage of the bus-riding population in that NE area) who will be worse off as a result of this change, and we should acknowledge this even if the plan will not change.
So, I used to live in one of the apartments around Meridian and 105th. I’m thinking through how the bus restructure would affect me if I still lived there.
When I lived there, I did occasionally ride the old #16 to Green Lake (since replaced with the 26). Thinking through all the possible places I might want to get to, I’m not really seeing any improvements that justifies losing the 26. It would be one thing if we could say that eliminating the Green Lake->Meridian segment means more frequent service on the 40. But, it doesn’t. All I see are frequent routes on the map that are already frequent today, even with no restructure.
@AM — Of course my information is anecdotal, and not everyone prefers that. But the fact that there is a fairly expensive route — that doesn’t perform particularly well — AND there are people who prefer the alternative shows that is just not a great use of funds. It is like a coverage route where everyone just says “No thanks, I think I’ll just walk half a mile like I used to”.
In contrast, look at the 61. Right now, to get from the 85th corridor (Crown Hill, Greenwood, etc.) to Northgate, you have to take the 45 and transfer to the very infrequent 26, which zig-zags its way to Northgate. Imagine if they simply kept the 45 as is, and kept the 26 as is. Now imagine that the 61 ran every 15 minutes, and the 45 every ten minutes. I’m sorry, but no one who is headed to Northgate would take the 45. That would be silly. You simply wait for the 61. The same is true for getting to Lake City. That is why it is obviously a good route.
But there are people who aren’t waiting for the 76, because it just isn’t worth it. The same will be true of most of these express buses that go to South Lake Union and First Hill. If they run them often, then it cuts into the more important service. If they don’t run them often, then people won’t use it, because there are reasonable alternatives that don’t involve waiting. Not everyone of course — there are people who can time the bus, and don’t have to be downtown at their particular time — but in general, these buses won’t perform well.
There will be a somewhat large (as a percentage of the bus-riding population in that NE area) who will be worse off as a result of this change, and we should acknowledge this even if the plan will not change.
I don’t think it is large. The people who ride the express buses are greatly outnumbered by those that don’t. The one exception is the 41 — and my guess is the bulk of the ridership there will be better off.
Of course there are winners and losers with every change. I’m not denying that. I’m saying that sending buses downtown is just not a good use of money. Not when have obvious needs that aren’t being met (all day service to Crown Hill, an east-west bus route on 130th, better frequency on various routes, etc.).
When I lived [at Meridian and 105th], I did occasionally ride the old #16 to Green Lake (since replaced with the 26).
Yeah, and that is another example of why the 45 should go on 45th. Here is how you make that trip now:
1) Walk or take the bus south.
2) Take the 26.
Now you would:
1) Walk or take the bus south.
2) Walk or take the 61 to 85th.
3) Ride the 45 to Green Lake.
So, basically, you are trading a transfer between two (presumably) frequent buses, versus a one seat ride to a very infrequent one. You also have the option of taking a bus for the first part, and walking for the second. Given the fact that this is not a very common trip, that seems like a good trade-off. Of course it would be great if there was a frequent bus route from Haller Lake down Meridian to 65th. The problem is, we can’t afford it to run that frequently. Running it infrequently means spending a lot of money that can be put into other, better trips.
It would be one thing if we could say that eliminating the Green Lake->Meridian segment means more frequent service on the 40. But, it doesn’t.
How do you know that? Just because two buses are labeled “frequent”, doesn’t mean they have the same frequency. There is a big difference between 5 minutes and 15 minutes, even though Metro would call both of them frequent.
I’m looking at how transfers between Link and buses will work at Roosevelt and U-District stations. These will undoubtably be important.
U-District: Buses are running everywhere, making lots of both left and right turns in a high-pedestrian area. Directing people to and from the station entrance and bus stops looks very confusing as well. Should there be a short two-way bus-only street? Should there be a clearer bus-only loop lane? Surely, there must have been some discussion about bus routing to have prevented this proposed jumble that’s sure to slow buses to a crawl and confuse people getting off of Link.
Roosevelt: The southbound nature of a Roosevelt Way already pushes riders a few hundred feet from the station. The rerouting of Route 45 in Green Lake already is pushing the route northward; would it make sense to change Route 45 to use 66th and Weedin instead of 65th and Ravenna to connect to the station better? Ravenna east of Green Lake appears to already have lots of bus routes and stops available; Route 45 riders heading southbound look like their station connectivity will be lousy.
The proposals may be the best that Metro can offer at this point. However, I really think that conceptual bus routing needs to be in discussion with the public before station designs are finalized. I can’t help but observe that a few pedestrian entrance changes to these stations (like under 45th or under 65th) would have been a godsend to transferring Metro riders.
“I can’t help but observe that a few pedestrian entrance changes to these stations (like under 45th or under 65th) would have been a godsend to transferring Metro riders”
You are absolutely correct! Sadly it doesn’t seem to be in ST’s nature to think of things like this far enough ahead. I’m sure they have bright people working there, but the level of coordination with Metro, who presumably could inform some of these decisions, has to be at a higher level than it is now.
or… maybe ST’s position would be that it isn’t up to them. That rather it should be the city coming up with these types of things.
would it make sense to change Route 45 to use 66th and Weedin instead of 65th and Ravenna to connect to the station better? Ravenna east of Green Lake appears to already have lots of bus routes and stops available; Route 45 riders heading southbound look like their station connectivity will be lousy.
It is certainly worth considering, but I don’t think it would fundamentally change the transfer. Buses still would have to go on 65th until they get to the station, then head south (making that relatively difficult turn). I would not go with the proposed new routing of the 45, but rather, turn on 71st, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/X46Mzd6NarirdSBS7. That does involve an extra couple turns, but they are on four way stops, so likely not that big of a deal. Metro should have information about whether Weeden is much faster (for the 63) so that might be valuable.
Another alternative would be to just go all the way across to Roosevelt (https://goo.gl/maps/3meC7QQGvUar7mWv9). That improves the transfer to Link, as well as creating a same direction transfer from the 522 to the 45 (and 67). That looks like the best option, really. You have very few turns, and you avoid the big traffic on 65thy. You end up with a tiny coverage hole (between 65th and 71st) but small enough to not worry about (in my opinion). Riders with either walk up to catch the 45, or down to catch the 62. If they keep the 25, there is no hole at all. I like that idea — I hope that Metro considers it. I’m pretty sure that the turn from 65th to Roosevelt is a big pain (because of all the people around there).
I considered suggesting this alignment too, RossB — but I wasn’t sure what moving the stop even further from Ravenna would mean. Your proposed alignment seems like it’s faster and smoother for riders in a number of ways. I don’t get why Metro didn’t propose this, since they propose a rerouting around Green Lake already.
I considered suggesting this alignment too, RossB — but I wasn’t sure what moving the stop even further from Ravenna would mean.
I think it would work out just fine. You would probably have a bus stop on 71st, between Woodlawn and 5th (both directions). That is probably it for new bus stops. I wouldn’t bother with a stop on the other side of the freeway — I would just use whatever exists (and is probably modified) for the 67.
You really don’t create much of a hole. Even with the 62 moved to Latona, and no new 23 (as I recommend) it isn’t that far to get to a bus. No one would have to walk over five minutes, unless you are far to the west (e. g. https://goo.gl/maps/V3d66Wz27PDyXSiU9). But that has more to do with moving the 62, then moving the 45 (and it effects only those in a single family houses). Ravenna is a weird street, in that there aren’t many cross streets. This means that it is difficult to get to from a parallel street to the west (e. g. https://goo.gl/maps/YqYWUr4bNjrYRErbA). Those riders are better with the 62 already. The folks who lose out are those that are right on it, but it isn’t that far of a walk either way (https://goo.gl/maps/ob1dRqJ3aUgP7TGh7 or https://goo.gl/maps/tKVGbeZCziDokoMF9). Even the people to the east could get up to 71st just about as easily (https://goo.gl/maps/waL2dCNAhXTgu6zV8 versus https://goo.gl/maps/waL2dCNAhXTgu6zV8).
I still think it is a loss of coverage though. I wouldn’t recommend the change unless Metro says that the new route is significantly faster. I think it is, though, and it would also save riders making the transfer some time and inconvenience.
Even if the bus travel time saving isn’t much, the savings to transferring riders at Roosevelt Station not having to wait to cross two streets as well as walk several hundred feet further could be worth it!
This change will be mostly a huge improvement for me.
I live near the section of Latona that will now be served by the 62 instead of the 26X. My nearest bus stop will see a doubling of all-day frequency. A short ride to the Roosevelt Link station should see our overall time to downtown decrease considerably. I do ride the 62 fairly often in its current routing, but it’s almost a half mile walk. This is often fine, but it becomes a real pain if we’re traveling with our small kids or trying to lug some groceries home.
We currently lack a one-seat ride to a supermarket (I’m not really counting the Green Lake PCC). The 62 will provide a direct connection to the Wallingford QFC, with very little walking on either end.
I do use the 26X sometimes for local trips to the north, and there doesn’t seem to be a great story for some of these destinations. If going to Northgate the 62/Link transfer will work nicely, and the new pedestrian bridge will also make this routing work for trips to North Seattle College. Getting to someplace like the north end of Green Lake or the Haller Lake area will become a bit more complex than it is today. Perhaps some of this will be addressed a few years down the road when 145th (and hopefully 130th) get their Link stops.
OK, now my opinions on the coverage buses (item 2 on this comment https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2020/01/23/metro-proposes-new-network-for-north-link/#comment-840384).
74 — The best of the coverage routes. It provides a good east-west connection (handy for 372 riders headed to the U-District) as well as decent coverage in general.
79 — Also a good coverage route. Not what I would do, but it is definitely better than the current 71/76 mess (I’m glad they aren’t just truncating those routes).
23 — Seems very weak. If you are close to 45th, then you just take the 44 — it is far more frequent. Likewise with the 62. Even the main unique trip pair (east Green Lake to Latona) can be achieved fairly easily by the 45 and 44 (and my guess very few people are doing that). It is really all about coverage — to fill in the hole left by the 62, but I don’t think that hole is very big. Between the 44 and 62, the biggest walk is about 5 minutes (https://goo.gl/maps/p3UJQsKd5zRMH3bd7). North of the 62, the biggest gap I can find is next to the lake, at about 8 minutes (https://goo.gl/maps/TYygUgco4An2vYYR8). But very few people would actually experience that, as it is only one small strip of single family homes. There are far more worthy places worth covering (e. g. Sunset Hill, which could use some all day service to Ballard if nothing else).
I would just get rid of all day bus service in that area. That would then mean simply running the 79/74 pair, which looks like a solid bus route, with two good layover spots (Campus Parkway and Green Lake Park and Ride). I could see it running every 20 minutes, if not 15.
73 — The 73 does two things:
1) Offers unique coverage on 15th Avenue, between Northgate Way and Lake City Way.
2) Provides a route from the UW to Pinehurst (the area between Northgate Way and 145th).
The first is simply not worth it. There are very few people on that part of 15th. Most of the potential riders will simply walk five minutes, over to Roosevelt, and catch the much more frequent 67.
The second item can be solved by simply extending the 67. There is a trade-off there, but one that is worth it. It gets complicated, and I made this argument before, in the section labeled “Straightening the 67” in this post: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2019/09/29/bus-restructure-for-northgate-link/.
The best approach is to send the 67 up to 145th, then kill off the 73.
I’ll agree the 23 isn’t an amazing route.
I live 2-3 minutes walk from it, and would probably sometimes use it to get to East Wallingford or the U District (I live a 15 minute walk from the 44). This is a trip that is not otherwise well-served by the proposed network, but it’s also one that I’ve gotten used to walking when necessary.
I could also maybe see myself taking advantage of the through-routing with the 79 to minimize walking on the way home from the Roosevelt Safeway if the timing worked out, but this is a bit of a stretch. The 67/62 transfer or just walking to the 62 would likely appeal much more often.
That said, it has a few things going for it.
– It fills in many of the gaps left behind by deleting the 26X and rerouting the 62. Even if the folks living along this route would rationally choose to walk to a more frequent route much of the time, they’re still going to raise hell about losing all non-peak service to their nearest current bus stop.
– It would be the only all-day route going right past the Hearthstone senior living complex. As much as deleting service from a good chunk of a neighborhood might be politically fraught, deleting service from a community of folks who can’t necessarily walk so well anymore is doubly dangerous.
– It’s not actually that long (less than three miles) or frequent, so the cost to keep it isn’t that high. Given that it is through-routed with other coverage routes, it’s possible that it costs no more to provide this additional service than to just have the bus lay over waiting for the next half hour to come around.
Even if the folks living along this route would rationally choose to walk to a more frequent route much of the time, they’re still going to raise hell about losing all non-peak service to their nearest current bus stop.
Yeah, but that happened before, to places with more people, and a longer walk. Sunset Hill and 5th Avenue come to mind.
It would be the only all-day route going right past the Hearthstone senior living complex.
OK, hard to argue against that.
It’s not actually that long (less than three miles) or frequent, so the cost to keep it isn’t that high. Given that it is through-routed with other coverage routes, it’s possible that it costs no more to provide this additional service than to just have the bus lay over waiting for the next half hour to come around.
Oh, I seriously doubt that. The current plan is to have the bus lay over around Campus Parkway both directions. Without a 23, the bus would layover at Campus Parkway and Green Lake Park and Ride. By my estimation (using the 62 and 44 as a guide) that route would take 20 minutes (from the park and ride to Campus Parkway). That could easily be the difference between running the other two routes every half hour, or every 20 minutes.
I think the strongest argument is the second one. Serving a senior center makes sense, even if it results in a route that will likely have poor performance. These is a coverage route, and it is reasonable to cover an area with common mobility issues.
I remember well what happened to Sunset Hill. It used to have the 17 running all day providing a connection to downtown. Then when the RapidRide D line started Metro decided to eliminate all-day service on Route 17 in favor of more frequency on other Ballard to downtown routes. At the same time, so as not to remove all service along 32nd Ave, they added a new Route 61 shuttle to the Ballard business district transfer points.
Two years later they canceled Route 61 because only 200 people were riding it per weekday. This low ridership made sense because most people chose to walk the extra eight blocks for a more frequent route that went downtown directly rather than forcing a transfer.
This bears quite a few parallels to what you’re describing here with the 23. Metro made a choice to trade off coverage for frequency (often a very correct choice), but in order to appease local residents fearful of losing service to their front door they left a route of limited utility serving that corridor. When people made the very predictable choice not to use that route, Metro cancelled it. Perhaps they have something similar in mind here.
We don’t know they switched to other routes; they may have stopped taking transit or stooed going to places they previously went to. The 61 shuttle was doomed from the beginning because it’s not very compelling to wait for a half-hourly shuttle that only goes one mile to 15th & Leary. A lot of people who would ride a longer route won’t ride that. But then you have to look back at the ridership on the all-day 17, which wasn’t great either, and missed Fremont in spite of getting so close to it. The all-day 18 was running then, so the same people who can walk to the 40 now could walk to the 18 then, and probably did.
I walked by the proposed route 23 today, and my enthusiasm for it dampened quite a bit. At Woodlawn/64th (about the furthest the 23 ever gets from the 62), I started my stopwatch app and walked east. A mere 5 minutes later, I reached Latona, the planned stop for the 62.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, the quickest path from Tangletown to downtown will involve riding the 62 the *opposite* direction to Roosevelt Station, rather than boarding the 62 south and needing either a long slog, or an additional transfer.
I notice a lot of people are concerned about the 31/32 still being connected to the 75. I think one possible solution is to connect the 75 to the 45. That way, the full route would never have to cross the canal. The only problem I see is that some riders would lose their direct connection to U Village and Children’s Hospital.
I also don’t completely agree with moving the 45 to 80th. Keeping it on 85th while truncating it to Greenwood would make it easier for riders to transfer between it and the new 61. Since Metro had such an idea, I wonder if it would make sense to put a route on N 50th St at least between the zoo and U District Station, possibly with a deviation to Aurora/46th for transfers to the E Line. This route could alleviate some crowding on the 44.
I don’t like some of the numbering options. The new 25 is basically the old 16, and the new 16 is basically an extended 5X, so that might confuse some riders. The 25 should be the 16, and the 16 should stay as the 5X. I also don’t see the point of having the 23 and 79 being two separate routes, considering neither of them are that long. They could even be the same route with the 74. In that case, the 74 would be basically a bidirectional loop, so there would have to be some indication of which direction the bus is traveling.
I was thinking the same thing. You beat me to it. As I understand it, this is the proposed coupling in the U-District:
31/32 — 75
67 — 65
I would instead couple this way:
45 — 65
67 — 75
That does several nice things. The 31/32 is now free. It doesn’t slow any other route. It can go north of 45th where it wants to go. If Metro decides we need a bit more service between 45th and 65th (quite reasonable) then go ahead and go that way. If not, then just end around 50th.
It is also faster in getting to the U-District station, which is the whole reason why the route was changed. There would be far fewer twists and turns to go right up the Ave.
It better serves the area. If you are riding the bus and want to go to the campus, then the proposed route is coming in too far north. You are not only spending too much time getting there, but then when you get there, you still have a long walk. In contrast, many of the riders will just hop out at Campus Parkway or 42nd, and walk directly east.
It better connects to buses heading south. I’m sure a lot of people will complain when they realizes their bus no longer goes to the hospital. The least we can do is make that connection fast and easy. It also connects better to buses headed towards the East Side, or the Central Area. Riders don’t have to zig-zag all the way north, only to go back south.
The 67 now has fewer twists and turns as well. Instead of turning onto 45th, and then turning off of 45th, it just turns on 45th and goes straight, becoming the 75.
In terms of through routes, it looks a bit better. Someone from the 67 — with ridership much higher than the 31 and 32 combined — has a fast one seat ride over to Children’s Hospital. Someone from the 45 — with higher ridership than the 67 — gets a through route through campus, and on to Children’s Hospital.
Demographics do matter. Are there more people from the Magnolia – North Queen Anne – Fremont – Wallingford area more likely to go to Children’s than people from Maple Leaf and Roosevelt (the 67 route) or from Greenwood – Greenlake – North U District (the 45 route)? I genuinely don’t know, but it seems possible, at least in theory, that that could be the case.
To argue against myself, I’ll ask the obvious follow-up: does it matter how things are now (in terms of demographics)? Current ridership is not the only criterion. Perhaps a particular disadvantaged area does deserve better connections, for example. And certainly the reliability of the connections also matters a lot. I would just like to emphasize that it is not (and should not be) the only constraint to be satisfied.
Are there more people from the Magnolia – North Queen Anne – Fremont – Wallingford area more likely to go to Children’s than people from Maple Leaf and Roosevelt (the 67 route) or from Greenwood – Greenlake – North U District (the 45 route)?
I seriously doubt it, just because the Greenwood – Green Lake – North U District area has way more riders. The 45 carries about 7,000 riders a day. The 31/32 (combined) carry 4,000. So despite having this great connection from Fremont to U-Village/Children’s Hospital, not that many people are using it. Way more riders simply go from the other corridor to the U-District, where the bus doesn’t even connect to U-Village/Children’s Hospital. I wouldn’t be surprised if more people get off the 45 and transfer to that area than take the one seat ride there on the 31/32.
There are some natural pairings that do change the nature of the system. For example, Children’s Hospital and UW Hospital, or the UW to U-Village (where there is student housing). The same is true for Northgate (which has some UW clinics) and Northwest Hospital (now run by UW Medicine). That is why I think it makes sense to keep the 345/346 pairing, instead of sending one of them down to 65th.
But I don’t think there is anything special about the demographics of the various areas that make it more attractive for getting to Children’s Hospital.
The 75 has been notoriously late in the last due to Ship Canal/Fremont issues but it’s been doing pretty well the past couple years.
Thinking about the proposal some more with a fresh pair of eyes, I’m having trouble seeing what exactly the improvement is. At quick glance, every single one of the corridors marked as frequent in the new network are already frequent in the present network.
Unless some of the already-frequent routes are going to become even more frequent, or become frequent until 1 AM, rather than 10 PM, this proposal looks an awful lot like a service cut. All of the service hours saved by eliminating the 41, 76, 78, etc., and truncating the 301, 304, etc., don’t appear to be going anywhere except for doubled-up frequent service on one mile of 85th. The 31 is still not running on Sundays. There are still no crosstown routes north of 65th St., except for the 40. And, the all-day connection between Green Lake and Meridian to the north is being replaced with a peak-only route. The rest of the day, riders are expected to either walk at least 50-60% of the distance or travel bus->Link->another bus, rather than just one bus.
I don’t know if the initial proposal is intentionally holding some service hours in reserve, so they can add to it in response to feedback without cutting something, or whether Metro is making conservative assumptions about the renewal of the Seattle TBD or I-976 litigation in the courts, or whether their intention is indeed to shift service hours out of north Seattle into other parts of the county. But, at first glance, I’m not really seeing the improvement here I was hoping for.
Based on whispers I’ve heard, I think there are likely to be some frequency increases not reflected in the catch-all “Frequent” designation. I hope Metro will clarify that soon.
Some of the difference is also going into beefed-up commuter service to SLU and First Hill, whether you think that’s the right approach or not. The new 68 and 302 aren’t cheap, and there are also a bunch of hours going into the 64 and 309.
You’re not right that “there are no crosstown routes north of 65th” – that’s what the new 61 is. The 79 is half a crosstown route. And Metro is also (IMO) setting up the 45 for an extension into Ballard later on.
Hmm. While it wouldn’t strictly be a “grid” I liked the idea of an NW/N 65th route forming an “X” with the 45, with the 65th route heading towards Northgate and the 45 keeping its existing routing (possibly with a move to 1st/Woodlawn, and maybe even eventually inheriting the 65th segment of the 62). I’m not sure how I feel about the 45 being extended to Ballard while the 61 takes the 85th segment and sends it to Northgate (though it is true that an NW/N 65th route would be a poor match for the Northgate Way/Lake City segment the 61 ends with). Certainly the 45 gets close enough to the 61 no matter what you want to create a transfer opportunity, unless you keep the 45 on Green Lake Dr and send it down Winona, so the 45 would need to get up to 85th at some point. Would it then use 8th to get back down to Ballard? Would it be disconnected from Greenwood and sent down Aurora and Linden? Who knows.
My theory is that the north/west half of the 45 is showing how Metro is thinking about a 65th-ish crosstown route, probably via 3rd NW to NW 65th, once Ballard Link exists. Obviously the ideal way would be around the south end of the lake rather than the north end, but that would require a major rebuild of N 65th between Winona and 3rd NW.
Thinking about the proposal some more with a fresh pair of eyes, I’m having trouble seeing what exactly the improvement is.
I kind of see what your saying; other than the 61, there isn’t much of an addition. But I think this is to be expected. There really aren’t a lot of new routes to be added in the area. I guess if David is right, it takes 15 years before Metro can get around to running a bus on 65th NW. Silly me to think it could be added with this change (as part of the new 61, like Morgan suggested).
Seriously though, I didn’t expect much in the way of new routes. There aren’t a lot of new routes that make sense. I would love to see a route from Lake City to Bitter Lake, but I just don’t see that happening before Link gets to 130th.
I think the biggest overall issue I have is with all of the express routes to First Hill and South Lake Union. The ridership per service hour on those routes is going to be subpar. The time saved per dollar spent on those routes will be terrible. It is worse than a coverage route — these are extremely expensive routes that only avoid a straightforward transfer (as opposed to a long walk).
It makes way more sense to just send those people onto Link, and let the train do the heavy lifting (it is what trains do best). There are important corridors that are ignored, even during rush hour. Fifth Avenue NE, for example, has nothing (currently it at least has the 63). That bus could be truncated at the Park and Ride (a short distance from Link). Or how about this: https://goo.gl/maps/iSkkvS25AtVDB3QR7. That would work bidirectionally, which is way more than I can say for most, if not all of the express buses. It would be a rush hour, express version of the 345, saving riders a huge amount of time. It wouldn’t be the same as having a bus from Lake City to Bitter Lake, but it would be the next best thing.
All that being said, I do think overall it is an improvement. The 61 is a big step in the right direction.
As far as frequency, Frank is right. Fifteen minutes or ten minutes is simply not that frequent. It is only Americans that think that way, but that is why we trail the world in transit use. Running those same buses every five to eight minutes would be a huge improvement.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing improvements in other neighborhoods. That is why it is crazy to send buses from Lake City Way to First Hill, but not South Lake Union to First Hill. The latter would get way more riders, and way more riders per hour of service. It would work both directions, every day, all day, enabling great point to point travel, as well as additional connections. Speaking of which, does anyone see that with any of the new express routes? Would anyone take, say, the 303, and then transfer to another bus? Of course not, which is another reason why is it a terrible waste of money. It doesn’t improve the network.
Which I guess is what you are getting at. Other than the 61, the only hope for an improvement to the network is with added frequency. Yet what that actually means isn’t being discussed. It is pretty hard to judge a new network without seeing what it means in terms of added frequency.
Exactly. Many of the annoyances I’ve pointed out in other comments, I might be willing to accept as a reasonable tradeoff if there were some tangible improvement in return. But, so far, I’m not really seeing it. Both the gaps you’ve talked about and I’ve talked about remain.
I’m not enthusiatics about special rush-hour service to downtown adjacent neighborhoods. In practice, once you start taking whatever bus comes first, rather than wait for your special express, the inevitable result is you’ll end up on local buses and Link.
For example, the other day, I was going from Kirkland->UW. I planned by departure for the 540, but when the 255 showed up first, I hopped on, because there no reason not to. At one of the 520 freeway stations, when the 541 showed up first, there was no reason not to hop on that. Technically, it was a two-seat ride. But, the alternative one-seat option didn’t really add any extra value, once the more frequent 255 was coming first. It’s the same here. While you’re waiting for that bus to First Hill, a Link train will almost certainly come first. Worst case, the wait for a connection at the end won’t be any longer than you would have waited at Northgate for the 303, anyway. And, there is always the option to just walk up the hill if the wait for the last-mile connection is longer than expected.
So what if we turn it around. If Metro didn’t make any changes beyond the 1-block maneuvers to get next to stations, how would it be then?
Well, some things have to change – if nothing else, sending routes like the 41/74/76/etc. between Link stations and downtown would be a complete waste. Similar with the 522 – truncating it in favor of better frequency is a very welcome change.
But, I can definitely imagine a network where the only changes are truncating the downtown routes and re-deploying the buses to beef up other routes.
Not perfect, but still pretty darn good. The 44 and 62 already connect to UW Station and Roosevelt Station. There are some minor quibbles. Sand Point->downtown has to deal with the Campus Creep, rather than going up 45th St. to the U-district station. The 31/32 isn’t ideal for going downtown, but Fremont/Wallingford already have the 26/62, and it’s only a couple blocks’ walk from Campus Parkway to the U-district station, anyway.
In the ideal world, I would sent the 44 straight down 45 to Sand Point, if it could be done reliably, and trolley wire were not an issue. In the real world, I’d probably keep the proposed changes to the 31/32/75, but not sure about the other stuff.
The 71 and 78 should probably die, no matter what happens, though.
” large, heavily populated swath of North Seattle”
Large, I might allow…but “heavily populated”? Compared to what? Not the areas connected by Central Link…
As noted in many places, the entire city of Paris — 2M people, all those museums and cultural artifacts, the busiest railway station in Europe — will fit in the northern half of Seattle, from downtown to 145th Ave. *That’s* heavily populated.
The only thing I regularly do with the bus these days is to take the 45 from the U district to Crown Hill for my martial arts class twice a week. With these changes, I would either need to transfer from the 45 to the 61 in Greenwood, or I would have to walk to the link station, take the link to Northgate, and ride the entire length of the 61 line.
I would really like to not be forced to transfer onto the 61 just to get over onto 15th. With the added transfer the trip will probably end up being longer and more annoying. Greenwood at 6 am is not a particularly friendly transfer environment. It’s really not that much farther to just end the 45 at or around 15th, and then you also get the cross-connect with the D-line.
There is another option. You would be able to ride Link to Northgate Station and get on the 61 there. Still a transfer, but it’s train->bus, rather than bus->bus.
That option was in fact mentioned in Shiloh’s comment. However it’s not clear that a train transfer is inherently better? The train would run faster but it would be a bit more of a pain to go up and down stairs and cross. And it feels like a detour (and it is, really) in a way that just catching another bus at the same stop is not. Those may not seem like big deals to those of us here who like to ride trains but to regular people they can be deterrents, especially for those with more limited mobility or in inclement weather.
The train transfer is better because:
1) The train is faster
2) The train runs more frequently than a bus. Coming 2023, it will run all day every 5 minutes. The 45 will never run that often, even in rush hour, for the foreseeable future.
3) The train is able to consistently maintain its headway, to the point where a train every 5 minutes actually means a train every 5 minutes, rather than 3 trains all bunched up every 15 minutes.
Because of this, train->bus will result in much less wait time and ride time than bus->bus. Yes, there is the overhead of going up and down, but, even at UW Station, a trip up or down takes about 90-120 seconds, each way, which is not enough to matter much, in terms of total trip time.
I can see bus->bus being preferable if the U-district origin is somewhere like 15th/55th, much closer to the 45 bus than to a Link station. But, assuming the walk to the U-district station entrance isn’t a big deal, I would definitely prefer train->bus. A same stop transfer is nice, but if you’re going to be standing at the bus stop for 10-15 minutes anyway, not having to walk doesn’t really matter.
The 45 is so slow through the north U-District and Green Lake that there’s a good chance the Link -> 61 trip would be faster.
It may be kinda slow, but it’s nice to have a one-seat option when going between the upper u-dist and the 15th Ave NW & NW 85th St area. Now that will be gone.
I guess it will still be possible to take the 45 to the end, and then walk a half mile to Fred Meyer. Won’t be fun with a bunch of groceries or boxes though.
I don’t understand why the 45 is being cut short, while the 61 is being extended. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Aren’t there more people headed to the UW, rather than Northgate or Lake City? Maybe the plan is to greatly ramp up the 45, and have the 61 run as often as the current 45.
Basically Metro is proposing eliminating one east-west section, and replacing it with another. It isn’t just folks headed to the UW that get hurt. Sand Point to Crown Hill is a three seat ride, even though it is pretty much straight across. Oh, I guess you can go all the way up to Lake City, then take the 61 over. But that is a huge detour, and the 61 — while laudable — will never be that fast from Northgate to Lake City. There are simply too many twists and turns around a very congested Northgate area (that is going to get a lot more crowded). (That is why a station at NE 130th is so important).
The 61 seems to be to answer the pleas for a Lake City-Ballard route, and going to 32nd makes it look like it serves more of Ballard. But it doesn’t really because when people say “going to Ballard” they mean Market Street or further south. So they’ll have to transfer to the D or 40 to go the rest of the way. In that case it’s not necessarily better to transfer at 24th rather than 15th, which has both the D and 40. So I’m wondering if the 61 should just go to 15th, and leave the 45 alone. The 45 is a great northwest-southeast diagonal route, and it goes to the largest urban center in north Seattle with a university that attracts all kinds of people. So why not leave the west end of the 45 as is?
So I’m wondering if the 61 should just go to 15th, and leave the 45 alone.
I think it would make sense to terminate one of them at 15th. That is more overlap, but sufficient for each bus to connect to the Ballard buses (the 40 and D). The overlap wouldn’t be wasted, either, in my opinion. It is only about five minutes of extra service, and you connect to three more buses (the 28 being the third). So someone from going from Ballard to Greenwood has an easy transfer.
My guess is they just haven’t looked for a layover spot. Other then the U-District, I don’t this plan adds any new layovers. But I think finding a layover spot at 85th and 15th should be relatively easy.
Does anyone know why the 67 makes a weird dogleg in the southbound direction? Northbound is simple; the bus takes a left on 43rd, then a right on 11th (meaning there are no extra turns to get right by the station). But southbound it seems to make a left on 47th, then a right on 12th, then a left on 45th, followed by a right on 15th. I don’t get that at all. Is that to avoid traffic? Or maybe a bus doesn’t want to get all the over from the far right to the far left.
If so, I can see a better remedy. Right now the far left lane is left turn only. The other lanes are straight only. They could make the middle lane “straight, except transit”. That way a bus could avoid the traffic in that left turn lane, and jump ahead of all the cars turning. As soon as there is a gap in the pedestrian traffic, the bus turns (and it is the only vehicle turning from that lane — all the cars in that lane kept going straight).
OK, here is something I find kind of weird. If you look at the map, there appears to be frequent service (a red line) between Meridian and 5th, along Northgate Way. The only bus that could do that is the 40. Yet the 40 is unchanged. Maybe they just made a mistake on the map.
It does look like Metro is basically ignoring the pedestrian bridge over I-5 at Northgate. There will still be just as many buses going by the college and looping around to Northgate Transit Center as always. It seems like either the 345/346 or the 40 should go the fast way (across Northgate Way and down 1st). It would make sense to change the 40, since that way there are no additional turns. The 345/346 just keeps going straight down Meridian, while the 40 just makes the turn from Northgate Way at 1st, not Meridian.
Will the Northgate pedestrian bridge open the same time as Northgate Station?
Good point. Originally it was supposed to, but it was delayed. It is crazy, since it would add value right now.
Yes! Apparently construction is authorized to start in two days ( Monday, January 27).
The project is listed at 1900 feet long. Even though the mezzanine connection will shorten the distance to the station about 200 feet, it’s not set up to easily connect riders on one side with the station. It’s like saying that Route 7 riders should transfer at Columbia City (the walking path is about the same distance).
The ugly truth is that the Northgate Transit Center’s biggest locational advantage was how it enabled express buses on I-5 to and from Downtown Seattle, and it’s siting next to a high-demand retail center. Those motivations are diminished or gone for the most part.
From a bus operations perspective, the adjacent stations (Roosevelt and 130th) are much easier to reach from the east or west. It’s terribly short-sighted to not have created better transit transfers at those other stations. Every time a bus turns left or right at a signal, it adds delay for riders.
[The bridge] is not set up to easily connect riders on one side with the station.
Yeah, I get that. I wouldn’t expect people to get off the train, walk across the bridge, then catch a bus (or the opposite). But one good argument for keeping the 40 the way it is right now is that it serves the campus. My attitude is that way more people will be headed to the Northgate area, and if someone wants to go to the campus, they can catch the 345/346 (or even the 61) or simply walk across the bridge.
In general I really don’t like little extra loops just to get a handful of more riders. Doing that only makes sense for a coverage route (like the 345) that struggles with decent ridership otherwise. We have fewer and fewer of those buses, and the 40 is certainly not one of them. It should go as quickly as possible from Northgate Way to the transit center, and that means using 1st.
See comment below. It turns out the 40 is indeed going to follow what is implied in the big map, and turn on 5th (not follow its current route). So not 1st, but 5th.
If you look at the individual route map for the proposed 40, it takes Northgate and 5th (not 1st) rather than looping around the college. The 345/346 would continue going past the college.
OK, that is really weird. The individual route map for the 40 wasn’t listed before. I just refreshed my browser and what do you know, there it is. OK, that makes a lot more sense now. The big map was correct — they just didn’t list all of the routes.
OK, yeah, that is very interesting. That adds a few things:
1) The transfer from the 61, 75 or 67 to the 40 is much better. You save the time spent going south to the transit center and back up again. That is a big improvement.
2) It probably takes about the same amount of time to get to the station.
3) More service on 5th and 103rd to the station.
The big improvement is that first item. It takes quite a bit of time to go down and get back up. I’m not enthused about the other items, though. There will be plenty of buses along 5th and 103rd without sending the bus there. Too many, I would say. You are likely to get bus bunching, which is counter productive (for everyone involved).
Overall, I would say it is an improvement, but I think I still prefer using 1st. It takes about five minutes to get from 5th and Northgate Way to the Northgate Transit Center. To get from 1st and Northgate Way to 5th takes about the same amount of time as getting to the transit center: one minute. So, that means that riders transferring between the 40 and the other buses save five minutes. Riders on the 40 headed to Link lose five minutes. To me the deciding factor is the extra service time spent by the 40. The 40 runs often, and should probably run more often. So that five extra minutes (while admittedly not that much) begins to add up.
I would say, though, that I don’t feel that strongly about it. Other issues (e. g. the 45 on 80th) are much more important. Again, I see this as an improvement, and if anything, find it funny that this is happening all at the same time. To get from from Ballard to Lake City is a real pain right now. With the 61 it becomes much easier. With this change, it becomes even better. Just take the 40 all the way to 5th and Northgate Way, cross the street, and then take either the 75 or 67.
That button hook for the 40 looks as bad as the current button hook on the 67, It may take five minutes in Northgate traffic to go east to 5th and backtrack to 1st, forcing people to choose whether to do that or to get off at 1st and walk to the station.
That button hook for the 40 looks as bad as the current button hook on the 67, It may take five minutes in Northgate traffic to go east to 5th and backtrack to 1st, forcing people to choose whether to do that or to get off at 1st and walk to the station.
Without traffic, Google estimates it will take six minutes. Basically it takes one minute to drive on Northgate Way from 1st to 5th. It also takes a minute to drive from Northgate Way to the transit center. The bus from Northgate Way and 5th takes five minutes to get to the transit center. It is an eight minute walk, though, from 1st and Northgate Way to the train, so I think usually it will pay off to just sit tight.
There are a couple things worth noting. If traffic is a problem from the freeway exit to the transit center (via 1st), SDOT has said they will add bus lanes (for Community Transit). I suppose one issue may be too much traffic on 1st, especially during rush hour. I could see a rush hour routing if that is the case. Basically just don’t have any bus stops after 1st, and let the drive decide which way to go.
I think this is clearly an improvement, but not as good at using 1st. It breaks down like so:
Proposed routing advantages:
1) Five minute time saving for a transfer from the 40 to the 75, 61, 347/348 and 67.
2) Faster trip (and one seat ride) from along 5th to anywhere served on the 40.
Advantage of using 1st:
1) Five minute savings for a transfer from the 40 to Link.
2) Five minute service savings.
That last one is the key in my mind. The rest balance out, in my opinion. I can easily find a better way of spending an extra five minutes of service (for example, by extending the 45).
The traffic is on Northgate Way, not 1st.
Great to see there will be service along 75th again along the portion that got deleted when the old 68 was cancelled, and that service continues farther east, to make travel easier for Roosevelt and Eckstein students/staff.
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